Luxury Home Spa: Decadent Therapeutic Baths and Steam Showers

steam shower thermasol

Imagine, close your eyes… If the sky was the limit for your home spa, what would your dream tub or steam shower do for you?

When thinking about the word “decadent”… What comes to mind? If we were talking about dessert, the reference would be the epitome of flavor and texture gratification.

The dictionary definition of decadence is “characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence – excessive or unrestrained gratification of one’s own appetites, desires or whims.”

I would like to heighten your senses and show you what is possible in Alberta for luxury baths and steam showers that you can have in the custom home that you build with us.

Cutting-Edge Therapeutic Baths for Ultimate Relaxation

BainUltra is a cutting-edge leading company when it comes to therapeutic baths. Below are a few models and supreme options that are available to you:

Get a hydro-thermo massage from BainUltra’s ThermoMasseur Ultra. The ThermoMasseur Ultra is much more than bathtub. It creates an effective, even massage experience with its jets and warmth. It uses “Geysair” technology to reheat and humidify the air jets to maintain consistently warm water temperatures.

“When water, warmth and air are combined, they create a hydro-thermo massage – an energizing massage for the body” – BainUltra

“The therapy air jets produce vigorously bubbling water that deliver an acupressure effect. The massage encourages a feel-good physiological chain reaction from head to toe, reducing stress, relaxing muscles and eliminating toxins.” – BainUltra

BainUltra also offers a superior drainage system to ensure there are no stagnant water or hygiene issues.

The therapeutic ThermaSens bath delivers three sensory experiences: Aromatherapy, chromatherapy, and thermotherapy.

1. Aromatherapy

The ThermaSens tub uses an AromaCloud diffuser that is seamlessly integrated into the bath deck. The diffuser releases a delicate mist of essential oils that are quickly absorbed through the skin and respiratory system. For a relaxing or calming session, use lavender, patchouli, or sandalwood oil.

For a pick-me-up, try peppermint, clove, or cinnamon.

1 – 2 drops of essential oil are enough for a 30 minute session.

2. Chromatherapy

A light-up bathtub isn’t just fun to look at. The ThermaSens uses an LED lighting system in six colours to help you achieve balance and harmony.

“Color can have a transformative effect on the human body, directly affecting your physical and psychological states. Chromatherapy is a scientifically proven phenomenon, not merely a decorative trend. The vibrations emanating from colors can have a calming, energizing, or centring effect, making chromatherapy a potent tool for achieving equilibrium and harmony” – BainUltra.

Ideal sessions are 15 – 20 minutes. Watch the video to learn more about chromatherapy.

3. Thermotherapy

There are three heating zones available in your ThermaSens tub: the headrest, backrest, and seat. The heat increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients through your blood. Each area will warm up to a relaxing 38.5 degrees Celsius within four minutes.

30 minute sessions are suggested.

They also offer a line of complementary products:

  • Leg rest
  • Bath pillow
  • Comfort cushion
  • Relaxation chair and foot rest (to continue your relaxing once your soak time is complete)

The Height of Bathroom Luxury: Steam Shower Options

steam shower thermasol

Photo courtesy of ThermaSol http://www.thermasol.com/products/control-packages/ultimate-steam-shower-package

If you are looking for the crème de la crème in steam showers, this is the one for you:

A Home Spa Essential: ThermaSol Ultimate Steam Shower

The Ultimate Steam Shower Package from ThermaSol gives you “a full multi-sensory home spa experience.” The list of features this system comes with is impressive! Here are some highlights:

The Serenity Light, Sound Rainhead offers Chromatherapy with seven color options; blue, indigo, violet, red, orange, yellow and green.

It also offers a mood light mode “which generates a soothing spectrum of gradually changing colors.”

The system also features a 7” in-shower touch screen control panel (Therma Touch Control) which resembles an ipad and offers WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.

The high-performance audio system that you control with the touch screen offers sound AND visualization. There are a number of options to transport you to a magical place. The screen offers nine relaxing pre-programmed natural sound and image scenes.

Imagine relaxing in your decadent steam shower… Cue lights, lean back, and relax to the sights and sounds of “Beach Zen’s” rolling waves or enjoy a golden sunset. A soothing balance of sight and sound.

Picture quiet, retractable, safe steam heads that offer integral aromatherapy. How does the aroma of French lavender or Italian bergamot citrus sound? There are 11 aromatherapy oils to choose from… Sounds heavenly.

The Theraputic Care Unit: Verdana

Another steam shower system for your home spa is the Therapeutic Care Unit, Vedana from BainUltra.

“This product, which is unique to BainUltra, was designed to help users experience guided meditation that involves all the senses and promotes a change in their physical and emotional state.” – BainUltra

This innovative alternative therapy creates sensory experiences. Here are the five different types of therapy you will experience with the Verdana:

1. Dry Thermal Therapy: This involves using low humidity dry heat to improve blood flow, eliminate toxins, and revive skin.

2. Chromatherapy: A treatment that uses the affect of color on the body to bring about changes (see Chromatherapy description under “ThermaSens”).

3. Light Therapy: Light can have an energizing effect on the body. The Verdana uses lights to help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm to improve sleep, increase your ability to concentrate, improve mood, and reduce the effects of jet lag.

4. Aromatherapy: The Vedana uses a delicate mist of essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety, which bolsters the immune system and improves mood.

5. Sound therapy: With the Verdana shower system, you’ll experience music therapy. It “uses music (with various wavelengths and frequencies) to re-establish physical and emotional equilibrium.” The benefits of music therapy are reduced stress and help with stabilizing mood swings.

That’s not where the options end…

The Vedana also offers “four guided and specially calibrated experiences designed to bring out an altered state.”

1. Freedom – Tune out and empty your mind.

2. Harmony – Find your center, your balance, your harmony.

3. Wonder – Open up to the extraordinary wonders of the world.

4. Love – Meditate on gratitude and love.

home spa makes you feel relaxed

You now have a glimpse of what is possible. Do you continue to dream or will you take the next step to self-care?

Give yourself the possibility of decadence, a home spa for your daily enjoyment… Who else would deserve it more? With time spent on yourself, you will see the sun a little brighter, find the air a little fresher, and feel your spirits soar!


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35 Luxury Porcelain Ideas for Your Custom Home

wood look porcelain tile bedroom floor

35 Porcelain Tile Ideas

Architects, interior designers, and homeowners alike are enamored with porcelain tile. It is made from clay that has been hard-pressed into molds and kiln-fired at extremely high temperatures, making it one of the hardest, most durable tiles available. It stands up to heavy foot traffic, resists chips, scratches and etching, making it ideal for use as flooring tile.

Porcelain tile is also non-porous, making it superior water-, frost-, and mildew resistant. These are essential qualities if you’re planning on using it anywhere that sees a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, mudrooms, kitchens, even outdoors.

Homeowners also choose porcelain tile is due to it’s lower cost and endurance.  It is a more durable substitute for natural stone tiles such as travertine, marble, slate, ceramic styles, and even wood. High-definition printing can recreate the natural veining and fissures of marble tile, the natural grain of wood, and the metallic shine and beauty of metal tile.

Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Kitchen

Backsplashes are only the beginning with porcelain tile in the kitchen. Since it is so durable and has superior water-resistance, you can use it for flooring or even countertops.

Always wanted the clean, classic look of marble in your kitchen? You can achieve that look for a lower cost with porcelain tile. Want hardwood in your kitchen without the upkeep or worry of damage? As an added benefit, your hardwood tiled floor is also pet friendly – no scratches to be concerned about.

See examples of those looks and more below.

Pros of using porcelain tile in the kitchen:

  • Very durable. Doesn’t scratch or scuff like softer materials.
  • Water resistant: water won’t seep into cracks like with natural stone or get between planks like with laminate or hardwood.
  • You can get the look of marble, stone, wood, etc, with look-alike porcelain tiles.

Cons of using porcelain tile in the kitchen:

  • Since porcelain tile is so hard, almost anything made of glass (including brittle dishes) can break when they are dropped on porcelain tile flooring.
  • You’re usually standing for long periods of time while creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen, porcelain tile flooring is very hard underfoot. To alleviate foot pain, try supportive rugs in areas you’ll be standing on; in front of the sink, oven, or along the counter areas.
  • Tiles themselves won’t stain, however the grout between them may. If anything gets onto the grout, clean it quickly. For tougher stains, rigorous cleaning or re-grouting may be required. There are also new stain resistant grouts on the market, check with your local flooring retailer.

Top 5 Porcelain Tile Ideas for the Kitchen

#1 Wood-look porcelain tile flooring in the kitchen
Distressed, light-coloured, wood-look porcelain tile has been very popular for the last couple of years. In this particular kitchen, the tile is a beautiful complement to the mix of colours and shapes of the dark wood furniture, white cabinetry, and marble countertops.

Wood Look Porcelain Tile for kitchen , entry , den , possibilities are endless

#2 Stone-look glazed porcelain tile for the kitchen floor with grey mesh mosaic porcelain tile for the backsplash
This kitchen is all about continuity, using the same colour of porcelain tiles for the flooring and backsplash. Grey is extremely popular in Edmonton, partly because of the decorating versatility. See below how great it looks with natural colours such as the brown leather seated chairs, a beige rug, and greenery.


#3 Porcelain flooring and porcelain tile for the island in the kitchen
These colourful glazed Italian porcelain tiles are an option for walls, and backsplashes. The owner of this kitchen chose to arrange them in an eclectic style on the side of their kitchen island adding a bit of fun and whimsy to the space. The floors are a white pine coloured porcelain tile.

Boulder Remodel - Whole Home- Kitchen

#4 Marble-look porcelain tile backsplash in the kitchen
Here you see how well porcelain tiles can mimic the unique veining found in authentic marble. You can create the marble look without the extra maintenance!

City studio apartment

#5 Porcelain countertops in the kitchen
This countertop is made of Neolith, a product retailers have used extreme ways to show its strength. They’ll attempt to scratch it with screwdrivers until it throws sparks, aim a flamethrower at it, and pour all kinds of liquids on it–none of which will make a mark! The added bonus is it looks stunning.

Neolith Kitchen Lounge

Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Bathroom

In the bathroom, material choices that will withstand water will give you peace of mind. With porcelain tile, you get the best of both worlds; water resistance and depending on your style, you can create a relaxing haven or an inspiring room to get you going in the morning.

Pros of using porcelain tile in the bathroom:

  • Porcelain tile is easy to clean. Sweeping up hairs, sand, or dirt is done with ease.
  • Splash a little water? No need to worry, porcelain is water resistant.
  • Many creative options with versatile designs and finishes.

Cons of using porcelain tile in the bathroom:

  • You will need to be careful with breakable objects. If your gorgeous soap dish hits the floor, it will probably break on contact with porcelain tile.
  • The grout can stain, wipe up spills quickly.
  • Polished porcelain tile can be slippery, if you go with a polished finish, be sure to put down some non-slip mats or rugs.

Top 5 Porcelain Tile Ideas for the Bathroom

#1 Glazed metallic-looking porcelain tiles for the tub surround and vertical wall feature
In this bathroom you see how two completely different looks can be achieved with porcelain tile. Linear beige polished porcelain tiles on the walls are the perfect complement to the metallic-looking porcelain tiles that surround the tub and run vertically up the wall.

Lansel Rd, Toorak

#2 Porcelain tile that look like marble for the floor and walls in the bathroom
Marble-looking porcelain tiles are a great alternative to real marble as they require less care and maintenance. This bathroom uses porcelain tiles to cover the floors and shower walls. They also compliment the marble countertop.


#3 Marble-look porcelain tile for the bathroom wall
Australian tile manufacturer, Rex, creates these stunning porcelain tiles in a variety of colours and unique patterns. This bathroom wall shows one colour and shape, you can see more of these beautiful tiles on their website.


#4 Wood-look porcelain tile for the wall around behind the tub in the bathroom
Wood-look porcelain tile on the walls in this contemporary bathroom give the space a warm, relaxing feel. The contrast of a wood wall “look”, lets the oval free-standing tub be the center of attention. It gives the look of the real thing without the concern of warping that can be caused by moisture.

3352 Mission Flat

#5 Porcelain tile backsplash, bathtub surround, shower wall, and floors in the bathroom
These porcelain tiles cover almost the entire bathroom and offer the look and variety found in natural stone. The grout between each tile frame allow the viewer to appreciate the tiles’ brick pattern.

Raveninside Interior Design

Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Living Room

Usually the largest room in your house, your living room, is where you will likely spend a lot of time. Guests are entertained over wine and cheese or relaxing with your loved ones while you watch a movie or catch up on your favorite shows. You want your living room to be relaxing, low maintenance and comfortable.

Pros of using porcelain tile in the living room

  • Available in stylish colours and designs.
  • It is very durable and difficult to damage with high heels or heavy furniture.

Cons of using porcelain tile in the living room

  • It is a hard material for flooring – for added comfort underfoot, an option is to place an area rug on it.
  • If your home doesn’t have in-floor heating, porcelain tile floors can be cold on your feet.
  • Be careful with glazed tiles as they can be slippery when wet.

Top 5 Porcelain Tile Ideas for the Living Room

#1 Wood-look porcelain tile flooring in the living room
Grey wood-look porcelain tile is very trendy right now! This versatile material is carried over from the kitchen to the living room and is complemented by a yin and yang effect of the white table paired with dark chairs and sofas.  Using the same flooring material also expands this space. Your eye doesn’t see it as a kitchen and living room, rather as one large “great room.”

Wood Look Porcelain Tile Floors

#2 Porcelain tile flooring that looks like concrete in the living room
The focal point in this room is clearly the natural stone fireplace and wall.  It is the textural difference between the rough wall stone and the smooth grey porcelain tile flooring that create interest in this space.

Black House (Steinman Renovation)

#3 Polished white porcelain tile flooring in the living room
This look is elegant and sophisticated. The porcelain tile flooring is glossy and reflective, which adds another dimension to the space.  The monochromatic shade of white used on the walls in this living room give this space a quiet, calm aura.


#4 Porcelain tile floors and fireplace surround that look like marble in the living room
Subtle variations from tile to tile are one of the reasons homeowners like to use marble tile; this look was created using porcelain tiles for the same effect! The soft hues of the tile are calming, and create an ideal backdrop to the colourful books.


#5 Wood-look polished porcelain tile flooring in the living room
Porcelain is available in large tile format, like the ones in this room. Here, they are arranged in a way that highlights the variation between tiles, it doesn’t look like stone or wood, but rather a unique blend between the two. The polish, or glaze, on these tiles adds an undeniable wow-factor to this living room.


Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Bedroom

Get the luxury look of your dreams in your bedroom when using porcelain tile. There are an infinite amount of options available – colour, size, finish, pattern, texture, etc.

Some people think porcelain tile is too cold for the bedroom, however radiant heat can warm the tile’s surface.  A cost effective option is to use area rugs. They add warmth, texture, and comfort to a room.

Pros of using porcelain tile in the bedroom:

  • Heavy furniture like beds and dressers are usually tolerated.
  • Pleasantly cool in the summer.
  • Water resistant, don’t worry about tracking water in from the bathroom. (Keep in mind, wet porcelain can be slippery!)
  • Endless designs available.

Cons of using porcelain tile in the bedroom:

  • Can be cool underfoot unless you have radiant heating or rugs to walk on.

Top 5 Porcelain Tile Ideas for the Bedroom

#1 Porcelain tile floors that look like limestone in the bedroom
When you’re covering a spacious floor with limestone, it is a more wallet-friendly option to use a less expensive look-alike. This homeowner chose a rectangular shaped, staggered installed, limestone look-alike for his bedroom. All the benefits of porcelain with the cost savings and confidence of a lower maintenance product. Win/win.


#2 Wood-look porcelain floors with accent tile in the bedroom
Wood-looking porcelain is extremely popular in the world of flooring. It’s a comfortable, warm look that helps create a relaxing, cozy atmosphere in the bedroom.

Iris French Woods Larch Wood Look Porcelain Tile

#3 Polished white porcelain tiles for the bedroom floor
This picture looks as if it’s in black and white.  The bedroom illustrates how the designer was dedicated to a grey monochromatic colour palette. The hues are trendy right now; however, the large format white porcelain tiles are timeless.

Contemporary Flooring

#4 Rustic looking faux wood porcelain tiles in the bedroom
Get the rustic, farm-style floors you want with virtually no upkeep! Wood-looking porcelain tiles are available in all kinds of styles and colours.

Blendart Mix Grey 6

#5 Unique grey porcelain tile for the flooring and wall in the bedroom and adjoining bathroom
The porcelain tiles mimic layers of natural rock and the floor and walls create interest due to the varying use of size.  The large format on the floor is complimented by the narrow rectangular tiles on the wall.  The use of a smaller tile on the wall also creates a pattern for visual interest.

Just Tile & Marble Projects

Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Laundry Room

Porcelain tiles are a favourite in the laundry room due to its endurance. They provide durabilty, cleans easily and gives many aesthetic options.  Design tip: a light coloured floor will camouflage dust and lint.

Pros of using porcelain tile in the laundry room:

  • Brightly coloured laundry detergent and clothing dyes won’t stain porcelain tiles.
  • Many color, texture and pattern options.
  • Low maintenance.

Cons of using porcelain tile in the laundry room:

  • Hard to stand on for long periods of time. A rug or slippers would solve this problem.
  • Can be slippery when wet, be sure to clean up spills asap.

Top 5 Porcelain Tile Ideas for your Laundry Room

#1 Porcelain tile for the flooring and countertops in the laundry room
This laundry room mixes colors/patterns, but it works! The flooring is a porcelain tile that looks like calacatta marble, the countertops are a grey granite, and the sharp, white subway patterned tile backsplash is made of glazed porcelain tile.

1512 Dolphin Terrace

#2 Porcelain tile that mimics slate for the laundry room floor
Porcelain tiles in this laundry room look like natural slate. The colours look realistic and repeat the earth tones of the cabinets and baskets.

Coastal Eclectic

#3 Farmhouse laundry room with rustic white wood-look porcelain tile flooring
Distressed wood-look porcelain tiles set the tone of this rustic farmhouse laundry room.

Farmhouse Laundry Room in Barrington Hills

#4 Porcelain slate looking tile in a pinwheel pattern on the laundry room floor
Here’s porcelain being a more durable, less-expensive alternative to real slate tiles. The pinwheel pattern is created by mixing 14″ x 14″ and 7″ x 7″ tiles.

Forest Avenue

#5 Porcelain tile backsplash and flooring in the laundry room
Grand, glossy porcelain subway tiles used in this backsplash look uber modern in this stylish laundry room. Due to the color palate, the overall look is warm and inviting, creating a gorgeous place to do laundry in.

Orlando, Laundry with porcelain tiles splash-back

Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Basement

Many basements include a game/movie area, bar, family room, etc. When considering what to use in your basement, think about surfaces that are easy to clean and durable. Imagine that you are hosting a party and a glass of red wine is spilled. Or the kids have a movie night and they drop sticky food and slide chairs around to get a better view. This is the reality of basement use – durability and ease of clean-up is paramount. Knowing that end-of-the-night clean-up will be a breeze will make you more likely to invite company over.

Pros of using porcelain tile in the basement:

  • Durable against heavy traffic from children’s toys and parties.
    Stain resistant.
  • In areas that are exposed to moisture, porcelain tile is a desirable choice.
  • Longer lasting than carpet.

Cons of using porcelain tile in the basement:

  • Covering a large floor area is more expensive than carpet, lino, etc.
  • Porcelain tile flooring can create echos and be loud when stepped on with shoes.

Top 5 Porcelain Tile Ideas for the Basement

#1 Porcelain tile flooring in a basement bar
Porcelain flooring is the most practical option. It won’t get damaged by dropped items, and it won’t stain when spilled on – imagine red wine on carpet!

Basement Bar

#2 White porcelain tile flooring in the basement
This open concept basement with a sleek, modern design takes advantage of porcelain tile’s ability to withstand heavy wear, like kids driving their toy trucks on it.  The light coloured floor brightens the space and adds contrast to the maple wood slatted room dividers.

Loft-Like Basement Renovation

#3 Wood-look porcelain tile flooring in the basement
These realistic wood-looking porcelain tiles bring warmth and sophistication to this basement without the worry of water damage to sensitive hardwood flooring. Here are some of the common causes of water damage in the basement.

Olde Barn Wood PorcelainTile

#4 Porcelain tile that looks like slate for the basement floor
You’ll have to look closely to see that this “slate” floor is actually porcelain tile! These unique looking tiles fit perfectly with this nature themed, traditional basement.

Fox Hollow-New construction Chadds Ford, Pa

#5 Porcelain tile flooring in a herringbone pattern for the basement
Porcelain tiles allow for many installation options: straight, brick pattern, staggered, and herringbone to name a few. The image below displays the intricacies of a herringbone installation.  While there is added cost and waste involved, the end result is stunning.

Wyckoff NJ-Basement living

Porcelain Tile Ideas for Your Outdoors

The materials used in outdoor spaces need to be able to wear well against the elements. In Edmonton, we experience extreme outdoor weather: rainstorms that last weeks, hail, heavy snow, baking hot sun for days, and high winds. Porcelain tile is the smart choice for patios, outdoor kitchens, and around the pool because of its superior strength.

Here’s how to tell how strong a porcelain tile is.

If installed properly and maintained well, porcelain tile can last a lifetime outdoors.

Pros of using porcelain outdoors:

  • Frost, moisture, and mildew resistant. Won’t mold.
  • Extremely hard. Heavy furniture, barbecues, tables, planters, and wading pools will not strain porcelain tile.
  • Comes in all kind of lookalike styles so you can achieve the look you want at a better price and with less maintenance.
  • Can be used on walls, floors, backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, and more!

Cons of using porcelain outdoors:

  • Can be slippery when wet. Keep a squeegee nearby.
  • Can be very slippery when it has snow on it. Be careful when shovelling!

Top 5 Porcelain Ideas for the Outdoors

#1 Petrified wood-look porcelain tiles for a patio
These wood-look porcelain tiles shine in the sun and make a beautiful outdoor space to complement the beauty surrounding it. This patio could last a lifetime and be host to hundreds of dinner parties, which is much longer than a typical wood patio would. Plus it’s very low maintenance. All the owners of this patio need to clean up after said dinner parties is a (large!) mop!

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile ideas

#2 Outdoor shower and wall decorated with porcelain tile
Some designers swear by porcelain tile for use outside. It’s really the best material for creating artistic design elements like the walls on this outdoor shower and patio because they give you the best of both worlds: fashion and function!

Palo Alto Residence

#3 Wood-look porcelain tile in a herringbone pattern for an outdoor kitchen
Achieving the herringbone pattern with these wood-look porcelain tiles isn’t easy. Each tile has to be measured, cut, and carefully installed, but in the end it’s worth it to have floors like these!

Outdoor Kitchen Pool Cabana

#4 Porcelain tile on a Spanish-style patio
Warm tones of brown and beige make this Spanish home look comfortable and inviting. This is a great example of a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor space. Those tiles look too beautiful to be outside, but they were made for it!

Hilltop Hacienda

#5 Dark wood-look porcelain tile that continues from the indoors to the outdoors
Speaking of seamless transitions from indoors to outdoors, here’s another example where what’s good for the interior is good for the exterior too. The dark wood-look porcelain tile is a sophisticated upgrade to traditional wooden decks.

Sophsticated Beach Patio

Which of these ideas appeal to you? Are you a fan of the wood-look porcelain tiles? Could you see a porcelain countertop in your dream kitchen?

Let us know your favourite ideas in the comments.

Smart Home Automation for Your Custom Home

smart house, home automation, device with app icons. Man uses his smartphone with smarthome security app to unlock the door of his house.

“The truth is, these days when people buy a new home, they expect it to have some home automation features,” says Chris Underschultz, the owner of AV Works.

Based in Sherwood Park, Alberta, AV Works collaborates with Canterbury Homes Inc. to provide home automation solutions in their luxurious custom built homes.

Home automation is just one of the terms we use to describe the features that make our homes seem less like the homes of our parents and more like the homes of the Jetsons. Things like keyless entry, remote controlled thermostats, security systems that text you when someone’s on your property, and more.

We’re not quite at the point where we can get groomed and dressed with the push of a button, but you will be amazed at all the options you have when you’re building your dream home with Canterbury Homes Inc. and the great people at AV Works.

A House Less Ordinary

Isn’t it amazing that in what feels like a few short years, just about everything has gone digital?

Our cell phones have become our lifelines. We do everything with them from banking, shopping, and communicating to playing games and finding things in the dark.

Now, we can even use our cell phones to control our homes!

Here are some of the incredible home automation options you can include in your custom home and control with your smart phone:

Smart Thermostat

One of the biggest expenses of running your home can be the cost of heating it. A wireless, smart thermostat can make a big difference. You can do the basics like creating day, night, and vacation settings, but you can also make settings for workouts, parties, or cold winter nights.

Security System

When you’re away, a security system will let you connect with your home. You will quickly find that your cameras and notifications are useful for more than just making sure strangers aren’t in your home. You can also check on kids, parents, or pets, see that the house-sitter is watering the plants, or make sure contractors and repairmen are working.

Chris, of AV Works, loves his smartlock system because it notifies him when his kids get home from school every day. That gives him peace of mind that they’re safe and on time.

Forgot to lock the door? Not a problem with a smartlock. You can lock it remotely with a quick tap on your phone.

Lighting Control

Does it drive you crazy when you have to walk around the house turning off lights? If you automate your lighting, you can check which lights are on and turn them off as needed.

Automated lighting can also adjust indoor and outdoor lights automatically with increasing or decreasing lights: Lights will get dimmer as the sun rises and brighter as the sun sets.

You can program settings for different occasions, too! Create settings for movie nights in front of the TV with your family, or make a special setting for when you entertain.

Lighting control is so convenient and easy, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Front Door Camera

A front door camera could be part of a security system or a standalone item that lets you see who’s at the door. You might not think burglars would be brave enough to break into your house through the front door, but it’s actually one of the most common points of entry for thieves! (Want to know where else they enter? Read this!)

Apart from security, a front door camera can be indispensable for you if you’re waiting for a package to be delivered or if you’re running late and see that a guest has arrived.

Home Audio

Whether you’re an audiophile or you just appreciate high-quality sound, you’ll love a fully integrated, automated home audio system.

AV Works can build your system to be completely hidden in the walls or stylishly visible, depending on your personal tastes. Control of the system is easy and highly customizable. You can make settings for your day, night, your home theatre, and more.

If you have a security system, you can get alerts and notifications through your audio system, which will be heard even if you’re nowhere near the front door.

Home Theatre

A custom home theatre system includes the perfect combination of lights, sound, visuals, and automation to make your home the best place to play games and watch movies. Home theatres are one of AV Works’ specialties and they’ve won awards for their systems, including one for this Scene-stealing Home Theatre.

Motorized Window Shades

Motorized window shades are all about convenience. You can adjust shades with a button rather than struggling with cords and knobs. The lack of cords and knobs also makes for a clean, streamlined look to your wall decor.

Home automation is about using technology to perform tasks in new and easy ways, but what it comes down to… What people really want is to be more in touch with their homes, even when they’re not home.

What’s Popular in Home Automation?

Security, energy efficiency, and “control-ability” are what today’s homeowners are looking for when they’re building their ideal homes. Some of the options AV Works has provided for Canterbury Homes Inc. in the past are front door cameras, keyless deadbolts, smart thermostats, and automation controllers.

AV Works consults with each client to find out which home automation features they would like to add to their homes. They also learn what the client’s specific tastes are. Some people want everything seamless and hidden. Others want elements that grab your attention.

So, it’s fair to say that there isn’t a certain feature that everyone is asking for lately. The trend in home automation is personal customization.

AV Works and Canterbury Homes Inc. Make a Great Team

Chris from AV Works is happy to work with Canterbury Homes Inc. They both really care about what they’re building and always put the customer first. They take pride in what they do and they’re proud of the products they offer–products that perfectly complement the Canterbury Homes Inc. aesthetic.

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29 Luxury Marble Ideas for Your Custom Home

Luxury home with marble tile backsplash.

From ancient Greeks to modern times, architects, sculptors, and interior designers have been fascinated with marble. Each slab is unique and gives any room a look of opulence and splendour. Marble also suggests a classic, minimalist look and goes well with a palette of white and subdued hues.

Marble comes in a wide range of colours, including yellow, orange, pink or red, but when we think of marble for interior design, usually we’re referring to white or cream coloured marble with grey veining. Since Edmonton is in love with the palette of black, white, and shades of grey, marble is a popular choice!

Marble Ideas for the Kitchen

Using marble in the kitchen is an immediate eye-catcher. It’s very clean-looking while adding character to your kitchen with its intricate veining. Colourful, healthy foods will look amazing against a stunning white canvas to create your delicious meals on. Many homeowners opt for marble countertops or islands in marble, but it can also be used as tile for a backsplash.

Pros for Using Marble in the Kitchen:

✓ Marble looks bright and clean.
✓ Marble is beautiful.

Cons for Using Marble in the Kitchen:

✗ Light-coloured marble countertop material may stain.
✗ Marble develops a patina over time.

We’ve compiled some of the best, modern inspirations for use of marble in the home. Get ready to be inspired!

Top 5 Marble Kitchen Ideas

#1 Marble Subway Tiles, Arabesque Marble Tiles, and Marble Countertop in the Kitchen

This traditional-style kitchen design uses marble subway tiles on the walls, uniquely shaped marble tile backsplash over the oven, and a thick marble island countertop with beautiful grey veining. Subway tiles are trendy this year, and they suit this kitchen perfectly.

While that is a lot of marble, this kitchen incorporates more shades of colour by having pure white cupboards, black countertops, rich brown hardwood floors, and chrome fixtures. The overall look is bright, welcoming, and functional.

Traditional Kitchen

#2 Marble Island and Marble Backsplash

This kitchen makes one feel like marble isn’t just a home building material, but rather carefully chosen, polished, and displayed as pieces of natural art.

The backsplash is one large slab of marble, cut thin and polished to highlight the marble’s natural beauty. The island looks like one giant, rectangular rock, but really it is made from slabs that are a few inches thick that appear to seamlessly wrap around the island’s surface, which is called a “waterfall edge.”

Chelsea Project

#3 Marble Tile for the Kitchen Backsplash

This “industrial meets elegant” kitchen design uses marble carrara 2” by 8” tiles laid in a herringbone pattern that perfectly complements the high-gloss white cupboards and countertops, chrome fixtures and appliances. Warm oak hardwood flooring adds some colour and ties the room together.

Modern White Kitchen

#4 Rectangular Marble Tiles for the Kitchen Backsplash

Rectangular marble tiles make this kitchen backsplash wall look more like a piece of art than a functional workspace. Both the stone countertop and custom cupboards complement the uniqueness of the marble.

The overall look is modern, artistic, and functional.

Want to see how marble tiles are made?)

Chicago Kitchen

#5 Marble Tiles for Your Kitchen Backsplash, Counter, and Island

Marble, marble, everywhere! If you love marble, this kitchen may be the inspiration you’re looking for.

Calacatta gold marble tile is used on every surface, but the design is toned down with strategic additions of colour: baby blue ceilings and rich chocolate coloured chairs and flooring. Industrial pendant lighting, chrome fixtures, and the stainless steel oven modernize the classic, natural theme.

White Marble Kitchen

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Marble Ideas for Your Bathroom

To many people, nothing is more beautiful than marble. What better way to wake up than to hop into your own personal marble shower? Or relax in your tub and step out onto a gorgeous marble floor?

Pros for Using Marble in the Bathroom:

✓ Marble can be cut into whatever tile shape you want.
✓ Marble in small doses like a sink or a backsplash can add a luxurious feel to the bathroom.

Cons for Using Marble in the Bathroom:

✗ Marble can be damaged by highly acidic cleaning products.
✗ Unless sourced from a humid climate like Greece or Italy, it may not hold up well in a wet environment like a bathroom.
✗ Products like hair dyes and makeup can stain marble.

Marble is bright and invigorating, which is just what a bathroom needs. Have a look at these ideas for marble tile in the bathroom and tell us if you agree.

Top 5 Marble Bathroom Ideas

#1 Marble Tiles for the Bathroom Countertop

This bathroom looks clean, comfortable, and fun! There are a variety of shapes and colours are interesting to the eye, but the highlights of this room are the marble countertop and sinks.

Porcelain tiles that look like marble are used for the floor, which is a great idea since porcelain tiles are more durable and water resistant.

The Bromptons

#2 Carrara Marble Slab for the Bathroom Walls, Marble Floors, and a Marble Bathtub Surround

Carrara marble slabs are darker than calacatta marble, giving this room a more relaxed feel. Carrara is also less expensive, which is ideal if covering just about everything in the bathroom with it! This pattern is striking and very interesting to look at while soaking in a bubble bath. Read more about the difference between: carrara and calacatta 

It looks more like the inside of a mountain than a condo in Vancouver, which is where this home is located.

Modern Condo

#3 Marble Bathtub Surround with Marble Tile Shower Floor

This bathroom is a stunner! The marble bathtub surround is light and airy, and since the shower walls are glass, you could still see that marvellous marble while you’re taking your quick morning rinse.

The flooring in the shower is a mosaic of 1/2″x1/2″ carrara marble tiles, which show a lovely range of shades and feel soft and pebbly on the feet. Tying everything together is the bathroom wall, which is covered in glass cobalt grey subway tiles.

Modern Master bathroom

#4 Marble Tile Walls

Each part of this bathroom is a statement piece on its own, and together, this bathroom is a masterpiece! The walls are 12” by 24” marble tiles that are laid in a brick pattern with very little grout showing, which makes it look like one big slab of stone.

The flooring is made from handmade glass tiles that took “three artisans hours and hours to lay, piece by piece.” Amazing!

Bathroom Space for a Canadian Crooner

#5 Marble Tiles for the Bathroom Walls and Shower

Carrara subway tiles adorn the walls and shower of this remarkable bathroom. Variation and uniqueness are some of marble’s best features and that is the theme here: The lighting is asymmetrical, the marble subway tiles vary in colour, and mirror subway tiles are interspersed randomly.

Wondering about the oddly shaped mirror? It was installed first with the marble tiles placed on top.

Contemporary Bathroom

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Marble Ideas for the Living Room

The living room is often the biggest room in the house and is used for entertaining, doing activities like yoga or playing games with your family and friends. Since they are intended for leisure, living rooms are designed with comfort in mind. They are also a focal point of your home, so it’s the perfect place to show off your style. If marble is what you love, a cool, smooth marble floor might be just what you need for your living room.

Pros for Using Marble in the Living Room:

✓ Living rooms are low-traffic areas, so a marble floor won’t show wear as quickly as it would if it were used in a kitchen, for example.
✓ Marble is a great surface to roll out a yoga mat on.

Cons for Using Marble for in the Living Room:

✗ Marble flooring in a large room like a living room can get expensive.
✗ Hard marble floors can be uncomfortable for children who like to play on the floor.

Top 5 Marble Living Room Ideas

#1 Marble Tile Flooring in the Living Room

This open concept, contemporary living room looks comfortable and inviting. Large, comfortable couches that sit on a stylish area rug on top of marble tile floors create a haven where the homeowners can relax and enjoy the company of their friends and family.

The Mark Penthouse

#2 Tan Coloured Marble Tile Floors in the Living Room

Marble tile floors in this living room highlight the variety of colour that this natural material is known for. The warm tan shade of the marble gives the room a soft, airy feel.

Olde Naples Beach House

#3 Italian Marble Slab Flooring in the Living Room

Huge 5 foot slabs of marble are both impressive and beautiful in this living room. The marble floor’s colours are reflected in the rest of the room’s decor: tan walls, wood cabinetry for the bar, beige furniture, and soft lighting make this room feel natural and warm.

Bathija Residence

#4 Marble Tile Flooring in the Living Room

This contemporary Canadian home’s living room really sticks to a palette of blacks, whites, and greys. The natural stone fireplace surround would be the highlight of this room if it weren’t for the gorgeous marble tile floors with their deep veining and natural variation from tile to tile.

Residence In Coal Harbour

#5 Chinese “Wood Vein Marble” Tile Flooring

Are those floors highly polished wood? Nope! These are actually a type of marble known as “wood vein marble.” This type of marble comes in a variety of shades, but the owners of this contemporary living room chose a lovely brown shade that gives the space a soft, warm feel.

Casa CH

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Marble Ideas for the Fireplace

Unfortunately marble isn’t a good choice for a fireplace surround because it doesn’t stand up to heat well. Our natural stone supplier tells us that it tends to crack. As an alternative to a marble slab fireplace surround, we recommend using quartz.


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Marble Ideas for the Bedroom

If you want to give your bedroom a look of opulence and splendor, marble might be just what you’re looking for. Marble comes in soft hues that create a relaxing atmosphere, which is perfect for the place you go to rest.

Pros for Using Marble in the Bedroom:

✓ Will last a very long time
✓ Comes in a variety of colours

Cons for Using Marble in the Bedroom:

✗ Marble can be cool underfoot and takes a long time to warm up

✗ Cold feet can be easily avoided by placing a soft rug where you step, so don’t let that deter you from using marble in the bedroom.

Have a look at some fabulous ideas for using marble in the bedroom.

Top 5 Marble Bedroom Ideas

#1 Marble Tile and Hardwood Floors in the Bedroom

This fairytale bedroom uses beige-coloured marble and dark hardwood together to create a dreamy, elegant place to rest. The marble tiles are 50 cm by 50 cm and four are placed together to create 100 cm by 100 cm squares. The tiles were laid first and the wood parts were put in afterward.

French Provence in Istanbul

#2 Marble Tile Flooring in the Bedroom

This bedroom looks simple and clean. The white marble floor tiles are complemented by crisp white bedding and an elegant chandelier. Touches of natural colour with browns and beiges were added in the drapery, headboard, lamps and tables.

Proyecto 1

#3 Polished Marble Floors in the Bedroom

This classy bedroom is a lovely example of a different shade of marble, which the homeowners have matched in the wall colour, bedding, curtains, and ceiling. Blues and browns go well with the hue, giving the room an earthy, vacation-villa-for-the-working-professional feel.


#4 Marble Tile Floors in the Bedroom

Everything about this room, from the floors to the ceiling, says vacation villa. It is, in fact, a beachside condo in Miami, but you could create your own bedroom oasis with 48” by 48” marble tiles on the floor, some black and white furniture, and white bedding.

Miami Beach Penthouse

#5 Grey Marble Floor Tile in the Bedroom

The grey shade of the marble flooring in this bedroom is a gorgeous departure from many of the all-white marble colour schemes that are very popular. It feels intimate and cozy–a peaceful place to spend some downtime.

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Marble Ideas for the Outdoors

If you’re looking to introduce marble to your outdoor spaces, you might want to go with look-alike materials like porcelain tile instead. Sun, rain, snow, hail, and other weather elements can all eat away at marble over time, making it difficult to maintain the clean, pristine look it has when you first install it.

In Edmonton, homeowners like modern styles with clean lines that look classic and new, years after installation. A weathered marble patio, for example would be fashionable in Europe, where they enjoy the appearance of age in their architecture.

Porcelain tile makes a great outdoor substitute for marble because it is designed to look identical, while being more durable and less expensive.

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Marble Ideas for Your Laundry Room

Marble’s light shades, reflection of light, and clean look make it an ideal choice for the laundry room. It might make you actually want to spend time doing laundry.

Pros of Using Marble in the Laundry Room:

✓ Makes a great backsplash or counter to fold laundry on.
✓ Shades of white and grey in carrara and calacatta marble are calming.

Cons of Using Marble in the Laundry Room:

✗ Countertops can show wear over the years, giving the space a more European feel
✗ Certain cleaning products may stain or harm marble

Top 5 Laundry Room Marble Ideas

#1 Marble Countertop in the Laundry Room

The soft shade of seafoam green subway tiles for the backsplash with green and white walls are a beautiful complement to the calacatta marble countertop in this farmhouse-style laundry room.

Farmhouse Laundry Room in Barrington Hills

#2 Waterfall Edge Marble Countertop and Marble Mosaic Tile Backsplash

This laundry room looks clean and sleek with smooth cupboards, recessed drawer pulls, and a waterfall edge marble countertop. The marble mosaic tile backsplash that covers the wall space ties the room together by incorporating the colours of the floors, walls, and appliances.

Little Reef House

#3 Marble Slab Countertop in Laundry Room Adjacent to the Kitchen

Marble slab countertops are a wonderfully smooth surface to fold laundry on. The white subway tile backsplash with a built-in picture add character to this charming farmhouse laundry room.

Custom Built Storybook Home in Orinda

#4 Marble Backsplash and Marble Countertop in the Laundry Room

Soft grey hues on the walls and large grey porcelain floor tiles make this laundry room look charming and cozy. Marble countertops around the large, salvaged antique sink and marble tile for the backsplash add function and fashion to the space.

Mud/Laundry Room

#5 Marble Countertops and Backsplash in Laundry Room

A grey palette is popular in Edmonton, so our top idea for marble in the laundry room is this stunning, modern room. The countertop and backsplash are marble slab and marble tile, which works well with the chrome hardware, white hexagonal porcelain tile flooring, and cabinet and wall colour.

Terrell Hills Kitchen and Bath design and remodel, Bradshaw Designs

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Marble Ideas for Your Basement

Marble tile or a slab of marble for a wall in the basement can make your basement feel both cozy and relaxing, which is great if you use your basement to unwind in. If you’re building a basement bar, consider using marble. It’s smooth and durable, and it can also be a conversation starter.

Pros of Using Marble in the Basement:

✓ Marble’s intricate designs are interesting to look at.
✓ Marble is naturally cool to the touch and having it in the basement can be a way to escape the heat in the summer.

Cons of Using Marble in the Basement:

✗ If you have kids running around in the basement, marble could be too slippery for them.
✗ Marble could make a basement that’s already cold in the summer even colder in the winter.

Top 3 Basement Marble Ideas

#1 Marble Countertop and Marble Backsplash for Basement Bar

This bar incorporates a variety of natural materials that come together to create a look that is earthy and classy. It features two different types of marble: calacatta marble for the backsplash and a slab of Pietra di Cardosa marble for the countertops.

Basement Redux

#2 Marble Bar and Marble Countertops in the Basement

This room looks ready for a party! Wooden cabinetry and light fixtures with stainless steel appliances and cabinet pulls give a modern feel to the classic, timeless beauty of the marble countertops.

Basement Bar

#3 Dark Marble for the Bar in the Basement

This rustic yet elegant basement bar mixes colours and textures that go together perfectly. Marble comes in a wide variety of colours, so don’t let your love for reds, browns, greens, blues, or any other colour of the rainbow stop you from using marble. There are so many shades of marble to fall in love with. See some of them here

Bar next to media room

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Do you love marble or know someone who does? Share this article with other marble lovers!

When you’re designing your home with us, your custom home builder, you have a lot of options to choose from. Using marble is a way to add luxury, class, and a cool, clean feel to your home.

What are your favourite marble ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Guide to Choosing a Luxury Custom Home Builder

luxury custom home build

The largest investment most people make in their lifetime is buying a new home. You want to get it right the first time. That’s why choosing the right custom home builder is important.

The working relationship between you and your custom home builder will last 10 – 12 months, plus the service relationship post possession. As custom home builders, providing personalized service that focuses on you and your needs is paramount. A good builder will provide ongoing, transparent communication each step of the way, which should increase your confidence in your builder/homeowner relationship.


What is Your Custom Home Builder’s Role?

They serve as a master puzzle maker; they put your “needs and wants list” into bite-sized pieces that can be understood and priced so that they form the integral parts of your overall blueprint puzzle.

An experienced custom builder will also be able to weed out which “needs and wants” may be unnecessarily costly or will not add to the overall aesthetic or return on investment.

A realistic budget, time frame, and overall idea of the process both during construction and post possession are important roles of your builder.

10 Custom Builder Responsibilities:

1. Prepare all paperwork including contracts, building specifications, blueprints, change/extra orders, collect draw funds, tracking costs, and warranty information. Documentation then can be forwarded to your bank for mortgage financing if required.

2. Apply for all building, development, and service permits. Submit for subdivision architectural approval.

3. Your custom home builder hires, schedules, and co-ordinates all subcontractors. They choose reliable trades to ensure the job is completed on time, that the quality of workmanship is up to standard, and that the project is within budget and adheres to building code.

4. Manage/co-ordinate all inspections and the final certificate of occupancy.

5. Your custom home builder/designer will schedule meetings where they will accompany you on trips to their suppliers. There you will choose your finishing products such as plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, railings, flooring, paint, doors, etc.

6. All building materials such as windows, garage doors, and all finishing products will be priced, signed off, and ordered to ensure a smooth transition between each building phase.

7. Check all delivered materials to ensure accuracy and review for deficiencies.

8. Arrange for builder/client site visits.

9. Once the custom build is complete, the home builder will schedule a final walk-through. A Certificate of Possession document is used as a checklist on which to note any deficiencies. A schedule to remedy any deficiencies is discussed and documented.

10. During the final walk-through, your custom home builder will educate you on the operation and maintenance of your new home. All warranty and service information will be discussed.

Define Your Needs:

Custom home builders work with you every step of the way to ensure you get the home you want, but that means you need to decide what you want with your home builder before you start.

Here are the things you need to define:

1.  What is the ideal location for you? Do you want to live in a subdivision? What size/shape of lot do you want? When deciding on your location, also consider your budget, the property’s exposure, walk-out, cul-de-sac…

Decide what type of community you want to live in: Urban, rural… Consider your distance to work.

2. Price range: Do your due diligence to know what a realistic budget looks like for you. Keep in mind that most clients will choose a few “special” items that will exceed their original contract amount, so be prepared to drop something in order to keep an allowance for unforeseen extras.

3. Style of home: Do you want a bungalow, two story? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Do you want a developed basement? How many cars need to fit in the garage?

4. Extras: Are there any “must haves” that may increase your budget, such as an imported grand chandelier? Ensure your builder includes these items in your original quote. It is proactive to include items that will keep the “extra” list manageable.

5. Any other special needs such as a barrier-free shower, wide hallways, ramps, etc., that you have to have in your home?

Your home needs to reflect its occupants in both style and function.

How to Shortlist Your Builder Contenders

Go through each of these items below to narrow down your search for a custom home builder:

1. Word of mouth. Have you heard of a positive building experience from someone you trust?

2. What is was your initial meeting like? Does the builder possess good communication skills? Do they listen? Ask yourself, “Is this a person I could see myself doing business with for the next 12 months and beyond?”

3. When asking about a home builder’s previous projects, do those projects reflect your style and quality requirements?

4. Check their references. What was the feedback?

5. Do the custom home builder’s work flow, time management, and organizational skills measure up to your expectations?

6. Budget: Does the homebuilder’s estimated price range fit within your allotted budget? What is included in that estimated price range?

7. What is their payment schedule: What is the percentage amount due and at what stage is payment required? Your bank may operate on a different schedule, so be sure to confirm that your builder will work with your bank’s schedule if it varies.

8. Are they members of any home builder’s associations? Edmonton Home Builders Association, New Home Warranty Program, Canadian Home Builders Association, etc. Members of these associations are required to adhere to the ethics and standards laid out in their agreements.

When shortlisting your builder, it is important that you and your significant other are on the same page. Define your needs (see above), then arrange for a second meeting. You will be confident with the questions you have and will now be able to make an informed decision.

An additional resource is in the below link from the Canadian Home Builders Association. It’s a worksheet/questionnaire to use when comparing custom builders: http://www.chba.ca/CHBADocs/CHBA/BuyingNew/WORKSHEET_KnowYourBuilder.pdf

Final decision:

You know your custom builder’s role, you have defined your needs, and you met your builder candidates with information-revealing questions. There are a few last items to consider before you sign on the dotted line:

1. Does your builder offer any services that stand out?

a. Soil test to ensure your foundation is on solid ground?
b. Service beyond the industry standard?
c. Qualified designer to ensure your ideas are realized?

2. Cleanliness and organization of job site.

3. Previous client feedback: Was each project finished on time? What is the relationship post possession? Any unpleasant surprises?

4. Any memorable design features of their show home? Was the quality consistent with the custom home builder’s sales pitch? Were the building products used brands with well-earned reputations for quality?

Investing the time in choosing your custom home builder will be well spent.

Your home will reflect those who live in it and the quality you expected. Although most of us usually enjoy a surprise, this is one area where it’s not warranted.

Embarking on your custom home journey with knowledge and confidence will lead to a positive outcome.

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Ownership – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 7)

Your home is complete; you have done your final walk-through and are ready to move into your new custom home. All legal paperwork is finalized; you are officially a homeowner. Congratulations!

As members of the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, it is mandatory to complete a “Certificate of Possession” prior to moving into your new home. This document is a checklist to ensure a thorough final home tour with yourself and your home builder. It also confirms that your custom home is completed to your satisfaction.

Information regarding maintaining and operating your new home will be provided at that time. You will be asked to turn on taps, open windows, operate doors and cabinetry. Any discrepancies will be documented and resolved.

Make a Checklist to Ensure You Have a Smooth Move into Your New Custom Home

When preparing to move, being organized will be your biggest asset. Here are a few checklist items:

  • Decide on a mover
  • Amend home insurance
  • Out with the old! Sort through what stays and goes
  • Arrange appliance delivery
  • Confirm utility / telephone / internet / satellite / cable hook ups
  • Address change for bank accounts, bills, credit cards, drivers licence and registration, schools, etc.

Also, check out HGTV’s tips on moving.

It has been a long journey, and now you are the proud owners of your new custom dream home! Your home will serve as a place of comfort, a place to set your roots, and a place where memories will be made.

You will have a one year walk-though with your builder. Be sure to keep an ongoing list of items to review at that time.

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The Building Process – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 6)

Your blueprints are complete, your mortgage is in place, paperwork is signed off, and you have made your selections to personalize your new custom home.


The home building process is underway… Construction begins once building and development permits are approved.

Your Home Goes up! Here are the phases your house will go through:

Foundation – The lot is surveyed and staked out then the ground is excavated. Form boards are put in place where concrete is poured to form the foundation walls.

Structure – Your home will start to take shape once the construction professionals frame the walls and complete the roof.

Windows are installed and the roofing work is completed. This is also called the ‘close up’ stage.

Rough-ins – Your home’s infrastructure is created when the utilities are complete. Electrical, heating, plumbing, and AV wiring all get roughed in and ready for drywall and insulation.

Exterior – During this stage, the home’s exterior walls are finished and the interior work will now begin.

Insulation/Drywall – All exterior walls and ceilings are now installed with energy efficient insulation. Once the inspection of insulation is complete, all walls and ceilings are dry walled.

Interior – Many of the finishes and fixtures you have previously selected are now being installed. Your home is beginning to have its own personal style.

Your home has grown from an idea to a blueprint and finally into your custom home.

As your Possession Date is coming closer, are you starting to prepare yourself for the sale of your existing home?


Product Selection Process – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 5)

Once your permits have been issued, your custom home builder will soon start the excavation of your foundation. You are now embarking on the Selection Process portion of your build… This is where the magic happens!

Now’s the Time for the Fine Details

Windows – Although the sizes are determined by your blueprints, details such as color, window construction, and opening configurations are best determined by you and an experienced window manufacturer.


Exterior colors for stucco, stone, Hardiboard, roof, garage doors, fascia, and soffits, etc.


Appliances, plumbing, and lighting fixtures – Your plumber, electrician, and cabinet maker need your specifications.


Flooring – Your flooring crew needs specifications for finishing components such as cabinetry and railings.


Cabinets and Finishings such as railings, doors, baseboards, casing etc.


Paint and Stain – Your painters need your paint selections for items such as doors, trims and walls. You also need to choose stains for items such as railings.


Each decision will affect the next process; therefore, it is important that your custom home builder schedules time to go over selections between you and the applicable company to ensure there are no delays in the building process.

Start looking through magazines or searching the Internet to find images of ideas that you like. It is helpful to have a “jumping off” point… This is where the design concept will start from. Think about your top “must haves.”

It will ensure you are on the same page with your custom home builder.

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Blueprints – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 4)

You have made the first few important decisions… You have chosen your lot, you know which style of home you are building, and you have a layout for the home. Your ideas are now laid out on paper and you are the proud owner of a Preliminary Blueprint.


This early set of blueprints will lay out basic room and wall locations. Your custom home builder and/or home designer will now go over more specific home layout requirements such as:

  • electrical and plumbing locations
  • window sizes and type
  • kitchen layout
  • appliance locations
  • aesthetics details
  • exterior materials such as landscaping, roof, etc.

The Preliminary Blueprint will go back and forth with changes until you are satisfied with the result. Once those items have been confirmed, the custom home builder or designer will then complete the Final Blueprints.


After the Blueprint are Done

What’s next? Your custom home builder will now price out the project based on your choices and specifications.


Then you sign a contract and give a deposit. After that, it’s time for your home builder to get things started. First item on the list is to apply for permits. Keep in mind timing for approval can vary from city to city. For example, permits issued in Sherwood Park are usually quicker than those issued in Edmonton.
Be sure to discuss with your custom home builder the expected amount of time for permits to be issued. With a timeline established, you will be able to determine which decisions need to be made next.

Next… The Selection Process.

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Layout – Custom Home Build: What Do I Need to Know? (Part 3)

You now know your location and you have decided on a bungalow or two story… What’s next? Layout.

There have been numerous innovative ideas that have been drawn on a napkin – I can speak from personal experience as my own logo for Canterbury Homes Inc. came to life while I was doodling on a scrap piece of paper. Before putting pen to paper, ask yourself, “How will each space relate to one another?”


Things to Consider with Layout

  • Do I want an office in full view of visitors or do I want it to be hidden away where I can close the door and tackle paperwork when I have a block of time to deal with it?
  • Do we need a formal dining room? Or is a larger eating area enough for everyday meal time while allowing flexibility for larger groups when hosting?
  • Bedroom locations: is it important that all bedrooms be close together or is privacy more of a concern? Should each bedroom have direct access to a bathroom or are shared facilities within proximity good enough?
  • Where does everyone unload their items of the day such as knapsacks, winter boots, keys, etc.?
  • Laundry: where would it be best located to avoid long distance travels and allow for enough storage?


  • Where do we want to watch TV as a family? How much seating will we require?
  • Besides storage, transition areas such as hallways are greatly underestimated. Allow a generous 4 feet of space or more when possible.


Areas such as a great room look very large on paper. However, you need space to transition from one area to another. This will reduce usable living space by 4 feet. With that in mind, will your furniture fit comfortably or is it pushed tight up against a wall to allow for space to walk?

Next Step: Draw a Bubble Diagram

After you have answered many layout questions, start by drawing a bubble diagram:

  • place circles in relation to how they will be located to another space, i.e. draw the “kitchen” circle beside the “eating area” circle
  • use the circle size to indicate the room sizes in relation to one another, i.e. the “master bedroom” circle will usually be larger than the “main bathroom” circle
  • use colors to separate functionality of those rooms, i.e. purple to represent public spaces, blue for private spaces, and green for hallways/transitions

Keep in mind that this is just an exercise to get you thinking, but it will be a useful tool when meeting the person who will be drawing your blueprints. You will have a better start because of the amount of thought you have put into it and will ensure that you are starting off on the same page.

More than likely the scale will be off; perhaps the circles won’t line up exactly to fit onto your lot as you had planned. However, this is where compromise will lead to creative solutions that make your new home unique, while giving you the custom home you were looking for.
To get the result you want, put in the time and look at how your family lives in your existing space. What could be improved? Get input from everyone who will be living in that space. Start your bubble diagram. You will be glad you did.

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