Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sarah's House 4: Buy from Plan + Living Room

Did you enjoy the premiere of Sarah's House 4 last night?  It was so much fun and I love the dynamics between Sarah and Tommy!  Boy have I got a surprise for you all at the end of the post. 

This series is off to a great start!  I really like the idea of Sarah walking us through all the steps involve with buying a house from the builder and showing us what she'd learned from selecting "Prix Fixe" floor plans/exterior materials to prioritizing on various upgrades ($100,000 in total) and customizing traffic flow.  Afterall, these are the decision points many of us struggle with these days when buying preconstruction (yours truly is tackling my own version's of Builder's Dream). 

In Episode 1, Sarah showed us what to watch out for when selecting a floor plan: avoid weird angle/obstructed sightline and pick rectangular room layouts.  The boxy room layouts provide flexibility in furniture placement and far better utilization of precious square footage.  Trust me, I live by this rule during my condo search.  Now if you are still not sure that the best available floor plan suits your personal needs, ask for possible alternations to the builder's plans!  As long as it's not structural and only about removing some walls and flipping the kitchen from one side to another, such personality bypass can easily be done (at the planning stage and before you sign on the dotted line) for around $2,500.

Check out the "Before" and "After" floor plans, what an improvement!  Now there's room to breath, little alone to sit, in the living room of this Georgian inspired 3,700 sq. ft. home.  Thanks Cherish Toronto for the "After" floor plan.

Other tips from buying from Plan:

1.  It is very difficult to decide on exterior finishes based on the "Prix Fixe" boards.  Afterall, the color varies in different elements and it's best to check out the completed homes in the community.  That way you know exactly what you will be getting on closing day.  One important lesson learned by Sarah and Tommy: verify if the package you just picked is still available.  Sarah and Tommy forgot to do that and ended up with beige brick instead of grey brick.

2.  Check out the neighbourhood and the location of your lot in person.  You will want to know what's around you (i.e. park, school, ravine) and make informed decisions accordingly.  Imagine this: a house with a walkout backing onto a ravine is worth a whole lot money at resale than the one facing a dumpster.
Fast forward a few months, Episode 2 is all about the new and improved spacious living room.  Here is Sarah's plan on furniture groupings.  Three distinct pairs of chairs are incorporated into this living room along with a full size sofa and a daybed in front of the bay window.  I've counted, this room can easily accommodate seating for 12!

Here is how Sarah's plan comes to life!

Inspired by a purple sea shell sphere from inVU Drapery, the color palette of the living room is all about pale lavender, lilac, and lots of neutrals.  To up the glam factors, Sarah chose a pair of polished brass pendants for lighting, a vintage sconces above the fireplace for ambience, and mirrored/chrome tables to balance the feminine quality in this room. 

Note the metal play in this room.  You've read about mixing warm and cool metals at Steven & Chris and inVU trend report, here is how Sarah put them in action!  The trick to pull off a tastful metal play is to find a couple of pieces that incorporate both elements.  In this case, the wall sconces, the curtain rods, and the coffee table in front of the day bed all have a blend of chrome and brass. 

Keeping the furniture pieces all in neutrals is another tip from Sarah.  It is far easier and less costly to change your overall color scheme with new pillows or a new coat of paint than having all furniture reupholstered 3 years down the road!  Speaking about furnishing, I love this custom sofa.  Let's meet Fiona (not on Sarah's website yet).  Fiona has a scallop back, art deco arms (inspired by vintage chair from Foc!), and graceful legs on casters: what's not to love?  For only $1,800 (sounds a little on the low side to me), it is such an elegant addition to the space.  By the way, love that art work too!

I know I'm a chair freak ... at least I admit it!  I'm banana crazy about this pair of round back tub chairs from Queen West Antique.  With a new dress from designer fabrics, I am in heaven.

Another tip from Tommy is to use one large area rug if you are going to have two sitting areas.  It will make furniture re-arranging a breeze in the future.

And of course no Sarah's room is completed without the perfect accessories and prettiest flowers.  Here are the beautiful finishing touches in this stunning living room.

So you ready for the suprise I have for you this week? Check out Tommy in lilac eye shadow!

Thanks HGTV Canada for all the amazing images of this living room.  Pam also did a comprehensive source list on Cherish Toronto.  If you want to know what colors and fabrics Sarah and Tommy used in the living room, check this out!

Can't wait to share with you how Sarah and Tommy creat a wowing first impressions and a gourmet kitchen!  And ff you've missed my sneak peeks + tips from Sarah and Tommy on storage and organization, check it out here.


  1. Love how she's mixed the various metals in the same room. Something I try to work on with my clients, but admittedly, have trouble with. Gonna study these pics a little more.

    Thanks for sharing this~

  2. Oooh...Tim I just saw a nursery makeover you did featured on Design*Sponge!! Congrats. It's beautiful ;) Love it so much.

  3. Bravo! Another Beautifully Designed Space....Thanks for the inspiration :)
    Blessed Wishes,

  4. The artwork above the sofa - LOVE! Also, am I crazy or was that the artwork that got shot down in Sarah 101 when she did the neutral master bedroom in favor of a set of framed photos? I'm not in love with the chairs across from the sofa, but love everything overall. Can't wait until we get SH4 in the US!

  5. Hey Tim, this is a great recap. I'm already looking forward to seeing Tuesday's episodes of The Entry and Kitchen.
    PS - Thanks for the link!!

  6. I love the metal mixes as well. I'm itching to do that in my house this year over Christmas! Will see what I come up with!

    @Amy: thx so much for the sweet words! I love that project and was so excited to see it being featured on Design*Sponge! Working on a couple of kids bedrooms now. ... will see if they will make the cut as well!