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If you could build your dream home, what would you include? If you were shopping for a new home, what would make it onto your must-have list? If you are like most Canadians, storage and energy efficiency are at the top of your list.
“Everyone is interested in maximizing the storage within their home, whether they are building their dream walk-in closet from the ground up, or making the most of their storage in a small, older home,” said Allan Dieckmann at Stor-X Organizing Systems in Kelowna. “The options for storage spaces have come a long way and we are able to work with homeowners to make sure that the closets, garages, and mudrooms are really customized to their lives and needs. Storage isn’t a one-size fits all approach anymore.”
Last year, the Canadian Home Builder’s Association released a national survey, the Canadian Homebuyer Preference Study, that revealed some interesting trends in how we want to live. According to the survey, Canadians are placing a heavy emphasis on storage space and energy efficiency, forgoing luxuries like swimming pools and games rooms.
By far the biggest must-have for homebuyers is the walk-in closet. As our wardrobe options continue to expand, so must our closets and thanks to HGTV and celebrity shows, walk-in closets are more desirable than ever. In some cases, homebuyers are opting for not one, but two walk-in closets, so that there is plenty of room for everyone.
To maximize the storage within your existing closet, Dieckmann says that you should consider adding organization pieces that give you a place for everything. This includes a place for laundry, footwear, drawers, accessories, and hanging rods for longer and shorter clothing pieces. Lighting is also very important as it helps you find what you are looking for when you are rushing about in the morning.
Energy efficiency is very important to Canadian homebuyers and as energy costs rise, we want to know that we can run the dishwasher and clothes dryer without racking up a huge bill. Whether you are building a new home or selling your existing one, investing in some newer, energy efficient appliances will likely pay big dividends!
The value of an energy efficient home can’t be overstated and Canadians clearly agree. Many homebuyers are looking for a home that reduces energy bills, which in turn is good for the environment. The energy efficiency of a home is often dictated by appliances, insulation, windows, and electrical fixtures and lighting.
Canadians really don’t like throwing money out the window - literally! In the Okanagan, an inefficient window can lead to high heating costs in the winter and astronomical air conditioning costs in the summer. While our winters may be mild, one still shouldn’t neglect the importance of a great, double-glazed, energy efficient window.
When it comes to kitchens, everyone loves extra storage space and prep surfaces. Today’s families lead very busy lives and kitchen islands are great for bringing everyone together; Kids do homework while their parents prep for dinner, they eat breakfast at the counter, and it creates an excellent surface for entertaining large groups.
Finding a place to store your towels, bedding, and other linens can be tricky when you don’t have a dedicated closet space. Perhaps that’s why respondents of the Canadian Homebuyer Preference Study ranked linen closets as one of their top 10 must-have features in a new home.
When it comes to linen closets, you want to maximize the available space with a variety of divider options, shelves, and even baskets. The team at Stor-X Organizing Systems say that if something is too difficult to get at, you won’t be likely to use it. For example, piling linens on top of one another makes it difficult to get what you need from the bottom. You should also consider storing your sheets within one matching pillowcase for a tidy look that makes it easy to access what you need for each size bed in your home.
For centuries, the kitchen has been the heart of the family home. It is the place where the family will inevitably gather, so creating an open concept allows everyone plenty of room to hang out. If you love to cook, an open concept kitchen will also mean that you don’t have to feel cut off from the rest of the family.
One drawback of an open concept kitchen can be the mess, particularly when you are entertaining. If you have the opportunity to build your home from scratch, consider a highly organized butler's pantry where you can stash those dirty dishes until after the guests have gone home!
Bright is in and the best way to experience it is with lots of large windows that let the natural light in. To maximize the natural light in your home, consider lighter drapery and window coverings that are semi-sheer or semi-opaque, allowing you to have both privacy and light without compromise.
For those building new homes, be sure to consider what your large windows overlook and invest in landscaping that you love. If your existing home has smaller windows, hang lighter-coloured drapes that go from floor to ceiling and easily clear the entire window. This will make the windows appear larger!
It’s no surprise that one of our biggest must-haves is a 2-car garage; Not only will this give you a safe place for your vehicles, but they also offer up plenty of storage space! From Christmas decorations to bicycles, tools to kayaks, families have a lot of things to find a home for and the garage is the perfect place for storage.
The key to making the most of the storage space in your garage is to go up and create a place for everything and put everything in its place. According to Dieckmann, bikes should be hung from the wall or ceiling, as should most sporting equipment and garden tools. Other items should be stored in cabinets along the walls to minimize visual clutter and reduce dust that inevitably finds its way onto items.
Kelowna is the land of plenty when it comes to food, from fresh fruits and vegetables to a wide variety of grocery stores, and the juggernaut that is Costco. Whether you’re buying your granola bars in bulk at Costco or taking advantage of the case lot sales at the grocery store, you will need somewhere to store all of that delicious goodness. Luckily, walk-in pantries have been a popular addition to new homes over the last few decades and they are a must-have for homebuyers across the country.
Like all storage spaces, the key to maximizing your walk-in pantry is to organize your available storage. Utilize sliding racks and baskets to make goods easier to access and make sure that your shelves and cupboards aren’t too deep. If you can’t easily get to the food in your pantry, it will be more likely to get forgotten and go bad.
“Our homeowner’s lead such busy lives and we get to work with them to help keep their homes as organized and efficient as possible,” explained Dieckmann of the storage trend. “Organizing a space really makes our homeowners feel great and helps them shift their focus and time to the truly important things in their lives.”
Stor-X Organizing Systems offers made-in-BC products and a free in-home design consultation with a professional designer. As part of the design consultation, homeowners are able to view a 3D preview of their closet, including colours and finishes, all with no obligation. Visit Stor-X Organizing Systems online for more information and to view some of their past projects.
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