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September 27, 2017  |  by Rachel Ludwig

Flooring - Part Three - Carpet, Carpet Tile, Vinyl and Concrete

Welcome to the third and final installment in our Flooring series! We've already covered hardwood and tile flooring, and for this post we will go into a little more detail on carpet and vinyl flooring, as well as carpet tile, and concrete.

Carpeting

Overall we are seeing a declining interest in carpet over the last several years. As designers, we have been receiving more requests for hard surface flooring throughout our clients' homes. This is due to a variety of reasons, but primarily allergies and hygienic reasons. However, carpet is often less expensive and can still be a great option for some areas of your home. Depending on the needs of our clients, we recommend carpet for bedrooms, theaters and basements. Carpeting stairs can be a great option for safety, as well as easier for kids and pets.

There are a few different types of carpets, and the most common choices are synthetic and wool, which both have pros and cons.

Wool Carpet

As a natural fiber, wool is a more natural eco-friendly option and tends to wear well. While the initial cost of wool is higher, it tends to last longer than synthetic. It also is naturally fire-retardant. On the downside, It can shed and be more difficult to clean, so keep that in mind when choosing wool. We usually recommend a low pile Berber if you're choosing this option.

Synthetic Carpet

Synthetic carpet is usually less expensive than it's wool counterpart, which makes it the more common choice for those choosing carpet. It is more stain resistant and easier to clean with steam cleaning and spot treatment. However, synthetic carpet will emit more VOC's (gasses) so it isn't as environmentally friendly. If you are sensitive to that, consider giving some time after installation for some of these VOC's to dissipate.

Carpet Tiles

Carpet tiles have been gaining popularity, and can be a great option for areas of your home like a home gym (vinyl or rubber tiles are also great options), rec room or playroom. They can be fun and colorful, and fairly easily replaced if they become stained or damaged. These are also popular in larger commercial spaces like offices.

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A few other flooring options that we haven't covered yet, are vinyl plank which has been increasing in popularity and concrete which is not used as often in homes, but can be a good fit for some spaces as well.

Vinyl Plank

Vinyl plank or vinyl tile are great cost effective alternative to either wood or tile flooring. It's durable, great for high traffic areas, and can stand up to moisture as well, which makes it great for areas like mud rooms, basements, etc. As a matter of fact, we have vinyl plank flooring in our Kenorah offices and we love it!

Some of the vinyl flooring even allows grouting, so if you want to still have the look of tile but the cost and convenience of vinyl, you can create that effect by adding grout. You can also add in-floor heating beneath vinyl flooring. With a glue down installation, you even have the option to easily replace damaged areas if needed. 

Concrete

Concrete flooring can be great look for a modern industrial look. There are a lot of options including adding color, polishing and grout lines. A few things to keep in mind is that concrete can crack, and if you choose a color it can be difficult to achieve a consistent look over a large area. It can also be quite cold, so consider in floor heating or rugs to warm up the space. As concrete is heavy, if you're adding concrete on top of a sub floor (versus on grade), you will need to ensure that it can bear the weight. Alternately, consider a light weight concrete option.

Designer Flooring Tip
If you are having different types of flooring that meet in a space (ie carpet and tile), consider transition strips so that the transition is as seamless as possible.

We hope you enjoyed this series on flooring! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions. Thanks for following along!

September 20, 2017  |  by Reuben from Vandenberg's Landscape Design

Fall Cleanup Tips

A big thank you to our friends at Vandenberg's Landscape Design for providing some helpful tips for tackling your fall yard cleanup! 

3 Simple tips for making your fall clean up easier!

Fall is once again sneaking up on us, and that means it's about time for that dreaded fall yard clean-up. To ease your pain this year, here are a few quick tips.

#1 Beat the branch

Save yourself from having an overload of fallen leaves blanketing your yard and suffocating your grass, and just beat the branch to it. Before the leaves start to fall, have a look around your yard to see if there are any damaged, unhealthy or dead branches on your trees and shrubs. Removing these branches before they drop their leaves is a simple way to spend less time and energy later on.

#2 Buy the right equipment

Everybody hates trying to maneuver their way in-between plants to be able to reach that one annoying pile of leaves in the tightest imaginable corner. The easiest way out of this situation is to find yourself a nice leaf blower. Blow the leaves out of your garden to spot where you can collect or even mulch them with your lawn mower afterwards. Although it may be a large initial investment compared to buying a rake, you will not regret it when you’re sipping a hot cup of joe watching your neighbors squeeze through their gardens.

#3 Tarp your trimmings

As you work your way around your yard, pruning and weeding for that last time of the season, be sure to keep a tarp in a central location. Throw all of your trimmings directly onto the tarp after cutting them. This will save you from having to make ugly piles of trimmings on your lawn, or making dozens of trips back and forth to your green waste bin. Once the tarp gets a fair-sized pile, fold it up and drag it over there instead.

Hopefully these few tips help you to keep your yard looking it’s best, and if it still doesn’t seem like something you want on your list of things to do this fall, then don’t forget trusted tip #4: Call a professional!

Happy Gardening!

Categories: landscaping
August 23, 2017  |  by Rachel

Flooring - Part Two - Tile

Thanks for following along in our flooring series! If you haven't yet, check out Part One of this series on Hardwood Floors.

In this post we will be giving some great info from our designers on tile flooring: information on types of tile, installation tips, trends and more! Read on for more great info.

Tile is a great flooring option for areas of your home that might be exposed to water, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and entrance ways. It tends to be a durable flooring option that can withstand wear and tear, dirt, mud, accidental spills and more. 

There has been a huge surge in tile options over the last number of years. Shapes, colors and patterns, there are so many options available in today's market!

Tile Types

Porcelain is the type of tile we are seeing and currently using the most often for our homeowners. Not only does it have the most variety in color and pattern, it also is much stronger, less porous and less likely to crack than natural stone and even ceramic. Porcelain tile is actually a type of ceramic tile, but made with a much finer clay and fired at higher temperatures. It is more resistant to wear and abrasion and is also moisture resistant. Porcelain tile is often chosen for its consistent patterning.

Real stone (IE Marble, travertine and limestone) are beautiful, but are more porous and require sealing (and regular resealing). Due to the nature of real stone, the patterning will be more varied and have less consistency. However, natural stone does tend to be warmer, and will also distribute in-floor heating more consistently than its man-made counterpart.

Designer tip: If it's in your budget, consider adding in-floor heating with tile! In our cooler months here in the Greater Vancouver area, having in-floor heating is a nice luxury, especially for bathrooms such as the en suite.

Mosaic Tile

In the design world, smaller mosaic tiles are all the rage. They are great for small spaces like a powder room. They can also work well for a sloped shower floor due to the smaller tile size. However, they can be up to three times more expensive, and harder to clean as there are more grout lines, so keep that in mind if you love the look. Choose a small room or an area in your home where you can feature your favorite mosaic tile as an inset pattern, either in a front entry or bathroom.  Or like one of our homeowners did with these custom hand painted tiles beneath their kitchen island (see photo above!).

Cement Tile

We have had a few clients express interest in cement tile and we are seeing an increased interest in the design world for these beautifully patterned high end specialty tiles. You can find more information here from our friends at Villa Lagoon Tile on how these tiles are handmade, installation details and required maintenance.

These aren't in the budget for every homeowner, but there are some great porcelain tile alternatives, like these tiles in Dear Lillie's laundry room that give the look of cement tiles, but at a much lower cost:

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Shaped Tile

Tiles in various shapes have been gaining momentum in the design world, and shapes such as hexagon, scallop and arabesque are all popular choices. While these tiles aren't always used in flooring (more commonly used for back-splashes) they can be used similarly to mosaic 

Another popular trend we are seeing are larger format tiles (ie 18x36 or 24x48). These types of tiles not only tend to be easier to clean due to less grout lines, they also lend a clean and modern look to your space.

A current popular trend is to install tiles in a pattern such herringbone and chevron. While it is more expensive to install tiles this way, it can look stunning!

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Grout

Typically we recommend avoiding white or light grout. Light grout can be difficult to maintain and tends to discolor over the years. Match your grout to the tile, or go with a darker grout to create some contrast and make a statement. If you want to have minimal grout lines, consider choosing a rectified tile (a tile that has had the edges mechanically finished for a more precise size) that allows for a smaller grout line.

 

Thank you for following along on our flooring series, we hope you've found this information useful! We'll be back with one more post on some alternative flooring choices. 

August 9, 2017  |  by Jake Kostelyk

Homeowner Pinball

Here at Kenorah, we're a passionate about what we do: creating/transforming beautiful homes, built for generations. Since we began in 1980, one of the most fundamental learnings we've experienced is that separating the design and construction of any home project breaks down communication, complicates decisions and results in a lack of accountability from all parties involved.

Ultimately, The homeowner is stuck in an expensive (and stressful) game of "Homeowner Pinball"; being bounced from the Architectural designer to the Interior Designer, then over to the Contractor, then back to the designers, and suppliers, all who point the blame on another party, none of who want to take accountability. 

For example: 

Builder: "Well, I assumed the Designer would have thought of this beam placement when designing this!"

Designer: "I had no idea the Builder was going to build it THAT way?!"

Designer: "How was I supposed to know that the HVAC contractor wanted all that room for his ducting?"

Builder: "Didn't you ask the HVAC contractor first?"

Builder: "We need to underpin your foundation, as we've discovered there are no spread footings. This is going to cost you."

Designer: "My job isn't to hand dig to check for these things. These surprises are just a part of renovating."

Who is going to take accountability for all of these "oops" scenarios? Usually nobody, which puts the delays (and cost overruns) right back on the homeowner. 

But couldn't they have been avoided?

Why didn't the construction and design professionals COLLABORATE during the design phase to figure out the answers to these questions well before construction started? A small investment into investigatory work will pay of many times over as it identifies these issues during the design phase, resulting in less risk and a smooth construction project.

This is precisely why we provide an INTEGRATED Design + Build solution. 

Our design and construction team are in one office, working together daily. We show up to your home during the design phase to hand dig, if required, to ensure there are spread footings for your addition, because we don't like surprises, and we don't think you would either.

If we're concerned about the ducting, we bring in our trusted HVAC partners to provide valuable insight as we're developing layouto to ensure that what we're designing is feasible and practical. 

If we're wondering how we can open up your kitchen to create an open-concept layout you've always wanted, we bring our Infrared imaging equipment to see if if there are water lines in those walls, and call our structural engineer to tell us how we can eliminate walls and move load bearing points. 

Our goal is to ensure that the design phase results in a beautiful, stunning design that is tested, feasible and based on the unique elements of your home. Our tight alignment of Design and Construction allows us to move from Design into the Build phase with confidence that we know what to expect, and that we've eliminated as many of the questions and variables as possible.

 

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