Vitalii Tichkevich, Author at Vitz Reno
Revitalize Your Home! Call: 647-407-4499

Kitchen Remodeling Perfection: Selecting the Right Flooring

When it comes to kitchen remodeling, the flooring is often one of the last elements to be considered. It’s...

How to Enjoy a Clear and Productive Relationship with Your General Contractor

Home renovation projects can be expensive. One way that Toronto residents often try to save money is by taking...

Here’s How NOT to Finish Your Basement: Basement Renovation Fails We See All the Time

Once you’ve taken the decision to go ahead with a basement renovation, you need to sit down and start...

Bathroom Renovation Tricks to Deal with an Awkwardly Shaped Room

Planning a bathroom renovation is a big enough task whether or not you have an awkwardly shaped room. There...

Why Getting Serious About Waterproofing is the First Step in any Basement Remodeling Project

If you are planning to turn your leaky, damp Toronto basement into a new living area that all the...

Paperwork That’s Needed for Most Home Additions

If you are planning a home addition to your residential property in Toronto, you are probably going to need...

Kitchen Countertop Tips: The Most Important Kitchen Renovation

If you are remodeling your kitchen, one of the most important decisions you will have to make concerns the...

Increase Your Chances of Selecting a Great General Contractor

When you plan to renovate part of your home, or embark on a major remodelling project, there are many...

Effective Kitchen Remodelling Budgeting: An Expert Insight

The kitchen is usually one of, if not the main focal point in a home. When it comes to...

Basement Renovation Trends We Expect to See in 2017

Getting a basement renovation isn’t something you’re likely to do every year (although perhaps it should be), and that’s...

7 Bathroom Remodeling Tricks to Make Your Bathroom Brighter

If your Toronto home has a small, dark bathroom that is frankly quite gloomy and unappealing, this article should...

6 Key Questions Many Forget to Ask Before a Basement Renovation

Basement renovations are as popular as ever in Toronto, and it’s easy to see why – an extra bedroom,...

Wet Rooms and Why They’re One of the Most Popular Bathroom Remodeling Trends

Long after wet rooms became the preferred option in East Asian new builds, they have now come to dominate...

6 New Home Additions trends in 2016

If you’re thinking about home additions, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s popular and what’s not in the...

The Mancave Basement Renovation: 10 Must-Have Features

Balancing family life and work can be tough, and things can get stressful if you don’t get any downtime....

Kitchen Remodeling to Boost Your Home’s Sale Price

As most people are aware, the kitchen is one of the key rooms – possible the most important of...

Kitchen Renovation &why lighting should play an important role | VitzReno

Lighting can profoundly influence your mood and even your food. This makes lighting a crucial consideration for your kitchen...

Interviewing a General Contractor: The Right Way to Do It

Before you hire a company to complete a home improvement project in your property, you need to make sure...

7 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Basement Remodeling Project

Remodeling your basement could be a great way to provide your family with more living space, without having to...

Kitchen Remodeling: Should You Change the Layout of Your Space?

Some homeowners decide to refurbish their kitchens because they are beginning to look a little shabby or outdated whereas...

6 Signs Your Home is in Need of a Bathroom Renovation

The in-laws fly into town and come to dinner for the first time in years. The mother-in-law excuses herself...

Home Additions and how you can maintain design continuity

Once upon a time, architectural consistency was imposed by limited materials, construction methods and other practicalities. Nowadays we have...

Bathroom Remodeling: Key Components to a Successful Project

If you have been thinking about home improvements recently and have come to the conclusion that now is the...

Basement Renovation Ideas: What Will You Use Yours For?

Toronto is the nation’s biggest city and space is at a premium here. It makes sense for people to...

Basement Remodeling: 7 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing to One

The prospect of remodeling your basement and bringing it into the domestic fold is an exciting one loaded with...

Bathroom Renovation Tricks for Smaller Bathrooms

A bathroom renovation while complex from an execution perspective is, from a planning perspective, a fairly straightforward endeavour. At...

Going It Alone Vs Hiring a General Contractor: Why the Latter is the Smart Choice

The DIY craze took root about 40 years ago and since then has blossomed into a formidable industry with...

The Kitchen Renovation: Why It Can Have Such a Big Impact upon Your Home’s Value

The kitchen is the social center of the home: the place where people meet as they come and go,...

Kitchen Remodeling and the 5 Most Important Decisions You Need to Make

A Toronto kitchen renovation project for your home may involve a lot of hard work and planning but it can...

How a Basement Renovation is a Good Investment

The high percentage of properties in Toronto that feature spacious basements, together with the upward pressure on house prices...

Home Additions: 6 Questions You Need to Ask Before Committing to One

If you are running out of space in your current home but you would much rather extend than move,...

Bathroom Remodeling: The Trick to Keeping Costs Down

It may be the smallest room in your home but it is also one of the most important as...

The General Contractor: Why They’re Essential to Any Larger Home Renovation

A major home renovation project is not something that should be approached in a casual fashion, for obvious reasons....

Invaluable Kitchen Renovation Tips: 7 Mistakes that Can Be Financially Damaging

Remodelling your kitchen to make it more attractive and functional may not sound like an incredibly difficult proposition but...

Bathroom Renovation Tricks: Implementing Efficient Storage Solutions to Free Up Space

The bathroom is normally the smallest room in a house, which can make fitting enough storage space into it...

Basement Remodeling and Getting the Lighting Right

One of the problems that homeowners in Toronto often run into when converting their basements is the lack of...

What’s Trending in the Bathroom Renovation World This Year

If you are about to embark on a major renovation project and you would like to know what’s in...

Kitchen Remodeling Tricks to Get the Most Out of Small Spaces

If your Toronto home has a very small kitchen, you may think there is nothing much you can do...

Home Additions: Are They the Right Option for Your Circumstances?

Whether extending your existing home is the best solution to the issues you are currently facing will depend on...

7 Creative Basement Renovation Ideas for Your Home

Many houses in Toronto have a basement: a space which is often underutilized by property owners in the city....

Welcome to Vitz Reno

VitzReno is one of the Toronto area’s premier home renovation companies. The goal of our custom kitchen, bathroom and basement renovations – as well as our home additions – is to unlock hidden value in your home while creating the space of your dreams. Our designers take a holistic approach to your renovation or addition that ensures the newly renovated or added space meshes seamlessly with your home’s established profile while at the same time enhancing its functionality and aesthetic appeal.

The home of your dreams begins in your imagination and for this reason we work closely with you from day 1. Our job is not to tell you what you want but to use our years of experience to bring your vision to life. We listen carefully, design thoughtfully and work diligently so that the finished product is something you’ll be comfortable in and proud of for years to come.
As a full service general contractor in Toronto we handle all aspects of your renovation or addition project from design to clean up so no detail is overlooked. If perhaps you contracted another firm to create your designs for you, that’s no problem either as we can handle all aspects of the build.

A beautiful, affordable home renovation or addition from Vitz Reno will transform the way you feel, the way you think and the way you live. It will enhance your home’s aesthetic value, increase your home’s resale value and make it the oasis of domestic tranquility you’ve always imagined it could be.

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Kitchen Remodeling Perfection: Selecting the Right Flooring

kitchen remodeling perfectionWhen it comes to kitchen remodeling, the flooring is often one of the last elements to be considered. It’s fun to choose appliances, worktops and cupboards, but the flooring is often selected without much serious thought. This, of course, is a mistake – the flooring is a key part of any kitchen remodeling plan. It’s perhaps the part of your kitchen that will endure the most punishment, too – with people walking on it, spillages and having to support the units and appliances you install. Every year we have more and more options available for different types of flooring materials and designs in Toronto, so it’s not like there is a lack of choice. 

How to Know What Kind of Flooring Works Best With Your Kitchen Remodeling Plan

The type of flooring you eventually go with in your kitchen remodeling plan should be the optimal choice in terms of both functionality and appearance. If you have a large family, the chances are that you’ll need a floor which is very easy to clean. If a member of your household uses a wheelchair or a walking stick, you’ll want to make sure your flooring won’t get easily marked or damaged. It will also need to fit well with the overall ambience of your kitchen – it’s easy to forget that the floor usually takes up more space than any other element in a kitchen, except perhaps for the ceiling. Here are some tips to help you make sure you get it right:

  • If you’re having underfloor heating – You’ll want to consider using a material that holds onto heat for as long as possible. Getting this wrong could end up costing you a lot in energy bills, or feeling cold, despite the heating. Choosing stone for your kitchen remodeling is a great choice, when using underfloor heating. As well as being a good conductor, it’s relatively easy to clean and is very durable.
  • For young children and crockery – You might want to consider rubber flooring. This type of flooring is becoming more popular with young families in Toronto, who have become tired of spending their time picking up the pieces of broken bowls and glasses, and wiping away tears after a fall. Rubber is much softer than most types of flooring. In addition to that, newer designs manage to look sleek, fitting in well with modern kitchen designs. Add to that the fact that it is extremely easy to clean, and it becomes the best choice for families with young children.
  • For long-lasting flooring – You should consider concrete. Polished concrete floors are easy to keep clean and can take a lot of punishment – breakages and spillages aren’t likely to have any lasting effect on the material at all. It is very hard-wearing and is therefore a good choice for a kitchen with a high footfall. Moreover, it won’t deteriorate quickly over time – if you’re looking to create a kitchen which will stand the test of time, you can’t go wrong with concrete flooring.
  • When comfort is a priority – Linoleum makes a great kitchen flooring. It feels soft and warm on your feet, plus it is relatively kind to crockery. Unlike some other soft floors, it doesn’t become home to mites and other bugs over time, so it’s also a sensible choice for those who suffer from allergies. For these reasons, linoleum is perhaps the single best choice of flooring for the elderly.

There are, of course, many more choices of materials, each with their own unique benefits. It’s worth your while learning about all of the options and matching their qualities to your kitchen’s specific needs.

How to Enjoy a Clear and Productive Relationship with Your General Contractor

hire general contractorHome renovation projects can be expensive. One way that Toronto residents often try to save money is by taking on some of the work themselves, under the supervision of a general contractor. Using your own time and labour can prevent costs from escalating, as labour usually ends up taking a significant chunk of a remodelling budget. Even if you don’t have any particular trade skills, there’s a good chance you’ll still be capable of basic labouring tasks, which would otherwise require employing another person. However, if you’re planning to do this, it’s essential to make sure you have a good working relationship with your general contractor. 

How to Make Sure Things Go Smoothly with Your General Contractor

If you have ever worked as a subcontractor, or seen subcontractors work with a general contractor, you will be aware that not everything goes smoothly all the time. This could also be the case if you choose to work under the general contractor, even while employing them. Problems can be solved much more easily if you have a good relationship and mutual respect. The first thing you’ll need to do is sit down with them and have a frank discussion about how it will work. Here are some of the things you’ll need to bear in mind:

  • Be Reliable – You will need to take your commitments seriously. Just as with any job, nobody likes people who can’t be relied on. Cancelling work at short notice – and even at longer notice – can cause friction in the relationship and problems for your project. If you think you won’t be able to keep your commitments all the time, it is better to hire a labourer who will actually turn up and do the work required of them.
  • Be Prepared – You need to be ready to work at the times you have agreed. If you are still at your office in downtown Toronto, or just stepping out of the shower when work is due to begin, you are wasting other people’s time and delaying work on your project. Make sure you have the necessary clothing and tools for the job you need to do.
  • Don’t Wait to be Shown Everything – If you don’t know what certain tools are for, what their names are, or you’re unfamiliar with how something works, so your best to find out in advance. You’re not expected to know everything, but it will save a lot of time if you know which tool you are being asked to pass, or which way to do a certain job. Having to tell a labourer the same things more than once can become frustrating.
  • Don’t Bite off More than you Can Chew – If you have never done a certain task before, or you have never been shown how to do it, don’t volunteer to do it. You may find that this happens when the project is pushed for time, but your inexperience is likely to cause more serious delays and could cause future problems for the project and risks to your safety.
  • Be Communicative – Communication doesn’t only happen at the work site. Be sure to answer your phone, return missed calls and reply to emails. In any relationship, not only a professional one, poor communication will lead to a lack of trust and respect.

If you follow these points, there is no reason why you can’t make a success of your working relationship. Be prepared to work hard, but remember to be friendly, too. Deal proactively with any problems and remember that you are all working towards the same ends.

Here’s How NOT to Finish Your Basement: Basement Renovation Fails We See All the Time

basement renovation failsOnce you’ve taken the decision to go ahead with a basement renovation, you need to sit down and start the difficult job of planning the work. Taking the decision is easy – planning and carrying out the work can be full of pitfalls. Many problems that surface during the work period and after, have their roots in poor planning. There are plenty of examples of basement renovations around Toronto that lie in disrepair, their owners having bust their budgets in a big way, in addition to having wasted a lot of time. Getting the planning right is crucial – no matter how good the work is, it can all unravel if mistakes are made at the planning stage.

What Things Can Typically Go Wrong with a Basement Renovation?

Basement renovations can be tricky to plan as there is often no adequate blueprint for the work that needs to be done. Basements all over Toronto vary in size, construction materials, plumbing and electrical circuitry layouts and so on. Everything from the type of soil surrounding the basement, to access and health and safety laws, needs to be considered. The type of basement renovation you want to carry out is also important. Creating a simple storage space, for example, is almost certainly going to be less complicated than building a new bedroom with its own private bathroom. To give you an idea of some of the ways things can go wrong, here are some examples:

  • Failing to waterproof your basement – This is asking for serious trouble. Even if you haven’t had noticeable problems with water and moisture seeping through cracks into your basement, it’s simply not worth taking the risk. Water could already be slowly building up, ready to break through at some time in the future. By not sealing your basement properly, and making sure there is adequate drainage, you are putting at risk the entire basement renovation project, along with its contents once it is finished. You could see your budget for the project doubled or tripled by the time the work and repairs have been finished safely.
  • Choosing wooden subfloors, even if they are moisture resistant – Moisture resistant wood serves a lot of useful purposes, but forming a basement floor is not one of them. In the case of untreated wood, it will naturally absorb water and you will notice this by the gradual appearance and smell of mould. While treated wood products may not suffer in the same way on a day-to-day basis, they are still going to be of little use in case of a large buildup of water or a flood – events that come with no announcement and usually catch people off guard. After a storm or a rainy week, it is quite possible that the soil around your basement will become saturated and begin to soak the wooden flooring. As soon as this happens, you are in trouble.
  • Failing to have a battery-powered backup sump pump – This is an expense that many resent making at the outset of a basement remodelling project, but it is absolutely essential. Nobody wants to have to use a backup sump pump, just as they don’t want to find themselves finding their way around their home with a flashlight during a power outage. Unfortunately, your primary sump pump is most likely to fail when it is most needed – during a power outage caused by a storm. Not having a battery-powered backup to take over the job puts your basement at serious risk of flooding.

 

The examples listed above are not meant to scare you or put you off going ahead with your project. They are simply warnings as to what not to do. Bear them in mind at the planning stage and you’ll be able to avoid the heartache they can bring.

Bathroom Renovation Tricks to Deal with an Awkwardly Shaped Room

bathroom renovation Planning a bathroom renovation is a big enough task whether or not you have an awkwardly shaped room. There are, however, plenty of unusually shaped bathrooms here in Toronto, particularly in some of our city’s older buildings. If you happen to live in a home with a bathroom with a quirky shape, there’s no need for it to give you a headache when it comes to bathroom renovation. Rather than trying to think of ways to get around the problem, it helps if you try to exploit any unusual characteristics. The aim is – rather than having an odd bathroom – to have a space which looks like it couldn’t and shouldn’t be any other way.

How to Get a Perfect Bathroom Renovation in an Imperfect Space

Whether your bathroom currently has exposed or oddly-positioned plumbing, a low ceiling or unusual walls, it’s much better to see those features as opportunities, rather than challenges. They present you with a chance to create a bathroom that is truly unique and suited to your needs. There is no one bathroom design that suits everyone, and it would be a dull world if every bathroom in Toronto looked the same! So, no matter what your bathroom looks like, here are some tips to help you make sure your bathroom renovation turns out a success:

  • If your plumbing is unusually placed – For example, if the main bath pipe comes up into the centre of the room – you have two options: you could, of course, spend money adjusting the layout of the plumbing so that you can have your bath along one side of the room, like everyone else. If, however, you feel more daring, you could make a success of using a circular, or oval-shaped bath as the focal point of the room. It is, after all, called the bathroom for a reason.
  • If you just don’t seem to have enough room – You’ll need to go with a relatively minimalist design. Look at options for in-wall storage and choose units such as a floating washbasin and an open shower. Keep the floor uniform throughout the whole room and fit mirrors across as much of the wall space as possible. Even though you have only gained perhaps a little space in reality, the mirrors will make the room seem much larger.
  • Take advantage of a room’s unusual shape – Whether you have an ‘L’, ‘T’ or other-shaped room, take advantage of this shape to help design your bathroom renovation. As opposed to rectangular and square-shaped rooms, these rooms can offer enclaves of privacy. Having the toilet bowl out of view from the bath tub or the shower unit is invariably going to be considered an advantage by any potential buyer.
  • If you have a sloping ceiling – You can also use this to your advantage, even if the ceiling is at a sharp gradient. Rather than resign yourself to not being able to use the space, you can install custom-built storage units that follow the slope of the ceiling. Alternatively, you can use the incline for aesthetic effect – perhaps guiding the eye to the centrepiece of the room, the bath tub or the shower.

There are many different shapes of bathroom, each of which presents its own unique opportunities for design. It may help to take a look at pictures of how other people have optimized similar spaces in their homes, but it is up to you to take advantage of your own bathroom’s quirky characteristics. If you find one design isn’t quite working, consider it again, perhaps with different materials, or with a different layout.

Why Getting Serious About Waterproofing is the First Step in any Basement Remodeling Project

waterproofing should be first step in basement remodelingIf you are planning to turn your leaky, damp Toronto basement into a new living area that all the family can use on a year-round basis, the first and most important thing you need to do is waterproof it. Failure to tackle this step first could result in a number of problems further down the line, the most serious of which are detailed below. In fact, even if you are not planning to remodel your basement in the near future, you should make sure that it is adequately waterproofed because some of the problems arising from leaky below-grade spaces could affect your entire property.

Basement Remodeling: Why Waterproofing Should Always Come First

Among the reasons that it is crucial to waterproof your basement before you begin remodeling work in earnest, the following are the most important to consider.

  • Cost – While it is possible to carry out waterproofing after finishing your basement, doing so will cost much more than if you were to have the work done beforehand. For this reason alone, it is a good idea to make sure that moisture will not be a problem before you decorate below-grade spaces.
  • Convenience – Once you have finished your basement remodeling project you will want to start using it straight away. However, if you neglect to waterproof it first, this will not be possible. The space will simply not be usable while remedial waterproofing is being performed and carrying out the waterproofing after the remodeling work has been finished will result in damage to the walls and floor that needs to be repaired before it is fit for occupation.
  • Flood Damage – A below-grade space that is not properly waterproofed will be susceptible to flooding, especially during the rainy spring and autumn seasons we experience here in Toronto. While repairing such damage can be an expensive undertaking even in an unfinished basement, the costs can be astronomical when a flood occurs in a remodeled below-grade space. Making sure that flooding will not be a problem before you start remodeling work is therefore the only sensible option.
  • Health – A damp basement provides a great environment for mould to flourish, which can be detrimental to the health of anybody who uses the space on a regular basis. This is especially so for those who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma so you should definitely waterproof as the first step of your basement remodeling project if you want to avoid health problems in the future.
  • Structural Integrity – Flooding of below-grade spaces in residential properties can cause significant damage to the foundations, which in turn can compromise the structural integrity of the buildings in question. Remedial repairs to foundations can be even more expensive and disruptive than flood damage repairs, which is why all reputable construction firms recommend waterproofing right at the very beginning of any basement remodeling project.
  • Property Value – While a well-executed remodeling project could add considerable value to your home, a below-grade living area that is plagued with damp issues is likely to have the opposite effect. All the money that you put into your basement remodeling could go to waste if you do not waterproof the space properly before you get started on the interior décor.

If you live in the GTA and you are currently thinking about remodeling/finishing your basement, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to ask for advice or to request a competitive quotation. We have completed many such projects in the past and would be delighted to help you put your below-grade space to good use in the future.

Paperwork That’s Needed for Most Home Additions

home additions paperwork guideIf you are planning a home addition to your residential property in Toronto, you are probably going to need to apply for a building permit before the construction company you hire can start work. However, not all home improvement projects require a building permit so we have created this handy guide to help you determine if one will be necessary for the work that you have in mind. If after reading it you still have questions about your plans, please feel free to call or email us and we will do our best to answer them. Alternatively, you can contact the Toronto Building team directly and ask them for the information you require.

Home Additions That Require a Building Permit

Among the home improvement projects for which a building permit is required, are the following:

  • Second or Third Story Additions – If you are planning to extend your property upwards, i.e. add an additional story, you will definitely need to apply for a building permit before you can start work on your project. Such additions often involve major structural alterations, including the strengthening of foundations, which is why planning permission is always required.
  • Solarium – A new solarium may not seem like a large construction project and in most cases it isn’t but you still need a building permit before you can begin work on one. The same applies to covered porches and decks as they are home additions that materially alter the external appearance of your property. Even an uncovered deck requires a permit if it is going to be more than 60 centimetres above the ground on which it is constructed.
  • Attached Garage – If you would like to add a garage to your property, so that you can park your car and walk straight into your home in the cold winter months, you will need to apply for a permit before you get started. This is because, in common with solaria, covered decks and porches, it will affect the external appearance of your home.

When a Permit Is Not Required

Some types of home additions or improvements do not require a building permit, including those listed below:

  • Basement Remodeling with No Plumbing or Structural Alterations – If you are planning to create new living space by remodeling your basement, you will only need to apply for a building permit if you wish to include plumbing in the new living area or you will be making structural alterations, such as underpinning the foundations, to facilitate the remodeling project.
  • Uncovered Decks 60cm or Less Above the Ground on Which They Are Erected – For home additions or improvements consisting of backyard decks that are uncovered and do not exceed 60cm in height, there is no need to apply for a building permit before construction work starts.
  • Replacing Existing Windows & Doors – If you are re-purposing a space that was perhaps previously used for storage and you want to install new windows and doors to make it more attractive, it will not be necessary for you to apply for a permit to do so (assuming window or door dimensions remain unchanged).

Applying for a Building Permit

For a full list of what type of home additions and improvements require a building permit you can contact the local authorities. Assuming that you need one, you will have to submit a site plan, floor plans, and a roof plan if applicable, along with detailed elevations and sections. If you decide to use VitzReno for your home improvement project, we will, of course, take care of all the necessary paperwork on your behalf.

Kitchen Countertop Tips: The Most Important Kitchen Renovation

kitchen renovation countertop tipsIf you are remodeling your kitchen, one of the most important decisions you will have to make concerns the type of countertop you are going to install. The countertop in your kitchen will set the style for the whole room, which is why you need to ensure that you make the right choice when shopping for a new one. In addition to aesthetic considerations, you also need to think about practical aspects such as how easy it will be to keep clean and how well it will stand up to the rigours of life in a busy family kitchen. With all of this in mind, we decided to put together a short guide to help you choose the perfect countertop for your next kitchen remodeling project.

Choosing the Right Countertop for Your Kitchen Renovation

Take a look around the stores in Toronto and the individual companies that produce custom items for kitchens and you will find a wide selection of countertops, made from a variety of different materials. Below, we examine the main material choices and the implications of each one.

  • Granite – Natural stone countertops have been popular all over the world for many years, with granite being the stone of choice for numerous homeowners who go down this route when planning a major kitchen renovation. The hard wearing nature of granite and the range of attractive colours in which it is available are two of the key reasons that it is chosen by so many homeowners.
  • Marble – The principle attraction of marble is its appearance: if you are aiming to create a truly beautiful kitchen there are few materials that can rival marble. However, it is not as hard wearing as granite and can be susceptible to staining if not resealed on a regular basis. Even then, many people find that its appearance degrades over time. For this reason, you may wish to choose another material for your countertop when planning a kitchen renovation that you hope not to have to repeat for some time to come.

Engineered Quartz – If you like the look of natural stone but would prefer something a little lower maintenance, engineered quartz is a great choice. Available in many colours and no more expensive than granite, this is becoming an increasingly popular option among homeowners in Toronto and worldwide.

  • Concrete – The customisation possibilities of concrete, along with its low price, have helped to establish it as an attractive option for homeowners who want to create unique countertops without spending a fortune in the process. However, it does need more maintenance than either granite or engineered quartz.
  • Laminate – This is without a doubt the most affordable option currently available so if you want to keep your kitchen renovation costs to a minimum, it is well worth considering. In addition to being the cheapest choice, it is very easy to maintain as well. Perhaps the only downside associated with laminate countertops is that they can be burned quite easily if you place hot pans on them. Also, some people just do not like their appearance.
  • Stainless Steel – Heat resistant and, as you would expect, very resistant to stains as well, this is a good option for homeowners who regularly place hot pans on their countertops. However, it does scratch quite easily and is not to everybody’s taste as far as aesthetics are concerned.

Whether you are planning a major kitchen renovation project or you simply wish to replace your existing countertop, VitzReno can perform all the necessary work at very competitive rates. Call today to discuss your requirements in detail.

Increase Your Chances of Selecting a Great General Contractor

general contractor in TorontoWhen you plan to renovate part of your home, or embark on a major remodelling project, there are many challenges to face up to. You need to make sure you get quality materials, a sound design and work which is done on time and to a high standard. By far the most difficult part of all this, is hiring a general contractor. Get this right and you can rely on great results and a straightforward process. Get it wrong and you could be looking at a disaster which runs way over schedule and way over budget. With all the competition in Toronto these days, it’s important to know how to spot a great general contractor apart from the rest.

How to Find a Great General Contractor

We’ve all heard tales of cowboy contractors and fly-by-night traders who cause no end of problems for their customers. Unfortunately, as these people know that there is big money on offer, they are likely to continue dragging down the reputation of the majority of honest and reliable contractors operating in the Toronto area. In order to separate the good from the bad, and the great from the good, you’ll need to know what to look out for. Here are some idea which will increase your chances of selecting a great general contractor:

  • Ask Questions – don’t be shy to ask asV many questions as you like. You need to be confident that you are hiring the right contractor, and the best of them know that. Great contractors don’t avoid questions and take the time to listen to your concerns. You’re expected to have questions – most people don’t renovate their homes all that often, and the costs of doing so can be quite considerable.
  • Ask The Right Questions – Unfortunately, it’s easy to ask a lot of questions and not feel any more confident than you did at first. Make sure that you ask key questions which will tell you more about the contractor, such as how many similar jobs they have completed, what their strengths and unique selling points are, who will carry out the work and what their experience is with the materials or appliances you are interested in.
  • Talk To Their Former Clients – Ask to see examples of their previous work and, whenever possible, to talk to their former clients. You might want to ask questions such as: How did the work go?; were there any problems?; were there any changes to the budget?; and would they recommend the general contractor?
  • Consider How The Contractor Communicates – At the negotiating stage, you can get a good idea of what it will be like to work with the contractor, by how communicative they are with you. Don’t be afraid to call them up, leave messages and send emails. If they are slow at getting back to you, or difficult to get hold of, it’s likely that things will be the same or worse if you hire them. A contractor who cares about your business will always find time for you.

There are, lamentably, no guarantees to protect you completely from unscrupulous traders and cowboys. However, following the advice outlined above will give you a great chance of reducing the risk of ending up with a poor contractor. These tips, plus your own due diligence – checking references, memberships, qualifications and insurance, will help you narrow down the search for the best contractor you can get. Don’t forget about personality, too. While working on your project, the contractor is like a business partner. If you can’t see yourself being able to work well with them, despite their references and qualifications, it’s probably a good idea to consider someone else.

Effective Kitchen Remodelling Budgeting: An Expert Insight

kitchen remodelling budgeting tips from an expertThe kitchen is usually one of, if not the main focal point in a home. When it comes to renovations, kitchen remodelling tends to have a greater impact on the overall value of a property, than changes made to any other room. It’s not a job you want to get wrong. As kitchen remodelling has become more and more popular across Toronto, owners have been presented with an increasing variety of interesting options, each with their own price tag attached. Knowing how much to spend on your renovation is key to maximizing the value you get from it.

How to Work Out How Much To Spend On Kitchen Remodelling

You will already have an idea of how much money you can actually get your hands on for your kitchen remodelling project, whether you’re planning to use your saving or take out a loan. If you intend to do the latter, make your calculations using the total cost of the loan, rather than the amount you borrow. Once you know what your absolute maximum spend is, you’ll need to make the following considerations:

  • Consider the Overall Value of Your Home – Your budget should represent between 10-15% of the overall value of your home. If you have recently had a valuation of $500,000, for example, you should aim to spend between $50,000 and $75,000 on your remodelling project. Spending more is likely to mean a waste of money; spending less could harm the value of your home.
  • Set Some of your Budget Aside for the Unexpected – Kitchen remodelling is a major project which can go wrong in many ways. It’s advisable to put around one-fifth of your budget to one side for unexpected costs, such as replacing wiring, delays, accidents, replacing uncovered rotten wall or floorboards etc.
  • Divide The Remaining Budget Into Items – Remember that your costs are not limited to what you see in the showroom. You should set aside at least 20% of your budget for labour costs, and up to 7% for transportation costs, if you live in a rural area away from Toronto, where materials, units will have to be transported and contractors will have to travel to. Only around 35% of your budget should be spent on cabinets, plus a further 20% on appliances. If you are having new windows, set aside 10% for this. Allow for an extra 10% to be spent on fixtures and fittings.
  • Be Responsible – Don’t try to do too much with your money. Try to over-budget wherever possible. It’s easier to spend any surplus you may have at the end of the project, than it is to find the extra dollars you might need if you try to push your money too far, and end up running out.
  • Know Your Priorities – Even if you find yourself comfortable with your budget, it is worth making a priority list, as it will help you to decide how to spend any left over money. If you’re struggling to get money together, you might just want to focus on the most important items and then leave others until a later date. Ask yourself what you really need – is it new appliances? New cabinets? New fittings? Take a look at the main reasons for going ahead with your project, plus what you hope to gain from it.

The last thing to remember about your project is not to compromise too much. You may be tempted to take on work that you are not confident in doing, or settle for materials you don’t really like. Doing so could even end up costing you money in the long run. It’s a much better idea to wait until you can get the job done properly.

Basement Renovation Trends We Expect to See in 2017

Getting a basement renovation isn’t something you’re likely to do every year (although perhaps it should be), and that’s what make it really important that you make your project as up to date and trendy as possible. Take a look at the renovations going on around Toronto and you’ll see a mixture of poor, outdated designs, boring generic projects, and then some cutting edge, freshly thought-out ideas that are really going to turn heads and grab everyone’s attention in 2017. If you want your basement renovation to impress people, and not bore them to sleep, you’d better check out some of the hottest trends of the moment.

What Kind Of Basement Renovations Are Going To Be Trending In 2017?

basement renovation trends 2017With the New Year so close you can almost smell it, if you haven’t already begun to make plans for your basements renovation, you’d better get a move on. Forget whatever your friends have done with their renovations in 2016, don’t worry about the remodelling jobs you’ve seen done at other homes in Toronto. We are moving into uncharted territory and you’ll have to look out for other hints and patterns to figure out what is going to cut it over the coming year. What’s sure is that in 2017 we are going to make basement renovations great again, and here’s how:

  • Turn It Into A Bar – If there is one prediction that can be made with absolute certainty for 2017, it is that people are still going to spend a lot of time and money getting drunk. It makes sense to have your own bar at home for several reasons – the booze is cheaper, you can choose your own music, make your own cocktails, and you’ll no longer have to be a wallflower, getting pushed around or struggling to get your order taken.
  • Turn It Into A Wine Cellar – If you think a home bar is a bit below your social status, but you still enjoy downing a bottle of expensive wine with your friends over dinner, why not convert your basement into a wine cellar. Investing in vintage wines could turn out to be a smart move when the next financial crisis hits, plus your friends will no doubt be impressed by your new hobby.
  • Turn It Into A Fam-Cave – While the age of the man-cave has come and gone – men having now fully rediscovered their inner child – it’s now time to remember the actual children in the family and allow them to have fun together with you as a family. Turn your basement into a fun place for everyone, with games, toys and activities that the whole family can participate in. You can be as adventurous as you want. After all, it’s unlikely that anyone will be peering in!
  • Turn It Into A Home Gym – Yes, that’s right – home gyms are set to make a comeback in a big way, thanks to innovations in smart home gym equipment and a widespread realization that gym membership is still inconvenient. Prepare to trim those love handles in a fully aired, temperature controlled space in which every machine and fixture can be programmed to respond to your voice commands. No more wasting time rummaging around trying to find that Callanetics DVD!

Get your project right and your basement renovation will be one of the main talking points of the coming year in your social group. Don’t just be prepared to follow trends any more. Your project could serve to inspire those around you and your social standing could take a massive boost.

7 Bathroom Remodeling Tricks to Make Your Bathroom Brighter

7 bathroom remodeling tips to make it brighterIf your Toronto home has a small, dark bathroom that is frankly quite gloomy and unappealing, this article should definitely come in handy. In it, we are going to give you 7 bathroom remodeling tips to help brighten up your bathroom, without spending a fortune in the process, making it a more pleasant place to be at any time of day or night. Some of the suggestions in the section below may be more practical than others for you to implement in your home but they are all worth considering before you make any concrete plans.

Bathroom Remodeling to Brighten a Gloomy Space

Whether you have a single small window in your bathroom or no source of natural light at all, the following tips will help you to create a bright and beautiful space where you and your family will positively enjoy spending time.

  • Metallic Surfaces – Countertops, tiles, and other surfaces in your bathroom will reflect more light if they have a shiny, metallic finish, lifting the level of illumination throughout the day. Whether you are relying exclusively on artificial light or a combination of natural and artificial, you will find that using metallic finishes makes a big difference.
  • Soft, Diffused Lighting – When tackling a bathroom remodeling project that is intended to make the space in question much brighter, there is a natural temptation to use the biggest, brightest overhead lights that you can find. However, you will probably enjoy better results if you go for softer lighting that diffuses the illumination it provides in a more uniform manner. A big, bright overhead light may illuminate the central area of your bathroom but it could have the unintended effect of making the rest of the room look even duller than it was before.
  • Extra Mirrors – The majority of bathrooms have a single mirror, usually positioned over the sink. While this may be all that is needed from a practical point of view, the addition of one or two more mirrors will make a significant difference to the overall level of illumination in your bathroom, both during the day and at night. Mirrored surfaces reflect natural and artificial light extremely effectively, helping to make even the gloomiest of spaces a lot brighter. This is something that is definitely worth considering at the design stage of your bathroom remodeling project.
  • Use a Light Colour for Floor Tiles – While vibrant colours such as orange or yellow can be a good choice for walls in darker bathrooms, lighter colours are better as far as flooring is concerned. Cream or white floor tiles will do a great deal to brighten up an otherwise gloomy space and being as most people plan to lay new tiles anyway when embarking on a bathroom remodeling project, will not inflate the total cost.
  • Use Clear Glass Shower Doors – This might seem like an obvious tip but you would be surprised at the number of people who do not realise how much light they are losing by fitting opaque or frosted glass shower doors in their bathroom. If you want to make the most of the available light and avoid creating a shower space that is dull and dreary, make sure that you choose large, clear glass doors.

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and you would like to find out how much it will cost for you to have your bathroom remodeling project carried out by experienced professionals, pick up the phone and contact us today. We will be delighted to answer any question you have and to provide you with a free estimate.

6 Key Questions Many Forget to Ask Before a Basement Renovation

basement renovation questions to askBasement renovations are as popular as ever in Toronto, and it’s easy to see why – an extra bedroom, a media room, a bar and games room – the list of possibilities is long, and each of them seems much more appealing than simply having an unused, unloved space under your house. Whichever idea you settle on, it’s advisable to take each step with careful consideration, and plan the whole renovation as thoroughly as possible. A basement renovation is not a small project, and there are many aspects – both large and small – that could potentially go wrong.

What Questions Should You Ask Your Contractor Before Your Basement Renovation?

There are a number of obvious questions that you should definitely be asking your contractor before any work is done, such as whether they are insured or not, what qualifications and expertise they have and whether they can give you references and customer reviews or not. These questions should be asked as a standard for any contracting work you have done. There are, however, some questions specific to basement renovations which often get overlooked, sometimes until it’s too late. In order to make sure you are safe, rather than sorry, be sure to ask these questions about your basement renovation:

  • How Will You Ensure Protection Against Any Water Issues? Basements are obviously among the areas of a home that are most at risk from water issues and flooding. Failing to take into consideration potential problems and hazards can spell disaster, either immediately, or at a later date. Many problems can occur in early spring, as the snow and ice melt around Toronto, sometimes causing pipes to crack and drains to overflow. Making sure that your contractor is aware of any such potential hazards, and is taking precautions against them, is essential to the success of your project.
  • What Fire Safety Provisions Are Being Made and How Will They Affect Your Home’s Safety? Any project you give the green light to, will need to comply with fire safety codes, and the plumbing, heating, electrical and structural work will all need to be carried out with these in mind. There will need to be adequate ventilation provided, too, especially if there is any possibility of the buildup of smoke or deadly gases, such as carbon monoxide.
  • What Kind Of Guarantees And Warranties Do You Offer? This should actually be a standard question but it’s especially important to ask before starting work on your basement, due to the potential higher costs and damage, should things go wrong.
  • Will You Provide A Final Cleaning? It’s one thing to finish a project, but it’s another to leave it ready to be enjoyed fully. Cleaning up after a basement renovation can be more difficult than doing so after similar projects in other parts of the house. If your contractor won’t do it, you’ll have to hire a cleaner or do it yourself.
  • How Do You Plan To Move Heavy Materials, Units And Tools Into The Basement? You need to be sure that there is sufficient access in order to avoid accidents and unnecessary damage.
  • What Input Can You Give To The Plans? An expert contractor will always have suggestions for how to do things better or more efficiently. 

Don’t be shy of asking any further questions that you feel are relevant. Any contractor worth their salt will appreciate that such a major renovation cannot take place without you being fully satisfied about how it will take place. Ask as many questions as you want, and remember that there are no silly questions – it’s your money and property they are dealing with, after all.

Wet Rooms and Why They’re One of the Most Popular Bathroom Remodeling Trends

Wet Rooms bathroom remodellingLong after wet rooms became the preferred option in East Asian new builds, they have now come to dominate bathroom remodeling in Toronto and the rest of North America. Wet rooms differ from traditional bathrooms in that the walls and floor are tanked to stop water from seeping out. As their name suggests, they don’t restrict water as much as other bathrooms, instead allowing moisture to drain from the walls and out of the room altogether.

Why Are Wet Rooms Becoming the Norm in Bathroom Remodeling?

After years of trying to keep water from splashing all over the bathroom, away from towels and toilet paper, why is everyone suddenly in such a rush to embrace the free-flowing moisture of wet rooms? As it turns out, they have numerous advantages over traditional bathrooms, some of which include:

  • They Add Value – It may not be surprising that something in demand commands a higher price than something unfashionable, but that’s not the only reason why wet rooms add value to your property. You are actually adding waterproofing to the part of your home that is most prone to dangerous leaks and problems with plumbing. An overflow of water in a wet room isn’t half as serious as in a traditional bathroom. In addition to this, whereas the buildup of moisture in traditional bathrooms can create damp in the walls, the sealed nature of wet rooms mean that this is not an issue.
  • They Add Accessibility – This is also another reason they add value, but if you or someone in your family has difficulty with mobility, wet rooms make washing much easier – there is not shower or bath tub to climb into. This makes bathroom usage much safer, quicker and easier for those who otherwise might struggle.
  • They Give you More Space to Play With – If you only have a small area to work with, you should consider a wet room for your bathroom remodeling, as there is no need to install shower units – the walls and a glass partition suffice. You don’t need to worry about bulky doors making your shower experience uncomfortable – wet rooms are far more open and feel more spacious.
  • They are Easier to Clean – There is a clear trend towards low maintenance construction these days, and bathroom remodeling is no exception. These spaces are often, along with the kitchen, people’s least favourite parts of the house to clean. Wet rooms, however, change all of that. The sealed walls and floor means that you simply use your regular cleaning fluids on the open surfaces and then rinse with water and watch the dirt drain away. It makes such a difference and is so easy to avoid the buildup of mould and mildew. Install a wet room and the bathroom will suddenly become your favourite room to clean.
  • They Look Great – There is a reason that high-end hotel groups have opted en masse for wet rooms, i.e. they look fantastically modern and stylish, and are guaranteed to impress visitors.

By opting for a wet room when you plan your bathroom remodeling, you’ll join an elite group of Toronto homeowners who have combined practicality with style in one of the most important rooms in the home. You’ll have a wide range of design options – wet rooms lend themselves easily to materials such as wood, stone and concrete, allowing you to keep the overall feel in line with the rest of your home. When it eventually comes to selling your home, you’ll definitely have the wow factor that other, traditional bathrooms lack.

6 New Home Additions trends in 2016

2016 home additions trendsIf you’re thinking about home additions, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s popular and what’s not in the Toronto area – otherwise you never know what you could be missing out on. Even worse, you could end up making changes which eventually have a detrimental effect on your property’s resale value.

What Are the Best of the Latest Home Additions?

Homebuilding trends depend on advances in technology, materials and techniques, just as much as they do on changes in taste. Home additions are no exception to this rule. Keeping up with the latest trends is a good way to ensure you get the most out of your homebuilding and renovation projects. Here are some of the most popular:

  • Ecofriendly Design Projects – The days of going green being something that only yuppies and vegetarians do have long gone. These days, ecofriendly homes are popping up everywhere, thanks to the widespread availability of recycled materials such as harvested wood and energy efficient fixtures.
  • Anything with Natural Materials – With the number of problems caused by using substances such as asbestos in construction for decades, it shouldn’t be surprising that people are generally looking towards more natural materials as a healthier option. When building your home addition, try to avoid plastics wherever possible, use low VOC paint and avoid formaldehyde in items such as carpets. Doing so will protect you and your family’s health, in addition to giving your home extra selling points for when the time comes.
  • Make sure Kitchen Additions are up to Speed – These days, Toronto homeowners prefer kitchens with double sinks, recessed lighting and lots of room when dining. All of this has led to a surge in kitchen extension projects.
  • Bathrooms are Still the Safest Investments – If you’re looking to plough some money into your home as an investment, there is one trend that continues to hold strong after decades: bathrooms are still a great option for adding value and extra liveability. While bathtubs seem luxurious, more practical homebuyers are looking for additions such as double showers, which get used more and save on water.
  • Adding a Deck – Decks are hardly a new trend, yet they remain popular when it comes to home additions. The reason for this comes down to the wide range of exciting new materials that have become available and affordable of late. A desire for low-maintenance construction has led to the increased use of composite materials that are immune to damage by insects and don’t require regular staining. Underfloor lighting and other niceties give new life to traditional deck installments such as fire pits, grills and bars.
  • Enlarging Existing Rooms – This is very much a newer trend that has caught on quite rapidly. Older buildings tend to have smaller rooms – a feature which is unpopular with modern families. The most obvious solution to this is to knock through interior walls in order to combine previously separate spaces into larger ones. When this isn’t an option, however, people have begun to knock through their external walls and build outwards in order to create more space. The most popular rooms, when it comes to external enlargement, are living rooms and kitchens.

Home designs are always changing, and there is no doubt that some of this year’s trends will look decidedly out of fashion in ten years’ time. In order to get an idea of which trends will continue to last, we need to look at economic, social and technological trends. All of these point towards lifetime living spaces – elimination of awkward features such as steep staircases, an increase in storage space and increasing the area of rooms at the expense of their number.

The Mancave Basement Renovation: 10 Must-Have Features

mancave basement renovationBalancing family life and work can be tough, and things can get stressful if you don’t get any downtime. Everyone needs some free time to reflect and relax – that may be alone or in the company of friends. You might, however, not want to stray too far from home due to inclement weather, low finances, or the fact that doing so could generate even more friction. It’s situations like these that mancaves were designed for, especially in basement renovation. This is a part of the house where you can relax and feel free to do what you want without treading on the sensibilities of others. It’s a place for you to be yourself.

How to Get the Most out of Your Mancave Basement Renovation

There’s no point having a dedicated space for you to hang out in, if it’s not set up for the things you enjoy. The scope of your mancave is only limited by your imagination – well, that, plus your bank balance and the space you’re using. But even the most modest budgets and limited spaces can be turned into great male sanctuaries. If you’re starting from scratch, with some careful planning you could end up with one of the best basement renovations in Toronto. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • A Giant Couch – It’s difficult to decide what the most important feature of a mancave should be, but somewhere to kick back or doze off has to be very high up on the list. You’ll want a large, comfortable couch if you’ll truly going to be able to relax. It also saves trying to find extra chairs to bring down when you have the guys over, and serves as somewhere to pass out during those bromantic sleepovers.
  • A Smart Entertainment Centre with a Huge Screen – Whether you’re watching the big game, playing games or kicking back to some tunes, you’ll want to make it all as simple as possible. By choosing the smart option, you avoid having to deal with DVDs, MP3s and so on. Set everything up for voice control and you’ll definitely feel like a boss.
  • Soundproofing – You’ve just tucked the children in bed and kissed the wife goodnight, but you don’t want to have to tiptoe around and push your ear up to the speakers to hear your music. Instead, you want to be able to rock out at full blast and really let your hair down. Soundproofing your basement renovation saves you from the wrath of angry family members the morning after.
  • A Big Refrigerator – Whether it’s leftover pizza, beer or a Toronto peameal bacon sandwich, you’ll need somewhere to keep it cool and fresh.
  • A Bar – You don’t even need alcohol or friends for this one (although most would include both). Just sitting on a stool, nursing a drink can make you feel like you’ve escaped it all.
  • A Hidden Bookshelf Door – for real privacy and to store all those things you’d rather not have on show, install a bookshelf with a secret door. If there’s no way anyone would believe you read books from time to time, stack it with sports magazines, DVDs and computer games.
  • Lightsaber Lights – Light up your basement renovation like the Death Star.
  • A Kitchenette – Fit a microwave, grill, cupboards and a sink to make sure you’ll survive in case nuclear war breaks out.
  • A Throne Toilet – You don’t want to be leaving every half hour once you’ve broken the seal.
  • A Pool Table – Doubles up as an extra bed when there’s no designated driver.

With some careful consideration and planning, you can create a mancave that you’ll be aching to spend time in from the moment you wake up until the early hours. The rest of the family will never have known such peace and quiet!

Kitchen Remodeling to Boost Your Home’s Sale Price

kitchen remodeling in TorontoAs most people are aware, the kitchen is one of the key rooms – possible the most important of all – when it comes to making a sale. Old-fashioned, poky or badly-designed kitchens can immediately put people off and ruin what would have otherwise been a great property. However, when your kitchen remodeling is done right, you should be looking at a room which sends your property to the top of the desirability scale in your area of Toronto.

How to Get the Best Return on Your Kitchen Remodeling

When you start planning your kitchen remodeling, you should be aiming to get a 70% return on investment, or even higher. In order to do so, however, you need to know exactly how to go about it. Simply deciding to change things around with no overall strategy could potentially be a recipe for disaster. Here are some of the most important tips for you to consider when planning your new kitchen:

  • Choose the Right Materials – This means going for quality and not settling for second-best. When it comes to choosing appliances, opt for the high-quality stainless steel ones, rather than professional-grade models. Look at features which will make the kitchen more comfortable and easier to use. Soft close drawers and doors, wide sinks and waste recycling features are all highly desirable. Resist any urges to personalize the space – your purpose in kitchen remodeling is to sell your property – the future owner may wish to personalize it in their own way, so you’re safer sticking to a showroom look.
  • Budget to Scale – Regardless of how much money you have available to plough into the project, you need to bear in mind the rough value of your property and invest accordingly. In general, this means spending between five and ten percent of your home’s value. Therefore, if, for example, your home is currently valued at $500,000, you should aim to spend no more than $50,000 on kitchen remodeling. Done well, this should increase the overall value of your property to around $585,000.
  • Be Aware of Popular Brands – Especially in the wealthier areas of Toronto, not listing high-end brands when it comes to appliances can have a negative effect on the value of your property. Aim for brands such as Gaggenau and Jenn-Air, and steer clear of Hotpoint and Fridgemaster. Obviously, this applies more at the top end of the market – there is no point at all in purchasing a high-end wine cooler for a small home in a lower-income neighbourhood.
  • Don’t Compromise on Architectural Styles – Don’t let yourself get swept up in grandiose remodeling ideas which will interrupt the architectural integrity of your property. If your home has a stone exterior and oak panelling in the atrium, the installation of a super-modern kitchen with laminates and shiny stainless steel may send potential buyers running, horrified, for the exit. Bear in mind that the first thing people see is the exterior of your home, and the only reason they have come inside is because they like how it looks from the outside. While there are people who like sharp transitions between interior styles, they are a niche market. In order to improve your chances of getting the amount you want for your home, you have to sell to a wider number of people.

Whenever you want to make large-scale changes to a property in order to increase its resale price, it is highly advisable to consult real estate professionals who are familiar with your neighbourhood. They will be able to advise you on subtle details which otherwise may have escaped your attention, such as finishing colours and brand names. Kitchen remodeling for resale usually calls for a lot of neutral colours and styles, but even neutral can be applied suboptimally.

 

Kitchen Renovation &why lighting should play an important role | VitzReno

kitchen renovation lighting Lighting can profoundly influence your mood and even your food. This makes lighting a crucial consideration for your kitchen renovation. The kitchen is where we begin the day in earnest and perform those visceral acts of love for ourselves and those we care about by making that first cup of coffee or a nice hot meal, not to mention being the most popular room at any party! As such, it really behoves us to give our kitchen lighting the attention that it deserves.

Kitchen Renovation: Seeing the Light

The following is a breakdown of ways in which proper lighting can positively affect your kitchen experience and add value to your home:

  • General Illumination: This will set the mood and tone for the vast majority of your time in the kitchen, so it is well worth thinking about whether you want the warm tones of incandescent lighting or the bright white of fluorescent lights during your kitchen renovation. Let’s not forget; we eat with our eyes as much as our mouths, so if the installation of task lighting for when you are enjoying your meal is not really compatible with the design of your kitchen, your choice of general illumination is going to be responsible in large part for the ambience of your meal. 
  • Task Lighting: As the name suggests, this kind of lighting allows you to clearly and effectively see what you’re doing when performing specific tasks but crucially, the right kind of task lighting can help to ensure that your creations come out the way that they should, because food is chemistry and your visual feedback on how your food is going depends on the quality of your lighting. Some kitchen appliances and features come with their own built-in task lighting, but you can always add more to suit your needs. Common places for task lighting are on the wall, under cabinets or hanging from the ceiling in the form of track lights or pendants. Task lighting is also very useful for lighting the inside of storage spaces. Your kitchen renovation is a great opportunity to evaluate the way that you use your kitchen so that that the right kind of task lighting can be installed to enhance the ease and effectiveness of your time in the beating heart of your home. 
  • Highlighting & Accenting: The purpose of this kind of lighting is to add interest to a space by drawing attention to a specific features or to add depth and dimension to the environment. It can also be used as a decoration in and of itself, with candles or coloured mood lighting being just two examples of lucent eye-candy for your kitchen in Toronto. You may want to show off that eye-catching range hood, a piece of art that must be seen or those beautifully carved cabinet doors. Another good example is toe-space lighting, which can give central islands and wall cabinets the appearance of floating above the ground. 

While there is no doubt that well-placed fixtures or clever layout of appliances and features will allow certain lights to multitask well, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to lighting. Certain types of lighting complement each other to beautiful effect, whereas the wrong pairing will encourage you to just leave them off. Whether you have the kitchen renovation for your Toronto home is all planned out and visualised in your mind’s eye or you think that you could use some friendly expert advice, the professionals at Vitz Reno are always happy to help.

Interviewing a General Contractor: The Right Way to Do It

how to interview a general contractorBefore you hire a company to complete a home improvement project in your property, you need to make sure they are the right people for the job. The best way to establish that this is indeed the case is to meet with them face to face and to interview them. During the interview, there are a number of important questions you need to ask the general contractor you are meeting with, which we have listed below for your convenience. If you fail to find out the answers to these questions, you will not be in a position to make an informed choice when you have finished your interview. If a face-to-face meeting is not practical, you could conceivably conduct an interview over the phone but if you and the company are both in the Greater Toronto Area, it should be relatively easy to set up a meeting at a convenient place and time.

What to Ask a General Contractor During an Interview

Before you start your interview, take a look at the questions below and perhaps make a few notes so you do not forget to ask any of them.

  • What Kind of Insurance Do You Have? –Any contractor that you hire to perform work in your home simply must have a liability insurance policy and preferably one that has a very generous amount of cover as far as damages are concerned. Any injuries to the contractor’s team that may be sustained while working on your property should be covered, as should any damage that may be caused to your home.
  • Can You Provide Details of Previously Completed Projects? – In an ideal world, you would be able to visit the properties that a general contractor has already improved and inspect the quality of their workmanship. However, most people are understandably reticent to invite strangers into their homes so this may well not be possible. What should be possible, is for the contractor you are interviewing to show you detailed photographs of previous projects, along with testimonials from the owners of the properties where the projects were completed. If they cannot, you should proceed with great caution.
  • Can You Handle the Building Permit Application Process? – If you are going to be building an addition to your property, underpinning your foundations as part of a basement renovation project, or doing anything else that requires a building permit from the local authorities, hiring a general contractor that can take care of the entire application process will make your life much easier. An experienced contractor, familiar with the form in which applications must be presented and how the City of Toronto Building staff like to work will be able to ensure that the whole process goes smoothly.
  • Will You Prepare a Free Estimate for Me to Evaluate? – Before you can decide whether a particular contractor is the right one to handle your next home improvement project, you will of course need to know how much they are going to charge for the work you want to have completed. Some firms charge a fee for preparing estimates but reputable contractors who win many of the jobs they are asked to quote for will normally offer this service for free. If they do not, make sure to ask them why.

Finding the right general contractor is of vital importance when undertaking any kind of home improvement project so don’t give in to the temptation to skip this important stage of the selection process. If you would like to interview the team at Vitz Reno, please do not hesitate to call us to arrange a meeting.

7 Mistakes to Avoid on Your Basement Remodeling Project

basement remodeling mistakes to avoidRemodeling your basement could be a great way to provide your family with more living space, without having to move home. There are many competent contractors in Toronto who can handle such projects, including of course the team here at Vitz Reno, but you will need to plan your renovation carefully, to avoid making any mistakes. While basement remodeling is one of the more affordable options for homeowners who wish to increase the amount of usable space in their property, if this type of home improvement project is not handled carefully it can end up costing far more than necessary. Make sure you get it right first time, by following our tips below.

Basement Remodeling: What Not to Do

If you can avoid the 7 mistakes that we have listed below, your remodeling project should be a resounding success.

  1. Failing to Create an Accurate Floor Plan – Unless you know exactly what you are trying to achieve with your Toronto basement renovation, you will have little to no chance of attaining your goals. You must have an accurate layout to work from when remodeling, so that nothing is forgotten and everything ends up in the right place. Assuming you hire a professional contractor, this will be something they can handle, in close consultation with you of course.
  1. Not Obtaining a Building Permit – Not all basement renovation projects will require a building permit but if you are planning to run any plumbing into your below-grade space, add heating units, or modify the foundations in any way (basement underpinning for example), you will need to apply for a permit before work commences.
  1. Neglecting to Install Subfloor – Basements often have plain concrete flooring, which is fine if you seldom use them or just store your junk below grade. On the other hand, if you want to turn your basement into a living area that you and your family can enjoy all year round, you will want to install a subfloor over the concrete and a finish on top of that. Without a subfloor, condensation from the cool concrete surface in the summer months will almost certainly cause moisture and mould problems.
  1. Failing to Include an Unobstructed Window in Your Plans – Building codes vary from one province or territory to another in Canada, and very occasionally from one municipality to another, but  if you live here in the GTA, your basement remodeling plans must include provisions for an unobstructed window that is at least 0.28 m2. This is to ensure there is adequate ventilation during the summer months.
  1. Underestimating Total Cost – A common mistake that many homeowners make is to underestimate the total cost of their below grade remodeling project. You may have to underpin the foundations in order to raise the ceiling, lay a subfloor as mentioned above, and undertake various other alterations that all add to the cost. Make sure you include these in your calculations.
  1. Doing It Yourself – A competent DIYer can tackle many tasks around the home but a complex basement remodeling project is best left to the professionals. There are many problems you may be unable to overcome without an in-depth knowledge of below grade renovations.
  1. Hiring the Wrong Contractor – To avoid common problems and unnecessary expenses, you should hire a competent, experienced contractor such as Vitz Reno! Don’t hire a firm without an established reputation because you will almost certainly regret it.

The easiest way to avoid making costly mistakes when remodeling your basement is to get in touch with us today and ask for a detailed quotation covering all of your requirements.

Kitchen Remodeling: Should You Change the Layout of Your Space?

kitchen remodeling space layoutSome homeowners decide to refurbish their kitchens because they are beginning to look a little shabby or outdated whereas others feel that a major revamp is in order owing to a change in their needs or personal circumstances. Whatever your reasons for contemplating a Toronto kitchen remodeling project, one of the first things you will need to consider is whether to stick with the existing layout or whether to start afresh. To help you make this decision, let us consider how the layout affects the way that you use one of the most important rooms in your home.

Does Your Kitchen Remodeling Need to Include a Change in the Layout?

To answer this question, you need to spend some time thinking about what you need to do in your kitchen on a daily basis, and what you would like to do be able to do with it in an ideal world. The layout you choose will have a big influence on what it is possible for you to do in the refurbished space.

  • Playing The Genial Host – If you enjoy inviting a few of your closest friends round to your Toronto home for dinner whenever you have the time to spare, you might like to consider an L-shaped layout with the open side of the L facing the dining area in your home. This type of layout creates a natural working triangle that makes it easy to use all the available space. The fact that one side opens onto your dining room or area will enable you to carry on entertaining your guests while you are busy cooking for them. Many kitchen remodeling experts recommend this type of layout.
  • Cooking Basic Meals in a Small Space – If your kitchen makes most closets look spacious, one of the best configurations for your cabinets and appliances could be to lay everything out in a straight line along one of the longer sides of the room. With this layout, you should be able to position the stove, work surface, sink and refrigerator in close proximity to each other, while still leaving yourself enough room to manoeuvre when preparing meals and clearing up afterwards.
  • A Solo Cooking Enthusiast in a Confined Space – If you are an enthusiastic cook who prefers to work alone, and you have a relatively small space in which to fit everything you need, think about going for a galley-style layout when planning your kitchen remodeling project. The difference between this and the above layout is that you utilize both of the longer walls, placing cabinets and appliances in a straight line against each one. This gives you more space for your cooking equipment and ingredients, but the end result is a kitchen that is only really suitable for one person to use at a time.
  • General Purpose – If you like to do all sorts in your Toronto kitchen and would rather not focus on one particular use case scenario when choosing a layout, the U shape could be just what you are looking for. A U-shaped layout works well with both small and large spaces, makes it easy to move around when preparing complex dishes, and even features an open side that can look onto your dining area if you wish to create a contiguous space where you can cook and entertain guests at one and the same time. This is one of the easiest layouts to keep clean as well, with no dark, hard-to-reach corners.

For more information on what to consider when evaluating layouts prior to a kitchen remodeling in Toronto, please do not hesitate to call Vitz Reno: your local experts.

6 Signs Your Home is in Need of a Bathroom Renovation

6 signs you need a bathroom renovationThe in-laws fly into town and come to dinner for the first time in years. The mother-in-law excuses herself to use the facilities and, a few minutes later, comes back looking like she’s seen a ghost. What happened? In short, your bathroom happened. Because entropy is an accumulative phenomenon (i.e. things fall apart slowly) you may not be aware of just how gnarly your bathroom has become in the eyes of those seeing it for the first time. It’s a big deal though because if your bathroom is a mess it’s all your guests will be talking about when they leave and if you hope to sell your Toronto house a rundown bathroom is going to result in measurably smaller bids. In this post we’ll look at some of the less obvious signs that it’s time for a bathroom renovation.

Is a Bathroom Renovation in Order? Look for These Signs

  1. You Have to Wait for the Mirror to Clear – If after taking a hot shower you need to wait more than just a few minutes for the mirror to clear it means your bathroom ventilation is inadequate. Inadequate ventilation can wreak havoc in a bathroom promoting the growth of mould and mildew and slowly undermining paint, wallpaper, drywall and other materials. It’s a sure sign upgrades are in order.
  1. You Water Bill is Through the Roof – Old bathrooms have old pipes and old pipes often have small leaks inside the walls or floor that are unseen. Old bathrooms also utilize inefficient hardware that pumps out water like it’s going out of style. Those old faucets and shower heads have a regrettable tendency to leak too. When you renovate the bathroom and replace the pipes and hardware you should see a noticeable savings on your monthly water bill.
  1. You’re Forced to Use Power Strips – When most older homes were built no one anticipated the flood of electric gadgets future generations would come to rely on. As a result people saddled with old bathrooms often employ power strips to make up for the lack of outlets. If you’re running power strips it may be time for a bathroom renovation.
  1. Your Needs are Not Being Met – When your significant other isn’t meeting your needs you can have a heart to heart to address the matter. Can’t do that with the bathroom though. If the shower leaves you flat, if you’d like an overhead light so you can read like everyone else when you’re on the throne or if your makeup always needs adjusting later because the lights on the vanity are inadequate it’s time to consider renovating.
  1. Things Never Come Truly Clean – If, after investing an hour or more cleaning the bathroom, it still doesn’t have that like-new look, it’s a good sign that it’s time to renovate. Everything loses its lustre over time including sinks, tubs, tiles and hardware. If your bathroom has slipped into the “always dirty zone” it’s time to consider renovating.
  1. You’re Storing Bathroom Things in the Hall Closet – Older bathrooms are notoriously skimpy on things like storage space. If you’ve taken to storing extra soaps, toilet tissue, shampoo, towels and the like outside the bathroom because there just isn’t enough room it’s time to consider creating the room you need through a bathroom renovation.

At Vitz Reno we help Toronto area homeowners identify and develop the unrealized value in their homes. Bathroom renovation is one of the best, most cost-effective ways of doing this. If you are in possession of an older bathroom that no longer measures up give us a call and talk to one of our highly trained and experienced home interior design experts.

Home Additions and how you can maintain design continuity

home additions design continuityOnce upon a time, architectural consistency was imposed by limited materials, construction methods and other practicalities. Nowadays we have countless options in all these regards, but building successful home additions still relies on maintaining consistency with the original structure. Even a well-designed, well-built addition can have a negative effect on the aesthetic and resale value of your house, if it looks out of place. Think of it as similar to cosmetic surgery – don’t try to put Will Smith’s face on Ben Kingsley’s body.

The Key to Successful Home Additions is Planning

In order to get your home addition right, you will need to plan contextually. This means designing home additions to be in harmony with the original building. At Vitz Reno, we strive to help home owners in Toronto design and build an addition that looks like it ought to have been there in the first place. You’ll need to consider such things as:

  • Match the Prominent Features – Nothing looks more awkward than those home additions with a completely different style of roof, for example. Strive to make your home addition look like a natural part of the existing building. Take into consideration drains, balconies, window frames and other features that are important to your home’s appearance.
  • Use Similar Materials – Building costs and energy-saving are among the primary considerations when designing home additions. However, by selecting cheaper materials, or those which promise to reduce your utility bills, you may end up losing money when your house comes to resale. With good planning and research, it’s usually possible to have the best of both worlds – affordable, energy-efficient materials, that maintain or compliment the aesthetic of what is already there.
  • Use the Same Style – A Mediterranean-style veranda on a Craftsman-style home isn’t going to work. Nor will a modern, glass sun-room fit with a Bay-and-Gable style home. If your heart is set on using a new style, you might want to look into converting the exterior of the entire building. Even then, it might look out of place in your particular neighborhood. Vitz Reno can help you to find a solution in keeping with the character of your home.
  • Ensure that New Windows and Doors Line Up – Stylistic continuity can be undermined if the proportions of the addition are wrong and major features are unaligned. Again, you may want to consider making changes to the entire building to create the aesthetic you want. Asymmetrical facades can look skewed and ugly when done badly. Think in terms of cosmetic surgery – people find a natural attraction to symmetry.
  • Ensure Continuity Inside and Outside – In some homes, it’s instantly clear which area has been added to the initial construction. This is particularly disagreeable when it’s the exterior, but can also be problematic in the interior. You may dream of a rustic kitchen, but it would feel very much out-of-place in a modern house. If you really want to go with highly-contrasting areas, then allow for transitional spaces to be a part of your planning.

When it comes down to it, there is no magic formula or algorithm for designing the right addition to your home. Every property is different, as is every family. Coming up with the right design involves finding a way to create the space you want, while maintaining the integrity of your building in terms of character, style and space. Perhaps the only rule of the game is, the more successful the architecture of the original house, the more care will be needed when making an addition. Vitz Reno is here to make sure that Toronto remains known for its beautiful homes – not architectural misadventures.

Bathroom Remodeling: Key Components to a Successful Project

bathroom remodeling key componentsIf you have been thinking about home improvements recently and have come to the conclusion that now is the perfect time to remodel the main bathroom in your Toronto property, there are a number of key factors you should consider before you get started. These factors will play a big part in deciding whether your bathroom remodeling project is a success or a failure so you need to pay close attention to each one when you are considering exactly what you would like to do to your bathroom.

Will Your Bathroom Remodeling Project Be a Resounding Success?

Make sure that you give due consideration to the following factors and you cannot fail to succeed! Each one is a key component of any successful project.

  • Budget – If you have absolutely no idea how much you are willing or able to spend, you will find it very difficult to make any kind of meaningful decisions concerning your forthcoming bathroom remodeling project. With this in mind, the very first thing you need to do is to set yourself a budget so that you can start to make plans in earnest. Once you have a figure in mind, you can focus your attention on those bathroom furnishings, fixtures and fittings that are within your price range.
  • Functionality –Whether you want a combined shower and bath, a separate shower cubicle, or a Jacuzzi with room for you and your partner to relax after a hard day at the office, you need to decide what sort of functionality you want from your new bathroom at an early stage. As soon as you know what you want, you can move on to the next crucial factor.
  • Layout – Deciding what goes where when planning a major bathroom renovation project is of course of crucial importance. This is something that is best done in consultation with a renovation expert so before you make any concrete plans as far as the new layout is concerned, you should take care of the next crucial component in our list.
  • Renovation Team – The craftsmen who actually carry out the work that needs to be done on your bathroom could make or break your remodeling project so you need to be sure that you have picked the right team before you put pen to paper and make any binding agreements. Look for companies and individuals in your part of Toronto that have completed many similar projects in the past and that have a good reputation in the local community. Things to consider when evaluating bathroom remodeling contractors include the amount of time they have been in business, whether they have full liability insurance, and whether they are willing to provide you with a free quotation.
  • Style – When most people approach this type of renovation project, they have a very good idea of the kind of style they are aiming for: the colour scheme and the design theme, if any, that they wish to use in their refurbished bathroom. If you have yet to consider these aspects, spend some time looking through online home décor magazines and see if they inspire you to make any bold new choices. If you would rather err on the side of caution and stick to traditional design themes that’s fine too of course.

If you would like some help with the planning of your bathroom remodeling project, please feel free to pick up the phone and call us at any time. On the other hand, if you already know exactly what you want, we would be delighted to provide you with a competitive quotation for the work in question.

Basement Renovation Ideas: What Will You Use Yours For?

basement renovation ideasToronto is the nation’s biggest city and space is at a premium here. It makes sense for people to maximize their use of the space they already have, before expanding. Basements tend to be relatively large and open spaces, which makes them ideal for various different renovation ideas. In order to make the best use of this space, it’s important to keep your family needs at the heart of your planning. It’s also wise to estimate the impact your Toronto basement renovation will have on the resale value of your home, particularly if the renovation will be a major investment.

What are the Most Popular Reasons for Embarking on a Basement Renovation?

Each type of renovation will serve your family, and impact your property in a different way. As each family is unique, only you can decide what would be the best use of the space available. However, there are several types of renovation that are more popular than others. These include:

  • A Second Living Area – This a good option for larger families and those with older children. If your living room is the noisiest and most crowded part of the house, it might well make sense to have one room for the kids and another for the adults. This can make a huge difference to the overall atmosphere of the house, especially when you have guests over.
  • A Movie Theatre – If you and your family enjoy movies or gaming, a home movie theatre might not be quite as extravagant as it sounds. Aside from improving your home’s resale value, you could save a fortune on cinema tickets, popcorn and gas. Plus, the screen and sound will be configured just for you, making it a superior experience overall.
  • A Home Gym – Building one of these is a great way to make it easier for your whole family to stay in shape. Being able to work out whenever suits you, without having to travel and then still have to wait for machines to become free, makes a home gym a very attractive proposition for many. Unlike gym memberships, home gyms still get used long after they’ve been paid for.
  • A Self-Contained Apartment – Effectively a second residence within your home, this can be a great solution for families who want to stay close to elderly relatives or adult children. Alternatively, with its own kitchen and bathroom spaces, once your basement renovation is finished, you could rent it out. This is great for those who are looking for an additional income stream.
  • An Extra Bedroom – Unsurprisingly, as new additions to the family arrive and it starts getting bigger, it becomes clear that they need more space. If your children are getting too old to share bunks, renovating the basement into a bedroom is a no-brainer.
  • An Extra Bathroom – If your house presently only has one bathroom, building another one as part of your basement renovation will instantly add value and saleability to your property. Not only that, but it can put an end to waiting in line every morning!

Depending on the size of your basement, you might be able to leave part of it unfinished, either for storage purposes, or for further remodelling in future. This is a good option for young couples who may still be planning their families. Whether you do this, or decide to remodel the entire space, the important thing is that you chose your basement renovation based upon the needs of your family. At Vitz Reno, we help people in Toronto make the best use of their spaces, by listening to their needs and using their input in our designs.

Basement Remodeling: 7 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Committing to One

basement remodeling VitzRenoThe prospect of remodeling your basement and bringing it into the domestic fold is an exciting one loaded with possibilities that will reverberate for years to come. Basement remodeling is also a complex, expensive proposition and if you plan on doing it yourself now might be a good time to rethink that strategy. Building out a basement so that it’s up to code and up to the design and construction standards of the rest of the house is not a DIY project.

Be Clear About What You Want Before Undertaking a Basement Remodeling

Who will be doing the work is an important question but it’s just one of several you need to ask yourself before work begins on your basement renovation. Answering these questions will help provide perspective and, hopefully, insight on the upcoming project.

 

  1. DIY or general contractor? – This is the question we opened this blog post with and it’s crucial. Basement remodeling is not a DIY project. You’ll need electricians, plumbers, HVAC pros and more on the job to make sure everything goes as planned. Our advice: take off the DIY hat on this one and let the pros handle it.

 

  1. How much am I willing to spend? – This has to be decided before any contracts are signed. Construction costs have a way of getting out of hand if you’re not committed to a budget. Leave yourself a bit of wiggle room but only use it in the event of actual emergency or unforeseen expenses for items you can’t do without.

 

  1. Am I ready to have a remodeled basement? – If you’ve built out a home entertainment centre in the basement for watching sports, playing video games or playing pool chances are your home is going to become a hot destination for the kid’s friends and things may get noisier and busier than they’ve ever been.

 

  1. Is water going to be a problem? – Some people remodel their basement without giving adequate thought to water intrusion issues. If your basement has a history of flooding during heavy rain events or the spring snow melt you’ll need to have the water intrusion issues addressed before you give the contractor the go ahead to start the remodeling.

 

  1. What do I want to do with my remodeled basement? – If you really want an entertainment centre build an entertainment centre. If you really want a home office then build accordingly. The former type of space will typically be more open ended, while the latter will be more compressed with an emphasis on utility.

 

  1. Am I planning to move soon? – Believe it or not people sometimes remodel their basement right before putting their home on the market. If you’re thinking of moving in the near future it’s hard to make a compelling argument to remodel the basement. Yes it will add value to the home but is it worth months of disruption at a time when you’re preparing to move?

 

  1. What do I expect? – One thing that has undermined countless basement remodeling projects is unrealistic expectations. Your new basement likely won’t change the trajectory of your life, though it may make it more enjoyable and it’s not going to change you from a wallflower into a social lion. It’s a room or two. It will likely be fun but don’t expect too much from it.

 

Basement remodeling will add substantial bottom line value to your home and open up entertainment possibilities that were previously closed to you. At Vitz Reno in Toronto we specialize in basement remodeling projects and are more than willing to answer any questions you may have about the process. Give us a call today.

Bathroom Renovation Tricks for Smaller Bathrooms

bathroom renovation in torontoA bathroom renovation while complex from an execution perspective is, from a planning perspective, a fairly straightforward endeavour. At least it can be if you’re dealing with a bathroom that has lots of elbow room. If you’re of a mind to renovate a smaller bathroom however it can be difficult no matter how you look at it. You want to bring it to life and make it an oasis of calm and rejuvenation, but the lack of space means everything you know about standard bathroom renovation has be tossed out the window in favour of pragmatism and inventiveness.

Finding the Horizon in a Smaller Bathroom Renovation

If the bathroom you’re about to renovate is a tight, cramped space where you need to stand at a weird angle to open the door you’re going to need a contractor like Vitz Reno in Toronto with the talent and imagination to find space where none seems to exist. There are several ways to do this. Below we’ll outline a few.

 

  • Eliminate the unnecessary: Is it absolutely necessary to have the towel rack in the bathroom? Could you keep the towels in the hall linen closet instead? What about the vanity? A bulky vanity really gobbles up space in a small bathroom. Removing the vanity and replacing it with a pedestal sink can open up a small bathroom and is something we highly recommend.

 

  • More mirrors: Chances are you have a single average sized mirror over the sink. That’s great but if you really want to provide a sense of space in a small room you’ll want more (mirrors that is). Hang a full length mirror on the back of the door and another at the opposite end of the room if possible. The interaction of the 2 mirrors will really open up the space.

 

  • Change the lighting: If you currently have a single light above the sink it’s time to install a more sophisticated lighting scheme. Often this just means decentralizing the light. Spread it to the extremities of the room with recessed lights, for instance, at the far end and perhaps another one over the door area. Track lights can also help since they can be redirected at will.

 

  • Speaking of light: Do you currently have heavy curtains over the window? If so get rid of them and replace them with lacey white curtains as part of your bathroom renovation. If you’re worried about privacy replace your windows with frosted glass.

 

  • Think transparent: If you currently have an opaque shower curtain replace it with a clear one. If you currently have opaque white shelving above the sink or toilet replace them with clear shelves. Same with the soap dish and towel rack. Clear items will help lighten the atmosphere in the room and give it a more open feel.

 

  • Use colour creatively: Colour can be used to create the impression the walls are closing in or pushing back. It can be used to create mood and atmosphere and in a cramped space the colours you use need to be very carefully considered. Eliminate darks wherever possible and try to reduce the overall palette to just a couple of colours. Introduce bright colour through the use of a stained glass pendant hanging in front of the window or flowers in a wall sconce.

 

A tiny bathroom doesn’t have to feel that way. By utilizing these and other fundamental design principles we can turn even the most cramped WC into a space that feels like a full size bath. Call Vitz Reno Toronto for more information about bathroom renovation for smaller rooms.

Going It Alone Vs Hiring a General Contractor: Why the Latter is the Smart Choice

general contractor torontoThe DIY craze took root about 40 years ago and since then has blossomed into a formidable industry with hundreds of related books and magazines, scores of Toronto TV shows, thousands of DVDs and downloadable videos and more dedicated websites than you can count. That’s great because the more things people do themselves the more they learn about the house they occupy and that can only be a net positive in the long run. However there are times when even the hardiest DIY veteran has to stand back and ask themselves if it’s time to call a general contractor (GC).

 Reasons to Call a General Contractor

One of the most important skills a smart DIYer will cultivate is knowing when to stand back and let the professionals take over. It’s important to know your limits and here’s why:

 

  • Stress: Large scale home improvement projects can be very stressful. Even experienced pros sweat the details because the stakes are enormous. On projects where plumbing and electricity are involved, as well as any project that involves the exterior walls of the home, you need to be absolutely sure you’ve got things right. That kind of confidence can only really come from experience. The kind of experience a general contractor has in spades.

 

  • Safety: Look closer into the reasons large scale home improvement projects can be so stressful and you’ll find the issue of safety staring back at you. It’s no exaggeration to say that the health and safety of everyone in the house is on the line. You could make a mistake and not realize it until someone receives a shock when turning on a light or a leak in the pipes you installed causes a short circuit and house fire.

 

  • Time: You may be a talented DIYer but trying to handle something like an addition or complete kitchen remodel yourself is going to take several times longer to complete than if you call a GC. And we’re not just talking about an extra week or so. An addition that might take a GC a month might take you 3 or 6 months. Same with a kitchen remodel. Do you really want your kitchen to be basically out of service for several months or more?

 

  • Costs: When it comes to complicated projects you could actually wind up paying more to do-it-yourself than if you called a GC. That’s because A) you’re not going to get the same price on materials as an experienced GC, and B) do-evers add up quickly. In addition, should anyone get hurt on the jobsite when you’re in charge it’s on you. If it happens while a GC is running things it will be covered by their liability insurance.

 

  • Resale value: Perhaps the most compelling reason to hire a general contractor is the impact it will have on your home’s market value. Your spouse or best friend may have nothing but good things to say about the job you did remodeling the kitchen but potential buyers may not be so generous. When you hire a GC to handle things you can be sure all work will be up to code and have a professional finish to it.

As a general rule of thumb any project that would require 2 or more contractors is not a DIY project and should be overseen by a general contractor like Vitz Reno in Toronto. Our job is not to prove that you can’t do it, but to help ensure the safety of your home’s inhabitants, the quality of the finished work and the long-term value of your largest single investment.

The Kitchen Renovation: Why It Can Have Such a Big Impact upon Your Home’s Value

toronto kitchen renovationThe kitchen is the social center of the home: the place where people meet as they come and go, where families share meals and where you can enjoy a quiet cup of coffee as you watch the fog waft through the yard at sunrise. And let’s not forget the kitchen is the go-to room at parties and during the preparation of big holiday meals. Those things that make the kitchen special are the same things that drive the increased home valuation you can enjoy by undergoing a kitchen renovation.

 

The Inside Scoop on Kitchen Renovation

The following is a breakdown of how the different elements of a kitchen renovation impact the return you’ll see on your project.

  • Cabinets: Cabinets are in many ways the face of the kitchen. They take up a good portion of the wall space and provide context for the rest of the kitchen components. If your cabinets are old and worn it’s like having dirty sheets on the bed. Cabinets can be expensive but you can get the most out of your investment by having your cabinets resurfaced rather than completely replaced. The enhanced home value you’ll enjoy with a kitchen renovation can be virtually the same.
  • Countertops: Countertops are where the business of the kitchen gets done and the kitchen surface you and your guests will enjoy the closest relationship with. Countertops should be an integral part of any kitchen renovation. Whether you choose granite, marble, quartz or another material it should be able to produce the ‘wow’ factor or you should choose something else; because it’s that ‘wow’ factor that adds the value to your Toronto home.
  • Floors: A beautiful floor will provide the visual underpinning for your kitchen but it should also have a practical aspect because no other floor in the house will be subject to more spilled drinks and food articles, more muddy footprints or more extremes of heat and cold. Ceramic tile, natural stone, vinyl, cork and even concrete are all viable options although for most homes natural hardwood is the way to go to ramp up the ROI.
  • Lighting: If there is one thing that distinguishes the kitchens of old from their contemporary counterparts it’s lighting. Whereas your parent’s kitchen may have been illuminated by a single circular fluorescent light in the middle of the room today’s kitchens make use of pendant lights, pot lights, track lighting, wall sconces and more to create mood that can change with the hour or the occasion.
  • Backsplash: Somewhere in the recent past some enlightened designer decided to promote the virtues of the humble backsplash and, almost overnight, an interior design movement was born. Today backsplashes are some of the most sought after features of a kitchen. Metal, glass, wood and ceramic tile are all on the table as possible backsplash materials and will add value to your kitchen and by extension your home.

The Middle Path

You can still enjoy a considerable boost not only to the overall look and feel of your home but to its market value as well by doing a partial renovation of your kitchen. In a full renovation you’d likely tackle all the items listed above and maybe rewire the whole kitchen while you’re at it. With a partial you can pick and choose items buffet style and still enjoy a value boost provided the work is top quality.

 

To achieve the highest quality results for a kitchen renovation in Toronto call the professionals at Vitz Reno. We can handle any size renovation project from buffet-style to tear down the walls and start again. Give us a call today to discuss possibilities.

Kitchen Remodeling and the 5 Most Important Decisions You Need to Make

A Toronto kitchen renovation project for your home may involve a lot of hard work and planning but it can be enormously satisfying when you see the end result. To make sure that you are completely happy with the work that is done, there are a few decisions you will need to make as early as possible, 5 of which we consider to be the most important and are therefore going to discuss in this article. Once you have considered all the factors we cover, you should be in a position to make the best decisions for you and your property.

5 Kitchen Remodeling Decisions to Make Before You Get Started

Think about the following 5 decisions carefully then write down your ideas on a notepad before you get in touch with us to discuss your requirements!

1. How Much Do You Want to Spend? – The first decision you need to make is how much to spend on your kitchen renovation project. Without a budget to work with, it will be almost impossible to make any other decisions concerning the work you would like to have carried out in your kitchen, or the fixtures, fittings, and appliances you are going to buy. It is unwise to start without any idea of the amount you are willing to spend as costs can easily get out of control when such an approach is taken. In the worst case scenario, you could run out of money before the job is finished and be forced to borrow or live with a half-finished kitchen until you have more funds available.

2. Who You Are Going to Hire to Do the Work? – If you are a highly skilled DIY enthusiast with years of experience, bags of confidence, and a full set of tools, you might consider doing the work yourself. If not, you will almost certainly want to hire a team of professionals to handle your kitchen remodeling project so you will need to consider which of the local Toronto firms is best equipped to meet your needs.

3. What Type of Design Do You Want? – You don’t need to make a final decision on the interior design of your new kitchen before you get in touch with local contractors to ask for quotes and advice but you should think about the type of design you might like: traditional, contemporary, ultra-modern, minimalistic, or whatever takes your fancy. If you have some idea of the direction you would like to take as far as the design is concerned, it will make it much easier to choose a firm to perform the work, and to start choosing appliances that will go well with the general theme you have chosen.

4. What Colour Scheme Would You Like? – Again, as with the design, you don’t need to be precise at this stage. Just knowing that you would like to use yellow and green, for example, is enough. You don’t need to choose the exact tones until you meet with the painters and decorators who will be responsible for this part of the Toronto kitchen renovation project.

5. What Kind of Countertops Will You Install? – Depending on the materials used, the countertops you choose could use up a fair portion of your overall kitchen remodeling budget so it is a good idea to make this decision at a fairly early stage.

If you are not sure about any of these decisions, we will of course be delighted to help you make the best choices for your home and your household. You can contact the team at Vitz Reno by calling us by using the contact form on our website.

How a Basement Renovation is a Good Investment

The high percentage of properties in Toronto that feature spacious basements, together with the upward pressure on house prices that we have seen recently, has led many people to consider a basement renovation in Toronto for their homes instead of moving to a larger property when the need for more space arises. However, this type of project involves a considerable investment on the part of the homeowner so the question that many want answered before committing to renovating their basements is how much of their investment they can expect to recoup in the event they sell their property at a later date and how the ROI for this type of home improvement compares to that for others.

Expected ROI for a Basement Renovation and Other Home Improvement Projects

While it is not possible to quote precise figures concerning the return on investment for any particular home improvement project in Toronto, owing to the many variables involved, we can look at countrywide trends to get a rough idea of what you can expect.

1. Roof Shingle Replacement – You might think a renovation project that offers both cosmetic and practical benefits would score highly in terms of ROI but in the case of roof shingle replacements you could be wrong. Returns as low as 25% are not unheard of, making it a home improvement project that you should only really consider if it is absolutely necessary or means a lot to you personally (or if you have no intention of ever selling your home of course!).

2. Landscaping – Although it is sometimes possible to make a good return on your investment in backyard and garden landscaping, you may be disappointed, with figures around 25% again not out of the question. If you are lucky, you could recoup as much as 50% of your investment or more but this is perhaps not the best type of project to undertake if your main priority is to increase the value of your home. A basement renovation, as you will discover further down this list, is a much better proposition.

3. Central Air Conditioning – Anybody who lives in this city will agree that some form of air conditioning is essential if you are to make it through the humid summers unscathed but the ROI for installing a centralized system in your home could be anywhere from 25%-75%, making it a bit of a lottery as far as those who are keen to sell their property in the near future are concerned. However, were you to combine this type of home improvement project with a well executed basement renovation, you could look forward to a significantly better return.

4. Home Theatre Room – Home theatre rooms sound like a great idea and if you want one for your own personal pleasure, and that of your family, they certainly can be. Nevertheless, the ROI for such a project is likely to come in at well under 50% in many cases. On the other hand, if a home theatre room is part of your basement renovation plans, a higher return can be anticipated.

5. Basement Conversion– A quality basement conversion or renovation, performed by a professional contractor, could yield as much as 75% ROI when you come to sell your property. This makes it an excellent choice for homeowners who may well wish to move at some point in the future.

If you would like details of our basement renovation services or perhaps a quotation that you can base your decision on when choosing your next home improvement project, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Home Additions: 6 Questions You Need to Ask Before Committing to One

If you are running out of space in your current home but you would much rather extend than move, home additions  are the only practical solution to your need for more room. Whether you choose to build a ground-floor addition or add another storey to your property, you will need to find a competent and competitive Toronto contractor to carry out the necessary work on your behalf. To help you make the right choice, we have listed 6 questions we think you should really ask each contractor you approach, before you commit to hiring one of them to complete your home addition.

6 Home Additions Questions You Must Ask Each Contractor You Consider

When meeting with local contractors or discussing your requirements over the phone, don’t forget to ask the following questions of each one.

1. Can You Give Me a Start and Finish Date? – Finding out when a contractor is available to start work and how long they anticipate it will take to complete your addition is of vital importance. There is no point in hiring a firm that has an excellent reputation and can meet all your needs if they cannot start the work until next year or they anticipate taking far longer than you would like to complete the project.

2. Can You Provide an Itemized Estimate? – A reputable home additions contractor will be able to specify prices for materials and labour in their quotation. If they are unable to provide you with a detailed breakdown of the overall cost, it is probably better to hire another contractor who is able to do this. If there are overages in any area, having unit prices to hand will be invaluable.

3. What Times Do you Start and Finish Work? – This might seem like a fairly unimportant question when compared with some of the other factors you will need to consider but you should bear in mind that the home additions team you hire will be in or around your house for weeks, possibly months, before the job is completed. You need to make sure that their regular start and finish times will not interfere with your daily routine too much.

4. Will You Prepare a Comprehensive Written Contract? – Even with the best will in the world, verbal agreements are not enough when you are spending thousands of dollars on extending your home. For both your own and your contractor’s peace of mind, you should make sure that every detail of the project is written into a contract that you both sign before work commences.

5. Will You Handle Any Building Permit Applications That Need to Be Made? – Applying for a permit to build home additions in Toronto can be a very time consuming and confusing process, especially if you have never done it before. For this reason, it is a good idea to choose a contractor who is willing and able to handle this side of things for you.

6. Who Will Supervise the Work? As anybody who has ever tried to save money on building work by hiring individual trades people and leaving them to their own devices will already know, a major job like a new addition needs to be properly supervised by an experienced professional. Make sure that a senior member of the team will be around to supervise the work at all times.

We’ll Give You Home Additions

If you would like to receive a quotation for home additions from a contractor that can provide satisfactory answers to all of the above questions, please do not hesitate to call Vitz Reno whenever you have a moment to spare.

Bathroom Remodeling: The Trick to Keeping Costs Down

It may be the smallest room in your home but it is also one of the most important as far as the majority of people are concerned. It is for this reason that so many Toronto homeowners are keen to remodel their bathrooms: following designs that help them to create a pleasant space in which to wash away the stress and worries of work at the end of the day and to spend time pampering themselves before heading out for a night on the town with friends. If your bathroom has seen better days but you don’t have a lot of money available for bathroom remodeling in Toronto, take a look at the tips below: you may be surprised at just what you can achieve on a small budget.

Budget Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Once you have read the suggestions that follow, get in touch with your friendly local renovation team to discuss exactly what you can do on the money you have at your disposal.

Reduce the Amount of Tiling – When redecorating, consider reducing the total surface area of your bathroom walls that is tiled. Focus on areas where water is most likely to be splashed, such as above the sink and the floor and walls inside your shower enclosure. Good quality tiles and the skilled trades people that are required to apply them cost a substantial amount of money so you can lower the cost of your bathroom remodeling project significantly if you reduce the amount of tiling that needs to be done.

Clean or Replace Caulk and Grout – If your tiles are still in relatively good condition, you could refresh your bathroom décor by cleaning or replacing the caulk and grout in between them rather than laying new ones. Considering the relatively small amount of work involved, you might be surprised at just how much difference clean caulk and grout can make to the overall appearance of your bathroom.

Shop Around for Granite Countertops – While granite countertops used to be the preserve of big budget bathroom remodeling projects, nowadays they can be picked up for very reasonable prices. If you take the time to visit a number of showrooms across Toronto, you are sure to come across some real bargains in this department. While granite surfaces may be considerably more expensive than the low-cost MDF countertops available in local stores, they will look good for far longer, thus proving to be a more economical choice in the long run.

Install Crown Moulding – You can give your bathroom a facelift for very little outlay by installing MDF crown mouldings. While MDF may not be as hardwearing as natural stone as far as countertops are concerned, it is an excellent choice for mouldings owing to the fact it will not contract and expand as humidity levels rise and fall. If you are a keen DIYer and you have the right tools, you may be able to install it yourself; if not, pay a bathroom remodeling professional to do the job for you.

Paint the Walls – Hardly a revolutionary idea but painting the portion of walls that is not tiled is one of the easiest ways to refresh your bathroom décor and one of the least expensive too.

Whether you decide to follow all of the above suggestions or just a select few, we are sure you will be happy with the results. If you are not confident in your abilities to tackle a bathroom remodeling project without any outside help, please feel free to call Vitz Reno and ask for a competitive quotation for the work in question.

The General Contractor: Why They’re Essential to Any Larger Home Renovation

A major home renovation project is not something that should be approached in a casual fashion, for obvious reasons. There are so many factors that need to be considered when starting a big residential refurbishment, each of which could have a major impact on proceedings should you neglect to take care of them. As far as the majority of Toronto homeowners are concerned, the easiest way to ensure that their renovation work is an unqualified success is to hire a company that has many years of experience of managing such projects to take care of all the details. Some of the major advantages of doing just that are outlined below.

How Hiring a General Contractor Will Help You

The following list includes some of the main benefits of hiring a company that specializes in residential property renovations to manage a major home improvement project.

  • Single Point of Contact – While it may be possible for you to find a number of smaller contractors to work on your renovations, dealing with several different companies could make life rather difficult. If you hire an electrician, plumber, plasterer, and building team separately, you will have to communicate with each contractor, possibly on a daily basis, in order to coordinate their efforts. This could be very time consuming, not to mention confusing and trying! With a general contractor, you only have to talk to one person, who will handle all the details on your behalf.
  • Complete Responsibility – If you hire separate contractors and anything should go wrong during your home renovation project, there may be some dispute as to who is at fault. On the other hand, if you hire a general contractor to manage the project, the responsibility for dealing with problems and correcting any mistakes will lie clearly with them. There will be no arguments or debates to worry about.
  • Firm Price – A company that is able to handle every aspect of your residential property renovations will be able to quote a fixed price for the work and stick to it. However, if you decide to hire separate contractors, they are quite likely to get in each other’s way and charge higher prices due to delays.
  • Nothing Overlooked – When you work with the same general contractor, from the initial consultation, all the way through to the completion of your refurbishment project, you can be sure that no details will be forgotten or overlooked. Everything that you requested at the consultation stage will be incorporated into the final design and executed by the expert trades people working for the contractor in question.
  • Broad Knowledge and Experience – A building company that deals with home improvement projects on a daily basis will have a wealth of knowledge and experience on which to draw when performing the work for which you hire them. While individual contractors may struggle when faced with unusual problems they have not encountered before, a company that is accustomed to managing large projects is unlikely to be surprised by anything they come across during your home renovations. If you want to keep the chances of unexpected delays to an absolute minimum, hiring a contractor with such experience is the best option.

If you live in the city, or anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area, and you would like to work with a highly experienced general contractor who specializes in residential property renovations, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your requirements. We would be delighted to provide you with a detailed quotation and to answer any questions you may have about the way that we work.

Invaluable Kitchen Renovation Tips: 7 Mistakes that Can Be Financially Damaging

Remodelling your kitchen to make it more attractive and functional may not sound like an incredibly difficult proposition but there are a number of potential pitfalls you will need to avoid if you don’t want to end up spending far more money than is absolutely necessary. To make sure you approach the task fully prepared, we have put together a list of mistakes that are commonly made. Hopefully, being forewarned will help you to complete your renovation project without making any costly errors in the process.

Don’t Make These Kitchen Renovation Mistakes

Below, you will find 7 of the more common mistakes that homeowners in Toronto and elsewhere make when remodelling their kitchens, along with our tips on how to ensure you do not make them.

  • Neglecting to Consider Workflow – Considering how you use your kitchen on a daily basis is of prime importance when you are creating a new design: you need to be able to move from the fridge to the stove to the sink without any obstacles. This might sound like an easy mistake to avoid but you would be surprised at the number of people who focus exclusively on aesthetics and only realise their error once the renovation work has been completed.
  • Underestimating Costs – Trying to complete a major kitchen renovation project on a small budget is almost always a big mistake. In most cases, the end result will be far from pleasing and you will have to spend more money than you would have done in the first place, to correct your mistake and achieve your desired aims.
  • Buying Appliances on Impulse – If you spot a discounted range or refrigerator that you really like, it can be very tempting to buy the appliance in question on impulse. However, unless you are sure the appliances will be a perfect fit for your new design, this could be a costly mistake.
  • Hiring Uninsured Contractors – Hiring a kitchen renovation team that does not have liability insurance could turn out to be the most expensive mistake you ever make with regard to home improvement projects. In the event that the contractor you hire accidentally damages your property or a member of their team is injured while working in your home, you could end up having to cover the costs of repairs or medical attention.
  • Taking on More Than You Can Handle – If you are a DIY enthusiast you may be tempted to complete your kitchen renovation project without any outside assistance. Unless you are a qualified plumber and electrician, this will almost certainly be a mistake and one that could cost you dearly in the long run.
  • Poor Lighting – If you neglect to consider the level of illumination you really need, in order to do all the things you like to do in your kitchen, you could end up having to replace your light fittings shortly after your refurbishment project is completed.
  • Choosing Countertops on Looks Alone – When installing new countertops in your kitchen, you need to make sure the material from which they are made is suitable. If you have to replace them in a couple of years owing to chips, scratches and stains, you will end up spending more than was really necessary.

There are many more mistakes that are made every year when kitchen renovation projects are tackled by inexperienced contractors and DIYers. To make sure that your Toronto kitchen renovation project is a complete success, call VitzReno today. We have the knowledge and experience required to guarantee first-class results every time and our prices are among the most competitive in Toronto.

 

 

Bathroom Renovation Tricks: Implementing Efficient Storage Solutions to Free Up Space

The bathroom is normally the smallest room in a house, which can make fitting enough storage space into it something of a challenge. However, with the tips and tricks in this article, you should have no problem storing everything you need in the smallest room in your home. If you are planning to remodel your bathroom in the near future, bookmark this page or make a note of the suggestions and pass them on to your designer. Whether you live right here in Toronto or further afield, they are sure to come in handy.

Create More Storage Space with Your Next Bathroom Renovation

If you follow the tips below, you won’t have to worry about finding somewhere to keep your toiletries and towels after your renovation is complete.

  • Utilize the Space Above Your Toilet – Most people have nothing but bare wall above their toilet but if you install some shelving or a cabinet in this space, you can store your perfumes and deodorants there, or perhaps some books and magazines to read in the bathroom.
  • Install Towel Rails on the Back of Your Bathroom Door – If there is not enough space for towel rails on any of the walls, you can use the back of the door instead. You should be able to fit 2 or 3 rails there, providing you with adequate room to hang a fresh supply of towels at all times. If you think creatively when planning your bathroom renovation, you can probably come up with more ideas like this one.
  • A Hidden Closet Behind a Mirror – If you want a full-length mirror in your bathroom but you are worried that it will take up too much space, you could install a slim, tall closet with a mirror covering the whole of the door. Such a closet is perfect for storing spare shampoo, soap, cleanser, moisturizer, and other toiletries. A bathroom renovation expert is sure to be able to source the necessary materials and build one for you.
  • Install Cabinets with Drawers Inside – Large cabinets with shelves may be more popular but once they are crammed full of everything the average family might need in the bathroom, it can be very hard to find anything at all. You can make much better use of the storage space that a cabinet provides by purchasing one with drawers inside. In this way, you can better organize your personal belongings and ensure that every member of the family has a space they can call their own.
  • Fit Small Shelves Either Side of Your Pedestal Sink – If you have your heart set on a pedestal sink rather than a vanity unit, you can fit small shelves either side of the pedestal. Alternatively, if you have an experienced bathroom renovation team carrying out the work, you can ask them to make shelves with scooped cut-outs that will fit behind the pedestal, and provide storage space either side of it.
  • Conveniently-Placed Wire Baskets – Wherever you have a small space on your walls, you could hang an attractive wire basket and use them to keep your hairdryers, electric shavers, and other appliances out of harm’s way.

These are just a few of the many space-saving ideas that can be incorporated into a new bathroom design. If you would like to find out what it is possible to do with the space at your disposal, please feel free to call and speak to a member of our bathroom renovation design team. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, we can manage the whole renovation project for you, at a very reasonable cost.

Basement Remodeling and Getting the Lighting Right

One of the problems that homeowners in Toronto often run into when converting their basements is the lack of natural light in these below-grade spaces. In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the approaches you can take to ensure that there is adequate lighting in your remodelled basement and that whatever you install will suit the overall design. The best choices for your home will depend on exactly what you want to do with the new living space you are creating once it has been completed.

Top Lighting Ideas for Your Basement Remodeling Project

Before you go out and buy any new lighting fixtures, or make any definite plans with your design team, have a look at the following ideas and see which ones might be suitable for what you have in mind.

  • Track Lighting – The most appealing feature of this type of lighting is its flexibility. The ability to move individual lighting units to different positions on each track means that you can adapt them to suit different furniture layouts should you ever decide to repurpose your basement at some point in the future.
  • Recessed Cans – This is the perfect solution for basement remodeling projects that involve the installation of a suspended ceiling as they will not take up any vertical space. Furthermore, you can place them at regular intervals across the whole ceiling to provide uniform illumination for the entire room. Even if you do not have a suspended ceiling, they could be a good choice as they are unobtrusive and go well with almost any type of décor.
  • False Daylight Windows – A great way to create a feeling of natural light in your below-grade space is to install custom false windows. These are easily created by fixing a frame on the wall, painting the space inside the frame white, mounting several fluorescent lights with daylight spectrum bulbs, and covering the space with a window blind. If you are not sure how to do this, you can of course consult with a basement remodeling specialist such as VitzReno.
  • Pendant Lighting – While not a practical solution for basements with low ceilings, if you are going to underpin your foundations to create more vertical space, you could use a large pendant light in the centre of the room, as a focal point for your interior design theme. There are many different types to choose from and you can install one with a retractable cord if you would like to be able to vary the height of the light fixture.
  • LED Tape – If you are going to be installing cabinets and shelving, LED tape is an excellent way to illuminate them. You can also use this type of lighting to illuminate work surfaces and countertops if the main aim of your basement renovation is to create a below-grade kitchen or workshop. Another way in which LED tape can be used is to highlight posters or works of art that you hang on the walls once the remodelling and decorating phases of your project have been completed.

If you want to find out more information about the different types of lighting that can be deployed in a basement renovation project, please do not hesitate to call or email us at your convenience. We have successfully completed many below-grade remodelling projects in the Toronto area and would be more than happy to help you with yours. As an experienced and reputable contractor, we can provide all the skilled labour you need and oversee the entire project while you relax and get on with your day-to-day life.

What’s Trending in the Bathroom Renovation World This Year

If you are about to embark on a major renovation project and you would like to know what’s in and what’s out in the world of bathrooms in 2016, this is the guide for you. In it, we are going to look at some of the most popular trends this year and discuss how the average Toronto homeowner can include them in their renovation plans. You won’t necessarily be attracted to every single design idea that is currently in vogue of course but at the very least, you will have some new ideas to mull over by the time you have finished reading this article.

Fashionable Bathroom Renovation Ideas for You to Consider

From our position, within the industry looking out, we have a unique perspective on what is happening in the world of bathrooms. So far this year, the following trends appear to be among the most dominant.

  • Gold Fittings – From taps to door handles, gold is big in 2016. You might think that gold fixtures and fittings would look a little too flashy in suburban bathrooms but when paired with neutral colour schemes, the overall effect can be very appealing. If you don’t want your bathroom renovation budget to get out of hand, you can of course find plenty of fittings that look like the real thing, even if they aren’t!
  • Chevron Tiles – Instead of your basic square variety, chevron tiles are popping up in bathrooms all over Toronto at the moment. They can be used on floors or walls, or both if you really want to make a statement with your tiling this year. If you decide you’d like to give them a try, pairing black tiles with white grout, or the other way around, will ensure that your new bathroom design draws admiring comments from everybody who visits your home.
  • Freestanding Bathtubs – The popularity of the traditional freestanding tub continues to grow in 2016 and, when paired with a freestanding filler, can make a great focal point for your new bathroom layout. The clean yet elegant lines, and the echo of a time when life was much simpler, seem to be the main appeal as far as most homeowners are concerned. A freestanding set in classic black and white is a great choice for bathroom renovation projects in homes with either contemporary or period interiors.
  • Natural Stone – Sinks and surfaces carved from solid stone are big in the city this year, with travertine stone making a comeback, only with cleaner, more modern lines this time around. Whatever type of stone you choose, make sure that you have your units fabricated by experienced professionals who know exactly what they are doing as the weights involved can be quite considerable, as can the overall cost. However, a professionally completed bathroom renovation using high quality natural stone can be a sight to behold, making it a design idea that is well worth considering.
  • Recessed Shower Lighting – Waterproof light fittings in the shower area are a great way to highlight all the hard work that has gone into your new bathroom design. They also give an elegant, luxurious feel to the area that makes taking a shower a really pleasant experience at any time of the day or night.

If you would like to discuss using popular 2016 design trends in your own home, please feel free to contact us during business hours. As bathroom renovation specialists with many years of experience, we would be delighted to help you create a beautiful new space in your home that will give you many years of pleasure.

Kitchen Remodeling Tricks to Get the Most Out of Small Spaces

If your Toronto home has a very small kitchen, you may think there is nothing much you can do about it but when it comes to kitchen renovation of smaller size, there are a number of ways in which you can make better use of the available space. In addition to various ideas that will help you to make the most of your small kitchen, this article contains a couple of tips on how you can make your kitchen feel bigger than it really is. If you have any questions you would like to ask, you can of course call us and we will be more than happy to discuss your plans in detail.

Kitchen Remodeling for Small Spaces

When you are planning your kitchen renovation project in Toronto, think about incorporating some of the ideas below to make sure you can do everything you want to in your new space, and to ensure that it does not feel too cramped.

  • Open Shelving – Most people opt for fitted cabinets during a major kitchen remodeling project but if you are working with a very small room, you might like to consider using open shelves for at least some of the storage space you need. Less bulky than cabinets, they can be used to store pots and pans, crockery, glassware, or anything else you need in your kitchen. The great thing about open shelves in small spaces is that they do not make you feel like the walls are closing in on you.
  • Smaller Appliances – There is a tendency to buy big when shopping for kitchen appliances, in the belief that you should always have more capacity than you really need. However, if you have a small space to work with, it is better not to blow your kitchen renovation budget on large capacity appliances that you really don’t need. Consider buying a slightly smaller fridge freezer, a range that is just right for your family, or a compact food processor that doesn’t take up more space than the washing machine!
  • Use All the Available Wall Space – Instead of leaving a large gap at the top, install cupboards and shelving that go almost to the ceiling. In this way, you will have more storage space to keep everything you need on a regular basis in your kitchen. For everything you don’t need on a regular basis, see the next tip.
  • Store Rarely Used Items Elsewhere – If you have a juicer that only gets used once a month, a sandwich toaster that has been sitting in your kitchen for years without being touched, or a slow cooker that only comes out on special occasions, store them in another part of your home. There is no point in creating unnecessary clutter in a small space and if you are contemplating a major kitchen renovation project, now is an excellent time to reorganise your storage areas.
  • Use Light Colours – To create an illusion of space, choose light colours for the walls and ceiling in your kitchen. There is no need to paint the whole room white but it is best to steer clear of dark reds, purples, and other heavy colours when painting large areas.
  • Knock Through a Wall – This is not always practical but if you have a dining room adjacent to your kitchen, and the dividing wall is not a load bearing one, you can make your kitchen feel much roomier by creating a knock through kitchen diner.

If you would like to discuss your Toronto kitchen remodeling project with our team of experienced professionals, please do not hesitate to call us on 647 407 4499.

Home Additions: Are They the Right Option for Your Circumstances?

Whether extending your existing home is the best solution to the issues you are currently facing will depend on a number of factors that are unique to your personal circumstances. To help you decide what to do, we are going to take a look at some of these factors in detail, and discuss how they might influence your final decision. We will also take a look at the alternative – moving home – to see whether it might be a better option.

Could Home Additions Be the Best Solution for Your Needs?

The following points all need to be taken into consideration when deciding what is best for you and your family.

  1. How Much Land Do You Have? – Properties in outlying areas of the GTA that are standing on large plots of land obviously lend themselves to ground floor home additions more readily than those with small gardens and yards. If you have plenty of land available, a ground floor addition could be the perfect solution to your need for more living space. On the other hand, many homes in central Toronto are not suitable candidates for building out, owing to the cost of land in the city centre, but building up, i.e. adding an additional floor, is a possibility that may be worth considering.
  2. How Many Ties Do You Have with the Local Community? – One of the most common reasons for considering home additions instead of moving to a larger property is the ties that people develop in their local community. Perhaps your children have many friends in the neighbourhood or you attend a local club on a regular basis, which would be hard to reach from elsewhere in the city. Whatever your reasons for wanting to stay put, extending your property could be the best option if you feel strongly enough about them.
  3. The Expense of Moving – When comparing the financial cost of moving to a larger property with that of extending the one in which you already live, you need to include several items in your calculations. Firstly, of course, is the actual cost of the new property, having subtracted the equity in your current home from the purchase price of the new one. Next, you need to consider the cost of borrowing, assuming that you will need a loan to finance your purchase. Lastly, you should include all the costs associated with the logistics of moving:  the price quoted by the moving company, the time you have to spend packing your furnishings and personal belongings, the cost of changing schools, if applicable, for your children, etcetera.
  4. The Availability of Reputable Builders – If you live in Toronto, this really should not be a problem but it is a remote possibility that all the reputable firms will be busy just when you need them. If you have your heart set on home additions rather than moving, the best thing to do is to plan well in advance to avoid the possibility of this happening. Before you enter into a contract with any building firm in the area, it is of course important to ask for references and to check they carry adequate insurance for the work you wish to have completed.

If you would like to obtain a competitive quotation for any type of home additions you may currently be considering, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us to discuss your plans in detail. Once we have established exactly what you need, we will be only too happy to provide you with a comprehensive proposal that you are sure to find of interest.

7 Creative Basement Renovation Ideas for Your Home

Many houses in Toronto have a basement: a space which is often underutilized by property owners in the city. With land prices increasing in most areas, along with the cost of building home additions, a basement renovation can be a great way to create extra living space for a minimal outlay. If you are currently using your basement to store your dirty laundry, or perhaps not using it at all, take a look at the ideas below to see if there is one that appeals to you. For a very reasonable cost, you could transform a dark and gloomy part of your home into a beautiful space where it is a positive pleasure to spend time.

7 Practical and Creative Ideas for Your Basement Renovation

Whether you live alone or have a large family, there are sure to be one or two ideas in the following list that appeal to you.

  1. Games Room – If you love to play pool or snooker, your basement is the ideal place in which to create a fantastic games room where you can entertain friends or just practise on your own whenever you have an hour to spare. Subdued lighting and colour schemes, with a spotlight for the table, are a good choice for this type of basement renovation.
  2. Workshop – Whether you enjoy taking motorcycle engines apart and putting them back together again or crafting custom pieces of furniture in your spare time, you can turn your basement into a private workshop where you can enjoy your hobby in peace. Brighter lighting and a more utilitarian decor work well with this type of renovation.
  3. Entertainment Room – If you have always wanted a space dedicated to home entertainment, you can transform your basement into a mini movie theatre or music room with very little effort. Comfortable chairs, state-of-the-art electronic equipment and high quality soundproofing can all be included in your plans.
  4. Home Gym – For those who love to work out on a regular basis but really don’t appreciate driving to the local fitness centre several times a week, the basement is a great place to create a fully equipped home gym. If you like the idea of this type of basement renovation, you should consider fitting floor to ceiling mirrors, good lighting and an absorbent flooring material.
  5. Underground Bar – Installing a well-stocked bar, complete with stools, comfy chairs, and tables, is a great way to turn your basement into a relaxation area where you can welcome guests in your home whenever you feel like chilling out for an hour or two. If you have enough space, you can combine this idea and the games room plan for a basement that is really fun to hang out in.
  6. Children’s Play Area – As your children grow older, they will appreciate a space they can call their own: somewhere they can relax with friends, watch the TV programs they really like, and listen to the kind of music you don’t want to hear anywhere else in the house! Inexpensive furnishings, a hard wearing floor, and bright colours are all good choices for a basement renovation of this nature.
  7. General Living Area – If you want to create a space that everybody can enjoy, you can simply turn your basement into a second living room. Install a decent music system and television, along with comfortable seating, and it is sure to become a popular hangout for all the family.

If you would like some help with your basement renovation in Toronto, or perhaps a comprehensive quotation covering all the necessary work, call the Toronto specialists today. We are ready and waiting to help you in any way we can.