Ask the 'Homebuilders Association Vancouver' Experts

By NextHome Staff
October 18, 2019

Shopping for appliances

Before thinking about style, colours, finishes or appliances, Lucila Diaz, Founder and Creative Director, Harmony Sense Interiors Ltd. says “The first step in creating a great kitchen is to make sure that the functionality for the end-user has been well thought through,” noting “It is important to first consider the task areas, working triangle, storage, cooking, and lifestyle needs, to make sure that the space works, is safe, and takes into consideration the limitations of the space and the client’s budget.”

Once you have the design in place, Lucila says then it’s time to consider your appliances. The Product Experts at Trail Appliances recommend you spend time in store, before you buy, to touch the controls, explore the settings and hear the appliance working.

When shopping for appliances, Trail recommends taking into consideration:

1. Space Available - In the case of a refrigerator - the best thing to do is measure your space, not your current fridge. Measure from side to side, the depth of the cabinet and from the floor to the top of the cabinet.

2. Hook Ups — Make sure you have the necessary connections available, specifically your electrical and water lines. Will your new fridge have an ice maker or a water dispenser? Moving your dishwasher to a kitchen island? You’ll need a water line for the hook up, and that new wall oven may require 220V instead of the standard 120V.

3. Door Swing: Know how doors on new units will open, checking pathways and countertop height to ensure a good fit. Remember to measure!

4. Delivery: What path will your new appliances take to be delivered? Make sure you’ve checked the width in your hallways and especially the doorways to make sure everything will be able to fit into your kitchen.

Outdoor living in Vancouver?

We’ve got you Covered!

Adding outdoor fireplaces with gas or electric heaters can make your space comfortable, even when the temperature goes down. But, according to Greg Baarts, Project Manager at Grenor Homes, the most important feature for year-round usage, in addition to heat, is shelter. “Extending a roof over a deck can make a big difference as it keeps the heat in, and the rain out. With options like sleek aluminum frames, or rustic post and beam timber, a roof is an accent to the outdoor space, and should always be considered.” Greg notes “Permanent, versus seasonal, coverage allows for much more versatility in use of the space. Take lighting and sound for example. Building a fixed roof, you have the option for dedicated lighting and sound that will greatly increase your enjoyment of the outdoor space.” Another investment consideration is the long-term value of the exterior cover when you sell your home: the next buyer will be looking at it as extended living space, versus a potential chore to set up and take down, let alone store somewhere in the home.

The women behind the company Designs by Katerina and Silvie always have their eye on space saving solutions. Katerina suggests “When designing your outdoor space, big or small, you must select material that can withstand any environment. For outdoor cabinetry we often think of stainless steal due to its durability. Using a marine-grade polymer can introduce some colour to the kitchen. Another solution is Consentino’s Dekton ultra compact surface, resistance to UV rays, making it ideal for outdoor applications. Dekton can also be used for countertops, backsplash and even to clad the cabinets themselves.

Stepping up to high-performance building

The Province has committed to taking incremental steps to increase energy-efficiency requirements in the BC Building Code to make buildings net-zero energy ready by 2032. Currently, the required Energy Step Code within all participating Cities in BC is Step 1, however, as of 2022, all new homes being built in BC will be required to be built to Energy Step Code 3.

What does all of this mean to you, the homeowner, considering your dream home build? It often takes months or even years to plan for a new home and to secure the required permits. This means Step 3 is a reality, now.

Steve Kemp, President/Owner of Kemp Construction, notes homes built to Step 3 and higher have many benefits – lower energy costs, cleaner air, a cleaner home, create less pollution, offer more comfortable living conditions, and ultimately offer a higher resale value on one of the largest investments in your lifetime.

Steve suggests when looking for a builder you “check their qualifications, and experience with building-high performance homes,” noting, “be sure to talk to your builder about the products and systems recommended, and the anticipated energy savings.”

Lucila Diaz, of Harmony Sense Interiors Ltd., says trends in high-performance homes are mainly achieved by using superior windows, high levels of insulation and a heat recovery ventilation system. But a smart selection of appliances is also required to keep the energy consumption low and control the fluctuations of temperature. Induction cooktops, dishwashers that have energy-saving factors above .85 or higher, and heat pump dryers that do not need venting to the outside, are all considerations to reaching the overall energy target.

High-Performance homes also use automatization and smart design switches to help minimize the energy consumption caused by electronics to try to avoid the “phantom loads” that big electronics such as TV’s have while they are not being used.

Sound technical? Definitely! Houses are no longer just about building, they have become a science too. Step up and connect with the experts early in the planning process to protect your investment for 2022 and beyond.

[caption id="attachment_1268815" align="alignnone" width="960"]Abstract Homes & Renovations Abstract Homes & Renovations[/caption]

Designs By Katerina and Silvie Tip: As living quarters are getting smaller investing in storage is KEY! Entry closet, bench seats in a kitchen or living area, entertainment units, hutch/bar area will store all the practical items, while also displaying some of the pretty ones too.

Designs by Katerina and Silvie Tip: Panel Ready Compact Appliances. Using 24” compact appliances; Fridge, Wall Oven & Cooktop will free up valuable storage space. Paneling the fridge and dishwasher with cabinet fronts will disguise them, making the overall design feel lighter and more pleasant.

[caption id="attachment_1268816" align="alignnone" width="960"]Designs by Katerina & Silvie Designs by Katerina & Silvie[/caption]

The design build process

Looking to renovate or build your dream home? Not sure where to start? Best Builders Ltd. owner Todd Best recommends starting with the design and budgeting process, suggesting you first “create an idea of how your home is going to work for you and your family. Simple design ideas and photos of what’s important to you and the way you live is a good start.”

Todd notes, “We are lucky to live in a vibrant building community that offers many building professionals. Take the time to interview builders and find the team that gives you the confidence to pursue and enjoy the build process while they handle the logistics (and hopefully you will have some fun along the way too)”.

When interviewing builders, Todd recommends ensuring you are on the same page when it comes to how the project should flow. “Think about what’s important to you, and ensure the builder retains your confidence throughout the project. Ask yourself, will you be able to face adversity together? Does their management process make you feel comfortable and confident? Do the builder’s ideals and excitement match your own?”

[caption id="attachment_1268817" align="alignnone" width="932"]Best Builders Ltd. Best Builders Ltd.[/caption]

Best Builders doesn’t believe it’s important your designer and builder have worked together before. Todd says “It’s more about chemistry between builder and designer or architect. I believe working with new people sparks new ideas and innovated thinking about how to approach the project. It also ensures you don’t fall into the same old routine, and encourages creative problem solving throughout the process.”

The Homebuilders Association of Vancouver (HAVAN) represents over 1,100 professional members, so you can be sure to find a team that is the right fit for your project. Whether you are looking for a professional renovator, designer, custom home builder, or home building supplies, check out the member directory on ­— it’s a good starting point. HAVAN. Your source for Trusted. Local. Homebuilders.

Tip: Another good source to connect with builders is home shows, where you have the chance to meet multiple people in one place. Check out HAVAN’s Ask the Expert Stage at Vancouver’s Fall Home Show, featuring 17 HAVAN endorsed experts presenting seven panel discussions to help homeowners with practical applications to realize their dream homes.

Maximize your investment with small living design

When planning your micro-living space, you will want to work with a designer to maximize every square inch. Small homes need to include all the required features of a regular home, but with more emphasis needed on designing clever use of storage spaces. Sandro Stefanucci, President and CEO, Abstract Homes and Renovations notes ‘it takes a lot of thought to ensure your small home is one that both functions and appeals to your lifestyle.’ He also recommends incorporating a lot of natural light into the design to enhance the feeling of space, with good flow.

So, just how big can a micro home be? Determining the size of a laneway home is calculated on the allowable square footage on your lot. Size is determined by calculations of the existing main home, and on your municipal RS zoning. Sandro advises that builders and renovators can provide a homeowner with a property summary, which will include information based on the local building bylaws, and he emphasizes not to start any project with out the required permits or a contract.

Tip: Choose a builder familiar with your municipal building codes to save you time and money.

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