When I am searching for homes or for design items and finishes I am always looking for one main thing – quality. It is better to have fewer items of better quality then to have several items which are mediocre. A home can be finished in a lot of splash and dash yet have no lasting substance or quality. This is sometimes hard to detect in quality of finishing materials such as paint, flooring or lighting but it is worth the investigation if you are purchasing a property that has been renovated.
If you are looking at a recently renovated property it can appear bright and shiny, have a closer look or ask the advice of an expert realtor, property inspector or interior designer to help you see past the temporary glamour. One very easy test for paint quality is a quick wipe on the walls with a damp cloth, if the paint colour transfers onto the cloth or paper towel then you are dealing with an inferior product. It’s certainly something I wish I had done before buying my new house and it bugs me because I have known this tip for years – designer listen to thyself.
Recent flooring or cabinets? Be sure to ask where the product was purchased and if it was professionally installed. While as a second owner you won’t be eligible for most warranties you will at least have information about where it was purchased and you will be able to contact that store with any questions or concerns. You can sometimes verify the quality of what was installed in your home should you want to pursue that information for maintenance or cleaning questions.
Be careful to note the type and manufacturer of any window coverings in the home to make sure it is a current supplier. I have seen dozens of people drag dated blinds in for repair only to find out that the blind company no longer exists. Blinds styles and mounting systems change often and it can be difficult to repair older products. A quick Internet search is an easy way to find out if the blinds in your newly chosen house are still supported by a current company.
Keep an eye out for quality, once you get a trained eye, it is easy to spot! You will soon become an expert at seeing quality renovations and interior finishes if you look beyond the glitz and check for quality installations (straight groutlines, no gapping in laminate or hardwood, tightly stretched carpet, no runs or drips in paint). These things will be a major clue in spotting quality.
Kim Wyse is a freelance interior designer in Red Deer. See her facebook page ‘Ask a Designer’.