various clothes in new home closet

Creating Your Ultimate Custom Closet

You have decided that it’s time to get organized… Whether Custom Building a new home or re-organizing an existing space. It’s the start of a new year and you want to begin clutter free…

Start your initial checklist to ensure your home will be clutter-free:

Who are the end users?

  • Male, female, or a combination?
  • If sharing, do both users have the same amount of clothing? What’s on each persons “wish list”?
  • Are there any special requirements i.e. amount and type of shelving?


How much space do you have to work with?

  • Use a piece of graph paper to draw the space where each square represents 1 foot. Be sure to include all doorways and windows.
  • This will give you a better sense of how much wall space you are working with.
  • Will there be enough room for an island? Keep in mind you will need room to extend a drawer and still be able to stand behind it. I prefer a dresser because it will utilize less space.
  • Function: Think about how you live. Do you drop your clothes on the floor at the end of the day? Do you need a laundry basket? Would it be convenient to have the laundry inside your closet or close by?

* Note: the dimension from the wall to the outside of a hanger is approximately 20”.


When custom building a home for our clients, I ask them to measure what they currently have. How much wall space is utilized for:

  • Long hanging items such as dresses
  • Shorter hanging items like shirts and pants
  • Ties
  • Purses
  • Shoes, etc.
  • If there is room to incorporate a built-in dresser or island, take an inventory of your existing dresser – what items each drawers contain and the size.

When we built our Custom Home in Sherwood Park, Alberta, I did this exercise. Here are the steps I took:

  1. I measured what closet space we currently had in our existing home.
  2. I added extra hanging and dresser space to ensure our closet would satisfy our needs down the road.
  3. My husband needed little shelving; however, he had a lot of shirts and pants. When designing the closet, I was mindful of organizing the closet where his items were on one side and mine on the other. His side included shelving in the middle of two sets of double hanging rods. He didn’t require a lot of long hanging items, so we decided to have a 5’ length that we would share.
  4. I needed a lot more shelving for purses, scarves and shoes. My side of the closet incorporated two sets of double hanging and two walls of shelving.

[Tweet “Tip: shelving to the ceiling allows you to store items in baskets, less used items or seasonal items. #yeghomes”]

If you have room to add a built-in dresser:

  1. I took an inventory of what we already had in our existing dressers. I measured the drawers and wrote down what each drawer contained.
  2. To figure out how many drawers myself and my husband would need, I drew a dresser (rectangular stacked boxes) where each box was a drawer. I labeled the drawers “underwear,” “t-shirts,” “sweaters,” etc”.
  3. When I was satisfied that all the drawers (plus a few extra for down the road) would fulfil our needs, I drew the dresser in our closet (on graph paper) and worked the hanging items around it.

* Function and organization are the primary reasons for a closet. Be sure to allow space for items such as laundry bins.

* This is just an exercise. You will now have a rough layout to discuss with your Custom Home Builder or your Carpenter/Cabinet Maker. This will be valuable to ensure you are on the same page and more importantly, that you will be satisfied with the amount of storage.


  • Will you be matching your bathroom or kitchen cabinetry?
  • Similar décor to the rest of your home?
  • Dark and moody or light and bright? With our long Edmonton winters, light and bright has been the most popular.
  • Moldings?


Efficient, bright lighting is key, you will need a combination of lighting to ensure you are not leaving the house with one black and one navy shoe. While decorative lighting such as a chandeliers and illuminated glass-fronted cabinets will add to the wow factor, task lighting such as pot lights are equally important.


  • Preference – style, comfort, allergies, etc.
  • Are you continuing a product from an adjoining space?
  • If there are laundry facilities in your closet, perhaps a hard surface such as tile would be beneficial.

Extra Feature ideas for your Custom Closet:

  • Laundry facilities – stackable laundry in your closet or a door access to an adjoining laundry room
  • A hideaway ironing board in a concealing cabinet
  • Velvet lined, locking jewelry drawers
  • Tie, belt, or sunglass drawers
  • Adjustable shelving
  • Full length mirror
  • Bench for extra storage or seating
  • Coffee bar, beverage cooler, TV
  • Safe, security drawers
  • Sound system
  • Window

For inspiration, have a look at the new HGTV Dream Home 2017.
Your Custom Dream Closet will be so beautiful that you will never want to leave… My suggestion for a coffee bar and bench seating may come in handy!

Your closet starts and finishes your day… Imagine what an organized space would do to lift your spirit?

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luxury custom home build

Guide to Choosing a Luxury Custom Home Builder

The largest investment most people make in their lifetime is buying a new home. You want to get it right the first time. That’s why choosing the right custom home builder is important.

The working relationship between you and your custom home builder will last 10 – 12 months, plus the service relationship post possession. As custom home builders, providing personalized service that focuses on you and your needs is paramount. A good builder will provide ongoing, transparent communication each step of the way, which should increase your confidence in your builder/homeowner relationship.



What is Your Custom Home Builder’s Role?

They serve as a master puzzle maker; they put your “needs and wants list” into bite-sized pieces that can be understood and priced so that they form the integral parts of your overall blueprint puzzle.

An experienced custom builder will also be able to weed out which “needs and wants” may be unnecessarily costly or will not add to the overall aesthetic or return on investment.

A realistic budget, time frame, and overall idea of the process both during construction and post possession are important roles of your builder.

[Tweet “Some locations, like Edmonton, may require extra time and money due to winter weather. #yeg #shpk”]

10 Custom Builder Responsibilities:

1. Prepare all paperwork including contracts, building specifications, blueprints, change/extra orders, collect draw funds, tracking costs, and warranty information. Documentation then can be forwarded to your bank for mortgage financing if required.

2. Apply for all building, development, and service permits. Submit for subdivision architectural approval.

3. Your custom home builder hires, schedules, and co-ordinates all subcontractors. They choose reliable trades to ensure the job is completed on time, that the quality of workmanship is up to standard, and that the project is within budget and adheres to building code.

4. Manage/co-ordinate all inspections and the final certificate of occupancy.

5. Your custom home builder/designer will schedule meetings where they will accompany you on trips to their suppliers. There you will choose your finishing products such as plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, railings, flooring, paint, doors, etc.

6. All building materials such as windows, garage doors, and all finishing products will be priced, signed off, and ordered to ensure a smooth transition between each building phase.

7. Check all delivered materials to ensure accuracy and review for deficiencies.

8. Arrange for builder/client site visits.

9. Once the custom build is complete, the home builder will schedule a final walk-through. A Certificate of Possession document is used as a checklist on which to note any deficiencies. A schedule to remedy any deficiencies is discussed and documented.

10. During the final walk-through, your custom home builder will educate you on the operation and maintenance of your new home. All warranty and service information will be discussed.

Define Your Needs:

Custom home builders work with you every step of the way to ensure you get the home you want, but that means you need to decide what you want with your home builder before you start.

Here are the things you need to define:

1.  What is the ideal location for you? Do you want to live in a subdivision? What size/shape of lot do you want? When deciding on your location, also consider your budget, the property’s exposure, walk-out, cul-de-sac…

Decide what type of community you want to live in: Urban, rural… Consider your distance to work.

2. Price range: Do your due diligence to know what a realistic budget looks like for you. Keep in mind that most clients will choose a few “special” items that will exceed their original contract amount, so be prepared to drop something in order to keep an allowance for unforeseen extras.

3. Style of home: Do you want a bungalow, two story? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Do you want a developed basement? How many cars need to fit in the garage?

4. Extras: Are there any “must haves” that may increase your budget, such as an imported grand chandelier? Ensure your builder includes these items in your original quote. It is proactive to include items that will keep the “extra” list manageable.

5. Any other special needs such as a barrier-free shower, wide hallways, ramps, etc., that you have to have in your home?

Your home needs to reflect its occupants in both style and function.

[Tweet “Take your time to create a list that works for you now and into the future. #yeg #shpk”]

How to Shortlist Your Builder Contenders

Go through each of these items below to narrow down your search for a custom home builder:

1. Word of mouth. Have you heard of a positive building experience from someone you trust?

2. What is was your initial meeting like? Does the builder possess good communication skills? Do they listen? Ask yourself, “Is this a person I could see myself doing business with for the next 12 months and beyond?”

3. When asking about a home builder’s previous projects, do those projects reflect your style and quality requirements?

4. Check their references. What was the feedback?

5. Do the custom home builder’s work flow, time management, and organizational skills measure up to your expectations?

6. Budget: Does the homebuilder’s estimated price range fit within your allotted budget? What is included in that estimated price range?

7. What is their payment schedule: What is the percentage amount due and at what stage is payment required? Your bank may operate on a different schedule, so be sure to confirm that your builder will work with your bank’s schedule if it varies.

8. Are they members of any home builder’s associations? Edmonton Home Builders Association, New Home Warranty Program, Canadian Home Builders Association, etc. Members of these associations are required to adhere to the ethics and standards laid out in their agreements.

When shortlisting your builder, it is important that you and your significant other are on the same page. Define your needs (see above), then arrange for a second meeting. You will be confident with the questions you have and will now be able to make an informed decision.

An additional resource is in the below link from the Canadian Home Builders Association. It’s a worksheet/questionnaire to use when comparing custom builders:

Final decision:

You know your custom builder’s role, you have defined your needs, and you met your builder candidates with information-revealing questions. There are a few last items to consider before you sign on the dotted line:

1. Does your builder offer any services that stand out?

a. Soil test to ensure your foundation is on solid ground?
b. Service beyond the industry standard?
c. Qualified designer to ensure your ideas are realized?

2. Cleanliness and organization of job site.

3. Previous client feedback: Was each project finished on time? What is the relationship post possession? Any unpleasant surprises?

4. Any memorable design features of their show home? Was the quality consistent with the custom home builder’s sales pitch? Were the building products used brands with well-earned reputations for quality?

Investing the time in choosing your custom home builder will be well spent.

Your home will reflect those who live in it and the quality you expected. Although most of us usually enjoy a surprise, this is one area where it’s not warranted.

Embarking on your custom home journey with knowledge and confidence will lead to a positive outcome.

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matte white pottery dishes trends 2017 home

2017 Top 10 Luxury Home Trends

The 2017 Trends for Home Style and Interior Design

What can you expect for home trends this year? After researching some of the top Designer Sites, here is the shortlist of Top 10 Trends for 2017 …

1. 2017 Pantone Color of the Year

Ready for it… Pantone 15-0343 “Greenery”

According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at the Pantone Color Institute the color represents:

• Refreshment

• Rejuvenation

• Rebirth

“We love that feeling of newness, a realigning of yourself and revitalizing yourself. A really important aspect is that the color has vibrancy and a little bit of brightness”.

2. Butterflies

Elle Décor Magazine has said to expect to see butterflies, a happy motif which symbolizes both grace and optimism – it’s no longer just for children.

You can expect to see the butterfly motif in items such as wallpaper.

3. Mixed Patterns

Most trends first spin off the fashion industry – this trend was first seen in the New York fashion week and has made it into the world of interior design.

Tip: A quick way to pick up on this trend is to change your existing duvet cover or comforter to a bold mix of colors and patterns – Let it be the show-stopper in your bedroom!

4. Faux Finishes

Another trend listed by Elle Décor Magazine:

Faux finishes are an alternative to its more expensive counterpart and are getting popular.

[Tweet “Faux materials help rein in the budget but are also a reliable alternative #yegdesign #yeghomes #shpk”]

Here are a few products to try:

• Faux wood products such as plank tile used as a durable floor alternative to hardwood flooring. It requires less maintenance and is pet friendly.

• Engineered Quartz is available in faux marble patterns, the added benefit is instead of soft marble it will withstand heat and staining.

Expect other faux trends such as: leather countertops and marble wallpaper.

5. Move Over Black – Navy is Back

A modern twist for 2017 is using navy where the previous “go to” was black. Navy works with most color schemes and will give your space a modern, fresh feel.

Imagine how stunning a navy island would look with warm brushed gold fixtures and wide plank flooring. It would be the statement piece in your luxurious kitchen.

6. Move Over DIY… We are Looking for a Higher Quality Items

With the explosion of Pinterest, the DIY scene has been off the chart. A new trend towards professionally crafted items is on the rise.

High-level, skilled workmanship items such as hand blown glass and fine wood pieces, to name a few.

7. Matte White Pottery

The trend for high-level, skilled, crafted items mentioned in trend #6 will lend itself to the rise of Matte White pottery such as vases, bowls, etc.

These items are warmer than the previous glossy white accessories as they add an organic and textural element to the space.

8. Chunky Knit

This popular heavy knit is showing up in throw blankets, toss pillows and bed covers.

Chunky knit adds a textural quality to a space and will keep us warm until the landscape in Edmonton has shifted from white to green.

9. Shiplap Carries On… Or Does It?

A have had mixed articles written both “pro” and “con” shiplap.

House Beautiful Magazine stated the “Fixer Upper” inspired farmhouse look will carry on for 2017. Joanna Gaines has shown how country-chic can work by using little or a lot of shiplap.

On the contrary Kayla, Managing Editor HGTV said, “I’m tired of shiplap and the whole cottage-inspired, farmhouse-chic look. There. I said it. I like when Joanna Gaines does it because it’s her signature look. But if you have a “Fresh Baked Pies Here” faux vintage sign, then I expect there to be real pies in your kitchen.”

10. Texture

A soft velvet sofa, faux fur, luxurious fabrics… Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Texture gives us comfort and wraps us in warmth after a long day.

One way we connect with our surroundings is by touch. We feel drawn to fabrics that entice our senses, so it makes sense that we want our homes to be full of luxurious textures.

For 2017, choose a trend that speaks to you, works with what you already have, and will add some needed update to your current surroundings.

Happy shopping!
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