Smart Ideas for Home Updates

home updates 

Since spring is a popular time to tackle reno projects, interior design consultant Megan Lewis has agreed to answer some questions about home updates.

What sorts of details can make a kitchen and bath more efficient, family friendly and appealing?

It’s important to think about how your family functions in your space. By determining that, you will be able to pinpoint the necessary details that will make your home unique and better suited for the way you live. For example, if your kids like to help you bake, then it might be important to you (space permitting) to have an island or peninsula with an overhang. That way they can sit on the stools and help you in the kitchen without interrupting traffic flow. Or if seeing shampoo bottles lined along your bathtub really bothers you, you might want to consider adding a niche in your wall to store them.

Are there any must-have items? Choices to avoid?

Drawers help to make the most of your cabinetry, but they can be difficult to keep organized. Drawer organizers such as cutlery trays, utensil trays and spice dividers make them efficient and give hard-to-find items a home. Vertical tray dividers are an excellent way to store cookie trays and cutting boards and make it easier to find what you want. An excellent addition to a family bathroom is a laundry hamper built into the vanity or linen closet. No more laundry on the floor!

As for choices to avoid, steer clear of porous surfaces (such as marble) and glossy floors that are slippery when wet.

home updates

How does a design consultant help homeowners who want to do a kitchen or bath update?

At Decorating Den Interiors- THE CPI TEAM, we put together the best solutions for the space based on what you are looking to accomplish. We come into your home and discuss your project, your likes, your dislikes, your budget and more.  We ask a lot of questions to understand how your family lives and the important items that must be included in your home. We do the design drawings, get quotes and make all of the selections so you don’t have to. We look at the big picture when it comes to the renovation and consider all the details, of which there are many. A kitchen or bathroom renovation is much more than selecting cabinetry.  We then bring everything to your home and present the design in full so you can make all of the design decisions at that time. That means you never have to leave your house.

We also work closely with the contractors we refer to our clients. With a renovation project, we bring the contractor in at the very beginning, before the design starts. That way we can fully understand the extent of the renovation, and how certain design ideas may affect the budget and what would be necessary to carry them out in the construction phase. Our relationship with our contractors is important and has taken a long time to develop. Working with our referred contractors ensures a successful outcome and smooth overall process.  

home updates

What types of kitchens and baths are predominant in 2017?

Over time we’ve seen a movement toward family friendly and social spaces with open concept plans, and those priorities are not expected to change anytime soon. Family dynamics have altered since our parents and grandparents were young, and the way we live now has a direct impact on home design. Formal living rooms, furniture that doesn’t get used, and furniture you’re not allowed to sit on are becoming things of the past.

For many families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. With self proclaimed “foodies” and cooking and eating becoming more social than ever before, thoughtful kitchen layouts are a main priority for homeowners of all ages. This year we will continue to see the integration of technology and “Smart Homes.” Charging stations for devices and built-in homework stations are becoming common.
Luxurious showers and deep bathtubs are frequent requests for ensuites and family bathrooms. If you have an aging family member living with you, though, a deep bathtub may not be the best option for that person, as it will be difficult to get out of it.
What’s new in cabinets, appliances/fixtures, flooring, lighting and surface materials?

Cabinetry takes up the most space, physically and visually. White cabinets are classic and you can add texture and colour by way of the countertop, backsplash and flooring. We are seeing walnut in wood cabinetry, and we are still mixing painted and wood cabinetry in the kitchen. If you’re looking to be a little bold for your cabinets, you may consider navy blue. Navy can be a neutral and it certainly adds personality.

Stainless steel is still quite popular for appliances, although we are seeing colourful appliances back on the market, including red, blue and orange fridges and ranges. Black plumbing fixtures are quite trendy for 2017 as they add an unexpected punch.

LED lights, both pot lights and decorative ones, are becoming a lighting standard for a variety of reasons. They save energy, last considerably longer than other types of lighting, and they don’t get hot. We used to be restricted in where we could put pot lights because the housing was quite large and wouldn’t fit where there was ductwork or joists. Today, LED pot lights are very thin and it’s easier to use them. We can also now add dimmers on LED pot lights to control the intensity of lighting.

Are there new products or options that work particularly well for busy families?

Busy families require finishes and surfaces that are durable and easy to clean. The new upholstery fabrics we are seeing are stain-repellent, so they can be used on dining room chairs or living room furniture. Since companies have developed stain-repellent fabric thread, you no longer have to cover upholstery or spray it with a product that makes it crunchy and that can wear off over time. Nonetheless, if you spill grape juice or red wine on dining chairs, be sure to clean it up quickly. The good news is your chairs won’t be ruined.

As your children grow and you look for ways they can be more independent, you may want to consider installing the microwave in a base cabinet so they can start warming up meals for themselves. An undercounter fridge may be a great addition for drinks and snacks. The door of an undercounter fridge won’t be as heavy as a full size one and you can fill it with items you want them to eat, so everything is within reach.

What are you noticing that potential kitchen or bath renovators might appreciate?
If your kitchen is open to your family room, you need to think about traffic flow and how the furniture relates to each space. It’s easy to get carried away with a renovation, without thinking about how changes impact the rest of the house. There is nothing wrong with doing projects in stages, but you want to come up with a natural progression. It’s also important to think about timelines. Plan ahead. We see people overwhelmed with decisions that needed to be made yesterday. Working with a designer and a reliable contractor ensures your project stays on schedule so you aren’t without your kitchen or bathroom for too long. We also make sure everything is delivered on time so the trades have the necessary materials to complete the job.
Finally, it is okay to ask for help. If you’re planning a renovation and have no idea where to start, ask for help at the beginning. We do this everyday and we have seen everything.

Megan Lewis is an interior design consultant and LEED® green associate with Decorating Den Interiors – The CPI Team. You can reach her at 613 599-5564 x235 and at



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