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Modern Country Farm house

Get the most for your money.

Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells.
~J. Paul Getty
And that's just what were going to do here on the farm with The Weintz 'Modern Country Farm House'.  Leanne and Chris were faced with the all important question  "Where are the best places to invest their money in their new home?"
 Leanne and I sat in her builders show home office and listened to him ask  about budgets and interior finishes, lighting, faucets, flooring and appliances, gas, electric or dual?  Even the toilet posed it's own list of questions. High eficiency, regular or comfort height, dual or single flush, round or elongated bowl?   As she waded through the barrage of questions she could feel her anxiety creap up her spine.  To her this was an over wealming and daunting task.   Without having a clue, she turned to the advice of both myself; her designer and her builder.   Your builder, should you have chosen correctly, is a valuable resource to tap into.  You should be able to discuss your dreams and fears comfortably with him.  He should have the ability to put your desires in check and your fears to rest.  To this builders credit, he advised Leanne not to panic, and not to buy anything until the time was right.  He then told a story about a previous client that went looking  in a fixture store and became awe struck with a beautiful faucet.  She was assured by the sales rep that the faucet of her dreams was a mere $25.00 more than her budget allowed for. So she bought it.  Little did she know that the fittings to install this particular faucet would cost her another $75.00.   
There is a Moen ad where a room is designed around a faucet. Unless your budget is limitless, I don't recommend it. I am not suggesting you don't get the tap set or light fixture you daydream about, but rather hold off until the time is right.  
So where does one spend their money if not on the faucet?  Well, first and foremost, I say spend it on the permanent fixtures in your home.  For example, if you dream of having in floor heating, now is the time.  Yes it is an extra expense but, you wouldn't put it in a few years down the road after the tile has already been laid.  If it's your desire to have the house wired for sound, again before the gyp rock is hung, now is the time.  Leanne's budget allowed for a tub surround in the ensuite, but she desperately wanted a fully tiled dual head shower.  It was my recommendation that she go for it!  Bathrooms and kitchen's offer the best return for the investment.  Although her budget did not allow for it,  I felt that we could definitely cut costs in another areas of the house so as to splurge on the shower.  
 Another example of extra costs worth incurring was in Leanne's kitchen.  I discovered that the floor plan that she brought to me had only one window in the kitchen and it was under a covered deck.  As Leanne loves a sun soaked room I explored other options for inserting natural light into the kitchen.  Option A was a window behind the range and option B was a skylight above the island.  While a window definitely would have been a beautiful addition and served the purpose of bringing sunshine in, it wouldn't be facing much of a view.  The builder calculated the cost to add the window to be  double the cost of option B's skylight;  due to the type of glass and vent hood  that would need to be purchased.  Weighing out the benefit  verses cost, we decided a skylight it was to be.     
Once you have budgeted in all of your permanent  fixtures you can then see if there is any budget left to splurge on the removable finishes like faucets and lighting.  These things can always be upgraded down the road.   However I think it's possible to save enough money in other places that Leanne won't have to make any big compromises at all.   We will look at and compare both new and vintage lighting to cut some costs and infuse character.  Chris and Leanne are fortunate enough to have barn wood and equipment at their disposal.  We intend to use many of these things as interior finishes and accessories.  You may not have the same fortune but if it's a farm house style home you are building, I highly recommend shopping around for old barn wood.  
Other ways Leanne and Chris will save some money is by doing some of the work them selves.   Tasks such as painting the walls, and staining wooden beams will be done by a group of their friends.  Perhaps you are fortunate enough to know someone in the trades who will give you a deal.  Although I caution you in this regard. Business and friendship don't always mix well.   
So to recap
  • Tap into your builders and designers wealth of knowledge
  • Don't buy until you have confirmed specs with your builder
  • Always shop and compare prices.
  • Spend your money on the permanent fixtures first, even if it means settling for the on sale light fixtures for the short term.  Up grade down the road.
  • Invest in your kitchens and bathrooms. They offer best return for investment. 
  • Compare vintage to new prices to save a buck and infuse character.
  • Use what you have. ie: barn wood. 
  • Employ friends or family in the trades to save costs  (Use your discretion)
  • Your designer is the advocate for your desires.  If you do not have a designer, ask the question what can I cut to get the ____________ I dream of. 
  • Last of all... spread your money around.
Tell us where you invested your money, both good decisions and bad.  
    We'd love to hear from you!
Home Builder Greg Vinton

The Thrill is in the Hunt!

The thrill is in the Hunt!
A Modern Country Farm House
     How does one infuse a brand new house with old world charm?  I believe this can be done in many ways that we will explore throughout this process, but for todays purposes, I want to focus on what is perhaps my very favourite part of my job.  Treasure finding.  Exploring the nooks and crannies of shops, stores, friends and families to find that PERFECT original thing to make a space really sing and express the character of the client.
     The thrill IS in the hunt!  I'm no psychiatrist but its my guess that it goes back to child hood when your told its fun to scavenge through the  wilderness for sticks and twigs or heart shaped rocks.  Or to seek out your sibling in the basement of your grandmas house, or even perhaps look for hard boiled eggs in the tall spring grass.
 I always feel its necessary to have an original and unexpected piece in every room.  Something your neighbour can't find at a big box store.  A piece that could tell such stories if given a voice.  So to accomplish this, I head to the local antique shops and consignment stores, farm markets and  garage sales.  These are the obvious places to go, but I also recommend going to your laptop.  Here in Kelowna we go to Castanet or CraigsList. Oh, and let us not forget e-bay.
    Decorating Treasure Even closer still... look in your moms basement  or  your great aunt Dianne's attic.  There are treasures to be found in the most unlikely of places.  These family heirlooms come attached with personal history!  For example, after the passing of a beloved aunt, my uncle offered me their china.  Little did I know when I accepted that it was to be the very most beautiful china I have ever laid my eyes on!  Hand painted on white. It's called "Old Silver Lustre"  I think fondly of my aunt and uncle every time I look at the display.  I now get the privelage to find more pieces to add to my collection.  This kind of experience you cannot buy. 
    Click to LINK to Western Star AuctionsPerhaps however, my favourite place to find treasure is at the auction!  It's a night out and a thrilling experience!  Some people like to sky dive, my adrenalin rush comes from raising that numbered card and bidding on a desired item.  A perfect stranger becomes an opponent bidding against you until one of you backs down.  Sometimes you come away with a vintage lamp and sometimes you lose an antique headboard.  Okay, sometimes I do.  But honestly I am absolutely exhilarated when I hear the pounding of the hammer and the call out that the object of my desire is SOLD to Home at Last. 
Mike the auctioneer at Western Star Auctions
However, treasure hunting comes with a cautionary warning.  It's easy to get caught up in the moment and over spend or impulse buy whether on e-bay or in person at the auction.  So I offer these treasure hunting tips.
auction.  Flea Market Style.
  •  See whats up for auction in advance.
  •  Take a note book to jot down lot numbers.
  •  Decide ahead of time how much your willing to pay. Stick to your guns! 
  • Buy only what you need and no more. 
  •  Have your home measurements with you, and take along a tape measure.
  • DON'T raise your arm unless you are bidding.  Infact your better off not to even make eye contact with the auctioneer until its something you want.
     Leanne's Modern Country Farmhouse is still in the drawing stages, but that didn't stop us from making our first purchase for the house.  In fact buying a permanent furniture item now is perfect because it allows us to give the measurements to the builder so that it can be built in custom.
Flea Market Style.  Fileing cabinet becomes a phone desk.   We found an antique filing cabinet on castanet  for $100.00. The woman who sold it to us tells its been in the same family for generations.   The  assumption might be  that the filing cabinet was purchased for the office when in fact we had the kitchen in mind instead.   There is a niche in the pantry intended for a phone desk.  I am personally not fond of a counter top cubbie cluttered in all of the items that have no permanent home and a phone hiding somewhere under the pile.  However Leanne and Chris insisted on having a home for their phone.  This cabinet re purposed was the perfect solution.  Just enough counter top space to hold a phone and a pad of message paper.  It' taller than desk height therefore making it less convenient  for kids to drop items in passing. It has enough file drawers for each family member to tuck away such things as homework or important papers  and at the top a small row of  drawers for pens and pencils, keys  and what not.   Leanne and Chris both love the character of the piece and as always, form follows function. This piece definitely makes the grade!
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