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Sarah's House 4 - House Buying & Living Room

by - Tuesday, October 18, 2011

“From cookie cutter to custom”… that’s the mantra for this season of Sarah’s House. Sarah & Tommy bring style to the suburbs and aim to prove that you can add a custom touch and make your builder’s box look a little less like the box next door. To inject the personal stamp she’s hoping for, Sarah decides on a new build house in the Mystique subdivision by Double Oak Homes in Georgetown. From picking the lot, selecting the floor plan, and deciding on the finishes, Sarah & Tommy are involved from the ground up. 


She offers a few good tips on what to look when buying new:
-       Check out the neighbourhood. Are there good amenities nearby like a school, park, or ravine setting?
-       Look at the finishes on neighbouring homes. Notice things like solid wood front doors and shutter construction
-       Don’t be fooled by artist renderings. Evaluate the different floor plans and see how they work for the way you live
-       Before you decide on a finishing package, ask to see a built house that has those same finishes. Sarah & Tommy didn’t do this and ended up picking a beige brick instead of the grey brick they really wanted
-       It’s a good idea to follow progress of the construction and make sure changes that you requested were made

Sarah decides on the Rouge River model, a $730K Georgian inspired, 2 storey, 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home with 3700 sq ft. that comes with a $100,000 upgrade package. The first order of business: tweaking the floor layout.

Sarah decides to combine the living room, powder room, and bonus room to create one large living room space (lilac area), and flip locations of the kitchen and living room. Since these changes were requested at the construction stage and only involve opening partitions and not reframing of the house, they can be made (at an additional cost of $2500 for engineering fees).

Sarah decides on the first few upgrades:
-       A basement walkout: A great investment that will allow access from the family room to the backyard and ravine directly from the basement
-       Larger living room space to allow for more entertaining space, open sightlines, and sunlight flow to the back of the house
-       Plaster mouldings in key rooms
-       Upgraded lighting in the living room with the addition of two hanging pendants over the two sitting areas

She decides against upgrading the standard builder floor with the thought of using those upgrade dollars instead to put marble floors in the ensuite – best to spend the money on floors you see instead of those covered with rugs and furniture!


Inspired by a lavender shell ball, the living room is given an elegant neutral look. An eclectic mix of chairs are purchased from Furnishings On Consignment, The Elegant Garage Sale, and Queen West Antique Centre along with a daybed from GH Johnson and a splurge of a custom made sofa. An old mantle from The Door Store brings instant vintage appeal to the new space and draws you in.

All the seating is upholstered in neutral fabrics, a classic look that can be updated by changing out accessories. A mix of warm and cool metals and a herringbone seagrass rug add texture and tone.

Sarah's Design Tips:
-       When mixing metals, use several pieces of each metal and also incorporate at least one single element that mixes both
-       Upholster in neutrals and put the colour on the walls. Its easy to change the look by repainting or embellishing with accents
-       When you have two sitting areas, go for a single floor covering which makes it easy to rearrange the furniture
-       The best paint colours will never hit you over the head. They speak quietly and softly.
-       Its okay to have a mix of masculine and feminine rooms in your home. This ensures there’s something for everyone!

And the final tab on this room… $26,988 for the upgrades and décor. What did you think of it?

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