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First glance

Front entrance ideas

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Front entrance ideas

Exterior landscape design by Samantha Kleinknecht • Photos: Alex Lukey

Toronto, and pretty much all of Ontario for that matter, is a sellers’ market. Demand is high, housing stock is low, and competition is cut-throat – and that’s putting it mildly. If you’re selling your home, you have the upper hand, but you should still do what you can to increase your investment value – and your overall selling price.

Did you know? According to a recent survey by the Ontario Real Estate Association, only two per cent of homebuyers said a home’s exterior and landscaping didn’t factor into their buying decision. That’s a whopping 98 per cent of people who consider a home’s curb appeal when shopping the market. Interesting, right?

Curb appeal is all about creating a desirable and inviting exterior, to catch people’s eye and make that first positive impression from the curb. Decades ago, most home-hunters would pile into their car every Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 4 p.m., and drive around looking for open houses. When something caught their eye, it was a must-see. That’s curb appeal. Today, curb appeal is more about attracting buyers online with great listings photos. Whether we’re talking in person or online, your home’s exterior is the first impression people get, and it will be a big factor in their decision to take a closer look or keep moving to the next, perhaps slightly nicer listing.

Here are some of my strategies to attract more buyers – and offers!

Paint

Depending on your home and its condition, this could be a big or a small job. but all things considered, it’s the most cost-effective way to freshen up your home. When it comes to choosing colours, don’t be too trendy. As we all know, trends come and go. Instead, opt for longevity and choose something in line with the neighbourhood aesthetic. Also, consider what’s happening next door. Avoid duplicating your neighbours’ colour schemes, which can make homes look odd side-by-side. Anything that’s peeling or appears discoloured will benefit from a fresh coat, including your front door and porch, shutters, window trim and garage.

Entrance area

Create an instant stylish welcome to the porch area with a new mailbox, light fixture and house numbers. make a seasonal vignette with planters flanking the door and walkway leading to the front door and porch.

Landscaping

When assessing your home’s curb appeal, don’t discount the importance of the yard. Outdoor space has become even more critical in the wake of the pandemic, which has prompted many homebuyers to look for homes with outdoor amenities. Manicured gardens, patios and decks have become huge selling features, especially in some inner-city neighbourhoods where access to green space is limited. Furthermore, landscaping is an upgrade that immediately increases your property value, and that value increases as your trees grow. During the warmer months, ensure the lawn is mowed, flowers planted, bushes and trees trimmed. Consider planting some hearty, cold-weather plants to bring life and detail to that bleak, wintery scene. Add outdoor lighting to highlight different areas and unique features.

Driveway

Admittedly, this upgrade is less sexy than the others, but it’s just as important. nothing ages a home at first glance like a cracked driveway, broken front steps or displaced patio stones. If the exterior is uncared for, potential buyers may assume interior elements have not been well maintained. Furthermore, don’t risk deterring buyers or tempting them to lower their offers in anticipation of repairs. Correct these issues before putting your home on the market. Curb appeal is a critical part of the home selling process, and paying a little attention to your home’s exterior can go a long way to attracting more interested buyers and higher offers. Especially now, with in-person showings limited and more house-hunting being conducted online or from the street, curb appeal can be just the thing to tip the scales in your favour.

Heather Hadden, Principal at Hadden Homes, notable top real estate professional in the GTA is focused on providing comprehensive full-service support for all new and existing homeowners.


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The hottest hues you can expect for 2021

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The hottest hues you can expect for 2021

We can all agree 2020 was not the start to the decade that any of us expected. With all its unpredictability, there’s been a renewed emphasis and appreciation for the power of the home. We now expect our home to do more for us than ever. They need to be schools for our children, a new workplace for parents and ultimately serve as a sanctuary, shielding us from the world outside.

At the core of it all, colour is an essential component in helping to form its metaphorical armour. It can change the way we think, impact the actions we take and significantly shift the way we feel. I can think of many moments where the colour of a specific space has lowered my heart rate and provided an extra hit of dopamine. Colour is one of the most natural and powerful ways to transform a space and temper our emotions.

The hottest hues you can expect for the new year

The desire for “spa-like” spaces has gained significant traction in the past year. At Louis Duncan-He Designs, we’ve had more and more clients ask for not just bathrooms, but also bedrooms to be designed with a focused Zen sensibility. And Benjamin Moore’s Colour of the Year for 2021, Agean Teal, demonstrates this trend. Our bedroom palette boards are filled with panelled and feature walls in soft teals, calming blues and subtle pastel greens. Clients want bedrooms that are designed to make it virtually impossible to carry any remnants of the day’s stressors into them, and this will surely be a trend that will transition into 2021.

As a result of more people working from home, we’ve also noticed a natural shift in common living and working spaces. Bold and energetic jewell tones have become staple choices for those striving to harness creativity and make a statement in offices, dining rooms and kitchens. Jewelled tones and yellows pair perfectly with Benjamin Moore’s 2021 palette favourites, Chestertown Buff and Potters Clay, to create the perfect mix of understated drama. They work incredibly well with natural elements such as moss, black iron and natural brick. Layering richer and more vibrant accents such as Pantone’s Marigold hue, add the perfect bohemian look, injecting life and personality. There will always be the desire to create vibrancy and depth; however, a more understated and thoughtful set of jewelled tones feed our senses and the soul.

Being housebound means bringing the outdoors in is exponentially more important, providing us with the calming effects of nature and wanderlust. A strong ode to nature has been a popular trend that the design community continues to embrace. Sherwin-Williams Colour of the year for 2021, Urbane Bronze, serves as the perfect backdrop for soft earth tones such as sand, and blues and greens, blending the timeless mix of elegance and organic. Pairing them with natural textures such as unfinished wood and touches of rattan and wicker help actualize the indoor/outdoor effect, creating spaces that are serene, meditative and grounded in the familiar.

We all eagerly await what the next 12 months will bring, and all we can do is try to fortify our homes in ways that will elicit joy, spark growth and ultimately make us feel safe. And that’s the magic of colour. It’s one of the few aspects in the world that can communicate everything we need without having to actually say anything. With a future that is currently so much in the grey, think of ways to reinvigorate your space and make sure to dream in full colour.

Designer Louis Duncan-He is Creative Director and Principal of Louis Duncan-He Designs. This notable Calgary-tand Montreal-based boutique design firm offers complete residential design services throughout Canada. With a distinct timeless perspective, they create unified authentic designs. louisdhe.com

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Quaint quarters

5 ways to make your pint-sized pad feel more spacious

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5 ways to make your pint-sized pad feel more spacious

Photos: Larry Arnal

Tiles

Add some spice with a patterned tile, maybe a mini-mosaic or even bold geometric design. Play with the application, why not bring them from the floor to the wall to create a full-on moment. Make sure you grab samples so you can try out some interesting patterns and configurations. Make it unique. A smaller space requires less product, so even if you’re designing something one of a kind, it likely won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Wallpaper

Wallpaper is amazing with a capital A when it comes to creating a wham, bam, pop or pow in your small space. Our design firm believes you can never go wrong with a bold floral wallpaper. There are thousands out there to choose from. Try to think of some of the things you like the most, such as colour, style, pattern, material or texture, before you start to look for your perfect wall covering. You don’t want to get sucked down the wallpaper rabbit hole. Trust us when we say you will blink and it will be four hours later, you won’t know where you are, what your name is, or what you’re having for dinner. Consider this a friendly warning!

Paint

Splash that colour! If you have a pint-sized space, why not use it as an opportunity to splash a beautiful colour that makes your heart happy. We love to incorporate pops of colour on cabinetry, walls and even ceilings. Paint is the quickest and most cost-effective way to transform any space. Don’t be afraid of dark colours in small spaces – they can make a teeny-tiny space look even bigger, as long as there is contrast.

Wall decor

Don’t forget the earrings, and by earrings, we mean wall decor. Think of it like this: You aren’t going to get all dressed up but not put on earrings. They’re a must! Wall decor is important; however, in a small space, you have to be mindful of the scale of the piece you are putting up. Try using large white matting and a thin metal frame to keep your art piece simple, updated and stylish.

Lighting

This may seem like an obvious tip, but sometimes it’s overlooked. Make sure you are choosing lighting that will appropriately illuminate your space. Try to allow multi-layered lighting; we find that in smaller spaces, there are sometimes more shadow spots. Focus on how your room functions for you; keep in mind task, ambient and decorative lighting can all be used to create an amazing lighting scheme.

Don’t be afraid to take a few risks in a small space. More than likely you will be rewarded with a special little spot that packs a punch! Make it beautiful and make it yours.

*****

SOURCE: CONTRACTING AND MILLWORK by Hartley Built. Hartleybuilt.com | PAINT: FIRST LIGHT (pink), CHANTILLY lace (white), VINTAGE VOGUE (darker green), Hollingworth GREEN (light green) by Benjamin Moore. benjaminmoore.ca | FURNITURE by Article. article.com | DRAPERY AND ROMAN BLINDS, custom design | FAUCETS by Delta. delta.ca | LIGHTING by Kuzco. kuzcolighting.com | LIGHTING by Matteo. lightingcanada.com

Award-winning Designer Michelle Berwick is the Principal & Creative Founder of Michelle Berwick Design. This notable GTA firm has become sought after for providing livable, stylish and uniquely personal interiors.


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4 simple home upgrades you can do yourself

4 simple DIY projects for the home

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4 simple DIY projects for the home

DIY projects are both super exciting and a great way to save some money. After all, you will be doing all of the work yourself and learn quite a bit about home maintenance. Simple home upgrades are not complicated at all, but they might take some time to complete. So if you are willing to put in the work, the results will be stunning.

We live in a time when everything is available online, including home upgrade tutorials. Many websites will offer you step by step guidance with these projects. But remember to keep your private information safe while browsing. One of the best tools for that is a VPN. What is a VPN? This nifty tool will secure your internet connection. It can also give you a warning when you try to load a potentially dangerous website.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best home projects you can do yourself!

Change your room with a fresh coat of paint

You can give a full makeover to any room in your home by simply painting the walls. This DIY project is not complicated at all, and you can complete it in just one weekend. If the current state of your walls is not great and you want to refresh them a bit, pick a color that you like, and get ready for some work.

The right color can completely change the mood of your home. For instance, bright colours such as peach and white can open up space and make it appear bigger. Of course, there are some guidelines you need to follow along the way. You will need to invest in some painting tools as well. Buy different types of brushes, tape, and floor covers. The whole process is fun, and your entire family can help out.

More yellow light

New light fixtures can also do wonders for the ambiance in general. White light bulbs have become a standard in the last couple of years, but they could sometimes be too bright. Yellow light bulbs give more warmth to a room and make you feel relaxed. This DIY hack will not take too much time as you only have to change the bulbs around your home. However, go for LED ones because they are durable and will last longer.

If you are set on improving the lighting situation in your home, consider installing dimmers. These allow you to select the right brightness in each room. Plus, the dimmers are not too expensive but will improve your quality of life. Replace your standard light switches with dimmers and create the perfect mood, regardless of the time of the day.

Decorate your space with plants

Greenery can make any space look more polished and beautiful. Place a couple of potted plants on your shelves or around your home, and you will notice the difference right away. You can start by selecting house plants that are easy to keep alive. These don’t need too much attention, so you can occasionally forget about them. Succulents are another great option because they are small and can survive long periods without water.

Those of you who travel a lot can also go for faux flowers. There is no need to worry about watering these plants all the time. And the best part about faux greenery is that you can pick and choose flowers and create unique decorations or bouquets. But make sure you buy high-quality artificial plants. They could be more expensive but are also super realistic.

Organize your closet

It might seem like a basic home improvement project, but a well-organized closet can make a huge difference. Plus, you won’t be needing any tools unless you want to build more shelves or rearrange the existing ones. Start by cleaning out your entire closet and then sort out the clothes. There are probably some garments you don’t wear anymore, so donate them if they are in good shape.

It will create more room and you will be able to sort out the clothes in a way you find useful. You can make a whole system that could help you find what you are looking for right away. Sort out your clothes by seasons, colours, use or anything you want. Closet organizers and boxes can help you make more space in your closet and keep everything nice and tidy. Don’t forget to wipe the shelves and clean the dust before you put the clothes back in.


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10 common misconceptions about paint

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10 common misconceptions about paint

Benjamin Moore common misconceptions about paint

Homeowners are likely familiar with the many misconceptions about painting such as: trim and ceilings can only be painted white, or dark paint colours make a room look smaller. The truth is, there are many misconceptions about paint and Benjamin Moore colour and design expert, Sharon Grech, explains 10 of the most common misconceptions and why they’re false.

 

1: Ceilings must be white

There’s no need to shy away from using colour for your ceiling, says Grech. “If you’re going with a neutral colour for the walls and trim, a colourful ceiling can really bring a space to life.” For example, adding a light green ceiling such as Benjamin Moore Soft Fern 2144-40 in a high gloss finish to an all-white kitchen can add interest, or opt for a pop of colour in a neutral low light bathroom with a red ceiling in Benjamin Moore Million Dollar Red 2003-10.

 

2: Dark colours make a room feel small

It is a very common belief that dark colours make a room feel smaller, when in reality they add character and create a perception of depth. “Dark wall colours tend to blur the edges of a room, which can make a space appear larger,” says Grech. Of course, how we “feel” in a room has more to do with mood, than size, so consider that a darker colour will generally feel more intimate and cozier while a paler colour more fresh and serene.

 

3: Too much white is uninviting

Contrary to popular belief, white can soften, soothe and even warm up a room. According to Grech, “if you chose the right white for the space, paying attention to its undertones, and complement it with both pattern and texture, a “white” space can feel warm and welcoming or cool and contemporary.” Tried and true whites such as Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace OC-65 and Decorator’s White CC-20 maintain just enough warmth that they don’t appear stark or come across as yellow.

 

4: Every wall should be the same colour

Believe it or not, adding more than one colour to a space with the use of an accent wall has many benefits. “An accent wall is an economical design solution that can add character and depth to elevate and accentuate key elements of the home,” says Grech. Just a little colour goes a long way to define a separate zone in a room or act as a divider without adding walls or repositioning furniture. The key to maintaining harmony is repetition and is as simple as repeating the accent colour in small touches throughout adjacent rooms with accessories and artwork.

Benjamin Moore common misconceptions about paint 2

 

5: Any neutral tone will work with a small space

While neutral colours seem like the safest choice, not every neutral paint colour is the right fit for a small space. It’s important to look around your room and determine if your furnishings and textiles have warm or cool undertones. Warm undertones, like yellows and reds, pair best with creamy or sandy neutrals, where furnishings with blue or violet undertones pair best with greyer neutrals. “Benjamin Moore Colour of the Year for 2019, Metropolitan AF-690, is a very balanced neutral grey with the ability to work well with both!” says Grech.

 

6: Trims must be white

Just like ceilings, trims don’t have to be white for colours to work together. This is especially true with door trims, says Grech. “A coloured trim against a neutral wall will showcase a room’s unique architecture. Or consider a graphic outline effect by painting the baseboards and door trim a contrasting colour like black in a white room or hallway.”

 

7: Paint can be applied with any brush or roller

There are several things to consider before painting a new space including the application tools. “If you are using a water-based paint such as acrylic or latex, it is best to use a synthetic hair brush. A natural bristle brush is better for oil-based paints,” says Grech. “Rollers with a higher pile nap such as 15mm are best for lower sheen paints while glossier paints are applied more easily with a low nap roller. It’s best to check with your local Benjamin Moore paint retailer for the correct brush and product pairings.”

Benjamin Moore common misconceptions about paint 3

 

8: White is not appropriate for a kitchen

Although white may not seem like the most practical paint choice for the most stain prone space in the home, painting a kitchen white can instantly brighten and energize the room. White is like a blank canvas that allows homeowners to be more creative and colourful with kitchen appliances, backsplashes and countertops. “I always recommend Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa for kitchens and bathrooms as it is our most durable matte finish paint that stands up to humidity and mess-prone areas like the kitchen,” says Grech.

 

9: Paint and primer are one in the same

Think of primer like a protective adhesive for your paint. “Applying the appropriate primer is crucial to delivering long lasting, exceptional results,” says Grech. Design choices like the finish of a given paint colour can also be affected by preparation with a primer. “High sheen finish will highlight imperfections on a wall, so it’s critical to sand the wall smooth if necessary and prime prior to painting.” Work with your local Benjamin Moore paint retailer to ensure you are selecting the right product and finish.

 

10: Any good quality paint can work in a bathroom

Bathrooms are typically one of the most humid rooms in the home and can cause certain paints to break apart, resulting in surfactant leaching and accelerated mildew growth. So, traditionally, it was recommended to use a high gloss or even oil-based paint in the bathroom. “With Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa, you can now enjoy a smooth, matte finish even in the bathroom. It is ideal for high-humidity environments because it’s mildew resistant and stands up to repeated washing with no colour rub-off,” says Grech.

 

RELATED READING

Benjamin Moore names its Colour of the Year 2019

Benjamin Moore Announces its Colour of the Year 2018

 

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Front porch makeover

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Front porch makeover

By Jaclyn Harper

Well friends, fall is officially here. Have you started your fall decorating yet? Personally, I think the best way to kick off the season is with an updated front porch or entry. With that said, today I’m giving you five tips to instantly transform your front porch.

Paint
This may seem daunting to a lot of you, but you’d be amazed at how much paint can transform your space. Last year, we painted the brick of our home. The transformation is honestly incredible. Our home went from old and dated to new and modern. Of course, getting your brick stained can be much more expensive than simply painting your front door. In fact, we did paint our front door and our garage, too.

When we purchased our home they were white and they looked dirty. We thought that this coffee brown colour looked amazing against our new grey brick and would hide the dirt as well. So why not give your front door a refresh? It’s simple, it’s inexpensive and it’s fun. Plus, it’s so simple to change the colour if you want to in the future.

If you pop into Lowe’s they have the new HGTV Home By Sherwin Williams line, which makes shopping for your paint colour really easy. I’m thinking I’m going to repaint our door a light blue to give it a burst of colour.

Texture
For fall you definitely want to incorporate different textures on your front porch to bring it to life. I’m talking about corn stalks, hay bales, birch logs, textured pillows and throw blankets. All of these things help to create a cozy and inviting entry to your home. These items are also a great way to play with different heights and will help add some dimension to your space.

Corn stalks can be really dramatic, which I love. Using hay bales to add height can be helpful, too. They make for great fall side tables, stools or pedestals for your fall accessories.

Accessories
Speaking of accessories, you can’t go wrong with pumpkins. But don’t go crazy — when you choose a lot of smaller accessories your space can look very cluttered very quickly. And make sure you’re choosing some larger elements so that people can see your items from the street. Stand on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street to see how it’s all coming together.

These days a lot of people are actually purchasing their accessories online. So, if you’re shopping online already, go to airmilesshops.ca and get miles at the same time! They’ve added a bunch of new brands like Etsy, Wayfair and Ticketmaster, in addition to the 175 brands they already have. In fact, the pillows, the black lanterns and the magnolia wreath are all ordered from Wayfair. Everything else on my front porch was picked up at Lowe’s. We found a really fun blue and black doormat there this year

Colour
The easiest way to add some colour is with flowers. Mums are great for this time of year, but there really are so many options to choose from. I think it’s important to start by figuring out what your colour palette is going to be. You can look on Pinterest or head to Lowe’s Ideas and Tips section to get inspired. Once you’ve decided on your palette — stick with three colours — then it’s time to pick out your flowers. This year I’ve chosen to use navy, white and green. Of course, you can also add colour in your throw pillows, your throw blankets, your doormat and in your flower pots.

Lighting
It’s really easy to update the look of your home with some new lighting. Whether it’s a wall sconce, ceiling light, solar lighting along the walkway, or just adding some lanterns, it’s easy to update your home. If you look outside and notice that you’ve had the same wall sconce for about five years, it’s probably time for a change.

At Lowe’s there is such a variety of lights to choose from. That’s where we found ours and it was only $22 at the time. Total bargain right?

Well, I really hope you get to try out these tips for yourself. I’d love to share your front porch makeover on my Instagram page and all you have to do is use the hashtag #jhdfrontporch. I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with.

Jaclyn Harper is a TV host, interior stylist and busy mother. http://jaclynharperdesigns.com/

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Exterior Decorating

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Exterior Decorating

Usually the fancy painting goes on the inside of the house. A Florida couple painted the exterior of their home to look like Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night for their 25-year-old autistic son. The artwork made headlines when local bylaw officers tried to get them to paint it a solid colour. City council recently ruled they could leave it as is.

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High ceilings… or are they?

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High ceilings… or are they?

Tricks to make your ceilings appear higher

One of your home’s defining features is its ceiling. High ceilings make a room feel more open and airy, while low ceilings can often result in a cosy, or sometimes cramped atmosphere.

As an interior decorator, I’m often tasked with making a space look and feel bigger than it actually is. Don’t be fooled, this is not magic. Just a few tricks of the trade. Short of a full-blown renovation, there are some optical illusions I like to employ to bring perceived height to a space.

One way to fool the eye is with floor-to-ceiling curtains. Purchase full-length curtains and hang them a few inches above your window frame to imply a larger window.

By the same token, low-profile furniture can also create the illusion of higher ceilings. Think uncomplicated pieces with vertical, tailored lines. Lower profile pieces can help emphasize the distance between the furniture and the ceiling, with uninterrupted sight lines from one end of the room to the other.

When it comes to the colour palette, think light, bright and airy. Darker colours tend to make a space feel cosier and yes, smaller.

DECORATOR’S PICKS: Check out Moonshine, Grey Owl and French Canvas by Benjamin Moore, or Decorator’s Grey by CIL.

Once your space is ready for furniture, arrange it to create “high corners.” Place tall items such as apartment plants and floor lamps in the corners of the room to draw the eye s far as possible and make the ceiling recede.

A “disappearing” ceiling is the easiest way to make it seem higher. Out of sight, out of mind right? In this case, I avoid ceiling fans or low-hanging lighting, which can draw unwanted attention to a low ceiling. Opt instead for streamlined pot lights, or layer floor and table lamps to ensure enough light where needed. If you have your heart set on a chandelier, suspend it a few inches higher than you normally would. Like your curtains, a higher chandelier will naturally draw the eye upward.

My final tip, though not as sexy as chandeliers and colour palettes, will truly make or break your space. I’m talking clutter. Nothing eats up visual space more than stuff on every surface. Ensure you incorporate sufficient storage when planning your space, so everything has a proper home. This can come in the form of built-in shelving, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, or nice wicker baskets to wrangle the chaos. The result is a room that looks and feels bigger, brighter and by all accounts, better!

Achieving the illusion of a higher ceiling can be as simple as arranging your existing furniture and accessories to accentuate the right features of your space, while drawing attention away from others. Think tall, think bright and set your sights high. That low ceilings is looking up already!

About the Author: Toronto-based, award-winning Interior Stylist, Red Barrinuevo is an Interior Decorator and Principal of Redesign4more, servicing clients in Toronto and the GTA. The firm’s known for enhancing and creating stylish yet functional spaces through their creative home staging and interior styling services. www.redesign4more.com

*Article courtesy of EiEiHome

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Urine Trouble

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Urine Trouble

Paint maker Valspar and UK retailer B&Q have agreed to pay to repaint customer’s homes after the paint they purchased came with an unwanted side effect: it smelled like cat pee. Some people likened it to more of a dead animal odour. Regardless, the warmer the weather, the worse the smell got.
It’s believed that a batch of paint cans were afflicted with a bacterial infection that, once it was applied to walls began to off-gas hydrogen sulphide, which is usually described as “rotten eggs” smell.
One microbiologist suggested ever-tightening EU restrictions on the use of preservatives in products could be partly to blame for the problem.

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Domestice Details: Picture-Perfect Paint Tips

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Domestice Details: Picture-Perfect Paint Tips

Innovative formulas offer style shortcuts to refreshed rooms

Without a doubt, the easiest, most affordable way to transform a room is with a fresh coat of paint, which can change everything from the tone of the interior light to which colours stand out in furnishings, art and accessories.

Now, special formulations also make it possible to paint everything from walls to textile to furniture, with new options for texture and sheen.

IT’S NOT JUST PAINT

Dulux Paints, for example, has introduced two-step, light-reflecting products with burnished finishes called Venetian Silk and Liquid Metal.

Low humidity and moderate temperatures make fall a great time to paint outdoors.

In June, Benjamin Moore introduced to the Canadian market Century paint, an “ultra-premium” collection of 75 new colours with a suede-like matte finish. The saturated tones were inspired by gems, minerals, spices, herbs and plants—many of which were among the original sources of paint pigments.

SENSE OF TOUCH

Benjamin Moore paint expert Sharon Grech thinks the soft finish will be especially appealing to those who embrace hand- and custom made design. “People are looking for the handcrafted. Here, you don’t just see the colour, the experience becomes tactile.”

With some patience, and a steady hand, DIY paint stripes can define a room.

If a whole room re-do isn’t feasible, tired furniture and thrift-shop finds can be given new life with easy-to-use chalks paints from Annie Sloan or milks paints from Toronto based Homestead Paints.

WHERE TO START?

Many people, says Grech, want to “dive into colour” but are unsure about how to choose a shade that’s liveable and long lasting. For inspiration, she suggests looking to a beloved print or a treasured souvenir from a family trip that can serve as a starting point for a palette.

“Pick a favourite colour, and make the room about what you love,” she says.

However you arrive at the perfect hue, the following tips will produce a more professional-looking result.

EXPERT PAINT TIPS

“If you want a premium job, do premium preparation,” says Grech. That means cleaning walls, filling holes, and repairing damaged areas. Smooth these out with sandpaper and give the entire wall a final light sanding and wipedown. Use the correct primer for the paint. Check the surface again after priming, as it can sometimes reveal imperfections.

Good lighting is critical to a superior paint job. Floor lamps with the shades removed work well for this.

The Dulux website (which has a series of how-to videos) explains that rollers—ideal for painting large areas and ceilings—come in foam, mohair or sheepskin, and with various lengths of pile. The type of roller you need depends on the paint. For example, they suggest that foam rollers don’t typically work well with latex paints, as the spongy texture can produce an orange-peel effect.

Chalk paints are forgiving and fun to use.

Dulux advises that brushes made from natural bristles should not be used in water-based paints—they absorb water and swell, destroying the shape of the brush—and that synthetic brushes that stand on their bristles in solvent will develop a fatal curl.

Always paint from dry to wet, keeping a “wet edge.” Save breaks until you hit a corner rather than in the middle of a wall.

Extension poles aid in rolling longer, more efficient strokes, save bending over to refill, and make a wet edge easier to maintain.

Don’t try and save time or money by getting by on one coat. The pros always do (at least) two in order to get the true development of the colour.

Vicky Sanderson

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY OF FARROW & BALL (TURQUOISE DOOR, STRIPED ROOM WITH DOG), COURTESY OF ANNIE SLOAN (COLOURFUL CHEST)

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