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12 min read
By: Léa Plourde-Archer
We finally made it and reached the end of December, the final month of the year 2020. Now, as much as things won’t magically fix themselves on December 31st at 11:59 pm, there’s a sort of comfort knowing we’re finally closing the chapter on what was this long and exhausting year and moving on with our lives.
If you’ve been an avid follower of our series about the best articles on renovation, design and decor found on the internet every month, you probably noticed we missed November. This is because we decided to bring you a complete recap of the year, month by month, of the best articles we could find for each of them!
Narrowing down such a thing proved to be a demanding task, but if you’re an interior design lover just like me, you know all this research and reading proved to be worth it. So without further ado, here are the best articles I could find about renovation, interior design and decor for the entire year of 2020!
I decided to include an article about 2019 in this list because, in my opinion, a look back on some of the biggest home decor trends for the final year of an entire decade is something big. Trends change faster than seasons and this is also valid when we talk about interior design.
Here is what my favourite architecture and design blog had to say about 2019 and what 2020 predicted for us!
To read the full article, head on here.
Bonus article: Learn more about how the Netherlands uses amazing architecture to feed the rest of the world, being the second-biggest exporter of agricultural goods in the world (which is a lot of responsibility to carry for a single country!).
Tucked away in Quebec’s eastern townships is this family home, imagined by couple Lucy Riddell and Katherine Nikidis. Built with the help of their son’s friend François Abbott, who was a recent graduate of Dalhousie School of Architecture in Halifax, this house is what every minimalist lover’s dreams are made of.
To see more of the beautiful home, head to Remodelista’s article here.
Bonus article: The team of Remodelista also shares 15 tips on how to incorporate marble scraps in your decor, bringing luxury to your decor on a budget.
In a city facing rapid growth in homelessness (about a 13% increase since the 2015 numbers), the task of finding a solution for the issue quickly fell into the arms of nonprofits, after both the mayor of Austin and the governor of Texas failed to conclude the matter.
This is where Community First! Village comes in, offering over 51-acre of affordable housing and safety to the homeless community of the municipality. The tiny homes were built with the help of local architecture firms, with some of them offering their services pro-bono.
Just like our previous article, the focus here is about caring for your community and this is just what the new Bayalpata Hospital, located on a hilltop in Nepal, is set to provide. With a goal of serving more than 100,000 patients a year for its surrounding areas, it’s set to provide low-cost and high-quality care to these small rural areas.
Even more fascinating with this project is the impeccable and interesting architecture of the building, made out of rammed earth.
Now, this is an article that caught my attention very quickly as I am a big Eames fan. What I’m even more a fan of is learning about the many women who, back in these times, sadly often stood in their husband’s shadow.
Learning about Ray Eames and the impact she had on the famous household name only after her death in 1988 surely is a shame, but it also somehow pushed her legacy right into her well-deserved spotlight.
Source: NY Times
After being confined at home for several months, with most of us working from our living rooms, the walls around us that make up our homes probably started feeling a bit too familiar and boring. Worse, maybe you realized your layout isn’t proper for you to work from home at all.
These 5 designers answered your cries for help and broke down their predictions about the future of remodels post-lockdown.
Bonus article: Maggie’s is a U.K. charity that recently expanded its free cancer patient care by completing its new Maggie’s Leeds Center, inspired by nature and biophilic design. It’s open to patients, family members and friends, a safe haven for those who need it most.
In this time of social distancing, designer Kusheda Mensah shares her furniture designs, making us realize that we might have needed a change well before the coronavirus pandemic. After contemplating how stress and anxiety was a specific issue among her generation, she decided to use furniture as a way to encourage meaningful social experiences.
Bonus article: On a lighter note, I found this article and couldn’t resist including it. Everyone that knows me at RenoQuotes.com knows that I’m their #1 go-to person when it comes to astrology. In this article, discover how, according to your sign, you would decorate your dream home!
This is a subject we see mentioned often on architecture blogs. With big cities growing and seeing an increase of inhabitants each year, this issue poses the question about the utility of space vs. an ever-growing density in metropolitan areas.
Bonus article: Our favourite Montreal-based duo of designer brothers is once again making the headlines with this piece written by Elle Decor, interviewing the siblings about their homes in the famous Habitat 67 buildings!
When we talk about architecture and history, our minds often drift to countries of Europe, rich in historical landmarks and signature styles that defined their eras through time. What we tend to forget, however, is that European architecture isn’t all that exists, with other continents offering beauties of forgotten civilizations and empires that once had their own architectural prowesses.
In honour of the hidden and the unknown, ArchDaily compiled a list of Latin America's hidden architectural gems worth the attraction.
Similarly, blog MessyNessyChic wrote a piece on the Indian city of Oz and its structures made entirely of concrete, another gem often overlooked but sure to amaze any architecture enthusiast!
Source: ArchDaily & MessyNessyChic
Affordable and accessible solar energy: that’s what WeSolar provides to low- and moderate-income families. Its CEO, Kristal Hansley, was inspired by her grandmother’s love for community in order to create a project of her own.
In an industry that is predominantly run by white men, Kristal became the first black woman to launch her solar company, cleverly celebrating this aspect by launching her business on Juneteenth.
Bonus article: If you miss travelling and discovering this world’s architectural wonders, this photography book about the most charismatic homes around the world is for you!
Architectural Digest takes you through some of the most impressive and beautiful glass structures around the globe, also known as conservatories. Once built from wood and glass to protect fragile greenery from harsh European winters, they have now morphed into one of the most beautiful structures, with clever architectural designs.
Bonus article: Designer Alex Eagle shares 5 design tips and lessons she got to learn while creating her book More Than Just a House: at Home with Collectors and Creators.
Source: Architectural Digest
In today’s world, a growing concern for the environment also brought a growing demand for eco-conscious and sustainable living. Whether it’s a carbon-negative cabin or a prefab farmhouse, discover the sustainable homes that caught Dwell’s attention in 2020.
Bonus article: This wouldn’t be an end of the year recap if we didn’t present an article about what interior designers predict for the coming trends of 2021. Get to know what 11 designers have to say on the matter!
For 2020, just like all these blogs, our redaction team at RenoQuotes kept busy trying to get you through some weird times, doing our best to publish articles that would keep you busy reading. Here are some of the highlights from me, Amanda, Lea and Karine!
If you miss travelling, here is an article I wrote back in January exploring the history of Portugal’s beautiful and colourful architecture, with some pictures taken by yours truly!
With most of us having to work from home still to this day, 2020 was probably the year to invest in an office corner at home. This is why, back in February, we found you the best inspiration in order to do so.
Just like home office organization, some of us probably found 2020 to be the year to finally get our homes organized practically. Here are some ways we found for you to separate your interior spaces cleverly.
For anyone else that was looking to make the most of their stay at home life, Amanda came up with this practical guide in order to have the perfect staycation.
Back in May, we hopped on the summer trends and gave you 10 examples of patio designs to get ready before the hotter days.
In a time that is critical for small local businesses, we present 10 Montreal locations that inspire us with their decors, worthy of a spot in any design magazines!
For your little ones, we also found some of the best inspo in order to give them their dream bedroom!
For those still looking for clever ways to organize your home, these storage ideas will probably offer some inspiration when looking for storage space solutions.
Now, this is a subject that fascinated me for years and this is why I decided to tackle it in this article.
Just like before, local support for small businesses during this past year has been more important than ever, especially with the holidays.
For November, we give all you loft lovers some great inspo on how to design your future home!
And finally, for December, we make sure once again that all you readers living in smaller spaces are making the most of your space with these practical designer hacks to help you.
Alright, folks, that’s all for this year! Wishing you a happy new year, with lots of love and friendships to come! See you next month.
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Last modified 2022-07-11
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 26 Apr 2023
Is your heat pump’s air conditioning function not working? It might not be that difficult to fix. Whether it be a faulty fan or a leaky heat pump, we’re delving into all these malfunctions, and sharing some DIY fixes on the unit itself when possible. A Heat Pump’s Faulty Air Conditioning Function Source: Canva Rest assured, most often, heat pumps function very well, and their materials are long-lasting. However, at times, heat pumps can fail to operate as intended. Not unlike a sick patient, one has to consider all the symptoms to find the cause of the ailment. Here’s a list of issues that can occur with heat pumps that may cause the air conditioning feature to malfunction. My heat pump is noisy If you can hear whistling or a sort of bubbling sound coming from your unit, it means that the refrigerant level is low. The AC function isn’t blowing cold air Source: Canva Heat pumps require some general upkeep, especially when it comes to their filters. If you've been maintaining your unit by cleaning the filters every 2-3 months, then check the compressor. It may be that it isn’t working anymore and needs to be replaced. Another probable cause is a low level of Freon (refrigerant), which we’ll delve into below. My heat pump is tripping my breaker Here are the likeliest causes of this air conditioning problem: You may have plugged in too many appliances at once (drop in voltage); Your compressor short-circuited due to too-high humidity levels; The heat pump is poorly insulated; The motor is damaged (malfunctioning condenser); The fans are damaged due to a build-up of dust; The condensers aren’t functioning anymore. In any case, if you’re sure that it’s not due to a faulty fuse, you’ll need to hire a professional. They’re the only ones that’ll be able to determine the malfunction with certitude and repair it. The heat pump fan isn’t spinning Source: Canva The 7 possible reasons are: The fan is simply broken and needs to be replaced; The circuit breaker fuse blew; The thermostat no longer works; A too-high demand for electricity led to a drop in voltage; The wires aren’t connected properly; The blower motor is malfunctioning; The circuit board is defective. Are you looking for experts for your heating and air conditioning project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! Why is my heat pump leaking? If so, it’s most likely resulting from a clogged condensate drain. Not unlike a sink, a heat pump’s drain line can get clogged up. To unclog it yourself, you’ll need to open up your heat pump and use a product that contains sodium hydroxide to dissolve the blockage. However, a leaky heat pump can also be a result of the following: Faulty installation; The evaporator’s refrigerant; Malfunctioning condensate pump. In such instances, have an HVAC technician handle your heat pump repair. Heating or Cooling Issues Source: Canva Occasionally, heat pumps fail to heat or cool the air inside your home as intended. These HVAC problems often occur when heat pump filters are obstructed. If so, follow the steps detailed below: Cut the heat pump’s power supply via the circuit breaker; Open up the panel by lightly pulling on the sides; Remove both black filters in front of you; Clean them out to remove the dust. You should clean the filters every 2 to 3 months to prevent such reoccurring problems with your unit. Such issues with your unit can also be resulting from the heat pump’s settings. Therefore, make sure that it’s programmed according to your needs and that the batteries in the remote control are still functional. How can I tell if my heat pump is low on Freon? Source: Canva Issues related to low levels of Freon (refrigerant) in a heat pump solely have one cause: a leak. Such problems are very serious, as such, having your heat pump repaired by a professional is a must. Their role will be to find the leak, fix it, or replace the defective part. Here are 5 telltale signs that your Freon levels are low. 1- Cooling your home is especially drawn-out The less Freon contained in a heat pump, the less cold air it will generate. As a result, you’re going to have a harder time cooling your dwelling. 2- Your electricity bill is going up Have you noticed a spike in your electricity bill? If your consumption habits haven’t changed, this may be a sign that your unit isn’t in good working order. Heat pumps consume a lot more energy when refrigerant levels in your system are low. 3- Your heat pump is whistling or bubbling Whistling or bubbling heat pumps have low refrigerant levels. 4- There’s frost on the ductwork This can be a red flag leading to more serious problems, which may result in the need to replace the entire unit. A lack of refrigerant in heat pumps can ice up the ductwork around the exterior unit. 5- The air from vents is lukewarm This means that the refrigerant level is much too low. HVAC Technician Repair Services If your heat pump’s cooling function is defective, and this problem isn’t a direct result of your remote control or electric panel, contact a technician. We've scoured the Internet to find the best heat pump repair technicians available, based on Google reviews and user ratings, and some definitely outshine the rest.
Cynthia Laferrière • 13 Feb 2023
A pergola is a great alternative to a traditional patio umbrella. Not only does this sunshade provide a more aesthetic appeal compared to the latter, but it also offers a wide range of options in terms of materials and sizes. On top of that, it doubles as a permanent patio lounge area, while still shielding you from the elements. Despite being exposed to Canada's harsh East Coast climate and other elements, preserving its condition for many years to come requires meticulous care and maintenance. Pergola Care & Maintenance Tips Source: Canva It’s recommended to clean and inspect your pergola twice a year to assess its overall condition. First prior to using it, around mid-spring, and then a second time during fall, when it’s plagued by dead leaves and other debris. Naturally, in the event of damage or mishap, or if your yard is prone to grime, pollen, or efflorescence, rinse it with clean water from time to time to remove any residue. Routine maintenance and inspections will help materials last for many years to come, and allow you to carry out any necessary repairs before the problem worsens. Follow the guidelines set out below to adapt your maintenance methods according to the pergola's structural material. Avoid at all times: High-pressure washes; Thinners and solvents (acetone, bleach, etc.); Abrasive cleaners. Cleaning an Aluminum or PVC Pergola These two materials are pretty simple to maintain. Their sturdy structures were basically designed to withstand bad weather, sun exposure, frost, and snow build-up. Use soapy water to wipe the entire structure with a soft, non-abrasive sponge. Use dishwashing liquid or Marseille soap for a thorough cleaning. If stains linger, use white vinegar to scrub them off. Rinse with clean, lukewarm water at medium jet pressure, then dry immediately with a soft cloth, microfibre wipe, or clean rag. If you own a motorized louvered aluminum pergola, use the above-mentioned cleaning techniques. However, do bear in mind that the pergola’s other components—blinds, blades, and mechanisms—should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Caring for a wrought iron pergola Source: Canva When it comes to this type of pergola, the main concern is humidity. Therefore, to prevent rust from eating away at the metal, you need to apply an effective anti-corrosion agent. For proper maintenance, first, scrape off any traces of oxidation prior to applying the rust prevention product. Top it off with a varnish or paint specially formulated for outdoor wrought iron. Are you looking for experts for your pergola maintenance project? Fill in our form to be connected to top-rated contractors! Preserving a top-notch wooden pergola Wood is the most high-maintenance structural material. Albeit most lumber is already treated against pests, mould, and fungi, pergolas made with such material are vulnerable to wear, fade, and grooves. These are some of the most widely used and hard-wearing wood species: Bamboo Oak Cedar Treated pine Teak Step number 1 consists of inspecting your structure to spot any anomalies, imperfections, breaks, cracks, etc. To determine whether there's evidence of rot or not, push the tip of a small tool such as a screwdriver into the wood. If the latter is easily driven as if the wood was rendered soft, look no further. If this issue seems to be affecting a greater part of a board, consider replacing it altogether. Should luck be on your side and only a few minor areas are affected, these can be repaired with wood putty. Leave it overnight before sanding and continuing maintenance. Then, check the sturdiness of your pergola by gently shaking the structure. Tighten screws and fixings as you see fit. Now comes step 3, meaning the cleaning stage. Begin by removing all dust and residue by scrubbing it with a wire brush or floor scrubber. Peel off any pieces that appear to be breaking away from the boards and gently sand the surface. Then, clean it with black soap. Regular wood deck cleaners also do the trick. As above-mentioned, avoid high-pressure jets when rinsing off a wooden pergola. Allow it to fully dry prior to applying any of the following finishing products: Outdoor wood treatment to apply every 3 years: This product prevents fungi growth, and protects against moisture and harsh weather. Yearly insect-repellent treatment: Not mandatory, yet highly recommended for added protection, especially in rural areas. Waterproofing sealer when needed: It preserves the wood's natural colour or any heat-resistant wood paint and varnish that may have been applied. How to Maintain Pergola Accessories Source: Canva Motor Unplug it and store it somewhere away from the cold and humidity, together with the cables, batteries, and remote control. Screws Stainless steel hardware is rather low maintenance. However, if it’s metal-based, make sure that rust isn’t eating away at your screws, and apply a preventative product (e.g. Corrostop paint). Sliding glass panels and tracks Here, the same principle applies as with normal home window cleaning! However, you should do this from time to time, especially to prevent the tracks from jamming with gravel or anything else that could cause the mechanism to strain and wear. Gutters Remember to take a look at the gutters from time to time to ensure they're not clogged. If they appear clogged, clear and clean the rainwater drainage holes. Shade fabric If your pergola is fitted with a PVC or fabric shade, note that it’s pretty resilient, and thus can be cleaned just as you would the rest of the structure, meaning with water and soft soap. Use a sturdy ladder and a broom or a long-handled brush. Allow it to dry properly to prevent mould stains. Blades To clean the blades, flatten them out and use a pressure washer to remove dirt stains. You can also lubricate the joints to maintain their smooth motions all summer long. Last but not least, besides the odd spot checks for breaks, open the blades after every rainfall to avoid water build-up. Also, note that once you've used it for the last time, you should lock the blades in a vertical position to prevent snow from damaging them.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 09 Aug 2023
Concrete panels are durable, cost-effective, and viable options for both indoor and outdoor walls. Their list of attributes doesn’t end here: they're also easy to install, especially aesthetic-looking, thermal insulators, and soundproof. We’ll delve into why and how these panels should be installed. Characteristics of Lightweight Concrete Outdoor Wall Panels Source: Canva Concrete panels are considered lightweight when their density is between 90 to 115 lb/ft³, as opposed to regular concrete’s 140 to 150 lb/ft³. As such, they weigh roughly forty pounds (20 to 30 kilos) apiece and have: low thermal conductivity; high thermal resistance; reduced likelihood of shrinkage; increased ability to withstand rotting. Variations are made using different types of aggregates. With lightweight concrete, it can be: Slate Ash Schist Pumice Clay Perlite Introducing New Aggregates Over the last few years, materials from agricultural waste have made their way into the manufacturing process of lightweight concrete panels, OPS (oil palm shell) concrete being one of them. Furthermore, innovations aren’t curbed yet, as experiments are carried out to manufacture concrete panels sourced from the slag generated by gasification processes and fly ash issued from petrochemical incineration. These products, stemming from an integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), are used to produce glass-ceramic, and with lightweight concrete, exhibit compressive strength exceeding the requirements established by the international standards organization ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials). PCSP Also available are PCSPs—precast concrete sandwich panels—which are rightfully named for their 3 layers (concrete - insulation - concrete), and have valuable characteristics: withstand compression load; lightweight; energy efficient; durable, safe, and comfortable. Specifically, it’s a mix of 3 mm expanded polystyrene beads and cement, to achieve a density equalling 9 kN/m³. Why is lightweight concrete cheaper than regular concrete? Simply because regular concrete, being heavier than its lightweight counterpart, requires rebar (structural reinforcements), like framing, steel beams, etc. As such, the total cost of a project will be higher using regular concrete as opposed to lightweight concrete. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! How to Install Fibre Cement Panels Source: Canva Fibre cement panels can just as well be installed inside as outside since they’re fit for roofing. They’re used as a thermal barrier coating, and reinforced with a fibreglass mesh to withstand UV rays. Here’s a 9-step guide for installing fibre cement indoor wall panels: Step 1: Gather materials Here’s everything you need to secure fibre cement wall panels: Low-expansion construction foam Caulking gun Electric drill Hammer Compressor with 16-gauge nailer 1 ¾ inch finishing nails Wood shims Laser level or 4-inch line level Tape measure Grinder or mechanical saw with a diamond blade Step 2: Inspect plywood Once installed, lightweight concrete is just as resilient as plywood. However, if the plywood isn’t properly installed, or isn’t sturdy enough, the lightweight concrete panels will mirror the former’s characteristics. Step 3: Unbox and store panels Upon delivery, your panels will be boxed in protective packaging. To remove the panels from their packaging, lay the panels sideways, vertically on their edge. If laid horizontally, they risk breaking. The same concept applies during transportation. Always transport concrete panels vertically rather than horizontally, to prevent breakage. Step 4: Mark the wall To install concrete panels, always start with the first row, meaning at the bottom of the wall. Make a mark to indicate the wall’s midpoint as well as to indicate the height of the first concrete panel. Based on the height of the concrete panel, you can then set your laser level or use your line level. Step 5: Prepare panels Once you’re certain of where the first concrete panel should be secured (centre fit at the bottom of the wall), you can go ahead and apply the low-expansion construction foam on the back of the panel. You can apply the product in a sinuous-like wave pattern, from top to bottom, over the panel’s entire back surface. Step 6: Wedge the panel Should you not want the panel to sit directly on the floor, especially if the latter isn’t level, you can wedge a wood shim beneath it. Otherwise, you can simply hold it in place for a few seconds until it adheres to the wall. You can then nail them in place using a nail gun. The concrete’s texture will conceal the nails. Step 7: Cut panels accordingly The last panel in each row will most likely need to be cut. To do so, you can use a grinder or mechanical saw fitted with a diamond blade. Step 8: Check level and thickness This is a crucial step. The first row must be completely level, otherwise, the subsequent rows will also be crooked. Once the panels have all been installed, you may notice a discrepancy between one panel to the next. Should this be the case, use a wood shim to adjust the panels accordingly. This will allow you to have a perfectly flat and levelled wall. You can also drive a screw into a panel in question and use it as an anchor point to then pull the concrete panel toward you to adjust it accordingly. Keep in mind that you only have about 5 to 10 minutes to make any necessary adjustments before the adhesive cures. Step 9: Caulk the edges Caulk the panels’ edges with an adhesive, while using a trimming tool to apply the silicone. You can remove any excess product using a putty knife. Lastly, sand the surface of every concrete panel with a fine-grit sandpaper. Doing so will effectively remove any and all fingerprints, as well as accumulated dirt resulting from the installation. Types of Panels Source: Canva Concrete panels have made their way into all construction-related fields: Architecture Interior use Décor Fireplace walls Flooring Architecture Lightweight panels are available in an array of colours and are more often than not the sought-after choice amongst architects. So much so that it resulted in the inception of a new trend: photo-engraved façades. This involves using patterned concrete to depict a grooved image. When it comes to pre-fabricated concrete, the image is moulded and positioned at the bottom of a mould. There are two other techniques: Graphic Concrete Béton picturalⓇ Both methods are distinct. The first method involves using a retarder to delay the concrete’s curing process in certain areas, thereby allowing aggregates to show through. This is achieved using a special membrane with a retarder. On the other hand, the second technique entails digitally printing an image onto a concrete slab. Therefore, concrete panels are the perfect canvas for a new, vector graphic-based architectural art. For Indoor Use Walls aren’t the sole surface to accommodate concrete panels. They’ve permeated every corner of the home: Floors Behind fireplaces Bathrooms etc. They’re just as used in single-family homes as in administrative and commercial buildings. Decorative Concrete Although lightweight concrete panels are designed to withstand loads, they’re, first and foremost, thought of as decorative pieces when used indoors in their ultra-lightweight versions, weighing roughly forty pounds (20 to 30 kilograms). Concrete panels are available in various shades of grey and are particularly valued for instilling modern-looking interior designs. They exude a sophisticated ambience that combines elegance and charm. For Fireplace Walls If you’re looking for fireplace wall cladding, fibre cement panels are perfect for that, given that they can be positioned around and behind fireplaces. Panels are retailed as 4-, 8-, or 10-feet high boards, with thicknesses ranging from ¼ to ½ inches, as provided by manufacturers. As Flooring Concrete panels can be glued onto subflooring, whether the latter is made of plywood or OSB. Concrete panels and subfloors are adhered together by mortar or using an adhesive. When proceeding with installation, avoid overlapping the panels’ joints with those of the subfloor.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 09 Aug 2023
Once considered rustic, perhaps even old-fashioned, ceiling beams have now become a sought-after, stylish design element. Embrace them; unearth their beauty, customize their style to your liking, and genuinely appreciate their presence. Or, draw inspiration from them, create something new, and adapt them to your different indoor settings. Exposed beams exude an undeniable charm, no matter the room they grace. Paired with high ceilings, they instill a sense of spaciousness and magnificence. Whether you’re harnessing existing structural elements or introducing decorative faux wood beams to revamp a particular décor, we’ll delve into how to make the most out of this striking architectural feature. An Abode with Exposed Ceiling Beams Source: Canva The framing (or beams) is the wood or metal—at times concrete—structural components used to support a building’s roof, as well as the insulation materials, ventilation system, etc. Structural framing for new constructions Oftentimes, when dealing with new construction, there’s the option of leaving the structural beams exposed. Doing so will result in a striking feature and significant space gain in a room that can be stretched high into the attic. Since it will inevitably influence numerous architectural parameters, it must be specified at the very beginning of the project. Restore exposed beams during a remodel If your attic encloses striking wooden beams, why not consider undertaking a remodelling project aimed at exposing them? On the other hand, if the framing is already exposed, there are ways to restore the beams, even if, at first glance, they appear to be pretty shabby. For one, they can be painted or capped with wood to revamp their look with an aesthetic, modern, and sophisticated twist. Naturally, one can choose to break through the attic to expose the beams within, thereby becoming making the beams the focal design aspect of the room sitting directly beneath, or redesign the space entirely. Whatever the case may be, there’s no doubt your house will benefit from this unique feature. Again, if you decide to expose structural elements, best let the contractor know ahead of time. The roof’s insulation must be renewed accordingly, and the beams and rafters may have to be restored as well. Replacing existing structural features can also mean gaining a significant amount of space, height-wise. Are you looking for a general contractor for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! What type of timber is best suited for beams? Source: Canva Choosing the type of timber, not unlike the transformation process, will largely depend on the selected architectural style, interior décor, and materials used to craft and coat the exposed beams. There are two types of structural framing styles: light-frame and heavy-frame construction. Typically, timber framing, or heavy-frame construction, is especially sought-after courtesy of its aesthetic aspect. On the other hand, light-frame construction will most often be made with finner, less fire-resistant wood, and ultimately, timber that has been tool-worked. While it’s exceptionally decorative, it isn’t crafted with solid wood, thereby won’t allow for the possibility of transforming the attic into a living space. An unfinished wood, timber framing In its natural state—or as close to it as possible—unfinished wood adds a unique appeal to any setting. From its veining to its exposed knotting, by way of different shades that really shouldn’t be concealed with paint, are both charming and appealing aspects. Roughly trimmed exposed wood beams have an undeniable rustic charm, while light wood will inspire a rather trendy, Scandinavian look. Unfinished wood framing isn’t limited to a traditional, rustic, or Scandinavian style since its warmth and coziness create a striking contrast at the heart of a contemporary setting. When preserving the look of untreated wood, homeowners can choose to stain, sand, or buff the wood’s surface to align its finish with the desired style. The aesthetic outcome is up for grabs—one can achieve an amalgamation of looks, all seamlessly merging conservative and modern elements. Mixed material framing or light-frame construction Exposed beams may be the result of a combination of different materials, thereby giving light to striking outcomes. Metal beams (steel, aluminum, etc.) showcase a more modern, loft-like, dwelling, which is also really appealing. Dare to Paint Exposed Beams Covering exposed beams with white paint can convey a certain lightness to the décor, thereby creating bright rooms, with meticulous and sophisticated details. This also brightens the rooms, adding a modern twist. Black-painted beams are chic and elegant, conveying an industrial-inspired, stylish and modern setting. If there’s sufficient ceiling height, one can even go as far as painting the ceiling black too. Otherwise, the simple contrast of black beams on a white ceiling is just as striking. Don’t limit yourself to black and white! Bluish-grey beams will garner all the attention in a rustic or older-model home with coastal-inspired décor. Grey beams will convey the unique appeal of cedar wood in a country-living-inspired house or the divine farmhouse look. Pro tip: If you have beams installed, opt for wood instead of polyurethane or polystyrene, which are both short-lived and flammable options. Space them out sufficiently to avoid overloading the room, while ensuring their size isn’t exaggerated in regards to the height of the ceiling. Areas to Favour for Peak Results Source: Canva Exposed beams and their numerous decorative possibilities are simply to die for. Their style and authenticity, much like the added ceiling height and the formerly lacklustre walls, are all part of the charm. Renovated, painted, or left untreated, exposed framing beams revamp any room, showcasing its uniqueness. On that account, it’s not all that surprising that exposed beams have crossed over into modern, traditional, Scandinavian, boho-chic, industrial, or country-living interior décors. Such an architectural feature can metamorphosis any room, from the living room and bedroom to a home office and dining area. Some bedroom-specific exposed beam ideas: White beams convey a homebody and coastal vibe, with daydreams at the forefront. A cute duvet cover, light veiling covering the windows, and refined furniture pieces…you can’t do it better than that! Untreated wood has an authenticity, a natural look that when paired with plants channels a refreshing look, one with a slightly exotic touch. To sharpen the rustic side of unfinished wood, one may choose to build a bed frame using wood pallets, while opting for wall-mounted bedside tables. For a Zen-inspired look, opt for polished wood beams, which will effortlessly reflect the light. For an industrial-style bedroom, split up the space using a partition with a black frame… It’s a beautiful way to blend a makeshift lounge area, walk-in closet, or home office. For a well-done, country-chic look, pair a wood-panelled ceiling with white beams. A living room exuding undeniable charm with exposed beams: There’s nothing like a bright, cozy, and welcoming living room to set a rustic and modern tone to a timeless décor. As such, use leather furniture and dark wood coffee tables, a few British-inspired decorative pieces that also have a subtle masculine touch. In a farmhouse-inspired living room with exposed beam work, favour neutral shades and noble materials. In a narrow room, opt for neutral and light colours to brighten the space and create a sense of spaciousness. As for the beams, select the same shades as the walls and ceilings, and limit the use of any other colour to a few decorative pieces. To showcase untreated beams in a spacious living room, paint the ceiling and walls white. And, rely on elegant materials to highlight your furniture. For a high-tech look, paint the beams light grey or beams with a metallic finish to set the tone. To create an industrial look, try to seamlessly balance metals, glass, and wood. And, try adding a bit of brick into the mix! Exposed Beam Insulation and Upkeep Source: Canva How can you insulate an exposed beam ceiling? A comfortable and healthy home is well insulated against drafts, heat, and noise pollution. Typically, homeowners will choose to insulate their ceilings from the inside due to its cost-effectiveness and ease. However, when insulation materials are added between and under the rafters, they may conceal, partially or entirely, the exposed beams. Therefore, the best option consists of insulating from the outside. Combining various insulation materials—rigid, batts, or sprayed—will maintain the necessary ventilation, while the structure benefits from high-performing insulation, thus limiting thermal bridges. The complexity of this aforementioned process calls for expert hands. How can you ensure the durability of exposed beams? Protecting a wooden structure calls for regular maintenance and upkeep while also ensuring the roof is leak-proof. It’s equally important to make sure insects and fungi aren’t permeating the structure, addressing these issues as necessary. Lastly, a well-functioning ventilation system should have priority, while excess moisture should be meticulously controlled. On the other hand, steel framing is resistant to pests and fungi, but is especially vulnerable to corrosion. Regular maintenance, as well as applying a coat of intumescent paint, which safeguards against heat in case of fires, is highly recommended. Lighting and Décor Ideas for Exposed Beams Source: Canva No matter which room in your house you’re decorating, focus on the structural framing to showcase said space in a unique way. The beams can be embellished with pendant lights or sconces. Another idea would be to hang incandescent light bulbs from the ceiling with a long electric cord wrapped around the beam. Lastly, string lights are just as appealing. For a more contemporary look, secure recessed lights on the beams. This type of lighting, when positioned on either side of the beams, results in a beautiful interplay between light and darkness. Affixed between the beams, the lighting will highlight the length of the beams, and visually enhance the size of the room. Another option would be the use the framing as the room’s main decorative feature, meaning using the wooden beams to their fullest. Hang a hammock, swing, or wispy veils that frame the canopy-like bed, for a cozy and romantic look. Use the beams to cleverly divide the space into distinct areas: lounge area, home office, storage, etc. Wall beams can double as shelving to store plush bathroom linens, small and exotic plants, or a collection of related coffee table books. Furthermore, to seamlessly blend in your furniture, there’s nothing better than merging with the framing. A tall storage unit or custom-made, wall-mounted bookcase will allow you to create a beautiful, focal furniture piece while also instilling a unique appeal to the room as a whole. Last but not least, climbing vines will benefit from the constant stream of daylight courtesy of the windows while gracefully stretching about the room, floor to ceiling.
SoumissionRenovation.ca • 02 Aug 2023
A home extension is a significant undertaking, no matter how you look at it. It calls for solid technical expertise and extensive design know-how. Learn why an architect’s expertise is indispensable to building a well-designed home extension. Home Extension Blueprints Source: Canva Blueprints can spare you a considerable amount of trouble: Avoid administrative roadblocks; Mitigate the risks of a contractor rejecting your plans and halting the process; Prevent the need to completely redo the plans. If you deem yourself quite talented in terms of technical drawings and believe designing the plans for your new home extension is a good idea, think again. Plans drawn up by a homeowner almost always end up rejected by city officials. When not outright rejected, architects and architectural technologists are quite likely to refuse to collaborate on your plans and rubber stamp them with their professional seal. Therefore, drawing up your own plans for your home extension project is altogether a waste of time. While certain contractors may suggest having them designed on your behalf, this idea isn’t much better. Why, you ask? Because in the event that you terminate your contract with said contractor, they might not be willing to hand over your home’s extension plans. The best solution is to team up, from the get-go, with an architect or architectural technologist, who will draw up, and subsequently hand over, the blueprints of your home extension. Are you looking for general contractors for your renovation project? Fill in our form to be connected with top-rated contractors! When do you need to hire an architect for a home extension? Source: Canva An architect will come in handy when: Inspecting the state of your home; Drawing up the extension plans; Handling administrative requests; Managing companies/vendors involved. An architect also has an advisory role, as adding to or expanding a home does come with a set of consequences. In this regard, the architect will define your property limits in terms of positioning and dimensions: How will the house stand out from a remote viewpoint? Who can see the extension (neighbours, passers-by, nobody)? What’s the extension overlooking (landscape, factory, etc.)? Is an easement of views necessary (Civil Code of Quebec, article 993)? Which architects are approved by the urban planning department (Services de l’urbanisme)? These factors might prompt you to reconsider your initial home extension project. On the other hand, collaborating with an architect ensures a strong start, right off the bat. Architect or Architectural Technologist? In Quebec, the question is all the more pertinent given the two competing associations. Architects and architectural technologists aren’t trained alike. The former completed a university program, while the latter obtained a college diploma. The first are members of the OAQ (Ordre des architectes du Québec), while the others are part of the OTPQ (Ordre des technologues professionnels du Québec). Is one diploma better than the other? That’s for you to decide. The main difference may pinpoint the fact that an architectural technologist is more inclined to the practical side of things, as opposed to creative conception. However, an experienced and qualified architectural technologist is better than a poorly skilled architect, and vice versa. Base your decision on their reputation and past work. However, note that architects are the only qualified professionals who can design single-family homes, provided these exceed 6,458 sq. ft. (600 m²). Check out our article 3 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Architect. Architects Have a Ton of Experience to Go Around Source: Canva Planning a home extension is often done for one (or more) of the following reasons: Increase the square footage; Revamp aesthetics; Adapt the home (ageing occupants, disability); Increase the property’s market value; Have more natural light. Rightly, an architect’s role is to draw upon their experience, potentially guiding you to an entirely different architectural outcome. In fact, the home extension can: Extend the existing structure; Be separate from the neighbouring structure; Bridge two distinct spaces; Be ethereal (thin metal beams with glass partitions) or protective. While the decision rests on the client’s shoulders, an expert’s know-how is indispensable, as they’re able to present these different options and assist their client in the final decision-making. In essence, building an appealing extension requires the spark of an idea or creative concept. This is exactly where the skillset of an architect comes into play. It’s all the more important if you’re looking to increase the square footage of an older home with a modern-looking extension. Few are the trades with the know-how to blend older designs with more modern ones, as part of a structure that serves both as a contrast and a balance. Cost of an Architect-Designed Home Extension Source: Canva A number of factors come into play: Firm’s reputation; Size of the home extension; Technical difficulty in drawing the plans; Number of sub-contractors to supervise throughout. Then, note 3 types of fees: Rates ($50 to $200 per hour) Cost per square foot ($2 to $3.50/sq. ft.); Percentage. The percentage is calculated based on the scale of the intended home extension. As such, the architect’s fees amount to about 10% of the project’s total cost. Architectural Technologists Are Budget-Friendlier The disparate qualifications of these two associations mean architectural technologists offer more budget-friendly service fees. While architects typically charge 8% to 10% of the total cost of the home extension, architectural technologists will bill at a lower cost, 1% to 3%. This significant difference in costs opens to door to undertaking a more ambitious home extension than what might’ve been possible with an architect.