How-To - Home Improvement

How to: Design your dream home

Sydney Loney

Style at Home's guide to designing your dream home like a pro.

You've painstakingly picked out the lot for your new home, or carefully selected your fabulous new condo, and are still basking in your success. But now comes the hard part. Designing your dream home with only the developer's floor plan for reference can be overwhelming, so we talked to the experts. Here's your guide to making even the most difficult design decisions with all the confidence of a pro.

1) Setting design goals

Before the decision-making process begins, it's important to create a vision of what you want your new home to be – and do some prep work before your first design appointment.

  • Build a scrapbook of magazine clippings with colours and styles you like – everything from flooring to faucets.

  • Visit design centres in other developments. "You can go from one display suite to the next and do a lot of comparing," says Adele Rankin, senior interior designer at CHIL Design Group in Vancouver, who managed the interior design for the city's new Millennium Water development.

  • Create a "needs and wants" list, says Kimberly Williams and her team of designers at Kimberly Williams Interiors in Victoria, who worked on the Dockside Green development there. "Know your budget and where you can and can't compromise."

  • Take advantage of marketing tools, such as online visual tours and interior renderings, as well as open houses and browsing days.

  • Talk to other homeowners. "We went to see the house of someone who had bought the same model as my fiancé and me, and asked what they liked and didn't like," says Julie Aston, a new homeowner in Oakville, Ont.

  • Go to your development's design centre and look around. "Touch things, test them out, and bring a digital camera," says Kelly Cooper, a project manager in Toronto, who has done everything from home inspections to setting up sales centres for developers and helping customers navigate sales centres. "Take pictures of everything, then go home and take it all in."



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