new custom home build

Are you Ready to Build a New Home?

Are you ready to build a new home? A first step is understanding the financials, which we discuss in previous blog, Understanding the Cost of Building a New Home. In it, we talk about costs and expenses and what to expect when building your new home.

You Have a Budget and Solid Financial Backing

With your costs in mind, does your budget line up with your desires?

Have an honest conversation with your banker to ensure you are shopping within your means. Have you heard the saying “champagne taste on a beer budget?” Do your homework on building supplies and the custom finishing touches you want. It will save you heartache later on.

It’s important to not only budget for the usual costs, but also to plan for unexpected expenses that may come up. For example, poor soil conditions can increase costs. If your builder discovers that soil quality requires additional piles than originally planned, that will increase expenses. Soil quality should be tested to ensure the correct size of the home’s footing (the concrete slab your foundation walls sit on). However, this is not done prior to beginning the build. The soil test is completed on undisturbed soil in the foundation hole.

There are also self-inflicted costs, such as increasing your budget to include an extravagant light fixture. In this case you have complete control of how much over budget you go, keeping your spending in check will make the process much more enjoyable. A standard rule of thumb is to allow for 10% over budget. If needed, there are items that are replaceable later on; instead, spend the money on quality windows, insulation, and roof material. You are much more likely to change a carpet than remove windows.

A note about the type of mortgage you will have: When building a home, your mortgage is usually set up as a “draw mortgage.” As your home is being built, instead of receiving the entire amount upfront, your builder will receive “draws” of money at certain stages of construction such as close-up, drywall, finishing, and final. Your bank will send an appraiser to visit your home to confirm that work is completed up to the “draw” stage prior to the funds being released to your builder.

You Don’t See Anything You Like

Frustrated with what is available in the current housing market? You aren’t alone. That is the number one reason people come to us ready to custom build.

In our experience, clients have a list of “must haves” for their forever home. Unfortunately, the homes on the market do not satisfy enough items on their list, making them feel like they are settling and will regret their purchase in the future. This encourages clients to look at custom building a new home where they can fulfill their wish list and more. Their custom home is a better representation of their lifestyle… No settling.

Are you ready to get all the items on your wish list?

You Can Wait for the House to be Built

With a custom built home, there will be wait time. Are you able to wait for your home to be built?

How long does it take to build a home? The answer varies depending on how much time it takes to design the home.

The initial design process is when the builder and client collaborate ideas, perhaps by drawing bubble diagrams (as seen in Custom Build: What You Need to Know: Layout), and then those ideas are discussed with a draftsperson. A preliminary set of prints are completed then reviewed/amended with the client and the builder’s designer. The draftsperson will implement those changes and the client and designer will again review and make changes.

This process will go back and forth until the client is completely satisfied with the finished set of blueprints. The completed blueprints are sent out for pricing and a contract is drawn up and signed off. Permits are then applied for and once approved, the building process commences.

On average a home will take between 10 – 12 months after permits are approved. Time delays due to weather are unavoidable; however, smart scheduling can make up for some lost time.

Start to finish can be upwards of 14 – 16 months. With this time frame in mind, have you planned the timing of your current home sale? If you have, that is another sign that you are ready to build a new home.

You Have a Plan for the Future

Are you looking for your “forever home?” A place to raise your family and make many memories. A home that will serve your needs today and in the future. With a new home build, you are able to plan for the future in ways you cannot with an existing house. For example, if your family’s needs change drastically and you now have a loved one who requires an elevator or ramps, you can plan for that.

While some clients want a “forever home,” some want a home for a certain stage of their life. Perhaps a two story worked for the child-rearing years and a bungalow is what suits your needs now that the children have moved on. Imagine an art/craft room all to yourself or a golf simulator… With all that extra space, sky’s the limit!

Are You Ready to Build a New Home?

If you have solid financials, the desire to build a custom home, the ability to wait for the home to build, and a plan for your future – you are ready to build a new home.

The next step is to do your homework: research everything on your wish list, know your budget and the neighbourhood you want to live in. Most importantly, develop a transparent relationship with your builder. You do not need to settle for anything less than the home you have dreamed of.

new home costs price

Understanding the Cost of Building a New Home

I remember when I was young and my dad had mentioned that someone he knew had purchased a million dollar home, I thought it must be a palace! He described it as a grand castle-like mansion which overlooked the river and had an 10 foot cream coloured stone fence all the way around it.

What was once a million dollar home with half a dozen rooms, a guest suite, wine cellar, crown molding, gold-plated finishings, and secret rooms, would now cost millions in the current market. Over time, building and land costs have steadily increased.

The Canadian economy hit a downturn in 2008, and with that, it would have made sense that building materials and land costs should have come down too.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Many potential clients come to us with budgets that fall far below the actual cost of what they want in a home simply because they are not familiar with the cost of building a new home.

Land, building materials, skilled labour, appliances, and all the extras that make a home unique may cost more than you think.

The Cost of Building a New Home

Purchasing a Lot

Land just outside of Sherwood Park and Edmonton is highly sought-after and buyers can expect to see prices for a half acre lot in prestigious new communities (such as The Grange Country Estates, Sherwood Park Golf and Country Club Estates and Meadowhawk Estates) in the $350,000s and up. However, the supply and demand of your neighborhood will also determine its value.

If the lot is treed or is an infill where the home (and/or outbuilding) needs to be removed, cost will be incurred for tree removal and grading or for building/structure removal and bringing services up to today’s standards.

When the soil is not stable, you could potentially need piles to support the foundation.

If the lot lies in a low area, you may need to bring in soil to bring up the grade level of the lot and make the land ideal for building on.

You may also need to have your lot connected to municipal services for water, sewer, and electricity if it isn’t already. This can cost $20,000 to over $40,000.

The Price of Building Materials

Rises in the price of building materials have also increased the cost of building a new home Recently, building materials, such as lumber, reached top pricing (July 2018) and have only come down slightly since then.

New tariffs have been placed on aluminium, which is normally imported from the United States, and the ongoing tariffs on drywall have also increased building costs. Our drywall supplier noted that over the last two years, drywall has increased 20-25% due to tariffs. Before that time period, drywall costs were increased only once a year. Now, we are seeing increases every six months.

With the implementation of the New National Building Code and the New Energy Code, there are new cost increases associated with building new homes. Extra materials, steps, and processes are mandatory and will add costs to the project. For example, ensuring your home is air tight and has increased insulation. Prior to the Code changes, the R Value for ceiling insulation used to be R40 and has now been increased to R50.

Exteriors, Finishes, and Landscaping

Community Architectural Guidelines may dictate landscaping factors such as fence options, driveway material, amount and type of plants allowed, and more. You may end up paying more because you are required to pave your driveway or match your fence to your neighbours.

Architectural Guidelines in the subdivision dictate the exterior materials of the homes in your neighborhood. The guidelines can specify roof materials, quantity of stone, garage sizes, home style to name a few. You may need to spend more on exterior finishes in order to meet these requirements.

Did you know increasing your roof pitch can increase your home costs? A higher roof pitch increases materials used, length of time to complete the job, and also requires extra safety precautions due to the steepness of the roof.

Items such as custom cabinetry and finishing materials will give your home its unique style; however, it will also increase costs.

With custom home building, you have the option to add extra features such as a pergola or a raised garden with built-in irrigation. If you choose to forgo the pergola-in-a-box option from Costco, you could be looking at a large bill for stone columns that support exposed beams overhead. Retaining walls that require engineering can make a large dent in the budget as well.

A stone walkway versus a gravel trail, grass versus artificial turf, small trees versus larger trees (that need to be planted with a tree spade) are a few other items that can affect the price of your custom home.

Walkout Style will Cost More

A walkout increases costs in several areas. The lot is usually considered a prime lot and is therefore more expensive. The house will also need extra windows, doors, and framing for the walkout portion. Landscaping for a walkout can also increase your budget as the slope of the lot usually calls for stairs or special retaining walls.

Not All Homes are Built Equal

Because the cost of building a new home has changed over the years, it is important to do your homework when looking for a new home. Not all homes are built equal. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Have a realistic budget for what you want, for both the lot/land and your home.

Many home buyers have a clear idea of what they want to spend on their home; the conflict is that the budget is not in line with the home they have in mind. We are fortunate to have so many options. You can see clearly what is possible on websites such as Houzz. The challenge is knowing whether those options are feasible for you.

Save yourself the “sticker shock” by looking at homes in your budget range. By looking at true comparables on the current market, you will have a much better understanding of what your budget will buy.

Should You Have a Plan Before Finding a Builder?

We are often asked by clients if they should have a plan before finding a home builder.

It may seem like a good idea to start with a plan; however, there are many different approaches when it comes to planning a new home build. Some people come to us with very specific plans, while others are not clear on what they want. We often find that our clients have not found what they are looking for in the current inventory of houses for sale and have decided to build in order to piece together their ideal home.

Starting at the Beginning

Starting the design process is not an exact science; however, in most cases, we start with a lot in communities such as The Grange Country Estates, Meadow Hawk, and Sherwood Golf and Country Club Estates.

Once the lot is chosen, we look at the land size, the desired orientation (with regard to land features, desired sunlight, proximity to the road, etc.), and location. The lot size will help us determine the size and layout of the house. For example, to maximize square footage on a smaller lot, our clients may choose to build a two-storey rather than a bungalow.

Planning the Interior Layout

layout plans before you build

After determining the layout of the home on the property, we move inside: planning the layout of the interior.

We ask our clients thought provoking questions to help discover what their needs are. This is especially important when, for example, a husband and wife come to us with opposing priorities. Knowing how many occupants, their ages, what their budget is, how each space will be utilized, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they need, etc., will help them reach a consensus based on their needs while leaving room for their wants.

Another important consideration is what will their future needs look like? Do they have aging parents that may require special needs? In that case, perhaps a future elevator shaft installed during the framing stage will give the clients an accessible option should there be a need for anyone with mobility issues.

Does anyone have an illness? Do we need to consider wider hallways and bathrooms for wheelchair access? Although we cannot always predict what the future holds, some families have a clearer idea of how their family will use the home as they age.

A home office is a common request. The benefit of custom building is the option of deciding how the office traffic will be handled. Could the office be accessed from the exterior of the home? Could there be a private entrance off the front of the home along with a bathroom to ensure clients and home occupants both have the privacy they require? Are there special requirements such as electrical, sound, lighting?

The design process will ensure all the “must haves” are considered and integrated seamlessly into the family home by the home builder.

Learn more about planning your home’s interior layout in this article: Layout – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 3)

Style Preferences

The style of the home can be another aspect our clients may or may not be clear on when they begin to plan their new home. For the most part, we find that clients are not aware of what is available to them on the current market.

During the building process, each client will have the opportunity to visit local suppliers to peruse the latest and greatest “new” products. At Canterbury Homes, our Designer, Monique Gorda, will assist with each decision to ensure product choices are both aesthetically pleasing and serve their intended purpose.

luxury home builder

Images help buyer and builder get on the same page in the planning process.

Images can be very helpful for getting home builder and buyer on the same page. We will ask clients to send us pictures of what they like and dislike and why. These pictures can add to the clarity of their message and help us determine what they want and need, even when they are not sure themselves. The images are an important part of the process, it is usually our “jumping off” point and sets the direction of the project.

Sometimes these images and ideas will feature styles and products that are better suited to different climates. Clients may want something that is not suited to, or is difficult to find in the Edmonton area.

This is where Canterbury Homes Inc. shows our expertise. We source out products that work in our climate and have quality staying power. Products that work for sunny California may look great when they are initially installed; however, Central Alberta weather is very tough on products that aren’t made to withstand our extremes and could look old and worn long before they should.

We want our clients to love their homes on their moving day and throughout the years they live in their home.

Look for images and inspiration on Houzz, Pinterest, or our Gallery.

Should You Have a Plan Before Finding a Home Builder?

The answer to this question is “No.” You do not need to have a specific plan in mind (or on paper) before you choose a builder. A wish list and some general ideas of how the home will function is enough information to get the process started.

Canterbury Homes Inc. works with you to determine your needs and wants and then creates a plan to reflect those desires.

If you have a plan, we can develop that plan and show you your options.

In either case, communication is key. We learn your story… then custom build your dream.
It is your story that determines our home building journey, this will ensure you will be delighted with your decisions for years to come.

How Much Square Footage Do I Need?

How much square footage you require will depend on the list of needs and wants in your home. During our first meeting with new clients, we do a “needs assessment” to find out which spaces are occupied the most and how many people will be using that space.

Once your layout is confirmed, you will have a much better idea of how much space will be required. The layout will include all the rooms on your wish list and where they will be located in relation to each other.

Canterbury Homes Inc. builds luxury custom homes in affluent communities in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, and surrounding areas. Our bespoke homes are as unique as our clients; however, there are many common elements, such as the type, number, and size of each space.

If you are building a custom luxury home, this will assist you with the layout process.

Plan for Function, Then Size

Function needs to be the first objective, the size will follow the function requirements. If the space needs to be large, then we will accommodate that; however, sometimes it’s a matter of planning for traffic flow, amount of occupants, and furniture layout to find the best use of space.

Typically, the largest rooms will be the areas where you spend the most time. Kitchens, great rooms, and master suites (the principal bedroom). For many of our clients, this also includes the garage.

Divide the Square Footage Between These Rooms

Have you thought about the rooms you need? Does your master plan include storage or special extras?

Since each homeowner is unique, none of Canterbury Homes Inc.’s homes are exactly the same; however, here is a sample breakdown of the rooms that we recommend you plan for.

Principal Master Bedroom – A peaceful, light filled space with direct access to enjoy your first cup of coffee on the deck. A charcoal grey barn door leads you to a spacious walk in closet including a built in custom dresser.

1 Master Suite: Often called the Principal or Primary Bedroom. This will be larger than other bedrooms and include a walk-in closet and ensuite full bath. A quick trick to ensure you have enough closet space is to measure all of your existing clothing, even those stored in other closets. Use that linear footage to create the closet of your dreams. Maybe even a built-in dresser or island to store your non-hanging items.

3-6 Bedrooms: We have never built a home with two or fewer bedrooms, three has been the minimum – you need to consider resale. If you choose to develop the basement, you can increase the bedroom quantity.

2 or more Full Bathrooms: Clients ask us for a minimum of two full bathrooms; although we usually do three or more. The number of bathrooms will depend on the layout, if each bedroom requires its own private bathroom, and whether the basement is developed.

1 Powder Room: Powder rooms are also referred to as “half-baths.” Homeowners usually want at least one, which will service visiting guests.

1 Furnace/Utility Room: Although it is more expensive, we ensure ALL the services are located in one room. The cost increase is due to the expense of running longer service lines the extra distance to locate them in the same room.

We also like to ensure the utility room has plenty of visible storage, with open shelving (for example) to make the space uncluttered and organized.

1 Eating Area or Dining Room: Most people prefer larger eating areas as part of their Great Room, rather than separate formal dining rooms. Although, those clients with family heirlooms and prized possessions enjoy a dining room to display their wares.

dining room square footage

Great Room and Family Room Instead of formal living rooms, our clients’ choose to have a Great Room and perhaps a casual Family Room/Recreation Room in the basement. Great rooms with open floor plans make the space appear larger and allow for ease of movement from one space to another.

1 Office: Whether it is for work, homework, or paying home bills, a home office is almost always on our clients’ lists of needs and wants.

1 Mudroom: The mudroom needs to allow for a lot of traffic and storage. Both the products selected (such as flooring) and the function of the space (a layout that ensures a smooth transition from garage to rear entry and amount of storage) need to be considered.

Laundry Room: Generally, in a two-storey, the laundry room is located upstairs. For a bungalow the laundry room is on the main floor. However, doing laundry has evolved; it is not unusual to have two washer/dryer sets located in two locations.

Many years ago, laundry was always done in the basement. In today’s market, most of our clients prefer to have laundry facilities close to the bedrooms for convenience. Some clients have installed stackable laundry appliances in the master walk-in closet and a second laundry room for the rest of the family members.

Leave Room for Storage

You may have noticed that the above list of rooms did not include storage. This is because storage is often forgotten. There is rarely enough thought given to storage and transition areas (such as mudroom or halls).

Most clients appreciate storage available in or beside most rooms. An example of this is having a linen closet close to the bedrooms and bathrooms. It will serve as convenient storage for linens and bedding.

Showhomes are notorious for leaving very little storage space, the focus is on living space. When planning your layout, think about all your storage requirements. I usually tell clients to add more storage than they need right now, as time goes on we tend to accumulate as our families grow.

Where does one store their Christmas tree, seasonal clothing, sports equipment, etc.? If the layout allows, we encourage winter and summer closets.

Our seasons don’t allow most of us to wear the same clothes all year long. By having two seasonal closets, it allows the homeowner to see just what they need for the upcoming season.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition

Walls can help separate areas and create clear pathways from room to room. Unfortunately they may take up valuable space. Instead of walls, use the ceiling (the 5th wall) to offer the illusion of space and differentiate one space from another.

Add treatments, such as hardwood, a change in paint colour, wallpaper, moulding, etc., for added visual interest as well.

Take Advantage of your Outdoor Space

After a home is complete, we encourage the homeowner to wait a year before doing landscaping. This allows the ground to “settle” and drop around the perimeter of the foundation wall.

For the outdoors, patios and deck areas are high on our clients’ lists. We have constructed decks made of stamped concrete, Sierra stone, or concrete tile slabs. If possible, we also like to extend the roof to provide a covered deck area that can be screened in. The screens can be stationary or motorized.

Gas fireplaces and outdoor seating areas, like pergolas, are also popular additions. Pergolas are another way to add a focal point and provide a shady lounging area.

How Much Square Footage DO You Need?

Planning for all the different rooms you require will give you a very good idea of how much square footage you need.

The key is to create a layout that flows well, includes all the items on your needs and wants list, and–most importantly–is highly functional and convenient.

How do you get that ideal layout? Start with the layout exercise in “Layout – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 3)”.

Country Club Living in Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park’s Golf and Country Club Estates are home to some of the most incredible, unique, and luxurious homes in the Edmonton area. Affluent members of the community chose this exclusive area for its privacy, pristine views, and spacious lots to build their custom home on; however, the proximity to amenities (click for nearby amenities) has been a key part of its appeal.

Golf and Country Club Estates are being developed in two phases, where the first phase saw development of the area closest to Range Road 233. The second phase, which involves development of another 43 acres, allows another wave of soon-to-be-homeowners to begin building their homes in this prestigious community.

custom home golf and country club estates

Nature lovers and those with active lifestyles appreciate the parks, trails, and water features. Traffic is minimal, and the developers plan to take advantage of the natural surroundings by adding more trails in the future.
If you are a golfer, then Golf and Country Club Estates is your paradise! The beautiful competition nine-hole golf course, Coyote Crossing is only steps away. Close enough to walk!

Here, you’ll enjoy the country club lifestyle: golfing, brunch, get-togethers, and a community of like-minded neighbours who are building the life they’ve been dreaming about.

Building the Perfect Home for Your Lifestyle

As the homes in Sherwood Golf and Country Club Estates are completed, the neighbourhood will become a showcase of excellence and opulence by homeowners and their builders.

Thoughtful architectural guidelines ensure that each home complements its neighbours; however, homeowners are encouraged to create homes that perfectly suit their style. French, Victorian, Contemporary… Your options are endless. It is your opportunity to have the essentials and extras that you imagine (such as a special closet for your golf clubs).

golf country club estates

Imagine walking only a few minutes to the golf course whenever you want.

As the developer, Landrex, states, “With a strategic blend of guidelines, colour palettes, and quality details on every level, Sherwood Golf and Country Club Estates will offer the highest standard of visual appeal and integration with the natural landscape.”

During the first round of development, Canterbury Homes Inc. had the opportunity to build luxury custom homes in Sherwood Golf and Country Club Estates and we are looking forward to working with clients who choose this special place to call home.

Golf and country club estates

As a client of Canterbury Homes, your ideas, needs, and wants take priority. We will help you design your home with innovation from concept to completion and beyond, ensuring that your home perfectly suits your family.

The country club lifestyle you’ve always wanted is within your reach.

Let’s talk about your dream home today!

Call us at 780.417.8872 or Contact Us online.

The Grange sherwood park

Build Your Custom Luxury Estate Home in The Grange Country Estates

With smaller urban lot sizes, house hunters are searching Edmonton, Sherwood Park and surrounding areas in order to build the custom home of their dreams. For many, The Grange Country Estates offers country living, while being close to urban amenities.

The Grange Country Estates is located on a former farm site on Range Road 223, directly south of Wye Road. The land is heavily forested and developers made plans to ensure that a large portion of the land remains unaltered for moose, deer, coyotes, and other wildlife habitat.

the grange country estates

South-facing aerial view of The Grange Country Estates prior to development.

It is just a 5 minute drive into Sherwood Park, offering quick access to services and entertainment options.

Read more about the amenities close to The Grange Country Estates in “The Grange: Sherwood Park’s Estate Community.”

Immerse Yourself in Nature

There are a total of 50 partially and fully treed lots in The Grange subdivision, ranging from half acre to one acre in size. These larger lots sizes will allow ample room for a large luxury home. Each luxury home backs onto forest, which surrounds the community and is home to a wide range of native wildlife. There are plans for walking paths throughout the land; the use of motorized vehicles within its boundaries is not permitted, ensuring that residents enjoy peace and tranquility.

Each home within The Grange Country Estates is unique to its owners. No two are the same. More than half of the lots back onto forest and residents are encouraged to take advantage of their boreal views (including the occasional moose foraging in your backyard) by building walkout bungalow or two-storey homes.

The average lot sells for about $350,000 and all but a handful have been purchased. See lot availability here.

With few lots available, you will have to act quickly to secure your place in The Grange. Building your home as the community nears completion means soon you will enjoy the absence of construction interruptions.

Why Homeowners are Choosing The Grange Country Estates

For many, choosing to build a custom home in Sherwood Park is an easy choice.

It offers

  • Close proximity to a growing and vibrant community
  • Municipal gas, water, and sewer services are available
  • Larger lot size allows for 3+car garage, outbuildings to store your toys
  • Dark skies and unaltered natural surroundings

Are you thinking about building in The Grange Country Estates? Canterbury Homes can bring your custom home to reality. We offer innovative design solutions, professional craftsmanship, and a hassle-free, personalized home building experience.

The dream home in the country you’ve always wanted is within your reach.

Let’s talk about your plans today!

Call us at 780.417.8872 or Contact Us online.

Two-Story, Bungalow or Ranch: The Best Choice for your Lifestyle

In the beginning of your custom home build, you will make a few essential decisions. Even before you choose your lot, have you thought about which type of home would best suit your needs? There are many layout plans: bi-levels, walkout bungalows, split levels, multi-level, etc., etc.; however, for many of our clients, it comes down to a choice between a bungalow or two-story home.

If you haven’t decided on your lot yet, read “Location, Location, Location – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 1)

Types of Homes

bungalow outside view

Do you prefer the look of a long, low bungalow?

A bungalow is a single detached home. The basement will have the same square footage as the main level. A variation is the raised bungalow, which is built several feet above grade to allow for large windows (more natural light) in the basement.

Another variation is the walkout bungalow. Walkouts also have a single level with a basement; however, they are built on lots with steep grades. This lets in even more natural light as well as giving access to the outdoors from the lower level.

A very popular term on HGTV lately is the “ranch-style home.” It is a confusing term often used interchangeably with bungalow, but this is not the case.

A “ranch-style home” is also a bungalow. The difference is in how the indoor space is divided.

The private spaces, like bedrooms and the main bathroom, are located on one side of the house. Public spaces, like the living room, kitchen, dining room, and laundry room, are on the other.

Two-Story homes give you three full levels of living space if you choose to develop the basement.

In any style of home, for Canterbury Homes Inc. clients, the main living areas are located above ground. We always develop basements that clients use for entertainment (theatre room, games room), guest rooms, storage, furnace rooms, and more.

The Soho – Basement Workout Room – Natural light floods this Workout space. A mirrored wall and 9’ ceiling height will give you a comfortable space to exercise.

A basement workout room is another way to utilize the lower level. It does not have to be dark: the mirrored wall and 9 ft ceilings make the space bright and airy.

What to Consider

Here are some factors to consider when choosing to build a bungalow or two-story home:

Personal preference: Are you drawn to a home with many levels? Or do you prefer the look and function of the long, low bungalow?

Lot Size: The size of your lot will determine how large your custom home can be. For residents of Strathcona County, “The maximum total site coverage of all buildings on the property is 40%” (See more building parameters for Strathcona County homes here).

In Edmonton, the same standard applies. The home can take up 28% of the lot and Accessory buildings (total of all other structures, including garages, sheds) may combine to take up the remaining 12%. (See the Zoning Regulations page for The City of Edmonton for more details.)

If you are looking for a large, expansive yard or plan to have additions, (such as garages, workshops, guest houses, storage sheds, greenhouses, etc.) you may choose to build up rather than out. It is also important to check your local municipality to ensure outbuildings are permitted.

Privacy and noise concerns: Would you prefer to have bedrooms up and away from the general living areas?

Age of occupants: Thinking long-term, is the home going to be accessible and safe for you when you’re older? Are there small children or those with mobility issues to consider?

Styles of the neighbouring homes: In most new neighbourhoods, there are restrictions on home size, exterior material choices etc. These guidelines ensure the continuity of your neighbourhood and usually adds value to the overall subdivision.

When building your new home, you have many chances to create a house that is stylish and unique that caters to your lifestyle. Building a bungalow among two-stories could be a feature that sets your home apart while still adhering to guidelines.

Pros and Cons: Bungalow Vs. Two-Story

Your list of pros and cons may differ from these. It will be your personal preferences that will determine whether these factors are relevant to you.

Bungalow Pros:

  • An open floor plan can give you simplicity of access from one space to another.
  • The open space gives a sense of grandeur and allows family members to be within eye shot of one another.

The open concept great room with lofty ceilings is flooded with natural light.

  • With their lower profile, bungalows are easier to maintain. Washing windows, cleaning gutters, clearing rooftop snow and debris, and washing outdoor walls are all low-risk, low-effort activities.
  • Fewer stairs are not simply a preference of the elderly. Imagine walking up and down flights of stairs every day for laundry, to answer the door, let the pets out, have a snack, etc.

Bungalow Cons:

  • Can be more expensive because of the lot size and the larger foundation and roof.
  • Sound carries in an open floor plan.

Two-story Home Pros:

  • If the square footage of a bungalow and two-story are the same size, the two-story will have a smaller roof, meaning less roof to maintain.
  • A second floor can offer more expansive views. Take advantage of this by building an upper deck.
  • Less of the home is exposed to the elements and could result in lower heating and cooling costs.However, insulation, weather protection, and other materials used when building your home will affect utilities costs and individual results will vary.
  • A stairway can be a beautiful feature of your home.

Highlight the design elements of your staircase with an eye-catching chandelier.

Two-Story Home Cons:

  • Maximum height of residences in Edmonton and Sherwood Park is 32.8 feet, which is something to consider if you want higher-than-average ceilings.
  • Stairways can be dangerous, inconvenient, and they use up valuable living space.

What Would you Prefer? Bungalow or Two-Story?

At the end of the day, you are going to be happiest in the home that appeals to you the most, whether it has one story or two.

You may change your mind once you sit down to design the layout. That’s all part of the exciting planning process.

The next part is planning the layout of your home. Read Layout – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 3) for help with this next custom home building task.

In it, I show you an exercise that will help you get a rough idea of how to design your home’s layout.

What type of home do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!

Luxury Items for Your Custom Home: Decor and Tech

A custom home will give you endless opportunities to create the home that reflects your personality and your lifestyle. If you are looking for ideas and inspiration, this article is for you. You might find a luxury item you want or need.

In our last blog, Luxury Items for the Kitchen and Bath, we shared some luxury items and trends that many of our clients request for their kitchens and bathrooms.

These included highly sought-after items such as steam and wall ovens, top-of-the-line toilets, custom showers for two, and shared the latest trends for the kitchen and bathroom.

Now you can explore luxury items for your custom home in a few more categories:

  • Smart Home Technology
  • Home Decor
  • Indoor Gardening

Choosing special items can impact how you design your home from the ground up, focus on items that suit your lifestyle and consider your needs and wants.

There are many options, even basic items like a doorbell or a backsplash–can be made modern, edgy, or any way you want it! It’s your dream home, personalize and customize it with items you love.

Read on for inspiration and ideas for your custom home:

Smart Home Technology

Motion Sensor Lighting and Smart lighting

Imagine, lighting that adjusts as you move through your home. Smart bulbs with built-in radios. Apps to connect your whole home.

If motion sensors or smart lighting interests you, consider incorporating it into your custom home build. Features will vary depending on the system, contact us at Canterbury Homes or the lighting experts at Robinson Lighting and Bath for recommendations.

Video Doorbell

A video doorbell for the front door is a luxury item, and also a practical essential, when building a new home. Today’s homeowners can get more from their doors.

A camera allows you to check on packages, see and speak to visitors remotely in real time, double as a security camera, watch your kids come and go, and more.

It’s like having a super-efficient butler.

Clare Controls’ video doorbell is a stylish addition to your custom home’s entrance. It’s sleek, modern, and sure to impress.

Smart Thermostat: Nest Thermostat

A smart thermostat automatically adjusts to your habits. It can learn when you want it warm and when you want it cooler. You can also control it from your smartphone, making getting out of bed before the house has warmed up a thing of the past.

The Nest E Thermostat saves you money, adjusts to your lifestyle, and blends beautifully into its surroundings.

Home Decor

Onyx Countertops

There are a lot of options when it comes to countertops for a bar or kitchen island. Tile, butcher slab, glass, marble, granite, concrete, etc.

One option that stands out is luxurious Onyx. Its natural colourations resemble art and can be underlit for a soft glow. It comes in many colours, you can decide which hue to radiate from the island when the lights are dim.

It appears to be light and delicate–you can almost see through it. Natural onyx is a softer stone, it requires careful sealing, proper support, it is costly, and requires regular maintenance. However, the dramatic use of stone is sure to be a big hit with guests.

Luxury Item: Lighting Fixtures

For added luxury in the kitchen, consider pendant lighting over your island, wrap-around countertop, or bar.

Pendants can be used to enhance your style, create another level of lighting and add sparkle. Pendant lights available in many styles and sizes, from modern to rustic.

In the photo below, the pendant lights brighten the space and add to the modern elegance of this kitchen and dining area.

Colours and Finishes

A new year is upon us and the trend for 2018 continues to be mixing metals. Our luxury homes often feature light neutral colours, greys, and brushed finishes for appliances. Brushed finishes such as matte black or matte chrome reduce fingerprints, which is ideal for busy homes and families.

Light colours give a home a clean, current look. To change things up, vibrant accents like throws, art, and furniture can add character and drama to a room.

In the photo above, the homeowner has chosen a neutral palette for the walls, furniture, and floors and elegantly added splashes of colour with the light green curtains and pillows.

Granite/Marble for vertical surfaces more than just on countertops, a matte finish looks like concrete. Try mixing shiny and matte finishes to add some textural interest.


Wallpaper has been used for decades, we have seen wallpaper trends rise and fall. It reflects both current and traditional styles of our past. It’s a dynamic way to add an element of pattern or texture to a room, a little can go a long way.

Luxury home builders are choosing wallpapers that are ramped up another level: embellished, adorned, textured, and exotic-looking walls are appearing in modern luxury homes.

If you’ve always dreamed of velvety walls, walls adorned with Swarovski crystals, or metallic geometric designs that compliment your light fixture (as pictured below), you can achieve it with wallpaper!

For some examples of wallpaper available, go to Glamourous Wallpaper for Irresistible Luxury

Cork Flooring that looks like Hardwood

The look of hardwood is as popular as ever, but some homeowners want floors that are more durable, comfortable underfoot and long-lasting. Authentic wood floors can scratch, fade, and get damaged from daily use.

There is now another option, cork flooring. It is available in the similar hues and finishes as real wood and is so realistic that it’s hard to tell the difference between hardwood and cork, for example.

Cork flooring that looks like hardwood comes with all the benefits of cork flooring (durable, soft underfoot, low maintenance) without the drawbacks of natural wood. A luxury item for your floors.

Indoor Gardening

For some, having plants growing inside year-round is a must. A daily dose of greenery can help get us through those long Edmonton winters, and it’s also nice to have fresh herbs at your fingertips constantly growing in your kitchen. Or use it to get a jump on seasonal planting.

The Urban Cultivator is a seamless and functional indoor garden for growing small plants. It is installed below a counter for convenient maintenance and harvesting. This system resembles a high end appliance.

What is on Your Luxury Item List?

Did any of these items make your list of wants or needs? With so many customization options, it can be hard to choose, we hope this blog gives you some ideas and inspiration.

Did we miss any luxurious custom home items that you want info and examples of?

Let us know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this blog, click the share buttons to share it with your friends!

Custom home kitchen

Custom Home Luxury Items: Kitchen and Bathroom

Building your custom home is likely one of the largest investments you’ll make in your lifetime, you want to get it right by choosing the best items for your lifestyle.

You’ll have ideas for your needs and wants list: the items that go into making your custom home the luxury dream home you desire.

What are your needs and wants? Do you need large appliances? Do you want to incorporate new technology into your home?

Are there decor themes you have in mind?

You may not have a clear idea of what your needs and wants are yet and you’re currently looking for ideas.

If so, this article is made for you. Read to learn more about luxury items for your custom home’s kitchen and bathroom.

1. Steam Ovens

For luxury in the kitchen, steam ovens are the home cook’s dream tool.


  • They cook food faster while keeping foods crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
  • Cook a 14 lb turkey in 90 minutes!
  • Cook multiple dishes at the same time without adding cooking time.
  • Foods lose fewer nutrients due to the shortened cooking times, your food is healthier too.

Thermador has a line of steam ovens that are sure to impress: they come ready-to-use, with no need to hook them up to plumbing. Just fill the water jug and you’re cooking.

Thermador MES301HS 30" Masterpiece Series Steam and Convection Oven

Our clients love their steam ovens!

2. Black Stainless Steel Appliances

For decades, stainless steel appliances have been in high demand. The timeless, clean look of stainless looks great in just about any kitchen.

Now, homeowners have the option to buy appliances in black stainless steel. Black stainless gives a sleek aesthetic with the added benefit of being easier to clean (fingerprints and smudges wipe off with a dry cloth).

Metallic finishes on plumbing and lighting fixtures in the kitchen are still very current. Having black stainless steel appliances to complement them can up the “wow factor” significantly.

3. Wall Ovens

It depends on how you cook, those who frequently entertain or cook large meals enjoy their wall ovens.

They save you from bending to open your oven (many also have side-opening doors) and straining to lift heavy items off the lower racks of a conventional oven.

Whether you’re tall or short, the wall oven will save your back.

Miele and Wolf offer high-end wall ovens that have modern features and stylish appearances.

Trouble choosing a favourite? Read about the benefits of each in Miele vs. Wolf.

4. Induction Cooktops

Induction cooking is a modern miracle that sounds like something out of a science fiction novel: they use an electromagnetic field rather than thermal energy (from a flame or electricity) to cook food.

When the element is turned on, it won’t get hot until a pot is put on it. Once the pot is removed, the element cools down even if the element is turned on.

Induction cooking is faster than any other cooktop, which is great option when you’re making a quick meal. However, induction ranges/ovens perform about the same as conventional ovens.

One drawback is you will need to have induction-specific cookware.

Pictured below is the sleek, modern GE Monogram Induction Cooktop.

5. Smart Ovens

Smart ovens offer added safety and convenience in the kitchen. Miele is a premium appliance brand that produces the highest quality, most reliable ovens in the industry. They are pioneers in oven technology.

Many of their ovens have M Touch control, which allows you to connect to your appliance through an app on your phone. This gives you control of your oven remotely.

Never worry about whether you turned the oven off. Simply check your phone and switch it off from wherever you are.

M Touch is just one of the cool features their ovens have. See the full line of Miele Convection Ovens and their specs here.

6. Eco-friendly Washers and Dryers with New Functions

Gone are the days when your only options for washing clothes were the load size and the temperature of the water.

Modern laundry machines come with all kinds of features and options. The Whirlpool® 5.2 cu. ft. Front Load Washer with TumbleFresh™  is a large-capacity, eco-friendly, high-tech washer with controls that allow you to do your laundry with precision.

It also has a convenient setting, TumbleFresh, which will tumble clothes periodically to keep them from wrinkling when you don’t transfer the load right away.

Our clients love the front-loading, efficient, large-capacity washers in their homes. We have also received requests for stackable laundry machines in the master walk-in. The idea of having your laundry facilities in close proximity to your where your clothes will end up just makes sense.

7. Ranges with Interchangeable Parts for the Grill

BlueStar and Thermador both sell ranges that have interchangeable parts. There is an option to switch out a couple of the burners for a grill or a griddle.

Watch the video to see the Bluestar Platinum Series in action:

8. Countertop Beer Brewing

Brew craft beer on your kitchen counter with these new countertop beer brewing machines from Pico Brew.

You can order the ingredients online, and they will ship to your door. Once the machine is started, the beer is ready in about two hours. It will ferment for approximately a week and you will have 5 litres of fresh, craft beer to enjoy.

Since it sits on your countertop and isn’t built in, this item isn’t something you have to customize your home for. It is a trending luxury item for your kitchen that you can purchase afterwards.

9. Touchless Flush Toilets

Touchless flush is standard in public restrooms, however the technology is only starting to come to the modern home.

Enjoy germ-free flushing with the Kohler Touchless Toilet.

Just be sure to educate your guests!

10. Wall-Mounted Toilet

Wall-mounted toilets give your bathroom the look of elegance, something to consider in a luxury home. The tank and inner-workings of the toilet are built right into the wall. (You can access them via a panel on the wall.)

The look is very sleek, it saves space, and it’s easier to clean.

Duravit carries a wide selection of “floating” toilets to suit your style.

11. Wall-Mounted Vanity

Complement your wall-mounted toilet with a wall-mounted vanity. Again, these are stylish, modern, and easy to clean.

In addition to those benefits, some of our clients ask us to install lighting on the underside of these vanities to give off a soft glow, providing ambience, a night-light and making it easier to find your way to the bathroom at night.

12. Hands-Free Faucets

Hands-free faucets are a popular request when we build luxury custom homes.

For one, there is no need to twist or turn knobs with dirty hands.

Two, the temperature is pre-set: no scalding.

Third, they offer clean lines to suit your aesthetic.

Many companies offer hands-free faucets; we recommend Hansgrohe’s top-of-the-line hands-free electronic faucets.

13. Therapeutic Spa Bathtubs

For some, the ultimate luxury bath item is a Therapeutic Bathtub like the ones from BainUltra.

They are available with heat controls, massage, chromatherapy, and aromatherapy options. Read more about these therapies and how they work in Luxury Home Spa: Decadent Therapeutic Baths and Steam Showers.

14. Large Soaker Tubs

Add decadence to your bathroom with a large soaker tub. Relax in warm waters up to your neck, invite your partner to join you, or wash all the kids at once.

Large soaker tubs can be a show-stopper, like the concrete tub pictured below.

concrete bath

Gorgeous custom concrete bathtub

Along with the big tub, you might want to have a big shower, which brings us to our next item:

15. Large, Custom Showers for Two

One of our clients had vacationed at a home in Las Vegas, the master ensuite had a massive shower built for two. When designing their own custom home, they incorporated the same luxurious space in their ensuite.

The shower had two sets of everything from showerheads to body sprays. It was like a body carwash.

They aren’t the only ones who love a large, luxurious shower.

A quick search on Houzz will bring up many large, custom showers like the one below (it also features a large soaker tub).

16. Bathroom Fixtures in Metal Finishes

Custom home bathrooms are much more custom than they used to be. Now you can choose bathroom fixtures in a wide range of finishes, like the ones offered by Aquabrass.

Mixing metals in the bathroom is still on trend. With all the new options you can choose the finishes that perfectly match your style. 

What is on Your List of Luxury Items?

When choosing items for your needs and wants list, pick things that speak to you and fit with your lifestyle and tastes.

Are any of these items going on your list?

Which luxury custom home items did we miss? Let us know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this blog, share it with your friends!

steam shower thermasol

Luxury Home Spa: Decadent Therapeutic Baths and Steam Showers

Imagine, close your eyes… If the sky was the limit for your home spa, what would your dream tub or steam shower do for you?

When thinking about the word “decadent”… What comes to mind? If we were talking about dessert, the reference would be the epitome of flavor and texture gratification.

The dictionary definition of decadence is “characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence – excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s own appetites, desires or whims.”

I would like to heighten your senses and show you what is possible in Alberta for luxury baths and steam showers that you can have in the custom home that you build with us.

Cutting-Edge Therapeutic Baths for Ultimate Relaxation

BainUltra is a cutting-edge leading company when it comes to therapeutic baths. Below are a few models and supreme options that are available to you:

Get a hydro-thermo massage from BainUltra’s ThermoMasseur Ultra. The ThermoMasseur Ultra is much more than bathtub. It creates an effective, even massage experience with its jets and warmth. It uses “Geysair” technology to reheat and humidify the air jets to maintain consistently warm water temperatures.

“When water, warmth and air are combined, they create a hydro-thermo massage – an energizing massage for the body” – BainUltra

“The therapy air jets produce vigorously bubbling water that deliver an acupressure effect. The massage encourages a feel-good physiological chain reaction from head to toe, reducing stress, relaxing muscles and eliminating toxins.” – BainUltra

BainUltra also offers a superior drainage system to ensure there are no stagnant water or hygiene issues.

The therapeutic ThermaSens bath delivers three sensory experiences: Aromatherapy, chromatherapy, and thermotherapy.

1. Aromatherapy

The ThermaSens tub uses an AromaCloud diffuser that is seamlessly integrated into the bath deck. The diffuser releases a delicate mist of essential oils that are quickly absorbed through the skin and respiratory system. For a relaxing or calming session, use lavender, patchouli, or sandalwood oil.

For a pick-me-up, try peppermint, clove, or cinnamon.

1 – 2 drops of essential oil are enough for a 30 minute session.

2. Chromatherapy

A light-up bathtub isn’t just fun to look at. The ThermaSens uses an LED lighting system in six colours to help you achieve balance and harmony.

“Color can have a transformative effect on the human body, directly affecting your physical and psychological states. Chromatherapy is a scientifically proven phenomenon, not merely a decorative trend. The vibrations emanating from colors can have a calming, energizing, or centring effect, making chromatherapy a potent tool for achieving equilibrium and harmony” – BainUltra.

Ideal sessions are 15 – 20 minutes. Watch the video to learn more about chromatherapy.

3. Thermotherapy

There are three heating zones available in your ThermaSens tub: the headrest, backrest, and seat. The heat increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients through your blood. Each area will warm up to a relaxing 38.5 degrees Celsius within four minutes.

30 minute sessions are suggested.

They also offer a line of complementary products:

  • Leg rest
  • Bath pillow
  • Comfort cushion
  • Relaxation chair and foot rest (to continue your relaxing once your soak time is complete)

The Height of Bathroom Luxury: Steam Shower Options

steam shower thermasol

Photo courtesy of ThermaSol

If you are looking for the crème de la crème in steam showers, this is the one for you:

A Home Spa Essential: ThermaSol Ultimate Steam Shower

The Ultimate Steam Shower Package from ThermaSol gives you “a full multi-sensory home spa experience.” The list of features this system comes with is impressive! Here are some highlights:

The Serenity Light, Sound Rainhead offers Chromatherapy with seven color options; blue, indigo, violet, red, orange, yellow and green.

It also offers a mood light mode “which generates a soothing spectrum of gradually changing colors.”

The system also features a 7” in-shower touch screen control panel (Therma Touch Control) which resembles an ipad and offers WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.

[Tweet “Control your shower with a touch screen! #yeg #yegreno #homespa @thermasol “]

The high-performance audio system that you control with the touch screen offers sound AND visualization. There are a number of options to transport you to a magical place. The screen offers nine relaxing pre-programmed natural sound and image scenes.

Imagine relaxing in your decadent steam shower… Cue lights, lean back, and relax to the sights and sounds of “Beach Zen’s” rolling waves or enjoy a golden sunset. A soothing balance of sight and sound.

Picture quiet, retractable, safe steam heads that offer integral aromatherapy. How does the aroma of French lavender or Italian bergamot citrus sound? There are 11 aromatherapy oils to choose from… Sounds heavenly.

The Theraputic Care Unit: Verdana

Another steam shower system for your home spa is the Therapeutic Care Unit, Vedana from BainUltra.

“This product, which is unique to BainUltra, was designed to help users experience guided meditation that involves all the senses and promotes a change in their physical and emotional state.” – BainUltra

This innovative alternative therapy creates sensory experiences. Here are the five different types of therapy you will experience with the Verdana:

1. Dry Thermal Therapy: This involves using low humidity dry heat to improve blood flow, eliminate toxins, and revive skin.

2. Chromatherapy: A treatment that uses the affect of color on the body to bring about changes (see Chromatherapy description under “ThermaSens”).

[Tweet “A relaxing soak in @BainUltra’s Bathtub Verdana = the best way to unwind. #aromatherapy #bath”]

3. Light Therapy: Light can have an energizing effect on the body. The Verdana uses lights to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm to improve sleep, increase your ability to concentrate, improve mood, and reduce the effects of jet lag.

4. Aromatherapy: The Vedana uses a delicate mist of essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety, which bolsters the immune system and improves mood.

5. Sound therapy: With the Verdana shower system, you’ll experience music therapy. It “uses music (with various wavelengths and frequencies) to re-establish physical and emotional equilibrium.” The benefits of music therapy are reduced stress and help with stabilizing mood swings.

That’s not where the options end…

The Vedana also offers “four guided and specially calibrated experiences designed to bring out an altered state.”

1. Freedom – Tune out and empty your mind.

2. Harmony – Find your center, your balance, your harmony.

3. Wonder – Open up to the extraordinary wonders of the world.

4. Love – Meditate on gratitude and love.

home spa makes you feel relaxed

You now have a glimpse of what is possible. Do you continue to dream or will you take the next step to self-care?

Give yourself the possibility of decadence, a home spa for your daily enjoyment… Who else would deserve it more? With time spent on yourself, you will see the sun a little brighter, find the air a little fresher, and feel your spirits soar!


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