Who better to ask for advice when building a new home than the staff at a new home builder?

And who could possible pay more attention to the details, than interior designers?  Those who have  a passion for design, are detail-oriented, creative, have a knowledge of diverse design styles and who can spend hours looking at different finishings and paint colours and tile combos to come up with just the perfect combination?

Having built two homes so far in his time at Shane Homes, Kal Macdonald, Interior Design Supervisor has definitely learned a few things in the process.

Kal says he will be building again in the future, so we asked him what he would do differently.

Kal:  When we built our last home, in my mind, we were a bit too budget conscious.  We didn’t get a couple of upgrades because we were trying to keep our mortgage down and after putting all of our savings into the down payment, we thought we would wait a few years and do some renovating and put in what we didn’t get originally.  Big mistake!  All these years later and we still haven’t changed up what we wanted to change all those years ago.

I have thought about this a lot, being an interior designer and working with hundreds of people a year to design their dream home, plus constantly looking at interior design trends, photos, articles, magazines and websites like Homzz and Houzz.

This is exactly what I would do differently:

1) I would spend a bit more on upgrades in the kitchen.  The kitchen is ALWAYS a good investment, and customizing your kitchen in various ways will really pay off in the long run. Garbage pullouts, recycling pullouts, pot and pan drawers, wine racks, etc, are a great way to give your space that chef’s kitchen feel!

2) I would spend less on upgrades that don’t really matter. I spent money on upgrading the baseboard and casings package on my current home. No one has ever walked into my house and exclaimed “I LOVE your baseboards!”

3) I would consider choosing hardwood floors right from the beginning.  Because we were on a budget, we went with tile floors on the main floor, thinking we would replace with hardwood in the future.  We wish we had just done it right from the start. The price increase was not that much, and now “doing it later” means a real inconvenience, and a lot of work and mess ripping up the tiles. Also we wish we had done the master bedroom in hardwood flooring as well.

4) I would add more windows! We now wish we had paid more attention to the placement, size and number of windows in our home. We have about 6 spots in the house where we wish we had put a window. And also, even though our basement is still undeveloped, we wish we had put a second window in the basement!  It is much easier to do this upfront than undergoing a reno later.

Kal Blog

Photo of the entry in Kal’s house at Christmas time

 For Interior Design advice from Kal, please watch these videos:

Tile Trends

Carpet Trends

Countertop Trends

Tips for Interior Colour Palettes