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New participants at Kitchen+Bath Canada Expo!

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New participants at Kitchen+Bath Canada Expo!

Kitchen+Bath Canada is Canada’s only trade show dedicated to the Kitchen and Bath industry, featuring shows, StoneTech Canada and Illuminate Canada. The following are among the new participants to the growing number of exhibitors and sponsors at KBC 2021.

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Sasso Canada (Platinum Sponsor)

For more than 40 years, Sassomeccanica has been designing and producing bridge saws, polishers for marble, granite and artificial stone. Sasso designs and produces automatic machines for cutting, shaping, polishing and carving marble, travertine, granite, stones and agglomerates. Simple to use, they find application in the building sector as well as in interiors and furniture, funerary art and sculpture.

GranQuartz (Silver Sponsor)

GranQuartz is the largest distributor of stone tools and equipment across Canada! GranQuartz Canada is committed to sourcing, developing and distributing the most innovative, cost-effective tools from the world’s leading and most trusted brands. GranQuartz Canada teams up with top manufacturers to maintain an unparalleled sourcing pipeline, providing their customer’s unmatched solutions they need to succeed.

CaesarStone (new exhibitor)

CaesarStone Ltd. manufactures engineered quartz surfaces. The company produces quartz kitchen countertops, vanity tops, wall panels, backsplashes, floor tiles, and other interior surfaces including floors and stairs. CaesarStone offers its products to the residential construction and remodelling markets. CaesarStone will be part of KBC’s featured show, StoneTech Canada.

Rev-A-Shelf (new exhibitor)

Rev-A-Shelf manufactures thousands of innovative storage organizing accessories designed for residential stock or custom kitchen, bath or closet cabinetry.

It offers drawer systems, clothing organizers, baskets, blind corners, pullout shelves, drip trays, ironing boards, and other products. The company caters to kitchen dealers, architects, furniture manufactures, cabinet distributors, and many more.

Through this exciting new participation, these companies will have the opportunity to showcase and provide their valuable products and services to their respective industry on a global scale.

Book your space today, as space is limited:kbcexpo.com

Inquire about Kitchen+Bath Canada sponsorship opportunities: kbcexpo.com/contact-us

 

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Builder Best Decor Studio Practices series

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Builder Best Decor Studio Practices series

First in a series of six

Our goal with our Builder Best Decor Studio Practices is to provide industry expertise to builders to have the information they need to be successful and profitable when setting up their decor studio.

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Your decor studio – 3 ways to unleash its potential

Your decor studio holds an incredible potential on many levels to support your brand, uplift the customer journey and provide essential profits to your bottom line.

Homebuyers who have made the choice to purchase a brand-new home, are looking for value, personalization and choice.

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Your decor studio is your greatest opportunity to promote the creation of a home that will match the lifestyle and personal preferences of your homeowners and the promise of your project’s marketing and sales program.

Your decor studio should become a core element of your sales, profitability, and an essential part of your entire marketing cycle.

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Here are three specific ways that your decor studio can become one of your best business assets:

Increase new home sales

Getting homebuyers excited early in the buying process is an important aspect of the marketing and sales process. When you give homebuyers an opportunity to become emotionally connected to the options available to them, you establish an understanding of their needs and in turn their trust.

In our experience, when a homebuyer is unsure to move forward with their purchase decision, the decor studio serves as an additional experience that will support and guide them to reach their ultimate vision. Additionally, when it is time to choose their finishes, they will return to the decor studio, arriving prepared and empowered to make confident decisions.

Elevating the selections experience

The personalization of their new home provides an exceptional opportunity to create an inspiring decor studio program that matches their preferences and needs. Add a positive buying experience inside the studio, accompanied by the right amount of knowledge and guidance along with great customer service and you will have provided a wonderful and memorable experience to your customers who will thank you.

A strong design studio sales program will increase per-home revenue.

Increase your profits through curated choices

We have found the majority of builders have missed opportunities to increase their profitability using their decor studio and developing the right environment and program for the site.

Offering value, choice and personalization with a well-planned and managed decor sales program will inevitably add to your bottom line. We have experienced increases in sales by as much as 30 per cent or more per project year-over-year.

Stay tuned for our second installment of our Builder Best Decor Studio Practices series as we explore how to increase upgrade sales with your homeowners.

Yasmine Goodwin is President of My Design Studio

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Hidden air pollution in our home – the importance of ventilation

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Hidden air pollution in our home – the importance of ventilation

Outdoor air has been regulated for years, but what about the indoor air pollutants that have been hiding in our homes for decades? Apart from the bathrooms, even the kitchens have been proved to contain these harmful particles. Cooking, cleaning and other household activities are generating significant levels of particulate chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOC) inside the home, while hindering the indoor air quality. Frying food on the stove, using a toaster, mopping a floor or even breathing indoors can lead to a major rise in the levels of indoor pollution. According to Environmental Protection Agency, the air we breathe indoors can be five times as polluted as the outdoor air – and that is simply because enclosed areas tend to build up more pollutants than an open space.

In a recent project at Harvard Data Science Initiative, researchers cooked a thanksgiving dinner in a 1,200-sq.-ft. manufactured home, to find out the possible pollutants and particulate matters in the indoor air. They discovered that the levels of fine particulate matter in the home had reached about 285 micrograms per cubic metre. Other research found that these regular indoor activities may give rise to the substances such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide, nitric oxide, and fine particulate matter that end up harming the indoor air.

Among of the appliances that require proper ventilation are gas stoves, as they significant contributors to air pollution in kitchens. They emit nitrogen dioxide when the fuel is burned at a very high temperature. When mixed with the air, they produce toxic organic nitrates and nitric acid that can largely cause irritation in the lungs, while lowering the resistance to respiratory disorders such as influenza. According to research by Environmental Protection Agency, frequent exposure to high concentrations of these particles may cause respiratory diseases in children.

Hence, it is of utmost importance that the kitchen is well-ventilated at all times – mainly, during the cooking process and as well as afterward. And just in case if the food gets burned during cooking, it further leads to harmful emissions such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide that may be extremely toxic for the residents to breathe. It may be quite surprising to know that even the basic tasks such as boiling water on the stovetop flame can end up producing high levels of gaseous air pollutants and suspended particulates indoors. Thus, it is crucial to install a high-quality ventilation fan and a chimney or a range hood, or otherwise open the windows wide open during cooking to let out these harmful particles as much as possible.

A 2001 report published by California Air Resources Board (CARB) stated that cooking fried chicken on a gas stove can produce an average of 400 parts per billion of nitrogen dioxide. And this level is significantly higher as compared to the standards that measure around 250 parts per billion. On the other hand, ovens – whether gas or electric – have the equal potential to produce pollutants such as formaldehyde and particulate matter during regular use. A few activities that cause the most indoor air pollution are the deep frying and browning of food products. Mainly, heating ingredients at a high temperature with oil or fat concentration may emit polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAC) and particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10) that majorly cause eye and respiratory irritation.

Do you smell that pleasing aroma from the foods when they’re getting grilled or simply toasted? Well, yes! That is when the compounds such as brown carbon (particulate matter) and VOCs are being released. Moreover, even multi-tasking in the kitchen may seem obviously efficient and time-consuming – but the fact is that this combination may exponentially decrease the potential air quality of your kitchen. For instance, cooking with teriyaki sauce and simultaneously cleaning with bleach may produce toxins such as chloramines that are known to cause respiratory inflammation. Or also cleaning with bleach while using a gas burner simultaneously may produce nitryl chloride that causes coastal smog formation. Some of the common VOCs present in the kitchen indoor air are benzene, xylene, tetrachloroethylene, methylene chloride, ethylene glycol and toluene.

It is crucial to maintaining the air quality of the kitchen, since there is considerable time spent there. So, step by step, no matter how small, make the effort to improve the quality of your kitchen’s air. First and foremost, gas combustion produces PM2.5 which is almost double what an electric stove produces (PM2.5 is one of the deadliest air pollutants). Another major gas found is CO that is caused by gas stoves in kitchens that are poorly ventilated. This gas has been proved to cause cardiovascular diseases amongst the vulnerable populations that have existing coronary heart diseases. To annul this issue, it is important to prioritize ventilation primarily in the kitchens.

Firstly, it is important to use exhaust hoods and fans. Secondly, it is notable to check whether the existing hood doesn’t end up recirculating air rather than completely venting outside. And thirdly, checking the performance for hoods is noteworthy. It should mainly expel almost 98 per cent of the harmful emissions existing in the air. Another way to increase ventilation is by simply running the entire HVAC system while cooking in the kitchen. Hence, it is definitely a given that human health and wellness are primary. And keeping in mind the fact that homeowners tend to spend a lot of their time cooking, it further becomes primary. To prioritize ventilation and efficiently optimizing the use of kitchen equipment is necessary to propagate a healthy indoor environment.

Since 2009, Linda has been a valuable and trusted resource for the residential interior design/build industry. She is an advocate for inclusive age-free design (universal design) and is one of Canada’s leading experts on living in place, accessibility and wellness design for the home. As an accredited WELL AP, Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), Linda offers an unparalleled understanding for creating “forever” homes with wellness features for clients of all ages and abilities.

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How to create a financial plan for your interior design business

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How to create a financial plan for your interior design business

Jaime Bako, Business Development Manager at Design Docs, wrote this article on behalf of DDA Canada.

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As the owner of an independent decorating firm, you know how important it is to review the business periodically and to set goals and financial plans for the long term. Even though we are well into 2021, it’s never too late to start! Crunched for time, or, have no idea where to begin?

Here are our top tips for to help you achieve financial success:

1. Financial plan: Develop a high-level financial plan for your business. Start by looking at your total sales, cost of goods, total expenses, and net income from last year. Are your numbers where you want them to be? If not, consider where you would like to be at the end of 2021.

2. Fees: Next, it’s time to review a few key reports that focus on your sales. For fees, if you work off an hourly rate look at total hours and dollars by project, including all the hours not billed – if you have tracked your non-billable hours, you can accurately see how much time you are leaving on the table. Doing this will allow you to see what projects work better than others for you, so you can try to target those in the future. It may also reveal opportunities to correct any internal procedures or sourcing decisions that might have led to an excessive amount of unbillable time. This is the time to consider questions, such as, are you really billing all the time you work? What would be the impact if you increase your rates, even a little? Also, look at all the time worked generally in the business that was not billed to clients – this could also include how much time you spend attending seminars, blogging or other activities.

If you charge a flat design fee, ideally, you would have tracked your time, even though you’re not necessarily charging for it on an hourly basis. That way, you can identify how many hours you’ve spent on past projects to gauge how profitable they were for your business. Are you consistently putting in more work than you’re charging your client for? It might be time to consider whether your design fee is accurately representing the work you’re putting in, so you can charge your clients more appropriately for future projects.

3. Goods: After analyzing your fees, have a look at the goods side of the business. Specifically, review your product sales and the cost of those sales. If you are using a business management software, you could also look at your gross profit by project, by supplier, and by product category. Each of these will help you to decide if you want to make any changes moving forward. For starters, it will show you the type of project that has the best impact on your business and that can affect your marketing decisions. It can also reveal plenty about your suppliers which could lead to tightening ties with some and loosening with others.

4. Overhead expenses: Review your overhead expenses to see if anything can be reduced in the future. A key consideration here is whether costs that really relate directly to projects and should be passed on to clients are slipping into your overheads. Some examples could include building permits, printing costs, courier charges and additional freight fees. If you look at all these small expenses, and then multiply them by the number of projects you have, it’s surprising how quickly they can add up. By reviewing your overhead expenses, this can help you identify if your bottom line is being impacted, and by how much.

5. Additional support: Lastly, consider hiring additional support. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive, especially if you’re focused on limiting costs and hitting specific revenue goals. However, by investing more in support for your team, either internal or outsourced, it can have a positive, long-term impact on your bottom line. For example, if you’re spending a lot of your time on non-billable administrative work, you have less time to spend with clients that may be billable. Similarly, if you are attempting to do your book-keeping yourself, you could invest a small amount in a monthly bookkeeper to help lighten the load. That way, you have more time to invest in other areas of your business to bring in more revenue.

A simple plan and an annual review like this can get you motivated to grow the business and realistically meet your financial goals this year. You will be surprised at the impact that these changes can make. Having long-term targets also keeps you focused – so, be sure to keep that up by checking in on your progress throughout the year to see whether you’re on track.

Jaime Bako, Business Development Manager at Design Docs, wrote this article on behalf of DDA Canada.

 

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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.

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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
    evenly.
  3. Marinate the wings and leave for one hour minimum, for best results overnight in the
    refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the grill to 300F. Place chicken wings on the grill, reserve marinade left in the
    bowl.
  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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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.
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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.

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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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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.

Plant

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

TRANSCEND (DLX1079-4),

BIG CYPRESS (DLX 1062-5),

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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