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bright lights You can have a chandelier in every room Yes, even there

Refreshing change

Kitchen reno restores centre of family’s universe Another MulticomMedia Publication

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LIGHT OF HER LIFE: How a grandmother’s chandelier transformed a granddaughter’s life.

francis crescia/town crier

GETTING COZY: A couple relaxes fireside at the well-appointed home of Patrick Rocca.

6 •

BALANCE RESTORED: Couple with a kitchen that wasn’t working for them find happiness after reno.


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Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010

Chandeliers all over the house... ...without breaking the bank


BY Kelly Gadzala

It all started with Brenda Cooper’s ’s grandmother chandelier.

francis crescia/town crier

renda Cooper has chandelier karma, big time. The North York resident has a sparkly bit of ceiling candy hanging in practically every room in her home — including the garage. And each and every one of those spidery crystal-encrusted lighting fixtures has a story, more often than not to do with mothers. It all began when she moved into her townhouse five years ago. Instead of renovating the 30 year old home, Cooper beefed things up by painting the walls and buying new appliances. Adding some bling in the form of sparkling chandeliers was a way of glamming things up and complementing the older style of the townhouse, she says. She already had one chandelier by then, the granddaddy — no, make that grandmamma — of chandeliers. It was a mammoth crystal fixture with the largest individual pieces of crystal she’s ever seen. It belonged to her grandmother. “I always wanted it,” she says. “In all my travels I’ve never seen anything like it.” Aside from its uniqueness, the chandelier has a big emotional resonance: “Every single time I turn it on, she’s here. She was a very special person.” Her second and third chandeliers were bought at an estate sale run by two sisters clearing out their mother’s apartment. They wanted $300 each for them. Cooper left her phone number with an offer of $50 for both. She didn’t think she’d hear from them again after that offer. Fifteen days later there was a message on Cooper’s phone. The chandeliers were hers for 50 bucks. The pair now adorn her bedroom over her bed and her foyer. They turned out to be a good German make — Schonbek. Cooper has seen similar ones in vintage shops for $1,700 each. “After that it became a mission.” A firm believer that one needn’t shell out big bucks to find pretty things of good quality, Cooper scours estate content sales for old chandeliers. The more crystals on them, the better. She’s learned some tricks of the trade along the way. One, she rarely goes to estate sales run by companies as she says they overprice things. She’ll never go to a one-day sale on Saturday, instead opting for two-day weekend sales that she always goes to on the last day, when the deals are better. Most important, she’ll never actually ask sellers if they have chandeliers, preferring the more nebulous term, ceiling fixtures. People tend to ask for more if you call them chandeliers, she says. Strategies like that have paid off. Some of her top ceiling fixture finds have been $5 and $7 each. That said, Cooper isn’t sneaky. There’s an unwritten rule of respect at these sales, she says. And besides, Cooper seems so open and honest that, well, people just give her stuff. One lady she met on a sidewalk took her home and showed her a chandelier boxed up in her basement that her mother had given her as a wedding present. The lady was going to sell it, but after seeing how much Cooper loved it, she gave it to her because she wanted it to go to a good home. “This is worth a lot of money,” Cooper says pointing to the Italian brass chandelier hanging in her upstairs hallway. She’s no expert, she says, but she takes her finds to a place called Consumers Lighting & Lamps on Dufferin Street, and owner Sid Wellman checks the wiring. Apparently when he saw this one he oohed and ahhed. Another chandelier hanging in her garage — it’s not functional, she says, as it would cost a fortune to rewire it — was also given to her. She says if the character Jed Clampett from the TV show, The

Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier


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Basement and garage also feature fantasy fixtures Beverly Hillbillies can have a chandelier there, why can’t she? Not to belabor the mother connection, but it becomes uncanny. Cooper’s best friend’s came to her with an unwanted chandelier her mother had given to her, again found in the basement. Cooper knew the chandelier was expensive and said so. “I told her, ‘This was your mother’s.’ ” But her friend said to take it, so into Cooper’s workshop — her second level bathroom — it went. After hanging it from the shower rod on an S hook, as she does with all her chandeliers, Cooper removed and washed every piece of crystal and then put it back on, one by one. It now hangs over her desk in her office. There’s no way her friend is going to change her mind and get it back after all the work she put into it, she says. Funnily enough, the only non-chandelier Cooper has came from her own mother. It’s an Art Deco birdcage style fixture she found in her mom’s basement that used to hang over the kitchen table when she was growing up. Now it’s in her spare room suspended over a wooden bed frame painted green — the very first piece of furniture her father bought when he arrived in Canada after surviving the Holocaust. Are there times when the obsession gets out of control? Not really. Cooper says she never buys for the sake of buying. There are three chandeliers in her basement that have already been checked for wiring and cleaned up. She won’t sell them, she says, as she’s not looking to make money. She’ll just give them away when the time is right. There’s really no room for more, with every room and hallway in her home effectively chandeliered. And considering all the great stories behind each and every piece, she’s not about to get rid of any of them — especially her gran’s — anytime soon. “Nothing will replace my grandmother’s chandelier.”

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Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010

Redo spices up old space Kitchen wasn’t ‘functional’


francis crescia/town crier

BY Kelly Gadzala

ack Stern describes his kitchen as the centre of the universe. The Forest Hill area resident and his wife, Beth Merrick, had their kitchen renovated last year as part of a TV makeover for Pure Design on HGTV. The kitchen was always a place in which the couple and their family spent a lot of time, but it was outdated, had a lot of wasted space, and above all, just wasn’t functional. “We wanted to spend more time there,” says Stern, adding that both he and Merrick grew up in families where the kitchen was the focal point of the home.

“It wasn’t as comfortable as we wanted it to be.” The couple’s goal, working with the show’s host and creative director Samantha Pynn: make the kitchen reflect their casual, comfortable and contemporary style and way of living. “We’re not frilly, fancy antique-y people,” says Merrick. “And we’re not slick minimalist people.” Aside from some hideous 1990s lighting and a generally outdated look, there were other issues with the room: the fridge was in an awkward position that stuck out. There was no counter space, and the kitchen table, tucked away in a corner, was functioning as a dumping ground for papers and such. “It was just used to pile stuff on,” says Merrick. “We didn’t

Beth Merrick y rn sa and Jack Ste has their kitchen become their . home’s heart

eat there at all.” And speaking of wasted space, there was a huge empty space in centre of kitchen — dead space, if you will. However, here were elements the couple wanted to keep. Merrick preferred to hold onto her grandmother’s wood table (which was functioning as the unused kitchen table). Two other pieces they also used — a tiny wine fridge and a small TV — also had to stay. The end result, which Stern and Merrick played a role in shaping, was a more usable and comfortable space. A new fridge

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Creative solutions found was relocated to a corner, new flooring and cabinetry was added, and the space was reconfigured to make it more functional. The designer even built a cabinet around the wine fridge. Merrick says the value of working with a designer came out in the small details that made the space not just more functional, but more homey too. Pynn was able to pull together colours from the rest of the house and come up with a colour scheme that Merrick and Stern didn’t even know they had. Those colours were incorporated into elements like cushions and other accessories — not in a matchy-matchy way, says Merrick, but more organically. While Merrick felt strongly about the wine fridge and the TV staying in the space, Stern was adamant the kitchen have an island that filled the unused space in the central part of the kitchen. He says he thought it would be a great place to prep food and entertain around — and he was right. Before he and Merrick used to eat all their meals in the formal dining room. Now they opt to have most breakfasts and dinners at the island. When they entertain, which is often, it’s a like a magnet. “We huddle around our island now,” says Stern. “That’s where people congregate,” adds Merrick. They use the bench and kitchen table area, which can seat six people, when they have more people over or dine as a family. Merrick’s grandmother’s table, now sanded and refinished, is no longer a stuff receptacle. Merrick says from her experience it’s vital to work with a designer who doesn’t push out his or her design agenda. She and Stern liked that theirs integrated the homey touches that were part of their lives. With an extensive and varied art collection, Stern and Merrick always had art in the kitchen. After the reno there was way more, and now they rotate and rearrange it every time they buy a new piece. As Merrick puts it, their philosophy was to not limit art to adult spaces, but rather to hang it where they spend time — namely in the kitchen but also in places like the bathroom. Another homey touch that was reintegrated into the new look was a batch of photos and invites that formerly occupied the side of the old fridge. “It was our own Facebook page,” jokes Merrick. The solution: all the photos and invites were stuck on huge piece of corkboard surrounded by a fancy frame painted gold. Now the couple spends more time than ever before in the kitchen. Merrick agrees with her husband’s assessment of the room and how they use it: “It’s the heart of the house.”

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When considering a kitchen renovation, especially in older area homes, where space is at a premium, many home owners are opting for the removal of the structural wall between the kitchen and the dining room to make better use of the main floor living area. “The change is dramatic,” says Derek LaMarche, owner of JK Kitchen & Bathroom Renovations Inc (416-784-3535, “It transforms the main floor of the house from a tight area to a place where family and friends can gather and enjoy themselves in a better designed space,” he says. Some customers are concerned with how a wall down will affect the structural integrity of the house because the main structural beam is usually holding up the entire second floor as well as a roof that may be full of heavy snow. Derek assures customers that all size specifications for structural beams, posts, footings and drawings are completed by JK’s experienced structural engineer. Custom steel beams and posts are welded together to provide optimal support. Many of Derek’s clients inform him that other contractors recommend using 2”x 12” wood board construction for beam support. Derek cautions against this as it can result in structural failure of the house or at minimum, the cracking of the second floor tiles, walls and ceilings. New customers are encouraged to visit past projects that JK Kitchen and Bathrooms have completed as well as talk to former customers about their experience. For more information on this or any type of project please call 416-784-3535 or visit and request a no charge estimate and consultation.






Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010



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Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier


Sky-high lights A heavenly addition to a room


BY Shawn Star

or those who love natural light and can’t get enough windows in their home, there may be one place they haven’t considered: the roof. While roofing expert and installer Peter Bowman says there are hundreds of different skylights to choose from, he said that the quality can vary greatly. “It’s like anything else, you can buy a Cadillac or you can buy a Chevy,” said Bowman Dominion Roofing’s general manager of renovation. “When a skylight leaks, it’s a huge leakage issue. It can do thousands of dollars damage in a very short period of time. “Once you get a leak, you get mould, and then you’ve got a toxic substance to deal with.” Bowman also advises avoiding the do-it-yourself method when installing a skylight as knowing that your roof is structurally stable enough to support one is key. “I would get a professional to put it in simply because you are cutting through the roof of your house and you want to make sure that it’s put in alright structurally,” he said. “You need to make sure your roof is in good condition, plus you have to strip a bigger area than you cut out, so really you should have a professional do it.” When it comes to installation, he says it would be in your best interest to ensure that you hire a licensed installer. “Anybody with a truck and a ladder can hang on a shingle and say they’re a roofer,” he said. “So it’s important for the customer to look at the longevity of the company, get

some references, and know that the workmanship warranty that they offer has some validity to it.” Bowman said the installers you want have usually been approved by all major manufacturers. “It means the company has been certified by the manufacturer, so if there’s a warranty issue, the installer is also certified,” he said. “(It’s good to) know that if you have a problem in three or four years, they can call the phone number and someone’s going to answer the phone and look after them.” But even then, you need to be careful, because roofing is not the same as most other trades, which have apprenticeships. “Always use a recommended and certified installer,” he said. “That can be easily found from Toronto Home Builders’ (Association), or if (your home) is a rental you can go to Rental Mart where there are certified companies that are a part of is Natural light BILD (Building Industry and Land Devel’t opment).” reat, but don g So you’ve found yourself a reliable fade forget it can . installer, and you’re ready to go, right? Almost. There’s one other oft-overlooked the furniture aspect Bowman gives warning about. “A lot of people put a skylight in and they forget about the direct sunlight on their furniture,” he said. “So you have to take into consideration there are some options for blinds.”

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Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010


Five fab hostess gifts Go local this party season


all suppers and holiday entertaining are just around the corner. Instead of picking up flowers or wine, why not bring a hostess gift that’s not just original, but also artisan-made in your community? Shirley Fairley and Susan Wild, founders of, say buying local can be the best gift to give as supporting artists in your community helps the local economy, is good for the environment, and, even better, doesn’t compromise value or beauty. In their own words, here are their top host and hostess gift picks for the entertaining season.

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Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier



Chic can be cheap 1

Pretty handmade recipe cards, such as those made by Vintage Paper Parade would make a fantastic gift to bring to a dinner or brunch. If you’re bringing a dish with you, why not personalize the gift even more by writing that recipe and several of your favourites on some of the cards? $8 for a set of 12.


If you want a gift for the cook who has (almost) everything, have we got the apron for you. Crumb Designs has a fantastic line of aprons that range from practical and stylish to flirty and fun. The Audrey Apron ($48) would make a fantastic addition to anyone’s wardrobe.


Upset: The Game ($29.99) has just been awarded the Hot Toy for the Holidays 2010 by the Canadian Toy Association. It’s a ragsto-riches roller-coaster board and dice game of risk, chance and strategy that’s recommended for ages 12 to adult. Bring it along to adult parties or family functions — then suggest they open it right away so everyone can play.


Pretty soaps make lovely hostess gifts because they can be used in powder rooms when entertaining, and besides who ever buys decorative soaps for themselves? The gift is even better when it’s handmade. Neat Treats hand makes luxurious soaps ($4–15) with goat’s milk or shea butter and no harsh detergents. The business is known for its lovely rose soaps, also perfect for bridal favours, wedding shower gifts or little girls’ parties.


The maker behind Alli’s Originals specializes in made-to-order hand-stamped personalized sterling silver jewellery, but that hasn’t stopped her from creating some fabulous Canapé knives. Handcrafted using original handmade glass beads, these knives ($32 each) are great for spreading cheeses, dips or spreads and make a fantastic host or hostess gift for people who love entertaining.

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Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010


Mix match



Fun way to make your garden bloom all season


BY Lorraine Flanigan t never fails. Whenever I attend a gardening lecture at the Toronto Botanical Garden, the speaker’s ideas are so refreshingly inspiring, I want to rip out my garden and start all over again. That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I listened to what Dutch landscape designer Jacqueline van der Kloet had to say about planting Throw bulbs. g Van der Kloet has been creating stunning dismicro-plannin plays using bulbs in perennial borders in all the best w out the windo hat places around the world, including at the New York w g Botanical Gardens, Chicago’s Lurie Gardens and at when decidin . the famous Keukenhof in the Netherlands. (At our goes where own Toronto Botanical Garden, a massive bulb planting will take place later in the month.) During the lecture, van der Kloet’s ideas turned my thinking around 180 degrees about how to incorporate bulbs into flowerbeds. For years, I’d pore through catalogues and browse nursery shelves looking for one stunning tulip, and I’d plant it in several groups as large as I could make them (considering how packed my small garden is


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Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier


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n Jacqueline va s ea der Kloet’s id have inspired gardeners r. the world ove

Get planting now for next summer with perennials). Don’t get me wrong, this worked after a fashion, and the longstemmed, late flowering apricot-coloured tulips I chose usually looked great growing up among the verdant foliage of just-emerging perennials and against drifts of dainty blue forget-me-not flowers. But van der Kloet proposed a more sophisticated approach that considers combining colours, shapes and bloom times — and a radically casual way of planting them to create a seemingly carefree, naturalized display. First planning her floral bouquet by bloom time, van der Kloet selects a variety of bulbs, including anemone, hyacinths, daffodils and tulips, in colours that harmonize or contrast for dramatic effect. Inspired by architecture and art, she also considers the varying shapes of the flowers: how the trumpets of daffodils complement the classic shape of a Darwin tulip, for example. She makes an assortment for each stage of the season — from early spring, right through to late summer — using a palette of bulbs that includes classic hardy spring bulbs as well as summer bulbs such as lilies and dahlias. The colour scheme often varies as the season progresses, changing from yellows and whites to hot pinks, reds and oranges. Okay, that’s not so radical — we all strive to select plants for season-long interest. But, here’s where van der Kloet’s methods beat a path to a new way of planting. After calculating how many of each bulb she needs for the square footage she’s designing (e.g. 40 tulips;

16 alliums and 100–125 crocus/sq. yard), she tosses them all into a wheelbarrow and mixes them up — whoo-hoo, what fun! All the early, mid- and late-season flowering bulbs in all the various colours and shapes, so artfully chosen, are freed from their various packages and tossed together to make a giant bulb cocktail. Then, she grabs handfuls of this bulb mix and throws them onto the ground, planting the various bulbs wherever they fall. So, in van der Kloet style, early-flowering crocuses might spill out next to summerblooming alliums and tiny species tulips nudge up against their lilypetalled big sisters. Then, each bulb — big or small — is planted one by one at the appropriate depth (about three times the bulb’s depth). Come spring, out of this random scattering, the early bloomers appear right on cue, flowering according to the original colour scheme; as they fade away, the next wave is ready to put on its show. To continue the display through summer and fall, in early spring van der Kloet tucks in lily bulbs and dahlias where they patiently await their turn to shine in the garden. So, this year I’m abandoning my usual method of grouping bags of tulips throughout the garden for the bulb cocktail method — it’s way more fun! Surrounded by flower bulbs, Lorraine Flanigan writes from her garden in the South Eglinton neighbourhood of Toronto.

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Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010


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f you see a lone bird sitting on a branch out your window one cold winter’s day, the scene may not be as idyllic as you think. That little birdie could be in need of the things we all need in the winter: shelter, water and food. Paul Oliver, owner of The Urban Nature Store, says there are many ways to care for those fine-feathered friends who may flock your way in the frigid winter months.


helter Put away the birdhouses for the winter, Oliver suggests. What birds need in the winter is shelter. “It’s pretty lonely and scary for the little guy to be out there on his own during the winter,” he says. You can buy a wicker nesting basket for a single bird to climb into during snow or ice storms, or you can convert and existing birdhouse into a roosting nest by putting some long grass inside. Oliver sometimes encourages people to plant evergreens if they want to keep winter birds as birds will hang out in the boughs for protection too.


ater People tend to put away their bird baths thinking birds don’t need water in the winter, he says, Winter food, but water is crucial for birds especially when the snow r and shelter te a w arrives. ds are It’s harder for birds to needs for bir n in find water at that time of different tha ll a year, but they need it to drink the summer. to digest their food, as well as to bathe in as the water generates oils in their feathers that insulates Certain birds prefer specific nuts. For them from the cold, he says. He advises buying a heated bird bath or example, woodpeckers love suet, while blue-jays have a thing for peanuts in installing a heater in an existing bird bath. shells.


ood Mid-October is the time to start putting out winter food in feeders for the birds that stay for the winter, Oliver says, as the birds will get used to it and keep coming back throughout the winter. And put out lots: about 20-30 percent of a bird’s food comes from feeders, and that number only goes up in the winter. “Once you get the snow on the ground it’s a lot harder for the little guys.” Opt for heartier, richer mixes that contain peanuts and sunflower seeds, or any seed or nut with a lot of oil content. “It helps them with those long winter nights.” Stay away from grains and corn.


eeders For those just starting out, Oliver recommends using a general feeder that will attract all kinds of birds. Then if you want to attract specific birds — or if you notice that all kinds are flocking to your feeder and the little birds are being muscled out — you can get specialty feeders for specific birds. Clinger feeders, long thin tube-like structures, are good for small birds like finches, chickadees and so on because their perches are too small for the big guys, he says. “They’re like kiddy tables.” Blue jays can be quite aggressive and often require a separate feeder, he says. One question Oliver says he gets a lot:

photo courtesy The Urban Nature Store

how to attract cardinals, which people tend to love as they are pretty, brightly coloured birds that normally travel in pairs. Because they are forward feeding birds that can’t easily turn their necks, they don’t have same dexterity as other birds and many perches on feeders just don’t work for them, he says. You can buy a special cardinal feeder or a feeder like the Squirrel Buster Plus, onto which you can affix a cardinal ring that cardinals can sit on and easily access the food in front of them. As for the type of feeder, wood is okay but doesn’t wear as well. Oliver suggests going with a recycled plastic one; there are many on the market that are durable and can be cleaned easily with soap and water or a special enzyme spray. And if you’re in an apartment, consider a window feeder. They’re great for children, older people, or people with cats, he says.

Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier


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Beyond the baby gate Kid-proofing areas that get forgotten


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hen baby-proofing your home, obvious considerations like drawer guards and gates, kitchens and stairways may spring

to mind. But are there elements, or rooms, parents tend to overlook? Many forget about the kid’s bedroom when tots are transitioning from crib to bed, says Tracey Ruiz of The Sleep Doula. Ruiz regularly child-proofs rooms as part of her job providing parents with sleep solutions for their wee ones. It’s a tricky transition time, she says, when unexpected accidents can happen. “They look for things to get into,” she says of tots learning to sleep on their own in a new bed. “They want your attention.” When baby-proofing a bedroom, Ruiz literally sits on the floor in the middle of the room to see what kids can get into. She’s been in hundreds of homes and has seen and heard it all. The phrase she says she most often hears from parents: “Our child doesn’t bother with that.” But kids are smarter than we think they are, she says. “Nobody ever gives these kids the benefit

they’re due.” Just when you think a child can’t get into anything, bam: he pulls the heat vents out of the floor. That’s a real-life example from a client who said junior wouldn’t get into anything. A common element parents overlook is anchoring dressers or large pieces of furniture in their child’s bedroom, Ruiz says. They think because an adult can’t move it, a child won’t be able to move it, she says. Parents often But once a child k starts climbing and istakenly thin m l opening drawers, their child wil the structure can g in become unstable, leave someth she says, citing one dangerous case in the US where alone. the dresser toppled over. “The child ended up dying.” The solution with furniture is easy, she says: “Screw it down.” Another tip Ruiz has, for when baby is still in crib, is not to wait too long before moving the crib down to the lowest rung. When your tot is a baby, the crib should be at

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Keep cribs at right heights the highest level so you can bend over with ease, she says. But once baby starts to roll over, you should adjust the crib level from the uppermost to the lower most level. It may be painful on your back but it could prevent baby falling. She remembers one client, with an 11 month old, whose crib was adjusted to the middle level only. “The baby actually ended up falling out of the crib.” Jodi Nathanson, mother of two young children aged two-and-a-half and five, remembers feeling stressed out about baby-proofing their home once their first child began to crawl. “I was always feeling anxious about it,” she says. As first-time parents, Nathanson and her husband opted to hire a baby-proofing consultant to come in and make recommendations as to what needed doing. The service included installation of the recommended elements, mostly gates for stairs and magnets that would keep drawers shut. “It was expensive but I was so stressed out,” she says. Home consultations, such as the one provided by Kiddie Proofers, cost $45, and all of the recommended elements plus installation can range anywhere from $1,200–2,500, says the company’s manager and child-proofing expert Samantha Schnurbach. She says that parents also tend to forget about fire safety when child-proofing their homes. People need the proper fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and ladders. But safety isn’t just having the items, Schnurbach suggests — it’s having them in an accessible place where parents can retrieve them in case of fire.

She says people may buy the correct fire extinguisher but leave it tucked away in a box or in the hallway — not a useful strategy when the house is on fire and you need to get to your children’s bedrooms. “How do you get to your child if you don’t have a fire extinguisher?”. For that reason Schnurbach says fire extinguisher upstairs should go in the parents’ bedroom. It’s a recommendation people always heed once they understand it. “No one says no,” she says. “You just don’t want to be that person.” Same thing goes for a fire ladder. A portable one Schnurbach sells can be stowed away Do you have r in a box under ishe the bed for easy a fire extingu you access, she says. handy to help ild’s “The one ch thing people can get into your do is be educatroom? ed,” she says.

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then ask your roofing contractor how to improve ventilation. Water penetration due to snow and ice build up may have afftected you during this cold winter. Call us to find out what you can do about it. Recipient of the Consumers Choice Award 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 for best roofing company in the Toronto area. Call E.W. Smith Roofing at 416-467-7663.


Designer offers five hints

by Jackie Morra lients often tell me that they have a very hard time getting started on a new renovation or decorating project. It’s not as difficult as it seems if you follow the process I used for my own bedroom renovation. How to find inspiration? The best way to find inspiration is by gathering photos of spaces you love from magazines, websites or visiting showrooms to see varying materials for texture, colour and styles. How do I start a decor project? Create a simple plan of your expectations then start to review materials, timelines and a budget. Be organized and focus on one area at a time until it is completed. The layout of a space involves the correct placement of furniture and accessories and should take into account scale, flow and focal points. A room should have one or two focal points such as windows, accent walls or artwork. How to decide on a colour scheme? Paint creates big impact; the right colours will pull everything together and complement any style. Start looking for colour cues by reviewing decor items you love and get direction from an area rug, artwork or fabric noting the three main colours used.  How do I decide on flooring? The floor area sets the tone and feel, and is the second largest space next to the walls. Research the right product for your lifestyle. The key to longevity is to take into consideration quality, the look you want and installation. The flooring used in my bedroom renovation, for instance, is Torlys Cork Plank, Vintage Block Chai. It was actu-

DESIGNER Jackie Morra, owner of Home Décor Solutions, offers helpful ways to get inspired for your renovation.

ally the inspiration for this space because I fell in love with the comfort, warmth and the many environmental benefits of the floor. Visit www. for more information. How do I get help? Get three quotes from contractors and suppliers confirmed in writing with specific timelines and costs by project, so there are no surprises and it allows you to get unique ideas. Trust your instincts and make sure you are working with someone that shares your vision. Jackie Morra, is a certified Interior Decorator and owner of Home Decor Solutions, Toronto. – News Canada

Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier



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magine this. You throw a party and, for a pleasant change, you don’t think twice about your beautiful new floor. Throughout the evening the compliments keep coming. “This hardwood floor looks amazing!” Now it’s time to let everyone in on your secret. It’s not hardwood. It’s a high quality laminate floor. Even up close, at floor level — when you feel the remarkable texture and inlaid graining with your fingertips — it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between top-of-the-line laminate and its hardwood counterpart. The best part? It’s one of the most durable floors you can buy. Interior designers were the first to notice and appreciate major style improvements in better lines of laminate floors. Advances in embossing and grain technology have made today’s laminates a realistic alternative to hardwood, ceramic, concrete or stone. Overnight it seems, older-styled flat laminates have been relegated to discount bins at big box outlets. Among specialty flooring dealers the upgrade in laminate is a welcome addition to the showroom. Across Canada, homeowners are taking a new interest in laminate flooring, and installing

them with new pride of ownership. Beautiful graining, embossing and beveling make all the difference. Styling and finish are virtually indistinguishable the hardwood-inspired original. Not all laminates are alike, so consumers are wise to shop around and go with a respected flooring brand. Torlys, a global flooring company based in Toronto, is one such company. They recently launched a new Quick Step collection featuring the beauty of woods in oak, maple and cherry to rosewood, hickory and walnut. More information is available online at “The new collections offer the most innovative and realistic wood looks we’ve ever offered in Quick Step laminates”, said John Kocemba, vice president marketing for Torlys. Even with all these enhancements, better quality laminate collections are still affordable. They’re as easy on your eyes as they are on your pocketbook. And the biggest win? All this beauty comes with durability and wear warranties that other flooring types simply can’t match. In other words, laminate floors are perfectly suited to the modern home. High heels? No problem. Dogs and kids racing around? Yawn. This is floor is all about peace of mind. You can find a retailer near you online at – News Canada




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Keeping them clean keeps them working

hey wash and dry. They heat and cool. They work tirelessly in our homes, year after year. They’re practically members of the family. And even though we expect our appliances to perform with minimal fuss, they deserve a little TLC. Here’s how to show them some: Refrigerator: Keeping the coils clean (often found at the bottom or back of the refrigerator) is a key piece of maintenance that will keep your refrigerator running efficiently. Every refrigerator is different so consult your owner’s manual for coil care. And don’t forget to shut the refrigerator power off first. Dishwasher: Regularly check the spinning arms to make sure all holes are open and inspect the drain area for debris. To help eliminate odourcausing residue, once a month, empty your dishwasher and place one affresh dishwasher cleaner tablet in the main dishwasher tray and another tablet in the bottom of the machine. Run the heaviest cycle, without dishes, using the hottest wash temperature. Dryer: Clean out the lint trap after each load

and wipe out the inside of the dryer. Make sure your dryer is properly vented outside with smooth metal (not plastic) piping. Periodically unhook and clean your vent pipe. If necessary, vacuum the dryer vent to help eliminate lint and debris. Oven: The best way to keep your oven cooking is to keep it clean. Regularly wash the drip pans found below the you burners and replace Simple things ase them every two to re three years. Clean can do to inc glass and ceramic the life and cooktops only with of performance . products made for s this purpose. your machine Washing Machine: Odour-causing residue, mold and mildew stains have the potential to accumulate in washing machines. To help reduce odour-causing residue, once a month, place an affresh washer cleaner tablet in your washer and run the machine on the normal cycle using hot water. – News Canada

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Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier


Marble for all M

Once the stone of the rich, it’s now in the budget

arble has been used extensively over the years to denote affluence and opulence in palaces, buildings and luxury hotels around the globe. Renowned to denote tasteful and regal beauty it’s hard to imagine then that this naturally beautiful and durable decorative material can evolve into something even better, but thanks to a technological breakthrough it certainly has. Welcome to marble tile 2.0, the next generation in marble tile that has been generating so much excitement across the country with tile setters, luxury hotels and homeowners alike. It’s called Accolade Premium RF, and it’s receiving praise from designers, architects and builders as the ultimate durable solution to marble tile. Using the same innovative concepts that have brought engineered hardwood floors to the forefront, these tiles feature a wide range of marble meticulously selected from exotic quarries bonded to high quality porcelain for significantly superior strength and precision engineered to meet the most demanding specifications with unparalleled beauty. “It’s so easy to install it’s quickly becoming the preferred choice of tile setters and luxury hotels across North America,” said Mark Hanna President of Leeza Inc., one of North America’s leading distributors of premium surfaces including the new Accolade Premium RF Collection. Trendsetting consumers have also followed suit incorporating these magnificent marbles into their new kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms to create a desired sense of luxury, grandeur and status to their well-decorated spaces. Most importantly, this innovative technology also allows these beautiful marbles to be bonded to honeycomb aluminum for large wall panel applications, a first in the industry. “It’s very exciting to finally be able to use marble on vertical surfaces with confidence, with the help of the aluminum backing,” said Toronto-based designer Andrew Pike of Andrew Pike Interiors. “Now large installations have less wastage, and install easily. Accolade opens a whole new range of possibilities for designers and architects.” The honeycomb backing and overall ease of installation of Accolade has led to the rebirth of marble in new home designs. According to designers regular first generation marble tile was receiving less attention in new decors than in the past due to its limitations as an inherently heavy, fragile option along with the perception that is was passé among discerning homeowners. Pike explained “some clients avoided marble in the past due

to the fear of breakage and waste during installation or having to replace pieces that become weak or crack over time.” This industry breakthrough has erased those fears and as a result has designers and architects inspired by its natural beauty, versatility and limitless design potential. More information on marble tile is available at – News Canada



Town Crier Home&Garden Fall 2010






Splashes of paint can enliven a room


ccording to colour experts, the latest hot trend in home décor is about bringing bold colourful punches to beautiful customized spaces through colour zoning. “Colour zoning is a fun, affordable, contemporary way to dress up a room to create instant interest, personality and conversation pieces,” said Stéphanie Pelland, marketing communication manager for the Sico brand and member of the international colour forecaster, Color Marketing Group. “Right now, it’s one of the hottest trends in home decorating.” Colour zoning is the latest painting technique where you incorporate colour punches in your décor through varyingsized accent zones, stripes, or shapes on a wall. Why is it so popular? “It’s a license to have fun with home décor where possibilities are exciting and limitless,” Pelland said. “It’s an easy and inexpensive way to highlight a feature or simply dress up an empty wall, using your own personal style and flair.” You can create horizontal movement by painting the base of a wall a different colour, for example. Or extend the line of a low table by painting a different colour zone from the top of the table up to the ceiling. With the right combination of colours, such as a mix of both light and dark punch colours, colour zoning can even take the place of artwork. It can also be a great way to help define an open space. For example, you could paint a zone of colour in the dining room area of a large space in a warm hue to create an instant

feeling of cosiness. Other attractive applications for colour zoning include highlighting handsome moulding, drawing the eye to an architectural detail or creating an instant focal point through harmonious colours or contrasting shades. Pelland offers these five tips to remember when using colour zoning:


Take into consideration the size of the space and placement of the furniture when planning your colour zoning design. You don’t want the design element to be too small or too big in proportion to the space.

Five things you can do to e ac make your sp stand out.


Be creative as you can when choosing your paint colours and finish; you’re only limit should be your imagination.

3 4

After measuring your shape on the wall, draw it very lightly with a pencil. Before painting, apply painter’s tape to the lines if they’re straight. If using curved lines, it’s best to use a stencil.


Paint carefully within the lines of your shape. For a clean edge, remove the painter’s tape or stencil immediately after painting while the wall is still a little wet. More information and tips on the latest colour trends is available at – News Canada

Fall 2010 Home&Garden Town Crier



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Town Crier Home and Garden Guide - Fall 2010  

From kitchen renovations and heavenly skylights, to forgotton baby-proofing areas and chic hostess gifts: it's all here in the Fall 2010 Ho...

Town Crier Home and Garden Guide - Fall 2010  

From kitchen renovations and heavenly skylights, to forgotton baby-proofing areas and chic hostess gifts: it's all here in the Fall 2010 Ho...