Lifestyle Magazine - November/December 2022

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Working on the story

I Choose Peace (page 26), examining the issue of parents who feel dissed by their ungrateful adult children, I wondered if that might be something that we (much older) adult children should consider with regard to our relationships with our own parents.

Looking at the magazine’s reader demographics – Boomers to early Gen Xers – we are the sandwich generation and may be dealing with difficulties with our own grown children, while our parents are leaning on us as they become infirm in their elder years. (Fun fact: The term ‘sandwich genera tion’ was coined by two social workers in 1981, in their book Healthcare and the Sandwich Generation.)

Feeling like you’re being squeezed in a panini press can engender resent ment. I’ve recently experienced this but couldn’t put my finger on the exact source of my discomfort. Yes, it’s definitely hard to balance the needs of an adult child who needs counsel through their tough times while managing the care of an elderly parent, along with meeting the demands of the workplace and being present in other relationships. All this juggling can be overwhelming.

These feelings can be compounded when you realize that decisions made earlier by your parents – bad life and lifestyle choices or ill-advised financial

moves – exponentially increase their current problems. Who’s left to deal with the fallout? You.

Feeling resentment can lead to being ungrateful. It may sound harsh to say that someone who is trying their best to take care of an elderly parent’s needs could be perceived as ungrate ful. It’s not always apparent, not like a child actively cutting a parent out as was the case in the example I gave in the story. It can be a quieter, more covert burning feeling.

But as the experts in the story advise, thinking about what you appreciate and value in the other person is a great first step toward resolving those feelings of ingratitude. Thinking about all the times your parent helped you as a child – learning to ride a bike, taking you on a special ‘date’ or acting as chauffeur to the many lessons and activities they also paid for.

Looking back with appreciation seems to go a long way to being able to look ahead with gratitude. I choose peace and hope you do too.

Wishing you all the joy of the season,

“Parenthood...It’s about guiding the next generation and forgiving the last.”
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Ellen Ashton-Haiste

Dear Jill Ellis-Worthington

Janis Wallace

Annette Gent 519-200-0283

Lorraine Lukings 519-520-7676

Jan McGrath 519-243-2932

L. Breier EDITOR Jill
ACCOUNT MANAGERS EDITORIAL & AD DESIGN Wendy Reid AD DESIGN Nancy Greenfield Bill McGrath PRODUCTION Nancy Greenfield PHOTOGRAPHY BAIN IMAGES Richard Bain / Jesse Bellringer 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. magazine November/December 2022 Lifestyle 9 contents NOVEMBER | DECEMBER 2022 21 32 23 10 44 FEELINGFESTIVE 21 Gifts galore From local retailers 31 Port Stanley For fun and shopping 39 Shop ‘til you drop In Grand Bend’s bargain havens HOMESTYLE 32 Green goes the reno An environmentally friendly home makeover 50 Living legacy Fountain West offers luxury condos BESTLIFE 10 Get in the spirit At Paradigm Distillery 26 Building bridges And mending family relationships YOURSTYLE 14 Dress it up Glam up for festive fetes TRAVELSTYLE 44 Islands in the sun Visit the Canaries BIZLIFE 41 Oke Woodsmith Building Systems 43 Accents Home Furniture 49 Custom Shades of London 53 Muscat Jewellers 54 Cara Design and Build

Two determined women have been counting on two of their good friends – Max and Lili – to turn out their products since December 2020. Michelle Debus and Irma Joeveer founded Paradigm Distillery after touring wineries, breweries and distilleries in the eastern provinces on a road trip. After touring a distillery in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, the two agreed that they could do a better job, so they set off on a new business venture with a third partner as

an invester, Archie Leach (who is also part owner of neighbouring Powerhouse Brewing Co.)

Debus and Joeveer set out to learn all they could about making spirits. They at tended Moonshine University in Kentucky (a learning centre offering education on all aspects of the business of spirits) and sought other professional development opportunities to hone their craft.

The two met in 2013 while working in the tech sector in Waterloo, Ontario. Their road trip came as a result of Debus taking a year off, having quit her job, and Joeveer recovering from cancer treatment.

Making great spirits is their goal but an important part of their mission is to give people a more diverse appreciation for those spirits. “We want to educate people about cocktail culture, especially women. We want to help women enjoy brown spirits (bourbon and whisky) since they traditionally don’t drink those as much,” says Debus, of their effort to shift attitudes about how to enjoy a variety of cocktails.

The duo started producing vodka and two kinds of gins in very small still. Now they depend on two stills, both imported from Italy. The smaller one is named

LOCAL DISTILLERY SEEKS TO CHANGE COCKTAIL CULTURE THE bestlife 10 Lifestyle November/December 2022

Lili, which has a basket that holds herbs and essences to make vodka and gin and holds 500 gallons. The bigger one, named Max, holds 2,000 gallons to make moonshine and other spirits. Moonshine be comes whisky when it has been aged in a barrel for three years. All distilling is done onsite at 100 Kellogg Lane, but aging takes place elsewhere, due to space limitations and safety requirements.

Opening a business during the pandemic that is now a thriving enterprise hasn’t been an easy journey, and the difficulties started right at the beginning. “The Merry Market was to be our open ing and it started on December 3 (2020). We didn’t get our liquor permit until December 2,” explains Debus, chuckling at how lucky

they were. Success has followed this close call, going from five staff (including Debus and Joeveer) in 2020 to 35 in 2022. Debus estimates that they’ve increased production by 550 per cent since then. This success has also resulted in their winning the London Chamber of Commerce’s Agribusiness award in September. “We are very blessed to be recognized at this stage in our busi ness lifecycle, but it’s only the beginning.”

Though Debus and Joeveer are hands-on with every aspect of the business, they are aided by two distill ers: Melissa Bernais and Chris Patterson. The latter was formerly the brew master at Powerhouse. The staff participates in product tastings and naming new offerings. “They are a creative bunch,” says Debus, “so you never know what they will come up with.”

With the duo’s thirst to expand and add value to London’s entertainment scene, they have added a stage upstairs that features musicians every week. “We want to offer a jazz and blues scene, like the Bluebird Café in Nashville (made famous by the show Nashville),” says Debus. In October, they kicked off the acoustic music series with Juno award winner Steve Strongman. Watch the website for the music schedule.

To facilitate their goal of educating Londoners about cocktail culture and widening guests’ perspectives, Paradigm offers ‘experiences.’ These include tours and tastings, whisky and chocolate pairings, cocktail classes and food and cocktail pairing evenings spent tasting with a group of six friends around a bonfire, called Spirited Fire. Until January, the distillery is hosting Café Van Gogh to parallel Imagine Van Gogh, an immersive art show featuring his masterpieces at 100 Kellogg. Check the website for full descriptions of offered experiences.

The restaurant has been a big part of Paradigm’s growth. From serving sharable plates at the beginning to currently offering full and changing menus for lunch and dinner, Paradigm Spirits Co. has widened its audience, too. The restaurant seats 50, with additional tables on the covered patio in the summer and overflow seating in the upstairs event space.

New products are always being developed. For instance, since canned cocktails were so popular last summer, they formulated and canned their own Hibiscus Lemonade, a gin-based beverage perfect for sultry evenings. Debus says they also seek local collaborations, like the one they have with Heeman’s to make strawberry lemonade.

Senior bartender Alex Destounis and his colleagues will be using spirits produced especially for the holiday season, spruce tip gin and peppermint white chocolate vodka, to make festive cocktails.
1 2 4 5 1. First Edtion 2. Heritage Collection 2020 3. 2022 Heritage Collection 4. Juliet Gin 5. Old Order Gin 6. Latitude 42 Vodka
3 6 November/December 2022 Lifestyle 11

Paradigm’s award-winning products can be purchased at the in-house store. This new entity has hit the ground running entering competitions across North America and bringing home three awards about which they are especially proud.

FIRST EDITION WHISKY – 2021 Double Platinum – ASCOT (American Spirits Council of Tasters) Awards –Best Canadian whisky and in 2022 Gold – SIP Awards (International Consumer Tasting) in the Blended Whisky category


CANADIAN WHISKY – 2021 Platinum – ASCOT Canadian Whisky category, Silver – 2021 IWSC Awards, 2022 Gold – SIP Awards in the Single grain whisky category and 2022 Double Platinum – ASCOT Awards again for Single grain whisky


CANADIAN WHISKY WITH OLOROSO SHERRY – 2022 Double Platinum –ASCOT (American Spirits Council

of Tasters) Awards – Best Canadian whisky and 2022 Double Gold – SIP Awards for Blended Whisky

The paradigm moniker not only represents the shift they want to make in broadening appreciation of cocktail culture but also the shifts that have happened in their own lives. “It (paradigm) started out as a word we used to describe our own personal situation. We’d made the biggest decision of our lives to leave lucrative and stable careers in tech after a major health scare and realized we wanted to shift our careers,” explains Debus.

“It’s become more about what we do, and how we approach spirit-making. The methods we’ve used and profiles we created challenge distillation con vention and the provenance that has long been established, particularly as it pertains to Canadian whisky. Our team is challenged to defy conven tional thinking in favour of ‘what if.’

It’s become part of our ethos, and a big part of how we approach product development.” 

Myles Davis, brand ambassador, is part of the team fulfilling Paradigm's mandate to educate London ers about cocktail culture.

● FOR MORE INFORMATION PARADIGM SPIRITS CO. • 100 Kellogg Lane, 519-659-6060  •

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More events with more people – that’s the word on the street, as compa nies and social organiza tions are getting back to ‘business as usual’ by hosting parties after an enforced nearly three-year hiatus.

It’s time to get up, dress up and go out on the town in sleek, shimmering dresses and gowns or party-ready pantsuits. Outfits that say ‘it’s time to celebrate’ demand the proper setting in which to shine, so accept those invitations and strut your stuff.

On the flip side, you’ll also be able to get the entire family together for a long-awaited reunion. So, send out the invitations far and wide to make sure cousins, second cousins, nephews, nieces and in-laws are there to reconnect. They’ll be admiring your sparkly top or stunning sweater.

It’s time to enjoy family, friends and colleagues in festive fashion.

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It’s time to go all out and celebrate the festive season in style
14 Lifestyle November/December 2022
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Holidays can magnify cracks in family relationships

As you sit in the hot dining room at a crowded table eating rich food and listen ing to loud conversations, you say to yourself, "It's only once a year." The festivities can become more intense if some guests feel the holiday spirit and consume extra spirits.

This can be tedious for some, torturous for others when there is rift between family members, often prompted by a strained or broken relationship between parent and grown child. It seems that there is a groundswell of older Gen Xers and late Baby Boomers talking about their 'ungrateful' adult children.

Robert* is one of them. He has two adult children, a son 38 and a daughter 35, from whom he has felt ingratitude over the years. He chose

a “friend and confidant role, rather than disciplinarian or role model” when they were young, especially after he and his wife divorced when the children were 13 and 10 respec tively. What he describes as a “messy divorce” left him feeling guilty. Flash forward to five years ago and what he thought was a “really good father/ daughter relationship” ended when the daughter cut off contact. “For more than a year I was out of her life and not allowed to see my grand child,” he explains. This started with an argument about his concerns regarding a parenting style that he felt was hindering the child's emotion al growth. “I was concerned about how she was being raised, and she didn’t appreciate or want my opinion. She took it as an insult and became vindictive.”

The situation has been smoothed over through the years and now they are now on speaking terms, but Robert doesn’t feel the relationship has the same closeness as before. “Both of us have made a slight effort to respect each other, but I still feel like every communication has an air of caution about it.” He has chosen not to seek further resolution because “we’re at a good place now, and I don’t want to risk that.”

For those seeking resolution, seeing the other person’s viewpoint and taking responsibility for your role in the argument is a good way to start mending the rift, says Camilla Bignell, who consults with family-owned busi nesses to help with transitions and improve the bottom line. “There are always two perspectives,” she adds giving an example from Louise Hay’s

26 Lifestyle November/December 2022

book You Can Heal Your Life. “She found that there are over 250 ways to wash dishes, depending on the person and ingredients used. And if the parent wants to wash them one way, it doesn’t mean that the child can’t wash them a different way and still be right.” She advises finding a mutually convenient time in a neutral location to sit down and talk it out, using ‘I’ statements.

Dr. Marnie Wedlake, a registered psychotherapist and an assistant pro fessor in Western’s School of Health Sciences, agrees. “Don’t point the finger, saying ‘You’re so ungrateful,’ she illustrates. “Instead say, ‘I’ve been feeling such and such, can we have a conversation?’” Though she cautions against having that conversation if you’re not ready for it. “If you ask a question, you have to be ready to receive the answer. It’s not like a movie or TV situation; it can be really hurtful to hear the raw truth. Do some positive self-talk to prep: ‘Whatever I hear, I’m going to sit with it.’” Being reactive will not move the discussion in a positive direction.

Wedlake says that the present wave of discord between the generations may be caused by evolving parenting methods, citing the ‘children are seen and not heard’ philosophy of previ ous generations has moved towards a more balanced style. “As people have become more enlightened about child development, our understanding has grown about early attachment and establishing a sense of self and a sense of agency.” In some cases, she feels that this can lead to a child being “overly aware of their own needs to the detri ment to the needs of others.”

“It’s so much harder for them (adult children) to be independent these days than our generation,” says psychother apist Jen Slay, citing high education debt and housing costs as detriments to independence.” She has seen this in her own family. “My parents are first-gen eration Canadians who didn’t have any choice but to be independent and help their families back home. But my kids see my parents helping me and take for granted that I’ll help them.”

While this can be positive, Slay sees the downside. “When we take adver sity out of life, we take away peoples’ abilities to use their resilience and learn to cope,” she adds. Her remedy: “If you feel your adult child is ungrateful, stop doing everything for them. Allow them to experience life for what it is; some will thank you.”

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All three experts agree that the feeling of being taken for granted is most often the root of the problem and advise those who want to have a closer relationship with their adult child to consider their perspective when seeking resolution. Remember the mantra ‘I choose peace’ when you both are ready to talk it out.



This is your loved one. What is it you love about them? Focus on that.

PLAN AN ACTIVITY TO KEEP THE MOOD LIGHT Minimize the chance of conflict by doing something that involves humour, movement or nature.


This might mean no politics, no religion or other topics that elevate emotion.


If someone you love has a history of behaving one way, they’re not likely to suddenly change. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.


Often life can be so busy and hectic that we aren’t aware of the special things for which we should be grateful.


Keep alcohol or recreational drugs to a minimum, so you don’t regret your actions or words later.


Respond with something like, “This is not the time or place. Let’s plan to address that _________.” Then ensure you follow through and address it from both perspectives.

*Name changed for privacy.


~ Continued from page 27
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for HOLIDAY FUNand more


By Janis Wallace

It's time to make memories in Port Stanley, starting with Dickens Days (November 25-28).

Kick off the fun at the parade on Friday night. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or for something special to wear, or

are looking for a fun destination, Port Stanley has plenty of options.


Kim Ariesen’s fashion collections are gathered from around the globe. This season, the focus is on knitwear. “The first thing you notice when coming into the shop is the colour,” she says. A variety of purples, a range of greens (bottle, olive and chartreus) greens and shades of blue from aqua to indigo. “French blue is always good, and per iwinkle is another one that works for most people.” Of course, red is a good pick for the season too.

Ariesen says nothing is complicated. Pieces provide a chic casual look in classic shapes. You’ll find flattering fits in sweaters, jackets and coats – including featherweight Nordic coats from Danish label Junge. Ariesen adds they are great for walking the dog.

For gifting, German scarves from Fraas and Canadian jewelry make perfect presents. Mixed metals still top the trend list. To pamper your loved one during the holidays, a line of French soaps and diffuser sets make great gifts. “My favourite is the grapefruit scent,” says Ariesen. “I like the citrus note. It’s not too strong. It’s fantastic in the kitchen or the bath.”

STUDIO STYLE • 215 Main Street 519-782-7467 •


This health food store helps you feel good and look good. New owner Joanna Dale, a holistic nutritionist, says, “It’s my world. I’m into a natural lifestyle.” Her favourite product, espe cially in winter, is elderberry syrup to boost the immune system. “It’s some thing simple we can do to help prevent getting really sick.”

The store stocks supplements, enviro-friendly makeup and cleaning products, as well as healthy treats, including gluten-free pasta and vegan sweets. Collagen is a big trend for capturing a youthful look.

Dale suggests gifts of toxin-free soaps and shampoo, organic cotton face cloths and essential oils.

THE STORE HOUSE • 2-211 Main Street • 226-658-0122


Looking for laughs or live music? Head to the theatre.

Stoke your holiday spirit with two shows. Don your gaudiest sweater for the ugly holiday sweater contest with Second City Improv (November 26). The Crooner Christmas Show returns with Rick Kish and the Nevin Camp bell Trio (December 10).

For nostalgia, there is a Roy Orbison tribute starring Michael Danckert (De cember 3). The Brothers Gibb – telling the Bee Gees story – is on January 28, making it an ideal gift for the theatre lover in your life.

PSFT • 519-782-4353 • 6-302 Bridge Street 519-782-4353 •

Port Stanley
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 31


Renovation goes green

Amakeover of a family home in Birr, north of London, has result ed in an upscale dwelling that showcases state-of-the-art design. The original two-storey home, in a newer subdivision, was built in 2000. It was ideal for the time but dated by current standards, says Peder Madsen, co-owner of CCR Build + Remodel. “It had charm, but it just wasn’t ‘today.’” 

32 Lifestyle November/December 2022

OPPOSITE PAGE The two-storey dining area and entrance foyer can be viewed from the catwalk. INSET The home’s façade combines a number of eco-friendly materials.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP The kitchen is anchored by a working island and includes a walk-in pantry and fridge concealed behind wall panels. • The kitchen dinette opens to a front den and craft room. • Before and after photos of the home's complete makeover.

• An open kitchen and family room stretches across the rear of the home with oversized glass doors to a backyard patio.

“ The home was part of the first national Net Zero Retrofit labeling program through the Canadian Home Builder's Association.”
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 33

The house was stripped down to the studs for a full facelift. The updated version has been designed with an environmentally friendly focus, meeting all criteria for net zero classi fication. With a superior solar collection system and upgraded insulation, the home will meet all of the family’s energy needs, Madsen says.

Large windows and abundant greenery allow the design to blur the line between indoors and outdoors. An open L-shaped kitchen and family room stretches across the rear of the house, with oversized glass doors from the dining area opening to a concrete patio, which replaced an original deck. The patio will be covered to compensate for heat from its southern exposure. A large window into the family room is aligned with the wall-mounted tele vision so that, with external sound speakers, people can watch TV while enjoying the outdoors.

On the upper level, the primary suite features the bed in the front and a room-sized closet at the back. The terrace off this room maintains its cozy privacy 

TOP The comfortable family room features a large fireplace, bracketed by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the backyard. MIDDLE The main floor rooms open to each other for ease of family living. BOTTOM RIGHT The home has four spacious bedrooms.

34 Lifestyle November/December 2022

Large windows and abundant greenery allow the design to blur the line between in doors and outdoors.

TOP Wood panels and bookshelves add warmth to the family room.

BOTTOM A large window from the backyard patio to the family room is aligned with a wall-mounted televi sion, allowing outdoor viewing aided by external sound speakers. 

Where solutions come to light.

November/December 2022 Lifestyle 35 OPEN SINCE 1980


Continued from page 35

with a surrounding stone wall and a built-in gas fireplace.“This private terrace is a great spot for nighttime relaxing and star-gazing,” Madsen says. A front balcony off the primary suite sleeping area is bordered by a lush garden that both enhances curb appeal and provides an additional level of privacy for the residents.

The entrance foyer stretches two storeys to a cathedral ceiling. A partial sidewall is topped with an in door garden that can be viewed from both the lower level and the catwalk.

As well as the family room and kitchen, the main level includes a home office, a den and craft room, and a large mudroom with garage access. The up per level incorporates three bedrooms in addition to the primary suite, plus a main bathroom and laundry.

The original home included a dou ble-deep two-car garage. Its rear area was repurposed for the family room and extra space was appropriated from the main garage for a kitchen walk-in pantry. However, an adjacent single-car garage has been added, which Madsen notes could make an ideal home workshop.

The exterior of the house combines several materials for an attractive façade; the exterior is practical and ecologically effective. Yakisugi cladding employs an old-style Japanese wood preservation method in which cypress is charred to create a low-maintenance siding. It is resis tant to decay, insects and weathering. In this home, it’s complemented by white oak fluted panels and Hardie board from the company’s Artisan collection that uses extra thick boards to provide deep shadow lines. Stone accents, on the house and a feature wall bordering the front lawn, use masonal stone granite, a thin stone veneer. The metal roof sheds snow and rain, preventing pooling.

REMODEL 2416 Sunningdale Road West 519-472-7461

 36 Lifestyle November/December 2022 27-29 JAN. 2023
Western Fair District Agriplex London, Ontario @lifestylehomeshow

DÉCOR at a discount


If visions of sugar plum fairies, twinkling trees and glittering icicles dance in your head, find your fill of all things Christmas at Grand Bend’s GreenBucks Country Christmas Store. “We have décor, snow globes, trees and decorations, wreaths, bedding, dishes and stockings,” says Matt DeJong, who owns it with his wife Julie.

Available all year, this array of Christmas stock delights those whose hearts warm at the thought of holiday magic. People come from all along the 401 corridor – from Windsor to Toronto – during the season, forming line-ups for the entire day on weekends. DeJong recommends visiting on a weekday if possible. “We had 1,000 people a day easily on weekends last year.” He thinks the appeal is in the competitive prices. “We keep things rea

sonable.” It’s also the store itself. “People say as soon as they come through the door, they feel happy.”

As well as consistently low prices, Friday door-crashers are popular. Three or four specials, on items specifically ordered for the deal, are offered each Friday. To be in the know, DeJong recommends following the FaceBook page to see what is on sale each week.

The Christmas store is the second outlet for the DeJongs. They purchased the main store from the retiring owner. GreenBucks Dollar Discount has kitchenware to hardware, crafts to cleaning, pets to party, linens and home décor. DeJong says they

carry higher end versions of the usual dollar-store merchandise.

The Country Christmas Store opened November 2021. Santas, gnomes and snowmen invite visitors to wander through the wonderland of “everything Christmas” as DeJong describes it. There is a style to suit all tastes: country, glam, retro, traditional red and green or modern black and white. There is something for every room in the house.

The main store also carries some Christmas stock because there is so much that doesn’t all fit into the Christmas store. Closer to December 25, it switches to crafts and bags.

● FOR MORE INFORMATION • GREENBUCKS COUNTRY CHRISTMAS STORE • 10005 Lakeshore Road, Grand Bend • GREENBUCKS DOLLAR DISCOUNT STORE • 99 Ontario Street South, Grand Bend • 519-238-5058
At both locations, the Greenbucks stores make a drive to Grand Bend worthwhile, with holiday decorations galore.
bestlife November/December 2022 Lifestyle 39


At Christmas dinner in 1983 when Don Oke and his four sons – on the spur of the moment – decided to enter into the residential construc tion industry none of them imagined that 37 years later the family business would be thriving and poised to welcome new generations onboard. That deci sion was the launch of Oke Woodsmith Building Systems.

“My brothers had been working in Western Canada and abroad and were moving back to Ontario and Canada and needed homes,” says Randy Oke. “So, we decided to start a company.” Don, who had previously owned a construction company, brought three decades of experience to the endeavour, and the boys had grown up helping in that business.

It was a risky venture in the midst of

the early ‘80s recession, Randy admits. “We jumped in headfirst, but it’s worked out quite well.” On completion of their initial build, the family team landed a contract for a high-end custom home in Grand Bend, and they were on the road to success.

Oke Woodsmith has gone on to build hundreds of homes and completed ex tensive renovations across the province; however, most of their work takes place along the Lake Huron shoreline. Randy says the breakdown is about 60 per cent new builds to 40 per cent renovations. But, due to municipal and conservation restrictions on some waterfront lots, many renovations are so extensive that they often result in what amounts to a new home.

While the company began with five family members, three of the brothers –, Wayne, Randy and Kevin – now head up

the business. Randy is responsible for de sign and sales; Wayne oversees construc tion; and Kevin, a finish carpenter, looks after the fine details. Other relatives are involved in the day-to-day operations. Randy’s wife, Gail, is the receptionist, and Kevin’s wife, Joanne, looks after accounting. Kevin and Joanne’s daugh ter-in-law, Danielle, has taken on ad ministrative duties. Most recently Kelsey, Kevin and Joanne’s daughter, has joined the team, and their son Jeremy has been running projects for years. Randy notes there are several members of the younger generation who may step up “in, hopefully, the not-too-distant future.”

He believes the family aspect is something clients appreciate. “They like knowing we are out there working on their project, and one of us is always close at hand.”

Oke Woodsmith’s success spans four decades
Randy, Wayne and Kevin Oke (foreground L-R), along with their talented crew and office staff (balcony), design and build quality custom homes and creative renovations.
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 41
42 Lifestyle November/December 2022 City selection with countr y ser vice 1-888-836-4478 519-262-2728 www.hensallmajorappliance .com

The revamped 14,000-square foot open-concept showroom is being lauded by customers and sales representatives as the most beautiful furniture showroom in the city.


Customizable options maximize personal style

Afresh new look at Accents Home Furniture is making it easy to personalize your home’s style. The North London retailer, recently reopened under new ownership and management, is showcasing a passion for assisting customers to fulfill their design dreams.

The revamped 14,000-square foot open-concept showroom is being lauded by customers and sales representatives as the most beautiful furniture showroom in the city, says general manager Anthony Fernandez. “It’s been created by expert designers to reflect the latest trends, as well as classical and traditional designs –in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.”

Customers can browse through furnishings for any room – from living room to bedroom to home office –choosing from a wide range of furniture brands that incorporate quality con

struction and upholstery. “We specialize in high-quality custom furniture at competitive prices,” Fernandez says. “Choose your fabric; choose your leather; choose your colour; choose your sofa configuration. We have thousands of samples to choose from, as well as sofa or sectional configurations to fit the dimensions of the rooms.”

Ninety per cent of Accents’ vendors are Canadian, many with manufacturing based in Toronto, Quebec, Winnipeg and British Columbia. The store includes an extensive display of product from Palliser, one of the country’s oldest fami ly-owned and operated businesses; it was founded in Manitoba 78 years ago.

Artwork and a variety of accessories –reflecting materials, styles and configu rations to suit customers’ lifestyles – are also on display.

Customers are aided in making their choices by a knowledgeable and designoriented staff. “We have moved to an allaround customer-centred business model,” Fernandez says. “Our staff members offer top-notch customer service, along with expert design advice.” Professional consultations are available in the home as well as in the store.

ACCENTS HOME FURNITURE  FOR MORE INFORMATION • ACCENTS HOME FURNITURE • 1422 Fanshawe Park Road West, Unit #1 • 519-474–7111 • bizlife
General manager Anthony Fernandez (standing) and staff members Joanna, Natalie (standing l-r), Ian, Melanie, Carol, Vanessa, Bonnie and Soonie (seated l-r) offer design advice to Accents’ customers. (Ken is absent from photo.)
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 43



ith sun-drenched beaches, lush forests, verdant grasslands, eclectic resort towns and year-round summer sun, Spain’s Canary Islands are a trendy holiday haven. When looking for a different experience, they offer an additional attraction that sets them apart from many other tourist destinations. Millennia of volcanic erup tions on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean gave rise to this archipelago off the coast of North Africa, endowing it with a unique landscape. That was the most intriguing

element for Eastern Ontario resident Linda Wilcox during an island holiday, in December of 2015, with her husband and son. “The volcanic landscape is fascinating,” she says. “It’s like a Martian landscape – just amazing. We had a lot of fun walking around and posing for pictures with the formations. It was really a unique experience.”

The family spent most of their time on Tenerife, the largest of the eight islands, dominated by Teide, Spain’s highest mountain and the world’s third highest volca no. Asked to recall an outstanding memory from the trip, Wilcox doesn’t hesitate to reference this landmark.

44 Lifestyle November/December 2022

OPPOSITE PAGE Sunset watching is a popular attraction at Mount Teide on Tenerife.

TOP RIGHT The scenic town of Puerto de Mogan on Gran Canaria is known for its charming cottages, sporting wrought iron balconies and flower-festooned lanes.

RIGHT Agulo is an enchanting town on the north coast of La Gomera, with cobbled stones and restored storybook-like houses. MAP The eight-island archipelago sits in the Atlantic Ocean northwest of Africa directly adjacent to Morroco. 

Millennia of volcanic eruptions on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean gave rise to this archipelago off the coast of North Africa.
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 45

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP An aerial view of Tenerife’s beachside city of Puerto de la Cruz shows the volcano, Teide, Spain’s highest mountain, in the background. • Lanzarote’s Jardín de Cactus features more than 1,100 species of cacti. • The island of Fuerteventura is renowned for beaches. This one is on the south-coast village of Morro Jable. • El Hierro boasts almost 100 kilometres of rugged, cliff-lined coastline with coves, lagoons and rock formations. This arch at Charco Manso, near the northern village of Echedo is one example. • La Palma’s high mountains make it ideal as a reference point in astrophysics with sites like the Roque de los Muchachos observatory, with its world-class telescopes.

46 Lifestyle November/December 2022

“That’s easy!” she says. “We went on a sunset tour to Mount Teide. We wanted to get to the top of the mountain to see the sunset. We did, and it was awesome.”

The lunar-like landscape is a feature of all the islands. Lanzarote is called the ‘land of volcanoes’ with more than 100 shaping its almost moon-like ter rain. In fact, astronauts and scientists from the European Space Agency have chosen this island as a training field for future missions. On the island of La Palma, the mountain peaks of Caldera de Taburiente National Park host an astronomic observatory.

Sun worshippers find much to entice them, since the islands are also renowned for their beaches. Soft sand ranges from sparkling white to golden and shiny black, formed from finely powdered lava rock. Because of its colour, the black sand absorbs heat and creates a warmer environment. Border ing the shorelines are clear deep waters ideal for a variety of water sports.

Fuerteventura, the oldest of the islands that began to surface some 22 million years ago, boasts more than 150 beaches spread over 340 kilometres of coastline along the north and south shores. On the east coast, cliffs and small hidden coves – with myriad crev ices, caves, tunnels, overhangs and rock formations – attract diving enthusiasts. Gran Canaria features a host of water sport possibilities. It’s considered one of the best places in the world for wind surfing and often hosts international competitions. Clear deep waters close to the coast on El Hierro are ideal for SCUBA diving and snorkeling. The island offers diving centres with schools 

The lunar-like landscape is a feature of all the islands. Lanzarote is called the ‘land of volcanoes’ with more than 100 shaping its almost moon-like terrain.
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 47


from page

for beginners and experts alike, as well as outings to the best local dive sites.

A rugged coastline on La Gomera is the second smallest of the islands, measuring barely 20 kilometres from north to south. It is dotted with small black-sand beaches sprinkled between towering cliffs.

The newest Canary Island is also noted for its beaches of fine white or golden sand, bordered by calm sheltered coves and open waters, where larger waves require caution. Formerly an islet a kilometre off the northern tip of Lanzarote, La Graciosa attained official island status in 2018. It’s the smallest of the islands at 29 square kilometres and is home to just over 700 residents in two settlements. It’s also largely undeveloped with no paved roads and protected lands that provide a habitat for numerous marine birds.

Its Chinijo Archipelago Natural Park is the largest marine reserve in Europe.

The islands have been recognized by UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves program, fos tering the integration of people and nature for sustainable development, with numerous designated sites. So, there’s no shortage of natural areas to explore. La Palma is the greenest island in the archipelago and a finalist in the European Commission’s EDEN (European Destinations of Excellence) program, recognizing sustainable tourism. La Gomera is a land of contrasts with huge canyons and a mountainous landscape juxtaposed with palm-covered valleys and fertile forests. Its Garajonay National Park is a prehistoric forest with the UNESCO World Heritage designation.

In all, these tropical islands offer something for all vacation seekers. Linda Wilcox says she can highly recommend them and would welcome a return visit herself, to explore those she didn’t experience on her first Canaries excursion.

Bloor Street West, Suite 3402



Toronto •
~ Continued
 48 Lifestyle November/December 2022 KITCHEN, GIFTS, HOME DECOR, GOURMET FOODS, & MORE! 174 WORTLEY ROAD, WORTLEY VILLAGE | 519.518.0252 Comfort, Style, Sophistication Whole New Way 432 Talbot St., Downtown St. Thomas • 519-631-0410 Open Mon - Friday 9-5:30 / Sat 9-5 • ASAP ... As Soon As Personalized! Jennings Furniture & Design Since 1885 Comfort, Style, Sophistication In a Whole New Way


Retailer expands product lines

For homeowners looking to spruce up their rooms or decorate a new home, there is a growing assortment of options at Custom Shades of London and at its sister store Custom Covers in Exeter. Well known for the array of window coverings they offer, this retailer is adding a variety of bed and bath items. “We’re promoting ourselves as a design centre,” says Janice Brock, who owns and operates the stores with partner Wes Petch. “We can do Hunter Douglas blinds and shutters. We can do draperies and sheers. And we can do bedding and bath accessories, all customized to mix and match.”

Products for bedroom include bed linens, pillowcases, quilts, duvets and

duvet covers. For the bath, they carry mats and towels. To enhance your décor, pillows, accent cushions and throws are on hand.

The majority of brands are Canadian, Brock says. Daniadown and Cuddle Down – popular for their sheets, duvet covers and quilts –import quality fabrics from Portugal, Israel, France and Italy. They man ufacture their products at facilities in Vancouver and Ottawa. Cuddle Down also offers soft and absorbent Portuguese cotton bath towels and complementing bathmats.

Brock notes that the down and feathers used in the duvets and pillows are sourced from Canadian farms and cleaned and processed in Canadian factories. In addition to feathers, these products are also

available with polyester, memory foam and combo fillers.

“There’s no doubt you pay a premium to buy Canadian, but the quality is definitely there,” she says. “Hunter Douglas is a top-quality brand for window treatments, and we wanted to have top quality for our bedding, as well.”

Other suppliers include Quebecbased Brunelli and Alamode out of British Columbia, providing duvet covers and quilts. Alamode also has a line of soft and absorbent bamboo and cotton bath towels that are hypoallergenic.

Brock notes that they also have  their own onsite workshop, allowing them to offer custom products in a wide selection of fabrics, including draperies and now bedding items.


 FOR MORE INFORMATION • CUSTOM SHADES OF LONDON • 1422 Fanshawe Park Road West • 519-601-4443 • CUSTOM COVERS • 415 Main Street, Exeter • 519-235-2444 • bizlife
We’re promoting ourselves as a design centre. We can do Hunter Douglas blinds and shutters. We can do draperies and sheers. And we can do bedding and bath accessories, all customized to mix and match.”
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 49



Fountain West – a development of luxury townhomes by Legacy Homes of London, located in the city’s southwest Warbler Woods neighbourhood - is entering its final building phase with 30 new twoand three-storey residences.

50 Lifestyle November/December 2022


Fountain West’s luxury townhomes fea ture open-concept designs and upscale finishes, including quartz counters and poplar stairways that match the hard wood flooring.


The three-storey units include a covered balcony and a rear garage access, in addition to a walkway to the front door.

November/December 2022 Lifestyle 51

A key attraction for the development is its location, says Nicole Giakoumatos, Legacy Homes co-owner and director. “It’s a great spot, close to parks and natural areas. You can walk out the door and be five minutes from a walking trail.” She notes that it’s also minutes from Komoka and the West 5 community with shopping, entertainment and healthcare services. Nearby recreational amenities include golf courses and Byron’s Boler Mountain outdoor adventure park.

The homes themselves are attracting attention with upscale design and finish es. The three-storey models, at 2,300 to 2,600 square feet with four bedrooms and three and a half baths, feature rear garage access from a lane running behind the lots. “It’s almost like two fronts, with a paving stone walkway to the front entrance and driveway to the garage at the back,” Giakoumatos says. Covered porches lead to entrance foyers at both front and back.

The ground level includes a den/bed

room with a four-piece ensuite bathroom and walk-in closet. The second level is the main floor living area with an open-concept living room and kitchen, anchored by an island that works as prep and dining space. A covered balcony, accessed from the dinette, stretches across the back. An electric fireplace in the living room is available as an upgrade option.

The upper storey incorporates the pri mary bedroom suite across the front of the home, including a large walk-in closet and ensuite with a double-basin vanity and glassed-in shower. This level also includes two rear bedrooms, a main bathroom with tub and a convenient laundry space.

The basement is unfinished but has a roughed-in two-piece bath and may be finished as an upgrade.

The homes feature a custom lighting package, as well as high-end finishes, including quartz countertops and custom cabinetry in the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry. Poplar railings and stairs with black iron spindles are stained to

match the engineered hardwood flooring. Nine-foot ceilings on the main floors are standard, as are eight-foot interior and exterior doorways, which are often upgrades in other townhomes, Giakou matos notes.

The exteriors are James Hardie board paneling and lifetime warrantied architectural shingles, with black trim on windows, soffits and fascia.

A section of two-storey units is slated for future construction to complete this development. These will be 1,7001,800 square-foot homes with three bedrooms and 2.5 baths and will include backyard decks.

Legacy Homes, a second-generation family-owned-and-operated business, offers 15 years of industry experience building across London in addition to custom contract builds outside the city.

● FOR MORE INFORMATION LEGACY HOMES OF LONDON 1965 Upperpoint Gate • 519-701-9550

LUXURY CONDO LIVING ~ Continued from page 51
The exteriors are James Hardie board paneling and lifetime warrantied architectural shingles, with black trim on windows, soffits and fascia.
52 Lifestyle November/December 2022 Windows & Doors 519-659-3550 SHOWROOM 535 First St., London Mon-Fri 9-5:30; Sat 10-2 • Free in-home quotes VINYL & WOOD WINDOWS DOUBLE & TRIPLE GLAZED STEEL, FIBREGLAS & WOOD DOORS VINYL PATIO DOORS with INTERNAL MINI BLINDS NEW OR REPLACEMENT 30 ® carpet, hardwood, vinyl, laminate & tile 4333 Col. Talbot Rd. London 519.652.0140 www. your flooring source for every room in your home FloorSource

Creative, honest, trustworthy


Some magic is gone from the local jewellery scene with the passing of Dan Muscat, owner of Muscat Jewellers in St. Thomas. An expert in all things gem-related and a true craftsman, he was renowned for his ability to create custom jewellery.

It’s a talent he honed over more than three decades, after being introduced to the art by a friend with a store in London. “I think I was one of the first to use the phrase ‘custom design’ and it has certainly been my forté, remodeling or making something to a customer’s taste, style and budget,” Muscat said in an interview last year. “I’ve made many one-of-a-kind pieces over the years for people wanting something unique.”

It’s a vocation about which he was passionate, says store manager Susan Sawyer, speaking on behalf of the staff who are carrying on the business. “His dedication to his customers was amaz ing. He was so caring and generous with

them and with his staff, as well.”

Long-standing customer Nancy Shep pard says Muscat’s passion for jewellery is one of many things she loved about him and drew her to his store. “He would find things that were different, things you don’t see in other stores. He’d buy pieces and put them on display just because he liked them. Those always caught my eye.”

Muscat fashioned several unique rings for Sheppard, including a white and yellow topaz eternity ring, a ring with an amethyst set in diamonds and one with an emerald flanked by diamonds, sap phires and rubies. Of the latter, she says, “It’s stunning. No matter which way you look at it, you see gemstones.”

Creative, honest and trustworthy is how customer Brenda Ross describes Muscat. “He’s the only person I trusted with my jewellery.”

A diamond solitaire ring, made for an anniversary, started a family tradition for the Ross clan. She intended it to go


to the first granddaughter but when her daughter presented her with twin girls, another ring was added. “Then the babies kept coming and they kept being girls, so I kept having jewellery made,” Ross says.

Most recently, a diamond necklace and earrings for a granddaughter’s graduation was one of Muscat’s final creations. “It was the last time I talked to Dan, and it will probably be my last piece of jewellery,” she says.

MUSCAT JEWELLERS  FOR MORE INFORMATION • MUSCAT JEWELLERS • 721 Talbot Street, St. Thomas • 519-631-3692 • bizlife
customer Nancy
Sheppard says
passion for jewellery is one of many things she loved about him and drew her to his store.
Barb Murray, Eric Lam, Kim Stickle, Susan Sawyer and Ilinka Armstrong are carrying on Muscat Jewellers business.
November/December 2022 Lifestyle 53


Small company tackles big projects

Apart-time project has evolved into a thriving business for Jacquie and Stefano Caranci, owners of Cara Design & Build, a boutique home renovation firm. A decade ago, the couple started out taking advantage of Stefano’s seasonal job to spend the winter months purchasing, renovating and reselling homes.

With Jacquie’s flare for design and Stefano’s skill at working with his hands, house flipping proved to be “a great collaborative passion project for both of us,” Jacquie says. They enjoyed it so much that they decided to make it a full-time endeavour and created their first company, Flip London. “It was quite a risk, quitting our jobs, but it was very fruitful for us,” she says. “It was a great way of displaying what we were good at and passionate about. It got us known and connected with quality suppliers and subcontractors.”

Their reputation also got a boost through social media and requests began to come in for smaller home renovation projects, such as kitchens or bathrooms. Early this year, they decided to rebrand to better reflect what they do in a changing marketplace. Cara Design & Build is the natural evolution of this rebranding.

“We do both design and build,” Jacquie says. “We offer small- or large-scale renovations, from a full home to a powder bathroom.” While they most enjoy undertaking the whole project – from design through construction - they also provide those elements individually. “If you have a design and need someone to put it together, we can do the contracting. Or if you have a contractor and are struggling with the design, we can provide that as well.”

Being a family-owned boutique-style enterprise also works in their favour, Jacquie says. With two young chil dren, they’ve built their business with the family dynamic at its core and that translates to their relationships with clients. “We understand it takes a lot of trust to invite someone into your home and when we’re in their space a very intimate relationship develops. Our clients aren’t just projects to us. They virtually become family, in a sense, and I think they appreciate that.”

“Our clients aren’t just projects to us. They virtually become family, in a sense, and I think they appreciate that.”
54 Lifestyle November/December 2022

s c o v e r a b u i l d e r

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u s e d o n y o u L
E A R N W H Y A F T E R 5 0 Y E A R S
W E D O w w w . r e m b r a n d t h o m e s . c a D


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