Lifestyle January-February 2018 Online

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january/february 2018

Home renos


new Homes








New year, New attitude

find your Happy in 2018

From ruNway to reality

fasHions tHat made tHe journey

lakeside luxury grand bend condo gets a makeover

best of show

lHba sHows off again

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contents januar y


fe bruar y 201 8


10 15 29 41 45 48 51


Best bend view Creating condo caché

Feathering the nest Trends create cozy comfort

Forecast Home Show sure sign of spring

The future is now Sifton’s cutting edge design

Theatrical landscapes Stratford Garden Festival

Mind your manor Home fit for royalty

Forging gold STEHBA award winners



With all in-stock lighting on sale you’ll find something perfect, for less. sale ends february 26, 2018

Winterlicious Trading snowbound for sumptuous


20 47

Climate control Head south the smart way

Getting down in Goderich Beat the winter blahs


23 52

Craving comfort Dishes to warm you

A state of mind Head into happiness


24 56 57

Runway to reality Trends that fit your life

Bizlife Medeiros Trim Maria Bikas Salon

1673 Richmond St. North at Fanshawe, 519-667-3022

London, On N6G 2N3 January/February 2018

Lifestyle 5

We build Homes for Life

FULL SERVICE, QUALITY BUILDER S I N C E 1 9 9 2 new homes, additions & renovations 519 765-2666 Member in good standing of the Tarion Home Warranty Program since 1997.


EDITOR Jill Ellis-Worthington WRITERS Ellen Ashton-Haiste Clare Dear Jill Ellis-Worthington Kathy Mueller Wayne Newton Kathy Rumleski Heather Toskan ACCOUNT MANAGERS Annette Gent 519-200-0283 Lorraine Lukings 519-520-7676 Jan McGrath 519-243-2932 Elaine Norris 519-702-5583 Wilma Van Vaerenbergh 519-476-5571 EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN Wendy Reid Nancy Greenfield AD DESIGN Nancy Greenfield Bill McGrath Wendy Reid PRODUCTION Nancy Greenfield PHOTOGRAPHY Richard Bain John Morse PRINTING Sportswood Printing WEB ARCHITECTURE Redding Design Inc.

Lifestyle is published six times a year by 2251632 Ontario Inc. c.o.b. Lifestyle Magazine 108 Tuyll Street, Bayfield N0M 1G0 519-873-0989 Copies are distributed to selected homes, magazine stands and local businesses in London and area.

Canada Post Agreement #41277015 No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material. All rights reserved. Printed in Canada.

Cover photo is by Barry MacKenzie

January/February 2018

Lifestyle 7

EDITOR’S note Building Original HOmes fOr Original PeOPle We’ll make your next home as original as you are Why settle for a run-of-the-mill custom home when you can have an entirely original one? With a planning process that starts with nothing more than your dreams and a blank sheet of paper, you can be sure your riverstone Original Home will be every bit as unique and remarkable as you are. We’ve been building original homes for well over 20 years now, and each one has been entirely different than the one before it. and that’s exactly how it should be. 519 . 666 . 3537 Mike Loyens • Travis Loyens

8 Lifestyle January/February 2018

“To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.” – GRETCHEN RUBIN, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT


’ve interviewed a lot of people in my 30-year career working in various aspects of publishing. Some were pretty famous, like Michael Learned – she played the mother on The Walton’s – whom I got to interview for an hour over breakfast a couple of years ago; some were hilarious, like Gail Voz-Oxlade, Canada’s television money maven, who told me she advises having a ‘F-off fund’ rather than an emergency fund; others who were earnest about their craft, like Chef Michael Smith or Tommy Smythe (best known as Sarah Richardson’s decorating sidekick). One of the best things about my job is getting to ask these folks all kinds of nosy questions. But of all the dozens of people I’ve interviewed no one ever responded to my interview request as fast as Gretchen Rubin did a few weeks ago. She’s the author of The Happiness Project and I interviewed her for my story on page 52. One of the things she thinks paves the path to happiness is to “get stuff done,” so I shouldn’t have been surprised that my phone rang 10 minutes after the interview request email left my computer. Getting her telephone call really made me happy. But there’s more than a fleeting feeling of professional triumph to set one truly on the path to happiness. The above quote is what she calls The First Splendid Truth. It’s one of the chief things that caught my attention and, therefore, has stuck in my memory long after finishing her book. As we head into a new year, I like the idea of doing more things that make me feel good (like reading, spending time with friends and travelling) and less

that make me feel bad (worrying about ‘techie’ stuff, fretting about money or being concerned about what people think) and expand on what it feels like to feel right. I think that pursuing the ‘feeling right’ part is also part of the ‘atmosphere of growth’. I’ve noticed, especially lately, when I’m challenging myself – with a different type of exercise or trying something daring like smiling at every single person I meet in one day – that I feel happier as a result of the accomplishment, not necessarily while pursuing the harder or newer thing. So growth is key. So are relationships – Rubin makes this clear in her book: building better relationships leads to short- and longterm happiness. So many great thoughts aggregated in one book; I really do hope you pick it up to start the new year off on a happier note for you and those around you! The Lifestyle Magazine team wishes you and yours an abundance of health and happiness in 2018! Jill Ellis-Worthington

Photo credit: Richard Bain

January/February 2018

Lifestyle ï ‰


at the lake


Remake By Kathy Mueller

Tired Grand Bend condo GeTs a new look ABOVE After spending a quarter century enjoying their lakeside condo, the Pearces decided it needed a complete facelift. The kitchen was opened up and brightened up with new cabinetry, flooring and a two-tiered, oversized island. The colours and décor pay homage to the home’s beachfront location, mimicking Lake Huron’s waves and palette.

10 Lifestyle January/February 2018


ny visitor to Grand Bend cannot help but notice the stunning seven-storey condominium located at the end of the beach looking over Lake Huron. As the original owners of the penthouse suite at Beach Place Condominiums, Sandy and Keith Pearce have enjoyed countless stunning sunsets, hours of entertaining and the peaceful sounds of waves lapping on the beach. But after 25 years of living in the same monochromatic colour scheme, they felt it was time for their home to reflect the beauty of the environment in which they live. “I wanted to achieve harmony,” says Sandy, “and to tie the outside beauty with the inside as we prepare for the next stage of life.” What started as a plan to install new flooring quickly spiraled into a complete gut that spread from the front door

through the kitchen and living areas, and into the three bedrooms and two bathrooms. “You now get that ‘wow’ factor as soon as you walk through the door,” says Sandy, pointing to the mural flex installed horizontally to mimic the nearby waves. “We continue that wave theme throughout the condo, from the seafoam-coloured, wave-like formation on the kitchen peninsula, to the light fixture in the dining area, to the tile in the showers.” Enhanced with pops of yellow, orange, and seafoam colours, the beach at their doorstep is now mirrored in the interior. “There are times, depending on the natural light, when the seafoam colour on our bedroom wall or in the kitchen, matches the colour of Lake Huron. It’s absolutely spectacular,” explains Sandy. The Pearces realized early in their planning that they could not do the renovation on their own and called in 

after LEFT The condominium’s two bathrooms weren’t left off the list during the renovation. Completely updated and modernized, they too exhibit the beach colour scheme, while providing luxurious surroundings for the owners and their guests. RIGHT Sandy Pearce loves her new kitchen so much that she will be taking “cooking classes so I know how to use this stunning new space.”

after before


Continued on page 12

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January/February 2018

Lifestyle 11

Remake at the lake Continued from page 11

2100 Oxford St. E., Unit 41 London, ON 519-451-2124

Gloria Bartlett, a certified redesign specialist from London. Aside from helping with their design, Bartlett acted as counsellor when challenges and surprises surfaced. “We did run into one challenge in the kitchen: the countertop we purchased did not fit in the elevator. It was too long,” says Bartlett. “But we worked with the supplier who made excellent suggestions on where to cut the countertop, and it looks just as beautiful.” The reno ran over budget and over schedule, something Bartlett advises to take into consideration when planning. Renovating a condo can also be problematic as there are rules and regulations which need to be followed. In this case, Bartlett says the condo board was onboard for changes the Pearces wanted to make, which included removing a bulkhead in the kitchen. The kitchen is where Sandy anticipates spending a lot of her time entertaining family and friends. “But first, I want to take some cooking classes so I know how to properly use this stunning new space!” n

Reno staRs

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DT Enterprises (General Contractor) Dynamic Kitchens by Jem-Dor Progressive Countertops London Major Appliances Turnbull Plumbing and Electric Aqualuxe The Lighting Shoppe The Ensuite Urban Barn Modern Living London Ron Relouw (flooring and tile installation) Marine Canvas and Upholstery Shop TileTown Pink Spark Photography Eco Architectural Glass Surface Film Canada Plafonds & Murs Elegant Ceilings and Walls


Gloria Bartlett • Fit-2-Sell Inc 519-641-6683 • 12 Lifestyle January/February 2018

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Lifestyle 13

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January/February 2018

Lifestyle 15

the beauty of simplicity

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16 Lifestyle January/February 2018

marketplace interior style A warm and cozy look is achieved through layering textures and finishes. Mixing metals, fabrics and styles is key to an updated look. Faux fur is currently a winter must to bring your space into the season. Continue this theme by adding wall dĂŠcor with images of woodland creatures. Design House London.

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Lifestyle 17

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Lifestyle 1ď ‰


dreaming of a warm getaway? Story and photos by Jill Ellis-Worthington

EnsurE that your drEam doEsn’t bEcomE a nightmarE this wintEr


ondoners Melanie Bernier and Jeff Morrison booked their recent vacation in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, with some trepidation. “With the recent hurricanes there, we weren’t completely sure what to expect,” says Bernier. The couple wondered how service, food and sightseeing might be affected by damage sustained by the island nation and its inhabitants as a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria. “The damage to Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana is very minimal. We stayed at Iberostar Bavaro, and the only obvious sign of hurricane damage was a few stripped down palapas, which the resort was in the process of repairing. We also noticed that the palm trees are missing some leaves. Surprisingly there is very little seaweed on Bavaro Beach. We would rate Iberostar Bavaro Suites 4 to 4.5 stars. The food and rooms are above-par,” Bernier says. Canadians made 4.27 million trips to the Caribbean in the first 11 months of 2016, according to statistics provided by Vision Travel Solutions. It seems that dreaming of, planning and taking vacations to warmer climes during the cold winter months is at the top of most folks lists of pleasurable activities.

TOP Guests enjoy sparkling white sand and warm emerald waters while visiting the semipublic beach on Cayo Levantado.

Those from in and around London are no exception. In 2008, only eight per cent of total passenger load at London International Airport was heading to Caribbean destinations. In 2016 that number was up to 14.5 per cent, according to Melanie Prosser, marketing and business development coordinator for the airport. “In the last 10 years, 108,200 passengers have taken nonstop flights from London.” But damage from hurricanes in late summer and early fall has some Canadians rethinking their plans. What can you expect when you’re expecting to go south? Since over a half of a million Canadians visited the Dominican Republic in 2016, tourism from our country is a vital source of revenue for this Caribbean island nation. Manuela Fahringer, former general manager of Bahia Principe Luxury Samana, is pleased the resorts are now back up and running as usual after being closed for a period after the hurricanes. “We evacuated for Hurricane Irma with all the guests but not for Hurricane Maria. We were open again after six weeks and the only damage now is to the

INSET TOP LEFT Set on a hillside, Luxury Bahia Principe Samana offers spectacular views from its decks, pool, dining area, bars and ocean-facing rooms.

20 Lifestyle January/February 2018

vegetation,” she says. The resort she currently works in is Bahia Principe Cayacoa, which is a large family-friendly, moderately priced destination in Samana, DR. Luxury Bahia Principe Samana is a more expensive, smaller resort – 149 rooms – and is perched on the hillside on the coast, 57 kilometres from the airport in Samana. An adults-only property, it is quiet with one pool and a private beach. A bar and hot tub area affords spectacular sunset viewing to the west. The French and Italian restaurants are excellent but a guest favourite is the Brazilian eatery with deck seating and energetic wait staff circulating with meat skewers throughout dinner. Sampling the evening’s cocktail offering of a Brazilian favourite – the caipirnha – gets the night off to a flavourful start. Located on a small island nearby, Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado is a step up in price and is also an adults-only property. The luxurious interiors are complemented by two beaches on the island that reflect the green blue waters for which the DR is famous, one is a private beach for the exclusive use of guests and the other is a semipublic

INSET ABOVE While on a day cruise to Los Haitises National Park, vacationers see thousands of pelicans, explore caves and have time to enjoy the beach on Cayo Levantado.

INSET TOP RIGHT Take marimba lessons on the pool deck or enjoy a cocktail while cooling off in the water of the pool at Luxury Bahia Principe Samana.

beach that guests of the Luxury Bahia Principe Samana can access by ferry. You’ll also see private yachts anchored off this beach, which is adjacent to a small open-air market with sellers of local crafts and Larimar stone jewelry for which the DR is famous. Los Haitises National Park is open and boat trips to see the thousands of pelicans that breed and nest there are operating. A trip across the water is a great way to cool off and enjoy some of the natural scenery, while the crew serves one of the favourite local libations – rum. FOR MORE INFORMATION

Some islands weren’t as fortunate. Londoner Kathy Mueller, who serves as a public relations officer with the Canadian Red Cross, did a late fall stint in St. Maarten as part of relief efforts in this badly affected destination. At time of writing, only a few airlines were flying into the island and most of the resorts were closed. While power, water and spotty internet service were restored, food stuffs were in short supply as all need to be imported, she reported. When the island will be able to get back to tourism business as usual is unknown. This is also the case with the islands of Barbuda and Dominica. Islands severely damaged but with some tourist hosting capabilities are Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. Eastern Caribbean cruises have been affected but those visiting western Caribbean destinations are fully functioning. Many islands were unaffected, as was Mexico. Checking with your travel agent is the best way to be assured that your dream vacation doesn’t become a nightmare this winter. n

Ruth Adams • Vision Travel Solutions • 226-927-4061 •


Flying direct SaVeS Time, money and STreSS London International Airport’s direct flights to Caribbean destinations in Cuba, Jamaica and Dominican Republic haven’t been affected by hurricane fall out, according to marketing and business development coordinator Melanie Prosser. Air Transat and Sunwing fly from London nonstop to Cayo Coco, Varadero and Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Cancun, Mexico; and Montego Bay, Jamaica during the winter ‘going south’ season. Saving driving time to Toronto or Detroit and extra time taken with security lines in bigger airports adds up, as does saving the cost of expensive big city parking when you catch a cab or ask a friend to drop you off. If parking at the airport is preferable; it’s $35 per week (a preferred rate for those on charter flights) to park at London International Airport. The airport’s coat check allows travellers to leave winter coats safely for $5. You can say goodbye to that heavy garment and pick it up in a week or two when you get back and be cozy all the way home. A duty free shop has also recently been added for the convenience of international passengers and carries a selection of liquors. FoR moRe inFoRmAtion •


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Lifestyle 21

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warm and

One Of life’s greatest pleasures – comfort food


ozy sweaters, crackling fireplaces, big fluffy mittens. When the snow flies and the mercury dips, Londoners gravitate to those things which provide warmth and comfort, and that includes food. From thick and hearty soups, stews and chili, to mac and cheese and roast beef dinners with all the trimmings, we look for dishes that are hearty and can warm us to the core. “Comfort foods bring people together,” says Nick Patterson, head chef at The Bungalow, a neighbourhood eatery nestled in the heart of Old North. “We hunker down and kind of go into hibernation during the winter. Comfort food helps us feel safe and secure.” At The Bungalow, every dish is made from scratch and mac and cheese is one of most loved meals ordered during the chilly winter months. “We make it to order,” explains Patterson. “Smoked gouda gives it that little extra bounce. It’s gooey and oozy, full of simple ingredients, and is a dish that can be easily made at home.” With a daughter about to turn eight, Patterson admits to making mac and cheese at home a lot – both from scratch as well as store-bought versions. “When I think of comfort food, I think of my daughter and the time we spend together each week, making soup, making memories.” But comfort food can and does mean different things to different people, particularly if they are new to Canada and its winters. Anthony Abdullah is the chef and co-owner of Petojo Food, a two-yearold catering company in London that he owns with his sister. Born in Canada,

but with Indonesian roots, Anthony dips into the Asian-Pacific palate to satisfy a different kind of comfort craving. “I grew up eating bubur for breakfast. I woke up to the smells of bubur. It was my motivation to get out of bed so, for me, comfort food is attached to good memories,” says Abdullah. Growing up in what he calls a ‘food family,’ Abdullah credits his father for his interest in cooking. “My parents shared the ritual of preparing bubur with me, the ritual of sharing it with others.” Made with leftovers, bubur ayam is an Indonesian chicken congee, similar to a savoury porridge, full of rice and chicken and served with a variety of condiments. Unlike many other Indonesian dishes, it is not spicy. It is normally eaten for breakfast but is also good at any time of the day. “I mimicked my dad when it came to the condiments I would add, although I admit, a bit of the Canadian influence crept in when I added ketchup,” says Abdullah, laughing. “With this dish, my father is passing down his culture to me. That brings us together. And that is comfort.” Whether it’s a perennial favourite like mac and cheese, or a stick-to-yourribs kind of dish like bubur ayam, the common thread for defining comfort food seems to be family, friends and childhood memories. n


the Bungalow • 910 Waterloo Street London • • 519-434-8797 petojo food • 519-488-0316 •

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The Bungalow Mac and cheese recipe Feeds four

IngredIents 8 oz 35 per cent cream 16 oz of grated cheese mix (cheddar, smoked gouda, mozzarella) 20 oz macaroni Salt and pepper to taste Grated cheese mix for topping dIrectIons Boil water and cook macaroni, drain • Grate cheese • Add cream and cheese to drained macaroni and stir until cheese is melted • Serve topped with a sprinkling of grated cheese mix.

FInd recipes onlIne at lifestylemagazineonline.

January/February 2018

Lifestyle 23

yourstyle From runway to reality, what do local stylists say about Fashion trends New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week, Toronto Fashion Week and, one of the biggest in our namesake city, London Fashion Week, all light up social media and mainstream media outlets twice each year. We see the best of the best waltzing their wares down the runways of the world’s most sparkling cities. But we don’t often see regular folks wearing these sometimes impractical garments; we see versions of them walking down our city’s streets. Think the sweater scene in Devil Wears Prada in which Meryl Streep’s character pointedly outlines the journey that trends take from runway to reality for Anne Hathaway’s character.

keeping it real By Jill Ellis-Worthington

Victoria Baird, of Beautiful You by Victoria, is a fan of menswear trends on women. “I’m pleased to see the return of the trouser. Reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn, the look is the perfect combination of classy and effortless. Also continuing its popularity is the wider legged/ high-waisted jean. Happily, the distressed jean look is becoming less popular. Soon we will be able to say goodbye to the ‘destroyed’ jean look.”

“Men’s suit jackets make a great casual-chic look for women.” To feminize this fashion, it will have a looser, less structured look and feel. “This is a great look for business casual or a weekend coffee with friends at your favourite café,” says Baird. Miik Kenia blazers from Curiosities Gift Shop.

Simon Chang jeans from Studio Style.

Three stylists weigh in on trends that have made this journey to become their picks for transitioning wardrobes from winter to spring this year.

Rita Perepelitsky, of Pink Ink Image, says “My two favourite pieces trending for spring/ summer 2018 would be the deconstructed blazer and upright stripes.” “The reason the deconstructed blazer is one of my favourites is because the blazer has been around for years and finally it’s established itself as a fun piece of clothing rather than just boardroom attire,” she adds. Fresh FX deconstructed blazer from Mugford’s in St. Thomas.

24 Lifestyle January/February 2018

“I am a huge fan of trends that can be interpreted for everyday life. Luckily there are always a few that fit the bill. My two favourite trends are the pencil skirt and raw denim,” says Suzanne Colmer of Your Shop Girl.

According to Colmer, the resurgence of raw stiffer denim in a matte finish is a stark contrast to the stretchy blended versions that have been popular in recent years. “I love everything denim, and I’m excited to play with contrasting it with spring’s softer lighter fabrics,” she adds. Simon Chang denim jacket from Studio Style.

“The midi-length pencil skirt is a great piece to throw on with a suede heeled boot in late winter or with a pair of heeled sandals as we head into spring. Just keep in mind that the longer length will throw off your proportions, so a heel is definitely recommended to balance you out.” Cherry Bobin red pencil skirt from Curiosities Gift Shop.

“A wide collar and off-centre zipper give the classic blazer an unexpected look. Offered in cozy, versatile fabrics, like boiled wool, a neutral-toned blazer can be worn through winter and into early spring to top off pants or skirts in style, or with jeans for a more casual take. Plus, you can zip it all the way up for a completely different look. Multi-use pieces like this blazer are a great way to maximize usage while taking minimal closet space, which is always a good thing,” says Baird.  Yest Deconstructed, asymmetrical blazer from Street Boutique.

429 Talbot Street, St. Thomas Westmount Shopping Centre, London

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January/February 2018

Lifestyle 25

the must haves eans dson j u H e oots 1. th e Vita b c l o D e 2. th uary shirt 3. the Sanct

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keeping it real Continued from page 25

“Upright stripes are considered a neutral piece of clothing and every wardrobe should have at least one piece. These vertical stripes elongate the silhouette and create elegance in an otherwise casual look,” says Perepelitsky. Fresh FX upright striped blouse from Mugford’s in St. Thomas.

Looking forward to getting away?




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stylists Beautiful You By Victoria 519-282-6319 • pink ink image 226-374-5366 • Your Shop girl 647-501-4438 •

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January/February 2018

Lifestyle 27

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or the past quarter century London area consumers have been discovering what’s new, different and exciting in the marketplace at the London Home Builders’ Association Lifestyle Home Show. “When we started the show 25 years ago, our objective was to educate fellow Londoners about our industry,” says Lois Langdon, the association’s executive officer. “Over the years, in keeping with LHBA’s mission statement to give back, we have been able to expand the show to raise awareness for community organizations and local businesses outside our industry.” She credits the longevity of the show to “the passion that our members feel towards their chosen craft, their pride in being Londoners and the diversity of exhibitors that our construction base allows us to find.” The show boasts more than 600 booths and 265 exhibitors featuring home improvement, new home construction, and lifestyle products and services.

IF YOU GO… Where: Western Fair District When: January 26 - 28 Hours: January 26, noon–9 p.m. January 27, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. January 28, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission: Adults $12 Seniors (65+) $9 Children (12 and under) free More info:


CCR Building and Remodeling Renovation projects are becoming more seamless and less stressful today with the evolution of computer technology. That’s something that the CCR Building and Remodeling team incorporates into all projects, whether it’s a one-room makeover or a whole home transformation, says co-owner Peder Madsen.

“Our job is to design and create an amazing space with the fewest number of headaches for the homeowner,” Madsen says. To that end technological tools like three-dimensional renderings and project management software have become invaluable. Three-dimensional visualization, something CCR has long relied on, is a bonus for clients. “Trying to visualize an end result can be tricky and this lets our customers visit the home and see what it’s going to look like.” Project management using Cloudbased software is another enhancement, keeping clients up-to-date. “People carry their project around with them, in their pockets and open it up wherever they are to see their budget, their calendar and what has happened that day.” CCR’s goal is to take away the stress and “with these tools, I think we do that,” he says. b

January/February 2018

Lifestyle 31


Gliding Shelf Solutions It shouldn’t be this hard!





Custom designed, built and installed pull out shelves for your existing cabinets. For a FREE home consultation call your London, Ontario experts at 519 642-2677 or 519 641-2270 • 32 Lifestyle January/February 2018

Accessing those pots and pans, or other kitchen and bathroom items, stored at the back of cupboards or drawers can often be an exercise in frustration. A simple and inexpensive answer to this problem is offered by Gliding Shelf Solutions with its custom-made wood shelves that glide in and out of existing cabinets.

“Installing pull-out gliding shelves is a cost-effective way to improve the functionality of cupboards,” says John King, who operates the London Gliding Shelf Solutions dealership with partner Dennis Beker. “They make accessing those items, usually so hard to reach, as simple as pulling out the smooth gliding shelf.” The shelves can be particularly helpful in enabling seniors and those with disabilities to live independently, he adds, citing the company’s motto: “It puts life within reach.” John and Dennis say they feel tremendous satisfaction when customers tell them the shelves have made daily life much easier. Free, in-home consultations are provided and upon receiving an order for the product, which is manufactured in Ontario, installation can typically be completed within three weeks. b


Covenant Construction There are plenty of ways to find a company for a home renovation project, from letting your fingers do the walking to polling friends and acquaintances. But in the 21st century, more and more people are trolling the Internet. That’s something Craig and Bonnie Hardy, owners of Covenant Construction, have taken to heart.

“We notice the importance of social media and having our company out there in different ways,” Bonnie says. For more than 25 years, Covenant Construction, a design-build firm with its own licensed carpenters, architectural and interior designers and custom millwork shop, has been providing residential renovations and additions and custom homes in the London region. “The industry has changed over the years but one thing that hasn’t is our commitment to quality workmanship,” Bonnie says. Covenant’s reviews on Houzz, the increasingly popular online community discussing all aspects of home design and decor, describe the company using words like “trustworthy,” “honest” and “integrity,” all of which are hallmarks of their business. “What people are saying about us is important,” she says. b

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Lifestyle 33

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DUO Building In 2017, DUO Building received the London Home Builders’ Association Renovator of the Year award for the second year running. While this is a great source of pride, it’s not something the company takes lightly, says partner Keelan Malloy. “It reminds us of our responsibility to be good stewards in how we do business with our clients, our employees and the greater community,” he says.

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“To that end, customer satisfaction, ongoing communication, working collaboratively to create custom designs that suit individual tastes, lifestyles and budgets is what we strive for.” DUO has a dedicated carpenter attached to each project and have hired an in-house designer to enhance their services. Believing that happy customers are the key to success and happy employees make happy customers, DUO “treats our staff like family,” Malloy says. “Our goal is to empower our staff to ensure every project meets the client’s expectations.” Community involvement is the other piece that DUO takes seriously. “Our staff is involved in many outside volunteer activities and collectively totalled 986 volunteer hours in 2016,” Malloy says. b


Hayhoe Homes St. Thomas builder Hayhoe Homes is continuing to expand offerings with new presentation centres showcasing established plans and striking new designs. Late last year a two-storey model was opened in the up-and-coming community of Harvest Run in southeast St. Thomas.

PHASE 3 - NOW BUILDING PHASE 4 - BUILDING SUMMER 2018 Single Family, Condos & Towns The Newport is one of Hayhoe’s most popular family homes, says design and marketing assistant Shale Holden. It features an open kitchen and great room across the back, a main floor office, four upper bedrooms, and a recreation room, additional bedroom and bath in the lower level. The company is, early this year, unveiling a brand new design with the Carson model in phase three of its Orchard Park South community. Holden describes the four-bedroom home as “farmhouse inspired” with distinctive highlights such as a vaulted two-storey ceiling with a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the great room. It also features a white kitchen with walnut accents, an upper-level loft and expansive master suite with oversize walk-in closet and custom tile shower in the ensuite, a basement family room and bedroom and mainfloor office. b

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Lifestyle 35


Windows & Doors

Homecastle Windows and Doors An ever-growing awareness of savings from energy-efficient windows and doors keeps Homecastle Windows and Doors busy with year-round installations. In fact, last year the company that has been serving the London region for more than a quarter century, had grown and needed to launch a brand new and expanded showroom at its First Street location.


S H OW RO O M 535 First St., London Mon-Fri 9-5:30; Sat 10-2 • Free in-home quotes

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But there’s an equally valuable asset that attracts referrals and repeat customers to Homecastle, says owner Jim Versteegh. That’s a strong commitment to customer service. “Our in-house installers definitely offer a personal touch to our clients,” Versteegh says. “They’ll move furniture, take down blinds and put them back up and they’ll even make sure your cat doesn’t escape on their watch.” That, along with pride in quality workmanship and use of long-established suppliers of Canadian-made products, are the hallmarks of the company’s success. Homecastle provides a wide range of window and door products, including vinyl and wood windows and entrance, garden and patio doors, as well as vinyl siding in a variety of textures and profiles. b


Progressive Countertop A new countertop is something a homeowner may be living with for some time, so there’s pressure to get the choice right. What if it were pos­ sible to see exactly what the end result would look like before making a final decision? That’s now an option with the launch of an augmented reality app from Cambria, producer of quartz countertops.

With the app, downloaded free from Apple, consumers can scan any surface, browse through Cambria’s designs and, with a tap, place digital images on that surface to see how the space will appear. They can then take pictures, show friends and get feed­ back before making the transition. Cambria has also just launched five new designs in its Marble collection, bringing its palette to 146 designs in nine collections. The company, based in Minnesota, is the only family­owned, Ameri­ can­made quartz producer and strives to be an industry leader in innovation. Its products are available in south­ western Ontario from Progressive Countertop, a four­generation family business operating out of Strathroy and serving an area from Windsor to London to Toronto. b

January/February 2018

Lifestyle 37





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Sleep Factory Most people are familiar with Murphy beds that pull down from a wall. A new twist on that are beds that fold into portable dresser-like cabinets. London’s Sleep Factory carries a line of these beds, manufactured by B.C.-based Cabinet Beds. “Sleep Factory takes pride in carrying Canadian products,” says the store’s general manager Peter Chiaravalloti.


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38 Lifestyle January/February 2018

The cabinets are solid-wood formaldehyde-free North American birch, available in 10 styles featuring 15 choices in finishes. The memory foam mattresses are certified by CertiPUR-US to be low-VOC and contain no harmful chemicals. Sleep Factory has exclusive rights for Cabinet Bed products in this area and was recently named by the company as its number one dealer in Ontario. Serving the London area for 30 years, the family-owned enterprise specializes in custom products, with its own signature brand, which offers beds of all sizes and options. Choose from a variety of headboard styles, fabrics and finishes. Chiaravalloti is pleased to be able to offer customers such a wide range of selections. “We’re one of the few who do that.” It also carries major mattress brands and deals directly with manufacturers to keep costs competitive. b


Sloan Stone Design Two payoffs for Sloan Stone Design: a broad choice of materials and an expert staff to guide custom­ ers and provide insight on trends. This business has been designing, manufacturing, and installing granite and quartz countertops throughout the London region since 2010.

The company recently expanded, opening a new showroom in south­ east London at 75 Midpark Crescent, off Wilton Grove Road west of High­ bury Avenue. The more spacious venue has allow­ ed Sloan Stone Design to display more of its granite inventory, as well as larger quartz samples. It also better showcases their variety of colour choices. The design team keeps abreast of trends in the marketplace, so hav­ ing space to share this expertise with customers is crucial to the design process. Each kitchen has something unique that stands out, whether it’s flooring, a backsplash or the countertop mate­ rial, according to sales representative Christine Turnidge. For example, a counter detail that’s being seen more and more often in contemporary kitchens is the “waterfall” island edge, where the counter continues down along the short edge. The company offers a variety of ser­ vices, including custom countertops for kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, wet bars or tabletops. b

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By Ellen Ashton-Haiste For anyone looking for new dining options, ‘tis the season to go exploring. Londonlicious, the Blizzard Edition, launches January 12 and continues to February 4. During that time over 30 local restaurants will be offering special menus with set prices of $30, $35 and $40. Consumers choose from a selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts to put together their own three-course meal. “Everyone should have more than just one restaurant they know is good,” says Londonlicious organizer Andy Wilson. He believes people often stick to someplace they know rather than risk hard-earned dollars on an expensive eatery they might not like. But with the fixed prices during Londonlicious, the risk isn’t as great. “It offers an opportunity to try something new.” A list of restaurants and menus can be found online at http://londonlicious. ca/. Wilson advises checking those out and then making a reservation since, after a decade, the annual event is well-known and sold-out crowds are a common occurrence.




Vitamin Centre 519-672-3340 52 Grand Ave., London

40 Lifestyle January/February 2018

Londonlicious, the Blizzard Edition

Various locations

LOVELASH! February 22 to 24 at The Arts Project, 203 Dundas Street. Musical Theatre Productions presents its first workshop of a new original musical, LOVELASH! It’s written and directed by Toronto-based playwright Terence Vince and spoofs 1990s romcoms, following the misadventures of a group of friends in a small-town bar.





Jan 12 to Feb 4

St. Thomas Elgin Art Centre: Art From The Permanent Collection is on exhibit at 301 Talbot Street, St. Thomas, in all three galleries. About 30 pieces from the centre’s collection of 1,700 works will showcase modern and contemporary styles.

3 MUSIC Seasonal sounds of Salsa Dance Party Featuring Café Cubano, January 27, 8 p.m. at London Music Hall, 185 Queens Avenue, is presented by Sunfest. The Toronto-based Café Cubano Orchestra will heat up a cold winter evening evoking the spirit of the dance clubs of Havana with its blend of salsa dance and high-energy showmanship. salsa-dance-party-featuring-cafe-cubano


West 5

provides housing for people and businesses craving a sustainable nest

A green hAven By Jill Ellis-Worthington

ABOVE LEFT And TOp righT Sifton’s Discovery Centre is located on the first floor of its main offices, located in West 5. Individuals, families, school and community groups are able to tour it on Fridays and Saturdays to learn about green technologies. BOTTOm righT Donning goggles gives visitors to the Discovery Centre the virtual experience of walking in Kains Woods. ABOVE inSET Building a “vibrant, social, interactive” community is key to the success of West 5, according to Brandi McIlvenny, director of residential rentals for Sifton Properties Limited.


xcited to live in Canada’s first largescale net zero community, Tracy Kelly and Gomer Robinson have resided in their two-bedroom townhome since last summer. “Gomer and I have an environmental passion and don’t own a car,” says Kelly. “We like that it’s a sustainable, green environment,” adds Robinson. Robinson works as a property maintenance technician with Sifton Properties Limited, and Kelly is a self-employed artist who works from home. The duo was living at Sifton’s Berkshire Village property when they learned of the impending green project and immediately felt it was for them. “They (Sifton) are going to have everything out here so you will be able to walk everywhere, including pet services so we’ll be able to walk our dog over there,” says Kelly. Canada’s first net zero community of its size,

West 5 features leading edge technologies – such as green roofs, dynamic glass windows, permeable concrete on some parking lots and Energy Star appliances. Solar panels on highrises and commercial buildings will help power the townhomes’ and apartments’ needs, resulting in a net zero energy use. Using recycled and recyclable materials for construction is also part of the sustainability model. Sifton takes its green mandate seriously, with its own office using gathered rainwater to flush toilets, dynamic glass in windows to compensate for the sun’s movement throughout the day and an eco-copier that uses erasable ink and allows paper to be reused six times before being recycled, as a few examples. Being environmentally conscious isn’t new for Sifton Properties Limited, which built London’s first solar home in 1978 and the city’s first net zero home in 2015. Commercial spaces haven’t been left off the green list, with the  January/February 2018

Lifestyle 41

To share the passion for emerging technologies which promote sustainability, they have built and staffed the Discovery Centre, on the first floor of the Sifton Centre.

TOP An eight-foot-by-eight-foot, three-dimensional, scale model showing visitors what West 5 will look like at build-out in 10 to 15 years occupies centre stage at the Discovery Centre. LEFT Sifton terms rental suites presently on offer as Urban Townhomes, with units ranging in size from twothree bedroom plus den. They include

city’s tallest and most energy efficient building, One London Place. Built in 1992, cutting-edge technologies at the time included employing thermal ice technology. Using the 46 roof-mounted tanks of the thermal storage system, “we make ice at night when the temperatures are cooler and there is less demand for energy and use the ice during the day for cooling the building in the HVAC system,” says Domenic Ripepi, operations manager. To share the passion for emerging technologies which promote sustainability, they have built and staffed the Discovery Centre, on the first floor of the Sifton Centre, featuring a full-scale, 42 Lifestyle January/February 2018

three-dimensional model of how West 5 will look at build-out. It also features technologies that will be incorporated into the development and some proposals that are exciting possibilities for use in sustainable living scenarios. Tyler Young, community connection coordinator, says the Discovery Centre is open on Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. School and community groups, as well as families and individuals, are excited to see what’s possible in green living, as Young reports that there have been 1,200 visitors to the centre since it opened in August last year. One of the most popular exhibits is the

high-efficiency appliances and high-end finishes. Current residents estimate they save 40 per cent on their energy bills each month. abOvE The first 47 units have already been rented but 40 additional townhomes are expected to be completed and ready to rent this summer. Phase two, consisting of 75 to 80 units, is already being planned.

virtual reality area, where visitors don goggles to take a virtual walk through Kains Woods. “It’s a completely immersive experience, and it’s cool to be part of that,” says Young. It’s easy being green at West 5, so Kelly and Robinson were lucky to land a rental in one of 47 units that were built as the first part of phase one, which are nearly fully occupied. The second part of phase one, 40 units, will be completed this summer, according to Neil Carter, director of commercial and retail construction. Phase two will be comprised of 75 to 80 rentals and is in the preliminary planning stages. Living in a two-bedroom, one bath unit called The Urban, Kelly and 

a green haven Continued from page 42 Robinson appreciate that they are experiencing a brand new living space, that reflects their sustainable mindset as it's equipped with energy efficient appliances, but also has high-end finishes for a price comparable to other suburban rental rates. “The rent is at market value but we are saving 40 per cent on our utility bills,” says Robinson. There are seven styles of suites available for rent, ranging from two bedrooms to three bedrooms plus den. Some units have garages and terraces, as well. High-rise buildings will have office and retail space on the first two floors and rental apartments on the higher floors, according to Brandi McIlvenny, director of residential rentals. Covering 70 acres, West 5 is a mixeduse development, with half devoted to residential rentals. Carter says there will be 250 to 300 townhouse units and 1,700 apartments at build-out, expected to be in 10 to 15 years. All of the units are intended to be rentals, but some may be converted to condos, he adds, depending on market demand. West 5 is located just west of the convergence of Oxford Street and Commissioners Road. It is complemented by two additional developments, The Avenue and Warbler Woods, both of which are made up of single family homes across the road. Because 50 per cent of West 5 will be made up of service-based businesses, restaurants and retailers, both West 5 residents and residents of the two single-family-home developments will be able to access all goods and services they’ll need in this walkable community. According to Elizabeth Johnson, commercial space leasing manager, several spaces are already rented of the 400,000 square feet of mixed office and retail space. “We will have all the amenities that someone will need,” she explains, with the goal to make it a destination for shopping and entertainment. “We’ll be a one-stop shop.” The emphasis will be on attracting new, unique and non-franchise commercial renters. “Keeping it unique will help drive traffic to our space,” adds Johnson. Occupants will include an organic grocer (similar to Whole Foods), cafes and eateries, boutique retailers, fitness facilities and medical service providers. The latter is already getting uptake with Medpoint Executive Health moving offices from Byron to West 5, as well West 5 Family Dentistry opening in January. Paige McCann, regional manager 



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a green haven Continued from page 43 for Amity Dental Management, says, “We love being part of something that’s eco-friendly and so up and coming.” She adds that these dental offices will be using new equipment that is “eco-friendly, like our digital x-rays.” McCann explains that they expose pateints to less radiation and save resources because they don’t need to be printed. As part of the the development’s goal of being a self-contained environment, West 5 Family Dentistry is onboard. “We have highly trained professionals, so we don’t have to refer out to specialists very often.” Healthy lifestyle and physical fitness are part of the sustainable mindset at West 5. To that end a new business has found a home in this innovative environment – Backroads Brews and Shoes. “It’s a new concept,” says Emily Hendrikx, “combining selling running and outdoor gear and having a tap room with beer, wine, cider and kambucha.” She and husband Aaron Hendrikx opened the business in December at West 5. The newlyweds decided to launch their new concept there because of its commitment to sustainability and healthy lifestyle, as well as it being a prime location for their target demographic. “The whole development is going to be a shopping destination five years from now,” says Emily. Backroads Brews and Shoes will organize running groups that will make use of the trails that surround the development, and, she adds that since running is a social sport they like to enjoy a drink after running. But stopping into the tap room doesn’t have to include a run, as it is open to anyone who is thirsty for local libations. Robinson and Kelly also enjoy that this west end development is surrounded by trails. “There are two forest trails just five minutes from us,” says Kelly who enjoys living in a more natural environment. “It’s just quiet and clean.” The green spaces planned inside the community will be a key part of its lifestyle equation, with an entertainment area, Legacy Square, in Central Park. Summer concerts, food festivals, farmers’ markets and outdoors games are all planned activities for the green space. “We’re reshaping this part of London, with entertainment and shopping opportunities,” says McIlvenney “It has a vibrant, social and interactive feel.” n

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2017-12-04 12:17:42

A world of



By Kathy Rumleski

Stratford Garden Show


SowS SeedS of deliGht

hen organizers of a local garden show say they want it to grow, the choice of words is apt. The green thumbers and would-be gardeners who attend all have growth in mind, too. In its eighteenth year, the Stratford Garden Festival raises funds for The Lung Association, and officials hope to attract a varied crowd to the event and surpass the $1 million mark in net funds raised for the charity. The festival is set for March 1 to 4 at the Stratford Rotary Complex. In order to hit the growth they anticipate, attracting more young people to the festival is key. “We’re trying to encourage a diversified crowd and to get some younger-aged gardeners out,” says Lori Pallen, the Ontario Lung Association’s regional manager. Efforts to entice more youth to come include launching a social media campaign, enhancing the website that allows online purchases of the $10 entry tickets and sought-after speakers, includ-





ing Bob Reeves, Kate Seaver of Kate’s Garden and from the new generation of gardeners, Ben Cullen and Emma Briggs. The speaker series is moving upstairs in the complex to make room for additional gardens and vendors downstairs. Pallen is excited about plans for a brick, winding pathway that will be created to allow people to walk through the displays. She says the walkway will showcase area landscapers’ creativity and talent. “People are going to be pretty amazed with this winding garden. It’s going to be much more interactive.” Mary-Ann Reid and Lesley SpencerCooper of Malt Management will be taking on a large role in supporting the garden show’s new, fresh look, symbolized by the daisy image chosen for the artwork associated with the event. Pallen says by March, folks are longing

to get back into their gardens. “People at this time of year are getting tired of winter. It’s dirty and grey. When they come in, it’s a plethora of colour and smells. There is a lot to see.” Of course, the festival wants to bring past attendees back with favourite features such as the Seniors’ Tea on Thursday afternoon and the opening party Friday evening, now called the Garden Gala. So with the co-mingling of youth, seniors, new gardeners and seasoned ones, organizers say there will be lots of education, inspiration and fellowship. To use a line from Shakespeare – the Stratford Festival is nearby after all: “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.” n FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Lifestyle 45

Grand Bend

and Area


46 Lifestyle January/February 2018






hen cabin fever and February blahs set in, load the whole gang into the car and head to Goderich for Winterfest, held from February 2 to 4 this year. Now in its third iteration, events for hikers and hungry people take place at various locations around town, including a chili cook-off, a candlelight walk at the Maitland Woods, and a fireworks display at Ag Park. The weekend’s festivities include a celebration of the white stuff with the ICEtacular. This event takes place in Canada’s prettiest town’s downtown and includes an ice carving competition called Battle of the Chainsaws. Thrill seekers will love the 40-foot ice slide, while others will delight in playing air hockey on the icy table or a good game of life-size ice tic-tac-toe. Creative types can do some ice painting or enjoy the live entertainment. All activities are free. The town’s mayor, Kevin Morrison, especially enjoys the tradition of having someone else take his place as the opening rider on the ice slide. “I swear in a five-year-old as mayor to slide down in my place,” Morrison says. “It’s always a lot of fun.” All winter long, outdoor fun doesn’t end at village’s borders. Goderich sits at the confluence of snowmobiling trails that connect to virtually every other community

in the area. The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile clubs has a map at http:// Getting active and enjoying the crisp, cold sunshine is a pleasure in Huron County. The G2G Trail, following an old rail line between Goderich and Guelph, offers cross-country skiing opportunities. Find the trail map at To fuel up for your day of active, outdoor fun, start with an unforgettable breakfast at Pat and Kevin’s on the Square. Try the most popular dishes on the menu: eggs benedict or a delicious Montreal smoked meat platter or the western omelette. On the weekends and holiday Mondays, the breakfast buffet draws crowds to the restaurant. Everything is fresh and homemade by Pat Foster and served with a side of acerbic humour by Kevin Morrison (who is also the town’s mayor). Most of the village’s lodgings are booked in advance on festival weekend, but it’s a great day trip from London and other parts of southwestern Ontario anytime. “This event is starting to make Goderich a year-round destination,” says Morrison. “It’s a huge success, attracting as many people as an August weekend.” b

TOP Some visitors are thrilled by the Battle of the Chainsaws ice carving contest. ABOVE Others prefer the thrills of riding down the 40-foot ice slide during ICEtacular in Goderich. FOR MOR E INFOR MATION

January/February 2018

Lifestyle 47




TOP Italianate architecture sets the tone for this large, luxurious residence. Multiple amenities inside and out ensure that the home’s new owners will lack none of life’s necessities or niceties.

MIDDLE LEFT AND RIGHT The two-acre property has been landscaped with gardens, stone patios, a fountain and a fish pond.

48 Lifestyle January/February 2018

BOTTOM This spectacular home and its surrounding grounds have hosted two weddings. The Sparta Line property is ready to entertain on a grand scale.

Old wORld chaRm meets mOdeRn amenities in luxuRiOus cOuntRy hOme By Kathy Rumleski


he resplendent property at 43363 Sparta Line near St. Thomas is so luxurious and unique that it has garnered interest from outside of the country and is advertised globally, including in the New York Times. The stunning design is inspired by timeless Italianate architecture and has all the desired luxurious, contemporary features. "You're stepping into a whole other world," says real estate agent Robert DiLoreto of Royal LePage Triland Realty. The one floor mansion is exquisitely crafted with no expense spared to create an elegant and unparalleled living space. Top quality materials have been used throughout the spacious home, which has all the amenities one could imagine. These include superior construction, in-floor heat on main and lower levels, restaurant-grade appliances and hand-crafted cabinetry and state-of-the-art home automation and security system. "Everyone has been in awe of the workmanship - from the flooring right up to the ceilings," DiLoreto says. 

TOP LEFT Just one of the home’s several common areas, real estate agent Robert DiLoreto says that the home is ready to provide solitude or welcome guests when homeowners are in a convivial mood.

TOP RIGHT A chef’s kitchen that features a walk-in pantry, hand-crafted cabinetry and restaurant-grade appliances is complemented by an equally grand outdoor kitchen, with a pizza oven.

BOTTOM LEFT The coffered ceiling, like the one in this photo, as well as the dome in the foyer were constructed by craftsmen from outside the area, according to Robert DiLoreto, of Royal LaPage Triland Realty.

Step up to


MIDDLE A wall of windows looks out onto two acres of landscaped and manicured grounds.

BOTTOM RIGHT With a seven-piece ensuite, the master suite also includes a lounge area to ensure homeowner privacy when hosting groups of overnight guests.

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Lifestyle 4

international acclaim Continued from page 49 Serving London and surrounding area since 2005

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ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR The finished lower level features a media room. Homeowners and a dozen guests can enjoy a movie in comfortable reclining seats.

Craftsmen from outside the area were secured for different projects, including to create the sophisticated coffered and trayed ceilings and foyer with a soaring dome, which is stunning. The master suite has a beautiful lounge and a seven-piece ensuite. The home has a chef's kitchen with a walk-in pantry and many elegant touches, such as a hand-made diamond pattern backsplash that's exquisite. There is also an outdoor chef's kitchen that includes a pizza oven for casual parties. The finished lower level features a media room and can hold a dozen guests in comfortable reclining seats. The owners had the two acres surrounding the home completely landscaped, with gardens, stone patios, fountain, fish pond and manicured lawns, all with an extensive irrigation system. DiLoreto says the premises are so breathtaking that two weddings have been hosted there. Listed at $1,950,000, he says 43363 Sparta Line is priced below replacement cost. DiLoreto says the property offers serenity inside and out for the days you want to unwind and relax, but also has everything one would need to host a fabulous party, for the days you want friends around. n FOR MORE INFORMATION royal lePage triland realty Robert DiLoreto 519.657.9970 •

50 Lifestyle January/February 2018


The golden mean

By Ellen-Ashton-Haiste

St. thomaS home builderS Shine the light on excellence By Ellen Ashton-Haiste

The work of St. Thomas and Elgin County home builders and renovators was celebrated at the annual Golden Hammer Awards gala last November. These annual awards recognize excellence by area builders and renovators, as judged by home builder association members from outside the county. “Our local association members hold each other to a very high standard and it’s gratifying to have this excellence confirmed,” says Peter De Boer, president of the St. Thomas and Elgin Home Builders’ Association. “Having members competing for excellence, year after year, is of great benefit to local home buyers, who get to enjoy these award-winning, beautifully-built homes.”

Below left Builder of the Year, Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. Below right Renovator of the Year, Coleman-Dias3 Construction

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS Builder of the Year Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. Renovator Of The Year Coleman-Dias3 Construction Rooftopper Of The Year Richard Cox, Jumbo Building Products Supplier of the Year Geerlinks Home Hardware Sub-Trade of the Year Kielstra Siding and Windows Leadership In Environmental Excellence Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. Most Outstanding Residential Outdoor Living Project Coleman-Dias3 Construction

Outstanding Community Involvement Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. George C. Scott Award Presented to STEHBA members who have retired from the association and from their business, in recognition of their lifetime of contributions to the community. Bob Brown, Omni Insurance Wayne Mundy Memorial Award Presented to a member of the STEHBA Board of Directors, in recognition of service to the association during the year. Gerry Box, Union Gas Ltd. NEW HOME AWARDS Most Outstanding New Production Home Less Than $350,000 Donwest Custom Homes Most Outstanding New Production Home $350,000-$500,000 Donwest Custom Homes

Most Outstanding New Production Home Over $500,001 Hayhoe Homes

Most Outstanding Kitchen Renovation Up To $30,000 GCW Custom Kitchens

Most Outstanding Custom Home 2,200 Square Feet Or Less Hayhoe Homes

Most Outstanding Kitchen Renovation $30,001 Or Over Casey’s Creative Kitchens

Most Outstanding Custom Home Over 2,201 Square Feet Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. Most Outstanding Model Home Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. Most Outstanding New Bathroom In A Home Over $350,001 GCW Custom Kitchens Most Outstanding New Kitchen In A Home Over $350,001 GCW Custom Kitchens

RENOVATION AWARDS Most Outstanding Bathroom Renovation $25,001 Or Greater Coleman-Dias3 Construction

SALES ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS Presented to sales staff of member builders who achieved sales in excess of $3 million in 2016. John Gundry, Donwest Custom Homes Michele Milles and Amanda Joiner, Doug Tarry Custom Homes Ltd. Donna Smith, David Matthews and Janell Heyerman, Hayhoe Homes Peter DeBoer, MP Custom Homes

January/February 2018

Lifestyle 51


Happiness seems like an ephemeral concept. What really makes us happy? Money, relationships, health, travel . . . well it turns out to be all of those things and none of those things

hunting By Jill Ellis-Worthington



n The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin sets out to make herself happier and discovers that, like beauty, happiness is in the eye of the beholder. She’s a middle class New Yorker buzzing through life, seemingly as happy as anyone. And therein lies the rub. Is anyone happy? Are we all just rushing through life without asking the big questions or living our passions? Rubin is quick to differentiate her feeling of malaise from someone suffering from depression. She realized that while her life seems great, much of the time she is often fogged out and just going through the paces of daily living, which is not the same as someone who suffers from diagnosed clinical depression. As a professional writer and former lawyer, Rubin is a research addict. Her mission in The Happiness Project - and in her other books, blog and podcast - is to

52 Lifestyle January/February 2018

find out “how people meet their aims for themselves and how can I help people meet those aims.” Unlike many books in the self-help genre, Rubin’s offers a self-effacing look into her own life and offers insight into how she approaches problems, executes solutions and learns from the process. Along the way, readers learn what they can apply to their own lives. Hers is a year-long journey that starts in January with resolutions to clean up her act, literally. Monthly goals are set, resolutions are revealed and progress is tracked. January seems the perfect time to join with many others who make yearly resolutions. She defines resolutions as ongoing changes one would like to make, not goals that are met before moving on. Acknowledging that most folks don’t have the time or expertise to work on such a voluminous project and integrate it into their work/home/family/social exis-

Dr Moore.pdf


12:52:07 PM

tence, Rubin says: “Pick a couple of things that would make you happier, like making the bed or following the one-minute rule: anything you can do in a minute should be done without delay.” She notes, “Many people don’t do a fullon happiness project.” This is the case for Gail Shearer. Because of Rubin’s candid writing style and thorough research, Shearer finds The Happiness Project a good read and something that she relies on as a guide for keeping on track to do “small, everyday things that we can use to bring pleasure to ourselves and others.” After reading the book two years ago, she undertook her own year-long happiness project, journaling about three goals that she set each month. Many reflected epiphany moments from the book. “She’s such a force when she writes,” explains Shearer, “and there were so many things that struck me as truths. For instance, one of Rubin’s ‘secrets of adulthood’ is ‘bring a sweater.’ I don’t care anymore that people sometimes laugh at me for doing this.” The 71 year-old London woman also adopted one of Rubin’s ‘personal 12 commandments’, ‘Be Gretchen,’

meaning know and be true to oneself. So she’s adopted a similar personal commandment of ‘Be Gail.’ “It’s

discovering that we know our own true selves without worrying what other people think; it frees you from a lot of restrictions.” In her role as a social worker, Mary Rodenhurst sees clients who want more out of life but often can’t define what that is. She says an assessment is necessary to determine what behavioural changes are necessary for improved happiness. Activation is what makes the process work, though, she adds. “Making it concrete, what we call activation, like putting all the activities on a calendar so it’s a commitment to yourself to actually do those things makes it real,” says Rodenhurst. 

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Lifestyle 53

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huntinG happiness Continued from page 53 With clients, she also sees the value in Rubin’s theory that happiness can’t be achieved without taking care of one’s physical self. Enough sleep, good food and exercise are important to overall wellbeing before one can seek to be happy in other areas, according to Rodenhurst. Though Rubin discusses ‘spending out’ – the concept that money can buy happiness when used correctly, as well as how changing or enhancing one’s environment and personal pursuits can affect personal happiness, much of the book is spent on the idea that true happiness is derived from enhancing personal relationships. Jennifer Jimbere, a business consultant and coach, echoes one of Rubin’s sentiments. “Keeping a contented heart is key,” she says. “One is not happy without thinking him or herself happy.” She feels that this is reflected in the quality of one’s relationships with family, friends, co-workers and social acquaintances. “It’s social spending,” Jimbere explains, “Rubin discusses the concept of do good/feel good. We can demonstrate generosity with our time.” If someone feels a lack of meaning in his or her work, she suggests volunteering at a shelter or participating in a community activity to improve the meaningful relationships in clients’ lives. “It’s a way to give back,” Jimbere adds. Another important part of The Happiness Project is Rubin’s commitment to tracking her progress throughout the year, using a resolutions chart. “We manage what we monitor,” says Rubin. Though she no longer finds it necessary to use a resolutions chart herself, Rubin says many of her readers find it helpful in motivating themselves. Jimbere calls it “creating a cadence of accountability. You can keep track on paper, or check in with someone by having an accountability partner.” The search for happiness can be hard but, as with most things, half the fun is getting there. Rubin’s work in The Happiness Project and in her blog and podcast provide a framework and food for thought for those who are willing to work on becoming happier. But that’s not everyone as Rubin observes in her book: "Acting happy and, even more, being happy is challenging. Furthermore – and it took me a long time to accept this perverse fact – many people don’t want to be happy or at least don’t want to seem happy (and if they act as if they’re not happy, they are not going to feel happy.)" n FOR MORE INFORMATION

Gretchen Rubin •

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579 Richmond St. • 519.433.8129 January/February 2018

Lifestyle 55


Better together

Three generations of building excellence


By Ellen Ashton-Haiste

enerations of expertise in carpentry form the backdrop for the success of Medeiros and Son Trim, a family business that has been serving the London region for more than three decades. Founder José Medeiros learned the trade in his native Portugal, where he started working as a youngster of 12. He opened Medeiros and Son in London in 1986 with his son Emanuel. Later, son Jamey also came to work in the business. Emanuel’s wife, Manuela is the office manager. “We are a family business,” Jamey says. “If you call us, you’re going to have a Medeiros answer the phone, and you’re going to be dealing with us.” The family-oriented approach, he says, is one thing that sets the company FOR MORE INFORMATION

56 Lifestyle January/February 2018

apart from the competition. “Many customers feel they are part of our family.” They also rely on Medeiros and Son’s knowledge of wood, hardwood and custom work, he says. Over the years, the company’s services expanded to meet needs for millwork and custom mouldings. A full workshop, where they manufacture their own hardwood mouldings and other wood products, allows Medeiros and Son to do more custom work than some competitors. As a result all its tradespeople have woodwork training and experience. Everyone develops the skills to carry out any part of a job or project. “We all do absolutely everything related to the work,” Jamey says. “We have the expertise and the quality that goes behind it.” Medeiros and Son Trim • 519-451-8083 •

A family tradition of fine craftsmanship: (l-r) Jamey, José and Emanuel Medeiros.

The company offers a selection of exterior, interior and French doors, plus a wide variety of door, window, ceiling, wall and decorative mouldings, available in different wood species, and interior railings in wood, steel and wood rails for glass inserts. It also carries related hardware, such as interior and exterior door locks and handles. There has been steady growth, Jamey says. “Trim and doors are constantly evolving with the trends. We are dedicated to meeting those needs, with new items available every month. Twenty years ago, there were seven standard door styles; now there are more than 20 styles.” All that has created a strong base of long-time customers. n


The personal touch Maria Bikas Salon pampers clients

By Ellen Ashton-Haiste


Above Maria Bikas, owner.

ecently, a regular client walked into the Maria Bikas Salon in North London and was greeted by name by a staff member who doesn’t usually work with her. The customer commented on how good it made her feel that people there knew her and how they always make her feel “totally relaxed and well taken care of.” Salon owner Maria Bikas loves to tell that story because it perfectly describes her vision when she launched her business more than a decade ago. “I wanted to create a place with a relaxed and professional atmosphere, a warm and welcoming environment with a highly-skilled and professional staff.” After many years spent working in the industry – starting as a hairdresser in 1988 and adding skills along the FOR MORE INFORMATION

way including esthetician – Bikas has had plenty of opportunity to look and listen to hone her own vision. Her salon today has 16 staff, including nine licensed stylists, each with particular specialties in hair styling and colouring and make-up application. Bikas is the only esthetician. There are also three assistants working on apprentice hours to become licensed. Bikas has a particular hiring philosophy. “What I look for is the quality in the person, their character. Do they have integrity? Do they have respect? That’s what is important. All the rest – the skill set – we can teach.” She credits that with being able to create a setting where clients feel they have a relationship with their stylists. “They’re not just someone walking through the door.”

With a professional staff in place, Bikas’s next priority is education, ensuring those skills remain current. “We’re taking education constantly,” she says, travelling as a group to Toronto and Montreal and even as far afield as Las Vegas and Mexico for programs often offered by the salon’s suppliers. Using high-quality products complements the staff’s expertise, Bikas believes. Her salon uses Kevin Murphy salon-only hair care products, L’Oréal Professionnel hair products, Dermalogica skin care products and her signature Maria Bikas Kosmetics, in hand-selected colour lines which complement each season and bear her brand. For Bikas it all adds up to a dream vision come true. n

Maria Bikas Salon • 1673 Richmond Street • 519-850-8383 • January/February 2018

Lifestyle 57


More to Love

We’re a growing community with a small-town feel,” says association president Peter De Boer. “We offer a lower cost of living but with many of the perks of larger centres.”

Our builders continue to win

awards for quality, design, and building science, both locally and nationally. We also choose to live where we build, using talented, local tradespeople.”

in St.Thomas

HOMEBUYERS GET MORE FOR THEIR MONEY PLUS LESS STRESSFUL LIFESTYLE IN ST. THOMAS. That’s the message the St. Thomas and Elgin Home Builders’ Association has been promoting with its “25 per cent more in St. Thomas” campaign to attract new residents. “We’re a growing community with a small-town feel,” says association president Peter De Boer. “We offer a lower cost of living but with many of the perks of larger centres.” In October 2017, St. Thomas topped a list of “10 of Canada’s Coolest Downtowns” compiled by The travel site touted the city’s diverse eateries,with local and international cuisine, craft beer from the Railway City Brewing Company and an annual arts crawl showcasing local artists and culture. Part of that culture reflects St. Thomas’ ‘railway city’ heritage. Its reputation as an important junction, during the train era of the late-19th and early-20th centuries, is evident in attractions like the Elgin County Railway Museum, the North America Railway Hall of Fame in the recently-restored Canada Southern Railway Station. The life-size statue of Jumbo, the famous circus elephant killed in a collision with a train in St. Thomas in 1885, is also a key element. St. Thomas is centrally located, midway between London - which is 20 minutes away with myriad big-city amenities - and the pristine Lake Erie beaches in the village of Port Stanley, which is a 10-minute drive to the south. It also offers easy access to Highway 401. “It’s an excellent community for raising a family,” De Boer says. Along with more than a dozen schools, there are a multitude of sports and recreation opportunities for all ages. The city boasts a two-rink arena and community centre, a brand new skate park, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, baseball diamonds and the country’s oldest disc golf course. On the rise in the north end, slated to open next summer, is a $10-million outdoor recreation complex. The 65-acre site will include 36 soccer fields of varying sizes plus a soccer-and-football field and a playground. Greenery abounds in numerous scenic parks and parkettes, anchored by the expansive Pinafore and Waterworks parks. Pinafore Park is home to a first-class baseball stadium, wildlife sanctuary, a peaceful Memory Garden, a bandshell and, for the younger crowd, a splashpad and playground. Waterworks Park dates back to the early 19th century; it is a tranquil natural setting with acres of lawns, water gardens and islands connected by uniquely arched footbridges. For walkers, runners and bikers, the community is criss-crossed by a network of multiuse pathways. These continue to be developed as part of the Elgin St. Thomas Cycling Master Plan. New housing stock is plentiful throughout the area, as Elgin County home builders have houses under construction in eight new developments in St. Thomas and Port Stanley. De Boer, “Our builders continue to win awards for quality, design, and building science, both locally and nationally. We also choose to live where we build, using talented, local tradespeople.”

INFORMATION: St. Thomas & Elgin Home Builders’ Association 226-289-9710

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