How A Designer Can Help You Improve The Look Of Your Home

sandra rinomato


I see many homes in my day to day work life, and although many are large, not many captivate the attention the way a home that has been professionally decorated can. Any size home can deliver WOW with the help of a professional designer or decorator. A designer can easily create an ambience that speaks to us and makes us feel comfy and at peace. If you have the budget to buy all new furniture and accessory pieces, a professional designer will bring their knowledge and expertise to the table to benefit your selection and decision-making process in a positive way to reflect your lifestyle.92 Stallions Ct King City ON-small-030-Foyer-666x444-72dpi

But, let’s be real, not many of us have that kind of budget. This property is an estate home that’s priced out of reach for many people, but it has many design elements that any home can mimic.  Among those, the designer made almost 8,000 square feet feel cozy, can you believe it? He did it by using a consistent theme throughout.  The designer had the luxury of free rein with the house, and taking it from scratch he went to town and created this stunning show home.  Because the design and execution were all done at same time, the designer was able to take the same black, white and gold theme and artistically run it through the entire house.  Even with huge, expansive rooms the designer made the decor smartly flow, he utilized space in a beneficial way and created intimacy and warmth. Overall it is elegant and the finishes are high-end, but it’s the coziness that makes it practical for today’s family. And although it might not seem so, he had a budget and he stuck to it!  Unfortunately many homes that are done by non-professionals do not reflect the abundance of style and good taste that’s on display here.  Keep in mind that just because a home is big it doesn’t mean it’s beautiful.  Unfortunately many people choose to decorate one room at a time, and with that approach there is no cohesiveness, no unity.  The end result looks piecemeal.  Remember those choppy rooms from the 70’s with the hallway carpet one colour and each room another colour? There was no flow, whereas this estate home reflects a flow and uniformity for a smooth transition from room to room. It actually feels better, although you may not understand why it does.92 Stallions Ct King City ON-small-029-230307-334x500-72dpi

However, I realize not everyone has this type of house or the budget for decorating an estate home. I’ve learned from my own experience that hiring a professional designer is beneficial for any pocketbook.  When hiring a designer he or she will ask you the intention for your space and to describe your basic style.  They interpret your answers with their knowledge and expertise to show you how to solve your style dilemmas, space issues and how to achieve a polished, finished look.  I have noticed many people have started on their own however it feels incomplete, or it’s missing that je ne sais quoi.  A professional will bring you something that you wouldn’t have given a second thought on the store shelf, but they know how it works in combination with what you have and BAM, it’s perfect!   They will bring you a storyboard to show you how colors and textures can offset or complement each other. Visiting the home they will gauge the lighting and suggest paint colours that complement the tones present in your existing furnishings or finishes.  A designer will provide you with an amazing variety of color combinations that you would have overlooked.  But with their method of presentation, now those colours speak to you.

If nothing else you can hire a designer for a two hour consultation to help you achieve your desires and plans.  But keep in mind that decorating is not staging!  Staging is done quickly with a property’s sale in mind, whereas decorating is done with passion and lifestyle in mind.  Although you’ve “finished” (I say that tongue in cheek, as decorating is fluid, always changing, in my opinion) you could still find a new, perfect piece that grabs your attention several months or years later.  So decorating cannot all happen in a one week period like staging does.  You can drastically change, or simply refresh the feel of your room with different accessories, colors and textures as they come in to fashion.  A designer may just suggest an adjustment to your furniture into a new seating arrangement, or take the piece from the spare bedroom and use it smartly in the family room.  Sometimes it just takes some accent pillows and a throw to make the entire room appear newer and more stylish.

So what do you do if you have a home that needs a 92 Stallions Ct King City ON-small-017-Dining Room-666x444-72dpilot of work and you want to spend a little to give it a facelift? Don’t focus on just one room.  Instead focus on the lighting, the floors, the doors, the walls and the halls throughout the home.  If you have a 50 – 60 year old bungalow like I do, updating in those areas will give you the biggest bang for your buck. I removed the rounded old trim replacing it with something more modern, I added custom doors and new hardware, I added crown moulding and painted contemporary colors on walls and replaced the lighting. What a difference!  So don’t give yourself just a brand new living room and leave the rest of your home stuck in another era.  Let your professional designer help you select a good trim that works for you and present artistic ideas for what can be done to the doors.  They’ll advise on unique paint color schemes…there are over one hundred shades of white alone.  And they’ll show you samples of lighting that will blow your mind.  It is these important personal details where a designer’s eye will be money well spent.  And if you’re considering renovations like removing walls…you would be a fool to do it without a designer. Their consultation is worth every penny.

To view more of the stunning home featured in this post, please visit 

Coats for Kids – Winter Coat Drive!

De-clutter your closet this season for a great cause! We are accepting donations of new or gently used children’s winter coats throughout the month of October. Your donations will be distributed to shelters across Toronto to help kids in need!

Coats for Kids

How to Identify Areas that are Up and Coming

sandra rinomato



1. Follow the artists. Many artists look for affordable housing and inspiring surroundings.  We’ve seen this in many cities now, they’ll go into ‘less-desirable’ neighbourhoods and slowly the area becomes beautified.  You’ll see trendy coffee shops and art galleries opening and that will give people new reasons to visit that part of town. Then come the young people. They’ll move in because they can’t get into the market anywhere else. Then families appear and voila, the neighbourhood just up and came!

Toronto's Queen West

Toronto’s Queen West

2. Look for nice neighbours and proximity to hip neighbourhoods. If there is a pocket of desirable neighbourhoods and a ‘black sheep’ neighbourhood nearby, chances are those established neighbourhoods will expand into that neighbourhood and push property values up.

3.  Look for development. If you build it, they will come. If the government or an investment company thinks it’s worth the risk to invest in a new area it means 1). They are probably right and 2). They will do everything to make that neighbourhood successful to protect their investment. This might also mean a shift in by-laws and zoning in these areas, making development legal. Think previous industrial buildings and warehouse converting to lofts or government offices. On a smaller scale, if every other house on the street is being renovated, you know the area is hot and people have an interest in protecting its future as well.

Toronto's Canary District makes way for Pan Am games and new condo development

Toronto’s Canary  District makes way for 2015  Pan Am games and new condo development

5. Look for strong BIA. These groups want a neighbourhood to succeed and they work with businesses to encourage growth in the neighbourhood.  This means a lot of announcements, renovating and flipping new businesses within a short time frame.

6.  And of course, talk to an expert/relator, because they have the down-low on what’s coming up!

7.  An area that is experiencing bigger increases in values than they have historically or in the past (May be caused by #3).  We have seen this in cities across the country.

Pet Adoption Day for the Etobicoke Humane Society

Please come out and support our Pet Adoption Day for the volunteer-run Etobicoke Humane Society


What is the Right Type of Home for You?

sandra rinomato

Are you the “Do It Yourself Type” or more the “Do It For Me Type”?


People are surprised when I tell them they should know themselves really well before they jump into home ownership. You may think it’s all about budget and location, and less about you, but you can pick your property based on personality.


If you are the kind that really doesn’t like to get your hands dirty, or doesn’t have time for yard work and snow shoveling you may be suited to condo lifestyle. There’s no reason to be hard on yourself, rather, you should be honest with yourself and accept the fact that this is the good life you’ve been looking for. You’ll be happier in the long run.

 freehold vs condo

In a condo you don’t have to worry about the roof, or the snow, or the eaves troughs, the weeds, the pool or the many other maintenance/repair issues that can take up your free time. You can enjoy the pool that someone else cleans, wiggle your toes in the lawn that that the hired gardener tends, and drive away every February morning in a warm ice-free car. If you travel often or for long periods, you will love being able to just lock the door behind you and taking off for a worry free trip.


Doesn’t sound like you? Maybe you are the “Do It Yourself” type. You’re the type to head outside Saturday morning and walk around the yard looking for a job to take on. You strive for the perfect lawn and are aching to get yourself a tractor mower, tackle some repairs, build a shed and put in a pool. Fixing the roof just gives you an excuse to use that fancy extending ladder you picked up. Well then, you may be inclined toward a detached home with a big yard that has plenty of room for vegetable and flower gardens.


home-maintenance_fullIf you aren’t ready for that full on maintenance job that a house requires, and not interested in a condo apartment either, you may be happier in a condo town home where most of the maintenance is taken care of. The town home gives you the feel of being in a house without all the work that goes with it. It’s more affordable and gets you in to a better location or gets you more square footage. The condo association will repair the roof, fix the front stoop that’s a little wonky and even paint the door and garage when it’s time, giving you plenty of time to try out that new BBQ you picked up.


They say home is where the heart is, and with a little soul searching you can find your perfect match.

Preparing Your Home for the Fall Market

sandra rinomato

Thinking of selling your home this fall? Well, it’s time to start preparing for the day the sign goes on the lawn! This is an excellent time of year to spruce up the exterior of the home:

The time is now to paint your front door, garage and trim as you need a certain over night temperature to let it dry properly. Be sure to get advice from your friendly paint store staff for colour schemes. Many paint companies offer brochures that show you colour palettes that work with your type of home.

exteriot colouts roof


You may need to install new eaves or clean them.

You could stage the front porch with outdoor furniture like a bistro set that you can get on sale at this time of year.


Think about adding solar path lighting or soffit lights to make your home stand out at night.


Go to your local nursery and make a plan for your garden. Add bushes or trees that nurseries are selling off at a discounted price that will look great for all 4 seasons.

Don’t forget to fix that leaning fence or replace damaged wood.

Be sure to get rid of that pile of wood or extra shingles that somehow found it’s way to your yard or garage.

Take photos of your garden and take nice exterior shots with the flowers in bloom, green grass and pretty urns. Make sure no animals or people are in the photos though! These pictures will be great for later in the year when the seasons change and these lovely features of the home are hidden–or not so lovely anymore.


Do all the repairs and little adjustments now—inside and out.

This is especially important if you are planning on buying your next home before you sell. The more work you do now, the faster you can get your home on the market and the sooner you can achieve your goal.

Have a garage sale now!garage sale

Get rid of all that stuff, the stuff you had from your university days that has not seen the light of day for decades– and never will. Those shower presents you never used, the appliances you meant to fix but never did. It’s time to part with them. Spend some time reminiscing and hugging those favourite long forgotten items before you send them off to the donation box or the twenty five cent pile at the garage sale. You’re moving anyway, so declutter now while the days are long, the weather is gentle and the bargain hunters are out.

Hire a professional landscaper to do a nice fall clean up or spruce up the beds with fresh mulch or stones. They do such a nice job and the small investment will go famulchr and will entice those drive-by buyers to book a showing.

Get a copy of your summer utility bills as well as winter, and keep them on hand just in case someone asks.

Get a home inspection done if you are in a high demand area that typically sees multiple offers.

I know a lot of people believe that the only time of year to sell is Spring, but real estate transactions happen every day of the year, and for many reasons. There are job transfers, marriages, divorces, deaths and many other reasons why people sell or buy real estate, so don’t hold off unless your local licensed realtor recommends it for your property.


time to sell

Historically, the spring market in my trading area has been the strongest. During spring we see more listings, more transactions and high prices so that may be the time of year for you to sell. With more listings you have more competition in your neighbourhood. Just think, if your house was the only house listed in your high demand neighbourhood just how much attention your home would get!

Some people want to have the kids settled in the new home before school starts or at least register them, so they would prefer to buy earlier in the year. Others want to avoid moving in winter so offer a quick closing on your fall sale, and others just want the right house, so time of year doesn’t matter to them.

pool repotDepending how late in the year you sell, you may want to have your pool professionally closed by a reputable company and retain the receipt. Ask the pool company to make notes regarding the condition of the pool. This will help give the buyer confidence that your pool is in good condition.

By closing anytime other than the end of June you may get better pricing on movers and other services. It’s definitely easier to find an available mover during autumn months. But remember, it tends to get dark earlier so remember to bring light bulbs to your new home….just in case.

 In you would like more info on listing your home in the GTA this fall, call me at 416-565-3001 or visit for more info. 

Sandra Rinomato REALTOR® Academy

Sandra Rinomato just announced she will personally mentor a small, select group of REALTORS® starting this fall! She will share her systems, real estate sales language, and lead generation tips. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn hands-on from a respected industry expert with over 18 years of expertise. 

Limited Positions. Apply Today for Fall 20PV-Jonathon+Lindsay-28514. Mention “REALTOR® Academy” in the form found here:



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