In this article Lexis Homes’ Design and Style Coordinator, Shilynne Ward, explains how she helps clients with the home building process and consults on design decisions. Shilynne shares trends regarding new home design, floor-plans, and tools/resources people can use when looking for inspiration.
Q#1: What is your design role with Lexis homes and where do you fit in the building process?
As Design and Style Coordinator, I work with our homeowners from conception to completion. Starting with the floor planning stage and creating detailed design drawings to convey the homeowner’s design intent to all of our trade partners (framing, electrical, finish carpentry, cabinetry, etc). As foundation and construction begins, we start the selection process. Guiding the homeowners through the various decisions that are to be made from appliances, fireplace, flooring materials, light fixtures, and much more. We are the voice between our homeowners and trades to ensure their vision is what they will receive at the end of the project.
Q#2: What are some of the most important considerations when designing a new home floor plan?
When designing a new floor plan for a custom home, the first step we take as a team is to understand the client’s needs, vision and of course, taking into consideration their budget. When planning out spaces, we need to ensure that the plan is functional, efficient and be used effectively by the homeowner. Some things to consider is sufficient space for circulation, minimizing the length of hallways and pockets of wasted space. This may result in reworking the floor plan multiple times to ensure the best use of the space. The interior layout of a new home also has to result in an appealing exterior. Window and material placement and roof design also need to be considered as the form of the exterior comes together with the layout of the interior spaces.
Q#3: Are there any emerging trends you see when it comes to new home design (e.g. energy efficient, “smart” home connectivity, bungalow vs two storey)?
Recurring themes that we see are open concept plans with function storage to minimize clutter in public ares to allow for hosting large family gatherings, smart appliance that make daily activities easier and overall energy efficiency in the home. Having the ability to customize a home to include high efficiency windows, customizable smart thermostats, HRV air exchange units, and dimmable lighting allows for controling the interior environment with ease.
Q#4: When it comes to finishing (e.g. Paint colour, flooring, cabinets, tiling, wall/ceiling features, staircases, etc) are there some things you recommend or find cool?
Depending on the style/vision that the homeowner has chosen to go with for their new home there are many different finishing treatments that can compliment or enhance the space. Whether it be ceiling details like decorative bulkheads or tray ceiling, decorative tile features in bathrooms, feature walls with paint, wall paper, wood treatment or stylized millwork; all can help carry the theme throughout the home to create a cohesive space.
Q#5: What are some design tips you can relay that will help people from making mistakes?
There can be many unforeseen problems that can occur but having a well-planned design will aid in minimizing those possibilities. The assistance of a professional designer will provide homeowners the peace of mind and professional advice that will benefit them during construction of their new home.
At Lexis Homes, we always ask our clients to provide inspiration photos at the very beginning of the process to ensure that we fully understand their style and vision. We spend time getting to know their high level must haves and many other elements that they want or don’t want in their home. Having some reference to look back on like a strong design concept or inspiration is the simplest way to keep a design on track and avoid a poorly planned home.
Q#6: What resources or websites do you use for design inspiration?
For inspiration resources, we reference various design magazines, and online sources like Houzz, Contemporist and Pinterest when looking for design inspiration. Depending on the style we are looking for will result in different resources used. People are much more aware of design possibilities through TV programs like HGTV and internet resources are available to them, which in turn can make our designs much more complex and unique.
Q#7: Are there any design or decorating tools an average person can use to help them with their design planning?
Other than the resources that are provided above, contacting a professional designer or a home decorator will ensure that their vision is met and creates less stress to achieve it! We always provide our clients with a digital design library of inspiration images based on previous homes we’ve built and have several downloadable guides on our website to aid homeowners in the design and building process. To name a few: “How to Start Designing Your New Home” and “Balancing Needs and Wants in Your New Home”.
This article originally appeared as a guest blog on the Holmes Approved Homes website and has been republished with permission. Lexis Homes has the distinction of being “Holmes Approved” and offers the Holmes Stage Inspection Package with every build.
The wonderful thing about building a new home is that you’re able to offer a level of customization to your build that really fits into your lifestyle and design sensibilities. On top of that, imagine building your dream home in a mature neighbourhood you already know and love.
These are the big reasons why homeowners choose to build brand new infill homes – and it’s something that Lexis Homes excels at.
This post features a 2-storey custom infill home collaboratively designed by a homeowner and Lexis Homes. It’s an excellent showcase of the personalization available with a new modern home while still fitting in with the charm of a mature neighbourhood. The “Tile House” is the perfect blend of form and function with dazzling details.
The family we worked with for this home were longtime residents of the neighbourhood. They actually tore down their old home to rebuild. We removed a few key items from the old home to repurpose for the new build, but their new home was on the same lot as their old house!
This home is full of tiling – from the entryway, to the bathroom, to the laundry room, you can see that tile was the preferred choice of these homeowners. The pictures below showcase some of the highlights:
Not only does this home look good, as a Holmes Approved Homes builder – the homeowners know this Lexis home was built right, from the ground up. As part of Mike Holmes’ program, this house went through staged inspections during various stages of construction. This means it doesn’t just look good, it was built right from the ground up.
This article was originally published by the Saskatoon & Region Home Builder’s Association (SHRBA) – It has been reposted with permission. For any questions about the SHRBA please contact Krystal Rubyk, Marketing & Communications Manager.
Q & A WITH SHRBA BOARD CHAIR CAM SKOROPAT
Cam Skoropat, whom recently began his two-year term as Chair of the Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association Board of Directors, has a unique lens to look through when it comes to the residential construction industry in the Saskatoon Region. Cam got his start in real estate investments while working as an engineer after graduating from the University of Saskatchewan, which then led to a custom home building career and the founding of Lexis Homes in Saskatoon. We sat down with Cam to ask him a few questions about his focus as Chair, his view on the current industry landscape, and what he’d like to see happen moving forward.
What are some challenges you see Saskatoon’s residential construction industry facing right now?
There have been major changes introduced in the past couple of years that builders have had to adapt to, both of which affect home buyers’ ability to afford homes – the introduction of a mandatory stress test on mortgages, as well as PST now being applied to new homes are two of the most significant examples. From the Association’s standpoint, these are challenges to the affordability of homes, which we are always working to protect, and will continue to do so in the upcoming year. We are also concerned with ensuring that Professional Builders are properly supported and equipped to handle these kind of changes and maintain the success of their business, so that will continue to be a focus.
What does it mean to you when you see that a company is a member of the Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association?
For us personally, Lexis Homes became involved with the Association early on in the start of our business. The Association does a lot of work advocating on behalf of the industry, and we wanted to be able to contribute to those discussions. And although it was not originally why we joined, the ability to network with other builders has become a very valuable part of being a member – we help each other raise the bar. In general, I think that a membership with the Association shows that a company is serious about improving their company and having the most current industry information and training, which indicates a high degree of professionalism.
On the flip side, when I see that a company isn’t a member, it indicates to me that they don’t plan to be in the industry for the long term, and that they may not be willing to make that investment in an effort to improve professionalism – and for the public of those looking to select a builder, that should be concerning.
What would you like to focus on during your 2-year term as chair?
Focusing on advocacy work related to high impact topics at the provincial level (like the PST issue noted earlier) is going to be really important. The Association also introduced additional ongoing educational offerings last year, and I’d like to see that expand during my term. Bigger picture, I’d like to make sure that we’re doing a good job conveying the value of the Association to members, and to the public.
How will you judge your own term as SRHBA Chair – what will define your success?
One thing I want to make sure of during my time as Chair is that we, as a board, continue focus on governance excellence. If we tone the top, we will lead by example. I also want to ensure that we continue protecting the financial stability and sustainability of the Association, especially in what is turning out to be a bit of a “transition period,” logistically. The Association’s staff and main office will be moving this year, so it will be important to make sure this is a successful move, and that we maintain that stability and accessibility to the membership that we’ve worked hard to establish.
Tips for protecting your home from Winter
This is a special guest post written by Mike Holmes. Lexis is a member of Holmes Approved Homes.
It’s a sad day when I have to take my boat out of the water and face the reality of fall and winter. Winter can be very damaging to your home, especially if you haven’t kept up with seasonal maintenance.
Luckily, there a few things we can do to minimize the damage of Old Man Winter.
By now, we’ve all heard that “prolonged sitting” can be harmful to your health. Some of us track our steps – on FitBits or our cell phones – aiming to hit that too often elusive 10,000 strides a day. But building an infill can be an antidote to all that sitting around. When you live in an established neighbourhood, exercise just happens to be built right into the landscape.
Let’s say you decide to build an infill in one of Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods, like Nutana or Buena Vista. Existing amenities mean you can walk to get your groceries, pick up a bottle of wine, drop off your dry cleaning and choose from several great restaurants when you need a night out. Movie theatres, art exhibits at the Remai Modern and the beautiful Meewasin Trail are all within striking distance.
Walkabilityis one of the key perks (not to mention the spin-off health benefits) of building an infill home in one of Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods, but here are a few more worth considering…
More design flexibility
Whether you’re looking to build an Arts & Crafts style bungalow, a mid-century modern dwelling or a sleek, minimalist modern home, architectural standards won’t hold you back when you build an infill in Saskatoon’s established neighbourhoods. Many new suburban developments have design restrictions that don’t allow for such diversity.
If you work downtown, in Riversdale, at the U of S, or some other central location, building an infill nearby will shorten and simplify your commute. Maybe you’ll be able to walk to work—and perhaps you’ll cycle in the summer. If you have kids, they can probably walk to school or soccer practice. Depending on your lifestyle, you may even be able to live without a vehicle, which is the second biggest expense most people incur outside of their home.
Better return on investment
The vibrancy and convenience of living in a walkable neighbourhood is attractive to people of all ages and life stages. Studies have shown that homes located in walkable areas are more valuable than similar homes in areas where residents must rely on a car to reach amenities. One particular study found that having schools, restaurants and shops located withina quarter-mile to one-mile from your home can add anywhere from $4,000 to $34,000 to house values.
Enhanced character with mature trees
Again and again, our infill building clients have told us it was the mature trees or the brilliant tree canopy on their street that initially drew them to build in an older neighbourhood. Some of our city’s trees are approaching 100 years, and their canopies arching over Saskatoon’s core streets create charm and character that you simply can’t put a price on.
Interested in an Infill? Explore floor plans offered by Lexis Homes, or learn about the best Saskatoon neighbourhoods with our free guide!