It’s official: you’ve signed the papers, dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s—you own a new home! You’ve almost reached the end of your journey. However, now, faced with the daunting task of moving, it may seem as though the journey has just begun. Moving can be a time-consuming and stressful experience if you let yourself be overwhelmed by the job. Remember, though, having a successful move means taking care of the details, one by one. If you break the process down into steps and arrange your time accordingly, you can make it manageable. Use the following checklist to ensure you’re covering all the bases, and you will be well on your way to a successful move!
• Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
• Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
• Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
• Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
• Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
• Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.
• Plan your packing. Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers. Most moving companies have specialized containers you can buy. Also, speak with others who have recently moved—they may be looking to get rid of boxes. You’ll need the following: small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).
• Begin to collect other packing materials. Decide which items you’ll need from the following checklist: -White paper -Tissue paper -Paper towels -Newspapers -Non-printed paper -Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers -Scissors -Labels and stickers (available from your moving company) -Felt marker to label boxes -Notebook and pen for listing contents • Set goals and deadlines for yourself. Aim, for example, to pack one room per week.
• Attach a list of contents to each box. Separate and label boxes to be placed in storage.
• Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings.
• Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer. Let the food you already have dictate your menus.
• Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.
• Make special arrangements for the moving of plants or pets.
• Collect all personal items from local services (dry cleaning, storage, photos).
• Service all appliances you are taking with you. Note that all gas appliances must be emptied, as it is illegal for movers to carry flammable substances.
• Take inventory of all the boxes, and contents of the boxes, you have packed.
• Have your car serviced and tuned up.
• Return library books.
• Clean out your locker at any club you are leaving.
• Determine how to transfer your children to a new school.
• Return items you’ve borrowed to friends, and collect any you’ve lent.
• Mail or e-mail change of address notices to family members, friends, and office contacts.
• If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
• Change the address on your driver’s license.
• Change the billing address for credit cards.
• Change the address for banking statements.
• Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.
Insurance and Legal Matters
• Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
• Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to review your policy.
• Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
• Review your moving company’s insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover as much as you’d like it to, obtain your own.
• If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the landlord.
• Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or realtor.
Once you’ve minimized the clutter in your home, clearing out excess items and furniture, you’ll be ready to concentrate on repairs, cleaning, and decoration. Your goal is to get each room looking its sharpest and most fresh—the better your house looks, the greater your chances that it will sell quickly and for top dollar. Concentrate on the following areas to get your home into selling shape.
Walls and Ceiling: Examine all the ceilings and walls for water stains or dirt. We don’t often look closely at the walls that surround us, so be careful—there could be residual stains from leaks that have long been fixed, or an accumulation of dirt in an area you hadn’t noticed. Painting the walls may be the best investment you can make when preparing your home to sell. You can do it yourself, and relatively inexpensively. Remember, the colours you choose should appeal to the widest range of buyers, not just to your own personal taste. A shade of off-white is the best bet for most rooms, as it makes the space appear larger and bright.
Carpet and Flooring: Does your carpet appear old, or worn in areas? Is it an outdated colour or pattern? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you should consider replacing it. You can find replacement carpeting that is relatively inexpensive. And always opt for neutral colours. Any visibly broken floor tiles should be replaced. But make sure you don’t spend too much on these replacements. The goal isn’t to re-vamp the entire home, but, rather, to avoid causing any negative impressions due to noticeable damage or wear around the house.
Doors and Windows: Check the entire house for any cracked or chipped window panes. If they are damaged in any way, replace them. Test all windows, as well, to ensure they open and close easily. Try spraying WD40 on any with which you’re having trouble. This should loosen them up. The same can be done with sticking or creaking doors. A shot of WD40 on the hinges should make the creak disappear. Check to make sure each door knob turns smoothly and polish it to gleaming.
Odour Check: Begin by airing out the house. Chances are, you’d be the last person to notice any strange or unpleasant smell that may be immediately apparent to visitors. If you smoke indoors, you’ll want to minimize the smell before you show your home. Take your cigarettes outside for a period of time before you begin showing. Ozone sprays also help eliminate those lingering odours without leaving a masking, perfumed smell. Be careful if you have a pet. You may have become used to the particular smell of your cat or dog. Make sure litter boxes are kept clean. Keep your dog outdoors as much as possible. You may want to intermittently sprinkle your carpets with carpet freshener as well. Plumbing and
Fixtures: All sink fixtures should look shiny and fresh. Buy new ones if scrubbing fails to get them into shape. Replacing them can be done fairly easily and inexpensively. Check to make sure all hot and cold faucets are easy to turn and that none of the faucets leaks. If you do find a leaking faucet, change the washer. Again, this is an easy and inexpensive procedure. Finally, check the water pressure of each faucet, and look for any stains on the porcelain of the sinks or tubs.
Once you’ve covered all these bases, your house will be in prime shape for its time on the market. Congratulations—you’re ready to begin showing!
A vintage rug can tell a story and transform a room. And if you think you have to wait to take that dream trip to Morocco or Turkey to find the perfect rug, you're wrong.
Thanks to a growing market of online vendors, you don't need to leave your couch to score a vintage rug from an exotic, faraway destination. But buying a vintage rug sight unseen can be intimidating — that's why we're sharing tips about how to shop for one online.
Rug vocab 101
Image via Eski Design
When shopping for a vintage rug online, you're likely to find information about how it was made, where it came from and the material it's made from (like cotton, silk or wool).
“When looking for quality, you want to see the words ‘hand-knotted' or ‘hand-woven' plus the materials of the rug listed out,” says Gabrielle Ferri, designer and owner of Eski Design, an online vintage rug shop based in Peterborough, Ontario.
If you don't see a clear description of the rug, ask before buying or move onto another vendor. A good vintage rug dealer should be knowledgeable and upfront about their inventory. When it comes to what type of material to choose, Ferri's top pick is wool.
“A good quality rug starts with good quality materials. If it's in the budget, I suggest going with 100% wool. Wool will give you the most durability and longevity,” says Ferri.
A wool-cotton blend is another option that will stand up to foot traffic and is easy to clean.
What to know about wear and tear
Image via Eski Design
Not unlike a piece of art, one of the best things about vintage rugs is they only get better with age. When shopping for a vintage rug, signs of wear like fading and irregularities often make a rug more interesting and memorable. Although a little wear and tear is normal, there are a few red flags to look out for.
“Steer away from rugs that have damage to the border. The border can be the most difficult part of the rug to repair. So, unless it's such a bargain that the price of repairs makes it well worth it, skip over pieces that are unraveling at the seams,” says Ferri.
To ensure you get a quality rug with no surprises, Ferri suggests studying the pictures of the rug carefully and looking for a close-up shot of the fringe (the edge of the rug) and the back of the rug.
“The back of a handmade rug will have the same design on the back and front and the fringe will be woven directly into it (not added on afterwards),” says Ferri.
If you're interested in a rug but want to see more pictures, don't be afraid to ask.
Choosing the right size
Image via Eski Design
It can be hard enough to return that t-shirt you bought online, never mind a 9 by 12 foot vintage rug. Although some online vintage rug shops accept returns (be sure to check the return policy and expect to cover the shipping costs), knowing what size rug you're looking for is the key to loving your purchase.
“What I suggest is taping off the area where the rug will go with standard rug sizes (like 4 by 6 feet or 8 by 10 feet) and seeing how it feels. You'll get a good idea of what size you need and then you can start searching for your dream rug in that ballpark size, give or take a few inches,” says Ferri.
If you've already fallen in love with a rug that's too small or not the right shape for you space, Ferri suggests layering it over a natural jute or neutral coloured rug.
Check for positive reviews
Image via Eski Design
A large vintage rug could cost upwards of a thousand dollars, which is why it's important to buy from a credible online vendor. Ferri suggests reading reviews and checking social media (Instagram offers plenty of vintage rug inspiration) before making a purchase.
“Do they have good reviews and happy customers? What are people saying about them and their rugs on social media?” says Ferri.
Once you've found a rug you love, confirmed it's quality and checked reviews, all that's left is clicking “buy” to begin your vintage rug collection.
5. Eclectic Farmhouse-Inspired Style in Florida
House at a Glance
Who lives here: Josh and Mary Beth Tatum and their black Labrador, Stubbs
Location: Miramar Beach, Florida
Size: 3,644 square feet (339 square meters) including carport and porch; three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms
Mary Beth and Josh Tatum bought a lot on scenic Choctawhatchee Bay in Miramar Beach, Florida, after living in a teardown for years. They took the opportunity to build and design a new home, relying on Houzz for design ideas and inspiration. “I used Houzz to home in on my particular design aesthetic,” Mary Beth says. “I was then able to further streamline and categorize my thoughts through the ideabooks.”
Her design inspiration started in the kitchen. “My favorite item in the home is our La Cornue French range,” she says. “We purchased this before we began construction. Our entire first floor was designed around this piece.” The interior features a palette of rich grays, cool blues and silver inspired by the range.
Read more about this home
4. A California Interior Designer’s Bright Remodel of Her Family’s 1956 Home
House at a Glance
Who lives here: Stacee Christen of Christen Interiors and her two sons, John Paul and George
Location: Marin County, California
Size: 2,875 square feet (267 square meters); four bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms
Interior designer Stacee Christen bought a 1956 fixer-upper tucked into the side of a hill in Northern California’s Marin County and went straight to work remodeling the neglected property, which had been untouched by previous owners for decades. The day the house closed escrow, the first dumpster arrived. “Six weeks later, we moved in,” she says.
Christen worked closely with general contractor Rob Jackson to make the quick interior transformation. “I started with opening up the main room by knocking down the walls that were blocking the flow and visual connection to the kitchen and stairs,” the designer says.
Read more about this home
3. Thoughtful Refresh for a Historic Home in Illinois
House at a Glance
Who lives here: Jessica Hoenes, owner of Found Home & Design; husband Matt; daughter Ellie, 8; and son Parker, 5
Location: Glencoe, Illinois
Size: About 2,500 square feet (232 square meters); three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms
For Jessica and Matt Hoenes, it took three years of patient renovations to get their 1895 Chicago-area Victorian just right. “We love doing house projects but we do them in spurts,” Jessica says. The couple used Houzz for inspiration, and to read reviews of architect Lesa Rizzolo of L.A. Rizzolo Architects before hiring her.
The house was originally a barn for a Victorian and was turned into a Colonial-style residence in 1947. The Hoenes family is only the third to occupy the home, and the couple brought in a general contractor to do a lot of the heavy lifting. “It’s had renovations that feel timeless and can be passed on to a fourth family,” Jessica says.
Find a local architect on Houzz
Jessica loves how the home works for her family and isn’t set up merely to look pretty. “I love that we’re preserving a piece of history in the community and making it a cozy, functional place to raise our children,” she says.
Read more about this home
2. Patterns and Collections at Play in a New York Apartment
Apartment at a Glance
Who lives here: Jeanie Engelbach of apartmentjeanie and her English bulldog, Tater Tot
Location: New York City
Size: 775 square feet (72 square meters); one bedroom, one bathroom
Collection enthusiast and professional organizer Jeanie Engelbach shows how to balance color and restraint in her compact rental apartment, which she packed with neon pink wallpaper, candy-colored hues and styled vignettes. “I realized that I can’t live in a home that doesn’t have at least one wall painted in sunshine yellow,” Engelbach says. “Given the limited wall options, I went with the low kitchen ceiling. It adds an unexpected punch and brightens the darkest part of the apartment.”
Watch now: See how Engelbach displayed her collections in her previous apartment in this episode of Houzz TV
Read more about this home
1. A Chef’s Kitchen Renovation in Wine Country
Kitchen and Office at a Glance
Who lives here: Amy Vogler of Wooden Spoon Kitchen; her husband, Rocky; their 6-year-old daughter; and their Labrador mix
Location: Kenwood, California
Size: New kitchen: 320 square feet (30 square meters); new office: 280 square feet (26 square meters); total home: 1,500 square feet (139 square meters); two bedrooms, two baths
Amy and Rocky Vogler waited more than 10 years before renovating their 1970s kitchen in their Northern California wine country home. Amy is a cooking professional who develops, tests and writes recipes for cookbooks and is also a producer on video and TV projects, cooking apps and websites. The previous kitchen and adjacent workspace were cramped, and storage space was minimal. The couple wanted to flip the locations of the kitchen and family room to radically transform the space into one with a much more functional layout.
They hired a team of design professionals, including architect Malcolm Yuill-Thornton, general contractor Mike Samuelson, painting professionals Baggenstos & Associates and Rhyne Design Cabinets for custom cabinetry.
“I had a long time to think about where things should be,” Amy says. “I’m very practical and never thought I’d have a kitchen as big as this is. It’s been a game changer for our family, for my work, for everything. I knew, if I was standing at the sink, where things should be in my head. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
When winter weather arrives, there is always one thing in the forefront of your mind—the impending heating bills. Keeping precious heat in your home is a constant concern, or perhaps it seems like a far-off dream, like the oasis mirage of a frozen desert. While you have likely taken steps to winterize your home, let's dig into options to help you keep things comfortable and cost-conscious.
Get an energy audit
The best way to see where your energy dollars are going—besides out of your pocket and into the atmosphere—is to conduct an energy audit. An energy audit determines the energy efficiency of your home and identifies areas where heat is escaping. Using the findings to make home improvements can result in precious savings.
We reached out to Tim Vander Meer, a Certified Energy Advisor from Ontario for some insight. According to Tim, the average cost of an audit runs about $400 for most homes, except for exceptionally large homes, which are more complex and require additional time to audit. Add-on services like thermal camera scans can also be conducted.
Tim identifies two common problems when auditing homes:
- “Out of sight, out of mind—rooms you close the door to or whole floors like the basement, still cost you energy and therefore money. Just closing the door does not stop this from happening. Heat will simply move down through your floor and out the basement walls”;
- “The second problem is under-insulated attics. Many people are unaware of the insulation level and that's an area that causes your air conditioner to run more in the summer and of course your furnace to work harder in the winter.”
When an auditor inspects your home, they'll do a walk-through and identify where air leaks occur and discuss different ways to fix them.
Can I DIY my improvements?
While it's recommended that you have a professional perform home improvements, if you're skilled enough or willing to learn, some tasks can be managed without help.
Insulation: An energy audit will determine if there's enough insulation in your attic and basement. On this, Tim advises, “If you have less than nine inches of insulation, it's worthwhile to add more. Basement walls are responsible for a large amount of heat loss, so if they are completely uninsulated, consider adding some. If they're already insulated, but using older white foam board (widely used in the ‘70s), consider building a wall in front of this to increase the insulation.”
Windows and doors: Tim suggests adding weather stripping to window and door frames to prevent gaps. Always cut stripping to the correct length and place it between the door and the frame for a proper seal. Install a door sweep and check periodically for wear to ensure optimal performance. Weather stripping and door sweeps can be found at most hardware retailers.
For windows, Tim recommends caulking the trim at the wall and window frame. If a properly secured window still leaks air, then a correctly applied window film kit will greatly improve energy efficiency. Remove outside screens to allow adequate air flow across the exterior panes, reducing moisture deposits. Excessive moisture deposits on the inside of windows may mean interior humidity levels are too high.
If affordability is a concern, simply following the DIY recommendations above will help improve your home's energy efficiency. Also ensure you replace your furnace filter each month to optimize its performance.
The costs associated with improvements can add up quickly, often putting them out of reach for some. Fortunately, there are organizations and energy service providers who offer programs to help offset the costs of improving energy efficiency—programs may vary by province.
Although windows have come a long way when it comes to efficiency, they're still notorious when it comes to heat loss. Like a cozy sweater can help keep you warm when the temperature drops, one of the easiest ways to help prevent unnecessary heat loss through your windows is by covering them. Thermal window coverings—particularly in rooms with large windows—can add an additional layer of insulation. They typically contain a central layer of acrylic foam which acts as a barrier to stop drafts and heat transfer through your windows. Cellular shades can also further insulate windows as they create a honeycomb pattern of air pockets along the length of the window when extended. A third option is to install interior shutters which secure snugly into the window frame and can be opened during the day to allow direct sunlight into the room.
A ceiling fan on low setting will help distribute heat evenly throughout a room during winter. Be sure to reverse the direction of the fan so it spins clockwise. This will create an updraft to pull the warm air (which rises naturally) back down into the room. While this is useful when using the room in question, Tim recommends turning the ceiling fan off when you leave to avoid wasting energy.
Ice dams form at the edge of your roof when water freezes in the eavestroughs and up your roof. They are also the most telling sign of heat loss through your attic and can put undue pressure on the eaves and cause water backups under the shingles into the underlying wood.
Addressing insulation deficiencies in your attic is a good preventive measure. Additionally, ensure gaps in walls, ceilings, closets or vents between your living space and the attic are sealed.
If you need to remove the ice dam, avoid using hammers, axes or picks as it's easy to damage your shingles, which become brittle in cold weather. Some ways to remove an ice dam without harming your roof include:
- use a snow rake if you live in a bungalow or split-level home to remove snow and ice from the top edge of the ice dam;
- apply a chemical de-icer to melt the dam and to help clear your eavestroughing and gutters; or
- apply a hot water spray (this is only a stop-gap solution).
Remember that any work requiring a ladder during the winter is extremely dangerous. Aways take appropriate safety precautions.
Whether you choose to protect the heat in your home with an energy audit and professional home improvement or DIY your way to a warmer interior, following these considerations may help you improve your home's energy efficiency and save money on energy bills.
While it's 6,154 kilometers from Parliament Hill to the Matterhorn on the Swiss-Italian border, the Alpine design influence is much closer, given the highlands, mountains and winter climates shared between regions. Likewise, there's a shared rustic sensibility about architecture and design that suits the rugged surroundings found in abundance in these locales. It's no wonder the steep-roofed A-frame style pops up all over Canada, along with cozy interiors aimed at warming the soul as much as the body.
Alpine design style (known also as Swiss chalet style in places where the phrase doesn't conjure thoughts of rotisserie chicken) has much in common with Canadiana as well as the Canuck tendencies toward timber frame and log cabin construction.The steep slope of the roof helps shed heavy snow during the winter.
Those steep gables are, after all, a practical consideration that use gravity to help shed the weight of deep snow, as necessary in Smithers as in Zermatt. Exposed beams, highlighting the beauty of construction materials and large windows to expose majestic vistas, are also mutually appreciated.
German-Swiss originsImage via Wikipedia Commons
Architecturally, chalet-style finds its origins in the late 18th century, originating in rural Switzerland, nudging across lower Germany and the other Alpine countries, before spreading virally through the burgeoning tourism industry. Since this was primarily an indulgence of the well-to-do, they would often introduce chalet design elements closer to their own, non-mountainous homes. By the turn of the 20th century, the growing popularity of chalet-style spread to Scandinavia, the Netherlands and even Cincinnati.
Alpine interior textures
Few would equate the terrain of southwest Ohio as even remotely Alpine, which demonstrates the appeal and adaptability of chalet design. Fitting in with a Canadian audience is even less of a stretch. The rock, pine and water trilogy that defines the country is a natural fit for the chalet influence even without considering the ski lodge culture that crosses the nation.The use of stone and wood beams help give this contemporary home a chalet feel.
Wood is perhaps the fundamental buzzword of the chalet interior. The honey hues of logs and timber, along with rough-hewn flooring, provide a warm and golden backdrop that delivers long wear with low maintenance, perfect for Canadian cottage living.
Raw wood immediately suggests other elemental decorative touches. Wrought iron, stone and textured fabrics are natural accompaniments that reinforce the alpine feel. Faux replicas of animal hides and furs, a nod toward contemporary sensibilities, serve to soften the harsh edges of lumber, metal and stone, as do soft, warm throws. The Hudson's Bay point blanket is right at home with Canadian versions of chalet style.
And what is a chalet without a magnificent stone or masonry fireplace, with perhaps a hearth using another thick slab of wood? In lieu of that, an iron wood stove is apropos in a more modest chalet. The fire itself is an essential part of the décor for many.
Chalet style blends well with plenty of other design styles and trends. Virtually anything rustic works and the alpine mystique is a perfect backdrop for inspired upcycling. For instance, DIY hanging mason jar lights provide a crafty opportunity to paint your chalet with complementary glows.
The alpine interior favours natural light by day and warm firelight at night, so point lighting for diffuse accents avoids competition with these desired elements.
There's a versatility to chalet-inspired design that suits the Canadian personality every bit as well as it does the European Alps. Intensely personal, often casual, occasionally formal, chalet style is always comfortable.
As we approach the New Year, it's as good a time as any to start making positive lifestyle changes and more health-conscious choices. It's a time when well-intentioned people flood the nearest gym, fully intending to commit to a healthier routine year-round, only to abandon their fitness goals by Easter.
What better way to kick your fitness regime into high gear than from the comfort of your home? With an at-home gym, you never have to pack a bag, there's no need to account for travel time and, best of all, you can blast your music sans headphones! Instead of looking up gyms and fitness centres nearest you, claim some space in your own home to dedicate to health and exercise.
So you're motivated. But where do you start?
Amanda Hamilton, an internationally-known interior designer based in Calgary, Alberta, says most of the time, people automatically think of putting exercise rooms in basements but that may not be the wisest decision. Basement rooms can often be unattractive, they get the least amount of light and they're sort of depressing spaces to go into. Plus, when something is out of sight, it's also out of mind.
“For most people it's a matter of convenience. We're all very busy. If you create a gym in your home and it's in front of you all the time, it's going to be easier for you to use the equipment and you're going to build better habits,” says Hamilton.
When designing and building your home gym, the possibilities are endless but there are a few things to keep in mind.
The first thing to consider is the layout of the room. Ask yourself what type of equipment you are going to have and how it will be placed in the room for efficiency sake, as well as ease of movement (for example, an elliptical machine might not work in a room with a low ceiling). It's also common for people to centre their equipment around a television so they can pass time while they are sweating it out, so you'll want to consider your options for placement of electronics relative to equipment.
Flooring is an equally-important consideration. The wrong flooring can lead to injuries like slips and falls and even cause chronic joint pain. The right flooring, on the other hand, can help increase stability, reduce body impact and reduce the noise escaping your workout space. From rubber and foam to artificial turf, there are a number of flooring surfaces that will make your gym more fitness-friendly.
“We generally try to use an actual rubber gym flooring, especially if people are doing weights. If they're dropping weights, a rubber floor helps prevent some of the noise and it can also help protect your floor from damage,” says Hamilton.
Training in a brightly-lit environment is a game changer! Nothing beats natural light, but sometimes there's not enough to go around. If natural light is limited, use LED lighting when possible as it's often the most cost effective and can come close to replicating actual sunlight. Mirrors are not only helpful for providing feedback on your form during exercises, but they can help make a space appear larger (and brighter) than it actually is.
An essential component of any at-home gym is storage. Using a pegboard to hang resistance bands, jump ropes and ear phones not only keeps them off the ground and out of the way, but it also keeps them from tangling (“I love untangling knots,” said no one ever). Heavier items such as kettlebells and weights can be stowed away on a rack, in cubbies or an ottoman, which can also double as a workout bench.
No gym is complete without a power source. It is recommended to have your cardio machines and other workout gear plugged directly into the wall outlet or surge protector and not run through extension cords.
Getting into shape doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money. Knowing your workout goals can help you budget both your money and your space. Gym equipment can range from affordable to thousands of dollars. To keep costs low, start by purchasing a few of the basics: a flat bench, yoga mat, free weights, jump rope, kettlebells and resistance bands – and then add new items one at a time. Before opting to go with new equipment, consider scouring garage sales and secondhand shops or sites, first. Sometimes you can find great deals and equipment that's barely been used.
An efficient and invigorating workout needs a great soundtrack. While you can get your groove on using your smartphone and headphones, consider investing in portable or smart solutions you can bring with you to your gym when you need them.
Do you have a home gym? What do you love most about your space? Let us know in the comments or on any of our social pages.
The recent article on Designing with Neo Mint – a shade predicted to be the colour of 2020 – was a polarizing one. While some of you were here for it (32%), the majority of you were decidedly not (68%). Some strong opinions included:
- “Gross!! What are they thinking?”
- “Hospital ward mint. No tx.”
- “Let's go back in time to 1982. No thank you!”
- “Looks like Crest toothpaste.”
- “Don't know who the forecasters were but I think they were smoking something green.”
Even though galley kitchens tend to be small, remodeling them can be overwhelming. A design pro can help you create a kitchen that maximizes storage, functions well and suits your style.
These creative Los Angeles homeowners hired interior designer Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors to help them pull their galley kitchen together. Ayers knew that her clients wanted to add interest to the long and narrow space. The bright backsplash tile is a big pick-me-up that’s complemented by a black-and-white cement tile floor. Light aqua cabinetry, carefully selected light fixtures and a vintage stove maintain a retro vibe.
Find a local kitchen designer on Houzz
Learn more about this kitchen
Shop for encaustic cement tile on Houzz
This Toronto homeowner owns a restaurant, so he already knew how to make a kitchen function well. But he turned to BedfordBrooks Design for help in maximizing storage and finding a style that would suit his Victorian-era home. They landed on this charming bistro-inspired look. Oversize round lights draw the eye up in the long and narrow space. A deep, 7½-foot-wide island-like storage area in the center and double-stacked upper cabinets provide scads of storage.
Cabinets 101: How to Get the Storage You Want
Learn more about this kitchen
These artistic Atlanta homeowners deliberately went from a U-shaped kitchen to a galley kitchen and find that it functions well for the way they like to work together. The well-traveled couple were inspired by spaces they had seen in New York City, Milan and Paris that were modern yet rooted in history. They worked with interior designer Micaela Quinton of Urban Purpose Design, who helped them implement their ideas. The sink, range and fridge create a work triangle with ample counter space around it. They also have a designated coffee station on one end of the kitchen and a recessed niche to house their KitchenAid mixer on the other.
Find a local contractor who specializes in kitchen remodeling
Learn more about this kitchen
Browse botanical wallpaper in the Houzz Shop
This tight Manhattan kitchen was jampacked with cabinetry, had an oppressively low ceiling and was painted in shades of beige. Designer Cecilia Dupire of Cezign raised the ceiling a foot and replaced overly ornate cabinetry and moldings with sleek alternatives. She also replaced a bulky refrigerator with a panel-front fridge and two freezer drawers. The induction cooktop has a pop-up downdraft, freeing the overhead space for storage.
One part of the design that’s intentionally not so sleek: an antique table and chairs that add warmth and contrast in the contemporary kitchen. The family can post artwork, notes and messages on the magnetic glass panels. Square recessed lights and undercabinet lighting brighten up the once-dark space.
Learn more about this kitchen
An opened-up galley kitchen has its pros and cons. On one hand, it tends to feel larger, enjoy more natural light and encourage socializing (and maybe even helping with the food prep). On the other, it means potentially losing a wall of upper cabinets and appliances.
Architect Stephanie Horowitz of ZeroEnergy Design and her husband, Alex, renovated their Boston condo’s open galley kitchen to suit the way they knew their family would function in a tight kitchen space. The renovation included relocating a laundry room-pantry door, which had been where the framed print now hangs. “Having a large door in the kitchen disrupted the flow and access. Plus, laundry and food storage are a bad mix, as a laundry room is often a humid space,” Stephanie says.
The upper cabinets that extend to the ceiling increase the room’s storage potential. And, like the Los Angeles kitchen, a counter-depth fridge keeps everything pleasingly streamlined.
Learn more about this kitchen
- Don’t be afraid to go bold in a small space.
- Use counter-depth refrigerators and freezer drawers to maintain clean lines.
- Opt for panel-front appliances for a streamlined look.
- Consider a pass-through to another room to help make a kitchen feel larger and brighter and to promote social interaction.
- Prevent small appliances from taking up valuable countertop space by using an appliance garage, specified cabinets or a niche. Or designate well-organized stations for things like making smoothies or coffee.
- Create layers of light with recessed lighting, undercabinet lighting, and ceiling and wall fixtures.
- When opening up a galley to another room, consider the views into the kitchen and design accordingly.
Designers agree that you should test your paint in large swaths, to view it in different lighting at different times of the day. But that said, they usually have a few go-to shades of white up their sleeves, the ones they know won’t let them down. Ten designers shared the white paints they count on and why.
“Simply White is a more modern, clean white,” Ben Leavitt of Fox Design Studio says. “It is a beautiful natural shade that works well with any gray tones.”
In this space, Leavitt chose Simply White for the walls and ceilings, then painted the trim and doors in Thunder by Benjamin Moore for contrast.
Find an interior designer on Houzz
“I love Cool December for the way its cool undertone works in the bright California light,” Los Angeles designer Laura Schwartz-Muller of Four Point Design + Construction says. In this portrait photographer’s office, it provides a lovely backdrop for a gallery wall.
See more of this office
“All whites have some undertone. White Wisp has a very slight gray undertone that keeps it from feeling cold or icy,” interior designer Ginger Curtis of Urbanology Designs says.
In this dining room, the paint works wonderfully with the bright Texas light and the different browns and tans in the reclaimed wood.
Farrow & Ball
“Pointing is a wonderfully classic white with just a hint of warmth. I use it often because it reads as a warm white without veering yellow,” interior designer Lisa Tharp says. “It reminds me of fresh cream in early-morning light.”
Tharp is also careful about designing in a healthy and environmentally conscious way. “I like that Farrow & Ball’s line is comprised of healthier low- or no-VOC formulations, depending on sheen level,” she says.
In this library in Brookline, Massachusetts, she selected Pointing for the millwork because it offers a clean and warm counterpoint to the metallic specialty finishes on the walls and curved ceiling.
See the rest of this home
“For white trim color, my go-to for years has been Decorator’s White,” interior designer Nikki Dalrymple of Acquire says. “It’s a true bright white that never disappoints. The undertone is so subtle that it never seems to fight with any chosen wall color.”
In this lovely living room, the white on the millwork provides a clean contrast to the creamy tan hue on the walls.
Wall paint: Monroe Bisque, Benjamin Moore
See more of this room
Health and environmental consciousness is priority No. 1 for Michelle Ruber of Encircle Design and Build. Her favorite white comes from her favorite paint company, Colorhouse. “I was drawn to the company for its environmental benefits — the paint is zero-VOC and has no fumes, which is extremely important for the painters’ health and for the health of people who are living in the house during a remodel, not to mention the health of the planet,” she says. “So you have all that, plus the colors are amazing — every one of them is spot on.”
In this Portland, Oregon, vacation rental that Encircle designed and remodeled, Ruber’s spot-on choice was Colorhouse’s Imagine .01. The white brightens up the walk-out lower level and can hold its own against the city’s many gray days.
See more of this house
“I love Sherwin Williams because they are very user-friendly and they provide large swatches to designers — not all companies do that,” Harmony Weihs of Design Harmony says. One of her go-to whites is the company’s Pure White.
She used it on these cabinets in this kitchen. “I love this white because it’s on the brighter side for a white while still being warm, which works great for all of our gray Pacific Northwest days,” she says.
When she’s going for minimalist style in a design, Chantilly Lace is a no-brainer for interior designer Genna Margolis. “It reads cool and it’s clean, crisp and simple,” she says. “Sometimes when people are fearful to go too white, they wind up choosing something with a yellow undertone, and it winds up reading yellow, making the room look more rustic.”
The paint was the right choice for the peaceful, minimalistic look of this yoga studio Margolis designed.
Designer Secrets: 10 Pros Share Their Favorite Off-White Paints
“One of my favorite whites is Swiss Coffee,” interior designer Julie China of Idea Space Architecture + Design says. “It’s a warm white that doesn’t go too yellow or almond — it is a nice crisp white with warm undertones.”
China chose the hue for the trim work throughout this 1920s home, seen here in the crown molding. “Swiss Coffee was a good choice for this 1920s house due to the warmer color palette and existing chestnut moldings on the first floor,” she says.
Foreseeing the future is never easy, but experts at the World's Global Style Network (WGSN) use social media, popular culture, data mining and street fashion to bring businesses the styles of tomorrow today. Gazing through a pastel-tinted crystal ball, the colour experts at WGSN declare Neo Mint the trendsetting colour for 2020.
The colour has great retro appeal, instantly evoking kinder and gentler times, while still resonating today, representing renewed interest in both science and environment with a shade that's also gender-neutral, a mid-point between feminine and masculine hues.
New decade, new influences
There's something about the turn into a new year, a new decade, new century that sparks an urge for renewal in many people and, of course, there's often a point where the charm of past décor schemes evaporates, and it's usually unrelated to calendar milestones. Keying in oncoming trends helps keep interiors fresh.
Followers of style may know that Pantone's 2019 colour of the year was coral, for which Neo Mint is an ideal complementary hue. There's a logical forward progression for younger designers who don't have the retro association with pastel greens that older decorators may carry, though contemporary takes on styles like Mid-Century Modern and Art Nouveau may inform the connections.
Incorporating Neo MintSource: Pinterest
There's a trickle-down effect to trends that suggests rushing to re-paint an entire room Neo Mint may be premature. Large expanses of this colour can create an institutional feel without strong attention to breaking up visual spaces.
A feature wall in Neo Mint may be a better way to ease into the trend, particularly if you indulged in millennial pink and want to dial back its influence. The two colours play off each other well, so a single mint wall in an otherwise pink room provides a counterpoint balance.Source: Pinterest
Minty wall coverings with discrete geometrics or pinstripes may also break up that hospital ward impression in full-wall applications.
Neo Mint serves as a terrific backdrop for darker shades of green, from artwork to potted plants. The juxtaposition of greens presents a hip spin on a monochromatic approach. It also sets off darker natural tones well. Brown leathers, weathered boards, bronze and brass all sit well in front of a Neo Mint wall.
The calming nature of Neo Mint make it a light and refreshing choice for bed linens. Again, layers of varied hue density create striking impressions. If it's time to refresh your linen closet, plush, oversize Neo Mint towels are sure to be a hit after a bath or shower.
Upholstery can give even conventional furniture designs a mid-century edge, simply by virtue of the pastel green colour. Low-backed chairs and sofas accent the effect.
However, Neo Mint shows enough versatility to assert itself in busier design styles as well. Simple panel drapes in this hue can be the splash of colour in a minimalist setting or a fabric feature in a shabby chic collection.
A versatile new addition
Because of its pastel nature, Neo Mint blends well as an accessory flourish in many colour schemes. It's equally at home with corals, pinks and terra cottas as it is with azures and aquas. Neutral builder's paint in a rental unit invites a colourizing splash perfectly suited for Neo Mint. It can even surface in retro appliances, backsplashes and bathroom tiles.
Ultra-contemporary, retro or retro-futuristic, Neo Mint is a trend that puts a new spin on a familiar and comfortable shade. It's perhaps a perfect opportunity to gently jump ahead of the curve with a design statement that whispers rather than screams.
As Moving Day approaches, your nerves will naturally heighten because you are concerned you will overlook or forget crucial details. Dealing with these details in a step by step form and early enough will ensure that the move to your new home runs smoothly. Pinnacle Plus Realty Ltd. Brokerage Moving Day Checklist will prepare you for the move to your new home! Having this checklist by your side will protect you from missing any important steps!
Our moving checklist is broken down into 2 areas: Preparation for Moving Day and Moving Day itself. The important tasks and details within allow you to properly plan and help ensure a smooth and enjoyable transition into your new home. Make sure you have enough time to complete all tasks. Your sanity depends on it.
PREPARATION FOR MOVING DAY
PACKING & DECLUTTERING
The earlier you begin the decluttering process, the faster and easier packing will be. You’re already ahead of the game if you decluttered your home during the home-staging process. If you chose to store those items, it is time to deal with them now!
□ Schedule moving day with the movers or rent a moving truck for that day.
□ If you are hiring a mover, hire a well-known, reputable company and go over liability insurance with a fine-tooth comb before signing and be sure to take extra care in packing items properly.
□ If moving yourself, ask friends and family to save the date
□ Order food and beverages for that date
□ Collect boxes and newspaper or packing supplies
□ Declutter more!
□ Donate unwanted items to charity (get a tax receipt!)
□ Schedule a moving sale for any valuable unwanted items. Promote on your social media pages, group pages, and local papers… or posting photos of items on social media asking prospective buyers to contact you with interest.
□ Attend your moving day sale if you chose to have one
□ Pack any belongings you will not need until you arrive at your new home. (see sidebar for great packing hints!)
□ Label boxes and mark “fragile” those that are.
□ Give your old home a thorough cleaning.
Packing and Decluttering can be an enjoyable process as long as you give yourself enough time to do. There is nothing worse than rushing through the moving process so get packing and decluttering as soon as you can start. Allowing enough time will reduce anxiety and make the move more fun! Plus, purging unwanted items and minimizing your lifestyle, as well as donating these items to charities in need can be very gratifying.
When packing, use all items you can to reduce waste. For example, consider rolling a floor lamp with a rug, leave old sheets on mattresses and use bath towels to wrap delicate items! Also, use large boxes for lighter items and small boxes for heavier ones.
COMMUNICATE YOUR MOVE!
It is essential to communicate your move to assure that your life will remain in order when you arrive at your new home. Don’t sit on hold with companies when you should be unpacking! Have these tasks completed prior to your move for a much better moving experience.
□ Notify billers and subscriptions of your move and pay outstanding bills. Give a 2-week notice for phone and utility services to disconnect services at your current home and arrange for services at your new address. Give a 4-6 week notice to magazines and newspapers.
□ Give your new address to friends, family, and neighbors.
□ Notify the post office of your new address and date of move for mail forwarding
□ Return borrowed items and recover items you have borrowed out
□ Ensure your important records are in order, easily accessible and in one safe place. These are considered any financial records, insurance policies, medical or school records.
□ Empty gasoline from your barbecue and lawnmower and dispose of all flammables properly.
□ Confirm with your moving company closer to moving day or remind friends and family.
□ Confirm with caterer your food order, dates, and location of delivery.
If you are moving to a new city, fulfill these tasks prior to your move.
Allow old bank accounts to remain open until all payments have cleared. Open a new account in the city you are moving to and transfer some funds. Have your car serviced and schedule a final check-up with your doctor and dentist and ask for records to be transferred. Pretend you are taking a trip for a week and pack a suitcase with items you couldn’t live without, in case the moving day is delayed. Include within that suitcase: medication, cleaning supplies, tools, and lightbulbs. Once you’ve settled into your new home, close the accounts in the city you left if you are certain all payments have cleared.
It’s moving day! I’m sure you are excited and nervous. You’ve been up for hours, anticipating the day. You are either waiting for the movers to arrive or until the rental truck facility opens. Stay nourished and hydrated… Brace yourself for a busy day!
□ Be present with the moving company and be ready to let them know of the problems you see.
□ Order food for friends and family who are helping you.
□ If you are packing the truck yourself, place heavier boxes on truck floor and lighter, more delicate boxes above them. Handle very precious items yourself accordingly.
□ Perform a final walk-through of your home, double-checking hiding places. Have an empty box in hand to fill with items you might have missed. Turn off all lights, lock the windows and doors, say your goodbyes and leave the keys with your REALTOR®.
□ When arriving at your new home, set up an easy access area where items can safely be left when movers are unloading boxes. All boxes going directly into storage should be placed there immediately so they are not confused with those you are using.
□ Perform a deep clean on your new home prior to unpacking.
□ Unpack one box at a time very carefully, not allowing items to suddenly drop out
The Realtors® at Pinnacle Plus Realty Ltd. Brokerage is so excited for you! We live for this and hope you have found your dream home. With this Moving Day Checklist in hand, we’ll be there with you every step of the way! If you need any assistance, please contact us. Welcome home, friends.
Trying to live a greener, more environmentally sustainable life can seem overwhelming—what do you do and where do you start? Can a few little changes around the house really make a difference?
To borrow an old adage, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” With that in mind, we have small changes you can gradually work into your home routine that aren't just eco-friendly, they're also budget-friendly.
1. Plant a small backyard or patio garden
Reduce your grocery bill by growing herbs and vegetables in your own backyard or build a garden box or two for your windowsill or balcony. If you grab too many herbs for dinner, there are plenty of things you can do with the surplus—like making a sauce or personalized teas.
2. Line dry your clothing
Fresh air: dryer sheets try and replicate it but it's hard to beat the real thing. Line drying your laundry is quick, fresh and can help you save on your utilities. Plus, you get a bit of fresh air yourself!
3. Use water from a dehumidifier to water plants
Put the garden hose away. If you use a floor model dehumidifier to keep your basement dry, moisture collects in a reservoir and provides several litres of water you can use for your houseplants or garden.
4. Get a rain barrel and collect rainwater
You'd be surprised how much water you can collect from a downpour or two. Make sure you cover the opening with mesh to keep the bugs out and you'll have gallons of water at your disposal in the summer.
1. Unplug small appliances and electronics when not in use
It might not be easy to get behind the stove to unplug it, but before you leave for work in the morning, unplug things like small appliances, phone chargers and even your entertainment centre. Consider using power strips so you can kill the power without rearranging your furniture.
2. Open the curtains
Let the sun do its thing to light and warm your house naturally when you're at home and the weather is cooler. In peak summer or winter, however, closing your blinds, drapes or shutters can help keep the heat either out or in.
3. Seal up your home
Plug, insulate, replace, repair, caulk or seal your doors, windows and any errant cracks to make your home as leak-proof and airtight as possible.
4. Save baths for special occasions
Keeping baths and showers to a minimum (both in frequency and time) will help make a big difference for your water consumption.
5. Conserve your flushes
Consider switching to a low-flow or high-efficiency toilet to help save water. You can even make use of the water collected from your rain barrel (tip #5)– dumping a bucket of water right into the bowl is enough to trigger a flush, then gravity takes over. Don’t waste water on flushable wipes where they can block or damage your septic or sewage system. Dispose of these items in the trash and save flushing for when you really need to (hint: if it's yellow, let it mellow).
6. Wash laundry in cold vs. hot water and wait for a full load
Many of the brands you're already using have cold wash soap options—and remember, you often need less soap than you think, so check the measurement lines on the lid or scoop and don't eyeball your pour.
7. Go paperless and pay your bills online
If you use mobile banking, opt-out of receiving paper bills. Many service providers have dedicated apps so you can see your entire transaction history whenever you want.
8. Under the sink and yard composter
Many municipalities across Canada have initiated green bin programs to encourage people to compost their household waste and food scraps. Check with your local government to see what's available or make your own.
9. Use your heat dampers
If you have central heating, you likely have floor vents to distribute warm air to each room. Those floor vents (dampers) have dials so you can keep them either opened or closed. Consider closing them in rooms that aren't being used, like a spare bedroom) to reduce the energy spent heating the space. It's recommended that you don't do this in bathrooms or anywhere there is plumbing to avoid frozen pipes.
Bonus tip: Replace your furnace filter regularly so trapped dust and debris don’t restrict airflow and force your furnace to work harder.
Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash
10. Properly secure opened food packages
Stale food often ends up right in the trash (or green bin) earlier than it needs to because of improper sealing. Spare clothes pegs work great as bag clips and can help keep crackers, cereal and chips fresh longer while glass or food-safe containers can keep a variety of foods fresh or frozen.
11. Control the temperature
If no one is home during the day, why spend the money and energy to keep the house super toasty (or cooled)? Use a programmable thermostat to help regulate the temperature throughout the day or consider investing in a smart thermostat that you can control via your smartphone.
12. Handmade door draft stoppers
If there's a draft coming under a door you haven't had the chance to deal with, keep the cold air out by making a handmade door draft stopper with an old rolled-up bath towel or even old pillow inserts or stuffing.
1. Use natural cleaners
There are many options available for store-bought cleaners featuring all or majority natural ingredients. Or turn to Pinterest for tips on how to make your own cleaners using baking soda, vinegar and even coffee grinds.
2. Use energy efficient light bulbs
There are plenty of bulbs on the market now boasting significant energy savings, like compact fluorescent or halogen bulbs.
3. Use cloth alternatives
Steer away from single-use materials like napkins, paper towels and cleaning pads by swapping them for cloth options. You can make cleaning rags by cutting up old bed sheets, towels and even t-shirts instead of throwing them out.
4. Alternatives to buying new
Before buying anything new, consider community sites, swap-and-sells or local Facebook groups. Do some digging: your city or community might put on a large annual yard sale full of great deals.
1. Renovating more sustainably
When you're planning your next home project, think about ways you can get the work done more sustainably—here are five tips!
2. Getting rid of renovation waste
Think about how you'll dispose of the building waste when you're done. Here are a few eco-friendly tips to get rid of everything.
There are so many gorgeous places to live in Canada. But, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder. Some of us can't get enough of the big city and others yearn for the solitude of the Canadian wilderness. What if you're not too sure where you should live? Take our quiz to discover the Canadian neighbourhood that could be just right for you!
1. Which ambient noise best suits you?
A. Traffic, planes, trains and the bustling streets.
B. A quiet neighbourhood with only distant traffic sounds.
C. Distant crashing waves, gulls and a brisk salt breeze coming through the window.
D. The wind in the trees, nighttime peepers and crickets.
E. Barely a peep from anything, anywhere.
F. Bells, whistles, tinkling and whirring.
2. What kind of work commute do you prefer?
A. Take the streetcar downtown.
B. Catch the Metro.
C. A short drive suits me just fine.
D. I enjoy walking or cycling to work.
E. No commute: Working from home is perfect for me.
F. A quick scoot, sled or reindeer ride to the workshop.
3. How close to the big city would you like to be?
A. Right in the thick of things.
B. In the suburbs, but not too far from downtown.
C. I'm indifferent about proximity to a big city.
D. A number of cities within a few hours' drive would be great.
E. If I never see a big city again, I'll die happy.
F. What's the big city?
4. If you lived near water, what should it be?
A. A Great Lake
B. A large river system.
C. Salt water!
D. A small river running through town.
E. A historically significant river system.
F. An enchanted lake.
5. When you step outside what would you prefer to see?
Photo credit: Via Axel Drainville on Flickr
Photo credit: Matt.Holding
Photo credit: Robinsoncrusoe [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
6. What is your favourite season?
A. I don't have one. They're all too hot, cold, wet or dry.
F. Christmas! duh.
7. What do you enjoy doing outdoors with the family?
A. A walk down the street to a central inner-city park.
B. Hitting a community playground or splash pad.
C. Skiing or snowboarding.
D. A geocaching adventure.
E. Hunting or fishing in the wilderness.
F. Magical sleigh rides.
8. What kind of school would best suit your child(ren)?
A. An urban school with a wide range of cultures.
B. A suburban school with a choice of English or French immersion.
C. A small town school where everyone knows each other.
D. A small community school within walking distance of home.
E. A school with a strong Indigenous curriculum.
F. I don't have children, but I'm definitely young at heart.
Mostly As: Parkdale, Toronto, Ontario
You love a community with a lot of character that reaches beyond daylight hours and the urban appeal of this culturally rich Toronto neighbourhood would satisfy your appetite. This charming Victorian neighbourhood was built in the 1850s and has a lot of history and culture, with influences from many parts of the world. Parkdale is home to urban schools, local eateries and bars, and plenty of eclectic shopping destinations. Read the full guide to learn more about Parkdale.
Mostly Bs: Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec
This suburban neighbourhood is just the place for a variety of anglophone and franco-Québec schools, plus easy access to numerous parks and splash pads that are perfect for hot summer days. The independent municipality is found on the island home of Montreal and is within 30 minutes of downtown Montreal. Here's the full scoop on this family-friendly neighbourhood.
Mostly Cs: Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador
Long may your big jib draw! This lovely, scenic town on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador is a beauteous jewel nestled amongst the high hills of the island. You'd love the salt air that blows in from the incredible and scenic Bay of Islands and would enjoy the friendly vibe and slower pace of Newfoundlander life. Check out what else awaits you in Corner Brook, B'y!
Mostly Ds: Medicine Hat, Alberta
Welcome home to sunny Medicine Hat, Alberta—fondly considered the geocaching capital of Canada. With some of the most mild and consistently sunny weather conditions in Canada, you'll just love the splash of fall colours against the red rock coulees that abound in the area. A handful of small, tightly-knit communities means you're never far from school or work, or your next discovery adventure to the latest geocache. Read the full neighbourhood guide for more about Medicine Hat.
Mostly Es: Whitehorse, Yukon
You've come to the conclusion that the call of the wild—and North—is too irresistible to deny any longer. Whitehorse, Yukon is the place for you! With a piece of Klondike history flowing through town, you're never more than a few minutes from the Canadian Wilderness and everything it has to offer, including stunning Aurora Borealis on most clear nights. Go take a look at your new digs in Canada's wilderness city.
Mostly Fs: Santa's Village, North Pole
Ho Ho Ho! Clearly, you need a touch of magic in your life. While not technically part of Canada, Nunavut is this magical location's closest land connection. Worried about surviving a year-long winter? Not to worry, it always feels like Christmas in Santa's Village. Go see what enchanting possibilities are in store for you there.
Pretty even: Kelowna, British Columbia
You are pretty laid back and don't have a real preference when it comes to what type of neighbourhood vibe you would like. With that in mind, pack your belongings and head to Kelowna, British Columbia. You'll be treated to mild weather, some of the best fruit in the country, quick access to both Okanagan lake—keep an eye out for Ogopogo!—and the mountains. Plus, if you're a golfer, get ready to hit the links as early as March! Take a look at this beautiful West Coast city and all it has to offer.
When it comes to injecting new life into your space, look beyond the current trends and styles of your neighbours–the world is full of unique design aesthetics inspired by centuries of culture, history and trends! With plenty of inspiration to be found across the globe, take our quiz and find your international design style.
Be sure to keep track of your choices and tally them up at the end.Photo via Unsplash
1. What dessert are you eating?
a) Deep-fried Mars bar
b) Fresh doughnuts
c) Lemon meringue pie
d) Coffee cake
e) Ice cream
2. What is your ideal day?
a) A big street party with your friends and neighbours
b) Making a homemade meal with friends
c) A morning spent reading at a coffee shop with a strong espresso
d) Spending the day on the beach followed up by a candlelit dinner
e) A cozy day spent in eating snacks and watching Netflix
3. Choose a pattern
a) Vibrantly coloured woven textile
b) Scalloped with flowers
c) Geometric gold and black
d) Red terracotta tiles
e) Pink and white polka dots
4. How would you describe yourself?
5. Pick an archway
a) Yellow archway
b) Scalloped archway
c) Elaborately carved archway
d) Stone arches
e) Geometric wood archway
6. Pick a season
a) Spring. Nice and warm!
b) Summer. The hotter the better.
c) Autumn. I don't like overheating outside.
d) I like it temperate all the time.
e) Winter. Perfect for getting warm and cozy.
Mostly As: Mexican design
With a style that's as bold and brilliant as the flavours in its dishes, Mexican design encourages you to release your inhibitions and grab the brightest colours you can find. Toss them together in textile pieces like woven rugs with intricate patterns infused with pinks, yellows, oranges and greens. Use reclaimed wood or rattan furniture to round off this style to capture the rustic vibes of Mexico.
Mostly Bs: Indian design
You feel right at home in the sun-kissed style of Indian design. This is one ornate style that dares you to push the envelope. You're a fan of controlled maximalism and Indian design has been mastering busy, loud motifs for centuries. Dizzying marble patterns and delicate silks—meticulously embroidered—are right at home with heavy, dark wood furniture and large windows that let in the light.
Mostly Cs: French art decoPhoto via Unsplash by Léonard Cotte
You want to kick off your shoes and relax in the lap of luxury at the end of the day. Art Deco was created for the elite class of French society and this style spares no expense. You're ready to put in the time and effort to fill your space with bold geometric shapes, heavy, carved furniture, velvet, and intricate details as far as the eye can see.
Mostly Ds: Tuscan stylePhoto via Unsplash by Rowan Heuvel
You're an old soul. Whether it's in the green hills of central Italy or your own home here in Canada, Tuscan style is a reliable design where form and function are key. This look has been around since the Renaissance and is still standing strong. Combine exposed ceiling beams with terracotta pots for your favourite plants, wrought iron window boxes or patio furniture and aged stonework to bring this Mediterranian style into your space.
Mostly Es: Japanese Kawaii designPhoto via Unsplash
You don't take life too seriously. The adorable and carefree style of Japanese Kawaii (meaning “cute”) has been embraced worldwide by those not ready to close the door on childhood joy. If you can't commit to a full Sanrio-branded remodel of your home, stick to a bright pastel pattern, accent pieces in the form of cute clouds, cats, frills, ultra-soft throw pillows and prints of your favourite kawaii characters. Interior design is all about self-expression so don't hold back!
Freelancing or running a business from home can often mean long hours and late nights. However, there are several perks to being your own boss. If you work from home more than 50% of the time, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers a number of tax breaks to encourage small businesses to start up, succeed and stimulate the economy.
Buying the equipment you need for your business and organizing your home office properly can benefit you come tax time. With a bit of research and an accountant, you're in the driver's seat when you file your taxes. For the first few years, you might get sizable returns and ongoing write-offs related to your home office, transportation and equipment.
For ease of explanation, let's use the sole proprietorship scenario of one person running their own business, 100% of the time, such as myself. Yes, part-time or salaried employees working for a company from their home have write-offs too, but they also have more limits on what and how much they can claim.
What you need to know
While tax specialist George Winfield said every tax situation is different, there are resources and a few general rules to follow.
While tax specialist George Winfield said every tax situation is different, there are resources and a few general rules to follow.
“You have to use your house as your place of business and be able to prove the percentage of the home that is dedicated to business purposes,” Winfield said. “From there, there is a formula to determine the amount of rent or mortgage, reasonable maintenance and capital expenditures to keep the office portion of your home functioning.”
To start, the CRA will want to know if you use this space exclusively as a principal place of business or on a frequent basis for operating or meetings.
Like many of us, we have a dedicated office or workspace at home, but after hours we vacate—because who wants to hang out at the home office after a long hard day?
Be accurate and reasonable
In our above-mentioned scenario, as a work-from-home business owner, a portion of that space and all of the needs required to run it-—like utilities and upgrades—are tax deductible. It should go without saying this is based on a reasonable amount of space and associated expenses based on accurate calculations of the square footage of your home, detailed receipts and records, as well as an explanation for any questions, should it arise in the future.
For example, my house is 2,640-square-feet and the dedicated office space I use is 355-square-feet, but I use it 100% of the time for business as I'm a full-time freelancer. My household expenses total $28,500 for items in Section 7 of the T2125 CRA form:
- Home insurance;
- Cleaning materials;
- Property taxes;
- Mortgage interest; and
- Maintenance, repairs, home office renovations.
So the basic calculation for my tax deductible expenses would be: 355 ÷ 2,650 square-feet x $28,500 = $3,817.
While the calculation is not an exact science, what's important is to have all receipts and documentation needed and be accurate about what your business space requires. Be reasonable about what is needed for the business. If you decorate your house from top to bottom and replace your roof, that might not be applicable—unless, of course, your office area was leaking and needed some upgrades to be functional.
Being your own boss also means you need to get the proper equipment, upgrades and office furniture needed to operate at maximum potential. An ergonomic chair, keyboard and computer are all reasonable business expenses, but what about upgrades to the home office that are part of the house?
Upgrades like a gigabit wired network, better router, new electrical outlets, proper lighting, ventilation and insulation might be imperative to the workspace, too. It might even include a lock on the door so those persistent kids or pets don't barge in during meetings. These are outliers you need to think about, all of which can be considered reasonable expenses to further business operations.
If you're unsure about making any expenditures for your home office, contact an accountant to get an informed answer whether the spend qualifies for a tax write-off or what you want to spend or ideally where to spend it.
The goal is to keep your home and home office running like a well-oiled machine and get a few bucks back at tax time.
The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.
Whether you're renovating, redecorating or spatial planning—you know there's an app for that. We're taking a closer look at seven mobile apps that will give you a leg up on your next home project.
This is an app for everything from a brand new build to a redecorating project. Since you can recreate all of your doors, windows and furniture in the app (right down to their exact measurements), you can rearrange an entire room and see what works before rolling up your sleeves and pushing heavy beds or couches around.
There are different ways to create a floor plan in magicplan, from individual rooms with well-lit photographs, to free form drawing or even an augmented reality (AR) feature that will scan the space and create a to-scale plan. Once your room is sized, tap the “Add Object” button and add everything from doors, plumbing, furniture and electrical in various styles and sizes. On your floor plan, tap where you want to place your object and then add it. From there you can move it along the wall or across the plan.
Rating: 4.5/5 magicplan takes some getting used to, and there are a lot of options within the app, but nothing here is trying to trick you or make you do complicated 3D math. The ability to create a floor plan of your space without grabbing a ruler and pencil is super-efficient.
Cost: Free + in-app purchases
Platforms: iPhone, iPad and Android devices
Be your own designer with the DecorMatters app. With a free account, you can save your designs, build mood boards and portfolios, follow your favourite designers and be part of a vibrant and creative community.
Full of design inspiration, DecorMatters lets you fill a room with with features like furniture, art and lighting options from their expansive library—including real products from your favourite stores.
Even cooler: Its augmented reality features. Scan the floor of a room through the in-app camera and add to-scale products to your space in front of your eyes. There's plenty to explore in DecorMatters, but the technology behind the app is seriously impressive.
Rating: 4.6/5 It feels like a game with how much you can play around with the products. Cycle through décor, furniture and colours to see what you like best before committing to a style. It's a full room transformation without the price tag.
Cost: Free + in-app purchases
This colour palette app invites you to “explore a universe of colour and discover harmonies and colour values”. Simply put, this is a colour swatch app with plenty of perks.
Sure there are a lot of features you can unlock for a price, but the free components of Pantone Studio are a great starting point to find complementary colour palettes. If you allow Pantone Studio access to your device's photo gallery, the app will create a five colour swatch based on the hues and tones in pictures you select. From there, you can drag the swatch to the bar at the bottom for a closer look and detailed read-out of the colours.
You can even use built-in AR technology to create a swatch in real-time using any object in your home.
Rating: 3.8/5 This is an easy-to-use app to help harmonize a room and get creative with your colour choices. If you want to design a room around your favourite piece of art, upload the photo to Pantone Studio and the app will pick five colours to work with. From there, you can paint walls, find textiles and stain woods to help tie the room together.
Cost: Free + Free Trial and in-app purchases of the Pantone swatches
Do you like to gather all of your ideas in one place before you start a big project? Morpholio lets you create mood boards with photos from your device's camera roll and real products from an extensive library (complete with links to websites with more information) or photos from the web.
Visit your favourite websites and crop out images to add them directly to your board and when you're done, simply export your board to save it to your device's photo gallery.
This app comes with a handy feature tour right away so you can get familiar with the app before you start collecting ideas.
Rating: 4.5/5 There are many products to scroll through and tools to alter each image you add, but the mechanics are simple enough that it won't take long to get used to. This app is like kind of like Pinterest if you could cut and paste each pin onto a corkboard for a more holistic view of a mood or idea.
Cost: Free to build boards + in-app purchases to unlock special features
Platforms: iPhone, iPad
iPhone built-in measuring and level
If you have an iPhone or iPad, there's an app package that can come in handy during your renovations or redecorating: the Measure app, which uses AR to measure objects and distances. Follow the on-screen instructions and simply tap a point at one edge of your object and move your phone along its length until you need to make a turn. Anchor another point and keep going. Once you're done, tap the measurement on the screen to get a final reading. Then, if you swipe to the right, you'll also find the built-in level. The level works in any direction; you just need to tap to calibrate 0º and let the red or green screen tell you if you're level or not.
Rating: 5/5 The design of both features is super streamlined and simple to navigate, and the AR component of the Measure app is still new enough to be pretty thrilling.
Platforms: iPhone, iPad.
Hey Android users, don't feel left out. Search “Bubble Level” on Google Play for your own built-in level.
This one is a pretty straightforward app. Can't reach your level buried somewhere in your garage? iHandy Level will get the job done.
The level is actually very sensitive and will give you an accurate reading in degrees from a flat, vertical or horizontal position. You can even turn on a beeping sound that will help guide you hot or cold style.
Rating: 3.9/5 iHandy Level has a simple design but it requires frequent calibration. You can also add on tools like a protractor, ruler, Plumb bob and surface level as in-app purchases.
Cost: Free for the level tool + in-app purchases for additional tools
Platforms: iPhone and Android
The iPhone's compass app can help you figure out what kind of light each room will get throughout the day—like soft morning sun from the east or hot, direct afternoon light from the west. Knowing what light you'll get is helpful, especially if you're decorating with plants or art, or installing skylights.
Android's Compass Galaxy is a comparable app, with simple calibration and accurate readings.
Rating: 5/5. Works like a charm!
Platforms: built-in on iPhone, available to download for Android
While enlisting the help from professionals is always the way to go when it comes to major home renovations or large-scale projects, the helping hand these apps offer can give you a lot of freedom to really plan and visualize your project. Plus, with so many augmented reality features, you can see the finished project before it's even started! Pretty cool.
The New Roaring Twenties, two-thousand-and-twenty, twenty-twenty, whatever you call it, we've made it nearly 20 years into the 21st century. A lot has changed since the start of the new millennium, including popular home design trends. As we look ahead to the start of a new decade with clear eyes, let's explore what trends we can expect to welcome home.
Photo by Aaina Sharma on Unsplash
Photo via GettyImages.ca
Colour(s) of the year
[Swatch created with unofficial Pantone colours]
Rich blues, greys, greens and creams were strutting down the London Fashion Week runway earlier this year, showcasing Pantone's Fall/Winter 2019/2020 colour palette (featured here in the colour authority's Colour Trend Report). Evening Blue and Guacamole are two standout shades, a deep, elegant blue and a lively, fresh green respectively, with complementary neutral hues to balance them out.
Photo via Unsplash
Neo Mint is predicted to be the colour of 2020 according to the trend forecasters at WGSN. This soft green shade harkens back to the colour of Mid-Century innovation and presents a futuristic hue in harmony with 2017's millennial pink.
While the world eagerly awaits WGSN and Pantone's official announcements of the colours of 2020, we're expecting to see a lot of these cool tones next year in everything from paint to textiles to furniture.
Modular a la mode
Photo via Pinterest
Speaking of furniture, things will be coming together a little differently in 2020. Many of the exciting furniture pieces that came out this year were multifunctional like the modular dressers, couches, tables and chairs crafted by some of the leading furniture designers around the world.
As we move into smaller smaller spaces, and condominiums in urban areas, the furniture we choose needs to work double-duty throughout the day, depending on our needs. It's a trend we used to see exclusively in trailers and mobile homes, but will play a bigger role in our houses next year and beyond.
Designed to be easier to get in and out of with a high, curved back for more support.
Photo courtesy of IKEA, OMTÄNKSAM collection of accessible furniture and items
Accessible parks in neighbourhoods across the country are making it easier for everyone to live life to the fullest. Inside, we expect to see an increase in affordable and stylish accessible furniture, household devices and utensils available to Canadians in 2020. During their annual global press event Democratic Design, Swedish furniture giant IKEA announced a slew of new projects including a push to bring more accessible products to their catalogue including carefully made armchairs, couches, and glass vases designed for easy gripping and tested out by real people with different needs.
From shipping containers to recycled materials, we're moving onward with our quest to more sustainably-built homes, environmentally-friendly materials and energy-efficient fixtures.
In the new decade, we'll see a shift to more environmentally friendly building and renovation methods including passive builds and Net Zero Energy homes. In fact, there are plans in place to develop a Net Zero Energy ready building model for new homes across Canada by 2030.
Wild animal prints and wallpaper made a comeback this year and in 2020 we can expect to see it put to exciting new use with bold geometric patterns, macro floral prints and palm leaves, animal prints like big cat, snakeskin and alligator, and everything else under the sun.
Maybe it's subconscious inspiration as we move into “the ‘20s”. It's hard not to think about what an influential decade the Roaring Twenties were for home and interior design, bringing about the Art Deco movement. We're always looking back for inspiration for the future and that is especially true as we head into the next decade.
Photo via Instagram @makemovesvintage
Shell motifs were huge back in the ‘20s and saw a resurgence in the ‘80s before going out to sea again. But, our seafaring friend, the scallop-shaped shell has come ashore again and decorated everything from plush headboards to catch-all dishes, throw pillows and eclectic vintage pieces.
Bamboo and rattan were a big deal back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but we're seeing their resurgence in interior design and outdoor furniture—especially vintage pieces.
We want to see our stuff in 2020. The tastefully subdued and crisp minimalist style could take a back seat next year in favour of a more maximalist approach. Don't be afraid to bring your trinkets and odds and ends out from storage to display with pride once more.
What styles do you want to see take off in 2020? Have you pioneered a trend to take us into the next decade?
But before we walk through each scenario, let’s note the key difference between porcelain and ceramic tile. Though they’re manufactured with different types of clay, the Tile Council of North America defines porcelain in terms of water absorption. Specifically, porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5 percent of water. Ceramic and other non-porcelain tiles absorb more than 0.5 percent water.
The best pick: Porcelain
Remember, the TCNA defines porcelain as tile that absorbs less than 0.5 percent of moisture. Why doesn’t porcelain absorb much moisture? According to the TCNA, porcelain is naturally dense, which means it’s harder to penetrate. In other words, it’s nearly waterproof. This property makes porcelain a no-brainer for bathroom installations, as well as other areas of your home that are exposed to moisture.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that ceramic is a bad choice for bathrooms. In fact, many homeowners install ceramic in their showers and on their bathroom floors. However, porcelain’s impermeability will ensure you have the best protection against moisture.
Browse porcelain wall and floor tiles in the Houzz Shop
Find a kitchen designer on Houzz
The best pick: Ceramic
Not all porcelain tile is costly, but if you shop around long enough, you’ll start to notice a trend: It’s generally more expensive than ceramic is. If you’re on a tight budget, ceramic will fit the bill. It’s difficult to find a quality porcelain tile under $3 per square foot; high-end porcelain tile will easily surpass $5 per square foot. Ceramic, on the other hand, seldom costs more than $4 per square foot, and there are plenty of affordable styles under $2 per square foot.
Browse ceramic wall and floor tiles
Find a bathroom remodeling pro near you
The best pick: Porcelain
Both ceramic and porcelain excel in high-traffic areas in comparison with other flooring types (such as hardwood, laminate and carpet). But porcelain is a denser tile, and as a result it offers better long-term resistance to scuffs and scratches. Through-body porcelain, where the color on top of the tile goes all the way throughout the tile’s body, is especially scratch resistant. Living rooms and hallways are two of the perfect places to install porcelain. Households with children and pets will appreciate porcelain’s durability.
The best pick: Ceramic
Density isn’t always a perk. Ceramic is easier to cut and install than porcelain is. According to the TCNA, non-porcelain tiles are easier to affix to the floor than porcelain tile. If you’re planning to install tile yourself, especially in a situation where many cuts are required, you could find yourself in hot water. The job could quickly turn sloppy, and you may dish out more money to have a pro correct your mistakes.
The best pick: Porcelain
When it comes to patio flooring, the great outdoors can be unforgiving. This is another scenario where porcelain’s impermeability wins. When ceramic tile freezes, it absorbs moisture. This causes ceramic to expand and break. You could be looking at a flooring replacement much sooner than expected.
If you live in an area that is prone to hard freezes, ceramic tile is out of the question for an outdoor space. If you live in a climate where freezes are occasional or uncommon, ceramic is risky at best. Carefully weigh your decision when deciding between porcelain or ceramic.
Gone are the days of boring, dingy, utilitarian public washrooms. Sure, they have their place, but even highway rest stop bathrooms are upping their game with softer lighting and a piece of art or two.
It's in restaurants and bars where bathrooms are getting the heaviest makeovers. Patrons are looking for flashy exteriors and interiors full of ambience, but they're also venturing to the back of the establishment—just in the far corner, on your right—to check out the restroom.
“You have to see the bathroom in this place,” your dining partner says as they sit back down. And don't deny it, you get a bit of a thrill hearing that phrase. What could this restaurant have possibly done to make a bathroom look cool?
Frankly, restaurant and bar owners have more freedom to fly in the face of convention when it comes to creating a stunning, trendy little room for patrons to do their business. It's part of the experience. It's a necessary (and required) room to have—there are building codes to respect—but maybe most importantly, it has to look good for the ‘Gram.
If you've ever taken your dining partner's advice and checked out the bathroom in this place and found yourself blown away, pulled out your phone to snap a pic or two and thought “I wish I could have this,” here's the good news: you can!
Take a look at some of the trends happening right now in bar and restaurant bathrooms and take them to go.
Don't let flashy tiles scare you
Subway tiles have come back in a major way but, for this look, steer away from basic white. Throw caution to the wind and forge ahead with something more daring; black tiles with white grout, anyone? Honeycomb tiles or even exposed brick can elevate your bathroom from the ordinary.
Have you thought about a bold, patterned wallpaper? Take a page out of Vancouver restaurant Anh and Chi's book and cover the walls in something out of the ordinary. If you're worried busy paper is too much, think about how great it will look in your bathroom selfies.
See the light
Vanity lighting and showy fixtures help bring the pizzazz of trendy public bathrooms home. Whether your space is nice and bright or moody and dim, the right light makes all the difference. Find out how to set up your own lighting schemes with our handy guide.
Add another mirror
Maybe the racy wall to wall (to ceiling?) mirror look of London restaurant Nopi isn't a domestic look but there are simple ways to bring unique mirrors into your own bathroom. Span the width of the countertop to make the room feel bigger or track down some unconventional shapes (circular and oblong mirrors are in). Surround them with vanity lights or LED backlighting to make them pop.Photo via Instagram
Hide the clutter
There isn't much clutter in a public washroom; soap, hand dryers and a garbage pail or two are the most of it. Keep your own accessories to a minimum to match this style. Use hideaway storage, cabinet doors that sit flush with touch latches or shelves (sparingly) to achieve the look.
Rise up with creative sinks (and toilets)
Push pedestal sinks aside in favour of more dynamic vessels. Raised bowls, sinks carved out of dazzling granite or marble—even upcycled decorative ceramic pottery can crank up the wow-factor in the bathroom. Mount that sink on a live-edge wood counter to drive the entire aesthetic home.
Defy the rules when it comes to your toilet hardware, too. Wall-mounted or floating toilets remove a lot of the bulk and help to streamline the look of the room.
When it comes to upgrading your bathroom at home, lean into the dazzling designs that impressed you at dinner. If you find yourself playing it safe, you might miss the mark here. Don't be afraid to pull out all the stops to create a flashy space that will leave your dinner guests delighted.