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Reno tips from the experts

Whether it’s distressed wood, faux-finishes, decorative finials, or oil-based enamel, Craig Stewart has seen it all.

Whether it’s distressed wood, faux-finishes, decorative finials, or oil-based enamel, Craig Stewart has seen it all. After 12 years in the custom-made furniture business, there are few renovation dreams he can’t make a reality.

When a customer approached him about creating the mother of all wall units — a 40-foot, cherry wood unit, with a television set that lifted on hydraulics — Craig didn’t flinch, he contacted his craftsmen.

Thirty-eight thousand dollars later, that cherry wood wonder was born.

“With home renovation the sky is the limit,” said founder of the Amish Furniture Outlet. “Anything can happen with a plan and for a price.”

When it comes to renovating a dowdy room, most homeowners have trouble getting past the starting line. Stewart shares a few choice tips on how to reignite your love affair with renovation.

Consider the cost

When renovating, it’s all about how elaborate you want to get, said Stewart.

“Many rookies don’t do enough research on the cost of their project,” said Stewart. “A lot of times they wind up getting to the final stages and don’t have enough money to finish.”

When Stewart renovated his own basement and did the whole nine yards — flooring, walls, lighting — it cost about $20,000.

Grab your tape measure
Before stepping into any stores, homeowners should put together a scaled drawing of the room they’d like to renovate. Record all dimensions, and don’t forget to include the location of doors and windows.

Get Inspired
It could be your grandmother’s old Victorian dresser, or elaborate crown molding. If there is a particular style that catches your eye, work with it. Ask a consultant what they can do to help you mimic that design.

“Sometimes homeowners ask to match the style of an existing piece of furniture,” said Stewart. “They might sift through magazines, or take a long walk through our display room because they have no clue what they want — and that’s OK.”

Where to start
“Furniture is the last thing that goes into a room, but always the first thing you should plan for,” said Stewart, adding that the last decision should be paint colour.

With paint colour, err on the side of caution. Often, wood will take on the hue of the room’s colour. If your living room walls are painted burgundy, your newly purchased coffee table might pick up on the red.

Bring in Samples
If your current paint colour makes you happy, or sofa has some sentimental value attached, you don’t have to let go. Gather some fabric swatches, floorboards or paint samples and ask a professional how you can incorporate those elements.

“Most stores have an on-site decorator customers can speak with for advice,” said Stewart. “Designs can be reproduced. Anything that makes sense is possible.”

 
 
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