With the COVID 19 pandemic putting a lot of restrictions on how we go about life. More and more local businesses are seeing a demand in their services. This is true for local design companies. While companies are offering virtual services, having zoom meetings, and the like, some people still want that personal touch. They still want to sit in person and touch swatches and look at live colors instead of over a screen. And as such, customers who had previously engaged with companies further away are changing to work with local design companies.
What Are Local Design Firms Doing
Local design firms are seeing the difference in the last few months, especially now when there is reopening of many places and things. In some places, there are restrictions against leaving a province. There are also restrictions on leaving the country. So more people can be allowed out within their own neighborhood. And so people have the opportunity to work with the locals they may have never known about before.
No matter the size of your home, whether two to ten bedrooms. Creating a cohesive look that is representative of your style can be tricky. If you need help to:
Just source amazing decor and furniture, a professional will help you do the best job.
With globalization looking unsustainable a the moment all we have left is our immediate communities. And it is important that we support our local ecosystems. There doesn’t have to be a disconnect between manufacturing and design anymore and global lockdowns are pushing to change this.
With a slow down in everything thanks to COVID-19, design shows have been either canceled, rescheduled, scaled back immensely, or even moved online. As designers have gotten some time to breathe, many of them have come up with new ideas and new ways to work with the current restrictions. Now they can spend more time creating the ultimate design for you than rushing from show to show trying to market themselves because right now the markets are right in their hometowns.
Lower Mainland has similar stages of construction for new homes as Vancouver. These are pretty similar to those anywhere in British Columbia and usually includes five stages. Each stage will take a different amount of time and there are many factors that affect this time. So we won’t assign a time period as to how long each phase will take. Note that some people may have their homes complete in just a matter of months while others may take up to a year. It all depends on the scope of work, the location of the project, and the size of the home. There are often unforeseen delays that can affect the timeline of a home’s construction as well.
This stage includes everything from thinking of custom building to buying a property. During this stage you will be deciding on your house plan, working with an architect, and choosing a builder. All the initial permits required to break ground must be prepared at this point. Some areas may require site testing to determine if there is a water table.
At this stage, the ground is broken and the framing of the house can begin. Some local government inspections may be required at this point in the home building process.
At this stage, your home is being created from the ground up. The house will start to take shape and if there is a basement in the design this will be installed. Doors and windows are typically installed at this stage. During this phase of the home building process, the construction will undergo multiple inspections.
Interior and Exterior
At this phase of the home building process, your house is really looking like a house. The walls will go up than electrical and plumbing installations will be done. Finishing is done on the electrical and plumbing installations at this point in time. During this phase, there are still ongoing inspections being done to the building periodically.
This is the most exciting phase for the homeowner. The builder at this point ensures that all tasks have been completed and that the home is complete. The keys are handed over to the homeowner once all checks have been made and the house is deemed ready.
If you are thinking of building a new home in the Mainland Area, please do give us a call. Our specialty is custom homes in Lower Mainland, Vancouver, and British Columbia. We can help make your dream a reality.
The past two months of 2020 has had the entire world settling into a new norm. We are all now mostly homebound and have accepted that staying in means staying alive. Some of us are all about ready to lose our minds from all this “staying in” and as such we here at Silverbeam Home just want to remind you it is crucial to find things around the house to do.
So you have cleaned behind the stove, eaten all the food and watched all the Netflix, what do you do now? How about doing some redecorating? If you don’t have the means to actually do this in your home you can have some fun doing it virtually. As as we touch on virtually, think of all the virtual things you can get done – try traveling the globe, visiting art galleries and enjoying tours of a variety of places from the comfort of your living room.
Paint Your Room Virtually
Check out a variety of color schemes and try them out in your home. You will find that many websites now allow you to upload a picture of your room that allows you to see what color would like on your wall. Check out the Benjamin Moore Color Portfolio in the AppStore to see how different color palettes will look. When you upload your picture, with just the spin of a wheel and you will see your room in the color of your choice.
Take a Trip to the Most Celebrated Paris Gallery
You can virtually explore the Louvre. Just visit www.louvre.fr where you can take a look at beautiful works of art. While you are there, check out the Egyptian wing and view the Galerie d’Apollon. You can also take a look at the “Mona Lisa” thanks to the Mona Lisa App.
Get some Design Inspiration
If you go to www.virtualmuseum.ca to see the Partners in Design exhibit. You will find a number of objects that you can explore that connect with daily life from both the present as well as from the past. You will find all kinds of things from kettles, clocks, toaster sand Inuit paintings. It could really add up to be a fascinating day exploring from your bed.
Visit an Aquarium
You can take a virtual visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and imagine swimming with the sharks. Explore the waters of the deep via their live “Shark Cam.” For an even life-like experience stream it to your TV screen and transform your entire living room into an undersea lair.
Cook Up Some Fun
Instead of eating the same things every week, why not try some new recipes. Follow the Instagram pages and youtube channels of celebrity chefs or other aspiring chefs receiving motivation from the lockdown. You are sure to find fun and quick recipes that utilize ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
Become Your Home’s Personal Bartender
Check out again, Instagram pages, Pinterest, and more to find great mixes to get yourself a tasty cocktail. Try your hand at creating your own and share this with the world, why not become a trendsetter yourself after all?
Travel and Immerse
There are so many places you could travel to virtually, get comfortable with your favorite beverage, maybe one you made above and immerse yourself into the culture of another nation. Go see the Northern Lights, Glide through the waterways of Venice. Whatever you’ve been dreaming of doing, do it virtually.
View Available Properties
Visit realtor.ca and view the “open house” tab. Here you will find a number of properties providing virtual tours and visits. They also have a “living room” blog where you can find out more. Even if you are not planning on buying or moving this can give you inspiration on things you can change in your own space. Best of all, there are no costs involved.
Don’t let the lockdowns all over the glove have you feeling down. Yes, these are serious times, but if you are staying safe, we want to help you stay safe mentally and emotionally as well. Live your biggest dreams at home thanks to the many virtual options you have available at your fingertips. How have you kept your sanity while in lockdown? We’d love to hear it in the comments below.
Over time your home starts to feel a little drab. Renovations can be extremely expensive so you cant decide to gut the entire house. What you can do is pick a room and make some simple changes to refresh the space. Today we want to look at how you can refresh your bathroom. Keep reading for five ways you can bring new life to your bathroom. Come back next week so we can help you refresh another room in your home.
Get Rid of Some Stuff
This is good advice for refreshing any space in your home. The first thing you always want to do is to clear out. This part is not exciting, at least not until you see the space you are working with. This is especially true if you have a lot of clutter in your space. While the task can be hard and you can find it frustrating to choose which items to let go of you can make it easier. Just think about the treat it will be when you get to go out and purchase new stuff.
You don’t have to do this task all at once. You can set aside 15 minutes every day where you go into your bathroom and commit to removing items that are no longer needed. Think about the last time you used an item and let that guide you into what can be cleared out.
Choose a Shower Curtain
In most bathrooms, the shower curtain is what stands out the most. As such changing out your shower curtain will make a big impact on the look and feel of your bathroom. Choose your colors and patterns based on the feel you want to get from your bathroom. If you want a zen-like, spa feeling then you want to go for colors and prints that are relaxing and soothing. If you want your bathroom to be vibrant then you obviously go the opposite route. If you want to increase storage you can opt for a shower curtain with pockets.
Change Your Soap Dispenser
When changing your soap dispenser, you don’t have to worry about it matching your shower curtain. You can choose to have your soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and soap dish in a contrasting color to the rest of the items in your bathroom. You have the option of choosing a natural element such as stone, or wood if you are going with a relaxed zen-like bathroom.
Choosing New Towels
Worn out towels can make your bathroom seem drab and downright depressing. The simple task of changing towels can lift your bathroom immensely. Towels are quite inexpensive so you can get a brand new set of towels of various prices without completely ruining your budget. Whether you choose colored towels or a crisp white, you can’t go wrong with new good quality towels.
You will find that most interior designers place their main focus on lighting no matter what room in the house they are focusing on. Lighting can have a very significant impact on space within your home. What type of lights do you prefer or what types of light will fulfill the purpose of your room? Do you do your makeup in the bathroom or do you simply shower and use the toilet and leave? All of these need to be considered when choosing a type of light. Remember you can find lighting solutions that offer dimming features so you can relax and wind down at the end of the day and will also allow you the opportunity to have bright lights when you need them to get ready.
If you change your lighting fixtures you should try to get more energy-efficient ones. Consider LED lighting options and you can apply this principle to your faucets as well as your showerheads. Both these endeavors will not only refresh the look of your bathroom but will also help to reduce your electricity and water bills as well.
And there you have it, our five quick tips for refreshing your bathroom without renovation. Do you have any tips or tricks on how to refresh your space? Share them in the comments section below.
British Columbia owners of Condos and Townhomes are seeing a crisis with some insurers pulling out of the market. Those that remain are hiking up their prices. In a bid to address the problem, the relevant authorities recently held an online meeting. The meeting lasted for 4 hours and addressed the crisis that is facing BC stratas regarding building insurance. Condo owners are seeing the price of insurance increases, as well as insurance options, are simply disappearing. Meeting attendees came from various sectors of the market. They included officials from real estate, insurance, government along with other businesses and other stakeholders. The meeting took place online in light of the current COVID-19 crises.
One-third of the residents in British Columbia live in townhouses or condos. They are faced with this crisis of wether their building will be able to find insurance. There is also the problem of affording the premiums when they do find an insurer. This along with the COVID-19 pandemic is putting a lot of stress on the residents.
Don Forgeron, the CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada noted that it is unfortunate that no immediate relief could be reached. The Insurance Bureau of Canada noted that this crisis did not just occur overnight. They also note they have made recommendations to both the stratas and the government. However, currently, time is necessary to bring forth the required change. They note these measures will provide help in the future. They are also, hoping for spillover into the short term and medium term. The impact of these changes for right now is hard to measure or predict.
Horror Stories from Residents
Over the last few months of 2020, residents have shared a number of horror stories. With approximately 1.5 million British Columbians calling strata corporations their home, a large majority. Residents told stories of increases of up to 400% in their insurance fees. They also noted a staggering increase in deductibles. We heard stories of buildings only receiving partial policies and in some cases, while some received no policies at all.
British Columbia is not the only province in Canada that suffered a hit. Notably, though, it is the one that has taken the hardest hit. This is because of the large number of stratas that are contained in British Columbia. Factors that affect this include;
Where the stratas are built
The standards to which the stratas are built
Type of construction used for the buildings
British Columbia’s risk of earthquakes
These factors make this a bigger problem for British Columbia than that of other provinces.
One metro Vancouver condo owner of 16 years shared her story. Her building’s insurer notes they will not be renewing the policy. Because of this, her strata council will have to find a new insurer. As she lives on a fixed income, this owner is fearful of any increase to her fees that may arise from the strata finding new insurance.
Many residents are facing similar issues and they are looking to the government for protection. We are all looking for concrete action from the government. It is expected that more stratas will start experiencing these problems as the future unfolds. As a result, there are more people paying attention to the details of this conversation.
Recommendations from the Insurance Bureau of Canada
Making education for risk mitigation mandatory for strata councils
Amending building codes to prevent extensive water damage with the mandatory installation of leak detection devices
Passing legislation to avert Stratas from deferring depreciation reports
Prevent strata from putting off long-term maintenance with proper legislation
Make definitions in the Strata Property Act to define a “standard strata”
Make it clear in the Strata Property Act what damages are the responsibility of the strata lot owners separate from those of the strata council
Current Measures to Address the Crisis
The Minister of Finance, Carole James, noted that they are in the process of exploring ways to address the crisis. A spokesperson from the ministry further tells how discussions are underway with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The main focus of these discussions is to ultimately make strata insurance costs more affordable.
The BC Financial Services Authority is the insurance regulator for the province. They are continually gathering data on the rate hikes and average increases across the province. They intend to determine how many of the 300 British Columbia insurance companies have stopped offering services to condos and townhouses.
This also affects renters of townhouses and condos as their landlords may have to pass the increases to them. Forgeron notes that no one should be forced from their homes because of these insurance issues. As such they are motivated for a solution to be found and implemented soon. We hope that the changes made will attract insurers to come back to the BC market. We hope that with demand taken care of, the cost of insurance will fall to more affordable prices.
The matter is indeed urgent and we can only hope that the government will heed the recommendations of the Insurance Bureau. We hope the necessary changes will be made to help keep BC residents in their homes.
With a lack of real estate investors in Surrey, there has now come to be a more stable housing market. Many houses in Metro Vancouver’s high-status neighborhoods are now looking more affordable than they have been in years.
With Surrey not on the radar of wealthy domestic and offshore investors, the prices have benefited from this. The city continues to grow rapidly though. The majority of the market is made up of new immigrant buyers. This is followed by native-born immigrants simply searching for a place to call home. In contrast, other high-end neighborhoods have seen a lot of instability since 2017.
The statistics show that house prices in posh neighborhoods dropped approximately 1/5th in one year. This was also true for a variety of neighborhoods in Richmond. In contrast, the housing prices in Surrey remained very stable. This is especially true for the Northern Section where homes often sell for lower than $1 million.
Other Stable Neighborhoods
When prices fell up to 25% this year, luxury homes in some West Vancouver neighborhoods fell. These included Upper Caulfield and Chartwell prices in other North Surrey neighborhoods. The prices only dropped between 1 and 5 percent. Surrey wasn’t the only neighborhood to escape the ridiculous price drops. Other neighborhoods that remained stable include:
North Delta’s Kennedy West
The District of Langley’s Brookswood
New Westminster’s Queensborough
Brow of the Hill
North Surrey Housing Market
North Surrey stood out among everybody thanks to the fact that their stability in prices was seen all across the board. The affordability of the area is one of the biggest factors. This is a factor that is good for both buyers and sellers. With a population larger than half a million, the area is one of Canada’s fastest-growing municipalities. Each year the area expands by approximately 2%.
The Surrey market is largely made up of locals, but it is not the same for the West Vancouver market. While South Asian immigrants also find the affordability of houses here desirable this is not driving up prices as they don’t want a 20 million dollar home. Figures from Census Canada show that the residents of North Surrey that have roots in India are between 40 and 60%. This is especially true in Kennedy, Fleetwood, and Newton.
The area is attractive to immigrants from Pakistan and India because of the cultural diversity of the area. The area allows them a certain amount of familiarity and satisfies the needs of their culture. They will find temples, mosques, and gurdwaras. They will also be more likely to have family in these areas as well. Coming here and finding real estate for sale at an affordable price means they can lay down stakes sooner and integrate into society faster and easier. Houses can be purchased with smaller down payments which is great for first-time homeowners who often are left vulnerable to the financial stress test of the government to determine their eligibility for a mortgage.
So you’ve heard about it and now you want to know what is mortgage default insurance. This is one requirement placed upon first time home buyers by the Government of Canada. Who is required to pay this? Persons that are first-time homeowners.
Persons with a downpayment of less than 20%
Banks are allowed under the Bank Act to lend a maximum of 80% of the purchase price of a home. If you have your 20% downpayment there is no need for mortgage default insurance. If you have your 20% downpayment you will qualify for a conventional mortgage. When you don’t have the required deposit amount you can be granted a high ratio mortgage. In such a case, the insurance company will compensate the mortgage lender in the event that you default on your mortgage.
How to Qualify for Mortgage Default Insurance
If you think you may be eligible for mortgage default insurance, first contact your bank. Find out what are the usual qualifications for a mortgage and find out what the underwriting standards are for your mortgage insurer. Not sure where to find this type of insurance? Contact the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. They can give you a list of their approved insurers offering this type of insurance. Each insurer from this list will have their own criteria of evaluation so you need to check out if you meet their qualifications as well as if the property you are interested in meets their qualifications for this insurance as well.
Benefits of Mortgage Default Insurance
The primary purpose of mortgage default insurance is to protect the lender. The insurance protects them in the event that you default on your mortgage payment. But it also benefits you. With this insurance, you now are able to purchase your home a lot sooner and with a downpayment as low as 5%.
Important points to note about mortgage default insurance;
This does not provide protection to you or your interest in the property purchased in the event that you default, you will lose all.
You don’t have coverage for a mortgage payment under this insurance policy. If you are unable to make your payment or if you pass away your mortgage goes into default.
This insurance is only available for homes that are priced at less than $1,000,000.
Your premium will be calculated as a percentage of the borrowed amount.
You can have a lower premium if your down payment is bigger.
Payments can be made over a period of 25 years and these can be combined with your monthly mortgage payments.
Having plants around will have a positive effect on your mood and your brain. They can help you to be more relaxed and to feel better. Walking into a house full of lush houseplants can take the edge off after a long and hard day. They call it Biophilia, according to Dr. Edward O Wilson. He theorizes that all humans want and seek connections with other life forms including nature. His definition of biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”.
We can all agree that bringing plants indoors brings a significant acoustic element. When you make use of plants such as moss that have natural textures the acoustics of the room are heavily impacted.
Some homeowners welcome plants and look forward to all the care and maintenance tasks that come along with them. There are others that like the idea of plants but don’t have the time or the interest to care for them. The latter will be happy to find that there is a new market of plants just for them. Enter the era of preserved plants. These plants have had their growth stopped. They are then treated with preservatives and color enhancers to keep them in tip-top condition. They won’t need sunlight or water so they are easy.
For those who want to care for their plants, many have a lot of trouble as they try to keep their plants alive. One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is to overwater their plants. Then they forget to put the plants where they can get natural light which is equally as important as giving your plants adequate amounts of water. If you are worried about your plant getting too much of the sun’s rays you can easily place it at a window and leave a sheer curtain to take off some of the rays.
Caring For House Plants
Instead of following a watering schedule, you want to look at the soil your plant is in.
If you have cacti or succulents you wait until the soil is completely dry then give it a good soaking and leave it alone.
If you have classical tropical foliage you need to place them where they can get the right amount of light. You want to hold off watering until the soil is partially dry up to three inches down.
For all other types of plants, you want the soil to be moisty evenly. Check the soil every day and only water when it feels dry.
With that said, you can add some houseplants to your space to bring it to life. Treat them well and enjoy their presence. If you are not sure if you will be able to care for your plants, try out one and see how it goes then you can commit to more plants for your home.
If you want to organize your home better, the first place to start is with cleaning your home; purging and decluttering. There is no magic bullet, and no magic storage solution to help you get your whole house together. You will have to get rid of some of your stuff and will need to change your behaviors that led to your home being a disorganized mess in the first place.
Storage solutions help, and if you don’t have any of those then you should consider a few. Before you go purchasing storage solutions you won’t be able to use, ensure they meet the design needs of your space and the items you wish to store in them. You will not lose when you choose from basic storage items that are built with function and esthetics. Items such as shoe racks, coat hooks, umbrella stands – these products are often overlooked but can make a big difference in completing a room.
The KonMari method has gained a lot of popularity and as such more and more people are considering cleaning their homes and clearing out stuff. It is the best way to go about organizing your home for the better. You want to do this before you start buying more things to help you organize. You can throw things out, donate some and recycle others. But your first step should always be minimizing and discarding. Once you are reduced your items, it will be easier to organize the remainder of stuff.
Say Not To Storage Facilities
One of the things that professional organizers advise is that you don’t put your stuff into storage. When you place your things into storage, you are not in effect dealing with it. They will then stay there and collect dust while you pay to keep them out of sight. But if you aren’t using them anyway, why not give them up? Be honest about the amount of space you have and look at the reasons behind your attachment to your stuff.
Do a walk through in your home. In each room, identify six things that you can’t do without in that room and start reducing the rest. Space is a luxury so if you are losing space you need to act now. Many people are now living in smaller spaces because of budgetary constraints so more modular items are better options. These not only can help save space but can also be dual-purpose items and can be used from room to room.
If you are living in a small space and have
limited storage you may consider choosing furniture that has storage built-in.
so beds with drawers, or sofas that have storage space beneath their cushions.
You can also opt for storage containers that can fit into your peculiar corners
and under stairways etc.
Everybody is into energy efficiency these days and as such, high-performance homes are in high demand. High-performance homes offer more than your typical energy efficiency via many means.
If you are looking for a new home; a high-performance home, you will want a team of experts. Here at SilverBeam Homes, we can help you create a house design that meets high-performance standards. We can deliver higher energy efficiency at lower costs. Our team has been building high-performance homes for a while. The team here includes architect, structural engineer, builder and energy consultants. They all work together to ensure that your design meets all your needs for energy efficiency.
SilverBeam High-Performance Homes
We ensure we consult the BC Energy Step Code for all new construction as much as possible. We do this because the city plans to get all high-performance houses by the year 2032. Along with this roadmap, there are several industry criteria and certifications. These relate to the construction and categorization of high-performance homes. There are several BC municipalities where companies such as ours have to build according to Step 3 of the Step Code. This way new homes have to provide at least 20% less energy usage than homes built before the BC Building code.
Reputable certifications that are out for energy-efficient homes include;
The Net Zero Home Labelling Program through the Canadian Home Builders’ Association
The Passive House Canada certification
The latter can be attained by implanting the Passive House Planning Package. Following this plan allows for lower energy costs, higher quality air levels and a more consistent temperature indoors. According to the CHBA, net-zero homes are as much as 80 % more energy efficient. This when you compare them to typical new homes even those using renewable energy systems.
Building a high-performance home requires an approach that is coordinated. Here at SilverBeam Homes, we have that approach. We can help you create your high-performance home with the use of our airtight envelope. We create homes that are airtight with each door and window being energy star certified and each slab of wall or roof is well insulated.
Myths about High-Performance Homes
If you do a little research about high-performance homes you will come upon two myths:
They are unattractive
They are expensive
The truth is each company in the building industry now understands the importance of creating products that are aesthetically pleasing while ensuring they are energy efficient. As such you can have a modern and aesthetically pleasing home at an affordable price that is considered a high-performance home. Your high-performance home can still have style features such as cantilevered floors – it is all in the design and the choice of elements used for the construction.
With an integrated approach, our team of professionals can create for you a home that is energy efficient but still aesthetically pleasing. All key advisors in the team set clear objectives based on your needs from the beginning. This ensures your home is built in the most economical way to match your budget. Step 5 of the BC energy code will be the standard in 2032. We understand how important it is to start building homes now that are following the code.
You are building a home for the long term and we know just what specifications to use. We can ensure that years from now, your home is still compliant with all high-performance specifications. Here at SilverBeam homes are created to be socially and environmentally responsible. Our aim is to bring our customers into the future with our ability to create high-performance homes. Homes that will lessen greenhouse gas emissions, saving the environment and helping you to spend less money on bills.