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Stylish & Rustic by Nature

An initiative of the Ministry of Energy, Barbados Tel: (246) 535-2500 Website:



M. Anthony Shaw DEPUTY BUSINESS MANAGER: Lyle Jones HEAD OF ADVERTISING - NATION GROUP Paulette Jones CIRCULATION MANAGER Adrian Bowen – Tel.: (246) 430-5500 email: Writers: Tameshia Gooding, David Hinkson, Anna-Lysa Nicholls, Cara Briggs, Camille Alleyne, Faheema Patel, Sherry Holder, Maria Collymore, Natalia Nunes, Tirshatha Jeffrey and Leanne Tasher Photography: Dan Christaldi & Dominique Bonnett COVER: Stylish & Rustic by Nature Design/layout: Brian O’Neale Advertising Executives: Yvette Berry– Tel.: 246 430-5521 Email: Donna Francis – Tel.: 246 467-2868 Email: Debbie Brathwaite – Tel.: (246) 430-5518 Email:

Editorial Note


elcome readers! This issue of Smart Homes magazine will inspire you to rethink the concept of a living space. Instead of mere functional rooms, you might think of the home as a canvas upon which you fearlessly express your creativity. Our cover story featuring homeowner Mark Daniel illustrates how magical letting go of designing ‘rules’ and conventions can be. The designer and his wife Ava have breathed life into their home, using a variety of colours, textures and recycled materials. I was left in a state of awe while touring their home. At every turn there was something to marvel at – from the contrast of vibrant oranges and yellows amidst wooden furniture and earthier hues, to the polished tiles in the kitchen that surrounded a tastefully designed strip of bare concrete. It’s amazing how advantageous it is to use organic materials. Not only is it better for the environment, but it challenges you to design more meaningfully. For the Daniels, nature is a go-to source for inspiration. As if it were a person, they allow their living space to ‘tell’ them how to design it. I walked around this home with a permanent smile, and believe its essence is captured in the cover story. In this issue, you can also enjoy some holiday décor tips, financial advice for home upgrades, and our Holiday Gift Guide. We share expert tips on how to reorganise and spruce up your home. And if you plan to entertain guests, there is a lot you can take away from this issue! In Entertaining on the Go, we look at how much easier it is to host guests with the help of technology. We also provide tips and tricks for using little details to create luxurious rooms! Lastly, we’re proud to introduce you to the Ashley Furniture Smart Homes Design Challenge winner Melissa Browne. Congratulations to her and the finalists, Yasmine Parris and Monique MacKay!

Asha Jones – Tel.: (246) 430-5519 Email: INDEX PAGE ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE Alison Licorish – Tel.: (246) 430-5552 Email: ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Wendey Delaney – Tel.: (246) 430-5517 email: Printers: Printweb Caribbean Ltd. (246) 434-6719 4


Magazine Management

Smart Homes is produced by The Nation Publishing Co. Limited; a subsidiary of The Nation Corporation, which is a member of the One Caribbean Media Limited (OCM) group of companies. For general info email: smarthomes@nationnewscom. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within this magazine is accurate, however, The Nation Publishing Co. Limited cannot be held responsible for any consequences that may arise from any errors or omissions. This publication cannot be copied in whole or in part without the explicit permission of the Publisher. ©2017 NATION PUBLISHING CO. LIMITED

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Festive Holiday Colour Schemes

The Added Value of Using Credit Cards

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Haute Décor: Inexpensive Upgrades for a High-End Look Style & Shade: Choosing the Right Window Dressing Entertaining on the Go Holiday Gift Guide

26 30 32 38

Rustic by Nature: A Look at Eco-Friendly Design 4 Ways to Design Like a Pro

AFSH Design Challenge: A Round Up The Seven R’s of Christmas The Beauty of Modern Vanities Safety First: 5 Home Security Tips

Should You Invest in a “Fixer Upper” Home? Decorating with House Plants Leaving a Lasting Impression with Guests The Architect Advantage



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46 44

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Festive Holiday Colour Schemes by Tameshia Gooding

It’s soon the most wonderful time of the year


Christmas time

s the holidays draw nigh, many of us become cheerful; we move around with an extra pep in our step while humming our favourite Christmas tunes, and are almost bouncing off the walls in anticipation. Now, most of us Christmas lovers have already decided what colour scheme we will be using for our curtains, soft furnishings and on our Christmas trees, or at least have it down to the top three. However, on the off chance that you don’t have any idea about what to use, here are some colour schemes that inspire holiday cheer!

Metallics Create a dazzling level of shine with a gold and silver scheme. Add an additional glitzy dimension to this by including some crystal ornaments; this produces a spectacular scheme that literally sparkles. Try incorporating other metallics as well, or switching out one of the main contenders for trendy colours like copper or rose gold, even metallic blacks and greys, once you can get your hands on them. 8




Red, Gold&Green

Let’s start with the classic red, gold and green; you can never go wrong with this festive combination. Tried and true, these colours are by far the epitome of Christmas itself. The red and green complement each other, while the gold adds warmth. That’s not to say that these hues can’t be paired or used on their own. You can give the combination a break and try using schemes where you take one of the main hues, and incorporate white or silver on the tree, and white or cream in your soft furnishings. Include the traditional poinsettia flowers into these settings, as either colour choice would add that final punch to your décor. You can also consider the colour families. Why not swap out the red for pink, and have a pink and green scheme, or pink and gold.

Green & Blue This colour scheme incorporates vibrant greens and blues to create a gorgeous Christmas setting. You can add accents of silver for an even more stunning, magical feel. To give your holiday décor a bold look, consider adding some zest to your blue scheme by again considering the colour families; you could use turquoise or teal and complement with orange. Play around with the combinations, even taking the green and pairing it with copper, burnt orange or brown, to play up those natural earthy tones.

Glamorous White An all-white scheme can be luxurious and reminiscent of a winter wonderland; it’s pristine and bright. Enhance the white with silver or crystal decor and watch the way light bounces off this gorgeous combination. Be sure to have a variety of ornaments in various sizes from small to oversized, to ensure they pop on the tree. To really step up the glam, go for an all-white Christmas tree. Guaranteed, this magnificent combination will be a show-stopper, and amaze anyone who sees it. With a white tree, the possibilities are limitless, as any colour placed on it instantly stands out. You don’t have to decorate your entire home in a different colour scheme every year, you can simply focus on tweaking certain areas or details. Simple touches, such as wrapping presents in the same hues of your scheme and alternating the colour between the paper and ribbon, can really make things cohesive. Accent the theme, not only with throw pillows or vases, but by coordinating your dining table décor with things like your place settings, napkins, napkins rings, and coloured glassware. Integrate a show-stopping centre piece filled with colourthemed trinkets, like decorative balls, or candles, even cut branches and flowers, to further enhance your décor. Tackle a few DIY projects, like sprucing up your existing garlands, and consider making a ball wreath, two easy ways to also add holiday touches to any space. Ultimately, your décor can be any combination of your choice. You can use all the colours of the rainbow to celebrate the season, and find ways to tastefully use each colour throughout your home. Just be sure to thoroughly enjoy the results of your hard work, and have a Merry Christmas, filled with love, family, friends, good food and style! 10


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The Added Value of Credit & Loyalty Cards by David Hinkson


redit cards, loyalty cards, and combinations of the two products, have been readily available to Barbadian consumers through most of the local commercial banks for several years now. For some, they prove to be a useful tool when travelling, especially those affiliated with international companies like Visa and Mastercard, but they can also come in handy when you are short of cash and want to make a relatively expensive purchase. When paired with loyalty programmes, for example those offered by retail stores or airlines, they carry additional benefits like store discounts or frequent flyer miles depending on how much you spend. So, would it be a good idea to use these cards to finance a home improvement project? The website says, “The benefit of using a credit card is that unlike a traditional bank loan, there are no closing costs, home appraisal or loan fees, no credit check, and you are not using the house as collateral”. In other words, it is relatively easy to start the process, but like everything else, you should still err on the side of caution. First of all, do you fully understand the terms and conditions associated with the use of the card; for example, the interest rates and the spending limit? Credit card debt can be a major long-term expense if you do not pay attention to some of these issues from



the outset. Therefore, it is best for smaller projects or an ongoing remodelling job where you can make substantial payments regularly, and ensure you pay the loan back within a short space of time, say six months to a year. It would also be in your best interest not to use the card for anything else while it is “tied up” in this project, since naturally that will increase your indebtedness. If the spending limit is $10 000, do not embark on a venture estimated at $9 500; indeed, if it costs that much, you could use a combination of methods to finance it. For instance, you can use the card to cover about $3 000 in expenses and use cash for the rest. With the loyalty cards, check carefully to see how much you have to spend to gain points. For example, you may gain a single point for every $10 you spend, while with another, you might gain points for every $5 you spend. Beyond that, you must obtain a certain number of points, say 100, before you get a dollar value on them that you can use towards purchasing items. This can come in handy for purchasing some of the building materials if a hardware store is part of the loyalty scheme. However, remember that once you redeem that set of points it’s “back to square one” as you have to rebuild your balance before you can use the card again.

Haute Décor: Inexpensive Upgrades for a High-End Look by Anna-Lysa Nicholls




et’s face it- we all have rooms in our homes that have been neglected over the past years due to insufficient funds. Our homes are our sanctuaries, filled with spaces where we can unwind and rejuvenate after a long day. These spaces should be a reflection of our style, personality and flair and in essence a reflection of who we are. However, tough economic times just would not “let us be great”. Don’t dwell on this because YOU ARE IN LUCK!

Follow these 11 easy steps and achieve a high-end look without shelling out the big bucks.

1. Declutter Less is always more! A minimalist approach is key to making your space appear more high-end. Too many furniture pieces in a space can cause the space to feel smaller than its actuality. One of the best ways to approach the decluttering process is by determining the purpose of each piece. Part with pieces if the purpose can’t be determined.

2. Create a Statement with Paint Level up with a fresh paint job! This is one of the most inexpensive ways to update a room. Notice in the master bedroom above we proposed a blue accent wall, which added a little drama and doubled as a focal point of the room.



3. Add a Rug

Size is everything! The size of a rug can make or break a space, if it is too small, it can cause the room to appear smaller and unfashionable. Rugs are used to anchor the furniture in a space while creating a cozier and inviting space. Always choose a rug that’s large enough to tuck under the bed and at least one other piece of rug space on both sides of the bed. In the master bedroom above, we added a rug which was proportionate to the space and it pulled the look together.

4. Window Treatments

Choose the correct drapery! Drapery should always be hung as close to the ceiling as possible, this adds height and creates the illusion of much taller ceilings. Switch out dark window treatments for lighter colours to brighten the space or patterned ones for a wow factor.

5. Bench Seating

Add your throne! If the room can accommodate a bench…. GO FOR IT! A bench at the foot of a bed is the easiest way to make a room appear more fashionable. The bench placed in the master bedroom above has the ability to offer storage, extra seating and brightens up the space. Always make sure the bench you choose is proportionate to the size of your bed.

6. Throw Pillows

Throw pillows are inexpensive and add a touch of elegance! Two sets of appropriately sized bed pillows and a lumbar pillow were added to the above master bedroom. Different textures of each set of pillows were combined in order to assist with livening up the space. Throw pillows are always easy to make, so if you have any old curtains, table cloths or fabrics at home, try making those into throw pillows to complement your space.



7. Artwork

Include a pop of Art! Creating your own artwork is a good way to save money. Our local art supply shops sell inexpensive canvases of all sizes which you can use to create a few DIY projects using Pinterest as a guide. If you aren’t art savvy, try buying a beautiful scarf or fabric and framing it, it will add the same texture and pop of colour an art piece would.

8. Repurpose Items

Reuse/ Recycle! An expensive look does not have to be achieved by starting with all new items. Older furniture pieces can be updated by switching out hardware or adding a coat of paint to complement the décor style of the room. In the master bedroom above we kept the nightstands and the bed.

9. Bedding

Keep it simple! New bedding can transform a bedroom, if you do not have one try considering a duvet or comforter. Try avoiding deep hues and opt for more white comforters. The key to creating an expensive look is to keep it simple, which will brighten the room.

10. Flowers and Greenery

Bring colour to your world with flowers! Incorporating flowers into your spaces will add a pop of colour. Create nice floral arrangements by mixing real flowers with faux ones in a nice vase. If you prefer greenery you can simply cut some stems from a shrub around your home and place in a vase.

11. Lighting

Change your mood with lighting! Upgrade fixtures to a modern chandelier or ceiling fan. Lighting can make a huge impact on a space, taking it from being drab to fab in a matter of seconds!

Style & Shade: Choosing the Right Window Dressing by Leanne Tasher




f you want to take a room from ordinary to amazing, changing your window dressing is a great place to start. Decorative pieces, such as drapes or curtains, add colour and style, which can complement the entire décor of the room. You can use these ever-fashionable items to create atmosphere or achieve a modern, rustic, or traditional Bajan feel. As is customary, use window dressing to jazz up your décor for the holidays. For optimal results, always reach for up-to-date styles, and take factors such as the age, gender and personality of the occupant into consideration.

Here are window dressing tips from experts at Abeds: Don’t clutter Know your window size and choose the window dressing accordingly. Choose a colour/pattern that you absolutely love, and is compatible with the space. We recommend mixing ready-made curtain panels from our Home World collection at Abeds with upholstery fabric to create a truly unique window solution.

Choose a colour scheme The Pantone colour of the year is ultra violet, a medium purple that is definitely trending. Barbadians love colour and design, particularly during the Yuletide season. This season we’ve got a range of stunning sheers, satin and jacquard-like fabrics in almost every colour, which are some of the choices customers opt for. 

Choose ready-made and/or custom-made Custom-made window dressing is made to fit exact requirements and meant to last beyond any given season. On the other hand, ready-made ones allow you to change the look regularly and provide variety; also, you won’t have to settle for an item you did not really want, either because of the length, style or fitting, which may require alterations and adjustments to suit your needs.

Consider the setting/layout. When choosing window dressing for the living room and kitchen you first need to take into consideration if it is flush (if the living and kitchen space exist together). If flushed, you want the window dressing to flow and complement each room without being uniform, as the living room and kitchen are still two separate rooms.



The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the home. You really want this space to hug and embrace you at the end of a long day. So when choosing the window dressing for this area you should use a relaxing colour or pattern, or even something fun; it all depends on how you want the room to feel. You should also decide whether you want the room dark or not, since this will determine the type of window dressing you use. Age and gender will play an important role in this decision. Most people use the bathroom, surprisingly, as a quiet, relaxing space. When choosing the window dressing, you will need to factor in water and mildew.



Entertaining on the Go

by Cara Briggs

One of the biggest aims when hosting guests, whether it be for an event or a short stay, is to ensure that they feel comfortable and entertained. Thankfully, technological devices and services can help you amuse visitors, even when you’re on the go. For example, there are several ways to make use of fibre optic technology to make hosting a breeze. Here are some tips to check out before your next shindig.

Use a Fibre Broadband Plan to:

Set a comfortable temperature. Make Foolproof Cocktails. Set the perfect mood. Monitor guests’ arrival. Encourage camaraderie and friendly competition.





Monitor guests’ arrival. Install video-equipped Wi-Fi doorbell with a motion sensor, which can give you heads up when your guests are approaching, and also buy you a couple minutes to tie up loose ends before you go to greet them.

Set the perfect mood. There are several apps available which are able to pair seamlessly with your mobile device using your at-home Wi-Fi network. Armed with this technology, you can easily control the volume of electronic devices, the brightness of the present lighting in the room, or even change the colour of the lighting if your bulb allows. There are also several wireless stereo options which are able to sync with your mobile devices. This allows you to make selections from your music library, favourite Internet radio station, or streaming service. Go mellow for the meal and programme upbeat tunes to kick in once dinner is over. The possibilities are endless.

Set a comfortable temperature. Remote-controlled air conditioning units are becoming outdated, with in-home climate control able to be operated and adjusted by a mere swipe on your phone, tablet, Amazon Alexa or Google Voice.

Make Foolproof Cocktails. Amaze your guests by crafting correctly proportioned cocktails and drink mixes. An easily downloadable app provides an extensive list of cocktail recipes and measurements, and you can even take it a step further by incorporating a smart scale, which weighs each ingredient added precisely to ensure perfection every time.

Encourage camaraderie and friendly competition. Do you want to have a games night without having to hold plastic parts or pieces of paper to keep track of the score? Consider using a touchscreen device loaded with your favourite board games; this way, you can have a fun games night without having to clean up afterwards. If all the automated, Wi-Fi-connected, gadget-aided entertaining isn’t quite your thing, a Digicel Fibre TV plan may be a better fit for your entertaining style. Gone are the days of stressing over what to watch and how to find child-friendly programming when hosting guests. You no longer have to spend hours flicking through the channels just to find something you want to watch. The starter package, Digicel Play Now, provides 155 channels, Digicel Play More features 172 channels and Digicel Play Large provides 196 channels, including several local and international 24


news channels, entertainment, music, movies, kid-friendly entertainment and of course sports channels. Everything you’ll need to host an epic season premiere, big game-day lime or just a chill lime with additional channels available for any avid specialty sports or entertainment fans. Entertainment at your fingertips For the ultimate entertainment experience, bundling a Digicel Fibre TV plan and a Fibre Optic plan will give you endless availability to view live TV, as well as view videos and stream contents in 4K Ultra-HD resolution, while your family members play games, have video chats, and surf the Internet, with no more worries about slow downloads, buffering videos or interrupted connections.




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Gift Guide by Leanne Tasher

ant to make someone feel special and appreciated? Present them with a thoughtful gift. Gift giving is a treasured traditional act, and a sure way to charm those who are dear to us. But amidst the rush of holiday shopping, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the bountiful choices or even clueless about what to buy. That’s where our holiday gift guide comes in! Here are a few gift ideas to help you treat those who have made it on Santa’s ‘nice’ list.

Ashley Furniture Ibby Poly Table Lamp

Platinum Imports Eglo Montrose Acacia Wood & Brushed Nickel Mini Pendant Ashley Furniture Maxandria Pillow (Gold)

La Belle Vie Harman Eat, Drink & Be Merry Ceramic Coaster Set La Belle Vie Harman Cheers Printed Ceramic Bottle Stopper 26


Fiberpol Kitchen Counter Countertops have the power to make a kitchen feel warm and inviting. Choose from the wide range of quality options at Fiberpol Inc.

Ashley Furniture La Creu Gloss Wall Lamp

Infra Rentals Bosch ¼ sheet sander Infra Rentals Bosch 18V Heavy Duty Cordless Drill/Driver

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Rustic by Nature: A Look at Eco-Friendly Design by Camille Alleyne




he world was introduced to industrialisation in the late 18th century, and understandably, we drifted into a mindset of plastics, preservatives, and pollutants. As the centuries rolled on, people became hungry for the purer way of life and now words such as: eco-friendly, organic, natural, green, and renewable are

commonly used. Along a busy main road in the parish of St Michael, Mark and Ava Daniel are creating for themselves a beautiful sanctuary. It was one year ago when they purchased a soft stone structure that sits on 11 000 square feet. That’s ample room to have loads of fun designing home and garden! Indeed, fun it is for the Daniels, but not without a lot of ground work. Smart Homes was told that the plumbing, electrical wiring, flooring and almost all the roofing had to be replaced.   The Daniels’ intention is to stay close to the original design and use an artistic rustic theme to decorate their comfortable abode. Though the house is stunning as is, Mark revealed that it is a work in progress. He admitted that they have no blueprint for the design and not even they can tell what the house will look like when finished. When asked about the projected time of completion, it was placed in the region of four to five years. He explained, “We are going for an organic design. By that we mean: as we bring design elements into the home, we allow them to dictate where we proceed from there. That way, the house practically designs itself. It’s an evolution and this takes time.” Who are Ava and Mark Daniel? They are Avark - a Barbados-based company that captures the colour and flavour of the Caribbean and translates that into distinctive art, fashions and home furnishings. It is no wonder that this couple incorporates nature and colour into all aspects of their home. The colours of their walls are many and varied - at least seven colours! Surprisingly, it all comes together to create a warm, peaceful atmosphere. According to Mark, knowledge of colour is critical when using such a wide palette because it can be disastrous. “If in doubt, stick to shades of white,” he insisted, “but if you really want to use colour and need some advice, go to nature. Simply look at a leaf or flower and It INSPIRATION & INNOVATION


is not surprising that recycle and reuse practices are reflected throughout the house. The dining table’s centre piece sits on a cobalt blue base which is actually a washing board. The beautiful walnut-stained side table in the living area was originally a wooden electrical wire spool. When rugs look old, they are not discarded. Instead, paint is applied with a dry brush; and then they are reused over and over again, resulting in intricate designs and textures. The Daniels inherited a set of sturdy and secure metal windows which they do not intend to replace. Instead, they plan to scrape the paint clean, or repaint them occasionally, adding layers which will eventually crack and create an interesting effect.   This intriguing couple tries wherever possible to bring the outside indoors. Fabrics for cushion covers are almost always natural. The overhead lampshades, which they made by hand, comprise of deal board and burlap. Jars are clay or porcelain; much of the furniture is wicker; and bamboo and naturally dyed grasses are found here and there.   I was curious about the unfinished ceiling of exposed galvanise and the kind of heat that could be generated. Ava explained that this was not an issue because of the cooling effect of the limestone walls which allow the house to breathe. In addition, windows and doorways are large, allowing enough wind in to cool the dwelling. Of course, garden plans would be integral to the lives of this nature-loving couple. The yard is entirely concrete but this is not a deterrent. Numerous circles are cut into the concrete and within it, trees are planted. These trees will surround the house, providing a scenic view from the inside, nesting for birds, privacy from the busy roadside and of course, shade. Plants and trees emit oxygen and provide fruit for consumption; so the Daniels are excited about their garden, which should mature in about five years.   Mark closed by saying that homeowners should not be afraid to stamp their own identity into the decorating process of their home. “It is not necessary to copy HGTV,” he added.  “All that is needed is a little research and a bit of courage. Ask 30


questions. Experiment.  Designs may appear odd at times, but if you stick with it, beauty will emerge.” The Daniels’ home is a masterpiece - masterfully watched over by the couple who allow the house to coax them into utilising eco-friendly articles that reflect their artistic spirit and individual personalities. I truly believe that this house will continuously evolve, constantly showcasing the changing images of the different seasons of its wonderful existence.  ORGANIC DESIGNING TIPS 1.  Use mistakes or accidents to create a design. A section of the Daniels’ garden wall was destroyed during tropical storm, Kirk. Instead of repairing it, they transformed it by simply inserting an old wheelbarrow into the breach. In no time, this will be the central focus of a container garden brimming with flowers. 2.  Use foresight. Picture what could be. Ava and Mark’s home was actually a day care facility in need of much work before they purchased it. 3.  Have fun. Make it an adventure to hunt for items like driftwood, shells, tree stumps, bamboo, rocks, and dried flowers. Learn safe ways to preserve these items. Enjoy the process. 4.  Take your time. Window shop before making purchases. Find natural alternatives to man-made materials. Try creating some decor elements by hand. 5.  Recycle and reuse. Think twice before throwing an item away. Ask questions like:  Is it eco-friendly?  Can it be repaired or transformed?  If the answer is “no”, please dispose of items responsibly.

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ways to Design Like a Pro by Faheema Patel

Naturally, we are driven by our senses, with sight being one of our strongest. Moods are affected by visual stimuli without us even realising it, which is why it is important that our living spaces be visually appealing. A relaxing and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere can boost our overall well-being and uplift our mood. This can be achieved by the elements we place within our space, such as colours, textures, lighting, furnishing and accessories. Decorating your personal space may seem like a daunting challenge to undertake especially if you are new to it, but fear not we have got you covered!

Define your aesthetic and style

Defining your style helps you understand what you need to change, what to look and shop for, and how to put it all together. Do you like clean, straight lines or rounded edges? Do you prefer dark, bold or soft toned colours? Do you like modern, glam, vintage or rustic styles? Research interior design styles online, observe well designed spaces and ask yourself which styles and elements draw you in the most. The ones you feel drawn to are reflective of your style. You can like a number of elements from different styles and that’s fine. Make a note of items, colours and accessories within the spaces you like, create a Pinterest mood board of your inspiration online as a reference.

What can you improve?

Can the layout be changed up? If it is possible, clear your space and look at it with fresh eyes. Do you need to declutter and re-home items that do not fit your style? Just because you have it, it does not mean it works. Use it in another space, revamp it or put it up for sale. Consider your lighting, colours and wall colours. Should you add shelving and areas for styling accessories? Are there empty spaces you could add artwork to? Do you have a rug that could bring warmth to your space? Perhaps add an accent wall if there is none. Accent walls can be painted, textured, wallpapered or even a collage of personal items. Accent walls add personality to your space.

Consider your budget

After you have taken a look at what you can improve and made a list, it’s time to decide what to splurge and save on. Splurging can be done on statement pieces that will be the main focal point of the space. Or, it could be on a handful of well-designed quality pieces. You can save with DIY projects, or by simply changing up the layout and colours of the space and adding a few decorative pieces.

Bringing it all together

Play with colours; it could be similar tones or three to four colours repeated at least three times within the space. Do not forget your patterns and textures, from metals to wood, and glass and fabrics. Group things together so that they look like they belong, vary scale and proportion. Accessories with varying heights create visual interest and stand out from each other. Remember not to fill your space with too many things, as it would become overcrowded. Above all, ensure that you create balance and harmony!



1st place | Before and after pictures

2018 AFSH Design Challenge A Thrilling Journey by Sherie Holder



A member of

Working to build a stronger Nation INSPIRATION & INNOVATION


2nd place


3rd place

nterior design enthusiasts had plenty of reasons to be thrilled about the third annual Ashley Furniture Smart Homes Design Challenge in association with Harris Paints. A field of 23 eager contestants sent in video entries in hopes of participating in the three-week challenge. In the end, Melissa Browne came out on top, with Yasmine Parris placing second, and Monique MacKay, third. But contestants first had to prove themselves. “During the first stage, we met with the 23 designers at the Ashley Furniture store and gave them a mood board challenge with a client profile that they had to design a room for,” said competition director Derrick Frederick. “They had to randomly choose a Harris colour, and room and a theme such as rustic, coastal, transitional, and they had two days to send in their submissions.” After the mood boards were judged, the top 15 designers were invited again to the Ashley Store and present their mood board to the judges. Each designer had five minutes to give their presentation and by the end of the day, seven designers were selected to move forward to the Ashley Mini Challenge on Sunday September 30th. At this stage with the Ashley Mini Challenge, the seven designers had to choose a Harris paint colour and a theme and then design a space in the Ashley store in ten minutes, after being given ten



minutes to look around. With themes such as rustic, traditional, coastal and more, designers were urged to let their creativity come to the fore using products and accessories from within the store. After the initial design, judges gave each designer feedback on their space and then they had five minutes to make any adjustments. Then the top three designers – Melissa Browne, Yasmin Tempro Parris, and Monique Mackay – were chosen by the judges for the final phase of the Challenge, working with three homeowners. The three ladies didn’t have long to bask in the glow of moving forward. That same day they had to meet with the three homeowners who were selected from 74 entries. The designers got to discuss the homeowners’ needs for the spaces to be redesigned and then the designers had until Tuesday to present the homeowners with a mood board. And then the ladies were in the full throes of the design process. The makeover phase of the Challenge ran from Monday September 24th to Friday September 28th. However, with the passage of Tropical Storm Kirk, the end date was pushed back to Saturday, when the design had to be completed and the homeowners finally got to see the finished product. The finale presentation was held on October 7.



Meet the AFSH Design Challenge Winner: Melissa Browne by Sherie Holder


f there is one word that Melissa Browne would use to describe her win at the Ashley Furniture Smart Homes Design Challenge, in association with Harris Paints, it would be “validation”. Oh sure, she was thrilled, excited, euphoric even. After all, Browne was named the Ashley Ambassador for 2018, and won $4 600 in prize money and a $500 gift voucher from Ashley Furniture. But for her, winning this competition was about something more. Winning was confirmation that she was charting the right path, a new path with a new career in interior design. Browne studied psychology and, like most people who leave school, she set out to make her life in the career she had studied for. But then she noticed a change within herself, one that became so overwhelming that she could no longer ignore it. Switching gears wasn’t easy, especially when she told people what she wanted to do. Instead of voices of support, her dreams were shot down, with some people even questioning her sanity. But despite the naysayers who shot down her dreams, she persevered until she found the Ashley Home Furniture Smart Homes Design Challenge, and instinctively she knew that she could shine in this arena. “Going on my own and pursuing a dream that is deemed difficult in Barbados has been challenging,” Browne revealed. “I like psychology or I’m intrigued by psychology… I’m intrigued by how people think and their different personalities. But to sit down daily and try to figure out problems and what people deem as their issues also drains me. Even though I went through this challenge the last five days, and I hardly slept, I looked beat, but I enjoyed it. I love to be mentally stimulated and to be creative, and interior design allows for all of that. It allows me to be creative and to also help people at the same time, so it’s a good mix.” For Browne, that mix of creativity and service to the client really came out when she met the homeowner whose house she had to



redesign. “When… I met my client, I knew I had a challenge. She had an old house and she wanted it updated, but the challenge was how to do so with the budget that we had. So I tried hard to stretch my budget as much as I possibly could,” she said. “So I knew what I had to get as opposed to what I wanted to get. And that is really the formula for it. So for each room I utilised what I could. “The homeowner really allowed me to be me. Once I explained to her what I was doing and showed her the mood board, she was very liberal in letting me do what I wanted, so thank God for that,” Browne said. Despite the design hiccups she faced having to flip a door to the bathroom, or having to redo a paint job because of damage done by Tropical Storm Kirk, there was never a moment where Browne felt the redesign wasn’t coming together. Her use of bold blues on the accent wall, balanced with the white, gave a striking and modern look to a traditional cluttered space. “I knew what I wanted from the beginning and I knew it was going to be done,” she said laughing. “My team was incredible… If I got up at 6 o’clock, they were up at 5:30. I could not have done this without them and they really got into the competition as well.” But there was another secret to her success. “A lot of the ideas I had for this project came to me at 2 a.m. in the morning and did not leave my brain and would not allow me to sleep,” Browne said. While Browne does feel vindicated after the win, she knows that the hard work of building an interior design business now lies before her. “This whole experience taught me to never give up and to persevere,” she said. “It also taught me to ignore people and follow your passion. My mother is very supportive and my family has encouraged me. I’ve learned that when I see something that isn’t really working to switch gears and try something else.”



The Seven R’s of Christmas by Maria Collymore

The thing about Christmas is, it falls at the end of another year. This may be the reason we all go crazy over it. We want to know that we have achieved something within the year. Plus, we like the feel of newness, with each new year comes new beginnings. The key to tidying up by Christmas is planning properly. Here are seven helpful R’s to achieving this. Redistribute - I like to start a project with a plan and a budget; it keeps me focused. Otherwise, I can keep adding on and even winging it, and that can be costly. Firstly, decide what funds and time are to be redistributed to this project. Budget an amount per week/month, per room, so it is not an overwhelming bill. Also, allocate a comfortable time period per room, and stick to it. The reason being, if you go without a scheduled time slot, things can go off track. You may get lost, revisiting items that you now want to read or attend to. Do not give in to that urge! Often you start perusing it or go to put it away and get distracted either by that item or something else you see. Stay focused! This delay makes everything take longer. Next week becomes a turn off because of this week’s weakness. This can make you feel very overwhelmed and defeated. Beware of the pop ups in life; they are as dangerous as the distractions on Facebook. Collect all items that don’t belong in the room in a box or basket so as to remain present. Delays and distractions can affect momentum, making your drive take a dive and procrastination rears its ugly head! I know, I battle these evil giants daily.


Repurpose an old bureau into new bookshelf by taking off the drawer face and adding a new coat of paint; make a bed skirting for a smaller bed from the larger, older or uglier bedsheets. Turn an old curtain into a stylish runner and matching mats. Just cut mat lengths and laminate it or use beeswax. Curtains are often beautiful materials, but sun-faded in small portions. Make use of the good stuff so as not to waste a $40 panel. Why not make a set for your cousin as a gift? The possibilities are endless. Remove anything broken, unnecessary, excessive and, of course, dirty. So let’s clean each room, making accurate notes of additions needed. One of the best ways to work effectively is to clean a room a weekend so it does not overwhelm you.  Repair – Let’s look at all the little things we would like to repair or touch up. Make a list of all of them room by room. Add to it a list of all the products needed to execute the job. 

Be thorough in your cleaning. Three reasons come to mind. 1. Stored, lost or misplaced stock can resurface.  2. Now you can take that thing off your shopping list because you found the three or four you bought before. Yah! Yippee. Organising saves money and time; I can’t say that enough. It’s great for general house maintenance period. 3. You know some spots are not seeing you again till next year same time.

Rearrange – This is one of my favourite ways to feel new. There’s nothing like giving furniture a different perspective. Something as simple as a change of an angle, or creating a different spacing, can make a vast improvement. Plus, it’s time you add new decorative pieces. You will think that you’ve moved into a new place!

Research what supplies you have available at home. Check what you can DIY. Peruse magazines, Pinterest, YouTube, Home improvement shows; HD TV has loads. These will provide you with many economical ideas so you can also...

Reward yourself for being so good with your planning and execution. Buy only what’s on the shopping list and see how close to budget you stayed. Also, make a note where you got some great deals. If there are any savings, treat yourself for being good this year...ho!ho!ho!


The Beauty L of Modern Vanities by Desiree Yhap



ong, long ago, the bathroom vanity consisted of a table with a tile or marble top, on which was placed a jug of water and a bowl for washing face and hands – that’s it!!!! Today, the vanity has a much greater role apart from that, and it is not only expected to cope with the daily routines of messy hair and makeup products, but is also required to store them all and yet maintain its sparkle. Like any other space in the home, it is important to plan and design the bathroom with much consideration to the vanity, not only for its function, but also as the focal point in the room.

stain or scratch. It comes in many colours and patterns suitable for modern or traditional style vanities. Marble, travertine and granite also look lovely, but they are quite porous and will absorb stains and oils from hair products and body lotions etc. Lighting for your vanity is a must! Those makeup dressers require extra task lighting and even pretty chandeliers have made their way into the spotlight. Floating vanities can be “highlighted” by adding strip lighting underneath the cabinet to create a soft romantic glow. So, sorry “mirror mirror on the wall”, but it’s the vanity that’s “the fairest one of all”.

Images provided by Cornerstone

The vanity cabinet can vary in design depending on the number of people it serves. For instance, a master bathroom vanity with “His” and “Hers” sinks. If hairstyling and makeup is of major importance, then the vanity design could incorporate a dresser with extra drawers and storage organisers for toiletries and accessories like hair dryers and styling tools. Large families, especially those with children, might benefit by adding a linen closet to the vanity design to store extra towels and bath tub toys etc. The vanity top is hard working and needs to be durable. I find the best selection is quartz stone because it is non-porous and will not



Safety First:

5 Home Security Tips


by Cara Briggs


ne of the most important, and sometimes overlooked, factors in residential areas is home security. In these times, simply having a ‘burglar beware’ or ‘neighborhood watch in effect’ sign posted on your gate is not enough of a deterrent for would-be burglars or brazen robbers. So whether you are a renter or homeowner, here are a couple of items and upgrades to help you maintain your peace of mind.

Use Landscape for Home Security

When purchasing an entryway door, sometimes we tend to focus more on the aesthetics rather than its ability to protect the contents of the space. Most entryway doors are made of solid wood, fibreglass, stainless steel or aluminum. Wood looks great and may suit the style of your home, but metal doors will give extra protection and are difficult to break. Simple choices, such as using a solid door versus a door with glass inserts, can also assist with improving security. Choosing the best door and frame is only half of the job; the locks used and how they are attached to the door frame also play a big role in home security. It takes a quality door lock to deter burglaries. Many home invaders kick or batter doors to get in, and it is usually not the door itself that lets burglars in. Home security tests with a battering ram have shown that most entryway doors fail because the door jamb splits near the strike plate, which is the metallic, rectangular part of the lock assembly that is attached to the opposite side of the main lock body and holds the lock deadbolt in place.Use a lock with a one-inch-long deadbolt and a reinforced metal plate, and use longer mounting screws to anchor the door more securely in the door jamb. This increases door strength and makes it more able to resist forceful attempts to enter. Adding a peephole is another low-cost way of improving security, as you’ll be able to see who is on the other side of the door without having to open it.


Upgrade Your Door Security Tall and thick shrubs or trees around your windows and doors are the perfect places for burglars to hide themselves. As a simple home security tip, keep your lawn mowed and bushes trimmed, leaving the burglars nowhere to conceal themselves.To take it a step further, you can also plant some inhospitable plants, such as thorny rose bushes, sweet lime, cacti, and even the ever popular bougainvillea and croton plants, to be used as an extra layer of decorative protection around your home’s borders, windows and doors. 44



Invest in an Alarm System and Security Cameras

While homeowners and landlords may try to avoid this option because of the associated costs of either a monitored system or an at-home DIY system, security cameras remain one of the best options on the market today for both preventing crime and providing promising leads after a break in. There are several options available locally and online to suit a variety of budgets.

4 Get a Guard Dog Dogs are not only your best companions, but also great deterrents to burglars. Some dogs, however, are happy to greet almost anyone. Therefore, it is essential to properly train a dog to guard your home. While some breeds are considered a bit more intelligent and receptive to security training from an early age, most dogs will master and retain basic obedience training, and with time and patience, will be able to tell the difference between occupants of the house, welcome guests, and unwelcome intruders.


Play It Safe

Sometimes it can be simple mistakes or oversights which can have dire, costly consequences. Something as simple as asking a neighbour to collect your mail while away, not putting telltale signs of expensive purchases like TVs or other electronics on display in the garbage and not posting your every move on social media platforms, can go a long way in making your home a less appealing target for would-be intruders.



Should You Invest in a

“Fixer Upper” Home? by David Hinkson


e see them everywhere as we travel around the island; old houses that would have looked stately in their prime sporting “For Sale” signs. Some of them, usually at least 60 years old, are mere shells, others are a few decades younger and look as though they need just a little tidying up. But should you take the plunge and invest in it? Not until you do some “homework” first. Contact the real estate company or individual who is selling it and ensure everything is in order with the title deeds, taxes and so on, especially with older properties where the original owner may be deceased. One of the reasons people gravitate towards older properties is that they are somewhat “cheaper” than newer homes. Experts say “these homes can go for as little as 60% to 80% of the original asking price, especially if it has been sitting on the market for a while, or the customer can offer cash up front. Let the owners know the result of your inspection, that is, you love the property, but you realise it needs some work, and let them know the estimated cost of repairs. Then subtract that sum from their asking price.” There are a lot of repair estimators out there, so ask your friends and co-workers if they have done repairs lately and ask them how much it cost. That way, you can quickly ascertain whether the work will fall within your budget. Draw up a reference sheet for renovation costs, which will help you to determine a viable offer price. Problems with the foundation, structure, roofing, and siding can be expensive to fix, as well as major plumbing and electrical work. 46


Replacing decks and driveways can also be costly. Sometimes environmental problems such as a wet basement or mould can be mitigated, but treatments are not always successful. Now in the case of a shell, especially one that has been sitting for decades and is unsalvageable, you will have to demolish it. When it comes to rebuilding it, local engineer Roberto Miller noted that it is best to use the property’s original “footprint” - the amount of land it occupied in the first place - and in full compliance with Town and Country Planning Department regulations. “If you put back the house exactly as it was, no problem, but once you make any kind of structural changes in terms of the layout, you must seek Town Planning approval.” So you have done your inspection, and it seems like a viable project. Unless you have the cash in hand to buy the property and do the repairs, you will have to take out a home improvement loan at the very least. Check your preferred financial institution to find out what options are available. Once that is in place, consult your insurance company. Now, according to an official at one local firm, “Insurance companies get professionals to inspect the property to see whether it is an acceptable risk; if so, they will insure it as a ‘home under construction’, where the rates and level of coverage are different from a regular home insurance policy. The premium is calculated based on the estimated value of the property when all the work is finished. It covers basic perils and public liability (that is, if someone gets hurt or an adjacent property gets damaged during the construction process, and that party sues, the insurance company would have to compensate them). Once the work is completed, the house can then be insured comprehensively.”

Decorating with House Plants by Tirshatha Jeffrey


ncorporating plants into your interior design can add colour, life, and vibrancy to your home. In addition to purifying the air in a room, plants evoke an atmosphere of serenity, sophistication, or fun, depending on your vision. If you are unsure of where to put plants or how to use them in your space, here is a list of creative ways you can decorate your home with plants.



Shelf life

Floating shelves are the perfect setting for an indoor garden. Use plants to fill all the shelves or intersperse them among mementos, books, family photos, and design trinkets. For an added design element, position a cascading plant (such as purple heart or heartleaf philodendron) on the outermost corner of the top shelf. As it grows, its hanging leaves and branches will create a natural border for your shelf display

4 Corner plants

If there is an empty corner of the room that you need to fill, create a plant sanctuary. Use a variety of pots for an artsy vibe or add harmony by coordinating the holders by colour, shape, or material. For added visual interest, create layers by using plants of different heights and arranging plants on different sized benches, shelves, or small tables.


Pick your pot

From eclectic to sophisticated, plant holders are available in a variety of sizes, colours and shapes. If you prefer DIY, make or decorate your own holders for a unique, personal touch. Make sure that the containers you choose match the size and drainage needs of your plants. 48


Herb garden

The most practical types of house plants are herbs and seasonings, such as chives, marjoram, mint, parsley, thyme, basil, sage, and rosemary, that can be grown right on your kitchen counter or in the window sill. Place your favourite herbs in a vertical box or hydroponic planter to ensure that you have a fresh supply at your disposal.

Flower power


While most indoor plants usually consist of leaves, branches, and fronds, there are also a number of flowering options. Add splashes of colour to your space with species like the wax begonia, scented geranium, jasmine, peace lily, or orchid.


High strung


Make a statement

Using macramé plant hangers can save precious space in a small room or apartment. For areas with little floor or counter space, hanging a plant adds a pop of greenery without sacrificing square footage. Layer plant hangers in one spot or hang them individually throughout the room to achieve your own hanging garden.

If you have the space, incorporating a large indoor tree can add drama to a room. Bamboo, bird of paradise, umbrella tree, parlour palm, and triangle ficus are all sturdy species that do well in either indirect or direct sunlight and do not require much maintenance. Place your tree in a locally-made, hand-woven basket for an earthy feel.

Solo act




If having to take care of an entire plant is not to your liking, add some greenery throughout the room by using air plants (or branches), palms, and fronds cut from larger plants. Set the pieces into glass vases for natural style without the commitment of a full-sized plant. This is sure to add elegance to any room, especially one with a contemporary feel.

Terrariums are a great way to introduce children to the responsibility of caring for living things. They are easy to make and require very little maintenance, making them a perfect science project to work on with your child(ren) during a quiet weekend. With just a few items – an enclosed glass or plastic container, potting soil, pebbles or small rocks, moss, and a small indoor plant – you can make a science experiment that doubles as home décor.



Leaving a Lasting Impression with Guests N by Natalia Nunes

ow, there’s protocol and there’s PROTOCOL. My grandmother used to say, “No matter how sweet you are, after two weeks as a house guest, you begin to stink. Don’t overstay your welcome!” WELL THEN… Isn’t that food for thought! I LOVE having guests. I do. Being an immigrant, the thought of family or friends coming to hang with us makes me whistle while I work. The anticipation of reminiscing and catching-up on the void time and space creates is THRILLING! , Having married a man who has four siblings, my family dynamic changed; there was more family to grow into. They say, “You don’t just marry a man; you marry his whole family”. No



lie there. My hubby has a multitude of cousins on both sides and I had only ever met my own two blood cousins on my mother’s side. Almost 40 years later, we definitely are descendants of Father Abraham - relatives like sand and spread out globally too. Happily, quite a few family members enjoy visiting with us here in beautiful Barbados. So many times we’ve resorted to using our inflatable mattress when we’ve had multiple guests and I can tell you, it brings sleepovers of yesteryear and university days of dorm life right back to the present and that brings on loads of laughs from each and every grey-haired “youngster”! We often forget how to just relax and have fun in an uncomplicated way. Everything doesn’t

have to be perfect, but feeling comfortable and loved goes a long way to making a stay enjoyable. Fresh, fresh, fresh! If you haven’t had guests in a while, even though linens and towels are clean, they may have a “cupboard” smell, so a quick rinse in the washing machine with some lightly scented fabric softener is a great idea. Freshly cut flowers are a lovely way to welcome someone into your home, male or female. A small box of chocolates or any sort of candy, or welcoming gift, resting invitingly on a beautifully made bed, shows just how pleased you are to have their company. Being my grandmother’s grandchild and also Jamaican, hospitality is my middle name. Italians aren’t the only people whose first question after a greeting is, “Have you eaten?” I love to nurture, so making my guests feel right at home is very important to me and food is comforting. Find out what, if any, food allergies need to be taken into account. In this fast-paced world, so many of us leave out breakfast. See what your guests like and try to provide that. Time schedules may need adjusting and as your guests may be jet lagged from travelling, allow them to enjoy some sleep-in time and do brunch instead. People differ – some really only want relaxation and others want to do and see everything. Find the happy medium as we don’t want to be left burnt out when our guests leave us feeling exhilarated. Don’t feel obligated to be an entertainment co-ordinator. Plan interesting things spaced out by chill time and remind yourself that although the guests are in vacation mode, we still have mundane things to do to make the vacation a happy experience. Welcome them and enjoy the visit as much as they do as they may return the favour sooner than you think!



The Architect Advantage: Why You Should Hire an Expert

W by Tirshatha Jeffrey

hen considering the team you need to engage for your home building or renovation project, professionals such as contractors, masons, plumbers, electricians, painters, etc. would more than likely be on your list. Yet, when compiling your line-up of essential team members, you may not automatically include an architect. That is understandable. Architects are often regarded as highly skilled artisans who are commissioned by governments, academic institutions, and conglomerates to design stately or futuristic buildings. Even when architects enter the world of residential design, they are still assumed to create only the most avant-garde projects for those who want – and can afford – homes that exist outside the realm of “normalcy”. Yet, architecture is just as practical as it is fantastical. If you are building your own home or undergoing a renovation project, hiring an architect can go a long way towards ensuring that you get what you want. Raquel Thompson, a registered architect, spoke me with me about why engaging an architect can be invaluable to your building or renovation process. Architects’ services cover a wide range of tasks and responsibilities and they do much more than just create technical or construction drawings. Thompson notes that



architects can “be engaged to do project planning, which includes advising you on appointment of a contractor, dealing with operations on site, which includes conducting site visits to check on the progress of your home, and certifying works that are completed at different phases of the process. [We are] the client’s representative”. This means that during your project, architects liaise with contractors, structural engineers, landscape architects, MEP (mechanical, engineering, and plumbing) consultants, and a host of other skilled professionals to make sure that everything is done to the highest standards. Having an architect communicate with these specialists on your behalf can be helpful due to their institutional knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done and how, based on your specifications. “We are here to guide you through the design and construction process, administering the contract between you and your contractor, so that budgets are adhered to and quality is maintained,” says Thompson.

Using an architect can also help you make the most of your space and ensure that your home fits your needs and desires. Architects design so that the available space can be used in the most functional and efficient ways. “We are trained to consider space, building codes, environmental and site factors, and budget, and incorporate your lifestyle when designing,” says Thompson. “During a consultation, we may assess how you live on a day-to-day basis and design a home to suit both your site and your life. We consider information such as how often you entertain, how many people will live in your home, what types of activities will be done in the home, which rooms will be most useful to (and used by) you and your family, and so on.” Using their understanding of space and your family’s daily routine, architects can also suggest re-working some of your plans to include rooms or extensions you may not have thought possible. As with the inclusion of any service or product, hiring an architect will come at an added cost. However, that cost may not be as prohibitive as you think. Architects can be part of

your entire building process, engaged just for the initial design and planning drawings that have to be approved by Town and Country Planning, or work with you during specific phases of your project. Thompson suggests speaking with your financial institution for information about your pre-approval limit so that you can have a clear understanding of your overall budget. “[It is] important to know how much money you can or will spend [because architects] design to suit for your pocket. Often, our fees are relative to the cost of your home if we are engaged on a full service basis, but the method of calculation of remuneration can vary from project to project and architect to architect. I suggest scheduling a consultation with an architect (usually free) so that he or she can better advise you.” Adding an architect to your project team can help make your life easier during the building or renovation process. Architects can help you manage your project and get the most out of your space. Thompson sums it up perfectly: “Why would you make a half million-dollar investment without the best professionals on your team?” INSPIRATION & INNOVATION






FREEDelivery* Island wide *except on cement



Smart Homes October 2018  
Smart Homes October 2018