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FALL 2013

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Lifestyles fall home Vol 1 No 2

contents Finance With Home Equity



Thinking Kitchen Renovation? Hire A Designer 4 6 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21

Easy Bathroom Renovations


Comparing vinyl, ceramic & porcelain flooring Some trees can be pruned in winter Why build a custom home? Small gardens, big impact Prep work important before painting Home improvement projects for fall Budget-friendly outdoor renovation projects The basics of cabinet refacing Storage shed purchasing tips How to create a paver walkway or patio How to increase storage in tight spots How to invite natural light into your home Create a kitchen lighting scheme Safely clear gutters of grime How to winterize your pool

Fall Home Xtra is a special publication of Have Lifestyles & Lifestyles Xtra delivered. Subscribe online today!

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Pamela Weber Sales/Marketing 705 327 8689 is published six times a year by YouLink Inc. Contact us at info@lifestylesmagazine. ca and visit us at All rights reserved. Letters to the editor are invited. Please send letters to Reproductions of any article, photograph or artwork without specific written permission of the publisher is strictly forbidden. The information contained in may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without prior wrtten permission. The publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. The options expressed in are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher or advertisers. YouLink Inc., 3-200 Memorial Avenue, Suite 104, Orillia ON. L3V 5X6

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Compare Vinyl To Ceramic & Porcelain Flooring

You might be surprised!


ith today’s technological advances could it possibly be that vinyl might be a better choice than ceramic or porcelain when it comes to flooring? Let’s look at five things that may make the decision to go with the newer vinyls easier for you.


Whether you’re looking at a tile or vinyl floor, it is an investment. And, if you want a good return on your investment, making wise choices at the beginning is crucial.  You don’t have to buy the most expensive product, however, buying the cheapest is not the best decision either. When we compare ceramic tile to vinyl products on affordability, most times the vinyl product will come out a little bit less for a similar grade. When choosing a product installation cost is a big consideration. When purchasing a ceramic or porcelain tile your floor underneath has to be really solid.  If there’s any movement in the subfloor your grout or, even worse, the tile may crack.   For this reason a lot of extra prep work sometimes is required to get your floor ready for tile.  A vinyl product will flex with the floor so most times we can go over top of an existing floor or certainly have a lot less floor preparation which can really save you in installation costs. I get a lot of people who come into our store

with a set budget of what they’d like to spend, say $10/sq. ft. Now, if they want a ceramic or porcelain tile the labour cost and floor preparation may work out to as much as $7-$8 sq. ft., leaving them $2-$3 sq. ft for the product itself.  Floor preparation and the install cost for vinyl runs $1$2.50 sq. ft.  leaving a lot more room to pick out an excellent vinyl product. Installing vinyl is definitely worth thinking about.


Porcelain and ceramic tiles can certainly be a great choice when it comes down to wear and tear. Porcelain, which can be the same material all the way through the product, is the most durable. Ceramic tiles which have a clay back with a glaze over the top finish are also quite durable. Buying a good tile will ensure that your floor will look good for many years to come. The one thing that tiles offer is hardness. Tiles do not dent. They may crack or break but they are very hard. Vinyl materials tend to be a little softer, although in recent years certain vinyl products have mixed limestone or other products in with the vinyl composite to make them much harder than they used to be.  If you are comparing these two products just on durability, ceramic or porcelain tiles are probably going to be the winner providing you’re buying quality.  

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I discuss this a lot when customers come into our store. You can buy a floor you love the look of and it may last you for years to come, but if it’s hard to keep clean my guess is you’re not going to like it long. Ceramic and porcelain tiles for the most part clean up quite well. A tile with a gloss finish wipes up really well, but shows every little spot. Also, high shine floors can be really slippery when wet. Lower lustre, or less shiny floor tiles, can be more challenging to keep clean. Some tiles even have some texture on their surface which makes them almost non-slip, but they definitely can catch all the dirt and be very hard to keep clean. The other thing to keep in mind with tile is the grout which goes between the tiles. The grout is a porous material which can look dirty very quickly. I recommend picking a darker color grout when possible. Also, sealing your grout after it’s installed is a great way of making sure moisture doesn’t absorb into it. Vinyl materials can be a really good choice when it comes to cleaning since they naturally wipe up quite easy.  Some vinyl tile is clicked together using no grout which is easier to clean. Some vinyl tiles today are grouted just like ceramic or porcelain. However, the grout that is used is more of a siliconized grout that is not as porous as ceramic tile grout.  The silicone in it makes the moisture lay on top, making it easier to clean.  Whether you choose tile or vinyl product make sure you choose a product that fits your lifestyle. Maintenance is an important part of choosing your floor. Don’t under estimate its importance.


Durability used to be most important when shopping for a floor but style has taken over the number one spot. People today want a floor that will make a statement and help make all their other products around it look awesome. Flooring is becoming the new fashion statement! If we compare tile and vinyl in this area we find both can fulfill your needs.  Vinyl tile today is very versatile and comes in all kinds of options from glue down, click together and roll out sheet goods to name a few.  This gives us the opportunity to create a lot of different looks, for all kinds of areas. If you haven’t looked at a vinyl product lately you may want to.  When I started in the flooring business, a vinyl product that was made to look like hardwood didn’t measure up. Today, product that looks almost exactly like real hardwood, Oracort, bamboo or even ceramic tile is available. Most people that come into our store have a hard time telling the difference. Imagine being able to put a floor down that looks exactly like real hardwood flooring but be able to mop it up when your family tracks in mud.   Ceramic and porcelain tiles have come a long way too. Some of our new tiles look like wood flooring. One of the best things about ceramic tile is its ability to be used in extreme wet areas.  Bathrooms are a great example where you can run the same tile, on the floor as well as up the wall into your shower area, or around your tub.  Tile has a huge depth in product styles and colours. The beauty of tile is you can let your


imagination soar with the endless possibilities. So whether your choice is vinyl or ceramic or porcelain tiles I’m confident you will love what you can do in your home. Remember fashion is in when it comes to flooring.


This is an area that is sometimes overlooked. We often focus so much on style and durability we forget about comfort.  Ceramic or porcelain tile win the battle for durability but struggle in the comfort category.  Tiles are very hard, making them sometimes a poor decision for kitchens if your feet or back cannot take standing on hard surfaces for a long time.  Tile is naturally a colder product in areas where there is very little heat underneath the floor. However many people today put heat underneath the floor tile to keep them warm.  This makes the floor much more comfortable, although it adds to your overall cost.  Vinyl flooring products are naturally much warmer to begin with. There is no need to put a heat source underneath these floors.  Many of the vinyl choices today have a much softer feel. Some of the roll goods in vinyl are very soft and add a lot of softness on your feet.  When you are looking at new flooring make sure you consider the comfort level you would want. Both ceramic or porcelain tile or vinyl material are great products for your home. Always look at all the pros and cons before purchasing. Dean Beers


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Some trees can be pruned in winter


any homeowners may not know that pruning in the winter can benefit some trees. Deciduous trees are dormant in winter, so they won’t bleed sap when pruned at this time of year like they will at other times. In addition, many varieties of trees are less likely to attract disease or insects if pruned in the winter. Oak trees, for example, emit a strong odor when pruned, and that odor can attract a type of beetle that causes oak wilt. But this type of beetle hibernates in the winter, making this the ideal season to prune oak trees. Before pruning trees, regardless of the time of year, homeowners should learn the types of trees on their property and when the ideal pruning season is for each type of tree. Pruning also may depend on climate, so speak with a local gardening or landscaping professional to determine when is the best time to prune the trees on your property. Once the time has come to prune, keep the following tips in mind to maintain healthy and aesthetically appealing trees. Remove limbs that appear to be competing for space. Tree limbs that are crossing, rubbing or growing parallel to one another can be pruned. Such limbs may prohibit the growth of nearby limbs. Remove limbs that are growing in. Some tree limbs may appear to be growing toward the interior of the tree, and these limbs can be pruned. Remove limbs growing toward the ground. A healthy tree’s limbs will grow outward, not toward the ground. Remove dead limbs. Dead limbs simply take up space, and a dead limb is not going to grow back come the spring. Dead, broken or diseased limbs should be removed when pruning. Do not top trees. Tree topping is the removal of large branches and/or trunks from the top of a tree. Topping leaves a tree susceptible to disease and insect infestation, and homeowners who top trees to prevent them from getting any larger should know that topping actually promotes the growth of smaller, weaker branches that eventually grow as tall, if not taller, than the original branches before the tree was topped. Topping also decreases a tree’s life expectancy.


Easy bathroom renovations


athroom renovations are second to kitchen renovations on the list of the top remodeling projects to increase home value. The popularity of bathroom renovations and their ability to transform a space has left many homeowners wondering if there are any easy and affordable ways to change the look of their bathrooms. While “easy” is a relative term, there are ways homeowners willing to make certain concessions can keep the work and cost of a bathroom renovation to a minimum.


When possible, covering up what you have in the bathroom is much less expensive and less labor-intensive than tearing out existing fixtures and floors and replacing them anew. Resurfacing can extend to refinishing bathtubs to installing shower liners. Those who have unsightly walls or wallpaper that they’re just not ready to remove may consider using wainscotting to cover a portion of the room or even tiling entire walls. It is important to note that resurfacing and covering up items in the bathroom should only be reserved for cosmetic fixes. If something needs to be replaced because it is damaged or mildew-covered, then covering it up is only hiding the problem and asking for more work in the long run.

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Scale back on materials

One way to save money on a bathroom renovation project is to choose less expensive materials. For example, you may not need to install travertine or marble flooring in a space where less expensive flooring like vinyl is adequate. Advancements in vinyl flooring have enabled this affordable material to mimic the look of more expensive materials at a fraction of the cost. When redoing tile on walls and shower enclosures, many domestically-produced tiles rival the looks of more expensive imported alternatives. You may be able to save more by buying tile in bulk and using the remainder in other applications around the house.


Do not underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint on any room in the house, including the bathroom. Dark, small spaces can be made to look more expansive with lighter colors. Cavernous bathrooms that look empty may prove more inviting with darker hues. Pick a paint that is designed for bathroom application so that it will inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.

Update hardware

A new faucet or some new cabinet pulls can make the room look new and fresh without breaking the bank. Match finishes throughout the bathroom so everything will be cohesive. When shopping for a new shower head, choose a model that also conserves water. This way you will be making cosmetic and energy-saving renovations at the same time.


Handling labour yourself instead of hiring workers can reduce the cost of bathroom remodels considerably. It is possible to buy fully assembled bathroom vanities and install them yourself. Even installing a new toilet is relatively easy with the help of a friend. There are a number of ways to make bathroom renovations a bit easier and more affordable. Even nominal changes can give the space an entirely different look and feel, which can make the room more enjoyable and help improve a home’s resale value in the process.


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uilding a home can be a very rewarding experience. Developing a design that suits your lifestyle and taste can also be fun. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made when you design and build a house and this can be a good experience if you go to the right people. Hiring a designer is an excellent first step. People are often frightened off by hiring an architect or designer; it seems like an extra step, with extra fees to pay. People are sometimes not sure what an architect does.


Why Build A Custom Home? A designer will help you make the ideas in your head become reality. They can also help you with the permit process, deal with city and township planning departments, decipher township bylaws and act as your voice with a builder. Building a custom home allows you to get the look and finishes you want to live with in your home, at a budget you are comfortable with. You can choose between hardwood, tile, laminate, cork, vinyl or any other flooring you want. You can design the kitchen the way you cook. You can plan for an outdoor kitchen. You can make that master bedroom two feet longer to incorporate that special bedroom suite you inherited from your parents and you can ensure that your monetary investment will end up being exactly the way you want it to be.

And when your home is finally finished, you can relax and enjoy what you have created. Kristi McKechnie

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Small Gardens, Big Impact W

hen designing a garden for a small space plant selections. Variegated varieties add visual interest selection is very important to give the most such as ‘Ivory Halo’ Dogwood, ‘Rose Glow’ Barberry impact. and ‘Emerald Gatiety’ Euoymus. Red, purple, even First of all choose a colour scheme, pick perennials, yellow foliage adds splashes of drama all season ground cover, evergreens and shrubs with unique long whether in bloom or not. Good examples are foliage or long blooming flowers. Perennials such ‘Midnight Wine’ Weigela which has a purple leaf and as Salvia May Night bloom for the duration of the boasts clusters of bright pink flowers in the early summer and in to the fall. With spikes of rich purple, summer months. For yellow foliage; goldmound Salvia makes a strong statement with relatively low spiraea are tried and true in local gardens. maintenance. Plant in massing or odd numbers such Time and careful consideration should go in to any garden small or large. It is a great idea to as 3, 5, 7 etc. Ground cover can not only cut back on weeds but consult a professional so you can together achieve add colour as well. Varieties such as ‘Golden Creeping a garden that’s right for you, and your space! Jenny’ really make your perennials pop while making Micheal Scott, maintenance a little more manageable. Long term flowering shrubs are a great way to jazz up a small garden giving you a lot of bang for your buck! ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea is a must have for flower lovers. Blooms range from pink, to purple to blue depending on soil PH levels and make excellent fresh or dried cut flowers. ‘Summer Sweet’ is another shrub that blooms for long duration’s and smell divine! Plant them close to walkways, entrances or other high traffic areas so you can enjoy the scent! Shrubs for foliage,should be chosen based on leaf colour, texture and the contrast it has with other


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Prep work

important before painting


ainting a home’s interior can give it a completely new look and feel. A fresh coat of paint can make a room feel more vibrant and up-to-date, creating a whole new attitude within the room without breaking the bank. Whether creating an accent wall or painting each wall within a room, painting is a relatively easy and inexpensive home improvement project. But that doesn’t mean painting does not require a little prep work before the project can begin. Address any holes or bumps on the wall. Holes or cracks in the wall will need to be patched with spackle, which then must dry before the wall can be given a new coat of paint. In addition, sand down any bumps until the walls are smooth and free of any unsightly abnormalities. Wash the walls. Walls can get dirty, and that dirt may or may not



be masked by paint. Before adding a new coat of paint, wash the walls and inspect them for dust. Dust can collect on moulding, especially in rooms that get little natural air. When dust has collected on the moulding and around doorways and trim, use a damp cloth to wipe it away before adding any new paint. Apply primer. Primer can serve many functions, not the least of which is its role as a bonding agent between the wall and the top coat of paint. Primer can also help conceal dark colors, prevent stains and increase the life expectancy of the paint job you are about to undertake. Prepare your paint. Preparing the paint is a simple task, but one novice painters may not be aware of. When opening a new can of paint, stir the paint before using it. In addition, even if you don’t plan to use a roller when painting, do not



w h ith ta om th x c es e h re re ea di no lt t f v a hy or ti Se on ni or s



paint straight from the can, which can be heavier to hold than a small bowl, and a light bowl is less likely to be spilled than a potentially heavy can of paint. In addition, once paint has been removed from the can, replace the lid so dust and other impurities do not settle in the can. Purchase painter’s tape. Painter’s tape can be especially valuable to novice painters. Painter’s tape makes it easier to paint smooth and clean paint lines, giving a room a more professional looking coat of paint without the cost of hiring a professional painter. Painting can be an inexpensive and fun way to upgrade a home’s interior. But even though painting does not require the technical know-how of more large-scale home improvement projects, it still requires some prep work and attention to detail to ensure the job is done right.

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Home improvement projects

perfect for fall


ome improvement projects can add value to a home and do-it-yourselfers know the sweat-equity that goes into such projects can give homeowners a greater sense of pride in their homes. But no two home improvement projects are the same, and homeowners should know that certain projects are best tackled during certain times of the year. Fall is a great season to work on your house, as the weather is often at its most agreeable once the summer heat has gone and before winter weather arrives. The following are a handful of fall-friendly home improvement projects for homeowners looking to improve their homes.


Whether you’re repairing or replacing the roof, fall is a great time of year to dust off the ladder and get some work done on your roof for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, fall is ideal for roof work because you won’t have to be up on the roof with the summer heat bearing down on you. This can make the project move along more quickly, which is especially beneficial if you are paying labourers to work on the roof. The fewer hours workers are fixing your roof, the less you will be paying in labour costs.

In addition, fixing up the roof in the fall ensures those winter storms, be it rain or snow, won’t find their way into your home via leaks. A leaky roof in winter is hard to fix, as the roof surface could be treacherous in the winter and winter winds can make it dangerous to be up on the roof at all. Addressing leaks in the fall can prevent damage to your home’s interior, which can mount up if a leaky roof is not addressed until the following spring.


When the weather outside gets frightful, poorly insulated windows can allow cold air into the home. That often has a trickle-down effect on finances, forcing you to turn up the thermostat in an attempt to offset the cold air pouring into the home. Whether you need your windows replaced or simply need to patch up any leaks, a proactive approach to leaky or older windows in the fall can save you from unnecessarily high heating bills come the winter. Addressing leaky windows also makes a home more comfortable for its inhabitants. Fall is the ideal time to address a home’s windows because the temperature outside tends to be pleasant. This means you likely won’t have to make much of an effort to offset the elements, and open windows in the fall won’t make your home’s interior very hot or cold like they might if you were to tackle the project during the summer or winter.

Fixing the floors

Wood flooring is a hot commodity for many homeowners. But not all flooring can be added to a home at any time of year. That’s because certain types of flooring employ adhesives that need temperatures inside the home to be within a certain range, and that range is often within 70º to 80º F, which makes fall a great time to install such floors. Colder temperatures can make it difficult for the flooring to dry and bond, which will prove problematic down the road. What’s more, many people entertain friends and family

Fall is an ideal time of year to tackle home painting projects. come late fall and into the holiday season, and it can be difficult to do so if you are busy installing new flooring.


Painting is another home improvement project that seems tailor-made for fall. A fresh coat of paint or a new colour scheme around the house can give a home an entirely new look and feel. But paint can be pungent and the aromas may last if it’s applied at a time of year when it can’t dry while the windows are wide open. Paint fumes inside a home can make the home uninhabitable, but painting at a time of year like the fall, when you can keep the windows open during and after the project, can help air the home out. But interior painting isn’t the only painting project homeowners can tackle in the fall. Many exterior paints are temperature-sensitive and need the temperature outside to be above 40º F. Paint that freezes won’t dry properly, and homeowners might be left with a costly and unsightly mistake on their hands. Fall temperatures tend to be amenable to both interior and exterior painting projects, just be sure to check the weather forecast before making your first brush stroke.


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outdoor renovation ideas


omeowners are increasingly extending their living spaces outside the walls of their homes. Expansive and intricate stonework patios and decked-out outdoor kitchens are the kind of additions many homeowners dream of. Those with unlimited budgets can enjoy just about any look they desire, but many homeowners may not have the money to go all the way with their outdoor living spaces. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to create budget-friendly spaces that are functional, fun and eye catching. Decks and patios are popular gathering spots outside a home, and homeowners have numerous inexpensive options at their disposal when choosing patio materials. And those who can do their own labour when installing a patio can save a substantial amount of money. Instead of higherpriced composite or resin decks, homeowners can go with standard wood, which will need to be stained periodically. Scaling back the size of the deck means less materials to buy and less labour involved. The cost of patio blocks depends on the

material and style. Poured concrete patios will cost less than placed blocks or stones because concrete is less labour-intensive. For those who desire the look of patio blocks without the cost, stamped concrete can mimic the look for less. Homeowners may not need to replace patio furniture, even if chairs and tables have seen better days. A can of spray paint can cover up any rusted areas or spots where paint has peeled off due to exposure to the elements. Updating cushions and purchasing a coordinating umbrella can revitalize the patio’s entire look. Also, very often stores run sales to clear out merchandise for new displays. Defining edges of planting borders and refreshing the landscape may be all that is needed to improve the yard. This is easily achieved with inexpensive mulch and some vinyl edging. While cleaning up the yard, use a pressure washer to clean stains off of siding and patios and create a like-new appearance. End-of-season sales can also be the ideal opportunity to purchase big-ticket items like a pool, a hot tub or an outdoor fireplace/fire pit.

Shoppers can learn when stores discount their merchandise to make room for new inventory and then use these sales as opportunities to save. Sometimes saving means repurposing antiques or items found at garage sales. Thanks to the Internet, people can easily advertise items they no longer need or desire. A person can search for backyard items they need at a deep discount if they are fine with previously used materials. From patio furniture to masonry blocks to aboveground pools, patient homeowners can find just about any item they may need to upgrade their backyards. Though not all homeowners can afford to create the backyard of their dreams, with a little ingenuity, sweat and some hard work, homeowners can still create an outdoor oasis.

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The basics of cabinet refacing


Cabinet refacing can transform the look of a kitchen, and costs considerably less than a complete cabinet replacement


omeowners who want to give their kitchens a brand new look without the expense or the hassle of a full-scale renovation often gravitate toward kitchen cabinet refacing. Cabinet refacing is less expensive and more eco-friendly than a full replacement of existing cabinets, and experts estimate refacing costs roughly two-thirds less than a complete cabinet renovation. Refacing involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts of existing cabinets during which the cabinet boxes are veneered to match the wood colour chosen for the refacing, while the structure and layout of the cabinets remains unchanged. Essentially the kitchen footprint will remain the same as it was before the refinishing took place. Kitchens are popular rooms in the home and much of the renovation investment made in the kitchen can be recuperated at resale. Homeowners looking to put their homes up for sale soon may find cabinet refacing is beneficial, as it is a relatively quick renovation that can reap big rewards. Homeowners have options when refacing their cabinets. While some projects, such as stripping off old paint and repainting, can be a do-it-yourself project, refacing cabinets

may be best left to the professionals. Veneer work, which is often part of cabinet refacing, is not a skill one can learn overnight, and it often requires the hand of a professional carpenter. Many cabinets can be resurfaced successfully. Older cabinets are prime candidates, as they often are more sturdy than newer cabinets. In general, cabinets can be refaced as long as their substructures are sound. In addition to providing a new look for the kitchen, cabinet refacing is an eco-friendly project. By not demolishing existing cabinetry, homeowners are preventing old materials from ending up in landfills while saving trees from being cut down to construct new cabinets. Refacing also reduces the amount of chemical products used in the building of new cabinets, including stains, adhesives and chemically treated wood. Homeowners can choose among wood, veneer, metal, and even glass doors as replacements in the kitchen. Coupling cabinet refacing with replacement of old appliances can completely transform the appearance of the kitchen in relatively little time. Many refacing projects go as follows.

kitchen’s exact specifications. • Homeowners choose the type of finish they prefer for the new cabinetry. • Manufacturing takes place, and homeowners will schedule a time when the work will commence. • Existing doors and drawer fronts will be removed and recycled or disposed of. • If cabinet frames and boxes need to be repaired in any way, some refacing companies will take care of this. • Cabinet boxes and frames are covered in a matching veneer or plastic laminate. • The new doors and drawer fronts are installed, as are new handles, pulls and mouldings to complete the look.

Many companies specialize in cabinet refacing. Homeowners should request estimates from potential candidates and review workmanship prior to hiring a particular company. Cabinet refacing is often a fast, relatively inexpensive renovation project. It can improve the appearance and functionality of • Measurements are taken and technical a kitchen in a small amount of time, while also drawings are made so that new cabinet improving the value of a home. materials can be manufacturered to the


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Storage Shed purchasing tips


torage sheds can be invaluable for people who do not have a garage or basement to store their outdoor tools and equipment. Sheds also can be a boon to anyone looking to increase the storage space they have at home. Prefabricated and made-to-order sheds are available for all different budgets and storage needs. Buyers also can choose among buildto-suit kits that can be ordered online or from various retailers. One of the first decisions homeowners need to make when shopping for a storage shed is how much space they need. Think about what you need to house in the shed. Will it hold shovels and the patio umbrella, or will it need to be larger to accommodate a lawn mower? Knowing what you intend to use the shed for will enable you to pick the appropriate size. How long do you plan to use the shed? If this is merely a transitional storage building to bide your time until your garage renovation is complete, you may not need an expensive structure made of top-of-the-line materials. If you have a long lifetime plan for this shed, you will want a durable structure and might want to increase your budget. Before buying a shed, find out if your town,

city or province has any zoning laws about sheds. You may need to plan a trip to the municipal building for building codes. In order to protect the safety and integrity of the area, many towns and cities have specific zoning and building laws that need to be followed. Knowing this information in advance can save you from taking down the shed and redoing the work at a later date. Once you know the building codes, you can begin to shop around for a shed. Sheds can vary widely in price. A small, vertical lean-to shed may start out around $350, while a larger, more intricate structure can cost between $2,000 and $3,000. Cost may play a role in the shed you ultimately choose, especially if you are on a fixed budget. Available materials should be studied when buying a shed. While an aluminum shed may not be the most aesthetically appealing, aluminum sheds tend to be affordable and durable. Wood sheds are available in all different styles and can be very attractive. However, they will have to be maintained to prevent rot and insect infestation. Wood sheds also can be expensive. Vinyl sheds may be the best of both worlds, as they are often durable and require little maintenance. Some sheds enable you to build or add on different components at a later date, so you don’t need


to start out with the elite model. When shopping, consider if you have the skillset to assemble the shed yourself. You can save a considerable amount of money when buying a kit and assembling the shed yourself. Having a shed built off-site and then delivered, or hiring a carpenter to come and build a shed, may cost you just as much in labour as in materials. Keep in mind that sheds displayed in a warehouse store or outside at a home improvement retailer may seem smaller than they will when erected in your yard. Measure your space carefully to ensure that the shed will blend in and not be an eyesore in the yard. Shrubbery can be planted around the shed to help camouflage it, and the shed also can be colour-coordinated with the house to make it appear more cohesive. The foundation of the shed needs to be considered. Sheds can rest on cinder blocks, poured concrete or crushed stone. Check with the shed manufacturer as to the best foundation material, and factor that expense into your purchase. An attractive, functional and affordable shed can be an asset to a home. It provides extra storage space for outdoor equipment, which can free up room in a garage or basement.



ith interest rates sitting at rates never before seen by your parents or even your grandparents, now is an ideal time to tap into that available equity to fund your renovation and landscape needs. But, these rock-bottom rates won’t be available forever. The Bank of Canada estimates fixed mortgage rates will likely begin to rise again in the months to come. You already know the importance of maintaining your property to ensure it ages well with the times. You also know that it can be a daunting task thinking about all of the ongoing costs for renovations and maintenance required to keep your home and cottage to your liking. The great news is, if you have built up equity in your primary residence or even your cottage, refinancing your mortgage is a cost-effective way to have funds available for upgrades to your home, and your home away from home. In addition to helping you with a new lower mortgage payment, your Mortgage Broker and Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) will find you the lender that offers the most flexible prepayment privileges available no matter the lender. When considering this option, it’s important to take note of any penalties involved in paying out your mortgage prior to renewal. Your broker will review all your options with you and will calculate just how you can end up with a much lower interest rate and better terms, letting you put the extra funds gained towards your cottage, renovations and summer projects. Due to a lower interest rate, refinancing can allow you to pay your mortgage off

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Finance Home or Cottage Improvements With Your Home Equity faster even though you may have a higher balance owing. How? Negotiating common prepayment privileges that enable you to pay a double payment or up to 20% of the principal (the mortgage value minus the interest) in a lump sum, Reducing the amortization period (the length of your mortgage), which, then saves you money and pays off your mortgage even sooner than expected.

Using A Line Of Credit

Another option to enable you to access funds for renovations is to open a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC’s interest rate is lower than a credit card or other highinterest borrowing. Most find that with today’s low rates refinancing is the best option. As a tool a HELOC is good for those who have a future project in mind, but do not know exactly when they want to take action. A HELOC enables access to equity on an asneeded basis. You only pay interest on the funds used. Another benefit is that you can pay the balance off at any time with no penalties. There are combination mortgage products available that enable you to have a portion of your mortgage in a fixed interest rate and another portion as a HELOC, which mean the HELOC can be used as a rainy day fund. By using a HELOC to fund renovations, the savings are substantial versus using a credit card or loan. Just the comparison of paying 3.5% interest with a HELOC compared to 18% for a credit card or loan clearly shows the HELOC advantage.

Another advantage is seen in the monthly repayment of the debt. With loans or credit cards, the minimum is typically 3% of the total balance, whereas with the HELOC you’re only paying interest on the loan. Example: a $50,000 credit card balance at a 3% monthly payment requires a payment of $1,500/month. Versus an interest-only payment on a HELOC, you’re only required to pay $145 per month. If your primary residence does not have enough equity for a refinance or HELOC and your cottage does, you may still have options depending on seasonal access. Financial institutions will lend on year-round property up to a maximum loan to value (LTV) of 80% and a maximum loan to value (LTV) of 80% on a three season property (dependent on access). Most mortgage financing products are available for marketable year-round cottages in good shape. Lenders will want to ensure they will be able to easily sell your property if you do not continue paying your mortgage or HELOC. When looking to access home equity, it’s best to speak to your mortgage broker to find an option that suits your unique needs, and is not limited to any one lender or institution options. A mortgage broker works for their client one mortgage at a time, so getting you the best rate and the best terms are the main concern no matter which bank or lender that happens to be. And, having access to a wide variety of lenders ensures that you are getting the best available rates on the market! Mark Goode -


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How to create a paver walkway or patio


reating a walkway or patio the area that will become the path or patio. out of paving stones can add aesthetic appeal to a property. Pavers 4. Fill in the area you dug out with a are less permanent than concrete and paver base material, using a tamper decking making it easier to change (either manual or power-driven) to the later. tamp down the paver base until it Homeowners who install their is level and smooth. own pavers can save. Because 5. Apply about one inch of paving installing paving stones can sand to further level out the path be labour-intensive, landscape or patio. This will be the material contractors may charge a premium on which the paving stones are for installation. However, this is a laid. project that can be tackled by the 6. Begin laying the paving stones. do-it-yourselfer. Leave the appropriate distance between stones desired by your 1. Measure and plot out the area that pattern. If the paving stones will become the path or patio. The won’t have a gap and serve as area of the space can be figured a continuous patio, leave the out by multiplying length times smallest gap between them. width. This determines how much material you need. 7. Spread more paving sand on top of the paving stones and, using a 2. Visit the home improvement store broom, sweep it over the stones or a supplier of stone and other and into the crevices between masonry supplies to determine them to set the stones. the style and colour of the paving stones you will use in the project. 8. Create the rest of the garden Some homeowners prefer to have design around the patio or the materials delivered to their pathway using gravel, plants and home to save the hassle of extra edging material to finish the look. heavy lifting and moving. Over time you may need to sweep more paving sand over the stones 3. Using a shovel or a tiller, dig to keep them secure. down and remove the grass to a depth of four to six inches from

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How to increase



in tight spaces


ozy, quaint homes attract many home buyers and renters. Be it a cottage-style house or a studio apartment, smaller living spaces often involve getting creative with storage. People live in smaller homes for a variety of reasons. Some choose to live in a smaller home so they can be right in the thick of things in a city or urban center. Others scale back on living space in an effort to save money. But storage space in small quarters is often at a premium, and thinking creatively is a necessity to keep the home tidy and items out of view. Rainy or chilly days are the perfect times to tackle indoor organization projects. When the outdoors isn’t beckoning, you can devote all of your attention to addressing storage issues in your home. To begin, take inventory of what you have, going through your possessions and determining what can stay and what can go. Part with anything you haven’t used in quite some time. The next step is to sort items and get organized. Then you can find a place for everything. For example, if you have a dozen bath towels but only one sauce pot, you will need to find more room for linens than kitchen cookware. You may need to borrow space from one area of the home to give to another area. The following are some additional tips to increase space in an otherwise cramped home. Add shelves. Increase cabinet and closet space by adding shelves into them. This may double or even triple the amount of usable space, especially if you customize the shelving to fit storage containers you use to store everything from shoes to craft items. Opt for dual-purpose furniture. Benches with lids that lift up and sofas that convert into guest beds are just a few of the many ways you can keep a

small home neat and increase storage space. An ottoman is a great place to store extra blankets and linens, while a trunk or crate with a sturdy top can be used in lieu of a traditional coffee table to keep books or board games. Think vertically. When floor space is at a premium, you may need to look up for storage. Frequently used pots and pans can be hung from a decorative rack in your kitchen. Use magnets on jars to store a spice rack on the wall near the stove. Racks above cabinets or on doors can be used to store everything from shoes to jewelry to toiletries. Shelving in children’s rooms can store lesser used toys away from the floor. Empty walls are valuable real estate in a small home, and tall bookshelves can house a number of different things. Take advantage of oddly shaped crevices. If you have space under a staircase or a spot by a dormer or in an attic eave, use the space to store items. You may need to get creative, such as adding a door and small closet into the staircase, but such spaces make practical storage areas and add character to a home. Use see-through storage containers. Many people find that plastic storage bins are neater and more stackable than boxes. See-through bins enable you to quickly find items so that you are not searching around the house for lost items and creating a bigger mess along the way. Clear storage containers

work in the refrigerator, too. You can more easily spot leftovers, and uniform stacking containers free up more room for bulkier items. Make use of space beneath your bed. There likely is ample room to store more things than just dust bunnies beneath your bed. A bed frame with built-in drawers is the perfect place to keep bed linens and out-of-season clothes. Beds can be raised on blocks to create more space underneath for storing rolling plastic containers and even seldom-used suitcases. Opt for an armoire. Armoires are not exclusive to bedrooms. Armoires can be used in dining spaces or in dens to store items out of sight. An armoire can be used when retrofitted with a pull-out shelf as a laptop desk, storing all office items behind closed doors when not needed. Improve storage in the bathroom. Try to choose a vanity that has under-thesink storage so you will have a place to store some toiletries. Home improvement centers sell cabinets that can be placed above the toilet tank as a storage space for bathroom items. In the shower, hang a second tension-loaded shower curtain rod on the inside of the shower enclosure that can be used to hold bags of kids bath toys and other toiletries, keeping them off the tub ledges. When you think creatively, you can maximize storage space even in a small home.


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dark home can be dreary and drain residents’ energy levels rather quickly. Natural light has the power to make a person feel more energized, and it also can buoy spirits. As a result, many homeowners want to increase the amount of natural light in their homes. Increasing natural sunlight in a home reduces reliance on interior lighting. This reduces energy bills and lowers the home’s carbon footprint. Natural light also can help people in a home feel happier and more content. According to the National Institutes of Health, some people experience serious mood changes during the winter months. Dubbed seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, this condition may be effectively treated with light therapy. Exposure to more light can alleviate fatigue, loss of interest and sad or anxious feelings. Homeowners looking to increase the natural light in their homes, be it for medical or aesthetic reasons, can do so in a variety of ways. Keep the drapes open. Opening blinds and curtains as far as they will go allows as much light to shine in without having to do major home renovations or spend any money at all. Homeowners concerned about privacy can install a window film that allows viewing from the inside only. Clean the windows. Dirty windows obstruct sunlight from entering the home. They also can make a home appear unkempt. Spend a free day cleaning the windows so that they’ll let ample light in. Install seamless or low-profile windows and doors. Seamless sliding doors enable a large amount of light to enter the home. Such doors can replace an entire wall to brighten up a dark area of a home. The more windows and doors a home has, the brighter it will be. Take inventory of dark spots. A room may be dark because it simply does not have a layout conducive to brightness. Is a wall blocking light from reaching a portion of the room? Think about changing the room’s layout or even making structural changes to improve light distribution. The addition of a small window on a south- or west-facing wall can greatly improve natural light. Using mirrors can also reflect light where it is needed. Invest in skylights or solar tubes. Both skylights or solar tubes enable light to enter a home from above. Skylights are larger and require considerably more work to install, while solar tubes are more low-profile and can be put into rooms that do not abut the roofline, such as those obstructed by attic space. The tubular cylinders are installed between the roof and the ceiling and carry light through a reflective tube to the room below. Diffusers on tubular daylighting devices scatter the rays so the light doesn’t cast harsh shadows, and UV filters can help protect furniture from discoloring. Trim shrubs and trees. If trees and bushes are blocking light from entering your home, trim them to enable dappled light to come through. Deciduous trees that will naturally lose their leaves come autumn can be planted on sunny areas of the property. This way in the summer months they will shade the house and keep it cooler, while in winter more sun will stream in when the leaves are shed. Create a three-season room. Make a spot in the home where sun will be at a premium. A solarium or greenhouse attached to the home can be a warm and sunny spot. Increasing natural light in a home can improve feelings of well-being and also reduce energy consumption during daylight hours.



hen designing a kitchen, homeowners typically give substantial consideration to many elements of their dream design, including cabinet and countertop materials and which brand of appliances they most prefer. But few may consider the lighting for the room as thoroughly. Lighting is an important consideration in any room, but most especially in the kitchen, where people tend to gravitate and spend a good portion of their time. The right lighting can have a dramatic effect on the functionality of the kitchen, including how the space feels when you enter it. The right blend of lights can create a vibrant mood in the kitchen, while light can be adjusted according to what needs to get done in the space. Establishing a lighting plan in a kitchen requires a combination of different lights. The main focus should be on three distinct lighting types, task, ambient and accent lighting.

Task Lighting Task light is beneficial anywhere a person

will need to perform tasks that require close concentration, such as chopping vegetables. Task lighting shines direct light onto a surface, illuminating it thoroughly, and it can be turned off when it is not needed. Task lighting is generally placed above counters and islands where one will be slicing vegetables and preparing food. There may be lighting over the sink to illuminate dirty dishes. If a kitchen has a desk area, lighting above the desk will make that area more functional. Many task lighting designs include lights under cabinetry to shine down onto counters and eliminate shadowed recesses. Under-cabinet lighting is a relatively inexpensive add-on

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Create a lighting scheme that works for the kitchen


Under-cabinet task lighting sheds light on areas where cooks do their prep work. for existing kitchens. Homeowners can add lighting afterward to focus more light onto countertops.

Ambient Lighting Ambient lighting is another name for all-

over lighting that fills a room. During the day, ambient light may stream in from windows and skylights. However, at night, ambient lighting is created by different light fixtures in a room. In the kitchen, overhead fixtures are a popular choice for ambient lighting. A blend of hanging pendant lamps, chandeliers and recessed lighting can create the amount of light needed. Homeowners should pay special attention to the bulbs and fixtures they choose, as not all produce the same amount of light. Those concerned about energy efficiency also must give mind to whether the bulbs will use a lot of energy or last a long time. Compact fluorescent bulbs as well as LED lighting are longlasting and do not use as much energy as incandescent bulbs. Indirect ambient lighting softens shadows in a room, creating a warm, inviting glow. It is an important layer of light that is often overlooked in the kitchen. Setting ambient lighting on a dimmer enables homeowners to cast a mood that is desired when the kitchen isn’t being used for prep work.

Accent Lighting

If there are key elements around the kitchen that a person would like to highlight like a china set, accent lighting can do the trick. Spotlights can be used to show off collectibles, while a subtle strip of lighting can illuminate a wall of artwork. Many people like to install accent lighting inside of cabinetry to create dramatic focal points. Some homeowners may want to incorporate decorative lighting in their kitchens. This is the use of ornate chandeliers, hanging pendants and other eye-catching fixtures. Decorative lighting should be considered in proportion to the size of the kitchen. Therefore, smaller kitchens will have smaller fixtures and vice versa. Decorative lighting may be the most expensive type of kitchen lighting, so some homeowners prefer to plan ahead for the inclusion of decorative accents by having the wiring ready and then adding the fixtures over time. Lighting in a kitchen can be just as important as which appliances and other accessories homeowners choose for their kitchens. Without the right mix of lighting, the kitchen may not be functional or inviting.


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p: 705.689.9397 e:


Safely clear gutters of grime


leaning gutters is a household chore that many homeowners associate with both spring and autumn. Cleaning gutters prevents water damage on the roof while protecting your home’s siding and foundation. In addition, cleaning gutters in the fall gives homeowners a chance to ensure they are firmly secured to the house, an important precaution when potentially harsh winter weather is just around the corner. Unlike many household chores, cleaning gutters can be quite dangerous, as it often requires homeowners to climb up and down on ladders or spend ample time on the roof. As a result, safety should reign supreme when cleaning gutters, and homeowners should take the following precautions before gutting their gutters of grime. Don’t try to be a hero. If you are afraid of heights, then it’s perfectly alright to hire a professional to clean your gutters. Men and women with a fear of heights cannot predict how they will react when climbing a ladder, so play it safe and hire a professional if the thought of climbing up and down a ladder frightens you. Inspect the stability of your ladder. Ladders play a key role when cleaning gutters of leaves, dirt and grime, so homeowners should inspect their ladders before they get to work. An unbalanced ladder may not be reliable and should be replaced. You will be moving and swaying somewhat while cleaning the gutters, so you’ll need a secure ladder that does not teeter back and forth each time you reach for the gutter. The ladder should always be planted on a flat and secure surface before you climb up to clean the gutter. Much like you might have a spotter when lifting weights, have a friend or family member hold the ladder as you climb up to ensure the

ladder remains stable. Move the ladder frequently. It can be tempting to reach as far as possible when you’re on the ladder, as you can save time by covering more ground on each trip up. Overextending yourself is a considerable safety risk, so move the ladder frequently, even if the job is taking more time than you had expected. Wear tight clothing. Loose clothing when cleaning gutters can easily get stuck on shutters, tree branches or other items when climbing up or down the ladder. If you aren’t paying attention, clothing that gets snagged can throw off your balance when you start to move, increasing your risk of falling. Wear protective gloves. Anyone who has cleaned gutters in the past can attest that you never know what might have settled in gutters since the last time they were cleaned. Wear a thick pair of gloves that won’t puncture when caught on a gutter, or sharp twig or branch. You won’t want any holes in the gloves, as holes may leave you susceptible to any bacteria in organic items that might have settled in the materials in your gutter. Gutters also may have sharp edges that can leave you susceptible to cuts if you aren’t wearing gloves. In addition, gloves keep your hands warm, which will come in handy as you clear the gutters of materials that are often wet. When choosing gloves, be sure to choose ones that give you some grip so you can firmly grasp the ladder as you climb up and down.


How to winterize your pool


omeowners know that the cooler weather of autumn makes this season the perfect time to winterize their pools. Although closing a pool is rarely celebrated, it is a very important task. Properly winterizing a pool will reduce the liklihood of damage in the months ahead, saving homeowners from expensive repairs. Closing the pool before trees begin to shed their leaves is a good idea, as is doing so before the arrival of the first cold stretch. If you want to get started on winterizing your pool, heed the following advice. Gather all of the necessary equipment. To winterize your pool, you’ll need the pool cover, drain plugs, certain chemicals, and cleaning equipment. Have all of the tools you need nearby so you won’t be scrambling for items once you start. Check the chemical levels in the pool. Check the pool’s chemical levels so you can create a sterile environment that won’t be overtaken by microorganisms in the water during the offseason. Many pool experts recommended ensuring the pH is at the appropriate level (7.4 7.8), checking the alkalinity of the water to ensure it is between 80 and 120 ppm, as well as verifying the calcium hardness is at the right level. Creating the right water environment reduces the risk that any problems will develop over the winter. Thoroughly clean the interior of the pool. Don’t forget to remove any accessories, like ladders, ropes, fountains, etc. Clean these items and store them in a winter-safe area. Bring up the pool chlorine to shock level. Shock level means the pool will have a higher amount of chlorine, necessary to kill off any remaining algae or microorganisms in the water. Keep the water filtering and at this elevated chlorine level for a few days prior to closing the pool to ensure that there will be no algae blooms once the cover is in place and

you cannot monitor the water. Drain some of the water. Depending on the type of cover you’re using, and whether or not you’ll be using plugs to block any ports into and out of your pool, you may need to drain several inches of water to ensure that it falls below filter skimmer baskets and return jets. All water should be forced out from any hoses and internal components of the pool so that the water will not freeze and cause damage. Adhere to manufacturers’ instructions on winterizing the filter. Some filters may need to be completely drained and cleaned. Some people prefer to remove the filter pump, gaskets and hoses and store everything in their garages for the winter. It may be possible to move smaller filters indoors. If not, covering the filter with a large, black garbage bag may protect it further from the weather. Be sure to turn off the electricity to the filter outlet at the breaker for the season. Take steps to inhibit algae growth. If desired, put a polyquat algaecide into the water and distribute it evenly to further inhibit algae growth. Install the cover per the manufacturer’s instructions and anchor it into place. It is a good idea to place a leaf net over the cover to catch any leaves as they fall so that they can easily be removed and not contribute to swampy conditions on the top of the pool cover over time. Invest in a small pump to drain water off the top of the pool cover periodically. An effective pump will prevent undue stress on the cover, ensuring it lasts longer. Pool owners who prefer less pool maintenance can hire a pool company to handle winterizing tasks for them. By following the correct steps for pool winterization, you increase the liklihood of having a nice, clean pool to look forward to next summer.

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healthy, happy, balanced life


Thinking Kitchen Renovation?


Hire A Designer

emodeling a kitchen is one of the largest investments you will make in your life. It is the most design sensitive and intricate room in your home and working with a kitchen designer will ensure the outcome is functional, efficient, safe and beautiful.

project start and finish on time? Did deliveries and installer show up when they were supposed to? Did the project stay on budget or close to it? Were there any unauthorized changes? Did anything go wrong and if it did how quickly was it resolved? Last, but not least, go with your gut. If you feel like you can’t trust that person, keep looking!

room to allow the designer a complete picture of the space and the option to change the layout to better accommodate your needs if required. Bring a detailed wish list organized by priority with the most important things at the top. Do you want more storage? Do you need a place for recycling? More counter space? Include an idea folder of pictures, products, materials and details that appeal to you. Also include information on There is a lot to know to save time, hassle and kitchen use such as how many cooks and seating to avoid the pitfalls and disasters that can occur for eating or homework. during a renovation by learning some of the You will also need to have specifications of the Before starting any major renovation you need to strategies to help you in your quest. From hiring have an idea of what you are willing to spend. A appliances you are planning to incorporate into the right kitchen designer, to developing a budget, rule of thumb that works for kitchen renovations is the kitchen. Redesigning after you have decided to planning your project, and most of all, living to take 10% of the current value of your home and on the perfect layout to accommodate a change through it! use that number as your budget. This budget will in appliances is time consuming and will delay need to include cabinetry, countertops, appliances, the start of a project. Details count and the more sink(s), faucet(s), hardware, flooring and paint. information you can give a kitchen designer at Be sure that you receive a written outline of the onset of the planning stage the better. You are now armed with the knowledge to help what is included in your quote and that you read it through before signing to make sure it meets your remodel flow smoothly and with the skills your expectations and that there are no hidden to hire someone who has your best interests in surprises. Be wary that spending too little on your mind. A kitchen designer is your key to making renovation could result in decreasing the value your dream kitchen into reality. So renovate with of your home and spending too much does not confidence and peace of mind and let the experts necessarily mean you are going to get any return worry about the project details for you. Tania Winters Kitchen & Bath Designer on that investment down the road. In other words, don’t overdo it, stay within the value of the home and you can’t go wrong.

Details Count

Determine Your Budget

Find Your Perfect Relationship

Choosing a designer to work with is as important as choosing your finishes and your budget. A good way to find the perfect designer for you is to ask your friends and family or other local companies and contractors if they have any recommendations. Don’t hesitate to ask the designer for references and call those references. After all you are hiring them for a job. Some questions to ask. Did the

Do Your Research

Before you sit down with a designer you need to do some research and make some decisions. You will need to bring a scale drawing of your kitchen showing locations of all the windows, doors, heating, plumbing, and electrical locations. Measure the whole

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Fall Home Lifestyles Magazine 2013  
Fall Home Lifestyles Magazine 2013  

Fall home Lifestyles Magazine 2013