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It’s all a bit GAUDI

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It’s all a bit GAUDI

In 1852, Antoni Gaudi was born in Reus, about 100 km west of Barcelona, the city where his most famous works were constructed. He studied architecture in Barcelona and began his career designing municipal lightposts and newsstands. His reputation grew and he became a world-renowned leader in the Modernist movement. While staying in Barcelona last summer, we were fortunate enough to visit two of his most famous projects, the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló.

SAGRADA FAMILIA
Construction began on Sagrada Familia (the Church of the Holy Family), in central Barcelona in 1882. A year later, Antoni Gaudi took over the project and injected an infusion of Gothic and Art Nouveau design characteristics. By the time Gaudi died in 1926, the project was only one-quarter completed. The still unfinished church was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Current projections aim to have the work fully completed by 2026, a century after Gaudi’s passing. The UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts some three million visitors a year.

CASA BATLLÓ
Between 1904 and 1906, Antoni Gaudi completely transformed the home of prominent businessman Josep Batlló into a stunning, liveable work of art. The home, also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracts more than one million tourists a year (including the Britnell family in 2018).

Photos by: Natasha Britnell

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Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson’s Malibu mansion hits the market for $14.5M

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Mel Gibson’s Malibu mansion hits the market for $14.5M

Academy Award winner Mel Gibson has listed his 6,578-sq.-ft. Malibu mansion on the market for US$14.5 million.

Mel GibsonOne of the most beautiful estates in central Malibu, Gibson’s home is accessed through a long-gated drive ending at a large motor court. The house is entered via the two-story foyer that opens into an expansive Great Room with high vaulted-beamed ceilings, stone-arched doorways, large chandeliers, dark-wood floors, walls of French doors exposing canyon and ocean views, and a grand stone Inglenook-style fireplace.

With five bedrooms and five baths, there is a large French Country kitchen with bespoke cabinetry, marble countertops, island for workspace and casual dining, a den, gym and family room. Outside, terraces overlook ocean views, one with a romantic, vine-covered pergola for alfresco dining, and a three-car garage with a two-bedroom guest house above.

Preferring a lush landscape, Gibson added additional plant materials native to Southern California. There are two swimming pools and the 5.5-acre property includes membership in the La Costa Beach Club.

The property is one of many of Gibson’s real estate holdings, which include homes in Australia, Costa Rica, the U.S. and Mago Island, Fiji. He has made philanthropic donations in the countries where he invests and intends to keep the Fijian island in its natural, undeveloped state. Gibson’s real estate choices reflect his penchant for the earthy and rustic, with a strong romantic vibe cushioned among lush plantings.


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Luxury Town Manors

Luxury Town Manors by Kylemore now selling in Markham

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Luxury Town Manors by Kylemore now selling in Markham

Kylemore Communities is offering a limited collection of luxurious three-storey Town Manors at Kennedy Manors in Unionville, Markham. Located within a highly desirable residential neighbourhood off Kennedy Road, just north of 16th Avenue, Kennedy Manors features a selection of 15- and 19-ft. wide rear lane designs and 23-ft.-wide traditional townhomes.

Combinations of brick, stone and stucco with covered front porches result in streetscapes of unparalleled appeal. Townhome layouts have three levels of superior living space with bright, open main floors and three or four bedrooms on the upper level where spacious master bedroom retreats are located. Larger layouts offer an additional bedroom on the lower floor. Luxury interiors include an abundance of upgraded finishes. Sizes range from 1,725 to 2,730, priced from $1.2 million. Construction is underway, so quick closing dates are available.

Kennedy Manors is located just minutes to Main Street Unionville, is convenient to Highways 404, 407, and two GO Stations, and close to Markham’s fine amenities.

kylemorecommunities.com


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GTA new home sales continue stronger upward trend in April

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GTA new home sales continue stronger upward trend in April

The GTA new home market saw continued momentum in April, as prices remained relatively flat and condominium inventory increased, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Total new home sales, with 3,853 new homes sold, were up 123 per cent from last year, and about even with the 10-year average, according to Altus Group, BILD’s official source for new home market intelligence.

Single-family growth

There were 800 new single-family homes sold in April, including detached, linked and semi-detached houses and townhouses, up from last April’s low of 443, but still 50 per cent below the 10-year average. This is the sixth month in a row that new single-family home sales have increased year-over-year. Sales of new condominium apartments in low-, medium- and highrise buildings, stacked townhouses and loft units, with 3,053 units sold, were up 137 per cent from April 2018 and 37 per cent above the 10-year average.

“The last two months have seen stronger new home and condominium sales in the GTA after a sub-par April in 2018,” says David Wilkes, BILD president and CEO. “There seems to be a resiliency in the market as new-home buyers are coming off the sidelines.”

“Both builders and buyers stepped up their game in the new condominium apartment market in April,” adds Patricia Arsenault, Altus Group’s executive vice-president, Data Solutions. “The number of units in new projects launched, and the number of sales, were well above the April average of the past 10 years. While it is still too early to call the market as being on the upswing, the stronger showing in April is encouraging.”

Price growth

The benchmark prices of both single-family homes and condominium apartments moderated slightly compared to the previous month. The benchmark price of new single-family homes was $1.12 million, up slightly at 0.3 per cent over the last 12 months, while the benchmark price of new condominium apartments was $758,585, up 2.5 per cent over the last 12 months.

Remaining inventory in April included 13,707 condominium apartment units and 4,580 single-family homes. Remaining inventory includes units in preconstruction projects, in projects currently under construction and in completed buildings.

RELATED READING

GTA new home market shows encouraging signs in March

GTA new home sales begin 2019 on a positive note

 

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Building a new backyard deck? Take your time and do it right

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Building a new backyard deck? Take your time and do it right

Whether you’re looking to install a new deck or want to make minor improvements to your existing one, deck building should never be rushed. There are a lot of new products on the market, so it’s important to do your homework and plan for your space to get the best possible outcome for your property.

Achieving the deck of your dreams is an investment that will undoubtedly add value to your property. A new deck becomes the outdoor hub for family and friends to enjoy well beyond the summer months. It will provide a wonderful place to entertain, grill and make cherished memories. The right deck built with quality, long-lasting materials, will endure for decades.

Inspiration

While it’s important to pay close attention to the details and planning of your deck building, the process should also be enjoyable. The first step towards creating your vision is to become inspired. You may already have an idea of what you want, but if you don’t, there are endless possibilities and options to explore. Look at different decks online, in magazines and on social media, or even just walking through your neighborhood. You never know what you might discover.

Layout

No matter your budget, the deck layout is determined by the space that’s available. If you have a smaller backyard or prefer a minimalist approach, you might consider a simple design with clean lines such as, square or rectangle. Popular dimensions for decks include 12’x12′ and 16’x20′ – both create ample space for outdoor entertaining and relaxation.

Homeowners who want a more personalized design often opt for custom shapes, sizes and styles. Multiple levels can offer space for covered sections – perfect for outdoor kitchens, grill corners, hot tubs and water features.

Subtle outdoor lighting enhances the ambience in the evening hours and is a crucial addition for most decks regardless of size.

Simplify the creation of your deck layout by using a deck design tool. Using a design tool will help you visualize your future outdoor space and help determine whether your plan meets your outdoor living needs.

Wood or composite

Wood has long been considered the go-to material for decking, but composite products are gaining in popularity. Composites are developed from a mix of recycled plastic and wood fibres and offer the luxury of low-maintenance and increased durability. Not to mention, there are a variety of unique finishes available, plus new technology geared to circumvent expansion and contraction issues and withstand common water challenges like rot, wear and warping.

Deckorators offers some of the industry’s best warranties, such as a 25-year Structural, a 25-year Stain & Fade, and a 25-year Removal & Replacement warranty to help you feel confident in your decision. Deckorators also has designated Certified Pro contractors available to help you each step of the way.

Decking patterns and colour

Adding a pattern to your deck design can provide a unique style that is sure to stand out. While the shape of your deck is one consideration, the colour options, styles and finishes enable you to customize your outdoor space. Consider incorporating a multi-colour pattern such as: herringbone, hexagonal, V-shaped, sunburst or picture-framed boarder. Even a standard-shaped deck can be made to look like one-of-a-kind, creating an extension to your home while adding some personality.

Playing with colour will also help you find the tone that’s right for your property and surrounding space. To get familiar with what’s available, check out new PANTONEVIEW home + interiors 2019 to identify trends, proven colour combinations as well as timeless shades that will stand the test of time.

Find a builder

When you’ve completed your research and have an idea of what your dream deck looks like, it’s time to contact a local contractor who will implement your plans and achieve the outdoor space you want. Industry leaders, like Deckorators, understand the importance of finding a certified deck builder that can work with your product of choice. Additionally, the established Certified Pro program trains local contractors to work with Deckorators’ products and meet a variety of client needs.

Jase DeBoer blogs about deck ideas on the Deckorators On Deck Blog. He also hosts the bi-weekly Deckorators Facebook Live program “On Deck,” which offers homeowners insight on tips, trends, and products to take their deck beyond ordinary. 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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Saving money, food, and the planet

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Saving money, food, and the planet

Wasting food isn’t just bad for the family budget, it also hurts the planet. According to a national study, co-authored by food recovery program Second Harvest www.secondharvest.ca and Value Chain Management International, www.vcm-international.com, the findings suggest that the 35.5 million metric tonnes of food, which is wasted annually in Canada creates a whopping 56.5 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

One way to reduce waste in the home is to invest in re-usable storage bags or containers. Etee www.shopetee.com makes reusable sheets and bags out of organic cotton muslin and non-toxic dyes, coated in organic beeswax, tree resin, non-GMO soy wax, organic jojoba, and essential oils.

Estee wraps are easy to store flat in a drawer.

I tested Etee’s bags with cheese, snacks, and nuts, and these bags can also be used for cooked (not raw) or smoked meats. They kept bagels fresh for several days, and were terrific for transporting sandwiches and fruit for work lunches. They are especially effective with fresh herbs: dill, parsley, and coriander- all stayed very green and fragrant for close to a week.

Their tackiness is activated by being rolled into a ball and kneaded for a minute. That’s what allows the sheets to form a seal. Just keep in mind that the wrap sticks to itself rather than to the bowl containing the food. They can also be frozen for up to 30 days.

After use, they should be rinsed in cool water and, if necessary, gently washed with soap that doesn’t contain alcohol — which can degrade the finish — in lukewarm (not hot) water.

Kliin cloths are machine washable; air drying will make them last longer.

Paper towels can be wasteful, so I was eager to try samples from yet another Canadian company, KLIIN, which makes cloths (starting from $5) that are a cross between conventional paper towels and wash cloths. KLIIN cloths proved to be useful for chores like wiping surfaces, doing dishes, and washing outdoor furniture. The manufacturers claim one KLIIN cloth replaces 17 rolls of paper towels. A $15 roll of thinner towels has five, nine-by-nine-and-a-half-inch sheets, and is available online at www.kliin.co or at select retailers.

Kliin towels come in happy colours and fun designs that brighten the kitchen.

Vicky Sanderson is the editor of Around the House www.aroundthehouse.ca. Follow her on Instagram @athwithvicky, on Twitter @ATHwithVicky and on FB at www.facebook.com/ATHWithVicky

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Why wait to enjoy your backyard?

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Why wait to enjoy your backyard?

As temperatures slowly start to warm up here in Ontario, it’s easy to imagine spending more time outdoors. I’m here to give you a few simple tips on how you can create your very own luxurious backyard retreat — no passport or suitcase required. Now is the time to get those projects finished so that you can get the most out of your backyard this season. Are you ready to own a little piece of paradise? If so, keep reading.

CURATED ZONES
By creating distinct zones in your outdoor living space, you create several customized, livable areas. This not only makes your yard more functional, but also more luxurious because you are optimizing the space for maximum enjoyment. Think of resorts where there’s the pool area, the cabana, the outdoor bar, barbecue, the yoga area, the tennis courts… okay, you might not be adding a tennis court but you get the idea. Try using large area rugs to ground these spaces. They will help distinguish one area from another, and make each space feel more pulled together. Lighting can also help with this. Hanging light pendants from above will create a more intimate atmosphere, while placing lights on the ground offer an open and airy environment. While area rugs and lighting are important considerations when creating the type of retreat you want, the most important question to ask yourself is: How will you be using your space?

BODACIOUS PLANTS
Try to incorporate a good balance of hardscape and softscape in your outdoor retreat. Think about those luxurious walkways at resorts that guide you to the pool area. Not only are they colourful, they are also calming and restorative. The stone-work surface surrounded by the lush greenery feels so indulgent. Look to replicate this vibe. By adding plants of varying heights and an eclectic mix of planters, you can create a space that feels beautifully curated. When it comes to plants, the more the merrier. Just ask your local greenhouse which plants require less maintenance, that is, if you don’t have a green thumb.

COOL GADGETS
Of course, nothing says luxury more than cool gadgets that get the conversation started. This summer, I recommend trying out the brand new Space Grill. It’s the world’s very first, full-sized, three-burner, fold-down, gas grill. The space-saving design allows you to mount it on an outside wall, or hang it on a stand so that it takes up as little space as possible. It also looks so stylish. Watch THIS video to see what I’m talking about. It’s available at all three Barbecue World locations.

TRENDY ACCESSORIES
When it comes to accessories, I’d encourage sticking to tone-on-tone neutrals. Think black, white, taupe and navy, as these colours work well together and tend to give a lavish feel to your space. By adding pops of bright colour, you tend to make the space feel more casual. Think of the really high-end resorts – you’d usually find white-canopied beds, black loungers, white towels … you get the picture, right? To create the same luxurious feel in your own backyard, stick with a similar palette. In fact, Airmiles has a brand new rewards catalogue with 200 additions. I used my miles to get the Napoleon Healthy Choice Starter Kit – the perfect accessory for grilling this season. Collectors from coast to coast can select from a variety of barbecues, patio furniture and accessories.

LOW-LYING FURNITURE
In 2019, low-lying outdoor furniture is trending. This comfortable yet stylish look tends to give off a luxe vibe. The good news is, there are some fantastic options that can give you this look without breaking the bank. My favourite this season is Hampton Bay Park Heights this collection set from The Home Depot.

WRAP-UP
So there you have it. A few simple tips on how you can create a luxurious retreat in your own backyard. Now let’s hope we get some warm weather sooner rather than later.

Jaclyn Harper is a TV host, interior stylist and new mom living in Burlington, Ontario. You may recognize her from shows like Tiny Talent Time, Morning Live First Edition and The Shopping Channel. She has also worked behind the scenes for the Property Brothers’ Show, Buying And Selling. When Jaclyn’s not on TV or creating beautiful designs, you’ll find her latest projects on her blog jaclynharperdesigns.com. From DIYs, design projects to life as a new mom, her lifestyle blog and YouTube channel give her fans a peek into her family life.

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