Tag Archives: small space

Deck decor - Make your outdoor space a distination oasis

How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

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How to make your outdoor space a hot destination oasis

We Canadians love our backyards, and no wonder. We have been spending so much time at home with COVID-19 that we love to spend more time outside. And stay out there – listening to the birds, the burble of a water feature, watching the sun set, connecting with friends and family, even at a distance.

As the pace of life quickens and our homes shrink in size, the outdoors is literally the last frontier – and the reason why we’re spending so much more on making the backyard, or deck or balcony a destination oasis.

Out with the white plastic chairs and plexiglass tables, in with the fire pits and heaters giving us a much longer outdoor season, deep-seated sectional sofas, teak dining tables and chairs, and strings of lights. Outdoor furniture manufacturers have been eager to meet our need to linger outside with a wider range of furniture, with longer lasting frames, fabrics that retain their shape and water resistance, and cushion foam that stays comfortable.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) Plan out your space according to how you intend to use the deck. If you are a big reader or sun worshipper, but don’t like eating al fresco, set up your space with more living room type furnishings, and tuck a small dining table off to the side and out of the way.

2) Check materials carefully. There’s teak, treated pine, metal mixed with wood, solid aluminum, stainless and wrought iron. Of these, teak and aluminum last the longest, and are probably the most expensive. Teak you need to baby a bit, while aluminum just wipes clean.

3) Consider modular furniture – pieces that fit together as a sectional or stand alone as chairs – for flexibility. You can change the seating arrangement to suit the occasion or your mood.

4) Decks aren’t just for daytime. Small white lights are magical when strung from house to tree. Add candles around the edges of your deck or patio – flameless ones are safer. An ethanol fire pit not only creates mood, but keeps feet warm and can easily be moved around.

5) Music really adds to the ambience – not so loud that your guests can’t hear each other or the neighbours complain, but as background.

6) As for styles, the sky’s the limit, and they can reflect your dream destinations, or they can reflect the decor of your home. Fancy a week in the Hamptons? Check out sectionals in whitewashed and weathered greys – made from resin wicker – with East Coast fabrics such as navy and white stripes (in water repellant fabrics). Prefer life in a Park Avenue brownstone? Then wrought iron with deep charcoal cushions set amidst a row of boxwoods might be better for you.

7) Don’t forget the floor – wood flooring tiles are easy to install, and create an immediate room setting, especially with the concrete of a condo balcony. Add an outdoor rug to pull it all together.

8) There’s nothing like dining al fresco, and if you’re the type who likes tons of people over, an expandable table might be the best choice. Classic wrought iron tables look great and last forever but are pricey. There’s always teak, but it’s pricey, too, so check out budget-friendly teak alternatives that work equally well. If your deck is on the small side, go for stackable dining chairs.

9) Stow outdoor dining essentials – bright coloured table mats and napkins, covered lanterns or candle holders – near the back door or in a waterproof storage bench. Make sure to keep throws handy to ward off the evening chill.

10) An umbrella will shade the table from the sun and rain; one with a tilt arm that can be adjusted to follow the sun all day. The new pergolas do the same and more, especially when fitted with a retractable canopy system or screen to protect against bugs.

11) For privacy, especially on a condo balcony, you can create a privacy wall by positioning a row of evergreens in matching containers along the edges of your deck. Erect lattice or bamboo screening, then add wall mounted planters and a water feature for an instant retreat.

12) Depending on the space you have, hammocks are well worthwhile for the downtime they afford – snoozing or watching the stars. Add colourful pillows and a sea of planters for a cosy destination.

13) Containers are the way to go for gardening. They come in all shapes and sizes and materials (remember that resin is lighter and therefore easier to move). Depending on the direction they face, condo balconies are ideal for herbs and tomatoes, but they need a lot of water, so make sure you have proper drainage. Tropical plants love sun and add a festive air to your deck – you can also bring them in come fall. If you have less direct sunlight, fill tall tapered containers with ornamental grasses for a clean, modern and minimalist look.

14) Just like inside, the deck is made livelier with the addition of some artwork, such as wrought iron grills, architectural salvage, window frames (with or without mirrored glass).

In the end, if you choose any of these tips, who needs a cottage?

Lisa Rogers is Executive Vice-President of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline, a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health, wellness and design.


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Hardwood flooring – Choose the right option for your home

Hardwood flooring – Choose the right option for your home

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Hardwood flooring – Choose the right option for your home

Now that we’re in the dead of winter, it’s a great time to think about changing or installing new hardwood floors. There are so many to choose from, and it’s not only the type of wood, but the layout that is also important. Hardwood is the foundation for your whole house: It’s what warms up your space and adds harmony to each room, tying everything together. I run hardwood everywhere, even my bathrooms, which sometimes shocks people, but to me, it counterbalances cold surfaces and adds a real depth of feel and comfort to my home.

So many options

Herringbone is a timeless hardwood, and it’s also quite trendy right now. If I were to use this particular hardwood, I would save it for one special room in my house, whether that be a foyer or a sitting room. Because it’s a bold pattern, you wouldn’t want to run it throughout too many areas as it can overwhelm your space. It’s also a little more expensive to lay herringbone, so you want to consider that as well.

From oak to black walnut (my personal favourite) and maple, you can choose several different hardwoods, but what you want to think about is the overall style and design of your home. Hardwood is a significant investment, and it’s something you will have to live with for the entire duration you stay in that home, so you want to make sure you take your time and select a hardwood that will stand the test of time, as well as your tastes. The hardwood is your base layer from which you layer everything else on top: Furniture, your soft furnishings, lighting, everything.

Types of finishes

There is a vast spectrum of finishing products, from penetrating oil to oil-like hybrids to polyurethanes, and most finishes fall into one of two categories: Oil or poly.

The oil penetrates the wood and has a soft, matte and natural feel – which is always my preference – but know that because of this, it won’t be impervious to damage or stains like a polyurethane, which creates this hard topcoat on the surface of the wood, making it much more resilient.

Even though oil finishes typically scratch more quickly, they’re straightforward to touch up compared to polyurethane. You would generally need to replace the whole board or buff and recoat the entire section of the floor, which is time-consuming and costly.

Decide the width

You can also select the width of your planks for your wood floor. Many homeowners are gravitating towards wider planks because it can give a sense of luxury: When you go beyond the standard size, it can make it feel somewhat special and unique. But, generally speaking, you need to take into consideration the size of your room: The bigger the room and the higher the ceilings, the wider the plank you should choose.

Lisa Rogers is EVP of Design for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and design.


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How to make your home festive, even if you don't want a tree!

How to make your home festive, even if you don’t want a tree!

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How to make your home festive, even if you don’t want a tree!

Any parent would agree that a lot of the Christmas decorations we bring out this time of year (the tree, stockings, lights) are all because of our children. We love to see their faces light up when the tree goes up, and we cherish all of those lovely traditions we create with our families when we decorate our homes with decorations that come out year after year. It’s a magical time for children, as it should be, but if they have grown older, or moved on to school or beyond, bringing out all those boxes of holiday decor when it may just be two of you at home can be, well, daunting. And is it even necessary?

I’ve always been a bit of a minimalist at heart, especially when it comes to the holiday season. I’m not into oversized decorations that cover my home floor-to-ceiling: I prefer a few, curated trimmings that I sprinkle around to give that holiday feel without going too overboard (and, no, we haven’t done a tree in years!).

Here are some festive ideas to bring the magic of the holidays to your home without feeling like you have to recreate Santa’s workshop:

What’s your palette?

It’s okay if you’re not a big fan of red and green (I’m not either), so instead, lean into tones that will complement your existing decor. Silver, gold, and bronze are lovely, and I do love sprigs of evergreen and cranberries added into the mix too.

For the mantel

For a sophisticated display, keep your pairings minimal. A grapevine branch with evergreen branches and pomegranates would look stunning over your mantle, especially if you pair it with a trio of white candlesticks. I also love the use of in-season produce such as lemons, tangerines, and oranges.


Set a cosy scene by wrapping some twinkling holiday lights around a couple of birch logs either on the mantle (if they can fit) or lying in front of your fireplace. Add some simple votives along the sides for a little extra sparkle.

For an end table or deep windowsill

I love the warm glow of a lit candle, so I would set up several glass candlesticks (varying sizes and heights work) with some gold or silver glass votives. Or take some ordinary pillar candles and wrap each with a piece of festive ribbon to boost the holiday vibe. You could also add a few coloured ornaments in a glass bowl of your choosing.

Front door

If you’re not into a Christmas wreath, a beautiful red velvet bow would be just as impactful – and festive. If you do like wreaths, there are so many sophisticated options available now, beyond the traditional pine branches and pinecones. Pottery Barn always has excellent options come the holiday season.

Light in unexpected places

Instead of stringing lights around your trees, and all the usual spots, drape them around different exterior features: A trellis, birdbaths, large flower pots, and other landscaping features you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Add style to your space by layering some key accessories for the fall season

Add style to your space by layering some key accessories for the fall season

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Add style to your space by layering some key accessories for the fall season

Now that the cooler season is upon us, it’s time to make our homes feel cosy for all of those times we may spend indoors. This decor trend is all about layering up some of your favourite accessories and soft furnishings so your space feels warm, inviting and welcoming for your family and guests.

Here’s some of my favourite suggestions:

Warm up

Cooler fall temperatures mean it’s time to switch up your breezy summer linens for snug duvets that raise the comfort factor in your bedroom. Be open to mixing prints and patterns with your duvet, bed sheets and throw blankets and add interesting textural elements with big pillows in different fabrics.

Living room layers

Consider adding a smaller rug atop your existing rug (or hardwood floor) to add an extra layer of warmth in your living room space (faux hide or a nubby tufted wool would work); add ottomans and warm throw blankets to inspire a space that invites relaxation and lounging on those colder days you don’t feel like leaving the house.


Layer some of your favourite artwork on a fireplace mantle, bedroom dresser or side table mixing small frames leaning against your larger artwork. Switching out your artwork gives your space a fresh, new look for a new season.

That lived-in feel

Quality always trumps quantity: It’s a design philosophy I’ve committed to for as long as I can remember, but in saying that, when it comes to some of your cherished accessories, open shelving is the best way to showcase your collection without feeling like you’re overcrowding your entire space. Layer books, plants, small artwork and picture frames on your shelving, mixing placement and groupings. It will showcase your personality and give your home that lived-in feel.

New lighting

Warmth comes from above, so consider changing the wattage of your light bulbs, depending on the functionality of your room, to create a warmer, softer glow.

Bring the outside in

Natural accents like acorns, leaves and branches can complement your existing floral arrangements by bringing the beauty of the fall season indoors, while a variation of votive and pillar candles scattered throughout your main living areas can cast an intimate, homey glow.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Big Style, Small Spaces: Decorating tricks for the fall

Decorating Tricks to get your home ready for fall

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Decorating Tricks to get your home ready for fall

There are so many affordable ways to incorporate a chic autumn style into your home design when the new season hits, but that doesn’t mean you have to dip too heavily into your budget to do it. Even small changes can yield a significant impact.

Here are my top 10 decorating tricks to redecorate your space for fall:

1. Switch out pillows and throws

I always switch out my soft finishes per season. Come fall, I think about the cooler temps and staying indoors by a cozy fire, so I want my space to reflect that sense of hibernation and relaxation. I gravitate towards chunkier blankets to add a nice texture to my couch, or I’ll bring in new textiles into my bedroom: a down duvet, thicker cotton sheets, wool or chenille pillow shams, anything that makes me want to curl up with a book on a cold fall evening. Just like fall fashion, it’s all about adding up layers.

2. Play with patterns

The patterns you choose in your home will organically tell you what season you’re in, just like colours do. Summer is usually all about light, airy fabrics, bright colour stories, and florals, whereas fall is tartan and deeper tonal shades (not unlike fall’s changing leaves) and heavier fabrics. Try mixing up your rugs or your curtains with plaids or warmer colours.

3. Accent accessories in seasonal colours

The autumn is a spectrum of oranges, reds, copper, muted greens and metallics, so whether you fill a favourite vase with deep red blooms or fill a bowl with mini gourds, there are a lot of colours to choose from when playing with different accent accessories in your home. This could all work as inspiration for your Thanksgiving entertaining as well.

4. Add more light

The days get shorter throughout the fall, so add more light to your indoors by switching out your light bulbs to create either a soft glow or a bright light, depending on what kind of exposure you need, per room. I also love to add an array of candles everywhere – their cozy glow really makes me feel comfortable at home on those dark afternoons and evenings.

5. Switch up your bedding

I do this every season without fail. In the summertime it’s all about keeping things as airy as possible, so I always go for the lightest fabrics possible on my bed: linen, lightweight cotton, anything that feels gauzy and breezy against the skin. Come autumn, I’m all about bundling up and feeling warm and protected. I’ll change my bedcover into a more substantial version, whether it’s a quilted cover or a plush duvet. I’ll also add a throw blanket at the end of my bed for those chillier nights when I need it.

6. Arrange fall flowers

Take note: No fake flowers! They just don’t have the same feeling like the real thing, so instead use dahlias, ranunculus or any foraged clippings from your own backyard to create a fall-inspired arrangement that would look lovely on a kitchen table or a mantlepiece. I love taking branches from a pine tree (with the pinecones still attached) to use as an arrangement – they last all winter too. Sunflowers and Alstroemeria are also gorgeous. I’ll fill several vases throughout my home so as I walk throughout, I’m met with all of these bright pops of colour.

7. Spruce up your front door (or porch)

Fill a pair of planters with fall flowers, outdoor lanterns or faux pumpkins and gourds to create a welcoming entrance for all of your fall guests.

8. Add seasonal colours to your winter gardens

Fill your gardens and window boxes with white or purple ornamental cabbages or English ivy. It adds a bit of cheery colour to our dark winter days, plus everything will survive through our frosty temperatures and keep your landscape looking beautiful well into springtime.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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How to decorate your deck for the summertime

How to decorate your deck for the summertime

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How to decorate your deck for the summertime

If you’re like me and you spend a lot of time outdoors, creating a warm and inviting space to chill out and enjoy nature is important. Whether we’re entertaining friends and family, or simply enjoying a morning cup of coffee, our exterior environment is equally as important as inside our home. I’ve spent a lot of time decorating our decks in our homes in Etobicoke, Muskoka and (eventually) Arizona so we always have a place outside that’s comfortable, while still in keeping with our interior design aesthetic.

Focus on furniture

Select natural materials and finishes to give an overall sense of calm and peace for your backyard deck. Teak furniture is ideal as you don’t have to store it indoors during the winter, while faux wicker pieces have a great organic feel, never break down and are really easy to clean. If you get a lot of direct sunlight, create shade with a cantilever umbrella. Transportable, small tables also work well as a convenient place to lay down a book or place a cocktail!


Linger on your deck into the evening hours with friends and family by softening your deck and seating area with colourful, durable accent pillows in an array of lovely summer shades. Make sure you buy pillows that are constructed with outdoor fabrics so nature doesn’t take its toll. Toss them on your patio chairs, a sectional or a bench for an instant colour lift.

Build a small garden

Before you start selecting what plants and flowers you’re going to use, make sure you evaluate your sun exposure, wind and general temperature zone your home is in. All of that will affect which blooms will grow best.

Whether beside the patio/deck door, along the stairs or a railing, scatter beautiful potted plants all over in varying size and shape, while also using a bunch of annuals and perennials for beautiful shots of colour. There’s certainly no shortage of planters available, so you can virtually find any size and style that suits you. This is the time I also plant my favourite herbs (a sunny patio is the perfect spot to grow them), along with a tomato plant or two. If you’re uncertain what to plant where, your best bet is to go to a garden store so they can answer any questions you have.

Throw down a stylish outdoor rug

Turn your patio or deck into an outdoor living room by accessorizing with an outdoor rug that’s all-weather and durable. It will lend a cosy vibe to the space, plus it’s nice not to have to wear shoes! They add a nice textural element, while also being highly functional (they will help anything from being tracked when you move in/outdoors). Opt for a rug in a neutral colour so as to blend in with your existing deck (and furniture) as best as possible.

Create privacy

Love your deck, but not your view? Block out your street, a busy intersection or that nosy neighbour by using a row of evergreens to form a privacy wall where you need it. It’s the easiest way to build an intimate, private space in your backyard. I love faux hedges and plants, too! Definitely less maintenance, and they last for years. If you have the space, consider a retractable awning, that will not only protect you from the sun, but will also act as an anchor to your space giving a more intimate feel.

Alternatively, you could install a wooden lattice wall to one side of your deck and plant clematis and climbing roses that will naturally grow up the lattice. Over time they’ll form a gorgeous wall of blooms.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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The National Home Show 2019

4 tips to make the most of your small balcony – from National Home Show experts

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4 tips to make the most of your small balcony – from National Home Show experts

Having a backyard or even a balcony (no matter how big or small) is a luxury these days for most people, especially the closer you live to the city. And, with square footage getting smaller and more expensive, maximizing the potential of every inch of your space, including your balcony, is crucial. It’s time to start thinking of your exterior as an extension of your home. You can create a slice of paradise even in the smallest of spaces with just the right touches, and National Home Show experts are here to prove it.

Here are four ways to make the most of your small outdoor space:

1. Look for space saving furniture

Just because your balcony may be compact, doesn’t mean it needs to feel cramped, or that you have to sacrifice luxury for space. Look for furniture that is comfortable, without be bulky. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t fit a table and chairs. Folding furniture for a small space can be just as pretty as stationary counterparts these days, and retailers such as Andrew Richard Designs are offering double-duty options in sleek designs that don’t add bulk to your space. Think chairs with armrests that double as a side table and space dividers that are also storage bins.

Also, don’t forget to organize and optimize your available space and consider exterior walls and railings as part of your canvas – perhaps lights along your railings to illuminate your balcony and help keep the floor area free of clutter, freeing up more space for essential furniture.

2. Decor makes all the difference

Cold, bare concrete walls and floors wouldn’t make your condo feel homey, so why would they your balcony? Inexpensive wood deck tiles or simply stencil painting a pattern onto the concrete can add instant warmth to your balcony. Incorporate small outdoor area rugs or throw cushions instead of heavy furniture to add texture, comfort and personality, as well as make your area appear bigger. And don’t be afraid to add bright colours to your petite space. Your outdoor area should represent your style, just as much as your interior choices.

3. Take your garden to vertical heights

Starting from the ground up, AstroTurf is an easy way to replicate that suburban yard feel on your city balcony that won’t frustrate condo management. Don’t be afraid to get your green thumb on, even in a small way, by scattering tiny potted herbs around your outdoor space, but remember to hang them vertically to avoid taking up valued floor space. Placing plants at various heights will also help add major interest and height to your space, and don’t hesitate to be creative, says Peter Bonanno of Curb Appeal. Think about perching some planters on balcony railings or investing in a sleek and possible portable privacy screen for added seclusion. But, be sure to fill platers with outdoor, seasonal flowers that can withstand the elements and ever-changing weather conditions.

4. Lighten the mood

Whether it’s with lights or a little fire, light it up and set the mood in the process. Even if you can’t swing railing lights, outdoor lanterns and even simple mason jars filled with sand and a candle are perfect to light up a summer night on your balcony. If heat and ambiance is what you’re after, mini portable tabletop heaters come in a variety of finishes and colours. Not only will these help you extend your outdoor time on cooler, shorter days, but they’ll also keep away pesky mosquitos. Just be sure not to light things up too much, as you wouldn’t want to ruin the view of a perfect starlit night sky.

If you’re looking for even more inspiring home, condo and garden ideas, and want to see these tips come to life, visit the Outdoor Living Feature at the National Home Show presented by ReMax and co-located with Canada Blooms from March 8 to 17 at The Enercare Centre in the Exhibition Place in Toronto.

For further information on the National Home Show or Canada Blooms, at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place, visit the website.



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How to create a luxurious bathroom

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How to create a luxurious bathroom

Photography By Stephani Buchman

Enlarging a small master bathroom can often be impractical. You don’t need to move walls or break the bank in order to create big luxury in a small master bathroom.

When you’re tight on space, but want to have it all, you’ve got to get creative. And that’s exactly what was done in this elegant, compact ensuite bathroom. When we were hired to transform this home, the biggest challenge was how to update their master ensuite while also making it more functional. There was an oversized and very dated jacuzzi tub that took up almost the entire room. A natural reaction would have been to remove the tub and add in a large two-person shower. However, we wanted to have our cake and eat it too, so instead, we added a show-stopping soaker tub combined with a shower.


Many large, luxury bathrooms today have a separate shower and soaking tub. In a smaller bathroom, it can be a challenge to find a tub that fits. In this case, the master ensuite is used by multiple members and generations in the household. We found a perfect fit with Victoria and Albert’s Vertralla tub. With its updated yet classic looks, it provided the luxury of a deep soaker tub, but on a smaller scale. The bonus of this particular tub is that it’s made of volcanic limestone, which helps to retain heat much longer than other tubs. Great for long soaks!


Although it’s a master ensuite, we had to factor children into the design. It is a three-storey home with the kids’ bathroom on the third floor, and the homeowners wanted the option to bathe their children in their master ensuite. We added a waterfall stone ledge for toys and soaps, and a built-in linen tower to house towels and baskets of bath toys.


Another essential way to add glam to any bathroom is with great lighting.

Too often lighting a bathroom is low on the list of priorities relative to other rooms in the house. Proper lighting is essential to making the most of this space. Your bathroom should feel bright and clean, so good overhead and task lighting are key. But don’t overlook mood lighting. You want the ability to create atmosphere that’s relaxing and spa-like, especially for those late night soaks and long steamy showers. The chandelier hanging over the tub adds warmth and sparkle, while the decorative sconces illuminate your face sufficiently for putting makeup on without overdoing it.

Designer tip: Always add dimmers to switches


Another key tip that most people overlook, and almost every designer uses, is to tile the walls of your bathroom. If you want a cleanable surface and high-end look, this is how to get it. I adore using a large marble, natural quartz tile, if the budget permits, otherwise a nice oversized subway tile will do the trick. In this bathroom, we selected wall tile for behind the tub—a super practical choice when little ones want to splash around!

And last but not least, you can increase a small bathroom feeling of extravagance by adding some flair to functional items like: faucets, mirrors and cabinet hardware. For a modest investment, you can turn everyday, often-overlooked elements into items that underscore the overall beauty of the room. Replacing a typical bathroom mirror with a uniquely shaped decorative one like we did here is another way to elevate a small bathroom to premium status. The modern brass cabinet knobs are the jewelry of the room as they add sparkle and interest.

Don’t be afraid to mix metals here too. We love the look of brass faucets and fixtures but we couldn’t quite fit it into our budget. Instead we opted to mix chrome and brass, bringing the gold sparkle into elements like the lighting and hardware.

Achieving ultimate comfort and luxury in your small-space bathroom is at your fingertips, by mixing a variety of high and low elements cohesively.


TILE, Creekside tile; FAUCETS AND FIXTURES, Watermarks; CUSTOM MILLWORK, Pure Kitchens; BATHTUB, Victoria + Albert; CONSTRUCTION, byTrimatrix; DESIGN, by Rebecca Hay Designs Inc.

RENO & DECOR myhomepage.ca Designer Rebecca Hay, Principal Designer of Rebecca Hay Designs Inc., is a Toronto-based boutique design firm offering complete design & renovation services for residential, commercial and vacation properties for over a decade. Known and celebrated for her design work and appearances on various acclaimed HGTV shows, Rebecca and her team design classic, livable spaces that reflect the homeowner’s personality. Servicing clientele throughout Toronto, the GTA and Canada. rebeccahaydesigns.com


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AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Big living in small spaces

Big living in small spaces

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Big living in small spaces

Photography by Valerie Wilcox

Living in Toronto holds its fair share of perks; however, the luxury of space is by no means one of them. If you’ve ever been in the market to buy a house in the city, you’ll understand just how valuable real estate here can be. With the average Toronto house running just shy of 1,950 sq. ft., we’re seeing more and more homeowners hold onto their valuable lots who opt to renovate or remodel to create more functional living space and storage, rather than fleeing the city for larger properties.

As a seasoned, Toronto-based design build company, we are constantly on the hunt for innovative and clever solutions to help us utilize every last square inch of living space in our clients’ homes. Whether it be toying around with the reconfiguration of the existing house, or opting to add on a sizeable addition, improving functional living space for urban homeowners is something we are proud to call ourselves experts in.

Here are some small-space design tips to consider when planning your next home renovation project:

Function first

There is no logical way to design a space until you determine its primary function. Identify spatial needs by determining how you plan to use your home. What people and purpose will it serve? Consider your lifestyle. How often will you entertain, or what type of entertaining do you plan to do? Does your job require a home office area to work from? Identifying your living needs—keeping in mind growing children and any future family additions—will allow you to plan with purpose, something that’s paramount to a successful renovation.

Free up the floor plan

Decades ago, homes were designed and built around the idea that every room had a very specific function. The kitchen— often small and shoved in the back of the house —was for preparing food; the dining room was formal and intended for proper sitting meals; and the living room was for relaxing and entertaining. While a traditional-style floor plan might be nice to have in theory, it’s not as practical or desirable as it once was. Cultural norms and lifestyles have evolved to the point where people prioritize convenient, multi-functional spaces that allow individual activities and social togetherness to coexist.

Open-concept floor plans also eliminate the need for circulation areas between rooms, such as halls, stairs and walkways, which pose as major space hogs in the floor plan. Freeing up this space gives your designer much more square footage to play with when designing your new layout.

Build in storage everywhere

When you choose to undertake a home renovation project, you can begin to really customize the storage and organization options that go into the new design. Start with identifying the storage that you find useful in your current home, and from there, make a list of features that you’d want to incorporate into your new home. Most old-Toronto homes suffer from a lack of usable storage, so the extra effort required to iron out the details of a great storage design plan is worth the time and money.

With a growing family comes growing space and storage needs. Before deciding that the only way to meet those needs is to move, sit down with a designer and weigh out your renovation options first. You might be surprised with the degree of improvement that a simple remodelling job can do for your family.

Jessica Millard joined Men At Work Design Build in 2017 while studying at Ryerson University.

The Toronto-based firm offers integrated engineering, design and professional construction services for addition and major renovation projects on old Toronto homes.

Jessica has been involved in various internal departments within the firm, including design, production and marketing.


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