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Choosing the right coffee table

Choosing the right coffee table

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Choosing the right coffee table

Choosing the right coffee table for your space seems simple enough: You walk into your favourite shop, select a piece you love, go home and voila! But wait a few hours, reflect a little more, and you may realize that you made the wrong choice. Like choosing the right couch, finding the right coffee table involves some bigger considerations. Size, height and width all matter, as does scale and proportion. Does it have to be kid-friendly or storage-friendly? Does it fit your lifestyle or your room?

Consider size first

Is there anything more awkward than an ill-fitting coffee table? One that’s too high or far too low? The general rule is that you should find a coffee table that is ideally standing at the same height as the cushions, or one to two inches lower. If you go too far on either side of that equation, it will just look off and throw the whole space into question.

Don’t forget proportion

Similarly, look for a coffee table that has the right length in relation to the width of your couch. In specific terms, this means your coffee table should be two-thirds the length of your couch. So, for a 96-in. couch, look for a coffee table that is 64 in. long. Also, think about distance, too: From the edge of your couch to the edge of the table should be 18 in. Why? You want it to be close enough to reach for your drink or put your book down, but far enough that you can stretch out your legs.

Balance your style

Find harmony between your couch style and your coffee table style. If you have a substantial couch in a solid block of colour, try pairing it with a lighter version of a coffee table that’s glass with a chrome frame. If your couch is more streamlined and smaller in frame, opt for a coffee table that has more weight to it, whether that’s a wooden piece or an entirely solid base.

Functionality

Do you have pets or children? It might be best to opt for a coffee table that has an oval shape – no hard edges mean no possible injuries. Consider what the primary use of the table will be: Is it purely decorative, for storage, or for entertaining purposes? All of that comes into play. Some tables come with shelves or drawers, others with materials that may stain if a wet drink or food is placed on it. Pick a piece that works with your lifestyle.

Materials

There is a plethora of different materials to choose from, from woods to metal, marble and Lucite. Again, this depends on your overall room (and house) style. You want the coffee table to meld harmoniously with all of your other furnishings and not stand out like a sore thumb. Whether you favour contemporary or vintage, take a quick snap of your space to bring with you on your buying excursion. It will really help store clerks find the appropriate style for you, and you can also remind yourself of exactly how your space looks while out shopping.

Consider multiple mini-tables

Maybe a bit controversial for some, but sometimes a set of mini-tables works better in a space than one larger coffee table. This is especially true of smaller spaces because it offers a level of flexibility in terms of how you use the tables, and where you put them.

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design on CityTV’s Cityline.

Follow Lisa’s blog at craftedbylisa.ca.


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Deck decor - Make your outdoor space a distination oasis

How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

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How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

We Canadians love our backyards, and no wonder. We have been spending so much time at home with COVID-19 that we love to spend more time outside. And stay out there – listening to the birds, the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, connecting with friends and family, even at a distance.

As the pace of life quickens and our homes shrink in size, the outdoors is literally the last frontier – and the reason why we’re spending so much more on making the backyard, or deck or balcony a destination oasis.

Out with the white plastic chairs and plexiglass tables, in with the fire pits and heaters giving us a much longer outdoor season, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and strings of lights. Outdoor furniture manufacturers have been eager to meet our need to linger outside with a wider range of furniture, with longer lasting frames, fabrics that retain their shape and water resistance, and cushion foam that stays comfortable.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) Plan out your space according to how you intend to use the deck. If you are a big reader or sun worshipper, but don’t like eating al fresco, set up your space with more living room type furnishings, and tuck a small dining table off to the side and out of the way.

2) Check materials carefully. There’s teak, treated pine, metal mixed with wood, solid aluminum, stainless and wrought iron. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest, and are probably the most expensive. Teak you need to baby a bit, while aluminum just wipes clean.

3) Consider modular furniture – pieces that fit together as a sectional or stand alone as chairs – for flexibility. You can change the seating arrangement to suit the occasion or your mood.

4) Decks aren’t just for daytime. Small white lights are magical when strung from house to tree. Add candles around the edges of your deck or patio – flameless ones are safer. An ethanol fire pit not only creates mood, but keeps feet warm and can easily be moved around.

5) Music really adds to the ambience – not so loud that your guests can’t hear each other or the neighbours complain, but as background.

6) As for styles, the sky’s the limit, and they can reflect your dream destinations, or they can reflect the decor of your home. Fancy a week in the Hamptons? Check out sectionals in whitewashed and weathered greys – made from resin wicker – with East Coast fabrics such as navy and white stripes (in water repellant fabrics). Prefer life in a Park Avenue brownstone? Then wrought iron with deep charcoal cushions set amidst a row of boxwoods might be better for you.

7) Don’t forget the floor – wood flooring tiles are easy to install, and create an immediate room setting, especially with the concrete of a condo balcony. Add an outdoor rug to pull it all together.

8) There’s nothing like dining al fresco, and if you’re the type who likes tons of people over, an expandable table might be the best choice. Classic wrought iron tables look great and last forever but are pricey. There’s always teak, but it’s pricey, too, so check out budget-friendly teak alternatives that work equally well. If your deck is on the small side, go for stackable dining chairs.

9) Stow outdoor dining essentials – bright coloured table mats and napkins, covered lanterns or candle holders – near the back door or in a waterproof storage bench. Make sure to keep throws handy to ward off the evening chill.

10) An umbrella will shade the table from the sun and rain; one with a tilt arm that can be adjusted to follow the sun all day. The new pergolas do the same and more, especially when fitted with a retractable canopy system or screen to protect against bugs.

11) For privacy, especially on a condo balcony, you can create a privacy wall by positioning a row of evergreens in matching containers along the edges of your deck. Erect lattice or bamboo screening, then add wall mounted planters and a water feature for an instant retreat.

12) Depending on the space you have, hammocks are well worthwhile for the downtime they afford – snoozing or watching the stars. Add colourful pillows and a sea of planters for a cosy destination.

13) Containers are the way to go for gardening. They come in all shapes and sizes and materials (remember that resin is lighter and therefore easier to move). Depending on the direction they face, condo balconies are ideal for herbs and tomatoes, but they need a lot of water, so make sure you have proper drainage. Tropical plants love sun and add a festive air to your deck – you can also bring them in come fall. If you have less direct sunlight, fill tall tapered containers with ornamental grasses for a clean, modern and minimalist look.

14) Just like inside, the deck is made livelier with the addition of some artwork, such as wrought iron grills, architectural salvage, window frames (with or without mirrored glass).

In the end, if you choose any of these tips, who needs a cottage?

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline, a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health, wellness and design.


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Little touches that make a huge difference

Little touches that make a huge difference

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Little touches that make a huge difference

Decorating a small space isn’t actually that different than decorating a large one: It just requires a bit of ingenuity and understanding what works in the space and what doesn’t. While your focus will be different when you’re working with less square footage, the basic rules of design are very much the same.

I’ve taken this challenge to task with a recent property development I’m working on in conjunction with Dunpar Homes – the Kingsway Village Square. This luxury building offers upscale condominium living in a carefully-crafted boutique rental residence, and as creative designer, it’s my job to decorate our first two model suites – with all the right interiors and finishes. It’s proven to be a really fun project to manage because it’s made me look at design differently. Naturally, I have less room to work with so it means I have to think about furniture, finishes and lighting in a way that works for a smaller space.

Whether you’re looking to update a condominium, studio apartment or small home, check out these tips on ways to optimize your space.

Find the right light

First, if you have plenty of natural light, let it shine through! Keep window treatments airy with sheer fabrics so light can come through easily, and you’re not weighing down your space with heavy curtains or blinds. Add additional lighting throughout your space but avoid any big floor or table lamps – they just add “bulk” – and opt for wall sconces, pendant lights or string lights that don’t take up too much real estate.

Mirror, mirror on the wall

If you aren’t blessed with a lot of natural light in a room, mirrors can add additional light and the feeling of additional space by reflecting back any natural and non-natural lighting you do have. It will give the illusion of more square footage, so think about using one large mirror in your room or arrange a few smaller ones throughout.

Try ‘floating’ pieces

Shelves and nightstands that are built into the walls can keep your floor clear of any cluttering obstacles and free up some extra space as well.

The bigger the rug, the better

Believe it or not, you don’t want to skimp on size with your rug. A tiny rug just makes the room feel equally as small, so pick a floor covering that’s large enough so most of the furniture will sit on it, or go wall-to-wall.

Avoid heavy furniture

When dressing a small space, your furniture has to look light. For example, instead of investing in a sturdy, block of a coffee table, opt for a piece that has legs on it. Why? It helps carry the eye in and around your space, which gives the impression of a bigger room.

Keep colours neutral

This feels fairly obvious, but lighter walls give the illusion of a bigger space, where darker walls do the opposite. My favourite hues are from Benjamin Moore: CC40 or Chantilly Lace. I use both of them in design often.

Use furniture that is multi-purpose

For the Kingsway Village Square, I also picked pieces that are multi-purpose, such as a high top table that I put in the kitchen area that acts as a work station as well as an eating area. You can get creative with storage options, too: Ottomans that can store your linens, or built-in cabinetry under your bed. Nowadays, there are so many chic storage options that work double-duty as a piece of decor.

Add some colour

Yes, you can! Use colour for your pillows, bedding, artwork or carpets, but I always caution about going too overboard with really bold patterns of palettes. You want to minimize the “noise,” as it were, so my advice is to add your colour, but keep it fresh, light and harmonious.

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel. Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline, a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health, wellness and design.


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M2M Spaces, Aoyuan Canada

COVID-19 already influencing new home and condo design – experts

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COVID-19 already influencing new home and condo design – experts

COVID-19 is challenging all kinds of things about life in Canada – including the way we live and work. Our panel of experts share their insights on the new home and condo design changes already taking place.

M2M Spaces, Aoyuan Canada
Photo: M2M Spaces, Aoyuan Canada

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Broccolini

COVID-19 has transformed our homes into our offices, classrooms, gyms, and playgrounds. Our homes need to encourage physical and mental health. To support the growing roles of our homes, flexibility in design will be key. For remote workers, we’ll need to prioritize flex spaces which offer natural light, plus acoustical and visual privacy to maintain separation between work and homelife.

Building amenities such as the coworking space offered in Broccolini’s River & Fifth and upcoming LeftBank projects can make this possible for residents with less space. For material selection, we’ll continue to prioritize durability and cleaning ease, incorporating choices such as quartz countertops and porcelain tiles in residences and amenity spaces.

Megan Collins
Design Manager, Broccolini
Toronto
broccolini.com

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Dunpar Homes

There’s no question that moving forward people will continue to work from home if they’re able to, and that decision will greatly affect how people choose to design their new homes or condominiums in this new normal. Our space will have to be very functional, livable and afford us the room we need to work. There will be great emphasis on building out multi-purpose rooms that have the ability to work smarter for us and take full advantage of square footage.

There’s great power in good design. A living room equipped with bookshelves and a console table could function as an office, whereas a guest bedroom could also have built-in desk and storage solutions to offer the same value. It’s less about dedicating a specific room as an office and instead making certain rooms offer dual functions.

Lisa Rogers
Executive Vice-President
Design
Dunpar Homes
Etobicoke, Ont.
dunparhomes.com

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Flato Developments

Flexible spaces are a great way to reconcile livability with affordability. In response to the working- from-home reality, we have started exploring the idea of co-ownership condo suites with a shared flexible zone that would allow two potential owners to share a home office space.

In multi-unit condo design where space is typically very efficient, we are looking beyond the four walls of each suite in order to find flexible and cost-effective design solutions through cost sharing. We think shared indoor and outdoor amenity areas with generous, strategically located flexible spaces designed with functionality, wellness and technology features would be very marketable. This way, a potential buyer might opt to pay more to buy into a building where there are options to work from home, but not always within the confines of the walls in his condo suite.

Eduardo Ortiz, for Flato Developments
Principal, Architecture Unfolded
Toronto
architectureunfolded.ca

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Gairloch Developments

We have been seeing the trend in work-from-home increase over the past decade. Urban professionals long to eliminate a commute to gain more time for family and personal pursuits. There is also a desire to work in a more informal environment with comfort of home conveniences. Our clients are looking for uncluttered living spaces, timeless design and large windows affording views and plenty of natural light.

We understand that a condominium amenity space is an integral part of a building. A well-designed amenity should remain flexible, be attractive to many and facilitate future ways that we will work and inhabit our homes. At our 1414 Bayview project, the flexible amenity space is realized within a series of grand rooms, including a large communal table, for formal and informal lounging and working.

Our firm believes that a well-designed living space continues outdoors. Private, open-air retreats remain a top priority for our clients, especially in these unprecedented times. Several of the upper units at 1414 Bayview have access to large private terraces which will allow for outdoor lounging, entertaining and even working, from the comforts of home.

Stephanie Vermeulen & Kelly Doyle
for Gairloch Developments
Sixteen Degree Studio
Toronto
gairloch.ca

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Georgian Communities

An open concept floorplan has generally been the defining characteristic of new home design for years. The possibility of the new norm remaining suggests that flexible private areas such as home offices, gyms and playrooms with acoustic insulation are no longer a luxury but a necessity. In lowrise homes, functional finished lower levels offer additional space at an affordable price while eliminating impact to main floor principal rooms. Extensions to the outdoors from traditional living spaces will become more valued. Enlarged windows, covered porch and patio areas, walkouts when possible all help provide a sanctuary without leaving the home.

Danielle Jaques
Interior Design Coordinator
Georgian Communities
Barrie, Ont.
georgianinternational.com

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Heathwood Homes

In the new reality of a COVID-19 world, more people will be working from their home. This isn’t necessarily new, it’s just going to become so much more prevalent now.

In most homes, the trend towards the more open concept designs over the last decade does allow for flex space on the ground floor, but that same design comes with distractions in the form of noise and other people.

The easiest solution would be to carve out some “office space” in an existing bedroom or the basement area where daytime distractions would be minimized.

Bedrooms can be modified to have a desk niche, in lieu of a closet or have a murphy bed setup that allows for lots of additional daytime space. Also, in some homes, the laundry room could be moved to the basement, and that space becomes ideal office space.

Of utmost importance is that you have your Internet connections and modems of the highest speed and quality – so that you can ensure connectivity everywhere in the house. That way you can move around the home as needed – so that morning meeting can be had with a coffee on the front porch. Good technology is key.

Bob Finnigan
Chief Operating Officer
Acquisition & Housing
Heathwood Homes
Toronto
heathwood.com

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Minto Communities

Within condos, technology must be elevated to offer keyless entry, parcel drop-off and virtual platforms which can keep residents connected. Amenities should include breakout rooms and pods that facilitate continued amenity independent use, with greater emphasis on easily disinfected surfaces. There will be value to designs that can prioritize private outdoor spaces, and offer provisions for full-time work/study for multiple people, separating work and personal life within a single space.

We must use the events of COVID-19 to think about the resilience of systems and spaces, without losing track of the importance of designing spaces that promote well-being through community and connection.

Matt Brown
Director, Product Development
Minto Communities
Toronto
minto.com

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National Homes

Remote work spaces can take many forms. In larger homes, a dedicated office can work for one or two members of a household. For smaller homes, an alcove off a hallway with pocket doors for audible separation, similar to an office cubicle, may be all that is needed.

Glass partitions can be incorporated to allow a parent to keep an eye on their little ones, while still having a noise separation. If distractions in the home are not an issue, the main living space can be used as a flex space. Built-in desks with accessible outlets, such as National’s signature “Family Centre,” can be the perfect space to work from.

Wayne Cassidy
for National Homes
Principal
Cassidy and Co. Architectural Technologists
Ajax, Ont.
cassidyco.com

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Tips for designing your ideal home office

Tips for designing your ideal home office

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Tips for designing your ideal home office

During the coronavirus pandemic, many companies have implemented mandatory work-from-home policies. If we are still reducing new cases and trying to limit community spread, these new rules may exist for a long while before any of us return to a commute to the office. That means a lot of us are experiencing a pretty unique challenge: Working from home for the first time, full-time.

Even if you worked from home intermittently in the past, this could feel entirely different because of how significant (and sudden) the change is. Not only are we trying to balance our nine to five workdays, we also have to take into consideration our family being at home full-time as well. One of the best solutions in managing this new normal is to create a space that’s entirely devoted to working. Here are some of my best tips to make sure you’re successful in getting the job done.

Start by getting dressed

You grab your phone, and you look at something, and you think you need to answer it right away, so you start working. The next thing you know, it’s almost lunchtime, and you’re still in your pyjamas, you haven’t showered, and you feel like your entire day is thrown off. Try your best to stick to a routine when you are home, and that doesn’t mean rolling out of bed and connecting to work. Wake up, have your regular coffee and breakfast, take a shower, and get dressed as if you were still planning on leaving the house for work. You will feel better and more empowered to put your best foot forward.

Keep your work life and home life separate

Pre-pandemic, most of us were used to the separation that came between our work life and home life. We had particular schedules to follow that helped us maintain that work-life balance. Now that’s all gone out the window, and it can be tricky to disconnect from work when you’re in your home each day, every day.

A separate room that you can designate solely as your office space is the ideal scenario. However, if that’s not an option, you can still create that workspace in an existing room, whether that’s a specific corner in your living room, a section of your kitchen table or your dining room.

Make your office space comfortable

This seems intuitive, but think about how many hours you are going to spend working each day, whether it’s a regular eight-hour schedule or a few hours in the morning and afternoon, it should be comfortable. If you can, invest in a good, ergonomic office chair that will give you proper support, and try to find a space that will offer up as much natural light as possible. That’s an immediate mood booster, in my opinion. If you’re in a windowless space, position your desk where you can stare at something (a beautiful picture hanging on a wall, for example) when you glance up from your computer.

Set your work hours

I recognize this is easier said than done, but the more you can be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not, you will genuinely optimize your time and get some of your best work done. Have you ever tried to “finish up” some work after dinner? Or when the kids go to bed? You don’t have the same level of focus, or attention to detail when you’re trying to cram in work in between regular life schedules. It can be challenging, and it requires a certain level of accountability, but it’s far better to establish those boundaries early on, so you’re not feeling like you’re in this constant mode of catching up. Having separate time to work will help you be more present in your regular life outside the office.

Don’t get distracted by the news cycle

Distraction is one of the biggest hurdles people face when working from home. While you likely took a few breaks during the day when you were in the office, you can still mimic the same at home (whether that’s making the kids a snack or having a coffee break), but be mindful of how long you’re taking. The longer the break, the harder it will feel to get back into work mode.

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design.


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An update on Dunpar Homes' communities throughout the GTA

An update on Dunpar Homes’ communities throughout the GTA

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An update on Dunpar Homes’ communities throughout the GTA

In these challenging times, Dunpar Homes remains fully committed to serving its customers safely and responsibly. Construction is continuing and is nearing completion at Dunpar’s Lake Shore Village in south Etobicoke, where homeowners have started moving in. Dunpar is also continuing to sell luxury townhouses at its Streetsville Centre community virtually, using digital technology.

At Lake Shore Village Collection, landscaping is underway and Dunpar is putting the finishing touches on this exclusive community of 73 beautiful, yet affordable, townhomes surrounded by mature trees and stately older homes.

Just a few homes remain available for sale for those aspiring to live in this gem of a neighbourhood close to shopping at Sherway Gardens Mall, schools, parks and greenspace. South Etobicoke is within the city of Toronto, consisting of Mimico, Port Credit, New Toronto and Long Branch. It is becoming a desirable place to live, thanks to its proximity to Lake Ontario and Humber Bay Park. It’s easy to get anywhere within the city from here or to more distant points, thanks to GO Transit and TTC routes servicing the neighbourhood, and its proximity to the Gardiner Expressway.

Lake Shore Village’s three-storey English Georgian Manor-style towns feature three bedrooms, two-car garages and are available in plans from 1,580 to 1,785 sq. ft. Standard features include engineered hardwood flooring in main living areas and upper hallways and nine-ft., six-in. main-floor ceilings. Dream kitchens are outfitted with custom crafted cabinetry, granite countertops and backsplash, extended height upper cabinets and undermount kitchen sinks. A luxury stainless steel appliance package is included.

The homes are within a stone’s throw of the waterfront with its kilometres of trails, sailing clubs and tranquil beaches. Residents will enjoy running, walking the dog and cycling. Five minutes away, Lakeshore Boulevard is being rejuvenated with new eateries, gourmet shops, medical services and grocery stores. Long-time neighbourhood businesses Tom’s Dairy Freeze and SanRemo Bakery & Cafe are still operating, too. Sherway Gardens and Dixie Outlet Mall are a short drive away.

Streetsville is another wonderful gem of a neighbourhood in Mississauga, dubbed “The Village in the City.” The area is named for Timothy Street, who surveyed the last piece of land along the Credit River ceded to the British government in 1818 and who was granted 1,000 acres where Streetsville exists today.

Dunpar Homes’ Streetsville Centre is a collection of 201 classic luxury townhomes just a two-minute walk from the Streetsville GO station and close to schools and recreation facilities.

Homebuyers don’t have to wait to purchase one of these exquisite two-bedroom plus den or three-bedroom townhouses in this great location, as all elements of the sales process can be completed electronically. Dunpar Homes quickly responded to the current market conditions by providing virtual tours of sites, floorplans, master plans, sales presentations, one-on-one virtual meetings and electronic document filing.

Streetsville Centre’s English Georgian Manor-inspired townhomes are spaciously designed, each with two-car garage, beautiful landscaping and many upgraded standard finishes, such as custom natural Indiana Limestone exterior accents and ledger rock Kingston Hue Stone planter boxes. Interior features include nine-ft., six-in. main-floor ceilings, nine-ft. loft ceilings and open-concept layouts, with appointments such as engineered oak flooring, Berber carpet, granite kitchen countertops and backsplash, luxury stainless steel appliances and undercabinet lighting. Ensuite bathrooms come with custom vanity, marble countertop, soaker tub and frameless glass shower door.

As well as the GO, Streetsville Centre’s residents will be able to walk to shops, services, restaurants and entertainment venues in the vibrant neighbourhood. They’ll also enjoy the convenience of being in a location in the heart of the GTA, close to major transit, highways, airports, and Mississauga and Toronto downtowns.

For more than 35 years, Dunpar Homes has been building thoughtfully designed and architecturally unique homes and communities across the GTA. It has built a reputation as a premier builder specializing in luxury townhomes with elegant design, quality craftsmanship and contemporary features. Now it’s demonstrating its ability to adapt to the evolving industry by offering homebuyers comprehensive virtual tools to help them achieve their ownership goals.

DUNPAR HOMES

For further information on Dunpar’s various new communities, visit the website.


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Outdoor decor

Love your time outdoors with these simple decor tips

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Love your time outdoors with these simple decor tips

With our harsh long winters, it’s no surprise that Canadians are dying to get into the back yard come spring. Which is why we’re spending more and more on making that small patch of real estate into a heavenly oasis. Long gone are the white plastic chairs circling like wagons around a plexiglass table, and in their place are fire pits and heaters, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and lights, lots of lights.

All of this exponentially increases the time you spend outdoors listening to the birds, or the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, and connecting with friends and family.

Even if you don’t really have a back yard, you can create the same experience on that deck or balcony. And furniture manufacturers are eager to provide all your needs for making that possible.

The outdoor furnishings of today are higher quality for better looks and durability. The frames last longer, the fabrics retain their shape and water resistance, and the cushion foam stays comfortable. And if you mix high and low within a good quality line you’ll get more bang for your buck.

There’s also greater choice in materials and styles. In the wood family, there’s teak, ipe or treated pine, but you can also get metal mixed with wood, or solid aluminum, stainless or iron for a clean contemporary look. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest. Teak needs a little more babying, but wipes clean in a jiffy.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to change things up from time to time, consider modular furniture – pieces that fit together as a sectional or stand alone as chairs which allows you to change the seating arrangement however and whenever you like.

Loose flooring tiles in teak alternative wood is easy to install, and creates an immediate room setting, especially on the concrete of a condo balcony. Add a rug to pull the look together – there are plenty of outdoor carpets to choose from.

And when it comes time to place the furniture, think about where your eye will rest when you sit in a particular spot. If the view isn’t great, reorient the sightlines by moving the furniture around.

Outdoor living room

Comfort is king when it comes to furniture and that includes being waterproof – nothing worse than sitting down in a chair that oozes moisture from the most recent thunderstorm.

A hammock is a worthwhile investment for the afternoon naps or evenings spent gazing at the stars. Add bright colourful pillows and surround the area with container plants and you have a vacation destination right on your deck.

Anything that adds the sound of water is welcome in the back yard – like a fountain that’s powered by a recirculating pump.

Dining alfresco

You’re short on space, and while there’s usually just two for dinner, you still like to entertain friends and family for dinner occasionally. So when shopping for a table, look at the expandable ones. Materials range from classic wrought iron to teak (both pretty pricey) to wood and metal – all great looking but distinctly different in style. Chairs should complement the table, though they don’t have to match exactly, and if your deck is on the small side, get the stackable kind.

Storing your outdoor dining essentials – bright coloured table mats and napkins, covered lanterns or candle holders (so they don’t get rain damaged) and cushions – is important if you don’t want guests sitting down to a wet bottom. Either stow in a cubbie by the back door, or keep in one of those waterproof deck chests that doubles as a bench. Don’t forget to keep extra throws on hand for guests on chilly evenings.

An umbrella will shade the table from sun and rain but if there’s enough space, check out a pergola. It works as a nice architectural feature, shade for a living area – especially fitted with a retractable canopy system – and can be screened in against bugs.

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design.


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Here's how to get your garden ready for the warmer months ahead

Here’s how to get your garden ready for the warmer months ahead

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Here’s how to get your garden ready for the warmer months ahead

A new season requires some fresh landscaping: From planting to fertilizing and lawn care, here’s how to get your garden ready for the warmer months ahead. Warmer temperatures are coming, and this is the perfect time to devote a little attention to our gardens and lawn, so when spring does hit, we’re able to enjoy the outdoors without being plagued by all of those weekend chores. Here are a few tips to get you started!

Weed control

When temperatures start to rise, weeds pop up like, well, weeds. Get at them right away with pre-emergent weed control to get rid of them before they’ve had their time to germinate, or use a post-emergent if they’re already active and growing. Remember to be responsible with the earth around you: If you’re going to use chemicals, use only those that target your particular problem area, and always remember to follow the product directions carefully.

When is it safe to plant annuals?

Annuals can be quite delicate, and they don’t like frost, so all of this depends on your local frost dates, and that will determine when it is safe to plant your annuals and vegetables. For annuals, you will be transplanting from pots, flats, or six-packs at the garden centre, so it’s safe to plant when the last frost date has passed. In southern Ontario, that’s typically after the May long weekend.

Order summer-flowering bulbs and seeds

Now is a great time to order your summer-flowering bulbs and seeds such as lilies, gladioli, and ranunculi – all can be ordered ahead of time for early spring planting.

Set up your compost

If you haven’t done so already, set up a compost area in your garden. Whether you decide to build your own with some spare wood around your house or you opt to buy a ready-made compost bin, this area is essential for you to store your organic waste. Once it has broken down, you will get this rich compost that your plants will thrive on. Remember to have a decent mixture of vegetable peels, wood prunings, paper, and grass clippings, and don’t forget to help the process along by turning your compost with a garden fork every month to keep it aerated.

Clean your tools

Not only will maintaining your garden tools help save you money in the long term, it will also help prevent the spread of disease (dirty secateurs love bringing bacteria and fungi to fresh pruning). Use detergent, hot water, and a brush to give your bladed tools a good clean, and then have them sharpened at your local garden store so you can get cleaner pruning cuts.

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design.


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Dunpar Homes offers an exclusive collection of classic townhomes at Streetsville Centre

Dunpar Homes offers an exclusive collection of classic townhomes at Streetsville Centre

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Dunpar Homes offers an exclusive collection of classic townhomes at Streetsville Centre

Homebuyers at Streetsville Centre, an exclusive collection of classic townhomes by Dunpar Homes, won’t have to wait long to enjoy life in ‘The Village in the City.’

Streetsville is a prestigious pocket in the city of Mississauga with a long, colourful history. It’s named for Timothy Street, who in 1818 was tasked with surveying the last tract of land along the Credit River ceded to the British government. He was granted 1,000 acres and in 1824, the area became known as Streetsville. Modern-day Streetsville residents enjoy the community’s smalltown nostalgic charm while having all the benefits of living in bustling Mississauga, world-renowned for its arts, architecture and diversity.

Owners of Streetsville Centre’s 201 luxury townhouses will have just a two-minute walk to the Streetsville GO Station. From their neighbourhood between Mississauga Rd. and the Credit River, they can also walk to the stores, services, entertainment venues and eateries in Streetsville’s vibrant business district. As well as Mississauga’s largest collection of heritage buildings (including Timothy Street’s 1825 home), Streetsville has more than 300 restaurants, cafes and shops.

“Streetsville is a great community for all families,” says Cynthia Del Peschio, Dunpar’s manager of sales and marketing, citing the proximity to public transit, great shops and restaurants, excellent schools and recreation facilities, including Memorial Park with trails and picnic areas, and the Vic Johnston Community Centre, where people can enjoy activities year-round.

As well as old-time charm, Streetsville Centre residents will appreciate being in Mississauga’s strategic location in the heart of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, served by transit and an extensive network of major highways. Pearson International Airport is minutes away. The city has a skilled, well-educated workforce and is home to world-class post-secondary institutions, including the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College’s Pilon School of Business.

Whether enjoying the laidback vibe of their own neighbourhood or all the urban excitement that downtown Mississauga or Toronto have to offer, Streetsville Centre residents will relish coming home to the sophisticated, stylish surroundings of their own luxury townhouse.

“We at Dunpar believe in building a quality product. To us, that means making sure the use of space is very functional and is used at its best possible capacity,” says Del Peschio. “We’ve done this at Streetsville and a 1,500-sq.-ft. townhouse feels like a 2,000-sq.-ft. home.”

Streetsville Centre’s three-bedroom townhouses are spaciously designed, each with a two-car garage, beautiful landscaping and many upgraded finishes included as standards. The towns’ architecture is inspired by English Georgian Manors, and uses genuine Custom Natural Indiana Limestone.

Inside, the homes have open-concept layouts with dramatic nine-ft., six-in. main-floor ceilings and nine-ft. loft floor ceilings. Finishes include engineered oak flooring in the main floor living room and second-floor hallway, with Berber carpet in all bedrooms, den and stairs.

Gourmet kitchens boasts quality custom crafted cabinetry with extended height upper cabinets, granite countertops with eight-in. granite backsplash, ceramic tile floors, and under-cabinet lighting. A luxury stainless steel appliance package is included. Luxury ensuite bathrooms include custom vanity, marble countertop, soaker tub and glass shower door.

A few townhomes are still available in this special neighbourhood, priced from the mid $800,000s.

Dunpar has been building for more than three decades, and its specialty is creating luxury townhomes of character and distinction. Its beautiful enclave communities, characterized by timeless design, modern features and outstanding finishes, can be found in Etobicoke, as well as in Oakville, Mississauga and Vaughan. Dunpar has established a reputation for excellence in customer service, and it works with every homebuyer individually to help them bring their dream home to reality.

DUNPAR HOMES

For further information on Streetsville Centre or other Dunpar communities, visit the website.


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Local Focus - Oakville & Burlington

Oakville & Burlington are on the leading edges of the GTA

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Oakville & Burlington are on the leading edges of the GTA

Long gone are the days when Oakville and Burlington, neighbouring locations off the northwestern shores of Lake Ontario, were sleepy suburbs on the outskirts of the GTA. Expansion in highway and transit infrastructure, economic and employment growth and new housing development are all contributing to what today are booming, self-sustaining, destinations.

Such growth and development also mean rising home prices, as these two markets are forecast to be among the hottest in Ontario this year.

Blessed locations

Blessed with strong natural locations close to the lake, the QEW, Dundas Street West and Hwys. 403 and 401, getting to and around Oakville and Burlington has never been a challenge. But recent improvements to transit service and highways have afforded even easier movement for businesses and residents.

Such growth has contributed to increasingly diverse local economies, strong in automotive and manufacturing, but not overly reliant on any one sector.

Besides being close to Lake Ontario to the south, and the Niagara Escarpment to the north, Burlington is also home to the Royal Botanical Gardens. It boasts more than 2,700 acres of gardens and nature sanctuaries, the world’s largest lilac collection and three on-site restaurants.

Down by the lake, the recently renovated Spencer Smith Park hosts an array of annual free festivals, including Canada’s largest Ribfest, the Sound of Music Festival, Children’s Festival and Lakeside Festival of Lights.

Similarly, Oakville boasts 3,500 acres of parkland, more than 300 kilometres of trails and more than 200 parks, gardens, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds, skateboard parks, splash pads, sports fields, tennis courts, two harbours and 31 waterfront parks.

For cultural pursuits, Oakville has the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts, and the Downtown Oakville Jazz Festival is an annual summer event that features a number of stages along Lakeshore Road East. The Waterfront Festival takes place in Coronation Park, including amusement rides, arts and crafts, food and drinks, concerts and nightly fireworks displays.

With so much development underway, it’s no surprise that more people are moving west – particularly those looking for more affordable homes than in Toronto. Residence here, however, has its price: Oakville is now one of the GTA’s priciest housing markets. Burlington is seeing its own home price growth spurt, though it is notably more affordable.

Burlington, in particular, is undergoing a change of sorts. In the 2018 municipal elections, residents voted in Marianne Meed Ward as new mayor, notably on her promise to address their concerns about over-intensification and development.

Location, location, location

  • Oakville population 192,832; Burlington 185,000, located in Halton Region at the northwestern end of Lake Ontario
  • Oakville distance from Toronto, 38 kms; Burlington, 60 km

Select housing developments

OAKVILLE

5North by Mattamy Homes

Bronte Meadows by Flato Group

Glen Ashton Estates by Menkes

Ivy Rouge by Rosehaven Homes

Ivy Rouge by Starlane Home Corporation

The Preserve by Mattamy Homes

Upper Joshua Creek by Mattamy Homes

White Oaks Ravine by Dunpar Homes

BURLINGTON

Mountainview Heights by Greenpark Group

Mountainview Heights by Starlane Home Corporation

The Towns at Valera by Adi Developments

Tyandaga Heights by National Homes

StationWest Towns by Adi Developments


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