Last Wednesday, October, 12th, 2016, I asked my followers to let me know any questions you had about the new HGTV Canada series, Bryan Inc.. I was shocked to see how many responses I had, and would like to thank you all for your thoughtful and interesting questions.
Here are my answers to a select few:
@shantich - I would love to know what your favourite furniture/home decorating stores are (ones that are accessible for all Canadians as I'm in Regina)!
One of my favourite stores to buy furniture is Cocoon Furnishings, but unfortunately they are only located in Ontario. EQ3, CB2, and West Elm are additional stores that I love to browse both instore and online. Although I am unsure if they are in Saskatchewan or not, please check their websites for more info. And there’s always Lowe’s – reliable and obviously available across Canada.
@ellenmuffin - Hey Sarah! Love your show!! I was wondering what are some easy not too expensive ways to decorate your home for the holidays? I would love to have some great Christmas decor but I'm not sure what to do without making it look like Christmas threw up in the apartment! Please let me know!
Thanks! Good question, Ellen! I tend to choose one colour and stick to that so that you can slowly add to your collection from year to year. For example, I chose gold a few years ago as I felt that it allowed me to decorate early in the season, it complemented the white décor I already have in my home, and it transitioned well for New Year’s Eve festivities. I find too much colour can sometimes make a space look a little garish. I also try to stick to streamlined natural greens such as boxwood or Magnolia when using wreaths indoors. One final tip, instead of adding decorations, try to replace things you already have up. For example, if you have pieces of décor in your living room such as photo frames and candles, remove them for the holiday season and replace them with winter themed items, this will make the place feel less cluttered and all the more Christmassy.
Cheryl Walker - Is the series just one year or will you continue the seasons doing 2 houses every year? I just love it & enjoy the fact you are both involved-you seem to work well together
Thank you for watching and for sharing your thoughts on it, we loved filming it! We would love to continue shooting another season of Bryan Inc. but we can divulge all of our secrets quite yet!
@ashkamomma - Do you guys recommend staging with a staging company or renting some furniture and staging yourself when you are first starting out?
For many homeowners, simply decluttering your home, and putting away personal items, is all that your home needs to get it ready for the housing market. Adding a fresh coat of paint and fixing any smaller home issues such as leaky faucets, missing door hardware, and burnt-out lightbulbs is a weekend job that can have a strong impact. If you are worried about the state of your existing furniture and feel that it may distract a buyer from seeing the true potential in your home than hiring a staging company can be very beneficial. It will come at a higher cost than renting a few items but it will help to give your home a cohesive look and will take away the additional stress of doing it yourself!
@_jayypatel - What motivates you in life?
That’s simple – my family! Bryan and I work hard to play hard. We hope that we are teaching our children what it means to be passionate about your work and that by embracing hard work, perseverance and determination, anything can be achieved.
Sydney Livingstone - What's your favourite part about designing a new home?
It’s all exciting! But my favourite thing is turning a space into something new, modern and functional. I am still perfecting this, but I enjoy looking at a space and imagining what I could do with it. Generally, that means knocking down walls and opening things up or creating a living space that works for a family. I love the creative process and working with the architects, and my husband, is very rewarding.
@sheepie_knits - I would love to know how you keep fit... besides running around after your family
Being a mother is very good way of keeping fit, but I do try to do a little extra. We have been lucky enough to find Rob from Trainers On Site who comes and puts us through our paces. Due to our schedule, this often means a 5am workout but finding some ‘me’ time is important as I get older. I also think that teaching our children that exercising our body is equally as important as exercising our minds.
@daniellecrosta - I remember seeing you on BT or the Marilyn Denis show or one of those toronto morning news shows. During your interview you mentioned how you only buy white towels and linens so that it makes it easier on you and the whole family when it comes time to making bed, doing chores, etc. What would be another one of your suggestions when it comes to keeping a kitchen organized for a young family? I imagine a tupperware drawer is high on your must have list. What else?
Tupperware is everyone’s friend in the kitchen! I also like to design my kitchen so the things I use on regular occasions are the easiest to reach. I put the things that I only use once in a while in a separate cupboard, then I don’t need to be searching through garlic crushers and fish knives to find the potato peeler. We also have designed the kitchen to have lower drawers that are accessible for Josephine and Lincoln. Children’s plates, glasses, and cutlery are kept in these drawers which helps give them both a sense of independence. Likewise, I make sure that two of the lowest drawers in my refrigerator are stocked with kid friendly drinks and snacks.
@claire_rosehill - Where do you shop? My girlfriends and I LOVE all your clothes! Your design style is awesome too! Please give us your favourite shopping spots!!! Thanks in advance!
Ah, Claire – fashion stores, how did you know that I love to talk about this? ;-) The list is a long one, we are lucky to have some great stores here in Toronto. Here are a few of my favourites: For t-shirts and more casual wear I love to shop at J. Crew. I have also recently discovered an online store called Everlane, which has some beautiful clothing, and it is all made ethically – something I am trying to be more conscious of. For winter apparel, brands like Mackage and Sentaler are at the top of my list. They are definitely at the higher end price point but the quality is second to none.
@lauramcgibbon - When dreaming of an addition to add to my home; start with town approval first? Design? Architect? Looking to add on a larger living room, mudroom to front of house and keep my double height ceilings. I have it roughly drawn on paper but unsure where to go from here.
I always start with considering the need. Building an addition is a difficult and arduous task, but very rewarding. If this is something you are dreaming of and feel that you are ready to take on this next chapter of home ownership than getting advice in advance is key. I would sit down and finalize your sketch (consider size, usage, retail value etc) and then discuss your budget with a friend or colleague that might have an understanding of the costs involved, if you don’t. Make sure you can afford what you want and more, as there will always be things you didn’t think of. Having a clear budget in mind before you meet with an architect is important. Once that’s set, I would spend some time researching the architects in your neighborhood that design homes that fit your style. The working relationship between an architect and a homeowner is key. Good luck!
Patrick Baldwin - Hey love your show, my wife and I have a renovation company together, how do you and Bryan separate work and family/ home time?
The golden question! I get asked this a lot and still don’t have a definitive answer. But we try to keep work life away from our personal life. This is the most difficult thing to do, as we all know that work life takes up a lot of hours, but we try our best. If you have an office, this is much easier as you can keep work there. If you don’t and work from home, then I suggest creating an office at home and use that space for any work based discussions (or arguments)! Most of all, remember to enjoy it.
Ingrid Bryan - What type of lighting do you recommend for a dining room?
Dining rooms are always difficult to light as you need both bright lighting as well as mood lighting to create a nice ambience when you have people over for dinner. Layering your lighting is something that helps keep the dining space intimate yet functional. I would suggest a main centre light that lights the table well for dining, and then a couple of lamps or wall sconces, away from the table that you can use before and after dinner. Also, it’s a good idea to add a dimmer switch to your table light. Using pot lights is also an option but keep them to the perimeter of the room and tilt the direction of the light away from high traffic areas to avoid direct down light.
Thank you all for your questions, I answered as many as I could, so I apologize to those who I didn’t get around too this time. But keep coming back to the site, as your questions have given me some ideas for future blogs.