Long ago there lived a very kind and successful emperor who ruled his kingdom of real estate and medical practices with the sharpest of wisdoms, the strongest of convictions and the biggest of hearts. His astute business mind was surpassed by none – as well, no one could top the emperor’s own secret recipe for the world’s best seafood chowder!
His generous ways were known throughout the land and beyond, for he shared his wealth among those he loved and cared for, and as well as being a sincere patron of the arts.
This kindly emperor decided to leave his old palace and build a new one! He had no need for a moat or drawbridge, as he did not wish to keep his welcomed guests from entering his new home with ease nor becoming an alligator’s lunch!
Searching far and wide, the emperor found the perfect downtown location and what he thought was the perfect builder to work on his architectural masterpiece. It was to be an exquisite creation to rival any wizard’s magic including merlin! It was to be as strong and sturdy as the three little pig’s handiwork, just in case a big bad wolf decided to huff and puff a little too close for comfort! It was to be… Well, it started out to be... But, then, went from bad to worse.
Now, let us remember, dear children, palaces are big budget, and the client, our kindly emperor, should be respectfully regarded. The builder didn’t think so. Deadlines were dismissed, information was skewed, missing, not the truth or became riddles to rival Rumplestilskin’s!
Our emperor, unlike the one in the story who wore invisible clothes (very naked) down a public street so many years ago (no relation by the way!) was not about to have the invisible wool pulled over his eyes! Instead, he said the three magic words: “Help! Help! Help!" And with a flash of blinding light, the Design Fairy Godmother appeared waving her magic wand, ninja-style. She was a friend and admirer of the kindly emperor, and came swiftly upon his frantic call, to kick ass, up against the palace wall!
Now the Design Fairy Godmother loves a challenge but this builder reminded her of a peddler she once encountered in a marketplace in the tiny town of Sheisterville, who, a few hundred years ago, tried to sell her a monkey that would clean her garderobe (toilet), shine her fairy shoes, while at the same time entertain her by grinding an organ (the musical kind). She, of course, dismissed him and his demon monkey, with a wave of her wand and choice words from her lovely fairy lips.
So, back to our story – the palace foundation was finished, structure built, walls up, and then, the rest. Three stories of home plus finish basement, to design, including four washrooms, and a kitchen.
All the fixed design elements were to be found, designed, and chosen first. Flooring, tiles (many from CENTURA), cabinetry, lighting design, baseboards and trim, doors, windows, carpentry, stairway, etc. etc. A luscious color design for all four floors was prepared and executed brilliantly, using Benjamin Moore paints.
Frustration would have been the operative word for a mere mortal designer, where even the smallest of elements were difficult with this builder – kind of like dealing with a trickster troll from the depths of Impossi-ville. But for our Design Fairy Godmother, armed with her powerful wand, design expertise, brilliant e-mails and sheer hutzpah, she was able to achieve with her dear kindly emperor, his manly new home.
Without a tear shed, they finally bid the builder adieu, and The Design Fairy Godmother then began the magical interior design transformation of the emperor’s new palace!
Blending the emperors's collection of 1960s teak furniture, vintage art deco furniture, and an amazing art collection, with new purchases, decorative pieces and fabulous new lighting, the palace became an extraordinary place filled with his personality, and fit for his lifestyle!
Vintage 1960s teak bookshelves found at a cool Queen Street antique store, to hold some of his vast collection of 1960’s German pottery; vintage-style lighting from Sescolite graced the ceilings; designer blinds from Dodds Interiors, dressed the windows; and many other earthly and fairylike details were purchased or conjured with delight.
The palace now complete, the kindly emperor was thrilled to enjoy and share his new beautiful home.
He happily gave a celebration inviting all his dear family, friends, the goodly neighbors, of course his Design Fairy Godmother; all those from the magical realm including the unicorns and other fair creatures (no monkeys – sorry!) and served among other delectable dishes – you guessed it! – his world’s best seafood chowder! Mm, mm! Good!
ANDREA’S DESIGN PEARLS OF WISDOM
Building a new home is a partnership! Check out the builder before signing any contract. Research his/her work, and reputation. Make sure he/she is a good communicator. Seek references. Does this builder belong to a local Home Builder’s Association? You don’t want a trickster troll for a partner!
What warranty does your builder offer? Does he/she belong to a New Home warranty program?
Make sure the builder is completely familiar with the building site as well as your house plans, and plan changes, before the final price is quoted.
Retain an attorney experienced in reviewing building contracts to thoroughly review your contract before you sign.
Try to make selections as far in advance as possible to avoid unwanted delays. Give enough time for custom orders.
Be clear about what you want and your expectations with your builder.
Any changes during construction can add to your cost. However, don’t be afraid to make them now, as you won’t want to be living in a construction site changing things again later.
Visit the site! Check the progress frequently to catch any mistakes and quickly solve these issues in writing for your builder. Additionally, you may also be needed on site to answer any questions for the builder or his/hers subcontractors.
Hire your own interior designer or Design Fairy Godmother to make your life easier, and act on your behalf with your builder.
Put all changes and corrections in writing! Include full details and costs when applicable. Do this even if you discuss changes with your nice builder and he says agreeably, “No problem”. People forget.
Make sure after the project is complete, you provide written notice of items requiring repair or corrections. And make sure it is taken care of before you pay your final bill.
It’s a lot of work but get excited! This is your new custom palace!