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Invite the sunshine into your bathroom with a skylight

Invite the sunshine into your bathroom with a
skylight

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Invite the sunshine into your bathroom with a
skylight

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Bathroom renovations can be fun, exciting and sometimes even stressful. Over the years, we have seen bathrooms morph from only functional spaces to highly stylized rooms of function that speak not only of personal style but also in customized luxury. It may be a “spa-like” retreat or a simple, classic look, a bold, colourful tile or the elegance of book-matched marble on your shower walls. Whatever you desire, today’s bathrooms are delivering large on glam, luxury and functionality. And no matter what your design tastes are, your bathroom is the first room you see in the morning and the last you see at night, and it should reflect a bright start or a relaxational end to your day.

Design trends may come and go, but one thing that does remain consistent when planning a renovation is maximizing lighting – a definite must for a bathroom. When I’m designing a bathroom, I look to add layers of lighting options, and one of them should be natural light – the perfect way to start your day. Adding natural light to a bathroom offers many benefits, starting with our own physical and mental health and well-being to the health of your home. Windows paired with skylights will maximize the amount of natural light in your bathroom and can become the primary source of natural lighting.

Photo by Jeff Mindell
Photo by Jeff Mindell

Installing a skylight in your bathroom will undoubtedly improve the look and feel of your overall design aesthetic, brightening the room and making it feel like a much larger space. The bathroom is also a perfect place to add a skylight or sun tunnels, as you will gain the additional natural light without compromising your privacy.

If you’re wondering how skylights can improve your home’s health, this is where the venting skylight comes into play. VELUX’s programmable skylights will open and help prevent trapped moisture from producing mould or mildew by letting out the humid air and bringing in the fresh air – which is perfect for your bathroom. These are skylights that open to provide fresh air in your room. As hot air rises, this seems a natural addition to the bathroom to assist in the circulation of air and help to prevent trapped moisture from producing mould or mildew.

In the end, be inspired by all that you see in colour, finishes and design, but also be realistic about your space and budget. Good bathroom design should bring together all that is best of what you envision. It should deliver the maximum of light, storage, usage and aesthetics for you while creating a wonderfully luxurious and inviting room that reflects your individuality. Your bathroom should offer you optimal convenience and relaxation for years to come – adding a key element like a skylight to the mix will make it seem like the “icing on the cake.”

If you’re planning to give your bathroom a whole new look by adding a skylight or sun tunnel, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Set a realistic budget. Once you start looking at all the finishes and fixture options available, you may be surprised at the costs involved.
  • Depending on your bathroom size, a series of skylights or sun tunnels can be a complementary design feature.
  • Be sure that when you’re positioning your skylight or sun tunnels, you are also considering the placement of other lighting in the room. Whether it’s pot lights or surface mounted lights, you want to make sure that your ceiling does not appear chaotic or messy in design.
  • Remember, a vented skylight is an excellent option for increased ventilation in the bathroom.
  • Good quality porcelain tile is durable and doesn’t fade from increased amounts of sunlight. If you are south facing, you may be concerned about too much natural light or heat in the summer, consider adding a built-in blind, a perfect option to diffuse the light.

Known for creating innovative, stylish interiors and full-scale design builds, Linda Mazur Design Group is a multi-discipline design firm with more than 15 years of experience in both residential and commercial design.


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4 colour decorating tips from designer Rebecca Hay

4 colour decorating tips from designer Rebecca Hay

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4 colour decorating tips from designer Rebecca Hay

As a designer, I love to infuse a healthy amount of colour in the spaces I design. And, when it came to decorating my own home, I made no exceptions. With two young kids and a small furry dog, I wanted a space that felt friendly, yet looked polished – a place for neighbours to gather and kids to play.

1 Trust your instincts

Before designing any space, think about the mood you want to convey. Is it a calm, relaxed space or a warm, inviting space where dinner parties evolve? You don’t need a degree in psychology to figure out what colours are right for you. Trust your gut, and you will never go wrong, but it’s important to be mindful of the mood and energy you are trying to evoke. There’s no surprise that yellow is a cheerful colour that promotes optimism. While blue is associated with tranquility, it also happens to be the preferred colour by men. I incorporated a little bit of navy for the men in my own home.

For the living room, I wanted it to be bright and energizing, as this is the main sitting and socializing area of the home. The drapery fabric was my inspiration and starting point. I knew we wanted to energize the space with yellow. We already had the retro navy chairs to work with, so I chose to balance the navy of the chairs with bright yellow custom drapery.

2 Balance

Colour is an integral element to creating the right mood. When decorating with colour, it’s important to balance any bold colours with lots of neutrals. A little trick I use is the 60-30-10 rule. When decorating a particular room, divide the colours into percentages: 60 per cent of a dominant colour, 30 per cent of a secondary colour, 10 per cent of an accent colour and you will never go wrong.

3 Complementary colours

The dominant colours in our living/dining space are beige, yellow and navy. I also chose to complement the blues with hints of orange in the living room. Adding a few “bonus” colours adds further interest. I found an old traditional wingback armchair on the curb once. It was in desperate need of TLC, and so I had it stripped down and recovered with a piece of bold contemporary orange fabric. It’s cosy, warm and inviting while adding some traditional sophistication to the space.

4 Repetition

Repetition is key to any successfully designed home. By repeating a colour multiple times in a space, it feels purposeful and comforting. We repeated the orange in the custom toss cushions and with smaller accessories. By having the same colour layered throughout the space, it creates a unified design.

It’s a family space that is now an inviting and fun place for social gatherings or curling up by the fire. It’s proof that by taking the plunge and designing with colour, you can create a space that is visually beautiful, intriguing and sometimes surprising.

Designer Rebecca Hay is principal of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., a Toronto based Design firm specializing in classically livable family homes.

Offering complete decorating and renovating services for over a decade Rebecca and her team manage all of the details from start to finish.


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Three easy ways to maximize productivity while working from home

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Three easy ways to maximize productivity while working from home

How’s your work-from-home set-up? Do you find your mind wandering? Your focus wavering? Your productivity suffering? Perhaps you’re new to the whole work from home thing, or maybe your space doesn’t meet your needs. Whatever the issue, a good home office environment can yield rich results! Here are some tips to make the most of your home office so that you can get down to business.

Put those unused nooks and corners to work

Two major challenges homeowners are facing right now are working from home and finding the room for a dedicated office space. You don’t need a big space to have a good set-up. All you need is some peace and quiet, a little storage and work surface, and a lot of creativity. We’ve seen some fabulous home offices occupying a home’s basement, an empty corner, the spare closet, built into a kitchen or tucked into the nook under the stairs. Remember, it needs to be quiet. The rest, like lighting and furniture, will make it comfortable and functional.

Think multi-purpose

Now before we dig into double-duty, let’s be clear – a multi-purpose home office is counterproductive. Regardless of where you set up your home office, however big or small, ensure your home office doesn’t double as the laundry folding table or kids’ craft zone. Instead, the multi-purpose factor comes into play when it comes to your furniture. Always opt for multi-functional pieces that can serve another purpose – a top priority if your space is limited. An ottoman or table with hidden storage underneath, an efficient filing system (if you haven’t gone digital yet) or a sitting-to-standing desk are an excellent investment and available for purchase and delivery online.

Get lit

No one functions well while squinting and suffering eye strain. Ensure your home office area is well lit with a layered lighting plan. If natural lighting via windows is an option, go for it. Your eyes will thank you. If you don’t have a window at your immediate disposal, ambient lighting is your saving grace. This is the room’s overall illumination, like overhead or pot lights. Next, task lighting comes into play to illuminate your tabletop, desk or reading nook. Regardless of where you like to hunker down, ensure the area is lit accordingly. Last but not least, accent lighting is decorative, but it can add ambience and emphasis to inspiring items, such as your prized collection of books, art or samples of your best work.

TIP: If you don’t have a window nearby, opt for a mirror. A properly-sized and strategically placed mirror can create the illusion of a window with a view, while visually doubling the size of the space and amplifying its light!

Even when working remotely, ensure that you feel comfortable and at home in your environment. Surround yourself with things that inspire you, and the tools to succeed. You’ll feel more relaxed, more motivated and up to any task.

Need more help with your home office? We’re here to help. Connect with us to schedule a free 20-minute discovery call; we can help you with our virtual design services.

Eugenia Triandos

Eugenia Triandos
Korina Khamis

Korina Khamis

Designers Eugenia Triandos and Korina Khamis are co-founders for Hibou Design & Co. With more than a decade of experience, this Montreal-based design firm provides complete bespoke residential design services throughout North America. hiboudesignco.com

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6 ways to modernize your kitchen on a budget

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6 ways to modernize your kitchen on a budget

By Jo Alcorn

Sometimes the best design decision is not to change things too much. Let me explain. I was recently working with a client who wanted to update her kitchen. She consulted with me to figure out how to spend her modest budget wisely while accomplishing a new look.

Storage

Like most people, her dream plan included replacing the cupboards to have more efficient storage. After an honest appraisal with a critical eye, I could see that wasn’t entirely necessary. She didn’t even need to paint them – she just needed to lighten the space up and get creative with functionality, and there were far less expensive and easier ways to do that. The overall footprint of the kitchen was good, so just a few adjustments to the cupboards were necessary. By adding Gliding Shelf Solutions (glidingshelf.ca) within the cabinets, we were able to solve the efficiency issue and add extra storage on a budget. Not having to do a full demolition of the existing kitchen put money back into the budget for what truly mattered, and splurging on the proper key elements.

Countertop

Changing out the countertops was mandatory. We needed to lighten up the space to make it feel more open, and to balance the darkness of the cabinet colour. We chose Caesarstone’s (caesarstone.ca) Empira White marble quartz because of its classic white base with deep grey veins to accent and complement the cabinet colour. This beautiful countertop modernized their kitchen instantly. Plus, it’s durable and easy to clean, so it’s a perfect balance of fashion and function for a busy household.

Backsplash

This kitchen needed a new backsplash. We chose white, beveled edge subway tile for its timeless-simplicity, and to play off the new countertops. By using larger tiles, this kitchen kept its clean lines, but the tapered edge offered elegant detailing. The custom range hood became the focal point of this space. We removed the small useless cabinet above the metal range hood that was more of an eye-sore than a focal point. By making it white, it pulled the colour scheme of the kitchen together perfectly.

New appliances

A Whirlpool black stainless-steel kitchen suite (whirlpool.ca) kept the continuity of colour in this kitchen. I love to match cabinet colours and appliances whenever I can; making your appliances blend into the shades of the kitchen gives the illusion of a larger space. The appliances are fingerprint resistant, which helps keep things looking sleek and fresh with minimal upkeep. Having the counter-depth refrigerator further made the space more open and accessible. On top of that, the French door option allows for more clearance when the door is open, which makes it easier to have two people in the kitchen at once. While the kitchen used to have a microwave stand to the right of the range, replacing it with a custom wine rack, colourmatched to the cupboards, was far more visually appealing. Fear not, they still have a microwave – it’s tucked out of sight and utilizing a wasted corner.

Shelving with purpose

Notice the floating shelves? I removed the closed cabinets to modernize the look. By tiling that whole wall and adding the natural wood tone of the shelving it creates a more up to date, open look. I wanted to replace the tan floor tiles, but the cost, timing and mess didn’t warrant it. Instead, I used the shelves, chairs and accessories to tie it all together, making the floor seem more purposeful, instead of like the elephant in the room. It’s also nice to have an element from nature (wood) to help ground the space and add an organic feel to the design.

Finishing details

While the cupboards were able to be used, the hardware had to go. The new, modernized, brass handles were the perfect accents. And I was able to include a pendant light over the sink to match. I would have liked to include pendant lighting all around the kitchen, but the light locations didn’t align with the table, so this was a perfect compromise. As I shopped for the appliances, I found an ultra-useful stand mixer in blue, and I knew it would be so useful and fun for this busy family. I choose accent pieces like the dishware and vase in a coordinating blue. The floor runners also have a blue tie accent. While many people hesitate to include a runner in a kitchen, I love it. They keep your feet warm, add softness to the space and tie colours in. The secret is to buy ones that are machine washable.

I know this once basic builder kitchen has transformed into a kitchen that suits the family’s modern lifestyle. Remember, don’t be too quick to replace your entire kitchen; sometimes, a strategic update is the better way. And it can save you a bundle!

HGTV Jo Alcorn is an interior and product designer for Alcorn Home, she has a full home furnishing and pet line collection displayed and sold across Canada and the U.S. She is known for her clean line savvy design concepts. Alcornhome.com

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4 Ways to protect your family from fire

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4 Ways to protect your family from fire

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We all do our best to create safe and healthy homes, and yet many Canadians are underprotected and unprepared when it comes to fire and carbon monoxide (CO) safety. Fire Prevention Month in October is an excellent opportunity to prepare a safety checklist to ensure your home and family are protected from the threats of smoke, fire and CO.

 

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Install smoke & CO alarms

Nearly one in five two-storey homes have just one smoke alarm installed. To secure the highest level of protection, install smoke and CO alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. For enhanced home safety and convenience, install combination alarms, such as the First Alert 10-Year Battery Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, which features a slim, contemporary design that mounts unobtrusively on a wall or ceiling. The two-in-one alarm protects from both smoke and carbon monoxide and is equipped with a 10-year battery, which eliminates battery replacements and low-battery chirps for a decade. Remember that alarms don’t last forever and must be replaced at least every 10 years, regardless of the manufacturer. If you don’t remember when an alarm was installed, it’s best to replace it entirely.

Be prepared to fight small flames

Beyond alarms, having fire extinguishers – and knowing how to use them – is an essential part of maintaining a safe home for you and your family. Place extinguishers in easy-to-reach locations on every level of the home and in key rooms where there is a high risk for fires, such as the kitchen and garage. Make sure everyone in the home knows where extinguishers are located and how to use them. If the fire is too large and cannot be controlled, it is important to exit your home immediately to help ensure a safe escape.

 

4-Ways-to-protect-your-family-from-fire_2

Help protect against the ‘silent killer’

Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas that is produced from any fuel-burning appliance. It is the number one cause of accidental poisoning and can only be detected with an alarm. Yet, more than one-third of Canadian homes do not have a CO alarm, according to a consumer survey conducted by First Alert. There is a variety of First Alert CO alarms available such as a tabletop 10-year sealed battery alarm and plug-in alarms with battery backup for protection during power outages. Regardless of the type of alarms, you have installed, it’s important to check all CO and smoke alarms regularly using the test button.

Practice your emergency escape plan

Of the 56 per cent of consumers who report having an emergency escape plan, only one in five practice it twice a year. Make sure to involve everyone in your household in creating a plan, and practice it at least every six months. As part of this plan, equip second-floor bedrooms with escape ladders and discuss how to use them. Identify two ways out of each room and a meeting place outside away from the house. Emphasize that once at the predesignated meeting spot; everyone must wait until fire officials clear your home for safe re-entry.

Proper smoke and CO alarm installation and maintenance can mean the difference between a safe home and a dangerous home. To learn more about home safety products and tips, visit firstalert.ca.

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Enhance the value of your home renovation with skylights

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Enhance the value of your home renovation with skylights

With home renovations on a steady and constant increase, the question always surfaces about how best to spend your renovation dollars. While it’s true that kitchen and bathroom renovations, as well as “curb appeal” will yield a good return on your investments; you should not discount the importance of natural light in your home. Maximizing light not only enhances the esthetics of a space, it increases the home’s resale value and quite simply – it also makes us feel better to see the great morning sunshine. We love the look and feel of an entire wall of windows that lets in beautiful rays of light and a fresh breeze, however, windows are not the only means of natural light for our homes. This is one of the reasons you should consider adding a skylight to your home renovation.

We all have those areas of our home, the space over our staircase, or a bathroom perhaps, where light struggles to reach. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about turning your attic into a third floor living space. Whatever your particular situation is, consider adding a skylight or sun tunnel to these darker areas of your home, and let the sunshine in.

In tight quarters, the added benefit of a skylight over a sun tunnel is that it allows you to introduce not only more natural light into a room, but it also helps ventilate the space so you can “breathe” better. Windows are without a doubt, designed to let in the natural light and circulate air throughout a room; however, hot air rises, and so will any toxins or pollutants in your home. Incorporating skylights will improve the air quality of your home – and the vast amount of added natural light is a wonderful feature.

To maximize the benefits of skylights, you need to consider a few important details; the first is the placement in your home. A skylight is not a window, though some often think the two are interchangeable. Windows are designed to limit the glare of high-angled sun in the summer and to catch the low-angled rays of sun in the winter. Skylights tend to do the opposite, so it is rather important to consider the placement of the skylights on your roof, as well as the orientation of the sun around your house. Though we desire maximum natural light, you may also want to consider the option of Velux blinds to preserve your furniture and flooring. Also, consider the selection of appropriate skylights for your space so that you can ensure this design feature is maximizing its full potential on the interior of your home; be it the size, style or operation method, (yes, skylights open) understanding the options will help ensure wise design choices.

Whatever you decide, skylights add an architectural element to a room while bringing the outdoors in and adding a burst of natural light.

For more information, go to velux.ca

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La Mansion Prince Painted Purple Is For Sale!

La mansion Prince painted purple is for sale!

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La mansion Prince painted purple is for sale!

It may have been the most infamous house-painting job in Los Angeles history in 2005 when mega-rocker-star Prince painted NBA-star Carlos Boozer’s Beverly Hills home in purple stripes. New to the market, the home just as elegant as when Prince and Elizabeth Taylor lived there decades before, is now for sale priced at $29.995 million.

When Alaskan-native Boozer signed with the Utah Jazz in 2004 for big money, he wanted a home in the sun and bought a stunning Southern California tennis estate, decorating it with the best expensive furnishings. Almost as good as his new home, his music idol, Prince, offered him $95,000 per month for a one-year lease and soon moved in. A couple of months later when Boozer was back in LA, he discovered that Prince had changed almost everything about his house. His beautiful furnishings were gone and replaced by black-and-purple everything. The weight room was now a disco dance floor with a DJ booth and his bedrooms converted to a hair salon and massage parlor. Boozer called “foul” and threatened to sue but Prince soon returned everything back to the way it was when he first rented the home. The two became best friends up until Prince’s death in 2016.

Today, the mansion is on an estate comprising the main house of approximately 15,101 square feet and an English Tudor home of 3,300 square feet, along with two extra parcels of land making up the total compound of 2.15 acres. The palatial main house has 10 bedrooms, 13 baths, a ballroom, wine room, large terraces for entertaining with views of city and ocean, a rooftop tennis court, and a pool with stone grotto reminiscent of the Playboy Mansion. Built in 1953 at the cusp between Old Hollywood and the new, it is a home that was designed for entertaining and saw many a grand party over the years, including a few Prince concerts for his friends.

Now seeking its next new owner, one of L.A.’s most significant homes and former residence of Prince and Elizabeth Taylor, is for sale at $29.995 million, or for lease of the main mansion at $80,000 per month. Brokered by the Oppenheim Group in West Hollywood, its leader Jason Oppenheim and bevy of starlet real estate agents are seen on the Netflix series Selling Sunset.

Photo credit: The Oppenheim Group


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Top honours at 2020 BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

Top honours at 2020 BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

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Top honours at 2020 BILD Renovation and Custom Home Awards

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) handed out their annual Renovation and Custom Home Awards to the GTA’s top renovators and custom home builders by video conference on April 8th.

Created by BILD in 1999, the Renovation and Custom Home awards recognize professional renovators and custom home builders for their innovation, quality of work, customer service and industry leadership.

BILD received a record 117 submissions for 25 categories that included Best Overall Space, Best Overall Renovation, Best Overall Custom Home, Custom Home Builder of the Year and the coveted Renovator of the Year award. All submissions were evaluated by 28 industry professionals who served as volunteer judges.

This year, the Renovator of the Year award went to Eurodale Design + Build for their commitment to customer service and their contribution to the overall image of the renovation industry. Eurodale Design + Build also won Best Innovative Renovation.

“Eurodale customers were impressed with the renovator’s quality workmanship and professionalism,” says Dave Wilkes, president and CEO of BILD. “True to the RenoMark brand, Eurodale clients were provided with a warranty for the work done and clients felt that the renovator went out of their way to deliver an outstanding project with excellent service and followup.”

The award for Custom Home Builder of the Year went to Luxor Home Corporation. Luxor Homes’ clients felt that the builder went above and beyond to provide great quality of work and outstanding customer service. Luxor Home Corporation also won Best Custom Home Kitchen.

Profile Custom Homes won the Best Overall Custom Home award for their project in Mississauga. The design and flow of the home blurs the line between indoor and outdoor living areas. The modern design is softened by the use of wood and the integration of views of nature from every room of the home. They also won Best Custom Home over $2 million, Best Custom Home Washroom, and Best Renovation (No addition) over $500,000.

Best Overall Renovation went to Carmelin Design + Build. Carmelin Design also won Best Condominium Renovation under $200,000, and Best Renovation (No addition) under $250,000.

Both of these award-winning projects utilize high-contrast colour features in the kitchen, while softening the floor through the continuous use of hardwood floors throughout the home. The integration of large windows, which are expertly orientated in the design, maximizes the infiltration of sunlight throughout the home.

Lifestyles by Barons Inc. won Best Overall Space Renovation. This beautifully constructed whole home renovation is a testament to Lifestyles by Barons’ attention to detail and listening to the desires of their client. The integration of the soft-coloured stone and tile throughout the home provides an ambience of strength, while relaxing and easing the homeowner’s state of mind. Lifestyles by Barons Inc. also won Best Basement Renovation over $125,000, and Best Washroom Renovation.

“This year’s winners exemplify the quality, innovation, creativity and integrity that homeowners can expect when working with professional RenoMark renovators and custom builders,” says Wilkes.

All award winners are members of the national RenoMark program, which connects homeowners with professional renovators who have agreed to abide by a renovation-specific code of conduct. Contact information for all RenoMark renovators is accessible on renomark.ca. A complete list of winners can be found in the latest blog on the RenoMark website as well.

BILD would like to congratulate all the winners and finalists.

A complete list of winners can be found in the blog section of renomark.ca.


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All decked out

Five outdoor living trends that will take your backyard experience to the next level

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Five outdoor living trends that will take your backyard experience to the next level

Photos: Deckorators

As the summer season begins, you might be contemplating ways to reclaim your outdoor space. Whether you’re considering a simple deck upgrade or a complete redesign, online galleries, social media and magazines are a great way to get inspiration. Take note of these top five trends and learn more about new and exciting products and how they can work for you.

Varied-plank decking

A distinctive and thoughtfully designed deck is a sound investment. From a style perspective, varied-plank decking extends the look of wood flooring using various widths of deck boards to create a contemporary vibe, giving the illusion of transitioning interior elements to your outdoor space. By using multi-width planks, you can create unique patterns and designs for a truly custom look. Whether you’re using a smaller 3.5″ wide board or a larger 7.25″ wide board from the Deckorators Voyage Decking line, alternating widths will give a beautiful, timeless appeal to flooring.

Complementary colours

Canadian homeowners continue to play with complementary colour combinations. Emerging this year is the double-picture frame board technique, where the outside board colour complements the second inside picture-frame board colour. Finding a timeless colour pairing takes time and there’s no need to rush the decision. To determine a pleasing colour scheme, pick a primary colour and then match it with an opposite shade on the colour wheel. Playing with bold and unique colour combinations and integrating design elements, such as adding a “racer stripe” in a complementing yet contrasting colour, will result in a look that you’ll appreciate for the long haul.

Play in the shade

Backyard sun protection is an often overlooked but vital feature. Depending on your needs and the shape of your space, two options for backyard covers are the tried-and-true patio set umbrella, and the latest trend in sun protection, the sun sail. Both protect from the elements, but the sun sail extends further, designed to cover a wider area, helping to shield against UV-rays or a sudden downpour. Unlike an umbrella, the sun sail is a dramatic statement piece in any backyard. Plus, you can make it your own with bold colours, and by choosing a dynamic, geometric shape that protects but doesn’t hinder airflow. What will work best for you will be determined by the size and shape of your space and the kind of protection you need.

Functional lighting

Outdoor safety never goes out of style. Properly designed outdoor lighting extends daylight hours, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space well into the evening. The right outdoor lighting will enhance the ambience of your space as well as increase safety of the area by illuminating deck space and improving the visibility of steps for your family and guests. One popular and subtle option for this desired look is the LUNA Step Light offered by Deckorators by Hinkley Lighting, as it fits seamlessly into deck stairs without stealing the spotlight, making sure you don’t miss a step.

Easy railings

Railings are not only functional, their design can truly elevate and complement an esthetically pleasing deck and landscape scheme. As one of the most visible deck elements, railing trends in 2020 are focused on mixing wood and metal elements for a natural and industrial look, such as a brown deck with bronze or silver railing. When deciding on which railing best suits your needs, don’t forget the view. Cable or glass railings are ideal to ensure visibility of beautifully landscaped backyards, decks or docks. The ALX Contemporary Cable Railing by Deckorators combines these trends, available in a scratch- and corrosion-resistant bronze with cable spacers that don’t hinder views.

Look for trends that reflect your esthetic and meet all your functional needs, then share your ideas with a local contractor who is well-versed in the latest products and styles for a second opinion. To find a reputable deck builder in your area, visit Deckorators.ca/Contractor.

Jase DeBoer blogs about deck ideas on the Deckorators On Deck Blog.

As senior category marketing manager for Deckorators, DeBoer has extensive knowledge of how deck design elements can work together to create a personalized outdoor oasis brimming with style.


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Shelter from the swelter, it all started with a covered entry

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Shelter from the swelter, it all started with a covered entry

• Photograhy by Gillian Jackson

In ancient times, the Greeks adorned entrances to buildings with formal roof structures supported by tall columns. Called a portico, it was seen as a sign of authority and wealth. It also raised the home’s stature and offered much needed shelter from the heat.

This covered porch features a seating area complete with fireplace and television, and an outdoor dining area. Skylights, recessed lighting, and beautiful lighting fixtures complete the look.

Since then, the portico has shed its elitist signifier and has become a staple for homes the world over. A porch, loggia, veranda, or balcony offers us protection from the elements but more than that, it’s a place to catch a breeze and chill out.

Who can resist the charm of a wraparound porch?

We still romanticize the wraparound porch where you might find a southern gentleman sipping sweet tea and gossiping with a neighbour. But, with the rise in popularity of outdoor living, we’re seeing more covered structures that offer a variety of open-air options for relaxation and entertainment.

Moving the inside – out

We want our outdoor structures (or rooms), to be multi-functional. Not only are we moving our dining rooms from the inside – out, we’re also setting up living rooms, kitchens and bars so we can enjoy as much time outside as possible. By creating these outdoor rooms, we’re not just increasing the function of the home and how we use it, we are doing it in style. Our backyards and porches are an extension of our style from within the home.

A covered cabana is a great refreshment station, change room and servery, all in one. The covered fireplace is a great wood-burning option for cooking pizzas and large barbecues.

Increase your property’s value

But it’s not just an excuse to spend money. These structures also add value, especially as we see property values rise. We want to squeeze the most use out of our property, so permanent structures like cabanas, tiki bars, sheds and pergolas are not only a great way to enjoy the yard, they’re a good investment, too.

Newly built homes are incorporating outdoor seating areas with heaters built into the ceiling for added comfort and warmth.

Hello loggia!

Functional and desirable, the loggia or porch is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Some newly built homes are featuring covered porches at the back of the home. Many clients are asking for high-quality installations such as built-in heaters radiating down from the ceiling. These three season “rooms” may also feature large stone fireplaces, TVs, wet bars, and dining and lounge areas — multiple uses in one space.

Luckily, the building and manufacturing industries are seeing this surge of interest in outdoor furnishings, accessories, fixtures and technology and are bringing new ideas and styles to the market.

Cope with a cabana

Is it a bar? A change room? Pool storage? It can be all of that and more. You don’t have to have a pool to create a unique, covered space for liquid refreshments. Electricity and plumbing added (safely, by professionals) can make even a tight space a fun, entertaining oasis.

A repurposed garden shed with a garden theme is a perfect summer getaway, right in your own backyard.

Once the sun goes down

Adding a firepit, pizza oven, or outdoor fireplace is a great idea if your municipality allows it. By adding an open-air pergola overhead and some comfy seating, you’ll have a perfect outdoor room to enjoy the evening stars by firelight, or cook that perfect pizza.

Is it a shed or a she-shed?

Wired with electricity for lighting and power, this cosy space is a perfect three-season room.

You almost have to look twice these days to see if a garden shed is being used for garden tools. Today, it’s quite on trend to convert an existing shed into a little garden retreat. In line with the small home movement, clever placement of furniture, storage solutions, and running electricity and water elevate any small space into a fully functional mini-home.

Whether it’s used as a studio, workshop, retreat or just a shed, upgrading an existing structure or building something new from scratch that will keep you outside longer is a good investment, both financially and for your health. So get outside and don’t come in until the street lights come on.

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

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