When I moved into my first house many years ago, the contractor asked me two routine questions: "What colour do you want to paint your walls?" and "Where in the kitchen do you want the electrical outlets?" I was stumped. Eventually, I found my voice and proceeded to give misguided and uninformed answers to these queries. I'm still living with the results.
First-time homeowners are frequently overwhelmed by the sudden inundation of details confronting them the very second their brand-new residential threshold is traversed. I sank beneath the sheer and sudden weight of it all. But you don't have to. The following advice from the design pros will help you stay afloat.
"Avoid the temptation to buy new furnishings just because they're on sale or you think you have to. They may not work for you in two years, and you'll feel too guilty to replace them. Wait to buy things you really love."
Jeffrey Douglas, JAD Design Group, Toronto
"Assess the design priorities in your new house, then decide what you can live with for a while and what needs to be done immediately. Also, pay attention to where there's natural light at different times of the day before selecting and installing light fixtures."
Susannah Walker, Susannah Walker Interiors, Vancouver
"You'll want to cover the windows right away -- most people do," says Valerie Laidley, who likes the sophisticated look of laminated shades made with your own choice of inexpensive fabric. "When you're ready, you can add draperies to the blinds for a coordinated look."
Valerie Laidley, Square One, Montreal
"Take care of the stuff you don't see first," says Scott Yetman. For example, make sure the electrical wiring is safe and adequate and the plumbing is good. And remember to check the furnace. "It'll be hard to enjoy your home if the heating doesn't work properly."
Scott Yetman, Scott Yetman Design, Montreal