Lifestyle November-December Online

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Home renos


new Homes








lottery love Big homes for Big dreams

Top Tables

setting tHe rigHt setting

Top Trends

Holiday dĂŠcor to ligHt tHe nigHt

GeT iT done

100 tHings to do now

festive fashion

glam up for a night out

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contents nove mb e r


d e ce mb e r 2017







A happy home Organize your holiday activities


Seasonal adornment


Lottery lodgings

35 43

Coming up aces

Festive furnishings made easy Dreamy homes to win LHBA rewards builders

65 and going strong LHBA celebrates a milestone



15 34

A grand home tour


Family time

Holiday inspirations in the Bend

Culturelife Festive happenings Bring the whole clan together



Yule love to wear it


Keeping up

Dress to celebrate Find the sweet spot


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

London, On N6G 2N3 November/December 2017

Lifestyle ď …


1026 Talbot St., St Thomas, ON N5P 1G3 ph 519-631-8428

ï † Lifestyle November/December 2017

LIFESTYLE PUBLISHER Lana L. Breier 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.

November/December 2017

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

“Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.” – Peg Bracken


s the world settles into the time of shorter days, longer nights and festive lights, we mourn the passing of summer and autumn with all their glorious colours and fun activities. But winter’s rest brings a time to reflect on what we’ve achieved and what new goals we’ll set for the coming year. Now that November is here, it’s time to gear up for enjoying holiday merriment and Shelly Shepherd has some great advice on page 9. I love her concept of “participate, don’t facilitate.” Getting a jump on all the business and busyness of the celebratory season is simplified if you follow her list of 100 Things 2 Do Before the Holidays. On page 41, another Londoner, Mary Ann Skaro, shows how to set a sumptuous table. Giving your clan a truly lovely setting in which to enjoy the holiday meal encourages them to sit longer, talk at length and build bonds that will last long into the new year. Finding some great outfits that feel both festive and comfortable to wear to all the holiday happenings you must attend is something to put on the ‘get it done’ list and our fashion contributor Heather Toskan shows off

several possibilities on pages 22 to 26. But keeping it real and staying within one’s energy budget is as important as maintaining the financial one. On page 31, Kathy Rumleski’s story outlines some tips on how to find your own balance point. First, last and always Lifestyle Magazine is a homes’ publication, so we can’t let a big birthday for the city’s voice of the residential construction and renovation industry go unnoticed. On page 43, I had the privilege of talking to several people about this and we invite you to also wish the London Home Builders’ Association well as they celebrate 65 years of excellence. The entire Lifestyle Magazine crew – editorial and advertising – wishes you and yours the very merriest holiday season!

Jill Ellis-Worthington

Photo credit: Caitlyn Peesker.

 Lifestyle November/December 2017


Get off the

merry-go-round By Jill Ellis-Worthington

Stop Spinning and enjoy the holiday season More joy, less stress – that’s Shelly Shepherd’s mission for her 100 Things 2 Do Before the Holidays list. Get out in front of the many tasks that the merry season brings so you can participate, not facilitate.


iding the merry-goround as it spins faster and faster in the weeks leading up to Christmas or Hanukkah and endless rotations of planning, shopping, cleaning, cooking and baking that this special time entails can make the merry season seem not so merry. But having a schedule and a critical path to follow takes some of the pressure off and allows the main party planner – you – to enjoy the festivities more fully. That’s the mission of Shelly Shepherd and her 100 Things 2 Do blog. “There so many things to do that you’re inundated, and so they aren’t the warm and perfect times that you envision,” she explains. Shepherd thinks that other women feel the same. “They want to participate, not facilitate.” A London mother of two, Shepherd started the blog in the summer of 2013 after compiling a list of (mostly) free and fun things to do with her then young children to keep them busy and entertained during the off-school months. “It was a ‘sanity saver’ because having a list helped to keep me motivated and helped keep the kids on track,” explains Shepherd. That led to more 100 Things lists: 100 Random Acts of Kindness, 100 New Year’s Resolutions,

100 Things 2 Do This Autumn and more. The blog, which also gives instructions on a wide range of home-related DIY projects, is now a commercial entity attracting sponsors and advertisers from its following of 120,000 readers each month and 9,200 followers on Instagram. Her following of 7.5 million on Pinterest comes mostly from the U.S. but also gathers fans from Europe and Africa. Shepherd’s lists of pre-holiday reminders run the gamut from charitable to practical to fun and frivolous. For instance, she reminds us to remember RAKs (random acts of kindness) at this special time of year, to pre-clean guest rooms weeks not minutes in advance of guest arrival and to shop for food well ahead of time to avoid shortages of delicious treats at the last minute. Some items on the list have a holiday giving theme, like ‘You’ve Been Elfed’ gifts for neighbourhood children. She explains that you purchase small items at the dollar store, wrap nicely and leave on a neighbour’s doorstep for each child in the house as an anonymous gift. Then they pay it forward by doing the same to another neighbour. “It spreads the joy of the season and teaches kids about giving to others,” says Shepherd. 

November/December 2017

Lifestyle 

People in dozens of countries look to Shepherd to help them navigate life’s busiest and most stressful times by breaking down tasks into doable steps. Everyone wants to stop riding the merry-go-round and enjoy the festive season more fully. n

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100 Things 2 Do •

NothiNg makes the dark days of wiNter seem more festive thaN exterior lightiNg But if you remember the Clark Griswold character in the movie Christmas Vacation, it might be a good idea to follow these tips offered by the professional exterior illuminators at CLC Tree Services. Safety first. Always make sure you are secure and safe on good quality ladders and or scaffolding before heading up to the eaves troughs. Pre-determine your colour scheme. Pam Cook, design consultant and manager for CLC Tree Services, advises against mixing cool white with warm white lights if you decide to go with the always-popular all-white scheme. Most clients prefer either the classic all-white or cheery multi- coloured approach, rather than say purple or gold. Loose cords and dangling wires are rookie mistakes. Hide cords, timers and plugs for a clean professional look. Cook advises using zip-ties to ensure that everything is tucked neatly and safely away. Calculate the number of lights you will need. Measure the length of your eaves (or light locations) and convert the measurement to inches. Then divide by 15 to determine the number of bulbs. Cook recommends adding between 10 to 20 per cent for good coverage. Remember to hang lights in a straight line using clips to emulate a uniform, professional installation. If you decide to hire a professional, ensure he or she has proper workingat-heights training, is adequately insured and is covered by the WSIB in the event of a fall. For more inFormation CLC Tree Services 519-685-0257 •

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November/December 2017

Lifestyle 13



14 Lifestyle November/December 2017




By Ellen Ashton-Haiste

This home was showcased in the first iteration of the Grand Bend Area Holiday Home Tour.


olks looking to get into the Christmas spirit this fall might find Grand Bend a perfect place to start. The town will host its second Holiday Homes Tour from November 17 to 19, with five homes lavishly decked out for the season. There are also 24 destination spots, offering inspirational for holiday decorating, gift-giving and entertaining. The tour is a community effort that raises funds for four local groups that organize the event, says spokesperson Janette Baillie. These include The Jingle Bells Group (a local residents collective whose mission is to provide holiday décor downtown. This year the focus is on pole lighting on main thoroughfares.); Our Lady of Mount Carmel School (who are raising funds for students’ technology improvements); the West Coast Lions Club (which supports myriad charitable projects); Huron Shores United Church (which is renovating its 1927 site to make it accessible and available for community events). “This year’s five homes offer a range of styles and décor,” Baillie says. A grand custom-built home in Turnbull’s Grove – with oversize windows offering breathtaking lake views – is decorated by The Garden Gate Gifts and Florals. It is bound to be a showstopper, she says. A smaller home in Village Gate subdivision has been renovated to accom-

modate the owners’ retirement lifestyle. Baillie believes the décor, by Lakewood Garden Centre and Christmas Shoppe, can offer inspiration for others who have downsized. A spacious open-concept home in Merrywood Meadows features a collection of rustic primitive antiques and textiles, which will provide inspirational touches. These are provided by Seaforth’s Primitive Creek, a giftware and décor store. A 16-year-old ranch home on the Old Ausauble Channel is undergoing a total renovation to create a contemporary open ambiance and will be decorated by The Garden Gate. A three-level vacation home in Wee Lake subdivision, featuring a loft designed for the grandchildren, will get a whimsical décor treatment from Exeter’s Willow Valley on Main fashion boutique. Baillie says last year’s event drew crowds from across the region and raised $16,000 for the beneficiaries. Tour tickets are $25, good for one admission to each home. The destination sites – restaurants, gift shops, art galleries, even a winery and microbrewery – are admission free. Tickets are available online, at local businesses and by phone. b FOR MOR E INFOR MATION Grand Bend Area Holiday Home Tour 519-238-1472 •

November/December 2017

Lifestyle 1

This holiday season shop

This Holiday Season avoid long lines and crowded parking lots by doing your shopping in the idyllic towns and villages of Elgin County. Shopping locally will save you time and give you the opportunity to purchase original, hand-crafted products while supporting small business.

Deck the halls with a ceramic art sculpture or stained glass window or choose an expertly framed piece of art from one of Elgin’s many galleries and studios.

The main streets of Elgin County’s towns and villages are the perfect places to pick up gifts that are truly one-of-a-kind and are sure to please everyone on your list.

A culinary gift is a perfect choice for that hard to buy for person. Help the chef in your life spice up their cooking with locally grown herbs or delicious jams, jellies and salad dressings.

Explore quaint boutiques for trendy clothing and jewellery pieces, select fine local wines, pick up handcrafted home décor pieces, fresh flowers, natural skin care products, hand-made pottery, homemade fudge, sweet local honey, artisan candles and more!

For those that prefer to be catered to, try a gift certificate to one of Elgin’s quality restaurants or bakeries that offer everything

Check out our website for unique Elgin County shopping ideas. 1-877-GO-ELGIN x168

from delightfully sweet treats to hearty country fare to fine dining opportunities – all using local ingredients. A round of golf at one of Elgin’s many courses or tickets to a live theatre performance are always appreciated gifts. Shop Elgin this holiday season and wow everyone on your list.

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November/December 2017

Lifestyle 17




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20 Lifestyle November/December 2017


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November/December 2017

Lifestyle 21

go for the


glam slam

Festive Frocks and winter wearables to light the night and warm the soul

By Heather Toskan

swish into the holiday social season in the latest fashions to look your stylish best at casual, business-related and formal festivities. Velvet is a key seasonal trend, making a luxurious statement in everything from clothing and bags to footwear. other flights of fancy include brocade, lace, mesh, chiffon, jersey and double knit materials, ruffles, pleats, embroidery, tassels, fringe, metallic details, sequins, beads and other decorative details.



red, wine, purple, plum, navy, teal, gold and black are among the most fashionable seasonal hues you can use. Floral prints also add classic dress appeal to some styles. 

3 1 A black jersey A-line cold-shoulder dress features several trendy styling details: a choker neckline, decorative stone trim and bell sleeves. The dress is from Laura Plus.

2 A rich red brocade A-line dress with a scalloped, deeply curved V-neckline and Venice lace accented bodice also features a scalloped V-back and a box pleated brocade skirt with a high-low hem line. The dress by Cameron Blake for Mon Cheri is from Juniper Dress Boutique and is certain to turn heads at formal and dressy business festivities.

22 Lifestyle November/December 2017

a variety of sleeve details instantly update your look. Bell and full sleeves, along with cold shoulder cut-out sleeves and ruffled-edged wrists, all offer quick and easy ways to make strong fashion statements.

3 A sequined, form-fitting, amethyst-hued dress is highlighted by a bib neckline and glittering metallic scroll work on the bodice. The dress is by Scala and is available at Juniper Dress Boutique.

4 4 Embellish your holiday style with an evening bag. Structured geometric shapes on this black and gold velvet box clutch, embellished with a beaded flower and 3D bee applique from Laura Plus, are the height of style.

5 (Following page) A versatile knit sweater (style: Sally) by designer Ruelle is paired with slim pants. This casual look is from Curiosities and is easily dressed up or down for business and other holiday gatherings.

9 A pearl tipped crystal cascade necklace from Melanie Lyne makes a polished statement.







Since 1988


8 10 Continued on page 25

6 A red cable knit sweater paired with black Insider denim pants offers cozy, casual style for lounging and while out and about for informal holiday gatherings. The separates are from Reitmans.

7 An R Essentials tank paired with a velvet ruffled skirt can be dressed up and down for various holiday events. All from Reitmans.

8 A Michel Studio floral print dress from ADDITION ELLE can be worn alone or layered over a turtleneck for warmth and style.

10 This elegant cap sleeved dress by designer Cherry Bobin (style: Cassiopee) is highlighted by a printed, velvet top. It easily goes to both holiday work gatherings and cocktail parties. The dress is from Curiosities.

We have hundreds of beautiful designs to choose from for engagements, anniversaries and general expressions of love. Canadian Diamonds Quality Craftsmanship • Superior Service • •

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Lifestyle 23

621 Richmond Street London • 519.601.2213 9 Main Street North, Bayfield www.Swim O n R

24 Lifestyle November/December 2017

Glam Slam ~ Continued from page 23

428 Richmond Street, London, ON 519-601-9099

11 11 A red velour bomber jacket and coordinating jogger style pants by NOLA are dressed up with a seamless black crop top for a fun, sultry look at casual holiday festivities. All from ADDITION ELLE.

12 12 A cherry red satin pleated funnel neck blouse and wide leg satin crepe pants with a full sash belt. Jazz it up with a rectangular evening clutch and fancy jewelry. All from Melanie Lyne. 

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Lifestyle 2ď …

Glam Slam ~ Continued from page 25

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13 A pleated crew neck sweatshirt, with fancy blouson sleeves, is paired with a crepe knit ruffled skirt. Add a mixed stone statement bib necklace and your casual-to-dressy look is complete. All from Melanie Lyne. 14 A jet beaded lariat style necklace with tassel tips is from Laura Plus. 15 Tassel black bead earrings are from Laura Plus. Tassel and fringe remain on-trend adding flair to both casual and dressy ensembles. n

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November/December 2017

Lifestyle 27


Lottery features Luxury homes

Dreaming big F

By Ellen Ashton-Haiste

or his first contribution to London’s Dream Lottery, Vasile Caniuca, owner of Millstone Homes, desired to create something special. “I wanted to give back to my community, and this is my way of doing that,” says Caniuca. Born in Romania, he appreciates the lifestyle offered in Canada and his adopted city, London. So he set out to build the “best dream homes ever and these are a real dream!” he says. “The homes are receiving rave reviews for their quality and unique features,” says St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation president and CEO Michelle Campbell. “The dream of owning homes like these has helped raise more than $30 million net since 1996 for London hospitals that provide specialized, complex and critical care for patients from across the region,” she adds. Caniuca describes the Highland home, adjacent to the Highland Country Club, as “a French farm house with contemporary touches.” It features clean lines with a white limestone and stucco exterior, accented with black trim. Inside, the colour palette leans toward neutral tones of white and grey. In the kitchen, black cabinetry contrasts with white quartz countertops and backsplash. There is a separate family room and office on the main level. The upper level has three bedrooms, including an expansive master suite. The Wickerson home, in Wickerson Woods - behind the Boler Mountain recreational playground, is designed in a West Coast style. Its exterior is stone, cedar and stucco, with stone carried into the two-storey foyer. Expansive windows across the rear kitchen and great

2 Lifestyle November/December 2017

TOP The dream kitchen of the Wickerson Home features sleek lines and clean spaces to entertain friends, while providing space for family function, all while enjoying expansive views of Boler Mountain’s rugged terrain. MIDDLE The Highland home’s living room is a gathering place for family with cool tones of white and grey to provide a calming ambience. BOTTOM The French farm house look of the Highland house’s kitchen offers a homey atmosphere in what is traditionally the most popular room in any residence. The high-contrast colour scheme offers the winners plenty of room to personalize it.

Realize your dream bathroom



room, plus cantilevered balconies on the main and upper levels, offer breathtaking views of Boler Mountain and downtown London beyond. “They’re million-dollar views,” Caniuca says. “It’s like living in a high-end resort.” The upper level has three bedrooms, including the master retreat. It stretches across the back of the home and is separated from the ensuite bathroom by an oversize walk-in closet. A finished lower level, with a walk-out to an expansive patio, includes another bedroom. This level also features a basketball court with a 15-foot ceiling. Both homes have walk-in kitchen pantries and upper level laundry rooms. Each features white European oak floors throughout. The basketball court’s floor is constructed from Canadian maple. n

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Balancing act By Kathy Rumleski

Tips on dealing wiTh all ThaT life Throws you With the holidays just around the corner, perhaps you are already feeling anxious about everything that will need to be done. This stress can manifest in both body and mind.  November/December 2017

Lifestyle 31

Get Your Glow On!

balancing act Continued from page 31

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32 Lifestyle November/December 2017

“Physically, there can be a tightness in the shoulders or hips. In the mind, it’s noted in a flurry of activity, like dropping things excessively or bumping into things,” says Lisa McClelland, owner of Beyond Balance, a Lambeth-based business which offers registered massage therapy and life and connection coaching. She says there are some simple steps you can take to de-stress, such as deciding to smile when things are overwhelming. “It helps to quiet and de-clutter the mind, allowing the body to relax.” McClelland, who sometimes does life coaching outdoors, suggests going back to nature to get relief. “Ultimately when you’re in the elements, your body becomes very grounded.” She also recommends putting your electronic devices away at least once a day. “Shut everything down and allow yourself just to be.” Getting body and mind back in balance does not include watching Netflix all the time, agrees Dorit Osher, a London psychotherapist who offers body-centred psychotherapy.

Ways to be present and reclaim your mind from the constant chatter can include yoga, meditation, starting an herb garden or going for walks. “We may work all the time or abuse substances to distract ourselves. Those are not ways to balance.” Creating equilibrium in life can only come from investigating ourselves, says Osher, who also has a degree in dance from York University. “Train the mind and engage with the body so it can be open and relaxed and alter thoughts. Our thoughts can become very loud, consistent and they don’t shut off. You have to go into your body and listen to sensations in your body, which is your inner home,” she says. Ways to be present and reclaim your mind from the constant chatter can include yoga, meditation, starting an herb garden or going for walks. Osher says another method to train the brain can be through cognitive diffusion, which is a technique to become untangled from our thoughts. “Watch your thoughts get on a train and leave or picture your mind as a cave that needs to be clean and sweep out your thoughts. Your thoughts then are not words any more, they’re just noise.” McClelland suggests taking in more fluids to stay hydrated all day, especially in winter because drinking fluids frequently is not top of mind. “Water is the most natural detoxifier that we have. Drinking as much water as possible will decrease stress by lowering cortisol. It will flush out any toxins, relieve constipation and relax muscles.” The colder months can also be a perfect time to do more inner reflection. “As we head into winter, there is not as much stimulation from the external world so we can better look at our internal home,” Osher says. n

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Lifestyle 33





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A new carol SING THE PRAISES OF SCROOGE By Jill Ellis-Worthington For many families, the holidays don’t start until they’ve watched Charles Dickens’ most beloved work, A Christmas Carol. This year, Londoners will be treated to an updated version onstage at the Grand Theatre’s Spriet Stage. Artistic director Dennis Garnhum has adapted Charles Dickens’ original tale of redemption and added 15 songs to the show, all from before or during Dickens’ time to retain the production’s texture. Garnhum has been at the Grand for a year but this is his directorial debut. He says that it is one of the biggest and most extravagantly staged productions in the theatre’s history. As artistic director at Theatre Calgary for over a decade, Garnhum staged this production each year and says that many families counted on attending to launch the holiday season. Originally from London, Garnhum is pleased to be working in his hometown for the first time in 21 years. Though not a traditional musical, festive songs of the period have been added and are “connected to the story,” says Garnhum. He cites the Christmas past scene in which Scrooge’s colleagues at Fezziwig’s are celebrating by singing The Twelve Days of Christmas done as a Broadway-style number. “We added a lot of time to that scene to show what it is like when you work in a place that loves and supports you.” He calls his adaptation of the original story transformative. Adding, that attendees will experience “high highs and low lows. You’ll shed a tear, not because it’s sentimental but transformative. You’ll laugh like you’ve never laughed and cry like you’ve never cried.”

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Feast at Illumine Gallery, November 4 to 25, 364 Talbot Street, St Thomas. If it’s true that ‘the eyes eat first,’ then Feast is truly a meal to remember. A display by local and regional artists showing traditional still life art work, along with not-so-traditional kitchen and tableware.

3 MUSIC Seasonal sounds of Sultans of String, Sunday, December 3, 8 p.m. at Aeolian Hall, 795 Dundas Street. Enjoy a festive fiesta with music from around the world from three-time Juno award nominees Sultans of String.

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Box Office 519-782-4353 34 Lifestyle November/December 2017

A Christmas Carol • Grand Theatre • Nov. 28 to Dec. 30 •

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Home builders’ association awards of excellence


t was a night to remember for the London Home Builders’ Association as it hosted the annual presentation of Awards of CreativeExcellence (ACE) in October. “We had a packed house, the most people ever,” says LHBA president Peder Madsen, from CCR Construction and Remodeling, of the gala dinner held at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn. Madsen was delighted to see many new faces in this year’s crowd, as well as new contenders for the awards. The ACE Awards recognize achievements of LHBA members for various aspects of home construction and renovation. “I like seeing fresh talent, newer companies and some that haven’t participated in the past,” he says. “There were some really great projects.” The evening was a fitting tribute to the association’s 65th anniversary, featuring some special entertainment with Canadian standup comedian and host of the Food Network’s Eat St. James Cunningham, Madsen says. He and Paul Zubot, of Brouwer Plumbing and Heating, added their own comedic touch to the LHBA anniversary tribute with a music video that included the duo rapping and being joined by LHBA staff in a a parody of The Village People’s 1970s hit YMCA. The evening also featured a touching tribute to the late John Westgate, of Rembrandt Homes, as he was posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Lifestyle 3

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The core of the matter Stay Strong to Stay Safe By Jill Ellis-Worthington


e hear it all the time: work on your core; strengthen your core. But why? Why is it important to have a strong core now and in the future? According to Dr. Alan Salmoni, professor of kinesiology at Western University, one third of people over age 65 fall each year. But it’s not just older Canadians who have to worry about injuries from falling. The colder months mean we all face icy sidewalks, driveways and paths as we navigate the city every day. Lorna Gunning Fratschko, 60, began a training program with personal trainer Carolyn Martyn, of Shine Coaching. She was concerned about her posture, general strength and overall health. “My mom suffered from dementia and became hunched. My own posture hasn’t been good, so I wanted to improve my posture and strength,” she explains. After working out four times per week for two years, Gunning Fratschko finds that not only does she have improved posture, but was strong enough to hike a mountain in Jasper National Park last summer, something she says she wouldn’t have been able to do the year previous. Gunning Fratschko also notes that she has more energy; when she does lose her balance, she’s able to correct more easily. Dr. Salmoni agrees. “If you were stronger, you could catch yourself with a forward or lateral step if you lose your balance.” “We start losing strength as early as the age of 30 from a sedentary lifestyle,” explains Salmoni. “Muscle strength is important for weight management for all ages because of our sedentary lifestyles.” Work your core and stay strong into middle and later years. n Go to for instructions from local personal trainers on building core strength. November/December 2017

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Time together enjoying a meal around a graciously appointed table is your gift to family and friends this holiday season

for the soul By Kathy Rumleski

a feast

“Sometimes the ambience is more important than the food,”


reparing a holiday feast for your guests includes ensuring a menu that appeals to all, stocking the bar, bringing out the extra chairs and the extension for your table. But there’s something important missing if you haven’t thought of how to set that table to make it impress. “Sometimes the ambience is more important than the food,” says Mary Ann Skaro, owner of Tablescapes In Style. “To me, I call (a decorated table) the beacon for connection. It draws people into beauty; it makes them pause.” Skaro says you want your guests to linger around the table, savour the sights and smells and take in the experience. “It’s a way of getting people to start interacting and talking, maybe about the items on your table.” While Skaro can come to your home to help wow your family and friends with a table that amazes, she also has some tips for those who prefer the DIY projects. She says the must-haves for your holiday table include a centrepiece made of pine branches, pine cones or

Mary Ann Skaro, owner of Tablescapes In Style

Adding personal touches – like antique toys, family photos or travel mementoes – to your carefully crafted tablescape makes guests feel cozy and at ease, advises Mary Ann Skaro, of Tablescapes in Style. Taking time to create a special ambience for your holiday table ensures that each guest feels special.

holly at this time of year, candles, runners, chargers and your best dinnerware and silverware. “This is the time to pull out your good china, your crystal glasses. It’s a way to make everyone feel special,” she says. Another way to let each guest know they are important is to have a place setting with each guest’s name at the table. “It really makes people feel appreciated. It’s that time of year where you

can go elegant and make things a little extra special without having to spend a fortune.” Skaro says she’s been using a colour scheme of rose, gold and metallic this season. She got the idea from the rose gold on her cellphone. “When you’re adding metallic, it adds that shine, glamour and glitz. It’s something different, but on style and on trend,” she says. Skaro provides a subscription email ($24 a year for six emails) with DIY ideas, menu suggestions and interactive children’s activities. She can also advise clients about custom table settings. Clients can use their own items or Skaro has curated material available. If preferred, she can also purchase items for someone, depending on the style required. “It’s about setting the intention of beauty and style around your table,” she says. n FOR MORE INFORMATION Tablescapes in Style • Mary Ann Skaro 519-200-7325 •

November/December 2017

Lifestyle 41

Celebrating longevity


By Jill Ellis-Worthington

The London Home Builders’ Association commemorates

65 years of building excellence Charity impact

an expanding mandate necessitated that the LHBa move to its current larger quarters in 1988.

S “It’s important to be part of such a strong organization, because we wouldn’t have a place at the table with government, industry and charity initiatives. We are definitely stronger together.” current president, peder madsen

Founding president mowbray Sifton

ix and half decades is a long time and the London Home Builders’ Association has accomplished much during its 65 years of existence. From founding president Mowbray Sifton – whose company represents a legacy of green building initiatives – to current president Peder Madsen – who represents a new generation of those in the construction and renovation fields, the LHBA has enjoyed a membership of hundreds in all aspects of the industry – builders, renovators, suppliers and related fields. “It’s important to be part of such a strong organization,” says Madsen, “because we wouldn’t have a place at the table with government, industry and charity initiatives. We are definitely stronger together.” According to George Kotsifas, chief building official for the City of London, the relationship fostered between construction industry professionals and the municipality pays dividends for residents. “We meet regularly to discuss areas of mutual concern and to seek greater efficiencies on both parts. We have a great working relationship and that ensures Londoners that there’s overall efficiency in the ways houses get built and ensures that they are getting quality construction.”

Thousands of hours of sweat equity have been donated to worthy causes, and millions of dollars have been raised. According to executive officer Lois Langdon, “A typical year sees over 100 members volunteering over 5,000 hours on association activities and projects with over $100,000 donated back to the community annually.” One initiative that the Renovator’s Council supports is the Business Cares Food Drive. It started with just a few members challenging each other but now encompasses the full LHBA membership working together under nine team captains. In 2016, the membership gathered over 135,000 pounds of food, which accounted for 40 per cent of the total food donated. Madsen has headed up the LHBA’s effort for the food drive and feels that it’s one of the association’s most important charitable projects.

industry impact Nationwide industry initiatives have been launched here in the Forest City and gone on to aid others in the industry and now have been brought back home. Madsen cites the London Energy Efficiency Partnership as one example. LEEP was rolled out in the Forest City in 2007 as a cooperative effort by municipal, federal and industry bodies, with members from Natural Resources Canada, municipal government and local builders. According to James Glouchkow, who is a research engineer with Natural Resources Canada, he reached out to contacts in the industry and learned that London was a receptive market for the LEEP initiative he wanted to launch. “The reception from builders and the city was phenomenal and they helped us develop something that the Canadian Home Builders Association thinks is an important way of getting innovation into the market.” In 2010, the initiative moved out to other cities in Ontario and to more recently to Manitoba and B.C. and became known as the Local Energy Efficiency Partnership.  November/December 2017

Lifestyle 43

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Recently it has been relaunched in London piloting retrofitting initiatives as the goal and has come full circle. Glouchkow thinks that some of the important advancements have been improvements in exterior insulation and air sealing systems to reduce thermal bridging, which reduces household expenses and makes homes more comfortable, zone forced air to concentrate heat where it’s needed in the home and eliminate waste and the popularization of combination systems (combined space and water heating systems).

Community impact Madsen feels that the LHBA’s annual Home Show, which will have its 25th iteration in January 2018 goes far in meeting the association’s mandate for public education. During those two and half decades, it has grown from 24,000 square feet of learning space to 129,000 square feet with over 600 exhibitors. Some of the booths are donated to local charities to help spread their messages but the main thrust is in educating the community about what is possible in home construction and improvement. According to Madsen, “LHBA uses our construction background to ensure there is a diverse group of local businesses to showcase the newest and best technologies and products for their home as an outreach to educate fellow London and area residents.” Lois Langdon has been executive officer of the LHBA for 23 years and sums up the impact of the organization and its membership: “The members never cease to amaze, from their generous community service to their innovative spirit and unending passion about their chosen craft of home building and renovation. Our members are leaders in creating some of the most energy efficient, comfortable homes in the world by finding new and better ways to build homes - to make them stronger, last longer, be more energy efficient, healthier, and safer. Home building is really a story of relentless innovation driven by passionate professionals.” n


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