October 24, 2016

Small spends, big impact

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devine-28Colin & Justin offer stylish tips for every budget

By  lucy hyslop 

Cottage Life stars Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan bring their effervescent brand of Scottish wit and design savvy to the Vancouver Home + Design Show (Oct. 28 and 29). Here McAllister explains how they will focus on the small spends homeowners can invest in for their home that yield a big return daily—and at sale time.

Can you suggest some small spends that work well?

Kitchens and bathrooms are sold fully furnished, so spend money here on quality, well-planned items that won’t date. Keep it simple and well equipped. Don’t waste money on vanity projects like kitty wallpapered room just because you love cats—keep rooms clean, simple and clearly defined. Spend on quality of life. If the kitchen is small, boxy and disconnected, remove a wall to connect it to the living/dining area. Paint rooms in subtle off-white tones to open up the space and improve your kerb appeal with a new coat of paint on doors and windows—yup, first impressions really do last. And finally, clear away the clutter, depersonalize space and then clean to let buyers know that your home is one that’s loved, maintained and therefore sellable.

street_swap101_08_fireplaceIs it possible to make design-savvy statements on a budget? 

When we first started out as renovators we dumpster dived, bought second hand, and remodelled tired, dated furniture pieces to make them work.  Don’t be defeated by lack of budget.

Which are the most crucial parts of a style-conscious home to consider when working out small spends? 

Spend on comfort. You must feel rewarded and relaxed at home—don’t scrimp on your bed or sofa, buy the best you can and save money elsewhere. It’s worth creating a nest first, so why not start with the bedroom? Simple to do, and essential as a reward for your hard work as you renovate the rest of the home.

cpii_16_credit-to-brandon-barreYou split time between Toronto, your Ontario cottage and Glasgow. How does that help you to keep an eye on all the trends?

Living as we do and working tri-continentally—we’re also in Australia on various projects—allows us to get a unique “global vision,” which in turn allows us to see different cultures and explore how other countries live. We’re travelling design sponges so we soak up the inspiration as we go and bring it to our work every day.

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