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Welcome, new homeowners! Just purchased an Empire home and have questions about our Design Centre? You’re in the right place. Our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are tailored to provide insight into our design process and be a helpful resource.

1. Where is the Design Centre located?

The Design Centre is located at 34 Richard William Drive, Caledonia, ON, N3W 2G9.

2. When is the Design Centre open?

The Design Centre’s hours of operation are from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, by appointment.

3. When will my appointment be scheduled?

Design appointments are scheduled according to our construction schedule. Our office assistant will reach out to you with a welcome email when it’s time to begin the design process.

4. Can I visit the Design Centre prior to my appointment?

Your first time visiting the Design Centre will be at your scheduled Interior Finishes appointment with your dedicated design consultant who will guide you through the showroom and assist you with the exciting process of personalizing your new home.

5. What is the design selection process like?

Your design experience will be separated into two appointments with your dedicated design consultant; the first appointment will be a virtual for Pre-Construction selections appointment (up to 2 hours in length), and the second is an in-person Interior Finishes selections appointment at our Design Centre (up to 3 hours in length).

6. Do I need an appointment to visit the Design Centre?

Yes, you will be contacted by our office assistant to schedule your in-person Interior Finishes appointment.

7. If I have questions prior to my appointment, who can I contact?

For questions that may arise prior to your appointments, please email Decor@EmpireCommunities.com

8. Can I make structural changes to my home?

There are pre-determined structural options available for your home which are included on your floor plan and will be reviewed with you by your design consultant at your Pre-Construction appointment. Only the pre-determined structural options are available as structural changes.

9. Will pricing be available to me prior to my Design appointment?

Yes, if you would like pricing, we encourage you to reach out to your design consultant once your appointment has been scheduled.

10. Can I make changes to my selections after they’re finalized?

Once you authorize your selections, these selections are considered final; no additions or deletions to selections will be permitted.

11. How do I pay for my upgrades?

For upgrades totaling less than $5,000, we require payment in the full amount. For upgrades totaling more than $5,000, we collect a 50% deposit payment with the remaining balance amended to the purchaser price at closing. The payments are collected at the appointment(s) when the Options & Upgrades Agreement(s) is signed. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Debit or cheque. If total upgrades exceed the threshold specified for your community, you will be asked to provide a revised mortgage commitment letter from your financial institution. The total amount of all upgrades is added to the total purchase price of your home on closing, and any deposits made on upgrades will be reflected as a further deposit against the total purchaser price.

12. Can I add upgrades to my mortgage?

Yes, if your total spent on upgrades at the Design Centre exceeds $5,000 including taxes, up to 50% of your balance can be added to your mortgage.

13. Can I bring family and friends with me to my Design Centre appointment?

For both virtual Pre-Construction and in-person Interior Finishes appointments, all members on title, or a maximum of 2 people are welcome to attend. For safety reasons, children are strictly prohibited.

14. What if I want to appointment someone to make selections on my behalf?

We provide the option for you to authorize someone who is not listed on title to complete selections and sign all design documents on your behalf. At your request, we will provide you with a Designate Form that must be signed by you and your designate before the date of the appointment.

15. What upgrade options do I need to consider before my Pre-Construction appointment?

For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of the most sought-after Pre-Construction options. This wish list will be sent to you prior to your Pre-Construction appointment. Upgrade options to consider before your Pre-Construction appointment include:

    • Basement Options: larger windows, 3-piece rough-in, cold cellar, etc. Please note: some options are only applicable as per plan.
    • HVAC: air conditioning, humidifier, gas lines, fireplace, etc. Please note: some options are only applicable as per plan.
    • Electrical: interior & exterior pot lights, dimmer switches, 200-Amp service, extra phone & cable outlets, additional lighting, etc.
    • Plumbing & Bathrooms: waterlines, tankless water heater, double sink vanity, upgraded Moen faucets & shower systems, shower niche, glass showers.

16. What upgrade options do I need to consider before my Interior Finishes appointment?

For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of the most sought-after Interior Finishes options. This wish list will also be sent to you prior to your Interior Finishes appointment. Upgrade options to consider before your Interior Finishes appointment include:

    • Cabinetry styles and materials, cabinetry storage solutions, countertops, backsplashes, stair railings & spindles, casing & baseboards, interior door styles, door hardware, hardwood & carpet, floor & wall tiles.

17. Can I request a hardwood, tile or other product upgrade that is not in the Design Centre?

We do not provide the option to source materials outside of our offerings, but you can rest assured that our team works tirelessly to source brands, styles and colours of finishes to include in our Design Centre that provide exceptional quality and value.

18. What happens if the materials I chose at my design appointment are discontinued?

If a material you have selected becomes unavailable, we will provide a substitute material that is of equal or greater value. If a material re-selection is required, a member of our design team will contact you to make your substitute selection.

19. As an investor, are there certain things I should include in my new home?

To extend the life of your investment, it’s recommended that you upgrade frequently-used surfaces to highly-durable materials that are less susceptible to wear and tear. Examples of some of those materials are:

    • Porcelain tiles which stand up to heavy use and are less likely to crack or chip compared to ceramic tiles.
    • Hardwood in the upper hall as it’s a high-traffic area which can show wear on carpet quickly.
    • A tiled backsplash to finish off the kitchen design, and protect walls from moisture and stains.
    • Solid surface counters in the kitchen and bathrooms to protect the counter area from standing water and stains.


In a competitive rental market, it is also recommended to choose high-quality options that will make your property stand out, allowing it to appeal to discerning tenants who seek a high-quality property that they will more likely care for like it’s their own.

20. How do I know what’s included in my new home?

Included in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a document called the “Schedule B” which details all the included features and finishes of your new home.

21. How do I prioritize and prepare a budget for my new home purchase?

Preparing a budget for your new home purchases starts with deciding which upgrades and extras are must-haves for your new home. Check out these helpful resources to help you make your list:

22. Do you have model homes available for me to view? If so, where are they located?

Yes, we currently have model homes open in the following locations:

23. What happens if I miss my Pre-Construction and Interior Finishes appointment?

We require 48-hour written notice to reschedule appointments, or a $250 (+HST) missed appointment fee will be applied.


On the hunt for other helpful resources? Click here to learn more.


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Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


Nicole and Karla

New Home Specialists


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