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Vancouver Sun: Multi-generational households drive renovation revolution

  • By novelladmin

…“Our expectations have to shift,” said Laurel James, co-owner of Novell Design Build. “There are tradeoffs we can make to live in Greater Vancouver.”

When James founded the Vancouver-based company with her husband, Angelito Camaclang, 14 years ago, clients wanted open-plan aesthetic upgrades to their main living areas and dream kitchens.

“People wanted to improve their homes to self-actualize, or for the benefit of their immediate family and to fit everyone around the table on special occasions,” she said.

“That has shifted,” she said. “Over 90 per cent of the potential clients that we meet now want to accommodate three-plus generations.”

Multi-generational households are the fastest-growing household type in Canada, according to the most recent federal census. The number of households with at least three generations under the same roof grew by 37.5 per cent between 2001 and 2016.

Read the full story from The Vancouver Sun here:



3 reasons not to miss the BC Home + Garden Show (2 for 1 tickets inside!)

  • By novelladmin

It’s that time of the year again! We are less than a week away from the 2019 BC Home + Garden Show, and our team has been busy preparing and getting ready to meet the thousands of homeowners who will stop by BC Place Feb. 20-24.

If you’re on the fence about whether you should attend (it’s cold out – we get it), keep reading. We’ve put together a list of some of the top reasons to hit up this show!

1) It’s so much more than gardening

While it’s true that this event has a much larger presence of landscapers and outdoor living experts than the Fall Home Show, there are also hundreds of other exhibitors in attendance. From home builders like Novell to the hundreds of products you can purchase and take home from the show, there really is something for everyone. So, even if you don’t have a garden or outdoor living space, you’re still sure to find whatever you need at this show.

2) It’s your chance to talk to experts in a low pressure setting

You may be at the early stages of your project – and looking to learn as much as possible about a company before inviting them to quote on your new home build or major renovation. The BC Home + Garden Show is a great place to introduce yourself to someone you might want to work with, and get a feel for how they communicate and work, before you have them over.

3) You can get 2 for 1 tickets!

If we haven’t convinced you yet, then perhaps this will. Using promo code “Novell” you can get 2 for 1 tickets to enjoy the show!

Novell will be at booth 513, ready to hear what’s important to you! We’ll have lots of zoning info and maps on hand to help you determine the possibilities for your property. And, if you are ready to take that next step, we’ll be booking complimentary phone consultations right from our booth so you can talk in depth with our team.



Constructive Comment: Creative ways to transform spaces

  • By novelladmin

Our Principal Designer, Laurel James, talks transforming spaces in The Province with @GVHBA CEO @rdewit


Following Mortensen’s talk, I reached out to Laurel James, principal designer of Novell Design Build, to learn more about trending designs related to this concept.

To begin, I learned that the great-room concept, which has been trending for some time, is spilling over into the bathroom. James said people don’t want to be confined by the traditional toilet, sink and bath combo.

“They want function, but they also the spa-like experience, with the ability to choose how the room is used, creating different experiences for different family members within the singular space.”…

Source: Constructive Comment: Creative ways to transform spaces



3 Reasons to Start a Career in Construction

  • By novelladmin

April is construction and skilled trades month in BC, putting focus on the 59,000 construction jobs anticipated to open up by 2027.  As demand for construction projects grow, so does the need for skilled workers.  At Novell, we don’t just design beautiful homes, we build them. This means we rely heavily on skilled trades to help bring our designs to reality. Have you ever considered starting a career in construction or a skilled trade? Here are a few reasons that might be a great idea:

Earning Potential

Working in construction or a skilled trade can be a financially wise decision. The 2016 BC Construction Industry Survey revealed the average annual salary of a BC construction worker was $56,170. While actual earnings will vary depending on your chosen trade and level of education and experience, there is also a benefit in being able to find work in the construction space. The same survey shows that the unemployment rate in the construction sector for 2016 was only 3.4% (the all sector rate is 5.8%). That combined with the projected 59,000 jobs in the next ten years means the construction industry is booming.

Help Build the Future

When you choose a career in the construction industry not only are you growing your own skills, but you are growing communities and the future of BC. The impact you can have as a skilled tradesperson on the development of our province is huge. Imagine the satisfaction of being able to walk past a home and know that you had a part in building it. Construction careers also go beyond skilled trades. Alongside trades are positions in administration, technology and regulation. Construction is fast growing and constantly adapting to new developments and technology – opening more opportunities by the minute.

Get Support From the Province

You may be convinced that a career in construction is worth exploring, but are not sure where to start. The province is committing to supporting people interested in skilled trades, with the funding to back it up. British Columbia will be directly investing $1.2 billion in the post secondary sector over the next 3 years.  Included in this is funding to support women in the trades. Currently, only 3,600 registered apprentices in BC are women, so the province is committing $1.8 million to support and retain women in the construction industry. More and more post secondary institutions are dedicating programs to trades, and there are many scholarship and funding opportunities available.

To learn more about the province’s initiatives surrounding Construction and Skilled Trades month, and to learn more about educational opportunities in the trades, click here.

Are you already a tradesperson looking to be involved with our exciting upcoming projects? Submit your information through our vendors form to tell us more.  Or, if you are a skilled labourer interested in learning more about opportunities with our projects, see our careers page.




Get started on your new home build at the 2018 BC Home + Garden Show

  • By novelladmin

Deciding to build a new home in Vancouver can feel like an overwhelming process. With so many moving parts, it’s hard to know where to start. The BC Home + Garden Show is a great place to connect with the companies who can build your home and start the process. We’ve gathered a few tips of what to consider if you are in the early stages of planning your new build.

Know Your Zone

Vancouver zoning bylaws are complex to say the least. Different zones come with different considerations for your new custom home.  Our first step as a Design Build team is to identify the zone in which the home will be built. You can look up your zone based on your property address on the City of Vancouver website.

Once you find the zone for your property, write it down and bring it with you to the show. Don’t worry about understanding the guidelines or details of your zone. A knowledgable builder will be able to take your zoning information and with a little research, provide you with your options to build new.

Don’t have time to look up your zone before the show? Let us know your address and our team can do a search at our booth.

Look for Design Build

When you are thinking about a new home, you may first think “I need to find a builder”. While of course your builder is an integral part of the process, don’t forget about the design component. Although you can hire one company to design and another to construct, consider the benefits of Design Build. Increased efficiency, effective problem solving and expert collaboration are just some of the advantages of Design Build.

Many companies advertise as “Design Build”, but true Design Build is when both teams exist under a single company. When talking to firms at the show (especially those who advertise as Design Build) – ask them if their designers and builder are all on staff, or is one side subcontracted? That will give you an indication if you are working with a true Design Build team.

If you’re exploring your options to build new in Vancouver, come see us at the 2018 BC Home and Garden Show at booth 513. The show is happening February 21st – 25th at BC Place. A full schedule and discounted tickets can be found by clicking the link below:

buy bc home and garden show tickets online



Take a 360 Tour of one of our Homes in Virtual Reality

  • By novelladmin

virtual reality home tour

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest technology trends, you know that virtual reality (VR) is on the rise. VR is quickly becoming more accessible with affordable hardware and mainstream applications. We all know that VR can be a fun way to escape reality with games, but what about in the home design and build space? It turns out that virtual reality can play a role in helping you envision what’s important to you with your home.

Why Virtual Reality?

When looking for inspiration for your major renovation or new custom home, websites like Houzz and Pinterest are a great resource. They allow you to browse thousands of images for design ideas, but the downside is you rarely get to see an entire home. Getting to truly experience a home from top to bottom can put into your mind the little things – important pieces you might not see captured in static photos. Viewing an entire home also allows you to experience all aspects of the space working together. Of course the best way to do this would be to visit homes in person, which isn’t always an accessible reality. Luckily, the VR world has given us the next best thing. By viewing a home in 360 degrees, you can experience the feeling of visiting a home without making the trip.

Where Can I find a Virtual Reality Home Tour?

Because VR technology is still on the rise, these types of tours aren’t yet very common. That being said, why not ask your builder?  You’ve likely seen lots of static photos of their work (which are a great resource) but ask if they’ve got anything in 360 that can give you a more complete vision of a project. However, keep in mind that this technology is still new, so you may not find a whole suite of VR tours available with every builder.

Novell Design Build’s Project in VR

Here at Novell Design Build we are committed to staying ahead of the curve, so we’ve gotten in on the virtual reality game. Our Kitsilano Residence Rebuild is now available in 360 degrees! You may have caught a peek of this project already at the 2017 Vancouver Fall Home Show where it was available for touring in partnership with the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association. Although VR is typically experienced through a viewer or set of goggles, navigating through the home on a computer or tablet still offers an experience unlike any set of photos!

Click the play button below to view the 360 tour. For the best experience, click the “View Fullscreen” button in the right corner of the viewer.


3D Tour by SeeVirtual



Your Guide to Meeting Builders at the 2017 Vancouver Fall Home Show

  • By novelladmin

Can you believe we are only a week away from the 2017 Vancouver Fall Home Show? Our team has been gearing up for the show for the past couple months, but we shouldn’t be the only ones getting ready! If you are shopping for a design-build team such as ours, keep in mind that not all firms are alike. Every company will have their own specialty or niche offering, so preliminary conversations like the one’s you’ll have at the show are key. Here are a few elements to keep in mind when talking to builders at the show:



Visiting a home show can be overwhelming when there are hundreds of booths competing for your attention.  Take a look at the exhibitor list ahead of time and write down the companies you’d like to visit. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What’s important to you?
    We ask this question with every new project, and it’s never too early to start thinking about it. Consider the experiences you want to have in your new home and know your priorities.
  2. Am I just shopping around for ideas, or am I looking to make a decision soon?
    If you know you are still in the early stages of your project, don’t feel pressured or intimidated by pushy salespeople. The most important thing is that you work with a company you feel comfortable with, so take your time.
  3. Is there any specific information that I feel is important to find out like ballpark budgets or timelines?
    Write down your questions to be sure you don’t forget!

Knowing what you are looking to get out of the show will keep you focused. Take notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This will ensure a good record to refer back to once you are back home.



Choosing a company to take on a big project like a custom home or major renovation is a big decision. You will be working with this team for months, so make sure your communication styles are a good match.

Ask them to describe their process. Will they be communicating with you in person and via phone regularly, or just over email? If you have a concern and need to get in touch, can they guarantee a window of time to get back to you? If the company answers no, or it doesn’t seem like communication is a priority for them, take that as a warning sign of how they may treat you during your project.

Communication is one of the most important aspects of any large scale project. This is your home, so it is crucial that you are always on the same page as your builder.



You are trusting a builder with your home, something which is very personal. It’s important to vet any company you are considering which includes asking them about their history. Check out examples of their work and ask questions. Your builder should be proud and eager to tell you the story of each and every project.

It’s important to feel a connection with your builder, so be sure to also ask questions about the company and it’s people. Every member of the Novell team will be taking a turn at our booth, so come by and meet us!

The team you choose will be building your story, so have fun with it! No question or idea is too small. It’s the builder’s role to take your priorities and create something you’ll love, so share whatever is on your mind.

If you keep in mind the 3 elements of Goals, Communication and Story while talking with builders, the conversations should flow with ease. There is also a lot to experience at the show outside of visiting vendors. Check out any presentations or workshops that interest you (including from our own Laurel James) and take your time just browsing around. The show should feel like a treat, not a chore, so be sure to take time for yourself to explore everything the show has to offer.

We’ll see you at the 2017 Vancouver Fall Home Show!



Multi-Generational Homes at the 2017 Vancouver Fall Home Show

  • By novelladmin

It’s that time of year again! The Vancouver Fall Home show is on the horizon, taking place October 26th-29th at the Vancouver Convention Centre West. The Novell Design Build team will be on hand to answer your questions about the design build process and show off our beautiful work.

This year’s show is sure to be full of great talks and guests, including our very own Director and Principal Designer, Laurel James, who will be speaking at the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association booth about multi-generational home design.

Multi-generational living is fast becoming the norm in Metro Vancouver. Families are looking to stay together and support each other, and a multi-generational home is a great solution. This way of living allows flexibility over time to change and convert spaces to fit an expanding family.

Not every home is already equipped for multi-generational living, and Novell Design Build is here to help. We offer design solutions to get your current home multi-generation ready or expand your living with a laneway home. From the initial design all the way through the build, Novell Design Build will guide you through the process, keeping in mind your wants and needs for the space not just today, but over time.

Ready to learn more about how multi-generational living could work for you? Come join Laurel and the Greater Vancouver Home Builder’s Association at the 2017 Vancouver Fall Home Show. Presentations are taking place Friday, October 27th at 1:30pm and Saturday, October 28th at 5:30pm at the GVHBA booth. Learn more about what multi-generational living really means and the design behind multi-generational homes. Also, be sure to stop by the Novell Design Build booth to get a glimpse of our latest projects and meet our amazing team!

Tickets to the show are available online, click below to get yours and save $3!

Vancouver Fall Home Show Tickets