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Auburn Bay Homes & Gardens: Picking the Best Upgrades With Your Builder

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Thursday, July 26th, 2012 at 8:40pm.

Today’s blog is all about builder upgrades gone right, and pulling together a colour scheme/theme in a new build without ever seeing it all first hand. With so many options available to you when you’re building a home, it’s hard to decide which upgrades will be best for value, and which ones will be worth it, even if they’re only for enjoyment. When it comes to pulling the whole house together with your own personal style it can be difficult to put your own vision into a new buld in Calgary when you can't actually walk into the house that you're decorating.

I have a friend named Erin who lives in Auburn Bay, and who has a keen natural eye for interior design. I took one look at her home a few years ago and I was in love. I think she and her hubby struck a wonderful balance between form and function in their home, and the upgrades they chose were careful and wise. She was kind enough to let me photograph some of the great choices she and her husband made when they built their house.

I’ll start with their gorgeous fireplace surround:


What I love here is the bright and airy sea foam-coloured glass tile and muted white woodwork around the fireplace. I wish you could see this home in person because they have actually got a paint colour that marries the whole place together and creates the feeling of an ocean-side escape. Erin chose to go with the tile-surround and minimal wooden frame for her fireplace while foregoing the expensive wooden built-ins. I think this was a good choice. There are many things builders offer which a person can find after the fact for cheaper than the builder can provide. What she has chosen here is a great example of moderation to make her living room pop and put in expensive details later.


Isn’t this kitchen to die for? The granite is so lovely here and works so well with the sea foam theme of her home. Notice that she has matched her backsplash with her fireplace surround and it all works together to create the feeling of lightness. I love that she increased the size of the main floor to accommodate this extra large island with seating for four. Excellent choices!

Next let's talk about her cabinets:


There are a few things that work well here. But let’s talk about your choices when you do kitchen cabinets in a new build home in Calgary. First of all, if you have 9 foot ceilings (which I hope you do because it’s coming to the point where they’re almost mandatory to today’s buyer) you’ll often find that the builder’s standard is to give you 7 foot cabinets. From there you can increase them to 8 foot cabinets, or get splashy and stretch them all the way to the ceiling. (With the latter being the most stately and impressive as you can see Erin has done here.) Another “cheater” option is to have a wooden decorative piece be installed along the top of your cabinets to make it appear as if they stretch all the way to the ceiling. Cabinets are something that I usually suggest people do with their Calgary home builder as it can be hard after the fact to match colours and make them fit properly.

You can see here that Erin has gone all out: she’s stretched her cabinets all the way to the ceiling and then added two rows of gorgeous glass paneling to her cabinets surrounding the stove.

Below you’ll note that she added two rows of pot drawers, where in most cases one or none comes standard. This is also another great choice and something that many buyers are looking for when sizing up a kitchen, so it’s a good upgrade to keep in mind for resale.

When you're building new, it's always important to keep in mind what is best for your budget, your enjoyment, and resale. Only you know the answer to the first two, but make sure to have your real estate agent sit in with you on your design meetings to make sure you're making great choices for resale.

Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

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