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IDS celebrates 2021 event, looks forward to Fall Virtual Conference

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IDS celebrates 2021 event, looks forward to Fall Virtual Conference

The Interior Design Show (IDS21) celebrated its 23rd year by going digital on a virtual stage from May 10 to May 13, 2021. Presented by Volvo, IDS21 offered unparalleled access to the most notable design leaders from across the globe who met on this powerful platform to discuss this year’s conference two main themes: Sustainability and Designing for the Future. IDS21 is proud to have partnered with BAIDA (Black Architects and Interior Designers Associations) as its charitable partner this year.

Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall

IDS21 kicked off with a keynote speech from Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, Dean of Faculty of Design at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD) who spoke about the decolonization of design.

The show continued with keynote addresses from international speakers including Suhair Khan, Strategic Projects, Google, who discussed the future of technology and interdisciplinary design with Tomos Lewis, Bureau Chief Toronto, Monocle.

IKEA presented Home for Humanity, a panel exploring the building blocks for creating cities and homes that feel better for more people today and into the future with speakers Akanksha Deo Sharma, IKEA of Sweden, Alicia Carroll, IKEA Canada and Johanna Fabrin, SPACE10.

The Miele Stage featured a variety of seminars including Kristi Avalos’s, President & CEO of Accessology, presentation on making accessible design beautiful and Mike Johnson’s, Director of Sustainability at 3form, discussion on purposeful disruption. Each hour-long session brought forward new ideas and teachings for participants to take forward in their own practice.

In keeping with the commitment to this year’s themes of sustainability and designing for the future, the Prototype Pitch sessions, presented by Caesarstone, featured products, concepts, and ideas not currently in production which addressed new ideas for architecture, design and building industries. IDS21 was the first year of these contest sessions providing an opportunity for new emerging designers, design students and newly created design firms to showcase their ideas to IDS’ discerning professional trade audience.

This year’s winner, RainStick Shower, presented by co-founder and CEO Alisha McFetridge, is a high-flow shower system, which saves 80 per cent water and 80 per cent energy through point-of-use recirculation and filtration, making water clean while still maintaining water pressure. RainStick is a clean technology company committed to cutting residential water usage in half. As part of IDS’ commitment to supporting emerging design, RainStick won a cash prize of $1,000 as well as a complimentary space at IDS22.

IDS21 will return on Oct. 4 to 6, 2021, for its Fall Virtual Conference with themes of Business of Design, Innovation and Future Trends. This event will focus on tools, developing new ideas, and scaling and innovating design practices in a constantly changing world. Topics will include business planning, marketing, change management, the sustainability of your practice, new materials, digital fabrication and future trends. More details on this event will be available shortly.


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5 ways to stay organized with these accessory bags

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5 ways to stay organized with these accessory bags

Ziploc has introduced a line of accessory bags in Canada, marking its official expansion into the fashion category. Delivering the same quality Canadians expect, Ziploc brand accessory bags offer a durable, reusable and fashionable solution to organizing everyday items such as purses, gym bags and even bathroom vanities.

In celebration of the launch, Ziploc brand teamed up with professional organizer and certified KonMari consultant, Michele Delory, to provide tips for reducing mess and stress with the new accessory bags.

 Approach with the right mindset

If you’re struggling with motivation, try visualizing the end result and how it will make you feel. Then, get started. You’ll be amazed at how your confidence and enthusiasm will grow as you progress.

Organize by category

Whether you’re tackling your entire wardrobe or just your gym bag, focusing on one category at a time will help keep you on track.

Sort and let go

Sort items into three categories – keep, maybe and let go. Keep items that spark joy and considering letting go of the others. Show gratitude for those things you are getting rid of, especially gifts or other sentimental items, to help ease the process.

Time to tidy

After deciding what to keep, it’s time to put items away in a tidy, organized way. This can include folding and storing clothes vertically in drawers, sorting and storing accessories and jewellery into Ziploc® brand Accessory Bags or putting important items back into your purse.


Once you’ve finished one category or area, move on to the next while you still feel the euphoria of your accomplishment! Cleaning out under bathroom vanities, sorting books and papers, or organizing your home office, can help you feel great every day.

The new bags are available in two sleek styles – Boho and Chic. Both styles are available in two sizes, Essential Stuff – with an expandable bottom for larger items – and Skinny Stuff – a slimmer, opaquer version designed to keep personal items discrete. Ziploc brand accessory bags start at $8 per package of five can be found at walmart.ca or Amazon.ca


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Chef Devan Rajkumar’s Guyanese pepperpot wings recipe

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Chef Devan Rajkumar’s Guyanese pepperpot wings recipe

The Home Depot Canada has partnered with barbecue expert, Chef Devan Rajkumar, a judge on the Food Network show Fire Masters, to develop a custom recipe for the 2021 barbecue season.



Equipment needed

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Food processor or hand blender
  • Heat safe spoon or spatula
  • Chef’s knife and cutting board
  • Tongs

Prep in advance

  • Chicken wings should be marinated for a minimum of one hour for best results overnight.
  • Leftover marinade should be reserved for basting.

Let’s get cooking

  1. In a bowl or food processor, add cassareep, onion, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well to incorporate then add brown sugar, orange peel, thyme and wiri wiri peppers. Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender to form pepperpot marinade.
  2. Trim the skin on the chicken wings. Toss the wings in the marinade, coating them
  3. Marinate the wings and leave for one hour minimum, for best results overnight in the
  4. Preheat the grill to 300F. Place chicken wings on the grill, reserve marinade left in the
  5. Grill for 30-35 minutes and flip once basting with the remaining marinade. Cook for
    another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160F – 165F.
  6. Plate at a height and garnish with thyme leaves and orange zest.
  7. Serve immediately.


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Mark and Ben Cullen’s tips for vertical gardening

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Mark and Ben Cullen’s tips for vertical gardening

Vertical gardens are having a moment. Here are top tips to consider when looking at installing raised beds or green walls.



Build at least a foot tall

This will ensure whatever grass or potential weeds you are building atop are adequately smothered and get the minimum functional benefit of a raised bed. However, you can go as high as you like as long as you are prepared to backfill. If accessibility is your goal, you can build it right up to waist height and backfill with a mix of gravel and topsoil to ensure draining, with a top layer of triple mix. You will want the top 12 to 18 in. of soil at minimum to be a good quality triple mix, rich in compost.

Consider spacing and patterns

To maximize the usability of your raised beds, make sure they are accessible from all sides and that a wheelbarrow can pass through easily. If you decide to use turf pathways, ensure that your lawnmower can manoeuvre. Using patterns can be visually pleasing, especially when arranged geometrically, but we recommend that you keep your beds roughly equal-sized if you intend to plant vegetables. The reason is that having equal-sized beds can help with planning year over year as you work through your crop rotations; for example, you wouldn’t have to limit your tomato harvest one year because they are being rotated into a smaller bed.

Use durable materials

Cedar or redwood are your most naturally rot-resistant materials. In western Canada, red cedar is famous and is exported around the world for these qualities. Many folks don’t realize that locally available white cedar is also well suited for the job in eastern Canada. You can dress up wooden raised beds with capped corner posts or whatever wood finish works within your broader design scheme. Brick raised beds can add a formal look to any garden, regardless of what you decide to grow in them, and stone works well for cottage gardens. The added benefit of stone is that when constructed using dry masonry, the crevices provide habitat for garden critters, which helps build biodiversity.


We specify “living” walls because there are non-living, preserved green walls that can provide a look but do not necessarily fall within our gardening domain. Here is what you should consider for a living green wall:


Wall selection

South-, east- and west-facing walls will obviously work best, depending on the light requirements of what you intend to grow. For interior walls, skylights and proximity to windows will be key. Anything further than 10 ft. from a window, the natural light penetration drops off dramatically.

Wall protection

Whether for interior or exterior walls, keeping moisture away from building architecture is crucial. Occasionally, we see purpose-built exterior living walls which can be built from the ground up to accommodate the moisture that accompanies plants, where creative freedoms and costs are less restricted. Interior mold and exterior rot can be unfortunate consequences of a mismanaged green wall, so take great care to protect your wall using an impermeable plastic membrane, such as an exterior basement waterproofing membrane.


The DIY-route

If you are looking for a project, you can take many different avenues. Simple cedar frames can be constructed and fastened to a wall to suspend smaller containers of potting soil arranged in a series, where you would treat it as a cluster of indoor plants that are watered from a watering can like any other indoor plants. Since we’re strictly amateur carpenters (only in the non-gardening season), we will refrain from advising you any further than this.

The professional route

This is where you will get maximum impact without having to worry about a potential water problem spreading into other areas of your home. A growing number of outfits specialize in modular systems that fully integrate growing medium, irrigation, drainage, and plant material into one cohesive system. Prices vary but expect to pay in the neighbourhood of $100 per sq. ft., depending on the sophistication. Look up a “green wall installation” in your city, and you will easily find professionals who can consult based on your specific needs.


The most sophisticated living walls will be mostly maintenance free – yes, they are even self-watering. A rudimentary system will require that you monitor as you would any other indoor or outdoor plants and water accordingly. Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests such as aphids or gnats, and treat accordingly.


Mark Cullen is a Member of the Order of Canada. He reaches more than two million Canadians with his gardening/environment messages every week. Ben Cullen is a professional gardener with a keen interest in food gardening and the environment. You can follow both Mark and Ben on Twitter (@MarkCullen4), Facebook (facebook.com/MarkCullenGardening) and Instagram (instagram.com/markcullengardening). Receive their free monthly newsletter at markcullen.com.


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6 easy ways to spring-clean your kitchen

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6 easy ways to spring-clean your kitchen

Helen Youn, certified KonMari consultant has teamed up with Rubbermaid to share six tips to help you spring-clean your kitchen and pantry.

1 Before you start, imagine your ideal life!

Visualize a space that would inspire you to cook and think about what type of food you enjoy making. Having this vision will give you clarity on the type of items you’ll need to keep and how your kitchen can support you.

2 Tidy by category

Don’t tackle your kitchen and pantry all at once as it can quickly feel overwhelming. It will be easier to work by subcategory as you will be able to see how much you own, compare similar items to identify favourites,’ and let go of duplicates. In your kitchen, the major subcategories are tools for cooking (i.e. small appliances, pots and pans etc.), tools for eating (i.e. cutlery, plates and bowls etc.), and food (dried goods, drinks and snacks etc.). You can break each subcategory down even further to make it more manageable if needed.


3 Use clear storage containers

There are many benefits to using clear storage containers in your kitchen, pantry and fridge. This easy trick will increase the joy factor by reducing visual clutter from various food packaging and help you see what you have on hand at a glance. When you use airtight containers, it will also help you reduce food waste by keep your food fresher and last longer. Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids are designed to be easy to store and help to keep the cabinets and fridge organized with a space-saving, modular design for perfect stacking and organization.

4 Vertical storage is key

When it comes to storage, consider storing items vertically where possible. Use stackable storage containers in your pantry to maximize your vertical storage. The Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids are the perfect solution to your container cupboard, their bases best inside each other when storing, and one lid fits multiple bases. Items like baking trays and cutting boards will also take up less space when stored vertically. In the fridge, you can consider storing vegetables like carrots and asparagus vertically by putting them into a cup!

5 Clear your counters

Minimize what you store on the counters and pay special attention to keeping the counter space near your stove clear because that area is particularly prone to splatters of food and oil. Having clear counters will make it easier for you to prepare your food and be easier to clean. In a kitchen that sparks joy, cleanliness is crucial!

6 Joy-check everything!

To create a kitchen that sparks joy, don’t forget to joy-check everything by holding each item in your hand and ask yourself, does it spark joy? You can joy-check everything from tools for eating and cooking to food. Let go of anything that doesn’t spark joy or have served their purposes with gratitude.


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Cottage basement reno with a Canadiana feel

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Cottage basement reno with a Canadiana feel

In this part of the home, I geared the design towards the children and guests. Outfitted with oversized bunk beds, the sleeping quarter comfortably sleeps six people. This zone was designed to feel like a quintessential cottage bunking room. The walls were treated with barn board and the bed rails were custom made by the site carpenter out of oars. The wall sconces help illuminate the dark and cosy quarters while providing that perfect nautical feel!


The rest of the basement houses a living area with a laid-back seating zone and a farm-like table with schoolhouse chairs that were all locally sourced. The entire colour palette comprises beach inspired hues of blue and white combined with red and white tones reminiscent of Canadiana.



Dvira Ovadia, principal designer of Dvira Interiors is an award-winning and respected Toronto designer, she is known for her clever design work on a vast number of successful endeavours. dvira.com


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3 ways to refresh your home for spring

3 ways to refresh your home for spring

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3 ways to refresh your home for spring

Looking to update your home for the season but don’t have time or budget for a major renovation? Do it right with these three easy DIY paint projects that can each be done in just a day.

“The seasonal transition from winter to spring is the perfect time to freshen up,” says Sharon Grech, colour and design expert for Benjamin Moore. “If you’re like me, you don’t have unlimited time to devote to working on your home, which is why small weekend projects are perfect because they’re quick, easy and affordable.”

DOOR: Night Train 1567, Aura® Grand Entrance, Satin TRIM: Plantation White, Aura® Grand Entrance, High Gloss EXTERIOR WALLS: Grant Beige HC-83, Aura® Exterior, Satin
DOOR: Night Train 1567, Aura® Grand Entrance, Satin TRIM: Plantation White, Aura® Grand Entrance, High Gloss EXTERIOR WALLS: Grant Beige HC-83, Aura® Exterior, Satin

Hit refresh with paint

Nothing says refresh quite like bringing new life to a tired piece of furniture. A fresh coat of paint is the perfect solution to make old, dated furniture seem trendy and new. Look for pieces that have solid construction and interesting shapes. Grech says headboards, wardrobes, chairs and side tables are all great pieces to transform. If you are unsure of the condition of the furniture or how to paint it, visit a local paint retailer to ensure you get the product that is right for your project.

Amaze with an accent wall

Feature walls are a great way to make an impactful change to a space. “Many people think accent walls need to be very bold and vibrant hues, when they can be neutral to create a more cohesive and harmonious feel,” says Grech. Explore painting the fifth wall, otherwise known as the ceiling, for a unique and modern look that can add dimension to a space.

Front door décor

The front door has the ability to instantly create an inviting impression before guests enter your home. “Applying a fresh coat of paint to your front door is a great DIY project that can be done quickly and can invigorate the look and feel of your home,” says Grech. “Because it’s so easy, you can even change your door colour seasonally.” Benjamin Moore’s Aura® Grand Entrance collection, inspired by European enamel finishes has more than 42 curated colours.

Find more informaiton at benjaminmoore.com.


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Yes, You Can Garden Now

Yes, You Can Garden Now

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Yes, You Can Garden Now

There is an opportunity to squeeze much more gardening from the month of April than you likely realize. By “squeeze” we mean enjoy, well before what has traditionally been the start of the gardening season in May.

Sow and Grow

Start vegetable and flowers seeds indoors now. Many garden seeds can be sown now indoors. Frost tender flowers like marigolds, alyssum, zinnias, cosmos and a host more should be started in the next couple of weeks either under grow lights or in a sunny window. Same with tubers of dahlias and tuberous begonias.

There are many opportunities to sow crops directly in your garden. Onions by seed and bulb, carrots, beets, kale, radishes, Swiss chard and peas can be sown now. Prepare the soil by turning it with a garden fork or spade once, bang the clumps out of it and add lots of compost. For root crops, add generous quantities of sharp (sand box) sand at least 30 cm deep to open the soil up and improve drainage.

Wait a few more weeks for flowers that are cold hardy, as we do expect frost for the next 6 weeks in the GTA (zone 6 and north of Highway 7, zone 5). Sow calendula (pot marigold), dusty miller and alyssum outdoors any time from April 15 onwards.


All woody, winter hardy plants are good to go for April planting.

If the plant is dormant and leafless when you buy it you know that it is in its natural state, versus forced in a greenhouse. It is important to know the difference. A plant that is in full leaf is soft and susceptible to frost damage. A dormant tree, shrub or rose plant is naturally protected from temperatures below 0 Celsius. It might not be as attractive but it will transplant more easily.

Perennial divisions

Perennial divisions from your own garden or that of a friend or neighbour, can be planted now. Again, if you are shopping for perennials and they have soft green foliage or flowers, it is best not to plant them yet as the new growth is frost tender. But a dormant hosta or rhubarb root is safe to dig and transplant now. This is the perfect time of year to move most herbaceous perennials around your yard or divide the mature ones and give away the divisions.

Prune fruit trees

Apples, peaches, plums, cherries: most fruit trees respond best to an early spring pruning. As a rule of thumb, we remove up to one third of the growth, concentrating on the upright growing water sprouts and the criss-crossing branches in the interior of the tree.

Perennial food plants

Asparagus, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and the like, are best planted in April, while they are dormant. Buy strawberry plants as one year old roots and plant in compost-rich soil about 30 cm apart.

Raspberries are usually sold as rooted cuttings, about 30 cm high. Plant them out about 50 cm apart. Don’t wait for May, get out in the garden now.

Mark Cullen
Mark Cullen
Ben Cullen
Ben Cullen

Mark and Ben Cullen, professional gardeners, are broadcasters, writers, and public speakers.

Check out their latest podcast.


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Why a builder's online decor centre is key to your success

Why a builder’s online decor centre is key to your success

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Why a builder’s online decor centre is key to your success

The unique challenges we all have faced over the last year due to COVID-19 have made us seriously reconsider our own in-person shopping habits. More than 30 per cent of all retail sales in the last year were online. This is a tremendous increase that shows no signs of slowing down. There is no doubt that online shopping is here to stay. We have grown accustom to researching, investigating and making decisions in the privacy and comfort of our own homes.

While many homebuilders have successfully started to use resources and tools like renderings, visualizers and interactive tours to engage home shoppers before closing on a new home, they continue to be reliant on old school, in-person practices to help homebuyers choose finishes post-purchase.

Easing the process

Historically, the decor process has been known to be the most painful part of the homebuying process and creates fear in even the strongest of builder’s hearts. Specifying the various upgrade options, pricing, product library, samples and documentation needed for a successful decor appointment can be a tremendous job. The buyer primarily reviews their options at their multiple four- to six-hour in person decor appointments. It’s easy to see that the current method for decor selections can be very overwhelming.

New technology in the design space makes the process of selecting finishes simple, interactive, informative, easy to understand and use. Virtual kitchen and bathroom renders allow buyers to see what their new space will look like when they customize their selections in the comfort of their own home. By be able to view the information online, at any time from any location, not only gives the buyer confidence in their decisions, but also drastically cuts down on design centre appointments. Fewer appointments at the decor centre translates to saving the builder both time and money resulting in increases to the bottom line. With the additional benefit of the buyer engaging with your product for a longer period of time, it generally translates to them spending more on upgrades. A win-win solution.

Tangible process

While digital technology is helping to cut back on the use of the traditional design centre, it will still be important to have a physical and inspiring space for buyers to have the option to touch and feel their finishes and interact with a professional consultant. There is something tangible about this process that is incredibly difficult to replicate digitally. The online centre’s role helps to augment the overall experience to the buyer and create efficiencies for the builder.

Online decor centres are now easily accessible. There are various versions that are available with a solution that will fit your requirements and goals. You could be up and running in 30 days or less. If you would like to learn more about how My Design Studio can help you, please contact us at info@my-designstudio.com

About My Design Studio

Yasmine Goodwin is Principal at My Design Studio provides decor management services to builders requiring one stop solution for their decor program.

Whether online virtually or in-person at our 8,000-sq.-ft. centre, it develops solutions that work for home builders and owners.


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Fresh start with seven spring looks to love

7 spring looks to love

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7 spring looks to love

Soft earthy paint palette

COOL CURRENT 6199-42 by Sico. sico.ca



MINTY AQUA (DLX1147-3) by Dulux. dulux.ca

Light wood accents

Monarch BED. $1,149. eq3.com

Redonda wood upholstered DINING CHAIR. $579. crateandbarrel.ca

Voxlov dining TABLE in light bamboo. $300. ikea.ca

Coloured sofas

DALU SOFA in hibiscus pink and oak. $1,149. article.com

Fany tufted 3SEATER SOFA in yellow. $499. structube.com

Morabo LOVESEAT in light green and wood. $600. ikea.ca

Natural elements

Rudy VASE. $30. eltemkt.com

Rattan PLANTER with wood stand. $35. homesense.ca

Turquoise druzy KNOB. $20. cb2.ca

The hand-crafted look

Linen throw PILLOW. $59. zarahome.ca

Pink seagrass BASKET. $35. homesense.ca

Stoneware SERVING BOWL. $15. hm.com

Delicate floral print

Mini floral DUVET COVER. $99-$139. zarahome.ca

Statement rugs

Patterned COTTON RUG. $35. hm.com

Colca WOOL RUG. $300-$1,800. westelm.ca

OMA RUG. $500. article.com


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