All posts by Regina Gadacz

New design show: Farmhouse Facelift

New design show: Farmhouse Facelift

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New design show: Farmhouse Facelift

Photos: Robin Stubbert and Blynda DaCosta

Siblings Billy and Carolyn are a professional renovation team that reclaims and restores farmhouses. Watch their new show, Farmhouse Facelift, on HGTV Canada beginning March 3 at 10 p.m. Reno+Decor recently caught up with the renovating duo to discuss five ways to capture the farmhouse look at home.

Antiques

Create a unique focal point or add a hint of timeless beauty by incorporating antique, vintage or upcycled pieces that speak to you. Family heirlooms are another great way to incorporate this heritage feel. Anything from an antique commercial sign used as wall art or a vintage mid-century radio placed in the living room can add that unique touch to your space.

Open shelving

A popular farmhouse characteristic and an easy way to infuse loads of personality into your home, open shelving can make your space feel bigger and airier, and allows you to get creative by displaying a mix of dishes and curated pieces and our favourite – vintage artwork.

Reclaimed wood

There are endless possibilities when it comes to incorporating the warm, rustic texture of reclaimed wood. From barn doors to wood flooring and ceiling beams, each piece tells a story and connects us to the past. Not only does reclaimed wood add character, it can also provide functionality. For example, a barn door is a great way to add separation in a small space without sacrificing floor space for a swinging, hinged door.

Door hardware

Instantly add farmhouse charm and nostalgia by trading in the standard tubular locksets for a timeless vintage replica, such as a skeleton key lockset fitted for a modern-day handle. There’s something almost romantic about a skeleton key lock that evokes memories of simpler times.

White walls

One of the simplest ways to add that country chic feel is by painting the walls white. It’s the perfect bright, clean foundation to begin layering in organic textiles like jute, wool and linen for a more relaxed, laid-back vibe. Incorporate vintage quilts and fabrics for an instant “collected over time” look.

Tune in to Farmhouse Facelift Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV Canada, beginning March 3, 2021.

Follow the duo on social media:

IG: @carolynwilbrink / @billypearsonbuilds

Twitter: @sibswhodesign

Facebook: @SibsWhoDesign

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Home Finds - Is 2021 your year to get organized?

Is 2021 your year to get organized?

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Is 2021 your year to get organized?

Is 2021 your year to get organized? It can be overwhelming to think about whole home organization. So, take it one room at a time. Since many of us are working from home these days, why not start with your office space? Create an environment that is streamlined and inspiring to work in every day.

Gold wall STORAGE UNIT $39. | Blue WALL CLOCK $29. Grey wash WOOD DESK with built-in outlets. $299. | GOLD FRAMED LETTERBOARD $24. | Grey tufted OTTOMAN $99. | RATTAN STORAGE BASKET $29.99. Velvet office chair. $99. | Grey DESK LAMP. $39. | FRAMED ART PRINT $149. homesense.ca

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WFH

Even if you don’t have a dedicated room to work in, you can still have a functioning space that gets the job done.

1. Pratt READING/DESK LAMP in brass by Globe Electric. $129. bedbathandbeyond.ca | 2. Cubist multi-shelf WALL DISPLAY by Umbra. $119. amazon.ca | 3. Fantol DESK in oak. $1,099. article.com | 4. Nordmarke WIRELESS CHARGER. $19. ikea.ca | 5. WEEKLY PLANNER cali coast. $16. indigo.ca | 6. Meow & you MUG. $14. indigo.ca | 7. Soundlink around-ear WIRELESS HEADPHONES II in white by Bose. $269. bose.ca | 8. Felson TASK CHAIR by Langley Street in flat white. $314. wayfair.ca | 9. ACRYLIC CASE with three large rows. $39. muji.ca

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Book worm

Need a little inspiration to meet the organization goals you set for 2021? Here are five books to spark the expert organizer in you!

1. BEAUTIFULLY ORGANIZED: A Guide To Function And Style In Your Home by Nikki Boyd. $23. amazon.ca | 2. THE DECLUTTER CHALLENGE: A Guided Journal For Getting Your Home Organized In 30 Quick Steps by Cassandra Aarssen. $20. amazon.ca | 3. THE HOME EDIT LIFE: The No-Guilt Guide To Owning What You Want And Organizing Everything by Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. $38. indigo.ca | 4. JOY AT WORK: Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein. $30. indigo.ca | 5. ORGANIZING: The Manual For Bringing Order To Your Life, Home & Routines by Martha Stewart. $35. amazon.ca

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Bird watching

Bird motifs are trending this season

1. Flight block print BIRD PILLOW with down-alternative insert. $65. cb2.ca | 2. Miles MARBLE BOWL. $52. cb2.ca | 3. Metal BIRD PLANTER. $44. crateandbarrel.ca | 4. Pjatteryd GOLDEN BIRD PICTURE. $19. ikea.ca | 5. Red BIRD SCULPTURES with metal feet. $29 for set of two. structube.com | 6. Ibis TABLE LAMP. $945. elte.com

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Nifty storage

Keep your clothes and bed linens secretly stored in the drawers of this bed. Danielle queen channel headboard with upholstered storage base in Van Gogh fog. $3,098. crateandbarrel.ca

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Fresh air

Breathe clean air indoors with one of these air purifiers. When buying an air purifier, look for one that contains a HEPA filter – these filters are effective at removing ultra-fine particles such as dust and dander.

1. PURE HUMIDITY + COOL PURIFIER. $999. dysoncanada.ca | 2. AIR – AIR PURIFIER. $1,199. molekule.com | 3. INTENSE PURE AIR AUTO PURIFIER with HEPA filtration by Rowenta. $459. bedbathandbeyond.ca

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Listen up!

Do you want to do your part for the environment while listening to your favourite music? Sounds good, right? The Nest Audio is covered in sustainable fabric and is made from 70 per cent recycled plastic.

NEST AUDIO. $130. store.google.ca

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Create a gallery wall

Have you ever wanted to create a gallery wall but don’t know where to start? It can take a lot of time to choose the right images and organize the layout just right. Desenio has a great line of gallery wall posters in a variety of colours, decor styles and finishes to suit your distinct style. Just select the gallery wall that you love, and voila the images are already organized for you according to size and style. desenio.com

Living Room: Monochromatic dreams gallery wall
Living Room: Monochromatic dreams gallery wall

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Stylish storage solutions

Keep a multitude of items (kid’s toys, shoes, magazines, mail, skincare) organized with these options.

1. BAMBOO STORAGE BASKET. $34. homesense.ca | 2. Fjallbo SHELF UNIT in black. $69. ikea.ca | 3. Marie Kondo CERAMIC BULK CANISTERs in cloud white. $25-$34. containerstore.com | 4. Mod SMALL LOCKER. $749. cb2.ca | 5. Large WIRE BASKET in gold. $59. hm.com | 6. Hardage MAGAZINE RACK by Mercury Row. $393. wayfair.ca

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Japandi style

A marriage of simple Japanese aesthetic and modern Scandinavian design, the Japandi style brings together the best of these two design worlds. The look is minimal, functional and inviting. Think neutral colour schemes and non-fussy decor. This style started gaining popularity in 2020, and Pinterest (and its 400 million users) predicts this design trend will be big this year, as well. We couldn’t agree more! Here are some of our favourite items to achieve that Japandi look at home.

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Face time

Line-drawn portrait decor items are the perfect touch of whimsy for any space.

1. Line drawn PILLOW COVER face by Oui. $34. indigo.ca | 2. Faces multicolour ART PRINT. $15. indigo.ca | 3. PLANT POT with graphic design in beige. $19. hm.com | 4. Ceramic SCULPTURE. $34. hm.com


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What you should do after moving into your new home

What you should do after moving into your new home

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What you should do after moving into your new home

So, you have found and bought your dream house. Now, it is time to move in and make this new residence your home. Before you do, there are a few things that you should handle first. Get these out of the way and you will be able to focus on setting up your home according to your personal taste and style. Here are the top things that you will need to get out of the way after moving into your new home:

Walk through the house

Before you set a date with the moving trucks, make sure to do one last walkthrough of your soon-to-be home. Be deliberate and check the outside and inside thoroughly. One benefit of doing this is that you get to discover where the fuse box, water valves, and other important elements are.

At the same time, a walkthrough will help you identify any repairs that need to be made or if there is a pest infestation. If any furniture has been left behind, there is a good chance you may have to remove bed bugs from your home. This is something you’re going to want to take care before you move in.

Deep clean the premises

It can be tricky to thoroughly clean your home once all your furniture and other belongings have been moved in. So, take this opportunity to thoroughly clean your new home from top to bottom. This includes the outside, floors, walls, ceilings, pantry cupboards and more.

If you have discovered any bugs or pest issues, a heat treatment may be in order. Or, you may want pest control to take a look. Either way, do this well before you plan to move in. Then, you can be certain that you are moving into a clean and safe place.

Handle important repairs

There is a good chance you may have to make at least one or two repairs in the house. It could also be that you simply want to change up certain elements of the place. Either way, now is the time to handle this.

Now, there is no need to tackle all the repairs right away. Instead, make a note of the ones that are most important or time-sensitive, and deal with these first. Once these are addressed, you can take your time with the other issues.

Change the locks and set up security

It is important to remember that you have no way of knowing just how many other people have keys to your new home. Therefore, one of the first things you need to do is to change the locks immediately. This way, you can feel a great deal safer.

On a similar note, now is a good time to also set up your security system as well. You can then arm it the moment that you move in. This will provide you with peace of mind from the very start.

These are all the things that you should do when moving into your new home. This can make the entire transition a great deal easier for you and your family.

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Store in style

Top ten coffee tables with storage

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Top ten coffee tables with storage

Choose a coffee table with storage to keep your space looking spick and span.

MID-CENTURY ART DISPLAY round coffee table in walnut. $674.

westelm.ca

MODERN coffee table with storage and magazine holder in white faux marble/gold. $179.

walmart.ca

MIKA coffee table in brown with ceramic top. $329.

structube.com

LEONA coffee table. $1,613.

potterybarn.ca

VECTOR coffee table in in walnut. $189.

structube.com

MID-CENTURY STORAGE coffee table in pebble. $749.

westelm.ca

VITRI coffee table in walnut. $459.

article.com

WINSLET wood and marble coffee table. $1,049.

crateandbarrel.ca

VITTSJO nesting tables in black-brown/glass. $79. for set of two.

ikea.ca

Carlton modern SCANDINAVIAN SIDE STORAGE coffee table in white lacquer. $900.

homedepot.ca


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Small but mighty

5 steps to make your small bathroom look bigger

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5 steps to make your small bathroom look bigger

Photos: Bre King Photography

Vanity

Faucet by Pfister. Vanity by Foremost. The Home Depot. thehomedepot.ca
Faucet by Pfister. Vanity by Foremost. The Home Depot. thehomedepot.ca

With any space, I always choose the biggest piece of furniture first – even in a small area. In a bathroom, that would be the vanity. Always remember to measure to allow for the biggest vanity possible because of, well… storage. That’s my main priority, anyways.

Faucets & hardware

Up next, it’s time to choose your faucets and hardware. This can be a daunting task, but think about how these items will work with your overall aesthetic. When in doubt, select a classic design. Once you decide on the faucet and the configuration, you’ll need to decide on the finish. I like to choose a finish that has spot defence. This prevents fingerprints and watermarks – woohoo! So, for a bathroom that’s going to get a ton of use, it’s a wise choice.

Tile

When it comes to tile, you’ll want to work with the tones of your vanity. My biggest tip for choosing tile for a small space is to keep it consistent. When you use the same tile on the floor and in the entire room, it makes the space look bigger. Another tip is to use a lighter colour on the floor, so it draws your eye upwards. This can also give the illusion of a larger space. I ended up going with a large, warm grey tile. I needed something that would be easy to clean, as I know this bathroom will get a lot of traffic. Bigger tiles and less grout was the way to go.

Lighting

Time to choose your bathroom lighting. First, start by deciding which type of light will work best in your space. Don’t feel like you need to choose small light fixtures for a small room. This can actually enhance how petite your area looks and feels. Instead, select options that allow the most light into the space and help to enhance the overall design. My rule of thumb for finishes is to stick with two in a bathroom. When you start to add more than that, it can make things look busy and cluttered.

Wall treatments & accessories

The last thing you’ll want to decide on is the accessories and wall treatments for your space. Wallpaper always adds so much character and can be so cost effective in small spaces. I love using baskets as garbage cans or just as decoration. A really simple trick is to fill one with toilet paper rolls – practical, pretty and a little extra storage, too.

Jaclyn Harper is a TV host, interior stylist and new mom living in Burlington, Ont. When Jaclyn’s not on TV or creating beautiful designs you’ll find her latest projects on her blog: jaclynharperdesigns.com. From DIYs, design projects to life as a new mom her lifestyle blog and Youtube channel give her fans a peek into her family life.


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Quaint quarters

5 ways to make your pint-sized pad feel more spacious

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5 ways to make your pint-sized pad feel more spacious

Photos: Larry Arnal

Tiles

Add some spice with a patterned tile, maybe a mini-mosaic or even bold geometric design. Play with the application, why not bring them from the floor to the wall to create a full-on moment. Make sure you grab samples so you can try out some interesting patterns and configurations. Make it unique. A smaller space requires less product, so even if you’re designing something one of a kind, it likely won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper is amazing with a capital A when it comes to creating a wham, bam, pop or pow in your small space. Our design firm believes you can never go wrong with a bold floral wallpaper. There are thousands out there to choose from. Try to think of some of the things you like the most, such as colour, style, pattern, material or texture, before you start to look for your perfect wall covering. You don’t want to get sucked down the wallpaper rabbit hole. Trust us when we say you will blink and it will be four hours later, you won’t know where you are, what your name is, or what you’re having for dinner. Consider this a friendly warning!

Paint

Splash that colour! If you have a pint-sized space, why not use it as an opportunity to splash a beautiful colour that makes your heart happy. We love to incorporate pops of colour on cabinetry, walls and even ceilings. Paint is the quickest and most cost-effective way to transform any space. Don’t be afraid of dark colours in small spaces – they can make a teeny-tiny space look even bigger, as long as there is contrast.

Wall decor

Don’t forget the earrings, and by earrings, we mean wall decor. Think of it like this: You aren’t going to get all dressed up but not put on earrings. They’re a must! Wall decor is important; however, in a small space, you have to be mindful of the scale of the piece you are putting up. Try using large white matting and a thin metal frame to keep your art piece simple, updated and stylish.

Lighting

This may seem like an obvious tip, but sometimes it’s overlooked. Make sure you are choosing lighting that will appropriately illuminate your space. Try to allow multi-layered lighting; we find that in smaller spaces, there are sometimes more shadow spots. Focus on how your room functions for you; keep in mind task, ambient and decorative lighting can all be used to create an amazing lighting scheme.

Don’t be afraid to take a few risks in a small space. More than likely you will be rewarded with a special little spot that packs a punch! Make it beautiful and make it yours.

*****

SOURCE: CONTRACTING AND MILLWORK by Hartley Built. Hartleybuilt.com | PAINT: FIRST LIGHT (pink), CHANTILLY lace (white), VINTAGE VOGUE (darker green), Hollingworth GREEN (light green) by Benjamin Moore. benjaminmoore.ca | FURNITURE by Article. article.com | DRAPERY AND ROMAN BLINDS, custom design | FAUCETS by Delta. delta.ca | LIGHTING by Kuzco. kuzcolighting.com | LIGHTING by Matteo. lightingcanada.com

Award-winning Designer Michelle Berwick is the Principal & Creative Founder of Michelle Berwick Design. This notable GTA firm has become sought after for providing livable, stylish and uniquely personal interiors.


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The truth about living through a major reno

The truth about living through a major reno

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The truth about living through a major reno

If the heart of the home is the kitchen, then disrupting it can only lead to chaos, right? Yes and no (but mostly yes). When moving into our new house last April, we decided right away to tackle the kitchen first, but we also put in new hardwood floors, new entryway tiles and new exterior doors – all in six months! Maybe you’re considering a big renovation and want to know what it’s like to live through it. It’s definitely doable, but there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Expect delays

COVID-19 has created some real issues around supply chain, specifically with raw materials and overall demand for goods. This means manufacturers, suppliers and retailers aren’t able to get items in as fast as they normally would, creating a frustrating trickle-down effect. This could mean not being able to find a simple part at the hardware store, or having to wait an extra month to get an appliance delivered.

I can’t count the number of delays we’ve had (due to things out of our control), and it’s probably been the most frustrating part of the entire process. Eight weeks into our kitchen reno and we were a little behind schedule. The latest being not enough backsplash tile, so depending on what our contractor can find, we may have to wait longer as more gets ordered in. Delays are an inevitable part of any reno process, especially now.

Be patient and persistent

The second part to that first challenge is – if you plan to live through your renovation, you need to be patient. It can be frustrating to be at home and have to listen to hammering all day or be told the lighting fixture you wanted is on back-order. Remind yourself it’s all part of the process.

You also might need to be persistent when it comes to dealing with various trades or contractors. Ask questions. Keep clarifying details. Don’t settle with something if you’re not happy. At the end of the day, it’s your home and your money, so it needs to be done right.

Plan to order in more meals

In preparing for the kitchen reno, I had heard you should budget for eating out the entire duration, which would obviously get very costly and something we didn’t want to do. Instead, we were able to keep our old appliances, set up a temporary kitchen in our living room, and used a sink in the basement to clean dishes. By week three, we were over carrying a bucket of dirty dishes downstairs into our dark and unorganized, cellar basement.

Since the takeout options in our area are limited, we tried to keep up with our home cooked meals, keeping them as simple as possible. Originally, we planned to freeze meals ahead of time, but that didn’t happen. Cooking fatigue definitely set in (partially thanks to quarantine life), so we ended up ordering in once or twice a week. Personally, I think if you have the space, a temp kitchen isn’t a bad idea. You’ll thank yourself, especially if your reno goes longer than planned.

Keep the lines of communication open

The amount of people you need to communicate with for a reno is extensive. So far, we’ve worked with an interior designer, flooring company and installers, a contractor, plumber, electrician, cabinet designers and carpenters, a window and door carpenter… the list goes on. Even with a contractor helping to manage our kitchen, there were times we needed to connect directly with a trade to clarify details or add another task. There are so many small decisions and questions that come up with every project, so being in close touch with everyone means you know exactly what’s going on and can make sure nothing is missed.

Your stuff is going to be in the way

The one good thing about upsizing when you want to reno, is there’s less stuff you have to move out of the way. We put a lot of our furniture into our garage and we didn’t unpack all of the kitchen, keeping only the essentials, knowing we’d have to repack them for the demo. I also ended up selling a bunch of items that I didn’t love or have the need for anymore. If we had more things, I think we definitely would have had to get a storage pod. My only tip: Resist the temptation to buy too many new, large decor or furniture pieces early on.

Moving out might be the only option

There were a few months where we had no daycare for our toddler, my husband and I were both working from home and we had renos happening. It was extremely chaotic. During the hardwood floor installation, I ended up spending a week at my mom’s house in Ottawa because it was going to be too disruptive for my daughter’s sleep schedule and we didn’t want to keep her upstairs all day while the work went on downstairs. Based on how loud and dusty it ended up being, it was a smart move.

We also had to spend a night in a hotel when our entryway tiles were installed, since they needed a full 12 hours to set and are literally in front of our staircase to go upstairs – and the location of our bedrooms and both washrooms (the washroom really being the critical room we needed access to!). Depending on what type of renos you’re doing, moving out may be the only option, so it’s something you need to consider during your planning stage.

Celebrate every step of the way

There have been many times during the process where I feel… “I want this renovation over,” or “Ugh, this and that still needs to be done.” Then I remember how many things we’ve already completed and improved.

When you’re living through a renovation, you’re living through the parts they fast-forward on TV – the days when nothing gets completed or the un-sexy stuff that gets you to the Pinterest inspo pic. On the days I get frustrated, I focus on what has been done and remind myself that it will all be worth the wait once the project is completed.

A writer and editor for more than a decade, Stephanie Gray has covered everything from luxury travel to modern parenting challenges.

Her work has been featured in publications including Glamour, Elle Canada and Best Health.

She recently bought a century-old home north of Toronto, in need of updates, which she’s taking on with her husband (and toddler in tow).


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Bathroom pitfalls ... and how to avoid them

Bathroom pitfalls … and how to avoid them

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Bathroom pitfalls … and how to avoid them

If kitchens are the hub of the home, then bathrooms must be the inflated tires around them. They provide a smooth and comfortable ride until something goes wrong – such as worn treads or a bulging sidewall – and they fail to function as designed. Designers and manufacturers of bathroom products have continually been changing trends to keep us chasing that fresh, spa-like bathroom experience. Society ditched the public baths the Roman’s famously built out of fear of spreading disease long ago. While those oversized public baths may seem like a distant mistake of the past – especially amid our modern-day pandemic, there are other design pitfalls to avoid during your own bathroom renovation!

Here’s a quick cheat sheet …

  • Custom shower pans – we recommend custom fibreglass over the rubber membrane with a dry-pack method to avoid leaks below the shower. If you go with the conventional, do the dry-pack before the drywall work to avoid risk to tears which result in leaks.
  • Check fixture flowrates – and total them relative to your hot water tank or tankless hot water heater/boiler. Some tub fillers have rates of nine gallons per minute, which can knock out a combination boiler or steal an entire tank of hot water in seconds, leaving the rest of the house on ice!
  • Insulate the floor and wall under the tub – to avoid losing the heat from your bathwater in a hurry! Tubs are installed before the drywall, and sometimes these cavities are forgotten, until the first dip in the bath!
  • Add a floor drain beside the toilet. Toilets back up – virtually every toilet has a failure at some point in their lifespan, and this drain can save a lot of mess and associated costs in an overflow or a seal failure.
  • Membrane the walls – green board, fibreglass board and cement board are not perfectly waterproof. Add a membrane, glue on, paint on, no matter the type; it will help ensure you avoid the long-term effects of water creeping behind the tile or slabs on the walls.
  • Cover your fixtures during the work stage – especially the shower floor and the tub. Tools fall, materials grind and finishes are delicate and often expensive. Preserve the new stuff until the job is complete with liquid membranes, insulation and hard surface coverings, so you don’t prematurely dull the shine or marry the finish.
  • Not all mixing valves are created equal – Splurge for a shower valve with controllable temperatures inside the valve, especially if you have a tankless water heater or combination-boiler. Otherwise, you might be left with a lukewarm rinse until you decide to renovate again.
  • Recirculatation lines to the vanity faucet and shower and tub fixtures – will ensure you are not running water long to obtain the hot water you are after – especially for on-demand tankless and boiler systems. Saves wasting time and water – a win-win! Insulate those lines to avoid wasting energy for the winning hat trick.
  • Pick and then plumb – true of all fixtures, but especially for showers, toilets and vanities, as wall-hung units can create different plumbing rough-ins and avoid costly re-run at finish installation time.
  • Potlights – best kept for inside the shower or water closet only, not at the vanity as they create long and dark facial shadows that can make you look old and tired at any time of day. No thanks!

If you want to design, build or renovate your perfect bathroom, remember these pitfalls, and know there is real value in working with a professional to design and create the space. Visit renomark.ca, the home of the professional renovator, to start your search when looking to start your project!

Brendan Charters is a Founding Partner at Toronto design-build firm Eurodale Developments Inc., the 2020 BILD Renovator of the Year.

@eurodalehomes

416.782.5690


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Don't stop thinking about tomorrow

Sustainable living ideas

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Sustainable living ideas

Home isn’t just where the heart is, it’s the centre of our world and increasingly the place we need to be to stay healthy. But, we need to live in healthy homes to do so. Aside from bubble wrapping the entire house, there are easier ways to create a healthy, sustainable environment beautifully.

Nassa BASKET PENDANT LIGHT. $449. cb2.ca
Nassa BASKET PENDANT LIGHT. $449. cb2.ca

One day we may all live in an ultra-low energy use home such as the Passive House, but for now, we can all put into practice what we know will lead to a more sustainable future. So, how do we get started when it comes to our home? It’s more than what you see.

You probably notice the style, layout and colour in a beautiful room, but what you may not see matters, too. High-quality construction and durability of the furnishing are just important interior design decisions. The economics of purchasing better quality for longevity and sustainability is a step toward a healthy home. Think about it, a poorly designed kitchen layout with outdated appliances uses more energy (both environmental and mental) than a well-functioning space.

Photo: by Gillian Jackson
Photo: by Gillian Jackson

It’s better to invest in one well-made sofa than purchasing (and disposing of) several poorly made ones over time. Well-designed, quality furnishings endure. Investing in Canadian-made furniture is the smart choice economically and ecologically. You may pay more upfront, but your investment will last. Shopping locally also reduces the carbon footprint and strain on the environment from importing goods from outside the country.

Many home product designers are following the guidelines of cradle to cradle design. It involves planning the entire life cycle of a product, like the cycle of nature. At the end of the life of a product, it can be recycled and returned to the earth biologically or re-utilized into new products technically. Products such as cradle to cradle countertops and carpet tiles are available on the market today.

Aim Sectional with chaise. $5,133. kavuus.com
Aim Sectional with chaise. $5,133. kavuus.com

When a designer comes to your home, they are taking in the whole picture, your entire residence and how you use it. A house is a system with lots of moving parts. Each part is interdependent on the other to work. For instance, the building frame and components such as the walls, furnace and windows, are the body. The inputs (energy, water and furniture) and outputs (waste, sewage, heat and gases) are all connected, activities inside the system like heating, cooking, eating, and sleeping affect the inputs and outputs. So, for example, if your home isn’t well-insulated, you’re losing the energy used to heat or cool it. Remember the dysfunctional kitchen? It wastes energy, too.

If your home isn’t new, there are some easy choices to make when upgrading or repairing energy wasters. Choose high-efficiency Energy Star appliances, fix leaks in pipes, draftproof windows and install low-flow fixtures in the shower and taps. Turn off lights when you leave a room (if it’s empty) and switch to warm LED lights. Use more natural fibres such as down, wool and cotton. Compost! Don’t rinse and repeat all the time.

The goal of good sustainable design goes beyond style, layout and colour. It’s also to save energy, use water efficiently, reduce carbon emissions and reduce waste in the landfill while protecting natural resources. As the song goes, don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. The key to a sustainable, beautiful and healthy home is making good choices for the future.

Designer, spokesperson, author and television personality, Jane Lockhart is one of Canada’s best-known experts in the world of design and colour.

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5 tips for selling during COVID-19

5 tips for selling during COVID-19

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5 tips for selling during COVID-19

1. De-clutter and neutralize

Regardless of market conditions, preparing your home for sale is critical to attracting the right buyer and a good offer. The simple and economical act of de-cluttering your home will make it look larger, brighter and cleaner – a key consideration for many homebuyers, especially in current times. Pack up seasonal and unused items, and ditch anything that’s broken, unused or unwanted. Put away personal belongings such as family photos and mementoes, which can subconsciously make prospective buyers feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in your home. Neutralize the space to help strangers feel “at home.”

2. Repair and renovate

Be subjective when updating your home prior to listing. Leave your personal preferences at the door, and opt for updates and renovations that neutralize the home and increase its appeal to the widest pool of buyers. Keep an eye on current listings in your neighbourhood, to gain valuable insight that could inform your own selling strategy. Luckily, under these current sellers’ market conditions, you shouldn’t have to do too much to attract buyers. Something as simple as a fresh coat of paint could be all that’s required to get your home ready for the next step – staging.

3. Stage the home

Selling your home in a sellers’ market is a no-brainer, but getting the highest possible price is another story. Staged homes have been shown to yield much higher offers. We include staging for this very reason in our listing package. You can do it yourself, but all things considered, it is smarter to get a professional who knows what sells. This will have a huge impact on your bottom line. Even in this sellers’ market, ensure your listing stands out from the rest for all the right reasons.

4. Digital marketing

Selling anything these days means having an online presence – and like with many other types of purchases, homebuyers often start shopping online. Smart listing agents are staging and marketing homes for a digital audience. The pandemic has kicked this emerging trend into high gear. With temporary lockdowns and social distancing measures in place for the foreseeable future, many buyers are now making the decision to buy a home without ever viewing it in person. Your real estate agent will be able to recommend a reputable photographer and videographer to ensure your digital photos and social media home tours are up to par.

5. The price is right

The current sellers’ market means you, as the seller, have the upper hand in a transaction. But even under these prime selling conditions, working with a professional realtor can pay off. Remember, your objective is not just to sell the home, but to sell it for the highest possible price.

Have you wondered how bidding wars happen? A seller will usually list the home below market value, and let buyers’ naturally competitive approach drive up the price. Once your property is listed, generate some buzz online by marketing it heavily on social media. Much like a seller might do under normal circumstances, don’t accept offers until the day of choice, which should provide just enough time for potential buyers to fall in love and get a little nervous about the prospect of losing out.

Even in this sellers’ market, putting your home on MLS and praying for offers isn’t going to cut it. Your home is a huge investment and sold under the right conditions and for the right price can be a big financial win, enabling you to buy your “forever home,” reinvest the proceeds in the market, or take early retirement. Speak with your realtor about the best ways to reach your target buyer and your target price, regardless of market conditions.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real estate professional in the GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service support for all new and existing homeowners.


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