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Designers and Trades | Working hand in hand

Hey everyone!

As we welcome the release of our new website design (I hope you like it!), we are also working on several new exciting opportunities. We won’t spoil that…yet.

With September approaching and kids starting to head back to school, parents and other adults alike head back to their daily routine to start dreaming about their home. This is what people do, right? Some people dream of simple fixes, others, full make-overs. After deciding what you’re looking into doing, you determine your budget and finally you look up contractors in the area to do the work.

Here’s where it can get tricky. Your contractor can make or break your experience. Some people hire friends, contractors others have used and recommended, or take the gamble with someone new entirely. Ample amounts of research should be done to determine who will best suit your project, including interviews, if necessary. It can become very stressful sometimes!

When you hire a designer, like us *hint hint*, we do that process for you. We are your advocate, and that’s what we are paid to do. We want this process to go smoothly for you, and we know who’s great and who’s not-so-great in the industry, and can offer our best advice for who to pick based off of all your needs. If you want to hire your friend, no problem, we can still make sure they do their job professionally.

We have heard so many horrors of people who have experienced the fly-by-night contractor, and we cringe and empathize towards those people entirely! A young couple with a new baby decides to get their bathroom done and the contractor fails to pay the trades even though they are responsible for that. The contractor goes MIA. The client is then out of pocket paying for the trades that never ended up getting paid or even worse, trades start a legal action case. No one ever wants that, but if the client has not done their due diligence of in depth research of who they’re hiring, there is that potential risk.

I decided to consult with my friend John the Plumber, who is very well known in our Ottawa plumbing community, regarding this issue. He mentioned that “it can be a problem, no one ever wants to go after a client. We do our best to resolve the situation before things get dirty.” Even as designers, we prefer to work with people we know, or that the client knows first hand. If we are working with someone new, we make sure to do our homework so our client can trust them in their house. John, who’s company vans are very visible and clearly well labelled, has taken every measure to legitimize his business to help his clients feel better about who they’re hiring.

This economy is very social-media based, and companies rely on word of mouth and social advertising as a key foundation of business. With that, it’s so easy to get scammed by businesses or people alike now. Some businesses that have been around for more than 25 years may not need social media because they are already well established businesses. But us newbies over here rely on it. Ottawa is a small city, and one bad word can really affect your brand. When we hire companies, we make sure they reliable, and ultimately they want the same results as we want to give our clients:

MAKE SURE THE CLIENT IS HAPPY!

This is the foundation of any proud business owner.

Make sure to do your homework when looking to do that new renovation, having a designer along with you will help guide you into the process and give the best results for you. Happy dreaming!

Plan your Reno in the Winter | Tips for the savvy shopper

IMG_4454Here at Nested Green we’ve interacted with many folks who have expressed starting their renovations in the spring or summer and some into the late fall. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s great you want to get started! However, it can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress because of schedules, availability of product or contractors and most importantly, affect what you want. The most important thing about planning for Spring/Summer renovations is to plan over the winter.

Why?

There’s lots of reasons why you should plan your renovation over the winter:

Contractors are busy people. Often they’re booking weeks or months in advance, and naturally they are always looking for work. By planning late fall or early winter, booking them in advance, at least for consultations for early spring with plans to renovate later is very key to their scheduling. This way they can try to schedule you into their books based on your schedule, and not theirs.

You have a few months to keep dreaming. This is extremely important in any design planning. This of course involves booking your Interior Designer/Architect *wink wink*. Joking aside, whether you hire a designer or not, it’s extremely important to browse the world of Pintrest, Houzz, and all the unlimited resources we have at our fingertips to discover what you want, and even more importantly, what you don’t want. Make a list of priorities and what you’re willing to compromise on, this will help you narrow your needs/wants in your renovation and design and get what you want. What do you want the space to look like? What are your dreams? If you’re not hiring a designer, do a lot of research into the products that are available and this will help with coming up with your….

BUDGET. I really shouldn’t have to say more than this, but be sure to evaluate your financial situation before starting a renovation or project of any kind. Determine what type of renovation you’re doing and make sure to do research on the types of products you’re interested in and what the average costs are for doing these renovations/construction. Make sure to allow for unexpected costs as no one knows what’s under old floorboards or behind walls that might unleash a whole can of something.IMG_4492

To add to this, if you’re intending on renovating an older home like a heritage home, be sure to get the right people in to evaluate the situation appropriately. Your project may add up quickly if you discover you want to renovate your bathroom to find out all your plumbing is lead or electrical is knob and tube. Things like this are completely against code, and are required to be fixed immediately. It could mean the difference between getting all new electrical and getting the upgrades you wanted… which would ultimately impact your design, and of course you would be left disappointed.

Account for product delivery and ordering. By planning during the winter, it offers lots of time to measure and quote out the products you want as some are 4-6 weeks while others are 10-12 weeks. By ordering these in the right timing, it will prevent your project from being delayed any longer than necessary. Additionally ask about your designer, architect and contractors timeline…how much time do they need to get started? Designers often need 4-6 weeks depending on complexity/technicality and project, but it may require submitting to an architect technician with a BCIN (Building Code Identification Number) to then submit to the city for permits. Please be aware that technicians charge on the upwards of $1000 for their time to review and stamp the project. Once submitted to the city, permits could take 2 or more weeks depending on the project. If this is already completed by the end of winter, then in the spring you’ll be all set to start!

Consider your return on investment. Do property research of those around you and if you need to, get your property evaluated by a real estate agent. Be sure you’re not putting unnecessary funds into your property that you won’t see when you try to sell your house. Play it smart: use the budget efficiently in the right project upgrades (an interior designer can help with this!) and it’ll increase your property value but still at realistic pricing. All too often we see houses trying to sell for far more than they’re worth for the area.

Lastly, be sure you’ve planned around your project. Updating your only bathroom or kitchen? What will do you then…will you stay somewhere else? Something that must be considered especially if there are children in the home. Respect your contractors time and space, if you are getting in their way, this will delay your construction and cause aggravation all around. Stay at a friends/family’s house, go on vacation, stay in a hotel etc. until your project is at a reasonable stage.

Thanks again for tuning in, I hope these tips helped… please share this to your friends/family or anyone looking to start a project in the near future!

– Jennifer.

[image from dailymail.co.uk]

In Pursuit of Happiness… Our Natural Desire to Feather Our Nest

Every spring our North American bird friends spend endless hours finding the perfect fixings for thier new digs. Searching for the best ingredients for solid structure, waterproofing and of course comfort, readies thier new home for thier expected little ones. Well that explains birds, but why do we feel the need to make our homes look like the cover of Architectural Digest?
Is it just that magazines and television expose us to the best spaces that money can buy? Do you take those visions as a challenge or do younfeel deeper about the rooms in your home? Do you feel the need to keep up with the Joneses whether you can afford it or not? There are as many reasons for the “nesting” feeling as there are … well… people. Decorating means different things to different people and to each his own… beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
For the lady late in her pregnancy, her “nesting” instict kicks in with the impending birth of her child. So is our desire to nest a hormonal reaction or natural instinct? Young couples that move into thier first home are so compelled to spend every last cent they have… or more… to make thier new nest the home of thier dreams.
Perhaps your pursuit of a fabulously sexy pad is motivated by your desire to hook-up. Both ladies and gents of single status who are looking for love, very much take the feathering of thier nest seriously. Making one’s self attractive to others at all levels. This activity is not like a web of deception but displays one’s desire to attract someone of quality or at least show your financial ability to keep up with Joneses.
Does your home make a statement about who you are or who you want people to perceive you to be? Do you want to experience a certain feeling as you walk through your front door? Is it that feeling many of us get as the holiday seasons set upon us, certain scents, colours and objects take us back to a warm happy place… most of the time. Make note of how you feel the next time you walk through your home’s entrance. Is it stress or relief that you feel? Can you recognize what it is about your home that ingnites emotions in you? Being able to notice any negative reactions you or your family may have when you enter your abode will direct you to what your next weekend DIY project should be. If you can’t put your finger on the source of your pain, you may need to call for professional help such as an interior designer.
What is your house pride motivation? Some folks feel that cleanliness is most important but let the clutter slide. Others pride themselves with orderliness, but the dust-bunnies are still safe to reproduce under the bed if time runs out in the housekeepers schedule. Then there is the personality of one who conquers both clutter and cleansing; demanding it from others in the home too. Is your desired space an empty box with little embellishment or do you prefer a full house of furniture, decorative objects and things of memories past? Where do you fall into this scale?
Do you let your budget or line of credit guide you in how much you spend on your nest? Or do make due with hand-me-downs and gifts? One may think that feathering your nest may take a great deal of cash. It can be done on less than a dime but it may take just a little more time and a fair amount of elbow grease to achieve. Consignment shops that specialize in household furnishings and accessories are a great source for finding unique and affordable things to fill your home.
There is a statement in design that says “form follows function”… meaning our spaces should be shaped by our activities but usually we have to stuff ourselves into a container we can afford and make the best of it. Depending on where you are in your life, your home may be a 5 bedroom single in the suburbs or a 24th floor bachelor loft in a re-developed downtown neighbourhood. You may feel that finishing your space to suit as many future buyers as possible is a good investment. Perhaps that is true in a short turn-around property, but in a long term living situation furnishing and decorating (as well as renovating) it is best to make choices that will make you happy. Of course, there are others such as family, future family or pets to considered in any nesting decisions you make.
Nesting is more than the pursuit of material possession, creating a living space that functions well and that you enjoy can add to the overall quality of your life. Happy Nesting!!

More reading:
Want to hook-up: http://ca.askmen.com/top_10/dating/top-10-ways-to-impress-a-woman-with-your-home.html
Keeping up with the Joneses and other rules: http://www.viewalongtheway.com/2013/06/6-decorating-rules-to-live-by/