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Upgrading Your Home While on a Budget

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Image by pexels

If you pay attention to today’s home improvement shows, then you’re probably under the impression that upgrading a home requires either a small fortune or a great deal of time and energy. While these shows can provide you with some helpful advice on home renovations, many of them skip over the quickest and cheapest ways to upgrade your home. Most of us simply don’t have 40 hours a week and thousands of dollars to dedicate to our home improvement jobs – but that doesn’t mean we can’t make some seriously meaningful upgrades! In fact, it is far easier to renovate on a budget than most people realize. Here are five ways to upgrade your home that will save you money and time and leave you with a home that feels brand new:

Install crown molding to your walls and kitchen cabinets.

Crown molding is an affordable and easy way to add character to your home. Add crown moldings to your walls to instantly add value to your home and leave you with a room that feels well-crafted and upscale. While you’re at it, adding moldings to the top of your kitchen cabinets will make them look custom-designed and installed.

Turn your home into a smart home. 

As smart home devices become more popular, they also become more affordable. Installing a few smart technologies in your home will both improve your day-to-day life and appeal to potential buyers. We recommend starting with the following smart home devices:

  • The Echo Dot smart speaker with Alexa ($50)
  • Smart Plugs (4 for $30)
  • Ring Video Doorbell ($100)

Update your lighting without any electrical work.

By renovating your lighting, you can dramatically change the look and feel of any room. To avoid tools, wires, and cleanup, upgrade your lamp shades with magnetic shades. Or, add new and unique lighting to a room by hanging plug-in pendant lighting from the ceiling. Also, you can use color-changing LED smart bulbs to quickly change a room’s mood through color.

Add a tile back splash to your bathroom or kitchen.
A beautifully designed tile back splash makes for a jaw-dropping statement piece. Whether the colors are light and simple or loud and vibrant, tile mosaics breathe life into a room. And, thanks to products like Smart Tile, you can add a professional-looking tile back splash into your kitchen or bathroom in minutes. Smart Tiles are adhesive sheets that come in many colors and designs and feature an adhesive backing, which allows you to quickly install a custom-looking tile back splash without any experience or expertise.

Apply fresh caulk in the bathroom.

Although it sounds pretty basic, one of the most unsightly things to see in a bathroom is old, molding caulk. Over time, caulk becomes brown and full of mildew and causes your bathroom to look grimy. Apply fresh caulk for a cheap and simple way to upgrade your bathroom and make it look brand-new.

A house is never just a house for long. Once you move in, the four walls and a roof transform into a home – a sanctuary for you to live, love, laugh, cry, and grow. With the importance of your home as both an investment and as the place you and your family lay your heads, it is important that you continue to make upgrades around your house. Many people assume that money is what lies between them and their dream home, however, renovating your home on a budget is far more affordable than previously thought. So, if you’re looking to make some serious upgrades to your home, but don’t want to spend all of your time and money on renovations, follow these five tips for upgrading on a budget.

Article written by Elise Morgan – July 2019

Renovation vs New Construction: What to Consider

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Why Build?

Sometimes a large renovation will end up costing more than building a brand new home, even though minor fixes and upgrades seem more cost effective than investing in a whole new build. Renovating doesn’t add as much value to the property as building new would. With a new build comes many new upgrades including higher ceilings, open floor plans, ensuite bathrooms, energy efficient products & materials, and new technological features. Newly built homes will have a significant resale advantage if it comes time to put your property on the market. Many minor fixes can add up very quickly when renovating, and unforeseen circumstances can arise and unplanned expenses may end up pushing you way over your budget. With building a brand new home, you start from scratch. You get exactly what you envision in your home – your ideas and concepts are planned for YOU. Upon completion, you get to live in your dream home and won’t ever have to settle for something you don’t absolutely love.

Other factors to consider when thinking about building:

  • Building lots are available in your neighborhood or a neighborhood you really like.
  • The cost of remodeling your home will outpace its resale value.
  • You want a home with changes that can’t be added to your current home.
  • A new home is less likely to have the health concerns/toxic materials of an older home.
  • New addition to homes will have to meet all modern building codes.
  • New homes can be more energy efficient than older homes.


Why Renovate?

If you’re home has special value to you because of the old age and period features it contains, you may want to consider a renovation rather than building new. You want to restore or enhance the home but not take away from its unique beauty and history, so it is a good idea to consider keeping with the original design and craftsmanship of the house. Perhaps people of great significance once lived there or substantial historic events happened there. Perhaps you have lived there your entire childhood and are now raising your own family there. Sometimes even if it is not as cost effective to renovate, it is worth the extra expense because it is special to you and to history. From a sustainability point of view, cities prefer to see people maintaining as much of their homes as possible, rather than demolishing the whole house and sending piles of that waste to the landfill.

Other factors to consider when thinking about renovating:

  • You love the neighborhood you currently live in.
  • There are no building lots available in your neighborhood.
  • You would rather invest money in your existing home than in building a new home.
  • Property values in your neighborhood are rising.
  • Your home value is not at the peak for the neighborhood.


Leave it to the experts! Contact Van Manna Homes today if you are thinking about building your dream home or a major home renovation.

Neighborhood Profile: Killarney

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Killarney is a beautiful Southwest Calgary neighborhood boasting rich heritage and a combination of suburban and inner-city vibes. This trendy community offers all the amenities and conveniences of classic inner-city lifestyle, and is just a short trip into downtown Calgary. With quick access to shopping, groceries, great restaurants & pubs, Killarney appeals to many families looking for the perfect neighborhood to build their next home in.
From Avenue Magazine, these are the top places to shop & eat in Killarney:

Bow Bulgogi House (3515 17 Ave. S.W.)
Cassis Bistro (2505 17 Ave. S.W.)
Coffee Cats Café (2765 17 Ave. S.W.)
Creteus (2623 17 Ave. S.W.)
Little Lebanon (3515 17 Ave. S.W.)
Spiros Pizza (1902 33 St. S.W.)

Casel Marché (2503 17 Ave. S.W.)
Filipino Market (12, 3803 26 Ave. S.W.)
Café Francesco (3413 26 Ave. S.W.)
Heritage Bakery & Deli (1912 37 St. S.W.)

Read more about Killarney:

Van Manna Homes is building in Killarney! Our latest project is a psychologist’s office. Being built to fit in with the gorgeous neighborhood, the interior will have doctor’s offices that look and feel like your own living room so patients feel comfortable and at home.

Killarney 2

Killarney 1


Quick Tips to Winterize Your Home

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It is important as a homeowner that you take precautionary steps to prevent damage to your home during winter. With a cold Calgary winter just around the corner, you need to be prepared. Here are a few of those proactive steps you can take to winterize your home before it’s too late.

Change Furnace Filters
Make sure you’re replacing or cleaning your furnace filters monthly. The dirty filters restrict airflow and increase energy demand.

Check for Leaks, Seal Cracks
Thoroughly inspect the interior and exterior of your home for any damage like cracks or leaks. Seal them appropriately.

Water Lines & Garden Hoses
Be sure to disconnect and drain your garden hoses. Shut off the water lines going to the exterior of your house and drain them to avoid freezing.

Clean Your Gutters
Ensure all of your gutters are free of gunk and debris before the cold weather hits, to avoid all the debris from freezing and eventually damaging the eavestrough. Also ensure all down spouts are draining away from your home; you don’t want drainage to be sitting around the foundation of your house and then freeze there.

We are here to help! Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about winterizing your home.

1. Front Exterior

Let Van Manna Homes Complete Your Renovation Project

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In a recent article from Home Builder Magazine, blogger Bob Weinstein explains the risks of taking on DIY home renovation projects.

DIY Renos Can be Illegal & Dangerous

“Many homeowners don’t think twice about knocking down walls to create an open floor plan, he noted. But homeowners fail to consider that removing an unwanted wall could jeopardize the integrity of a home’s structure. The repercussions could be devastating and dangerous. The website, also points out that some actions can be illegal. Removing old insulation or aging drywall, for example, could mean breaking laws concerning the disposal of asbestos. Potential health problems from asbestos exposure include scarring of the lungs and even lung cancer, according to the Government of Canada. For most homeowners, hiring a professional contractor is not only a smart move—it could be the safest decision.”

Read the full article here:

Leave it to the experts! Contact Van Manna Homes today if you are thinking about a major home renovation.


Top Four Things Homebuyers Want

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The Top Four Things Homebuyers Want

Staying on top of the latest trends is at the top of Van Manna’s list. We are constantly working hard to give our clients the most value.
According to Homebuilder Magazine, these are the top four home design trends in the housing market right now.

1) Open Space
Open, versatile kitchen/living areas. Open-concept designs with kitchens smoothly opening up to large living spaces with no dividing walls, creating a large shareable space.

10. Main Floor view from stairs Optional #2

Van Manna Custom Home in Richmond Hill

2) Entertainment Kitchens
Large islands being the focus of the kitchen, with barstools along the opposite side of the chef.


Van Manna Custom Home in Springbank

3) Luxury Showers
Deep, walk-in showers with large rainfall-style shower heads. Luxury showers are replacing traditional bathtubs.

Van Manna Homes_-36

Van Manna Custom Home in Varsity


4) Color Splash
Blue-greys are especially in style, with rich colour walls that make the interior design pop.

2421 Bathroom

Van Manna Custom Home in Richmond Hill

The Renovation Money Room

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According to Home Builder Magazine and a recent cross-Canada survey, a kitchen renovation has the potential to boost a home’s value by more than 12.5 per cent.

Read their article here:

Your kitchen is the center of your family’s day-to-day living; a bonding area that ties your home together. We believe a kitchen is one of the most important features of a home – here are some of our favorite custom Van Manna Homes kitchens:

Kitchen 9401 11A STREET-12404 HAWKS NEST GROVE-6


Kitchen 4

Thinking of upgrading your home with some major renovations? Van Manna Homes is in your community completing custom home renovations! Contact us today to transform your house into your dream home!

New Home Warranty

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Peace of mind is everything and when building your home with Van Manna Homes, we give you that and so much more.  Van Manna Homes has been a member in good standing with National Home Warranty for over 10 years.  National Home Warranty is one of Canada’s top warranty programs.  With the 2-5-10 year program you can be assured that your home is well covered.

What is the 2-5-10 year program?

New homes built in Alberta are protected by 2-5-10 home warranty insurance, as set out by the New Home Buyer Protection Act of Alberta. Mandatory warranty insurance includes the following coverage’s:

2 years’ coverage on labour and materials as follows:

12 months’ coverage for defects in material and labour

24 months’ coverage for defects in material and labour for delivery and distribution systems (heating, electrical, plumbing, etc.)

5 years’ coverage for defects in the building envelope.

10 years’ coverage for structural defects

This is one of the largest investments you will make in your life and the right coverage is important.  Have a look at the performance guidelines outlining all the coverage on your new home at  



Project Development Options with Van Manna Homes

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Van Manna Homes understands that purchasing a new home is a large decision and are dedicated to ensuring your home building experience is a positive one. Here are your project development options when you build with us:

Contract Build or Renovation: Van Manna Homes completes your project from demolition stage through to new home possession stage.  You decide on your Building Specification package and home design; Van Manna Homes then gives a set price to build as well as estimated timeline.

Cost Plus: The land owners have control of the budget, home design, and building specifications.  Van Manna Homes manages the construction of the project. Be prepared for a longer possession timeline than option 1 as this scenario can be more time consuming.  Management fees are based on cost plus a percentage on all aspects of the build.

Joint Venture between Builder and Landowner:  Van Manna Homes and land owners agree mutually on a marketable home design and Building Specification package.  The land owner contributes the land at a fair market value.  The Builder contributes the project construction and management at a determined value.  Holding costs after construction are the landowner’s responsibility.  Once the new home sells each party is repaid the contributed values and the remainder is split 50/50.

Contact us today if you are ready to build your dream custom home!


Why Your Custom Build with Van Manna Homes Will be Stress-Free

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Deciding to build a custom home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. It can be a daunting experience if there’s a lack of support and communication from your builder, or if there’s limited access to information and updates regarding your custom project. Your home is your sanctuary, the place you will create a lifetime of memories, and one of the largest investments you’ll ever make. Therefore, it’s not only essential to select the right builder who appreciates your vision and understands the custom build process inside and out, but who guides you to help you understand this process and provides you with the tools you need to have a positive building experience from start to finish. At Van Manna Homes, we use state of the art software to assist our clients with everything about home design, budgeting, and communication.

Co-Construct is the construction management software we use to keep our clients informed, in charge and connected to every aspect of their new custom home. Your project is uploaded to Co-Construct so you can monitor the step by step progress of your home construction. Through this cutting-edge software, our team notifies you at the various stages of the build in which your custom selections are required, and we provide deadlines for each of these selections, ensuring your project is being completed efficiently and on time.

Communication is key during this process. Co-Construct’s messaging system provides a platform for smooth and easy communication between you and your builder and their whole team. This secure software is accessible to you from any device, any where, any time – so you are always up to date with the most recent details of your project. You will also have access to all progress photos, updated plans and important files.

The Van Manna Homes team is one who treats each build like they’re building their very own family home. We pride ourselves on the support that we provide our clients at every stage of the building process and that was the basis behind our decision to use the top of the line software that is Co-Construct.

Contact us today to start building your custom dream home!