Hoss May/June

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DESIGNING THE GOOD LIFE Jet-setting lifestyle maven Janette Ewen fuels her passion for great design BY CRAIG CHARITY

22 FEATURE OUTDOOR KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL Grilling and chilling under the sun and stars BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO 18 THE ULTIMATE GUY PROJECT Gear up for your dream garage BY CINDY MCGLYNN


GET WIRED! Backyard audio systems are music to the ears BY ELIZABETH WINTERS 50 HOW DO YOU MEASURE UP? Decode your tape measure BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO HOSS COTTAGE GUIDE Make the most of summer at the cottage BY CINDY MCGLYNN PLAY IT SAFE Protect yourself from injury this summer BY LORIE STEINER BACKYARD SPORTS BONANZA! Build a dream outdoor court BY LORIE STEINER



HIDDEN LUXURY Your mud room and laundry room can be beautiful BY RAMSIN KHACHI 72


A SOLID FOUNDATION Proper drainage keeps water problems at bay BY GEORGE OLIPHANT 20 A ROOM WITH A VIEW Let your outside beauty show – from the inside! BY PAUL LAFRANCE 34 SIMPLE SERENITY Build your backyard paradise BY FRANK TURCO


79 DESIGN FOR OUTDOOR LIVING Six steps to create the ultimate outdoor living area BY JONATHAN SCOTT 56 98


KEEPING IT REAL A cool painted rug fix for your ugly deck BY ANITRA MECADON


INSURANCE CHECK LIST Make sure your new reno is “covered” BY STEPHEN FANUKA


SAVING MONEY LIKE A PRO What contractors don’t want you to know BY MATT BLASHAW 76 WHITE IS THE NEW STAINLESS! Stylish white appliances are all the rage BY ALISON VICTORIA


ECO- FRIENDLY AND BUDGET WISE Upgrades that go easy on the planet and your wallet BY DANIELLE BRYK 94 IS YOUR PROJECT ON BUDGET? Nail it every time with these tips BY BRYAN BAEUMLER


RENOVATING FROM THE INSIDE OUT What’s going on inside the walls of your reno? BY JAMES YOUNG 121

RENO WINDOWS ON THE WORLD Ramp up curb appeal and lower heating costs BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO 14 PAINTING UP A STORM Expert tips on tackling your own paint job BY ELIZABETH WINTERS 30 THE SOUND OF SILENCE Put an end to squeaky floors BY JAMES CAMPBELL









Contact us today for a free consultation: 905-898-7133 | info@liptons.ca | www.liptons.ca Talk to us on twitter: @liptonsavu

130 Davis Drive, Unit 9, Newmarket ON L3Y 2N1


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THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE Modern fences make a strong design statement BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO 16

ONE BACKYARD TO RULE THEM ALL Make a kid-friendly space that adults love too BY SCOTT DUFF 10


FOUR SEASONS OF SUN Patio enclosures for all-weather pleasure BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO


BURN BABY BURN! Heat up your backyard with a DIY fire pit BY LILY SLAIN 38


UP FRONT & FABULOUS Your home’s first impressions have big selling power BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO 40

DESIGNER DRIVEWAYS A beautiful driveway pays dividends BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME Roofing: DIY or call in the pros? Read on BY LILY SLAIN


MOW TOWN! Great lawn care and maintenance products BY LILY SLAIN 44 SOD VS SEED What’s best for your yard? BY ANTHONY NIRO MY UGLY PLANTER Do something about it once and for all! BY JENNIFER MARCHESE



DESIGN & DÉCOR DISCOVER YOUR DESIGN STYLE Take this fun quiz and find your true style! BY TYLER WISLER 42 TRANSFORMING YOUR CONDO BALCONY Create a balcony oasis on a shoestring budget BY RALPH FOX 48 SEEING IN COLOUR Welcome Home! Bright colours for an eye-catching front door BY SHARON GRECH 102 MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES FOR YOUR KITCHEN Country elements warm up contemporary style BY SARAH B. HOOD 106



MY FAVOURITE ROOM …with Critical Listings host Carson Arthur



DIY DECONSTRUCTED How to install a built-in refrigerator...French door bottom mount refrigerator by Jenn-Air 65 BUILDING FOR GOOD Steve Conboy’s lumber revolution BY LORIE STEINER TOOLBOX TAKEOVER …with Cool Tools host Chris Grundy MOST WANTED HOSS’s five fab product picks ALL ABOUT METALLICS DIY projects for glitter-loving trendsetters BY LOUISE JOHNSEN DOWNTIME WITH Powerbroker host Mike Aubrey






TECH-TASTIC Latest gear for tech heads and gadget geeks 112 TOOL TIME Everything new and notable on the shelves BACK STORY …with Inside the Box host Ty Pennington








PUBLISHER & FOUNDER Craig Charity EXECUTIVE EDITOR Cindy McGlynn SENIOR EDITOR Lorie Steiner HOMES & RENOVATION EDITORS Bryan Baeumler Stephen Fanuka EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Laura Greenspan ART DIRECTOR Carmine Napolitano DIGITAL PUBLISHING & ONLINE MANAGER: Trina Stewart MULTIMEDIA MANAGER Mike Perdue ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER Susan Bovaird MAGAZINE INTERN Christina Hackett CONTRIBUTORS Matt Blashaw Danielle Bryk James Campbell Scott Duff Jennifer Febbraro Ralph Fox Sharon Grech Sarah B. Hood Louise Johnsen Ramsin Khachi Paul LaFrance Jennifer Marchese Anitra Mecadon Matt J. Meunster Anthony Niro George Oliphant Jonathan Scott Lily Slain Frank Turco Alison Victoria Elizabeth Winters Tyler Wisler James Young

COVER PHOTO CREDITS: Photography by Magdalena M Design / Styling Assistant Louise Johnsen Cover Look: All Jewelry by Pandora Jewelry; Dress by Henkaa For all advertising, editorial or other inquiries, please contact Craig Charity by email at craig@csquaredmedia. com. HOSS magazine assumes no responsibility for unsolicited material. Opinions expressed herein are those of contributors, sources quoted and advertisers and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Contents of HOSS magazine are copyright 2014. All rights are reserved and may not be reproduced in whole or part by any means, without written permission of the publisher. HOSS magazine is published 6 times a year by C Squared Media.


Other seasons don’t stand a chance. With the warm sun, endless days and easy living, summer is always the belle of the ball. It’s also got something for everyone. There’s no better time for weekend warriors to do battle, engaging in every type of DIY project you can imagine. With that in mind, we’ve got tips on outdoor painting projects, turning your cluttered garage into a hobbyist’s dream, and the hottest backyard trend – how to build your own fire pit. Be sure to check out our Play It Safe guide for must-have protective gear, so you’ll have the right goggles, gloves and footwear before you start building up a storm. For our cover girl, lifestyle maven Janette Ewen, summer’s a time to travel, entertain and comb the world in search of “design inspiration.” When she’s not at home in Toronto, or in her pied-à-terre in LA, this designer it girl is jet-setting around the globe fueling her passion. What’s on tap for your home design this summer? Janette says it’s all about Mediterranean glamour and easy, sophisticated style. Style matters. Whether it’s at the cottage, your condo balcony or your own backyard oasis, we’ve got ideas to make the most of your outdoor space. Property Brother Jonathan Scott gives step-by-step instructions for creating a relaxing outdoor room. For condo-dwellers: a how-to plan sets up the splashiest balcony on the block. If you just can’t get enough of outdoor living, our writer Jennifer Febbraro suggests a patio enclosure or sun room for maximum three or four season luxury. Let’s not forget the vacation home. Explore our Cottage Guide to see this year’s hottest gear. From the deck, to the dock, to the dinner table, we’ve got you covered. The HOSS family is growing and we’re pleased to introduce new talent to our group. Veteran writer and editor Cindy McGlynn brings deep editorial experience to the team, as our new Executive Editor. Senior Editor Lorie Steiner has also come on board – offering a keen eye and a wealth of publishing experience. Summertime, and the livin’ is easy… we invite you to HOSS it up in style and enjoy!



ONE BACKYARD TO RULE THEM ALL Making a kid-friendly backyard that adults will love too! BY SCOTT DUFF Worried that making a kid-friendly backyard means fence-to-fence swing sets, skateboarding tubes and climbing walls? It’s true that homeowners are often perplexed when it comes to designing a backyard that is fun for kids, but also relaxing and inviting for adults. This is easier than you think – and it doesn’t involve hanging your clothes on the monkey bars! The first rule of designing one backyard to rule them all is this: leave open space! That means accessories – for kids and adults – should be portable and collapsible, where possible. Inflatable pools, portable soccer nets and smaller play sets make the space more versatile than large or built-in structures. The same goes for patio sets and entertaining areas.




What’s underfoot is key. I recommend using sod/grass in these areas, since it provides a soft surface for kids to fall on and is easily repaired. You could also add a sand area for kids to play and where adults could enjoy a “mini beach.” Garden beds should be kept on the outer edges of the yard – away from pets, kids and wayward toys – while still giving your backyard colour and beauty. The garden beds could even incorporate herbs and vegetables; an interactive learning experience for kids, and fresh food for the whole family! Planters add colour and life to smaller spaces and make great accents in larger spaces. When it comes to plants, stay away from thorny bushes and varieties that are potentially dangerous to pets. Instead, choose plants that will attract nature to your yard and provide different colours throughout the seasons. Your local garden


GRASS: Have open grassy spaces that are versatile, safe & easily maintained. FIRE FEATURE WITH SEATING: People come together over the fire’s warm glow.

COLOUR: Add some bling with colourful gardens and planters. PORTABLE FEATURES: Everything from pools to patio sets should be portable/collapsible to make the most of your space.

UNIVERSAL APPEAL: When designing the space, consider how long you will be there and the universal appeal of the space if you decide to sell.

centre or landscape professional will be happy to help you choose. Seating areas with fire features are a great way to bring the indoors outside. Whether it’s a firepit with some armour stone to sit on, or a curved sitting area on an interlock patio with a built-in fireplace, the warm glowing space always brings people together. The last thing to consider is the future and re-sale value. Not everyone will want an above-ground pool in the middle of the yard, or a huge play area with rubber mulch under it. It’s not unusual for today’s families to change locations 2 or 3 times within the first 10 years of a child’s life. Your potential buyer may not have children and may see a permanent play structure as a deterrent, not an incentive. Always consider your 5 or 10-year plan when designing your back yard. It’s easy and fun to make a few small changes to a backyard to make it more kid-friendly. However, if you are considering a complete backyard makeover, it’s worth consulting a designer or landscape professional that will help ensure the best use of the space and your overall happiness! Scott Duff is the owner of award-winning Aura Landscaping, based in Ontario, and is a Baeumler Approved Contractor and Professional Member of Landscape Ontario. (Visit AuraLandscaping.com)







Tricks for making the most of a tiny bathroom. BY MATT J MUENSTER

Bathrooms are tricky little spaces. All too often that statement comes with a very heavy

Licensed contractor and designer Matt Muenster’s professional experience with high-end interior design and construction have served him well in hosting hit renovation shows on DIY Network and HGTV, including Bath Crashers, BATHtastic!, Blog Cabin, HGTV'd and various other specials. (Visit MattMuenster.com)




emphasis on the word “little”. On my show, Bath Crashers, you’ll see me knock down walls and create huge bathroom retreats, but I know, for many of us, a reno of that scale is not possible. Luckily, along the way I’ve learned a few tricks that can help make the most of what you’ve got when you’re attacking a small bathroom renovation.

VANITY IS EVERYTHING Choosing the right vanity is key. Installing a floating or wall-mounted vanity is a visual trick that really helps to make a small space appear larger. Every cubic inch counts in a small space and these vanities also tend to be a bit shallower than ones that sit on the floor. To step it up a notch, think about adding some LED strip lighting below the sink for a killer nightlight detail.

LIGHT IT RIGHT Lighting cannot be overemphasized when it comes to making a small space feel more inviting. The ideal lighting position is at eye level, shining directly on your face. Certain mirror manufacturers do the work for you, by

putting their lighting directly within the mirror. Consider putting all of your lighting on dimmer switches to give you greater control and add visual interest.

A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING Storage is important in every bathroom, regardless of size, but in a small bathroom it’s critical. Small spaces require you to be clever and think outside the (tiny) box. You may want to look at the areas between the studs in your wall, to see if you can design recessed storage – it looks great and doesn’t take up valuable square footage. One place where this kind of storage potential is often overlooked is in the shower. Recessed shower niches are the ideal place to store personal grooming products that you’ll be reaching for anyway.

CUT THE CLUTTER The biggest enemy of a small bathroom is clutter. Be sure you’re only storing the things you absolutely need in your small bathroom. And then, get creative and see if you can tap into some of these overlooked storage spaces. You’ll be surprised at how a tiny – but tidy – room starts to feel bigger.





Nothing ensures your house’s good looks (and low heating bills) like brand new windows. BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO Old houses can often seem like money pits. But when a buyer finds an old house updated with fresh, new windows, it feels like hitting the jackpot. Not only do new windows up the curb value of your home, they’re also critical to keeping heating and cooling costs in check – something that matters more than ever these days. Anthony Moncada, owner of Toronto-based Moncada Windows, Doors & Siding, distributes and installs everything from single-hung to architectural windows. And he’s been an integral member of this family business that’s lasted 44 years and counting. Moncada knows a thing or two about the many plusses of replacing outdated windows, starting with saving money. “We like to see a drop in the client’s energy bills. It makes us happy as business owners to improve people’s bottom line. That’s what we’re about.”

When it comes to style trends, Moncada notes that black frames are the hottest trend this year. “It just gives the house a completely different look than the traditional white,” he says. While the black paint has been combined with UV protection and is resistant to fading, Moncada says he wouldn’t necessarily recommend black frames for a house that faces southwest in direct sunlight for most of everyday. “It’s hard to predict the exact number of years a dark vinyl will last,” he explains, “You’ve got to factor in the angle of the house in relation to the sun, trees and weather conditions.” Many homeowners look to international dealers for unique window designs. Elisa Molaro, export manager of Italy-based Molaro, says innovative quality frames are what really make her company stand out from the rest. “We have unique designs made from wood, wood with aluminum or bronze cladding, and even steel frames,” she says. “The craftsmanship is loved especially by architects, who often source our products.” Known as the “high fashion stylists” of the window world, the company started in the 1950s with the family’s patriarch Aldo Molaro – a carpenter artisan. Molaro is known for taking on ambitious projects and for collaborating closely with homeowners to provide customized drawings, final measurements on-site, and installation to ensure a perfect finished look. Though they have been distributing internationally for the past 20 years, beginning with Greece and extending to



all of Europe, they have recently found popularity in the Middle East with countries such as Qatar, Libya and Saudi Arabia. Molaro is quick to point out that “greening” a home is important for Italians, too. “On a global scale, manufacturers must make environmental issues a top priority,” says Molaro. “In our industry, that translates into producing high quality windows with great thermal performance ratings. Energy conservation is definitely a goal of our company.” With its newly released Green Line windows, Molaro designed a unique subframe that guarantees even greater window insulation. Never underestimate the dramatic effect new windows can have on your home’s look and its bottom line.


Don’t be seduced by style alone, functionality is key when choosing the right window.

DOUBLE HUNG: These are

the most popular windows currently sold in the U.S., and with good reason. They’re easy to clean, perfect for popping an air conditioner into, and can be installed with quadruple weather stripping – keeping energy costs low. However, if you don’t opt for the special quadruple weather stripping, these windows are not as airtight as casement windows or fixed windows. They also offer limited ventilation because only half of the window can remain open at one time.


have fewer parts than conventional windows, so they’re easy to install. They’re also energy efficient, durable and require little dexterity or “muscle” to open and close. But their exteriors may prove more difficult to clean – especially because they don’t fold inwards (but only slide from side to side). Horizontal sliders can also be prone to leaking if a huge storm has come, simply because the draining system can’t hold a lot of extra water.




THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE Good fences make good neighbours. They also make a strong design statement. BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO Fences say a lot about the people living behind them. Some are so foreboding that visitors might hesitate to ring the doorbell. Others are friendlier, with softer natural colours that can make people feel welcome. Homeowners often make the mistake of focusing so much on security or privacy that they forget the ways in which fences reflect their personality – and beautify their property. Joe Pozeg, president of New Trend Fencing, takes fencing to a whole new level by creating state-of-the-art structures that have a sculptural design. Bored with the offerings from mainstream companies, Pozeg invented Fencerts, an insertable fencing device that holds patterned panels in place. Framed with wood, steel or PVC fence posts, and cut from solid steel, Fenserts’ sand black powder coating is scratch resistant and provides both durability and security. “People are putting their money and energy into their homes more than ever before,” says Pozeg, who patented Fencerts in 2006. “What we give them is the opportunity to translate any design imaginable into a fence panel. The creativity is in the hands of the client.”



The cut-out design creates a silhouette effect that allows light to penetrate through. Made in Canada, the most popular panels include the diamond lattice formation, mixed falling leaves, and hummingbirds. People often mix and match the panels within a single area. “You can really transform a backyard patio area with decorative panels,” says Pozeg, “and guaranteed they always become a conversation piece.” Bamboo fencing is an enduring trend in residential fencing. “It’s one of the strongest fibres known to man,” explains Pozeg. “But beyond that, it’s also environmentally friendly because of its quick regeneration period.” Unlike the harsh chemicals used in pressure treated wood (the most common material used for fences due to its accessible price point), bamboo fences are all natural. Sourced from Vietnam, New Trend offers them in two colours – a natural “yellowish” look, and a darker bamboo that’s been physically smoked. Horizontal wood fences are also popular, according to Liam Morin, owner of Good Looking Homes and exclusive contractor for The


Deck Doctor. Morin says horizontal slats allow for a lot more natural light to come through, especially when compared to traditional vertical slats, “which, for the most part, obstruct light completely.” When it comes to materials, Morin says it’s all about cedar. “People who are price-conscious will still go for the $16-$20 per linear foot cost of pressure treated wood,” says Morin, “but cedar looks (and smells) that much better.” With cedar running up to $35 per linear foot, Morin admits: “It can definitely get pricey.” For more elaborate fencing structures, Morin integrates trellises into his work. “They’re perfect for a unique look, a walkway or to create a structure for ivy or other vegetation to grow across,” he says, adding that people should consider their space carefully to decide how and where to place these design elements. Whether you’re seeking privacy – or simply a more decorative surrounding – fencing, with all its flourishes, can give your property the security and the facelift it deserves.

CHOICES, CHOICES With the wide array of options for fencing material available these days, it can be a challenge to pick the right one. Here’s a quick reference guide to some of the most popular choices.

WOOD: Cedar has emerged as the ultimate contender for wooden fencing, because it’s less likely to warp compared to other cheaper options. Easy-to-stain and long-lasting, wood fences can also dramatically reduce noise pollution. New composite woods provide even greater durability and never need restaining.

WROUGHT IRON: Made from fabricated steel, this fencing gives residences a stately and sophisticated look. However, there is a risk of rusting. If rust does occur, it can be repainted easily with a rustinhibiting primer and paint.

BAMBOO: While environmentally friendly and aesthetically pleasing, bamboo fencing is susceptible to rot. Applying the right sealant is essential to waterproof the fence. Without a sealant, bamboo could easily split or crack after a heavy rain season.





Here’s to grilling & chilling under the sun and stars. BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO You don’t have to live in California to luxuriate in your own backyard, though a binge-viewing session of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” might have you thinking otherwise. The reality is, even a small backyard space can have an outdoor dream kitchen that’s durable, efficient and gorgeous. Steve Adolph, president of Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, says the business of outdoor kitchens is expanding exponentially. Adolph recently brought his high-end, outdoor kitchen collection to Canada’s Ontario Gas BBQ, one of the biggest dealers in the country. With the industry seeing a 20-40% jump in sales on an annual basis, Adolph says, “No matter what country you’re in, the trend is the same – people want to cook and enjoy their food outside.” Just as indoor kitchens become the heart of most parties, outdoor kitchens are a focal point for backyard entertaining. In a Kalamazoo kitchen, guests can not only grill and prepare their food, they can store it, chill it, freeze it and even wash the dishes with their outdoor weather-proof dishwasher. “We’re the only company that sells an outdoor dishwasher at the moment,” gushes Adolph, “and the positive response has been overwhelming.” Other trends include adding beer tappers and a waste and recycle cabinet. “It’s sometimes easy to forget how much waste we produce during meal preparation,” says Adolph. “So that special waste cabinet keeps the garbage out of view.” Not everyone wants a complete gut job to create an outdoor dining area. Josh Malcolm, owner of Classic Fireplace, supplies prefab modular cabinetry that resembles the ease and portability of Ikea furniture. Each galvanized metal or stainless steel module can run anywhere from $300$600, a mere fraction of the $25,000 price tag that a full foundation construction renovation carries as a starting price. The big advantage with modules is that you can stack them on a pre-existing deck or interlocking brick. But the one common problem Malcolm has discovered is that clients often neglect fire codes. “Each barbecue comes with specific instructions,” he explains, “and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered dangerous situations.” Residents will ask deck builders, for example, to throw in a countertop for their barbecue – not realizing that most wood frames cannot withstand the barbecue’s heat.



What about the lid itself? “People don’t realize that a barbecue lid has to have an 8” clearance around it,” says Malcolm. “But I often visit backyards where the lid is leaning into a wood lattice or fence. It’s very dangerous and often disastrous.” Kitchen designer Edit Kasza says the outdoor kitchen trend has seen her business jump 30% every year for the last 5 years. She attributes the boom in sales to customers’ general concern for health and well-being – and a preference for their own homemade, often gourmet, cooking. “This generation simply wants to know exactly what ingredients are going into their food,” enthuses Kasza. “In a restaurant, you don’t know what you are getting. Today’s clients are extremely health-conscious.” Kasza sources custom-made covers for appliances and countertops from suppliers such as Outdoor Luxury – she believes it’s a crucial investment. “You’re spending sometimes tens of thousands of dollars on this beautiful kitchen,” says Kasza. “It just makes sense that you also invest a couple of thousand towards preserving them properly by having covers custom made.” That’s not to say your kitchen should be covered up for long. Properly designed, many components of an outdoor kitchen can function even in the winter. Water supplies are prone to freezing and will have to be drained when cold weather hits. But there’s nothing to stop you from grilling up a storm when Mother Nature is doing the same!

DOMESTICATE YOUR GREAT OUTDOORS Bring a touch of interior décor outside and experience the joy of cooking under the stars. Here are some key design rules to bear in mind: Maximize your space by positioning appliances and counters along a pre-existing wall or fence. Add a perpendicular counter for the classic L-shape cooking nook. Not ready for a total reno job? To create a mini outdoor kitchen, work with what you’ve got. Begin by expanding your grilling area to include a small prep counter and a portable storage unit. Plan your dining area wisely. You don’t want barbecue smoke wafting between the wine glasses all night. At the same time, you want to position the eating area close enough to the grill so you can move back and forth with ease. Beautify a grilling area with affordable brick and stone patterns. Weather-resistant and commonplace, a small brick wall or stone mosaic can up the aesthetic value of your grill “backsplash”.





A SOLID FOUNDATION Proper drainage keeps water problems at bay BY GEORGE OLIPHANT With spring officially here, you will see articles galore on beautifying your yard, and countless tips about adding to your home’s curb appeal. The thing is, if you follow all of that advice and don’t have a solid foundation to start with, it’ll all be in vain. I’m talking about both the structural foundation of your house, as well as the foundation of the soil around the property.

where I need it. And keep it away from where I don’t… my cellar! Now, you may already be set up with sump pumps, sand bags or whatever your quick fix is to combat water. Please understand that these are merely temporary stops or, at best, back-up options. What you really need are French drains, moats, berms or something to keep the water at bay and away from the perimeter of the house. I understand this can all seem daunting, and it’d be so much nicer to go plant some bulbs, spread some mulch, maybe cut back the branches on your overgrown bushes and be done with it. My friends, I’m telling you, if you create a stable, dry perimeter, then you’ll have a dry basement, a solid foundation and a sculptable piece of land, where you can decorate and garden to your heart’s content. Your money will go further. And it won’t just sink into a mud pit.

I live in an old house on a hill and in order for me to really improve the landscaping, or the unfinished basement, I need to ensure that water is entering and exiting the plot, correctly. So, as nice as it is to have sprawling courtyards with fire pits and lush gardens, you need to understand Mother Nature in order to make them last… season after season and year after year. Between the freezing and the thawing, erosion and general changing of the Earth, the only way to keep things stable is to have the correct infrastructure in place. This will help keep your cement from cracking, keep sink holes from developing in your paving stone patios, and puddles from forming in the middle of the yard. That’s why the first thing I’m tackling this year at my place is drainage. Not very sexy, I know. But I want to make sure I have proper drainage around my home, which includes trenches and walls to divert water to

George Oliphant is a home improvement specialist, and the Emmy-award winning host of George to the Rescue. On the show, Oliphant and his team rescue the homes of deserving people. Web: GeorgetotheRescue.com Twitter; @georgeoliphant









DESIGNING THE GOOD LIFE Jet-setting lifestyle maven Janette Ewen fuels her passion in the world’s hot spots.




“Lifestyle expert” is a title that TV and social media maven Janette Ewen wears well. What exactly does it mean? “Well,” laughs Ewen, “I think I’ve basically become an expert on living a good life… this can take a lot of practice.” If by practice, Janette means jet-setting around the globe designing spaces and styling fashion shows for clients like PANDORA Jewelry, and searching for inspiration in design hot spots like Palm Springs and Paris, well, she is making sure practice makes perfect. We recently sat down with Janette to find out what is inspiring her in the world of design, and to get her tips for stylish summer living.

How did you get into “lifestyle” and design? I think I basically decided to “design” the life I always wanted a few years back. Ok, maybe about 12 years ago. (I’m getting old). I had been working reception at a well-known architecture firm and decided I wanted to work in design and fashion, and the best place to learn would be at magazines. I started at Chatelaine and worked my way over to House and Home. Working for a magazine is like a crash course in all things wonderful. You learn about design, fashion, entertaining. This is around the time I thought, “Why not create a wonderful life? Work hard, but base that work on celebrating the beautiful places, people and things I love so much.” This led me to broadcasting, showcasing my fabulous finds on a number of shows, as well as social media outlets. I really want to inspire people to get out there and live with a little panache and make their homes the backdrop to the life they always wanted. If I can do it, I know they can too.

What is currently inspiring you in design? Do you want the honest truth? That might have to be Liberace. I’ve watched “Behind the Candelabra” about 30 times and I can’t stop thinking about all the over-the-top



ornate deliciousness! I still love minimal, but YUM, over-the-top sure is fun.

You are often inspired by cinema. What are your “must-watch” design movies? Good question! Auntie Mame is my top movie for design, lifestyle and entertaining inspiration. Amelie is visually stunning. The Party and all the James Bond flicks, especially the classics.

Favourite design destination? You can’t make me pick just one! I’m on a plane almost twice a week seeking out amazing designs and products. Right now, I’m in love with Berlin and Palm Springs. Since I’ve been living part time in LA, I’m constantly looking for excuses to sneak over to Palm Springs. I’ve been falling in love with the photography of Slim Aarons all over again and am keen to revisit some of the classic hot spots. I think it’s going to be a busy summer.

What are the top lifestyle trends for spring/summer? When it comes to outdoor décor and entertaining, the spring/ summer 2014 look is all about fun and playful chic. Think a little less rustic and a whole lot more carefree: the “jet-set” look. The vibe is about glamour and travel and it gives North Americans that wonderful, playful feeling that they’re living the relaxed and luxurious lifestyle of Monaco, St. Tropez, Capri or Palm Springs.



How can readers incorporate these trends into their décor? Don’t blow the budget, but do freshen your décor. Some brightlycoloured towels and a few throw pillows can change a space. Shop for colours and patterns with a slight retro vibe (think Pucci). Consider sewing your own outdoor pillows out of vintage scarves. When entertaining, bring this theme into your table setting. Shop for large, vintage-style, colourful print scarves to use as a tablecloth. I just found an amazing blue Pucci one I can use for $7! Update your outdoor furniture with a few quirky accessories. There’s no need to change all of your furnishings. Just add a few new whimsical elements, like oversized chess pieces as garden statues or even a quirky card table that comes out at “play” time.

Any suggestions on how to arrange your outdoor space? Be sure to have an outdoor cooking area and cocktail area. These spaces are perfect for connecting with the family and for entertaining. Install a grill and consider incorporating counters/tables for food prep, a mini fridge, a sink and even a bar into your set-up, this allows you to prep while outdoors. Set up your outdoor kitchen in an area that allows easy access to your indoor kitchen; the two spaces will often work together when it comes to entertaining. Create spaces that reflect your lifestyle. Adults only? Set up a Moroccan or bistro inspired space. Kids? Consider shopping for an outdoor sectional that provides plenty of comfortable seating but is easy to maintain. Keep it carefree, fun and stylish… always.







Janette Ewen’s Summer Entertaining Must-Haves Let’s start with the important stuff… cocktails! Always have a signature cocktail, but dress it up this year with fun, retro-inspired glasses, straws and toppers. Champagne is always a winner. My fave is Veuve Clicquot. You can’t go wrong with a glass of Veuve. I also like to have some element of fun when it comes to snacks and food and drink pairings. For example, try pairing wine or Champagne with cupcakes. It’s whimsical, looks impressive and always tastes great. For non-alcoholic beverage options, consider picking up a SodaStream Source machine. They come in a range of stylish colours and allow you to set up a DIY soda station. Kids and adults love this one. I think any time your entertaining essentials can have a DIY element, they add a touch of unexpectedness. Always have thoughtful add-ons for your guests. When hosting friends and family outdoors, consider having a few summer essential baskets filled with things like sunglasses, towels, warm throws for nighttime parties and mosquito repellents like Deep Woods OFF! Bring on the games! Always have lots of fun games and entertainment elements. Stick with the jet-set theme, with classics like Backgammon, Croquet and Dominos. Don’t forget the pool toys! A giant blow-up swan adds a ton of pop to an outdoor space and will keep the kids entertained. When it comes to kids, be sure to have plenty to keep them busy. Create buckets full of toys and fun outdoor games. Place them in strategic areas where you would like to have the kids playing. Most importantly, the key to entertaining is to be a host or hostess who expects to have a good time. Be sure to enjoy your own party and your guests will enjoy it twice as much!







PAINTING UP A STORM Expert advice on how and when to tackle your own paint job BY ELIZABETH WINTERS Freshening up your home – inside or out – is as quick and easy as adding a new coat of paint. Especially in summer, that means enthusiastic DIY types are putting on their coveralls and finding their painting caps. Some exterior painting projects are great for the weekend warrior. You can certainly work on your porch, railings and main floor awnings and trim. But remember, if the tall ladders come out, so should the professionals! We talked to Heidi Nyline, owner of Vancouver’s Warline Painting and Paul Likuski, owner of Oakville’s Walls Alive painting to get their tips on how to approach your project.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PAINT THE OUTSIDE OF A HOUSE? HN: You’re talking about 100 hours of labour. That’s two full weeks of work for one guy. If it’s mostly trim, and it’s a bungalow, absolutely, you can tackle it – and it won’t take quite that long! If it’s a two-storey, 100-year-old heritage home, be sure you call in the pros.

THAT’S A LONG TIME. AND LADDERS ARE SCARY. TELL ME MORE ABOUT MANAGEABLE DIY PROJECTS. HN: A great project for a DIYer is to paint all your railings, fences and porches. Decks, too. Any type of wooden surface you can easily reach. These are perfect projects for industrious do-it-yourselfers.

HOW SHOULD YOU PREP FOR A PAINT JOB? HN: The house has to be power-washed and cleaned first: paint doesn’t stick to mildew or dirt. Make sure there’s no wood rot. Make sure knot holes and raw wood are properly primed and repaired before painting is done. You’ll also need to sand off wood surfaces to remove any peeling or uneven areas.

WHAT TRENDS ARE POPULAR RIGHT NOW? HN: Bold front doors are all the rage. It’s great, especially in




subdivisions where all the houses are the same. The bright front door allows some personality to come through. Try it! Why not a nice yellow or green front door? Or even turquoise. I recommend looking on HOUZZ to see what designers are doing with front doors.

ANY OTHER TIPS? HN: If you’re going to tackle a front door, you can rent a sprayer, so you won’t see the brush strokes. There are also great new hand sprayers like the Graco ProShot. It’s a wonderful tool for DIYers. Great for painting Muskoka chairs and patio furniture, too!

WHAT KINDS OF TOOLS DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR THE DIY PAINTER? PL: Preparation is the most important thing to ensure a great paint job. I recommend having a variety of sandpapers, scrapers and a caulking gun to seal surfaces. Buy an expensive brush and roller. Paint stores have all those items in stock. You’re also going to need a good all-in-one exterior filler, as well as a wood filler. Fill only where necessary, otherwise you’re going to spend a lot of time sanding down the excess. You’ll have to wash down any surface before you paint it, so why not choose the mild, eco-friendly TSP that’s on the market?

WHAT COLOURS ARE TRENDING RIGHT NOW? PL: Earth tones and greys are very popular right now. But with exteriors, it’s always what you’re most comfortable with. Look at your foundation. What’s your brick colour? You want to accentuate that. Don’t get too caught up in trends. This is the exterior of your home, so a classic look is the way to go.

I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT CHOOSING COLOURS. HOW DO I KNOW I’VE CHOSEN WELL? PL: Paint companies offer programs where you can get a preview of your colour choice. It’s all digital. Choose your colour, load up the picture of your house and these programs can render your photo to show how your house would look painted in the new colour. Your paint store will have this – and they give you great colour advice too. I definitely advocate people calling and asking questions. Advice is free. I encourage home owners to try painting, themselves. Call me and ask how. And if you need some help, I’m more than happy to extend a hand by doing the hard part.

ANY OTHER TIPS? PL: The other big thing is to watch the weather. You have to find a few days when it will be dry. The weather can make or break your project and if it’s a rainy summer, it can be difficult. Photo courtesy of Warline Painting Ltd




FOUR SEASONS OF SUN Embrace the space you’re in regardless of the weather! BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO Next time you’re in the centre of any big northern city, look up. And notice the empty condo balconies; thousands of them, with millions of expensive square footage going unused. It’s the same scenario for homeowners who end up using their patio for one or two seasons per year. And if you live in Canada, the warm season is all too brief. Patio enclosures put that unused space to work – and play! The ultimate accessory for luxury living, these enclosures usually come in retractable, frameless, sliding or folding glass panes. Ari Mujunen, sales manager at Lumon – a Finnish patio enclosure company, says that retractable patio enclosures have been popular in Europe for decades, but they’ve only recently taken off in North America. Expanding your living space doesn’t come cheap. A patio enclosure from Lumon can cost from $55 to $75 per square foot of glass. The results undoubtedly up property value, though, making resale a piece of cake. So when it comes to competing in an already-saturated condo market, revamping unused space translates into a big return on investment. “In fact, our most popular customers are condo owners,” explains Mujunen. “Since so many condos are already small, this option can really expand their living space in a dramatic way.” It’s important to remember that patio enclosures aren’t truly winterized, though. “Customers love seeing their indoor property suddenly expanded,” says Mujunen, “but it’s still essentially a three-season space. The glass encloses the space and contains the heat, but not enough for winter.” Many people have installed patio heaters or built a fireplace near the enclosure in order to maximize its use in the winter months. (Be sure to check local bylaws before installing any heating or fire features).




There’s another plus to patio enclosures – at least in Canada’s largest city. Lumon recently received notice of approval from the City of Toronto Building and Zoning department indicating that they do not consider Lumon Balcony Glass Enclosures as part of a property’s gross floor area (GFA). Essentially, this means that balconies can have enclosures without adding square footage for the unit, or the building as a whole.

“People are really decking out their outdoor kitchens and patios with TVs and the works,” says Attfield, adding that a screening system makes the most of expensive exterior renovations. “During a sunny morning, keep the screens down and experience the full outdoor effect. But when mosquitoes start spiraling at dusk, roll out the screens and continue enjoying the cross-breeze.”

If you’re looking for a fully winterized space, a sunroom is your best choice. While more labour-intensive and expensive than retractable patio enclosures, sunrooms literally extend the home environment and make it irresistible to future buyers. They can also increase your home’s energy efficiency.

The outdoor living trend is enduring. Sunrooms, screened-in spaces and patio enclosures help you embrace the space you’re in and make the most of it – regardless of the weather!

“Sunrooms are unlike any other addition to your home,” says Peter Kovacs, general manager at Toronto-based Four Seasons Sunrooms & Windows, “and the beauty of these rooms also increases the property value in a big way.”


The quality of the specialized glass is critical. At Four Seasons Sunrooms & Windows, Conservaglass Select is specially formulated to allow only 15% of the sun’s radiant heat to penetrate the sunroom. Natural sunlight comes in and damaging UV rays are blocked.

The most basic retractable screen will cost you close to $2,000. Outfitting a huge space might cost tens of thousands. Why not learn how to preserve your investment to last a lifetime?

WEATHER Always retract your screens when it rains, as well as during the winter months. Harsh weather may damage them.

The company also produces a popular line of screen enclosures for patios, decks and porches. “This is especially great in the evenings when there can be a lot of insects,” says Kovacs. “Our fiberglass insect screens keep everyone comfortable, while still feeling like you are enjoying the outside.” Customers can also add skylights, or a roof fan beam to support a ceiling fan.


Stephen Attfield, general manager at Toronto’s Phantom Screens, says the increased popularity of retractable screening stems from the new trend of homeowners wanting to maximize the use of outdoor space.

Accidents happen. Sometimes a raccoon will get a little too curious. Tears are not usually a big issue and all screens can be easily repaired or replaced by the company that installed them.

Photo courtesy of Phantom Screens

Minimal maintenance makes these screens a big seller, but it’s still recommended that they be gently washed twice a year with mild detergent and warm water. Many companies will also come out for an annual cleaning job.





A ROOM WITH A VIEW It’s more important than you think.


If there’s one thing that seems to be universally true about people, it’s this: Human beings will always take the path of least resistance. It’s a subconscious thing. We’d rather be in the fastest moving lane on the highway, the shortest lineup for popcorn and the most direct flight to a destination. Agree? I thought so.

Yes, the design of their outdoor space was pleasant enough, but you could only see the interesting features when you were already outside.

As a designer, this tendency intrigues me. And it can help guide the design choices I make, too. Let me paint you a picture. Let’s say Joe and Wendy Homeowner built an outdoor living space because they need to wind down without the hassles of travel. They’ve got a large deck with decorative railings, and a staircase leading down to a patio area with an outdoor fire pit. Sounds nice, right? Sure.

Here’s my response. When I am designing any space, I need to see pictures of how that space looks from the most frequented areas of the house. This is key to creating and positioning the critical focal points. They need to look fantastic outdoors, but it’s just as important that they create the emotional draw that will compete with that stinking laptop from inside the house.

But what happens when it comes time to relax? The kids have eaten dinner, the kitchen is finally clean and the open laptops are gently humming, reminding Joe and Wendy that they have unanswered emails. Ping. Ping. Ping.

What might those focal points be? Sky’s the limit: a decorative screen, a waterfall, a pergola, a gazebo, a fire feature! Whatever the focal point is, it will have some sort of lighting to draw the eye at night and it will almost always be something that is built above the railing of the deck. It must be visible from inside the house.

What do they do? They’d like to pour a glass of wine, go outside and light a fire. For some reason though, just like last night, the cursed light of the laptop sucked them in like a moth to a bug zapper! Why did the computer win… again? I have a theory. When Joe and Wendy looked longingly toward their backyard – through either the door or the windows from their kitchen – NOTHING CAUGHT THEIR EYE!

Classic mistake, which resulted in Joe and Wendy taking the path of least resistance, looking down at their devices, staying glued to their screens.

I can tell you this from experience. When “quick decision” time came, if Joe and Wendy had glanced outside to see a simple cascading water feature, illuminated in pale blue light that also shone upon two lounge chairs, would they hesitate? Not for a second. So, when you are having your backyard oasis designed, make sure you make the placement of the focal point one of your top priorities. You won’t regret it. But you will enjoy it – a lot more often!

PAUL LAFRANCE Paul Lafrance is the host of HGTV’s Decked Out, Disaster Decks and Deck Wars, as well as one of the judges on Canada’s Handyman Challenge. He is also the CEO and founder of Cutting Edge Construction and Design. (Visit CuttingEdgeDesign.ca)






THE ULTIMATE GUY PROJECT Gearing up for the dream garage BY CINDY MCGLYNN You know it’s there. The potential, that is. It might be behind the kids’ bikes, or under the busted Christmas tree box. Maybe near that pile of patio furniture? Somewhere, there is potential for you to have the garage of your dreams. You just have to find it. Urban Garage owner Joseph Gagliardi acknowledges that, for modern families, space is at a premium. And while they might tend to use the garage as a dumping ground, they also usually wish they had more space. That’s why they come to him for help. Gagliardi says he’s got a solution for everybody, including Bryan Baeumler. Baeumler’s wife, Sarah, hired Gagliardi to makeover the family’s Oakville garage, during filming of the contractor’s popular HGTV series Life of Bryan. “Not everyone needs a complete makeover, though,” says Gagliardi. “Depends on the project. It could be as simple as organizing some of their items on the wall. And the possibilities go up from there: custom cabinetry; sinks; a dog bath. Some people install video monitors behind cabinets. And vehicle hoists are a great way to increase your parking space.” If you’re warming to the idea and want full immersion in the potential, you’ll also want to check out Garage Living, another Toronto company specializing in garage lifestyle. Their 3000 foot showroom in Vaughan has five “dream garages” on-site to show folks exactly what they’re missing. There are great systems, cabinets, wall hooks and overhead storage available – and all of it helps. But Gagliardi suggests,



there are a few key steps you can do yourself to achieve the garage of your dreams.

DECLUTTER Like most modern problems with organization, the root of all evil is the clutter. The good news is, the garage is the first place people stash their truly extraneous items – stuff they really, really don’t need or use. If you steel yourself, you should be able to get going quickly. “Make different piles,” says Gagliardi. “Throw away. Recycle. Keep. Get rid of things your parents gave you. Things that are broken. That old TV…”

TAKE YOUR TIME For the DIYer, a real garage overhaul takes more than an afternoon. Give yourself the whole weekend, and don’t be surprised if it takes two.

BE REALISTIC Suburban garage owners can go for broke with their garage reno. Assuming they’ve got the budget, they probably have the space. But Gagliardi cautions downtowners, or people living in older homes, to be realistic with how much storage they can squeeze out of their garage. “The older single car garages are difficult,” he says. “They’re so small and tight. People want their dream list but they also want to be able to park their car. In a small space like that, instead of benches and cabinetry, you look at overhead space.”


GREAT GEAR FOR THE GARAGE OF YOUR DREAMS OVERHEAD STORAGE SYSTEMS Overhead storage works in almost any garage. Gagliardi says his systems start at about $300 for a 4’ x 8’ unit. For an extra hundred bucks, the company will install it. A ceiling rack can hold 600 pounds (if properly installed) and is a great way to keep seasonal items out of sight. Most folks use a stepladder to access them, but there are small hoists available, too.

WALL STORAGE SYSTEMS By far his biggest seller, Gagliardi says the wall storage is a must for any garage clean up. A good system he uses incorporates slat wall by HandiWall. “You can do a small strip or a whole wall – and the price runs from about $200 up to $3000 or more, depending on the size of your project.”

TIRE RACKS If you’ve got room, why pay a tire shop to store your snows?


Photos courtesy of Urban Garage

There are also floor coatings, vehicle and bicycle hoists, bicycle racks, everyday cabinetry and custom cabinetry for high-end hobbyists. The only limit is your imagination. And your budget.





Heat up the backyard action with a DIY firepit. BY LILY SLAIN Nothing adds to the pleasure of a summertime get-together like the crackle of an open fire. In fact, backyard firepits are among today’s hottest outdoor features. A variety of kits and accessories are available at home stores but, if you’re handy, it’s not difficult to build a permanent, year-round firepit on your own in a weekend. Depending on the materials, the cost to build a firepit from scratch could be anywhere from $400 up. The biggest outlay will be for a steel firepit liner ring, which will range from about $250 to $400. It’s a good idea to buy a screened dome lid to filter out sparks ($60 -$100) – if you’re not fussy about appearances, you could make your own simple wire mesh lid for less. A nice extra is a removable cooking grill (about $100).

38 38



The greatest price variation will come with the choice of stones. You’ll need 64 to 100 blocks for a one-foot high firepit. Choose wedge-shaped slabs that form a circle. They must match your liner ring, which will have a diameter between 24” and 44”. If you’re handy, and have a free source of field stone, your stones may cost nothing at all. Precast blocks can cost as little as $1.50 each, but you’ll pay much more for natural stone. However, the most important consideration must be safety. Porous stones like sandstone, limestone and pumice may explode under intense heat. Be certain the blocks you choose are fire-safe. When you’ve assembled your supplies, mark out a circle the size of the interior of your firepit, and a larger circle to show the exterior circumference. Dig the inner circle six inches down and level it. In the centre, dig a fencepost-sized hole down two feet further and fill it with gravel for drainage. Then dig the outer ring down one foot and fill it with six inches of gravel so it’s level with the inner circle. Begin to place your stones, levelling as needed and making sure the steel lining ring will fit snugly inside. Stagger the joints on each course. Most precast stones don’t need mortar or masonry adhesive and if you can avoid them, you should. Mortar can pop under heat, and adhesives can emit fumes. Also, it will be easier to replace cracked blocks, later, in a freestanding structure. If you do use masonry adhesive for stability, apply it with a caulking gun to the outer half of the surface only. No matter what method you use, test-assemble the firepit with dry stone before using any bonding agent. Then, disassemble, replace the steel liner, which should end level with the top, and begin the final construction. Fill the bottom of the pit with six inches of gravel. A final course of wider, flat decorative capstones is a good idea, since it will help keep the structure dry. If you choose your materials wisely and take your time, you’ll be able to spend hours of happy leisure relaxing by your own firepit.

SAFETY FIRST! Before you start, find out about the fire regulations in your area. Cities like New York, Toronto and Vancouver have made open fires illegal, except in barbeques. Some municipalities have regulations specifying a minimum distance away from homes and garages, legal times of day for burning or the type of fuel that can be used. Choose your site carefully. Your firepit should be at least 25 feet away from buildings, trees and vehicles, but within reach of a water hose or fire extinguisher. Consider the prevailing winds; which way will sparks and smoke likely travel? HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE



Homeowners need to park their design

He says a pop of colour at the front door can

Dommasch claims the door revolution is well

enthusiasm at the door. The front door, that

upgrade the entire look: “It’s the easiest thing

on its way to integrating new technologies

is, and its surrounding area. Carson Arthur,

to do and it works wonders.” He cautions

that not only allow for guest recognition, but

outdoor living expert and host of TV programs

clients against crowding an entrance with

remote access. Weiser’s SmartCode lever,

such as Room to Grow and Green Force, spells

too much decorative “stuff,” however, noting

for example, lets friends and family key-in

it out for clients every day: “The millennial

that one of the biggest mistakes people make

their own access codes with an electronic

buyer is attracted to homes with character. And

is to overload a front entrance with heavy

touchpad. “The touchpad is especially useful if

by character I’m not talking about ‘old homes,’

plant beds or large fixtures around a door.

you have people coming in to do work on your

but homes with a distinct style – a style that’s

“Keep it clean, simple and somewhat neutral,”

home – or you have guests from out of town,”

easily detectable right at the front door.”

he explains, “when it comes to purchasing

says Dommasch, “because you can hand out

a home, people need to be able to really

personalized codes that last only for a finite

imagine themselves living there.”

amount of time.”

Colalillo and exterior pro Jo Alcorn, helps

Chad Dommasch, owner of Canadian Door

Double doors are another huge door trend that

homeowners get top dollar for their real estate

Doctor, says “smart doors” have also become a

can up your curb appeal. Dommasch says it’s

with a few innovative and inexpensive fixes.

hot commodity on the market. Sound strange?

an easy upgrade for homeowners who already

In his recently-premiered HGTV show Critical Listing, Arthur, along with property expert Lisa




have doors with sidelights. By simply removing

For large entrances with circular driveways,

be sure to remove the pump before freezing

the entire frame, and refitting it with a double

Marchese says nothing announces a property

temperatures hit. Failure to do so could destroy

door, they can totally reinvent the front look of

like a three-tiered fountain (approximately

the fountain mechanism itself, so it’s essential

their home. It looks great, and Dommasch says

$5,000 to $6,000), one of his best-sellers.

to know the details of your product. For

it makes moving furniture so easy that clients are usually sold for life.

backyard spaces, Marchese says that ponds “Fountains are extremely popular with Asian

are also becoming a hugely popular feature.

clients who follow the principles of Feng Shui –

“It really depends on the size of the property

For those looking for that next level of curb

as flowing water at the entrance to a house is

and the look the client wants to achieve,” he

appeal – there’s simply nothing that comes

said to be a sign of prosperity and good luck,”

says. “Customization is key and we follow the

close to eliciting the “wow” factor than a

says Marchese. “But, essentially, water fixtures

buyer’s needs.”

front-of-property fountain. While the look is

achieve both drama and elegance. Ultimately,

definitely not for the modest homeowner, Chris

they raise the property value of your home.”

Marchese, president of Marquis Gardens,

Even if your home isn’t on the market, a few simple touches can easily spruce up the

says that business is booming, especially in

The only trick with water features is the

exterior, giving you – and your house – a well-

the Richmond Hill and Markham areas of the

maintenance component, so buyers need to

deserved pick-me-up after a long, hard winter.

greater Toronto area.

be cautious of winter weather conditions and







STYLE Industrial Chic? Boho Glam? Take this fun quiz and find out! BY TYLER WISLER

I’m often asked, “Tyler, what is your personal style?” That’s one of the hardest questions to answer concisely, as I usually incorporate multiple design styles and elements within one project! In the 15+ years that I’ve been a designer (hard to believe right… I apparently started when I was 7), I’ve learned that personal style is really an amalgamation of your experiences, your travels and your lifestyle. I rarely meet a client who is purely traditional or a diehard modernist. Most people are on that slide bar somewhere in-between these two design extremes. This means your design style is expressed by the broad term of “transitional”. Transitional design is a hybrid, where classic and contemporary styles blend together to appeal to a modern sensibility and lifestyle. Sweeping curved lines and the severity of rigid angles have been softened to create an aesthetic that’s easily digestible to both men and women. Many think of this as a “timeless classic” look, which is the reason for its popularity. Colour stories are relatively quiet, and the use of polished woods or lacquer is prevalent. Lovers of this look are based in tradition – those who have a distinct vision of the difference between Monday’s work attire, Friday’s Business Casual and Sunday best. Of course, under that umbrella of transitional, you find more specific niche styles like eclectic, global, Swedish modern, funky or Hollywood glam. Other related styles would include primitive, rustic, Asian, shabby chic and so on. What defines your personal style? Take my little quiz and



find out. To make things more fun, and maybe help you discover a style you didn’t think you’d be attracted to, I’ve broken it down into 3 categories: Timeless Classic, Boho Glam and Industrial Chic. We’ve already discussed the timeless classic look. Here’s a cheat sheet for the other 2 design styles.

BOHO GLAM Boho refers to Bohemian and the look is a ver y eclectic mix of styles and eras, with global influences coming from Morocco, India and Asia. The look is infused with a metallic gleam and supersaturated tones. This person is definitely a more free spirit. Someone who is social, loves travel, friends and treasures experiences. When dressing or decorating, this person expresses all the influences in his/her life as well as a sparkling spirituality.

INDUSTRIAL CHIC Industrial Chic is the celebration of – what else? The Industrial Age. Embracing the par ts and pieces of what makes something work is what this aesthetic is all about. The use of reclaimed woods that have experienced a whole other life is a staple feature. Heavy dark metals are used both for structure and beauty. Industrial Chic brings an awareness to the individual furniture pieces, and not a lot of fluf f. Pieces look like they have a histor y to them; there’s always a stor y there. Building materials are not disguised. Brick is brick, concrete is concrete. We’re not hiding the beauty of the materials, but showcasing them in their rawest forms.


CIRCLE THE PICTURE WHICH MOST FITS YOU AND YOUR STYLE. BE HONEST! Which would you include in a centerpiece?

Which chair would you buy?

What type of flooring do you prefer?

What might your “special day” look like?

What would you consider as an accessor y?

Which fabric would make the best throw pillow?

What lamp would you put on your desk?

Most impor tantly, which way do you prefer my hair?

Wall ar t. Pick one!

Which would you most like to sit on?

So, how’d you do? Tweet me at @NYDesignGuy, hashtag #TylersHair with your thoughts on the last question! If you tended to choose the first column items, you are leaning towards that industrial chic look, but you probably already know that. The second position represents the timeless classic aesthetic. The final column is for those Bohemian folks! Maybe you picked almost evenly between the 3 groups, meaning you are a true eclectic. Now, there’s nothing final – or scientific – about any of this. Design is fun and, remember, there are truly no mistakes in the creative process. Designer Tyler Wisler was a finalist on the HGTV competition series, Design Star. He has since been featured on the NBC makeover show, George to the Rescue and is a permanent tastemaker with the mega online retailer, OpenSky.Tyler is best known for creating interiors with an edge. (Visit TylerWislerHome.com)




MOWTOWN! Great lawn care and maintenance products. BY LILY SLAIN

Nothing says spring like the hum of the lawn mower and the smell of freshly cut grass. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the hottest products on the market to help you go to town with your lawn care this spring.

CUTTING EDGE Gardena’s Cordless Li Shears and Telescopic Swivel Handle are particularly nifty for fine edge work. A lithium ion battery powers its pair of toothed blades, which brush back and forth, rather than chopping, for clean cuts and long blade life. With its telescoping handle, it doubles as both a hand-held and a stand-up edging tool that’s great around trees and cherished perennials. ($199.99)




Lithium batteries are becoming increasingly popular for their long-lasting charge and their light weight – qualities evident in Gardena’s 380 Li cordless reel mower, which runs on a 25-volt rechargeable lithium ion battery. ($599.00)

‘REEL’ SIMPLE ROLL-UP To keep backyards (and hands) tidy, Gardena has recently introduced its cleverly engineered Reel Wall-Mount Automatic Roll-Up Hose Box ($199.99). Pivoting up to 180 degrees for ease of access, it coils the hose neatly back up with a gentle tug, and it’s calibrated to reel up evenly and slowly enough that there’s no worry of injury to children or pets from a nozzle suddenly snapping across the yard.

STAY SHARP A dependable favourite is Fiskars’ StaySharp Max Reel Mower, a push mower that’s efficient ergonomically, as well as environmentally. As the name suggests, the blade design means it doesn’t need annual sharpening. (Canada $259.99 and U.S. $249.99)


WEED KILLER Fiskars has just released its new Auto-Eject Stand-up Weed Remover in Canada. Stepping down over the weed activates a serrated claw that pulls it up, root and all, without leaving a big hole. It’s spring-loaded to flick the weed into a nearby yard waste bag. ($49.99)

GET SOME EDGE For hedges and edges, Fiskars’ PowerGear Softgrip Pruner combines a safe and comfortable grip with powerful cutting jaws. ($33.99 with a coating that maintains the edge and reduces rust.)

LIGHT AND POWERFUL Black & Decker offers a 40-volt lithium ion rechargeable cordless mower; it weighs in at just 38 pounds. (Model #CM1640, $399)

Hoss Mowing Tips: Keep your grass about 3 inches tall, but mow frequently enough that you’re never cutting off more than an inch of the stalk. If your grass is healthy, leave trimmings on the lawn to return nutrients to the soil.

Hoss Weeding Tip:

3-IN-1 MOWER Black & Decker is launching its new 3N1 Mower in major hardware stores this spring. A combination mower, stringer and edger, it’s designed for gardeners with smaller lawns and limited space. It converts easily between functions, and is particularly useful in hardto-reach spots. (cordless: $169.99; corded: $119.99)


Gardena’s new Premium Super Flex Garden Hose system has an effective coupling for a leakproof connection between the hose and the faucet, a stable gripping surface and an inner core designed to prevent algae growth. The second layer includes a carbon-reinforced spiral to make it flexible rather than brittle, and it’s UV-stabilized and free of phthalates to boot. ($99.99)

Don’t toss weeds that have already gone to seed into your compost pile unless you want them back in greater numbers next year!

Hoss Watering Tip: It’s better to water your lawn deeply a few times a week than to give it shallow drinks daily.




THE SOUND OF SILENCE Put an end to squeaky floors

lead to squeaks,” says Lev Remennik, co-founder of Silent Floor Solutions. “Keeping the humidity levels in your home between the 40-45% range, either by using a humidifier in the winter or a dehumidifier in the summer, will help prevent this from happening.”

BY JAMES CAMPBELL There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep. But if you’re a light sleeper, or have small children who wake easily, squeaky floors or stairs can turn your sweet dreams into a nightmare. Squeaky floors are often the result of structural wear and defects from loose joists. They can also be caused by distortion in subfloors, moving elements within ceilings or walls, spaces forming between floor boards due to drying and rotting, and loose nails, screws or worn hardwood boards rubbing together. When a squeak interferes with your daily life, it’s time to find a solution. There are a number of things you can do to help prevent a squeaky floor and silence it for good.

PREVENTING SQUEAKY FLOORS Changing seasons and fluctuations in temperature and humidity have a huge impact on the state of your home and are a main cause of squeaky floors. In the winter, heated air dries out wood flooring, causing it to contract and creating gaps between the planks. During the warmer months, flooring absorbs moisture from humidity in the air and expands, creating a cupping effect. “These issues create hollow spaces in the flooring that allow for movement of the floor layers, which



Spilled water that is not cleaned up can also be absorbed into the flooring. Water can ruin the finish on a hardwood floor and penetrate deep into the wood, causing distortion and rotting which can eventually cause squeaks. Close windows when you’re expecting rain, put trays under potted plants and, of course, immediately wipe up any water you see on the floor.

SILENCING THE SQUEAKS It’s a common assumption that silencing a squeaky floor means you have to replace the whole thing. In fact, since many squeaks originate in the floor’s structure, just replacing the surface doesn’t necessarily resolve the issue. The entire floor, subfloor and structure of the house must be built with the right materials and installed correctly to prevent a squeaky floor in the future. Ultimately, replacing a floor can be an expensive and time-consuming process that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a squeak-free floor. Here’s a cheap and easy fix for squeaks caused by hardwood boards rubbing against each other: Use a paintbrush to work a heavy shower of talcum powder into the gap between the boards. Another option is to wedge a few glazier points (metal triangles used to install window glass) deep into the gaps between boards to prevent them from rubbing together.

If the squeak is in the subfloor, and you have access from below, carefully pound a thin wood shim covered with carpenter’s glue into the gap between the subfloor and the joist in the area of the squeak. The best type of shim is an exterior wood siding one, which tapers more gradually than the regular kind. Keep in mind that, with this method, fixing one area can cause the subfloor to lift in another area and create a new squeak close by. Kits like Squeeeeek No More or Squeak-Ender (available online) use screws or widgets to pull the subfloor and joist tightly together to minimize movement and eliminate the squeak. The same effect can be accomplished by driving drywall or sheet metal screws through the joist and into the subfloor. Be careful not to over-tighten, as this can pull up the subfloor in adjacent areas and move the squeak to that new area. Although popular with DIYers, these solutions can create large holes that ruin the look of your floor, and the screws can rust, triggering wood rot. Unless your basement is unfinished, it’s almost impossible to locate the joists, and walking on the floor can lead to screws loosening over time and the squeak coming back.

TIME TO CALL THE PROS If you can’t fix it yourself, or none of these solutions are working, it’s time to call in the professionals. Whether you go the DIY route or call in the pros, rest assured there is a solution for your squeaky floor. Getting a good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be just a dream.




TRANSFORMING YOUR CONDO BALCONY ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET How to create an urban balcony oasis in a few simple steps. BY RALPH FOX After a long Canadian winter, it is finally time to step outside and enjoy your balcony! With a little time and money, you can transform your balcony into a space that’s both comfortable and appealing, inviting you to go out and spend more time under the sun. To start with, remove any unwanted clutter and give your balcony a good scrubbing to clean away the winter grime. This will help maximize your space and give you a clean slate to work with. You can then begin to build the urban oasis you have been waiting months to enjoy. Most condo balconies have concrete flooring, which is cold and uninviting. So, you can make a dramatic change to your space by simply covering this up. Consider investing in interlocking wooden decking, which will add both warm colours and softness underfoot. There’s no need to splurge for a custom fit – gaps and edges can be filled with cedar chips, polished stones or even strips of sod. Next, try repurposing furniture pieces you already have. New cushions and a can of spray paint can totally revive your patio set. If



you’re starting from scratch, seek out hidden treasures at yard sales and used furniture stores. While you’re at it, remember to keep an eye out for other decorative touches, such as flower pots and wind chimes. Enhance your urban oasis by adding lush greenery. Planter boxes are a great way to cover brickwork and add colour to a balcony. Instead of high-maintenance flowering plants, consider coloured foliage that is easy to care for, such as Eucalyptus, Tillandsias and succulents, all of which have interesting textures. Use different combinations of container and plant sizes to create visual appeal. Now it’s time to add the finishing touches. Think Zen. A tabletop herb garden, solar lights and candles are cost-effective ways to enhance your atmosphere. These inexpensive accessories set the tone for your space and allow you to change things up as you please. When transforming your outdoor space, consider not only your own future enjoyment, but also the potential it has to increase the value of your property. Create something you can enjoy now, that buyers will crave later.




GET WIRED! Backyard audio systems are music to the ears. BY ELIZABETH WINTERS Once upon a time, backyard audio meant a boom box and a volume knob turned up really, really loud. Backyard video? Who are you, George Jetson? Times have changed and with the outdoor living trend going strong, having a backyard that’s wired for sound – and even video – is increasingly common. “I couldn’t enjoy myself out in my backyard without my music,” says Ryan Peddle of Liptons Audio Video in Newmarket. “The vast majority of what we do in terms of outdoor entertainment is based on audio, and that means installing outdoor, all-weather speakers. Different companies make different shapes and sizes and they’re wired into the house.” A couple of speakers out back is just right for many folks, and Peddle says a setup with 2 nice speakers, some wiring and the distributed audio devices to get your computer, smart phone or iPod talking to the network costs about $1200. He notes, it’s a misconception that having more speakers will be too loud or upset the neighbours. Usually the opposite is true. If you’ve got a big back yard, and only a couple of speakers, you’ll have to turn your volume up louder to hear your music from any distance. If you had speakers set up to properly cover your space, the volume levels could remain much lower.

“Most speaker brands can be left outside,” says Peddle. “If you’re not going to use them in the winter, it can be a good idea to take them down. If that’s not possible, the best thing to do is just cover them up to keep the moisture off. They’ll be fine.” So we’ve got speakers covered. But where does the music actually come from? Your iPod, probably. Peddle sets up distributed audio systems, and Sonos Connect is at the heart of most of them. “The best way to describe it is this: it’s distributed audio with wireless controls. Sonos is a networking product, so it can read music stored on your iPod, for example.” Or your computer or any other devices you add to the network. Outdoor video is becoming increasingly popular, too. Peddle says it’s important to remember that television sets are not made to be outside, so you need a very specialized product to cope with a Canadian winter and any kind of wet or humid conditions. Companies like SunBrite make outdoor TVs that can stay outside year round. A 46 inch indoor/outdoor TV from the company costs about $5000. “They have their own little eco-system with built-in cooling and heating.” All you need is electrical wiring, cabling and a wall mount. Peddle says audio and video installations have come a long way in the last 5 years. “I think the main element is the distributed audio. The Sonos products are amazing. And these days, everybody has some sort of smart device. So really, with a couple of speakers, a network and iPhone you’re off to the races.”

The other misconception is that a “wireless” system means wireless speakers. It doesn’t. Peddle is adamant about this. “Speakers require power,” he says. “You need to power them with something. People think batteries will work, but you’d have to run a car battery to power some of these speakers. Everything else is easy. Wiring is critical. And we can wire anything. We do systems with just a couple of speakers on a deck, all the way up to a completely wired pool area. Speakers come in all shapes and sizes – some of them designed to look like rocks and nestle amongst the posies in your flower bed. Plan ahead and you can easily have speakers built into the walls or ceiling of any backyard structures. “If you’ve got a covered area, you can do in-ceiling speakers. As long as the wire can get to the location, you can put speakers there.” And what to do with your speakers in the winter?



Outdoor speakers blend into your decor. Can you spot the Paradigm Rock Monitor here?





Creating a peaceful outdoor oasis in 7 easy steps. BY FRANK TURCO

During the summer months, my backyard is the place where I like to hang out. I love to BBQ and entertain with friends, but I also like to unwind after a long day, relaxing with a drink, reading a book or just taking in the natural beauty. Here are my simple tips for creating your perfect backyard oasis:

BE ALONE: Find a spot that is a good distance from the house, like the back corner of your yard.

BE COOL: Make sure this place provides you with shade, so you can sit out there on even the hottest days. A spot under a large maple tree is ideal and if you don’t have a large tree, then consider installing a gazebo.

MAKE IT LEVEL: Lay down a levelled foundation to avoid trampling on your grass. I personally love these stones made of recycled rubber tires – they are easy to install, come in different colours and patterns and are comfortable to walk on.

GET COMFORTABLE: Anchor the space with two comfortable chairs and a small table. Whether you are a fan of Muskoka chairs (which can be painted in very fun colours) or a wicker conversation set,

find furniture that is comfy and durable. Introduce a small table, so you can have a place for that well deserved drink.

ACCESSORIZE: Add a punch of colour with stylish outdoor cushions and accessories. Decorative cushions are great for adding pattern, colour and comfort and, best of all, because they are water repellent you can leave them out during a rain storm. I strongly recommend switching these out every season, so you can pop your patio furniture with the latest trend in pattern and colour.

INSTALL A WATER FEATURE: This is a must have for any backyard oasis. The sound of running water is so calming and drowns out the noise you might get from loud neighbours or planes flying high above.

LIGHT IT UP: Add solar lighting to the landscape, so you can continue to enjoy your sanctuary, even as the sun goes down.

F r a n k Tu r c o i s a t r e n d /d e s i g n e x p e r t a n d Pr e s i d e n t a n d C r e a t i ve D i r e c t o r a t Tu r c o f D e s i g n s . H e i s a r e g u l a r s e g m e n t g u e s t o n B r e a k f a s t Te l e v i s i o n a n d h a s a p p e a r e d o n s h o w s l i k e C i t y L i n e a n d C a n a d a A M . ( Vi s i t Tu r c o f d e s i g n s . c a )











DESIGN FOR OUTDOOR LIVING Creating an inviting outdoor “room” enhances the pleasure and value of your home. BY JONATHAN SCOTT When fair weather arrives, who wants to stay inside? Make the most of it by fashioning an outdoor living space, which can be as simple or elaborate as you please. Consider the following ideas to create a space that enhances both your enjoyment of your home and its value.


Locate the space for maximum convenience. Keep the seating area close to the back door. You can start with an existing patio or deck or create a new one. Consider the context: where possible, have your outdoor living space away from neighbours and orient it toward attractive landscaping or views. Take design cues



from your house, echoing its paint colours or materials to make the outdoor space feel like an extension of your home.


Define the space to achieve a sense of enclosure. Your outdoor room’s “floor” could be thin stone slabs laid on concrete, or big concrete pavers with grass or pea gravel in the spaces between them. Often, the house will serve as a wall, or two, for the outdoor room, which can be further defined with elements such as latticework, low stone or brick walls or an arbor structure. Latticework can provide shade and privacy. You can give a deck a more room-like feel by incorporating benches and planters into

railings, and adding a roof. Indeed, putting a suitable roof (anything from wood shingles to a retractable awning) over some, or all, of your outdoor space will make it more useful in cool or damp weather.


You can also extend your outdoor time with a fire pit, fireplace or gas heater (the kind you see on restaurant terraces). The glow of a fire makes an outdoor room feel cozy. You’ve already got earth and air, so why not add fire, and while you’re at it, the fourth element, water? Whether it’s a fountain or an ornamental pond with aquatic plants, this can be a focal point or simply a source of pleasant sound and reflections.



Furnish the space for durability and low maintenance, but treat it like a real room. Today, fashionable outdoor furniture is available in every style and material, while outdoor fabrics and rugs look (and feel) better than ever. Substantial furniture pieces and distinctive pillows and accessories will make the space feel homey. Pick a bold accent colour, perhaps drawn from flowers in your garden. Candle lanterns and candelabras work well outside, but it’s also worth having the space wired for outdoor-rated lighting. A wired pendant light or sconces can complement landscape lighting, all of it working together to create a festive mood for al fresco entertaining. Outdoor speakers can add to the effect.


To go whole hog, cap your outdoor living/dining area with a full-fledged outdoor kitchen, complete with grill, sink and compact refrigerator. Or, you can just add more presence to your grill by building an island next to it (perhaps topped with stone left over from the floor) that will double as an outdoor bar and buffet.


Enhance the area surrounding your outdoor room with additional landscaping, such as ornamental bushes or trees that can serve as a focal point and privacy screen. Vines can embellish an arbor or turn latticework into green walls. Adding plants to the outdoor room, itself,

in containers that complement your outdoor décor, will provide pops of colour and connect it visually to the garden. Creating an outdoor living space pays dividends even in colder places, where the warm months are greatly relished. Make it as inviting as an indoor space and it will be like adding a room to your house, at a fraction of the cost. Catch Jonathan Scott with his brother Drew every week on W Network’s Property Brothers and Buying & Selling. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @MrSilverScott Follow Drew on Twitter @MrDrewScott









WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ROOM IN YOUR HOME? Does it have to be in my house? Truth is… my favourite room is outside of my house! Last summer, I built an outdoor deck with a fire pit. It’s 15 feet in the air and surrounded by trees for privacy. Glass railings and recycled resin Muskoka chairs make it perfect for my guests!

WHAT MAKES YOU LOVE IT? Being outside at night with friends and family sitting around enjoying each other’s company is where I’m happiest. There is nothing like having the stars as your ceiling and a crackling fire as your entertainment.

HAVE YOU RENOVATED THIS ROOM TO TURN IT INTO YOUR IDEAL SPACE? Renovated it? Heck no… I built in from scratch! I had an unused 60


hill slope where nothing would grow, so I turned it into useable space. A deck is a great way to take advantage of those awkward spots around the home because it’s so easy and forgiving to build.

and still allow a lot of light into a shady spot. Even the fire pit was placed on an insulated pad to reduce heat on the deck, and the design of the pit results in less sparks.


DOES YOUR ROOM HAVE A VIEW? Nothing but trees and the lake!

“living room”. I’m outside on it whenever I get the chance. It’s been my outdoor office, den, kitchen and entertainment area. The family loves to be outside as much as I do, so it’s our perfect little escape.

It’s heaven!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE DESIGN? I kept this space clean and simple. Working with one of the newest pressure treated woods (MicroPro Sienna), I was able to make the space feel rustic, but cost significantly less than if I used cedar. Glass railings keep the area feeling open

WHAT WOULD BE THE PERFECT ADDITION TO THIS SPACE? I’m proud of this simple space. wouldn’t change a thing! Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer with a focus on environmentally friendly design. His newest series, Critical Listing, teaches homeowners how to raise the value of their homes through outdoor renovations. Critical Listing airs Mondays at 9pm on HGTV Canada. (Visit CarsonArthur.com)





DESIGNER DRIVEWAYS Nothing increases your property value so dramatically. BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO Urbanites who choose a downtown lifestyle often have to put up with the drudgery of street parking. If you’re lucky enough to have a driveway – why not beautify it? Many folks have turned to stamped concrete, also known as pattern imprinted concrete, for a new luxurious look that replicates a natural texture without the price point of all-natural materials. Raffy Hanimyan, owner of Elite Designed Concrete, says stamped concrete sometimes has the reputation of being slippery. “But here at Elite we put the rumours to rest by mixing a non-slip additive into the sealer,” explains Hanimyan. “And that pretty much eliminates the slipperiness altogether.” Driveways can also be upgraded with a combined asphalt/stamped concrete look. For example, the bulk of the driveway can be composed of strictly asphalt, but then a decorative stamped cement flourish will frame the garage and continue to form a pathway towards the house’s front entrance. Though Elite offers a two-year warranty on all jobs, they encourage homeowners to reseal every 3-5 years. “Every driveway needs ongoing maintenance,” says Hanimyan, “Not only to protect it from the harsh elements, but to preserve the colour palate as well.” Scott Duff, owner of Aura Landscaping, insists interlock driveways are worth every extra penny they cost. “If you think about it, interlock has been with us since Roman times,” says Duff, “and that interlock is still standing. So its durability pretty much speaks for itself.” Costlier than stamped concrete or asphalt, interlock also requires a more intricate construction. “I’m usually going down 1820 inches into the land itself,” Duff notes, “As opposed to the 8 inches required by cement or asphalt.” For Duff, interlock offers what no other driveway can – design versatility. “Whatever you can imagine in terms 62


of colour or design, we can do,” he says. “There really is no limit.” And the return on investment with an interlock driveway is unparalleled. For clients with high-end properties, Duff insists only interlock will do. There’s no question that interlock ensures a beautiful curb appeal and makes resale a cinch. As a test, Duff challenges doubters to drive through an expensive neighbourhood to view homes side by side – those with asphalt and those with interlock. “Do the comparison yourself and you’ll notice that there is none. If I’m choosing between purchasing two expensive homes – and one has interlock and the other doesn’t – my decision has been made.” If higher-end options aren’t in the budget, a good clean coat of asphalt is a popular choice for giving your driveway a facelift. Sam Volante, owner of Nortown Paving, says asphalt delivers good value for the cost. “Let’s face it, asphalt remains popular because of its price,” says Volante. “But it’s also easy to maintain.” Having been in the business since 1978, Volante is partial to his product. “It’s no-nonsense,” he says, “And it’s a good product, especially if you are constructing the driveway onto a sandy soil.” While it’s possible to install asphalt onto clay-like soil, it can also slow down the water drainage during heavy rains – which puts the asphalt at a higher risk for cracking. Discuss this carefully with your installer before you go ahead. Regardless of your budget, everyone agrees that a driveway makeover is an easy way to add to the resale value and enjoyment of your home. With a bit of landscaping and accent lighting, a driveway upgrade can add serious curb appeal. Don’t overlook the potential!

LET IT GLOW Don’t let your designer driveway disappear when the sun goes down. You’ve built an incredible driveway and landscaped around it. Show off your masterpiece in style by bringing it alive at night. Beautiful landscape lighting shows off all the beauty you’ve worked so hard to create. Lighting is not usually a DIY project – it requires a practiced, artistic eye. It’s best to hire a landscape lighting expert who knows the ins and outs of angles and wattage. Have the professionals trick-out your property in environmentallyfriendly, LED brilliance to generate the perfect ambiance. Scott Duff recommends spending approximately 10-15% of the overall cost of your landscaping project on lighting to really show off your property. It’s under the soft hues of subdued lighting that your designer driveway really shines.





There’s more than one way to read a tape measure. Here are some expert tips on decoding this seemingly simple tool. BY JENNIFER FEBBRARO Ask YouTube how to boil an egg and you will get 83,200 instructional videos. It just goes to show that sometimes even the simplest procedures demand a more nuanced explanation. The same goes for the everyday task of reading a measuring tape. The seemingly self-evident device doesn’t come with instructions. It’s kind of assumed that once you pull the tape measure out for a project, you’ll glance down and the numbers, decimals or fractions will cooperatively jump out. “This is pretty much true if you are using the metric system,” says Keith Potts, national trainer at Milwaukee Tool Canada, who produces tape measures that are exclusively metric, exclusively “English” – or imperial, and both metric and imperial, which for beginners can be a visual overload. “Reading metric is easiest,” explains Potts, “simply because each centimetre contains ten millimetres and no fractions are involved. The difficulty comes in when you’ve got to convert the metric to the imperial system.” Stephen Fanuka, host of HGTV’s Million Dollar Contractor, has become an expert in reading imperial measurements. “While a lot of the world works with metric, the U.S. is one of the few remaining countries that still uses the British imperial system,” says Fanuka. “And because I’m in the U.S. so much, that’s the system I’m most accustomed to using daily.” When it comes to imperial measurements, division is key. Every ruler divides the inch, then subdivides it further. A line in the centre signifies a half inch. Then, each half inch is subsequently divided into quarter inches. Next, each quarter inch is divided into 64


eighths. And eighths can further be divided into 16ths. So maybe you get the breakdown – but how do you translate it into words? Fanuka says most people have a natural aversion to fractions, which makes the imperial system that much more challenging to decode. “Always read left to right and be sure to notice the lengths of each line as they signify quarter and half inch markers,” explains Fanuka. “All it takes is a bit of practice to make the whole process painless.” One mistake beginners often make is to state a fraction without reducing it to its lowest possible value. For example, they’ll write the measurement as 8/16”, instead of converting it to ½”. Though most imperial tape measures break the inch down into 16 parts, some go as far as dividing it into 32 small marks to get the most precise measurement possible. In the case of 32 divisions-per-inch, sometimes a magnifying glass can be a DIYer’s best friend. Avoid squinting – this can sometimes blur two lines together! Once your measurement is complete, be vigilant. The snap of the tape rapidly retracting back towards the casement can pack a nasty punch to your fingernail. That’s why Milwaukee has patented a Finger Stop mechanism to protect your thumb from getting caught. Still confused on the rules of the ruler? Check out RulerGame.net . The online site allows you to practice reading a number of different tape measure increments for free – all while turning it into a time-limited, recreational game. Once you get the knack, you’ll never look back.


Here are some quick tape measuring tips for the DIYer… IMPERIAL: First of all, don’t panic. Take a deep breath, especially if you are fraction-phobic. Figure out how your inch is divided – that’s going to be the bottom of your fraction to start. Next, count the number of lines to your measurement. That’s the top of your fraction. Finally, see if your fraction can be reduced, and presto – you’ve done the hard part (mathematically-speaking). Remember, one inch equals about 25 millimetres – something to keep in mind for quick conversions. METRIC: With 10 mm in each centimetre and 100 cm in each metre, the metric system makes measuring virtually effortless.
















USEFUL TIP – For a perfect fit every time, always work from top to bottom when installing, levelling and adjusting. Did you know that you can use your own hardware for your fridge handles? Customization makes for a seamless look.

Photos by Arash Moallemi, Iamphoto.ca HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE




Whose heart doesn’t stir at the sight of a boarded-up farmhouse or a dilapidated old barn? You could rescue it. Give it a full makeover. Love it forever! Not very realistic, of course. But thanks to the trend towards eco-solutions in design, elements of these old structures are being salvaged and repurposed in desirable new ways.

SOUL SEARCHING Celebrity designer and contractor, Danielle Bryk, embraces the beauty of repurposed wood in both traditional and contemporary settings. “Reclaimed wood is a direct contrast to many of the building materials favoured in today’s construction industry. MDF, particle board and melamine all have their place, but reclaimed wood instantly adds texture and warmth,” she says. “It adds soul and that is something you can feel instantly when you walk into a space. It is the difference between a pretty space with all the ‘right’ details, and a



space that makes you feel good.” Exquisite wall art, wall coverings, floors, custom furniture… reclaimed and upcycled wood is being showcased like never before in residential, office and commercial interiors. The bonus of this growing trend is a significant reduction in environmental waste. An underwater salvage company in eastern Ontario is a prime example. Logs End goes to great depths to retrieve timbers lost in the Ottawa River during 19th-century log runs, and mill them into wide plank floorboards. The recovery operation actually benefits the ecological balance of the river with minimal disturbance to marine life. Once harvested from the water, the quality and durability of this old growth hardwood is incomparable. Planed and dressed, the finished boards have a richness of colour, character and history that engineered flooring and laminate can never match.


UPCYCLED? TELL ME MORE Aaron Everitt is an expert in giving old wood new life. He defines upcycle this way: “Pretty simple. If it was going to be trash and was rescued for a better purpose, it’s upcycled.” Aaron’s family business, Everitt & Schilling Tile, recovers aged barnboard and hardwood from buildings in the American west and transforms it into decorative wood tiles with a stunning modern twist. The elegant patterns and rich texture capture the imagination of designers and homeowners, alike. Sold in a pre-set interlocking format, the tiles are convenient for professional contractors to apply with thin set. And DIY installation is a breeze with a premium construction adhesive

like Liquid Nails – “making it a great afternoon project for anyone with a little ambition and the ability to glue something to a wall.” No prep required, tiles can be applied right over existing masonry, drywall, brick or plywood. A zero VOC, water-based ceramic finish ensures the wood is moisture resistant and suitable for moderately wet areas, such as backsplashes in kitchen and bath. Aaron adds, “They won’t go in the shower yet, but we are always working on that!” Last year’s upcycled hardwood pattern, Parkwood, was a bestseller, and 2014’s unique Riverside pattern is already turning heads. “Our tiles instantly add aesthetic and dynamic beauty to even the smallest of

spaces,” says Aaron, “but the story behind reclaimed wood is the most compelling part. To think that you have a true piece of history on your wall, with all the folklore of the Wild West and Buffalo Bill, draws people to the product.”

ROAD TRIP! Why not give upcycling a go this summer? Architectural salvage yards and outdoor flea markets are famous for harbouring treasuresin-the-rough at bargain prices. A weathered cupola for the garden shed; corbels and brackets make great shelf supports; vintage dressers and cabinets – must-have components when lack of storage is an issue. Inspiration abounds, if you’re willing to poke around for the hidden gems. All Photos courtesy Everitt & Schilling Tile





A painted rug cures the “ugly duckling deck blues” BY ANITRA MECADON Well, it’s that time of year again... there’s a glimmer of sunshine, summer is on the way – and your deck looks like crap. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Mine does too! Basically, I like to refer to what we are suffering from as, “the ugly deck blues.” Here are a few ideas to get you tiptop and ready to rock without breaking the bank.

#1: PRESSURE WASH Don’t underestimate the power of a good pressure washing. It’s simple, it’s cheap and it’s effective. Totally my kind of fix! If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, then pick up the phone and call a guy. There are plenty of licensed and bonded companies out there that would love the work. Before pressure washing, my deck looked like it was ready for the boneyard. Pressure washing took a good 6 years of schmutz off my deck! If you don’t do anything else to update your patio this summer, at least do this. Tip: Be careful. If your pressure is too high, there is a chance you can scar the wood. Tip: Deck looking a little green? Grab an eco-friendly deck and patio cleaner to help get rid of the dirt and mildew for good.

#2: BRING THE INSIDE OUTSIDE Your deck or patio is your oasis. It allows you a little “mini vacation” every time you walk outside. How do you make it special? My trick – when redecorating your patio, think about what elements make the inside of your home comfy and cozy, and bring them outside, i.e. pillows, candles, canvas drapes & rugs. This will help you create a finished, layered look. Tip: Make a statement with pattern and colour – and not just with cushions! Pick 2-3 colours and stick with them. This will help you achieve that cool, tailored look.


I’m a city dweller, so the closest I can come to a backyard oasis is 160 square feet of wood slats. I got to thinking, area rugs are a great way to anchor a seating area and bring in pattern and funk. Why not just paint an area rug on my deck? It will add serious drama and hide the imperfections. Scared that you need to be artistic to do this? Don’t be! Well-placed painter’s tape and a stencil are all you need to knock this deck redo out of the park. Tip: I think DIYing is always better with company, so I enlisted my trusty sidekick Ross Barnard to help me out. I suggest you invite a friend along, too. 70


Photo courtesy of DIY Network

Somewhere, someone designed and stained the first deck and, ever since, we have all followed suit. The thing is, even though it’s nice, it never really feels “done”. My deck is about 9 years old, and has never been stained. Pressure washing made it look a heck of a lot better. If I were to stain it, I would be stuck using a semi-transparent or opaque stain in order to hide the age imperfections. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I wanted to kick it up a few notches.

A self-described “DIY, eco-friendly kinda chick who is not afraid to get her hands dirty,” Anitra Mecadon is a well-known designer and the host and design/build expert of Mega Dens. (Visit anitramecadon.com)



STEPS TO PAINT AN AREA RUG ON YOUR DECK Tools •Painter’s Tape • Stencil • Deck/Porch paint or something that can stand up to weather and heavy foot traffic. (I used Chalk Paint – not to be confused with chalk board paint. The Chalk Paint I used is made for outdoor use and is awesome if you’re interested in a vintage vibe.) • Tape Measure • Pencil or piece of chalk • Chalk line • Paint Brushes • Sponge rollers and paint trays • Repositionable spray glue for the stencil

STEP 1: Measure out and mark the perimeter of your rug. I wanted to create a border around my main design, so I marked off two rectangular areas.

STEP 2: Use the chalk line on your marks to snap a super straight line. STEP 3: Follow your chalk line with painter’s tape, making sure the tape is firmly in place. STEP 4: Lay down the base colour of your rug and let dry. I personally like when things look a little aged, so I chose not to do a solid coat of paint. I used a big brush to help me achieve this streaky finish.

STEP 5: Stencilling: Lightly mist the back of your stencil with repositionable spray adhesive. This will help anchor the stencil to the deck so there are less drips. Use a brush or sponge roller and paint over your stencil. Tip: When stencilling, less paint on your brush & light pressure is best, so the paint doesn’t leak under the edges of your stencil. STEP 6: Now that the main part of your rug is finished, you need to paint your border. Peel back the painter’s tap between the patterned area and border. Take fresh painter’s tape and place it on top of the stencilled part of the same line.

STEP 7: Paint the border, peel back the tape and enjoy. (If you are worried about wear and tear, you might want to add a protective coat. Make sure you use something that is meant to go outdoors!) Tip: I went a step further and did a light hand sanding on the entire painted rug to help achieve that vintage vibe and make it feel a little more worn. HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE








There may be no place like it, but home has changed. Once upon a time, our home was our “castle.” A place we struggled to keep in pristine shape, but scarcely relaxed in. Today, our home is our “haven.” It’s a place to live, love and enjoy family life to the fullest. We are transforming our homes into personal spaces where we entertain, cook fantastic meals, enjoy state of the art movies and music – things we used to go out to do. Along with this transformation comes the demand that each space is maximally functional, while looking as striking as possible. In my view, “Home Lifestyle” is today’s hottest trend. One room that is bursting at the performance seams is the mud room / laundry room combo. This hybrid room has always faced huge demands, but rarely delivers when it comes to function or form. Ungrouping these spaces is the first thing I do when designing for maximum performance. The mud room is the transition from outside to inside. It is a dedicated highway for the entire family, including pets. This is where we shed the winter wear, dirty boots, sports equipment and even the grime the dog drags in. The layout is your first challenge: make a list of all your demands and create a plan that delivers. Some elements to include are specialized storage spaces, cell phone charging stations, utility sink, dog wash, stand up dryers and more. The floor must be waterproof to withstand tremendous foot traffic. When selecting floor materials, look for surface textures that don’t allow dirt to gather and build up. Installing in-floor heating will add a luxurious feel, while keeping the floors dry and free of mildew. Your mud room works hard and needs to include the best in storage solutions. I prefer cabinetry for coat and shoe storage, instead of framed closets with doors – the walls take up valuable real estate and swing doors offer inadequate access. Drawers are key, so it’s important to properly plan the size and

number of drawers you need. The style and colour you select for the cabinetry sets the tone for the space, just remember, with the abuse and traffic this room takes, painted cabinetry can quickly show wear and tear.

durable because this room will surely see its share of chemicals and cleaning supplies; installing a quartz countertop, such as Cambria, will provide a resilient, beautiful and stain-resistant surface.

Designing the perfect laundry room depends on how much space you can dedicate. It doesn’t really matter where you locate it; although my preference is always on the second level of a home. Key elements to consider include the size and configuration of your machines. If they’re stackable, you can maximize your storage. If they stand side by side, a counter over the top will provide a valuable additional work surface. Either way, be sure to select machines with front-mounted control panels for proper access.

For ironing, you’ll need a well-lit area with a dedicated power source and enough room to move around. If space allows, tuck away the ironing board and iron into an all-in-one unit that fits into the wall cavity.

Create a flow within your laundry room that accommodates your work habits. For storage, use individual rolling hampers that tuck into open cubby spaces amongst the cabinetry. Place hampers close to the machines and make sure the machine doors open to allow for easy loading and unloading. Use fewer cabinet drawers in this space, in order to accommodate added linen and towel storage.

Porcelain tiles, quartz surfaces and even ceramics offer a beautiful floor surface with outstanding durability. Remember: these natural materials can develop an attractive patina over time, but may require ongoing maintenance. Treat a mud room dog wash like any other shower. Superior membranetype waterproofing systems, offered by companies like Schluter, should be considered in all wet areas, including this one.

Your floor should be made of waterproof material, with a drain in the centre of the room – especially if your space is located on the upper levels of your home. Choose a high-quality waterproofing system, since there is potential for leaks in this area. Sheet flooring, such as Armstrong Marmoleum, provides a seamless, water-resistant surface with endless design possibilities. Also, consider installing a unit like the Intelliflow automatic shut-off valve by Watts. It only opens the water lines when it senses an electrical draw from the machine, letting it know that it is in operation.


Choose a stylish faucet designed for the specific uses at hand. Whether it’s a deep stainless steel sink or a colourful apron-front sink (like the new Jonathan Adler collection from Kohler), you’ll love being in this space! Counter surfaces should be extremely

Finally, if your space is a little tight, consider installing a pocket door to eliminate crowding. Select colours that are bright and fresh, and don’t be afraid to bring a touch of personality to your spaces!


For a finished look, install pocket-style doors to hide the laundry appliances when they are not in use. Make sure washer and dryer doors open away from each other, so the load can be transferred easily from one machine to the next. Big box? Squat bottle? Design your cabinetry to accommodate specific sizes of items like detergent bottles. Owner of the Khachi Design Group, Ramsin Khachi is an established design/build contractor and popular industry expert. He appears on such shows as The Marilyn Denis Show and CityLine. (Visit: Khachi.com )





INSURANCE CHECK LIST: WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED! Accidents do happen. Make sure your home insurance gives the protection you need. BY STEPHEN FANUKA




Before you begin a renovation, or start building that extension to your home, you want to make sure you are protected in the event of an accident. Here are some basic steps you can take to protect yourself and your castle. The first step is to speak to your insurance agent and tell them exactly what you are doing. The added renovation will likely add more value to your home, so you may need additional coverage. Your agent will advise you. Make sure the new addition is specifically mentioned as “covered” in the policy. You also want to be sure the new tiles, lights, plumbing fixtures and other new fixtures and finishes you are buying and adding to the home are covered in the event of loss or theft. Don’t wait until after the renovation is done to visit your insurance agent. Make this your first stop. If you wait till after, and something goes wrong or gets stolen, you would likely not be covered. You’ll also want to check on the amount of liability coverage you have. For example, let’s say you and a friend are doing the renovation together. A DIY project where nobody is being paid. What if that friend gets hurt? You want to make certain you are protected from any law suits. Be sure to use a licensed plumber and electrician for you renos. Some insurance policies stipulate in fine print that, in the event of an accident, the company has a right to void your policy (and your claim) if the accident was caused by the work of an unlicensed plumber or electrician. Believe me, the insurance company will check. Make sure you also file all permits and have the required site inspections by your local building department. Trust me, the insurance carrier will check carefully and it’s required by law. Your contractor needs to have a workers’ compensation and disability policy, in case an employee gets hurt on your job. Your contractor also needs to have liability insurance.

I tell all my clients to make sure that you, the owner, is listed as the “Certificate Holder” on the insurance certificate the contractor will give you for your files. This is very important. Let’s say the contractor gives you proof of insurance and a week later he cancels the policy or doesn’t pay the premium on time. How will you know the policy was cancelled? Once you’re listed on the certificate as the “Certificate Holder,” the contractor’s insurance company is obligated to send you a letter notifying you of the pending cancellation of the policy, before it is cancelled. You could stop the job and make sure the policy is in force before an accident happens. You should also request a separate insurance certificate listing you, once again, as the “Certificate Holder” with each separate subcontractor or firm the contractor hires to work on the project. This includes the plumber, the tile man, the carpenter and others. Even debris removal guys. If they step onto the job site, they need to have insurance. To be safe, I suggest at the time of contract

that you require the contractor to list each subcontractor or firm by name, and provide their information, before you sign the contract. This way, you can assure yourself that you have everybody’s proof of insurance. No one likes to pay insurance premiums, and following my advice may even cost you a bit more. But nobody expects accidents to happen. When they do, I promise you will sleep a lot better knowing you are insured and still have a roof over your head. Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Now let’s get to work! Stephen Fanuka, host of Million Dollar Contractor, has built a reputation among decorators, architects and clientele in Manhattan as the go-to guy for highquality contracting and renovation. (Visit Fanuka.com)





SAVING MONEY LIKE A PRO What contractors don’t want you to know BY MATT BLASHAW It’s time. You’ve been saving every spare penny for the last few years and now you finally have enough to tackle that big project in your home. It’s tempting to just call a contractor and pay him whatever he asks to make your “problem” go away and turn it into the space of your dreams. But being so “hands off” can cost you big. Contractors will probably hate me for this article but, honestly, I don’t care. I’m here to help homeowners navigate through the crazy twists and turns of home improvement projects. I’ve been a contractor for years and have done everything from kitchens to bathrooms to backyard paradises. So let me be straight with you. As a contractor and business owner, not only did I want to make you (the client) incredibly happy with my work but, like every business owner, I also wanted to be profitable. There are certain ways I would increase my profit margin, though, that savvy homeowners could navigate around with a little time and know-how. Here comes the know-how:




OBEY THE THREE BID RULE Always get three bids on your project from three licensed and bonded contractors. Contractors will tend to charge more or less depending upon their schedule. If they are slammed with work, they might gouge you with a higher price, to see if you will bite. They are actually too busy to take the job but, if you pay big bucks, then it would be worth the stress. This is why sometimes you see huge differences in bids. If you’re not in a time crunch, try postponing your work to contractors’ slower periods (October December). Christmas doesn’t pay for itself!

COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES Get familiar with the materials each contractor is using, especially when it comes to cabinets, flooring, counters and fixtures. These can vary in price significantly, so make sure all the contractors’ bids are using the same quality products. Get the brand names. Some of these contractors say they “have a guy” that can get them the same quality products at a cheaper price. They steer you into another product, usually because they know the supplier and get “incentives” for buying from them. Research all the products and make sure they are under a good warranty. Make no exceptions! Once you are sure everyone is on the same playing field in terms of materials, then you can make sure they are on the same page with price.

BREAK THE BID DOWN Most contractors won’t break down their bids with materials and labour. This is so you can’t see how much they are actually charging for labour. Contractors can make even more money padding the labour bid for each project. Take, for example, a backyard project estimate to build a 20’ x 15’ shade structure. On the estimate sheet it will give you a “call out” of materials needed and an overall price of $12,000. Now, I don’t mind paying for good, high-quality labourers. In my experience, you get what you pay for. Just make sure that what you

are paying for isn’t too much. Simply write down all the materials they are using (add in 5%-8% for screws and hardware), call your local home improvement store and get a hard cost on the materials. Note, contractors sometimes get a price-break depending on the store. Make sure you are checking the price of comparable materials to what your contractor is using in your home. Subtract it from the total cost of the project and you should be left with a general idea of how much they are charging for labour. You also need to take into account a 10%-20% margin on each build for managing the job. It’s a standard contractor’s fee and really how they make the bulk of their money. If the labour price seems high, ask to know how many days it will take to complete the project and how much manpower will be needed. Talk the price down if the numbers aren’t adding up. This gives a clear picture that you mean business and they can save the “padding” for someone else.

SUB IT YOURSELF Every homeowner has the right to be an “owner-builder”. Simply put, you can pull permits, hire subs and do basic general contractor duties without having to hold a license. Just be sure to file the proper paperwork with your city first. So what is a subcontractor? Subcontractors are specialized trades for each area of the overall project (electricians, plumbers, drywall, carpenters and masons). If you have good organizational skills, and time to spend making phone calls and scheduling. To do this, you have to get a design drawn up, break down the build by trade, call in various subcontractors, give them the scope of work to be done and then find the best sub for the best price. If you’re a bargain shopper, this can be a fun game to play. Meeting the sub face to face lets you try to bargain, rather than having a contractor say it’s a set price that can’t change. Before attempting to manage your own

project, you should have some grasp of home improvement to figure out what subs will be needed when. Here is an example of the order in which to schedule your subs, after demo, for a kitchen renovation.

KITCHEN RENO SCHEDULE Framers or carpenters for any structural work Plumbers/HVAC Electricians Drywall Painters (makes it easier than having to tape off a bunch of fixtures or cabinets) Finish carpenters Flooring Counters Electrical/Plumbing finish work Subs don’t like their schedules bumped around, so add a little extra time between trades to ensure one trade is done before another comes in. Always hire licensed subcontractors that carry liability insurance. If someone gets injured on the job at your house without insurance, you may have to contact your home insurance company and file a claim.

DIY Try doing as much of the work yourself as possible. Demo is the best thing to tackle on your own because breaking things comes easy for most of us (including me). Also, take on any of the trades you are comfortable with. I would probably leave plumbing and electrical to the pros, but maybe paint and hanging cabinets are in your wheelhouse. Tackling a few items can take a big chunk out of the budget and also give you a sense of accomplishment. Now put on your workboots and start saving! Matt Blashaw, a licensed contractor and Realtor, is the host of Yard Crashers. Since 2006, he has hosted several TV series including Project Xtreme, Money Hunters, Blog Cabin and Professional Grade. (Visit mattblashaw.com)






HOSS COTTAGE GUIDE 2014 Mother Nature’s a hard act to follow.

The lake, the forest and the rocks of cottage country need no staging and the only guide you really need is a map to your cottage door. But… one can always accessorize! Turn the page and take a peek at some of the coolest, hottest and “funnest” products to make the most of what is already perfect — summer at the cottage BY CINDY MCGLYNN





BAKE ME A PIE BE OUR GUEST With their beautiful hand-painted and glazed appearance, they look like they came straight from the Italian countryside. In fact, these rope-trimmed plates are made from unbreakable melamine and are perfect for outdoor dining. Bowls, dinner plates and salad plates in sets of 4. $26-$34. PotteryBarn.com

DOUBLE DUTY DRAINER Perfect for washing and draining fistfuls of fresh berries, carefully gathered by small fingers, the Sink Station is a flat colander that has won piles of awards for its nifty, multipurpose design. Originally marketed to catch peelings in the sink – turns out it’s a super handy, all-purpose, movable, flat draining surface. About $15. Amazon.ca

Cottage pies are, by definition, to-die-for. How wonderful will they be, when Mom gets her hands on this? Designed in Canada and made from hard sugar maple, this Frenchstyle rolling pin is widely used by chefs, who find it easier to manoeuvre and clean than the more familiar, handled variety. $11.50. LeeValley.com

FRIENDS FOR DINNER WHICH CAME FIRST? The chicken or the Big Green Egg? Doesn’t matter much – as long as you have both, you’re on your way! Part grill, part oven, part smoker, those who know the Egg’s powers are nearly evangelical about the experience. The original, American-designed ceramic cooker is a versatile outdoor cooker, perfect for the cottage. Sizes Mini - XL 10”- 24” starting at approx. $300. BigGreenEgg.com



OOH LA LA Clearly, everything will taste better when enjoyed atop the luxurious Artemano freeform dining table with heavy wooden legs. Made from 3 solid slabs of Indian acacia wood, each piece has its own unique lines and natural curves. Available in 3 sizes, starting at $2900. Artemano.ca

A colour. A shape. Some things just conjure up simpler days and wonderful memories. This 10-piece, vintage-inspired pots and pans set by Greenspan and West Elm will take you back to the days when you were the kid and your own mom did the cooking. Nonstick ceramic coating over durable anodized aluminum distributes heat beautifully and can go from stovetop to oven. We love the Dutch oven and deep 3 quart skillet – great for feeding a crowd. $295.08. WestElm.com



GREAT FOR GARDENERS SMALL BUT MIGHTY A powerful trimmer, wheeled edger and minimower all in one package – the Worx GT 2.0 is perfect for uneven cottage terrain. The head tilts a full 90 degrees to let you trim in hard-to-reach places. And the rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery technology has a super long life, is lightweight and has no memory effect. A great tool. $129.99. Worx.com

TRANSFORMATIVE The name says it all. Available in a forest of finishes – from contemporary to rustic – Stikwood is the world’s first peel & stick solid wood planking. It’s easy to use (you peel it… you stick it) and designed for the DIYer to be able to transform a room almost instantly. Makes a stunning accent wall in the cottage. $10 - $20/square foot. EcoCreations.ca

These lightweight, ergonomically designed shovels come with 3 different shaft lengths (choose the most appropriate for your height), a wide D-shaped handle for a comfy grip and extra-large folded steps to give your foot a solid place to land. Strong. Efficient. Ready for your weekend. Green Heron Ergonomic Shovels, from 39-1/2”- 45”. $64.50. LeeValley.com

AFTER A HARD DAY’S WORK The dedicated weekend warrior deserves a break when the day is done, and Lee Valley’s heavy-duty quilted hammock is standing by! Made from a soft, yet extra strong, acrylic material that feels cottony to the touch, the hammock is UV, mildew and rot resistant – and very thick and comfy. With a bed size that’s 55” wide by 82” long, it can hold 2 adults (or a total of 450 lbs). The kit includes heavy-duty, zinc-plated steel chains and hardware for mounting to a tree or post. Quilted Hammock & Stand Set. $399. LeeValley.com

ONE CART TO RULE THEM ALL The Worx Aerocart is a multi-purpose tool suitable for dozens of moving projects around the cottage. The cart’s unique dual-position wheels make it function like a wheelbarrow, a hand truck or dolly, an extended dolly, a bag holder, a rock mover and more. Designed for easy use, the Worx Aerocart has been tested to show that it makes a 200 lb. load feel and move like 17 lbs. $199.99. Worx.com

TO HELP LIGHT YOUR FIRE Hand made in Sweden, this wall-mounted (or tree-mounted) wood splitter makes light work of preparing softwood kindling; splits most softwood in only a few strokes with safe, controlled movements. Softwood Kindling Splitter. $179. Lee Valley.com





WALKING ON WATER The Aqua Lily Pad pretty much wrote the book about fun at the lake. Made of a super buoyant cross-linked foam material designed for marine applications (like offshore buoys), these giant mats can float up to 1300 pounds. That’s a lot of family fun. When you’re done – you’ll never be done, but night will fall and winter will come – the whole thing rolls up for easy storage. The original Aqua Lily Pad measures 6 x 18’. $499. Aqualilypad.com


EARTH-FRIENDLY FUN The world’s first biodegradable beach toys are safer for our kids and our lakes. Zoë b Organic beach toys are made from corn, not petroleum. They’re completely free of toxic chemicals such as BPA or phthalates. If they ever were washed out to sea, or lost in the lake, they’d fully break down in 2 - 3 years (not 500 years like most plastics.) $22. zoeborganic.com

If you haven’t tried the latest water craze, you’re missing out on some terrific fun – and great exercise too. The Impulse 12 stand up paddle board is optimized for glide, tracking and speed on flat water. The 32-inch width offers stability, even for beginners! Streamlined, light and made from a strong fiberglass composite. Impulse 12. $1299. ATLdistributing.com

FAMILY FLOTILLA JUMP! Some things need no explaining! Put the Aqua Jump Eclipse in the lake and your kids, your neighbour’s kids, any and all kids will know exactly what to do. The trampoline has 30% more jump surface than similar water tramps because it has no heavy steel frame, making it lighter with more jumping space. Aqua Jump Eclipse Water Trampoline, 12-20 feet, $1799 and up. TrampolineCountry.ca



FOR THE PADDLING POOCH Comfortable and secure, this doggie flotation device is designed to provide extra swimming endurance for your pet. There’s a handler’s strap for easy recovery. Sizes: XS XL $25. ATLdistributing.com

Why should kids have all the fun? These loungers – complete with cupholders, and mesh floors to keep tootsies safe and sound – let the whole family in on the water action. Constructed of high quality PVC for extra durability, they’ll hold up to 10 people or 1,500 lbs. Malibu Lounger $575. ATLdistributing.com



PARTY ON WHEELS BEACH BALL, CORNER POCKET The Storm is a simple, elegant, Canadianmade outdoor pool table designed in sleek aluminum and available in 7’ or 8’ sizes. All 4 legs have levellers, and the table comes in a variety of colour choices with a table top option for use as an outdoor dining table. Completely weatherproof. $6495. CanadaBilliard.com

MODERN MUSIC BOX If you have a high-speed internet connection at your cottage, then you can get state of the art integrated audio, too. No winding required! Sonos system has HiFi wireless speakers and audio components that unite your digital music collection in one app, which you control from your favourite device. Simple controls and set up. Price varies depending on set-up. Liptons.ca

Portable, sassy and fun, this galvanized iron party trolley with wagon-pull styling is great both indoors and out. The metal bucket and tray are removable for easy cleaning, and the wagon is designed with fun features like an attached bottle-opener and stylized wheels. 26” wide x 16.5” deep x 33” high. $199. PotteryBarn.com


SERVING UP STYLE Functional and charming, these recycled wooden nesting trays are made from salvaged antique wood and fitted out with recycled hardware. Heavily constructed and full of character, the trays are a natural for the cottage. $149. Artemano.ca

No rainy cottage weekend is complete without a board game, or 5. Canadian Trivia is here for you and yours with their new family edition. Quiz cards ask madein-Canada questions with varying degrees of difficulty, so everyone can join in. (Easy question: “What country invaded Canada during the War of 1812?” A: United States of America. Hard question: “What is known as a “bismark” in Alberta,and a “jambuster” in Manitoba?” A: Jelly Doughnut). The game is suitable for kids 9 and older, and up to 6 people can play. $29.99. Outsetmedia.com

MEDITERRANEAN CHIC Keep your cool with this whimsical, vintageinspired Mykonos stripe ice bucket from the design wizards at Jonathan Adler. A blend of cool blues and a retro geometric pattern makes it an easy choice for a lazy day on the deck. Constructed from durable acrylic. $58. JonathanAdler.com







Handcrafted, each of these Jonathan Adler pillows glitters with beadwork, cross-stitch, satin-stitch and crewelwork. Available in several bright colours and whimsical designs. Cote D’Azur Fishing Line Throw Pillow. $150. JonathanAdler.com

Cottage furniture often does double duty. Made from natural and bleached braided jute with fine silver threads woven throughout, West Elm’s Glimmer Jute Pouf works well for casual seating, makes a cozy footstool and you can rest a tray on top for a temporary side table. Glimmer Jute Pouf. $175.90. WestElm.com

RUSTIC CHARM Topped with a heavy slab of acacia wood, this freeform coffee table by Artemano is a natural at the cottage. We love the contrast between the rustic top and the industrial metal legs. Freeform acacia coffee table. $1295. Artemano.ca


A CLASSIC – UPDATED The multi stripe blanket is a Canadian tradition. Pair it with natural coyote fur, crafted from Caroline Furs, and you’ve got a luxurious throw that will elevate your cottage décor in a handsome way. Hudson’s Bay Collection Multi Stripe Coyote Fur Throw, approximate measurements 43” x 60”, natural coyote fur and 100% wool. $2695. TheBay.com



MOOD LIGHTING Each of these artisanal lamps is unique – the intricate botanical designs created by cutting and hand-placing hundreds of small shells on a resin base. Illuminated, the lamps set the mood with a soft glow and a lacy filigree effect. Kai Shell Ambient Round Table Lamps, starting at $140.25. PotteryBarn.com

A cottage classic, the Muskoka style deck chair needs no introduction. This fanback style from Taylors Plastic is available in 21 colours and is hand crafted in Baillieboro, Ontario. The chairs are made with plastic lumber formed from recycled plastic and rust-resistant hardware, and backed with a 20-year warranty. Fanback Chair. $295.00 each. TaylorsPlastic.com



A NEW TWIST ON A CLASSIC DESIGN This limited edition, eco-conscious deckchair is made in Quebec with locally sourced wood and hand printed canvas. The chair reclines in 4 different ways for ultimate comfort and comes in unique pink and green hand prints. Deckchair. $395 (wholesale). FoutuTissu.com

MAMA MIA Small and portable, the Uuni wood-fired pizza oven is the go-to accessory for cottagers and campers, too. Within 10 minutes of lighting the oven, you can start cooking. About 4 minutes later – pizza is served! Easy to store and transport, the Uuni is the most affordable woodfired oven on the market. Uuni Wood-Fired Pizza Oven. $299. OutdoorPizzaOvens.ca

YOU’LL FIND ME IN THE TREE HOT STUFF The Finns know that nothing beats a hot sauna. The ultimate cottage luxury, this “Country Living” Barrel Sauna from Saunacore comes in an easy-to-assemble kit and is made to survive the elements with Canadian tight-knotted cedar, weather resistant bands and other hardy features. The space saving design has 25% less heating volume than a similarly sized square room. “Country Living” Barrel Sauna, 6’x6’. $7000. Saunacore.com

DECK THE HALLS WITH CHAIRS AND PLANTERS A simple way to brighten up corners and add a pop of colour to your deck, designer planters come in a rainbow of modern styles and colours. We like the texture and classic shape of this style from Modern Accent, an outdoor design company whose planters have unique watering systems. Sold in a set of 3, ranging in height from 22” to 40”. $420/set. ModernAccent.ca

Part swing, part nest, this super fun space to relax is a whimsical interpretation of the Mexican weaver bird’s nest. Cacoon is safe and strong for adults and kids and comes in a variety of colours. Good luck getting your kids out of it. $340 Single, $500 Double. Hang-in-Out.com

JUMPING BEANS Possibly the world’s most fun invention, the trampoline certainly helps kids – and grownups – make the most of summer fun. This 10’ x 14’ model from Trampoline Country has an extra-wide vinyl frame pad, an 81 square foot jumping surface and a top rail made from 12 gauge galvanized steel. In other words: it’s built for maximum good times. 10’ x 14’ Rectangular. $1895. TrampolineCountry.ca HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE




Brand spanking or just-like-new, white appliances are back in favour – big-time. BY ALISON VICTORIA Move over stainless, it’s time for a whiteout! Kitchen trends are unpredictable and there really is no timeless look for home appliances. Although I love stainless, it’s had a long run, and with all of the “crashes” under my tool belt I’ve been wondering: what’s next?


Small appliances that we use every day shouldn’t have to be hidden away. Stylish products like the Artisan Design Series Stand Mixer by Kitchen Aid can be on display all the time. I like that Kitchen Aid offers so many colours (including frosted pearl white!) and they always look great sitting out on the counter. Also making a striking countertop statement is SodaStream’s award-winning Source –contemporized with a signature wood finish by industrial designer Yves Béhar. A simple touch transforms water into soda with precise carbonation for every use, while the detailed finish gives Source Wood a refined, luxurious look that’s right at home in full view. I’m often skeptical about answering the question “what’s trending?” because it’s very expensive to do a kitchen. On shows like Kitchen Crashers, we give great ideas but just because a

White-on-white-on-white is on fire, and companies and kitchens alike are eating it up! So whether you’re in the market for new white appliances, or just trying to make old ones look new again, here are some white hot inspirations for making it work!


Remember the avocado green in Grandma’s kitchen? We gawk at it now, as a forever reminder of the ‘70s. One day, we’ll look back at stainless and think – totally ‘90s and 2000s. But white? It just keeps coming back for more. If you’re a fan of nostalgia, Big Chill has a line of vintage-style appliances designed with all the modern amenities and a fun array of colours, including, of course, classic white. A retroinspired refrigerator is a very cool complement to an eclectic kitchen design.


Opting for a contemporary white kitchen doesn’t mean you have to go “ultra-modern.” You can still buy stainless appliances with all the features you love – the difference is, there are new models that accept custom panels to blend in seamlessly with your cabinets. An awesome option, if white on white is what your heart desires.



Times are changing, and people are moving away from the highmaintenance finish of stainless to the soothing, no-smudge appeal of white. The Brilliant White Plus Series by Miele offers “a puristic design” for the kitchen; a clean canvas to showcase other relevant elements in a “functional, enchanting and inviting space.”

room looks good on TV, doesn’t mean it’s the right style for you. Sure, a herringbone backsplash might be gorgeous now, but what about next year? Whatever you decide, remember you’re going to be living with your choices for quite some time.

The Ice Collection from Whirlpool also delivers the goods: Streamlined contemporary appliances with subtle textures and elegant colours, such as White Ice, for a truly stunning impression.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are over 100 shades of white, so colour matching everything from paint, to cabinets, to tiles is key to realizing the beautiful white kitchen of your dreams.


Alison Victoria is an interior designer and the host of Kitchen Crashers. She is a guest designer on Hotel Impossible, owns Alison Victoria Interiors and has her own line of furniture. (visit alisonvictoria.com)





Nathaniel Bruce (left) and Steve Conboy in Breezy Point, NY just 3 weeks after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc.

BUILDING FOR GOOD: THE BEST DEFENSE IS A GOOD OFFENSE Meet a visionary ‘carpenter from Brooklyn’ who’s on a mission to make the world a better, safer place BY LORIE STEINER

Steve Conboy is a man of action – a passionate, fast-talking former New Yorker intent on changing the lumber industry, for good. As President & CEO of Californiabased Eco Building Products, Steve knows that when disaster strikes, be it Mother Nature or man-made, it’s not enough to rebuild using traditional methods and materials, and hope it will stand up better next time. He and his team have spent the last few years researching and developing innovative wood products with superior resistance to fire, mold, wood-rot, insect damage – and new construction components and techniques that withstand seismic activity and hurricane-strength winds. In the process, his company is providing countless jobs for the unemployed, shelter for the homeless, disaster relief support around the globe, as well as teaching others the skills necessary to 88


carry on safer, sustainable building practices. Surrounded by talented, like-minded employees, Steve’s tenacity and concern for social accountability have raised the bar for construction standards and caused a galeforce controversy amongst the ‘old boys’ club of lumber barons. And he’s only just begun. TAKING THE PLEDGE Nathaniel Bruce is a former US Marine and Fire Service professional, who joined Eco Building Products two years ago and is now the company’s Home Depot National Accounts Manager. “I applied for an internship through a program called Pledge2Vets,” Nathaniel explains. “This program was designed to connect military Veterans with great companies offering real jobs. Steve interviewed me for 10 minutes and simply said, ‘You don’t have to look for a job anymore, you’re now Eco. You’ve

served our country, this is the least I can do to repay you.’ That’s the kind of person he is – all action with a heart of gold.” Home improvement specialist and TV host George Oliphant first met Steve Conboy while shooting an episode of George to the Rescue in California. “We were filming the stor y of a house build for a former Marine Sgt., who had 3 purple hearts for valor in combat, but now found himself desperately needing help. Steve stepped right up to the plate.” On that project, and again when Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast, Steve was quick to respond with whatever was needed. “We did a show in New Jersey after the storm,” says George. “It was a house rebuild for an older Veteran and his wife. Steve supplied the lumber, the manpower and, most


On these pages, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the numerous beneficent endeavours that Steve Conboy and Eco Building Products actively support. To learn more (and we hope you will) visit EcoB.net. Follow the progress as we begin rebuilding HOSS House, at HOSSmagazine.com and in upcoming issues of HOSS Magazine.

importantly, educated the entire crew. I truly believe his motivation comes from the heart.” WHERE THERE’S SMOKE… While Eco Building Products is in the business of selling lumber, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Defensive building practices fuel the forward momentum. Eco Red Shield was developed as an eco-friendly topical coat to strengthen and protect lumber and turn vulnerable wood into material you can trust. The coating protects the lumber from common enemies - wood rot, termites, mold - and reduces fire spread. The fire resistance factor alone is unlike any seen before. Thinking the product claims were too good to be true, George Oliphant sat in on an experiment. “There was a test pile of kilndried wood, doused with gasoline and set on fire. It went up in no time. With the Eco

Red Shield wood, the gas burned off and the fire went out without a spark. They also have a product that encapsulates existing mold, and waterproofs to protect from future damage, meaning far less impact on the landfills. These products could revolutionize the industry, but it’s an uphill battle with traditional suppliers and architects unwilling to spec.”

homeowners, occupants and first responders in the case of a fire, and he’s not afraid to step up and do something about it. He’s taking his pent-up anger over the radical fire-related problems associated with builder’s grade kiln-dried lumber, OSB and the sheeting that’s used on the majority of homes today, and channelling it towards change.

Here at HOSS we have a personal interest in fire protection. We are starting the rebuild of HOSS House – a bungalow that totally succumbed to flames after a gas leak last September – and we don’t want to risk anything like that happening again. So, when it came to choosing materials, there was no question as to what type of lumber would be used. Without a doubt, Eco Red Shield will eliminate sleepless nights worrying about another tragedy. Steve Conboy recognizes the risk posed to

Steve’s untiring efforts continue to make a huge difference to lives in North America and around the world – from constructing modular Eco-shelters in the Philippines, a hospital in Haiti and houses for the homeless in the States, to providing jobs and training for those in need and promoting awareness of eco-friendly, sustainable solutions. To Steve and his dedicated team of safebuild revolutionaries … we salute you!




DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME! When is a roofing fix a DIY job, and when should you call in the pros? BY LILY SLAIN

The words “You need a new roof” can strike terror in the hearts of homeowners. It’s tempting to splurge on a new kitchen and pinch pennies on roofing maintenance, but this can be a false economy, and there are limits to the jobs that homeowners should attempt themselves. For instance, amateurs should never try to get up onto a steepsloped roof – that task requires proper fall-prevention gear. “In some cases you can get a pretty good look at your roof from



the ground,” says Ed Staroba, general manager for roofing product manufacturer EcoStar. “Rather than taking the risk of going up on your roof, use binoculars,” advises Alyssa Hall, director of marketing communications for roofing manufacturer GAF. “Perhaps the most underused and underrated method is to start in the attic. If you see any moisture at all, that is the quickest sign that there will be problems.”


Staroba has more great advice. “You should perform at least an annual inspection, and keep your roof free of debris. A homeowner should inspect their property for trees in poor health that may land on their roof. Keep an eye out for ice buildup around your eaves, because it is generally an indicator for inadequate ventilation.” He adds, “If you identify a problem with the field of your roof, with some study and care you should be able to effect some

repairs.” He suggests that touch-ups to shingles or caulking, affecting less than 40 square feet, should be possible for the average homeowner. “But stay away from creating new penetrations, such as those needed for a skylight or a wood stove.” Damage that is more extensive, or any sign of deterioration to shingles, flashing or roof structure, will need professional attention. Replacing a flat roof is another pro project because it involves work with a torch and hot tar, which can be fire risks.

What’s New in Roof Repair? Architectural laminate shingles: Offered in many colours, these give a three-dimensional look to the roof, and are rapidly replacing traditional three-tab shingles. “Studies suggest that a designer roof can add about 6% more value to a home,” says Alyssa Hall of GAF. Lifetime warranties: These are becoming standard, however, even a lifetime warranty can be voided if the products are not

Also, damage caused by underqualified or non-insured workers can void the warranty and possibly the insurance. Look for a professional with 20 years’ experience who will provide proof of insurance and manufacturer certifications. Is the roofer replacing all flashing and vents, as well as the roof itself? They should. Are they economizing on materials? If the price quote doesn’t reflect these things, the lowest estimate may not be the bargain it seems.

installed by a contractor who’s certified by the manufacturer, or if the rest of the roof deteriorates. Steel roofing: Environmentally friendly and long-lasting, a steel roof can cost as much as three times the price of shingles, but it can last 50 years. Green roofs: Rooftop greenery reduces cooling costs, but it requires specialized materials, and few houses are designed to bear the added weight. HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE







MY FAVOURITE TOOL THE TOOL THAT I THAT I USE THE HAVE TO REPLACE MOST IS… THE MOST OFTEN IS… The relationship that I have with other experts, contractors, designers, hosts and the like. I love asking for help and different ideas. Learning from other people is one of the best parts of my job.

Blades, Bits and Batteries!!



I’m all about having a variable speed cordless hammer drill near me all the time. It’s good for so many different situations – from small craft projects to drilling into concrete. It’s also great for pretending you’re on a S.W.A.T. team!


I WISH THERE WAS A TOOL FOR... This is one I can’t answer, because as much as I’ve seen, I haven’t seen everything!

THE TOOL I USE FOR SOMETHING OTHER THAN ITS PRIMARY PURPOSE IS… A flathead screwdriver gets used for a lot more than just driving screws. It’s a good chisel, demo tool, pry tool, elevation tool, measuring stick – I’ve even used it to spread the mayo on my sandwich!


I THINK THE MOST UNDERUSED TOOL IS… The courage to ask for help.

Safety glasses get misused by not being used.

tool I keep my eye, and mind, on the most is the table saw. The blade is moving over 100mph on the outside edge! It seems like a simple tool, but any type of kickback or small distraction can completely change your day!

THE TOOL I AM MOST LIKE IS… A sledgehammer – because I like to come in, clear out the things I don’t need and start with a clean slate… As host of the DIY Network series DIY Dominator, Tool expert and avid do-it-yourselfer Chris Grundy is living his dream working with tools and chillin’ with home improvement fanatics. On Cool Tools, he gets a sneak peek at the very latest do-it-yourself tools. Chris also hosts HGTV’s Home Strange Homes and Professional Grade. Blog Cabin Season 8 premieres July 28 at 9:30 p.m. ET/ PT on DIY Network. Twitter: @ TheChrisGrundy


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Home improvements that are easy on the earth, and your wallet. BY DANIELLE BRYK “Eco-friendly” doesn’t always mean “budget-friendly” and it can be frustrating that doing the right thing is usually the more expensive thing. Here are some ways you can improve the eco-friendly rating on your home, without breaking the bank.

NATURAL VENTILATION has been used for centuries to help regulate indoor temperatures and improve air quality. You can use it in your own home to move warm, stale air out and circulate cooler, fresher air in. The trick is to have an opening high up in the building, so that hot air will rise and escape, and fresh, cooler air will enter through lower windows. In my house, we installed a vented skylight on our third floor, right above the staircase, which allows all of the hot air to escape throughout the day. We don’t even turn on the air conditioning. To truly capitalize on the effect, you should have a cross breeze with your lower windows to maximize airflow.

SHADING is an important part of natural cooling. In the winter, you want to make the most of your south-facing openings to allow in the sun’s heat. In the summer, of course, these openings should be shaded. Traditional shutters, when the slats are at the right angle, are a fantastic way to shade the house, while still allowing ventilation. There is something very grounding about being more connected with the natural, physical world, and you can enjoy these rituals of shading the house in the heat of the day and opening up the house in the evening.

INSULATING your home can have the biggest impact on your household energy consumption. There are many options available when renovating or building from scratch, but even if you’re not renovating you can do things like adding insulation to your hot water pipes, draft-proofing your windows and doors, upgrading windows

to double or triple glazed varieties or even just adding blinds with insulating properties – these are a great way to add another layer of insulation.

REDUCING YOUR WATER CONSUMPTION is one of the most important things we can do to help the environment. Install new water-saving fixtures or retrofit your existing ones with flow-restricted or aerated ones. And consider low-flush toilets and energy-saver appliances. Put a rain barrel under exterior downspouts to collect rainwater that you can use to tend to your garden or clean the yard. Simply place the barrel under your downspout (you may need to cut the downspout and configure the elbow, so water flows into the barrel) and start collecting. Most barrels are equipped with a hose that allows you to transfer the water to a watering can, but you can add a pump that will allow you to spray it. That manicured, green lawn that is often so hard to achieve and maintain is beginning to look outdated. Innovative landscape design can create stunning yards that work with your situation (soil, sunlight, water runoff) to give you an outdoor space that is much lower maintenance. When it comes to your garden, don’t plant high-maintenance, thirsty plants. Look for species that are native to the climate that won’t require excessive watering.

PRODUCE LESS WASTE To me this is the most important step in caring for our planet. We can do this by purchasing well-made products that need to be replaced less often; goods that are recyclable and biodegradable with minimal packaging, and things that are produced locally. We can also do this by not buying products we don’t need. Renovating and making home improvements is fun and it can make a more energy efficient space, but sometimes the truly eco-friendly option is to make do with what we have. If you do decide to renovate or make improvements, keep these things in mind: Choose low VOC paints and glues, materials that are sustainable (like Forest Stewardship Council certified wood which comes from a “responsible” source) or materials that have a low carbon footprint. Luckily, decorating with the mantra “reduce, reuse and recycle” in mind has never been more fun. Using reclaimed lumber, buying vintage furniture and upcycling are right on trend and can help you create a space with character in every sense of the word.

Danielle Nicholas Bryk is a designer and licensed contractor, currently filming Bryk House, which follows the launch of her design and project managing company,The Bryk House. (Visit DanielleNicholasBryk.com)









HOSS’ five fab product picks A CLEAN SLATE GE Appliances Bottom Mount French Door Refrigerator in Slate shows off GE Appliances’ newest premium finish – a warm, low-gloss metallic and a refreshing alternative to stainless steel. It resists fingerprints, making it easy to keep looking clean and polished. Whether you’re replacing a single appliance or an entire kitchen, slate is a timeless finish that blends beautifully to help your kitchen stand out. Suggested retail price: $1649. Visit GEappliances.ca for local retailers.





TXTR-LITE is a lightweight, flexible, colourful and unique natural stone veneer with unlimited application possibilities. Each sheet will be different, as every piece consists of a thin layer of real stone – no two stones are ever exactly alike – backed by a polymer composite, which adds flexibility and strength while keeping the weight to a minimum. TXTR-LITE™ is also waterproof, once installed, and effectively creates a tough moisture barrier. 1 to 2 millimetres thick, these stone veneers are easy to handle, flexible, weather resistant and beautiful. Cost: $10 - $20/sq. ft. Txtr-lite.com

Turn one bedroom into two with a desk-bed from Hiddenbed Canada. This innovative design creates space as it interchanges quickly and effortlessly between a comfortable bed and a full-size workstation. Ideal for small spaces, condos, kids’ room, offices, cottages, student housing or in rooms accommodating occasional guests. Add optional shelving, hanging drawers, and lighting for a full customizable experience. Canadian-made. Available in Single, Double & Queen. Call 905-764-7265 or visit Hiddenbedcanada.com



Are you finishing your basement? Get the job done 5x faster using DRIcore SMARTWALL. The all-in-one engineered wall panel requires fewer steps, less time and less labour to finish your basement, by combining framing, insulation, drywall and a vapour barrier in one fast step. SMARTWALL’s patented “Micro Bevel” edge detail eliminates the traditional taping stage of finishing the drywall surface. To learn more, visit Dricore.com or call us at 1-866-767-6374.

Introducing the DECOLAV Matt Muenster Exclusive Collection Limited Edition Rylan Falls vanity and mirror. Its dynamic form is accented by the vibrant solid surface countertop and seamless lavatory with tempered glass and solid surface waterfall edge. It features exotic purple Macassar real wood veneers, signature door pulls and functional LED mirrored medicine cabinet. For pre-orders visit DECOLAV’s showroom locator to find a kitchen and bath wholesaler nearest you! Decolav.com HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE




Save your flip-flops for the poolside – summer DIY projects call for a head-to-toe cover up. BY LORIE STEINER With hot temps and cold brews on tap, outside is where we want to work and play this summer. Building a deck, primping the garden… maybe a full-scale backyard makeover. Whatever the plan, protecting yourself from injury is a #1 priority. Here are some of this season’s best offerings – from steel toes to straw hats – everything under the sun to keep you cool, comfortable and safe.


The longer you’re exposed to harmful UV rays, the higher SPF (sun protection factor) you need; SPF X 10 = approx. minutes of effective sunscreen coverage before bare skin burns. Recognized by the Canadian Dermatology Association, Life Brand Sunthera3 Sport SPF 30 waterproof spray is ideal for working outdoors in the heat. For touch-ups, try the convenient, non-greasy Sunthera3 SPF 60 face stick. (Spray $10.99, Stick $11.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart, shoppersdrugmart.ca)


The new CoolFlow body in these GAR227 kneepads by Tommyco lets air flow through the outside panels to help your knees stay cool. Patented pressure-dispersing covers re-direct pressure away from the knee, so you can work in comfort for longer periods of time on a wide range of surfaces. Available at major home & garden centres throughout Canada. (Prices vary. Tommyco www.kneepads.com)

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? The innovative MP3 Earmuff by Stanley is specially designed for use with MP3 players, mobile phones and other personal listening devices, while its noise reduction rating of (NRR) 25 provides great hearing protection in moderate noise environments. Volume Management technology manages sound levels reaching the user’s ear at a safe level. High-fidelity sound quality is on par with professional headphones. ($49.99 Canadian Tire, canadiantire.ca)


Wearing protective eyewear is crucial – it can also look good. Workhorse safety glasses are designed with style in mind – combining the latest trends with the ultimate in safety standards for eye protection. Lightweight wraparound design features excellent front and side coverage; the lens is impact and abrasion resistant with antiscratch coating and 99.9% UV protection. ($8.79 Workhorse Frameless Safety Glass Clear Lens at Home Depot, homedepot.ca)




Perfect for everyday use in DIY projects and construction, the Elipse P3 Respirator Mask protects against dust particles, metal fumes, mists and vapors. It is lightweight with unobtrusive filters, offers 40% lower breathing resistance and an improved face fit to eliminate leakage and increase comfort. 4-way adjustable strap. NIOSHapproved. Refills available. ($49.99 Elipse P3 Respirator Mask; Online only at homedepot.ca)



Building, renovating, mowing the manor lawn… sweating in heavy footwear isn’t fun, but don’t be tempted to cheat. Steel-toe boots and shoes aren’t a suggestion, they’re must-have partners for outdoor work. These stylish performers from Mark’s deliver in spades. Check out the Men’s 6” Dakota Sabre Quad Comfort Workboot. (Men’s $119.99 at Mark’s, marks.com)


Tough as nails, built to last. The Mechanix Wear CG Impact Glove has extremely durable palm & finger panels for maximum comfort and protection. The padded palm reduces vibration on hands, while the new molded rubber exoskeleton design protects hands and knuckles. Stretched spandex top increases flexibility for easy movement. Comes with a 2 year warranty. ($44.99 Canadian Tire, canadiantire.ca)

IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST… Timbrrr… Heavy duty jobs with the chainsaw require serious headgear, like the high-visibility Husqvarna Woodsman Helmet. Impressive features include an orange hard hat with UV protection, 6-point suspension system, 25db (A) NRR hearing protection and a safety screen to reduce the risk of debris striking the face. ($66.78 Husqvarna at Lowe’s, lowes.ca)

You don’t need a hard hat to work in the garden, but shelter from the sun is still a great idea. These colourful straw hats are just the thing to keep you cool and covered. Save your hands from slivers and scratches with a pair of stylish, hard-working Goatskin palm gloves. Lookin’ fine, ladies. (MidWest Gloves & Gear – Hats and gloves both $14.99 at major home & garden centres across Canada)


For tricky situations, where you don’t want to be near the intended target, this simple Spray-Can Pole Adapter lets you operate an aerosol can remotely – out of harm’s way. Example: a wasp nest. The can is held close to the nest for precise spray application, while keeping you far from the angry buzz and the spray. Better still, no ladder required to reach the mark. ($25.95 Lee Valley Tools Ltd., leevalley. com)


With these simple, cuff-like Vibration Dampeners, using trimmers and other shaftdriven power tools is a much less bonerattling experience. Made of advanced elastomer with outstanding shockabsorption, the dampener attachments take up vibrations in the shaft and harmlessly dissipate the energy into the air. Used in pairs; easily mounted; weigh only 4 oz each, so they don’t throw off the trimmer’s balance. ($19.50/pr. Lee Valley Tools Ltd., leevalley.com)




ALL ABOUT METALLICS Two glittering DIY projects.

Decorating with metallics can add a touch of class and it can be done in all kinds of unique ways. Love the trend, but not sure where to start? Here are two unique projects that demonstrate the possibilities of incorporating metallics into your décor.

PROJECT 1: COPPER CANDLE HOLDER While wandering around my local hardware store, recently, I found myself in the plumbing aisle. Not exactly a designer’s dream. Until I realized that I was surrounded by copper piping parts. Now, copper is one of the biggest trends in interior design – and I love the colour and sheen. It tends to be fairly expensive, but this DIY project is a cheap way of creating a copper piece that is guaranteed to be unique. Back to the hardware store, surrounded by copper plumbing parts; each sold separately and crying out to be joined together to create a candle holder. The possibilities for this one are just endless! Build a smaller one to hold one candle or create a bigger piece for more candles. The only thing to keep in mind with this project is to test to make sure the different parts fit together before you buy them. I spent a good 10 minutes playing around with these in the store to create a perfect fit. Also, make sure your creation is stable, after all you are putting candles in there which do have a flame. My tip is to lay out all the pieces first; then create a design that you like and glue the parts together using special super glue for metal. You’ll find that at your hardware store, too. If your candle doesn’t fit perfectly in the copper piping (I used 3/4” piping), wrap some aluminum foil around the candle base before putting it in. This project is super easy and creates a unique look that is right on trend!




PROJECT 2: METALLIC GOLD BED FRAME The second project is to make over an old wooden bed frame. My frame was a find from an online website and was originally dark brown. The dark colour gave the bed frame a heavy and old look, so I chose to update it with golden metallic paint from my local hardware store. Remember: prepping is crucial to ensure your outcome is successful. I began by sanding the bed frame down (you can do this by hand or with the help of a sanding machine). Then, using sponge brushes to avoid making visible brush strokes, I gave the frame two coats of a sheer metallic paint that allows the wood grain to show through – ensuring the piece doesn’t look too dense. I also removed the three spiral posts attached to the bed frame, to update the piece and bring it into 2014. The metallic gold gives it a nice sheen that regular paint just would never achieve. This is an easy, fun and affordable way to enjoy the metallic trend and indulge in a little weekend DIY fun, too! Give it a try. You’re craftier than you think!

When Louise Johnsen was growing up in Sweden, she loved to spend time redecorating her friends’ rooms. Today, she is attending Interior Design school in LA. She enjoys thrift store shopping and upcycling. She lives for those rare days when she stumbles across a classic mid-century piece.





First impressions are lasting. Whether it’s meeting new people, visiting new places or arriving at the doorstep of your home, the first reaction matters. There’s no better way to make a welcoming statement than by applying a splash of glorious colour to your front door.

SEEING IN COLOUR Ramp up your curb appeal with an eye-catching front door… Welcome home! BY SHARON GRECH


With so many choices, picking the perfect paint can seem overwhelming. It might even take longer than the actual painting. I recommend you start by looking at an edited palette like Benjamin Moore’s Affinity Collection or Historical Collection. With 300 or so colours to choose from, you are likely to find the perfect hue that has just enough zing to add curb appeal but is not so radical that it competes with its surroundings. For a warm welcome that evokes sunshine and summer’s warmth, give yellow a try. One of my favourites is Hawthorne Yellow HC-4. If you’re bored with traditional red, try the hot Salsa Dancing AF-280 to spice things up. On the cooler side of the spectrum, Benjamin Moore’s colour of the year for 2014, Breath of Fresh Air, is just as appealing outdoors as in. Like any paint project, the preparation time is critical to ensure a perfect finish. Don’t skimp here. Ensure the door is clean and sanded smooth before starting. If necessary, prime it too. My paint choice for the front door is Benjamin Moore’s Aura Exterior in a semi-gloss finish. It goes on smooth and withstands the rigor of even the most punishing climate. It’s amazing how a front-door colour makeover can transform your whole façade, even creating the illusion that the entire exterior has been refreshed, when a real update might actually be another year or two away!






WHEN I’M NOT WORKING I LIKE TO… Watch sports, smoke cigars and play golf.


This is an easy one. Rare steaks are a staple. Oddly, I also eat soup and eggs every day.

MY FAVOURITE HOME RENO SHOW IS… My friend Scott McGillivray’s show Income Property on HGTV is phenomenal.


My author girlfriend Dominique, and my cats Ron and Samantha.


An African safari, visiting Vietnam and getting to see Australia.


Sitting behind home plate at Yankee Stadium on an 80 degree day, with my girlfriend Domi beside me, smoking a Liga Privada No. 9.


Robert Shiller from MIT is one of my favourites. I read my colleague from CNBC Diana Olick’s blog and Nick Timiraos from the Wall Street Journal every day. I also enjoy Cigar Aficionado.

MY FAVOURITE MOVIES ARE… The Godfather, Boiler Room and For the Love of the Game



THE MOST RELAXING ROOM IN MY HOME IS… My master bedroom. I invested in a phenomenal Tempur-Pedic mattress and black-out blinds. Can’t beat it.


Before I sold real estate, I was a career firefighter. Mike Aubrey is the TV Host for HGTV’s Powerbroker and is a licensed realtor in Mar yland, Virginia and Washington DC – where he is the team leader of Mike Aubrey and Associates for Re/Max Metropolitan Realty. Mike’s real estate prowess and obvious charisma earned him guest spots on HGTV’s House Hunters and Get it Sold. Sensing a star in the making, HGTV created Real Estate Inter vention, which capitalized on Mike’s no-nonsense way of delivering bad news to homeowners, and aired for 5 successful seasons. 2013 saw the debut of yet another Mike Aubrey vehicle: Powerbroker. This time Mike worked with buyers and was able to flex his considerable muscle as one of the best negotiators in the business. Watch Powerbroker on HGTV and HGTV Canada. Check local listings for show times.












TRADITION WITH A TWIST Incorporate country elements into your contemporary kitchen. BY SARAH B. HOOD You’ve installed your dream kitchen; time to decorate! Chances are, you’ve gone for a sleek, minimalist look. Can you still add a touch of rusticity? “Absolutely,” says Frank Turco, creative director of Turcof Design. One way to do this is with olive wood. “There’s a big trend in reclaimed wood,” says Turco. He suggests accessorizing with a knotty, asymmetrical bowl, or a charcuterie board that can be displayed on the wall when it’s not in use. Turco likes the craftsmanship of Le Creuset enamel ware. “It’s beautiful and ar tisanal, but it comes in great colours: French blue, reds and yellows.” Then there are motifs like the rooster, in any material from wire to ceramic. “It could be subtle; it could even be on a tea towel,” he says. Another ef fective rustic motif is a word like “kitchen,” or its Italian equivalent “cucina,” in distressed wood, displayed on a counter or backsplash. “The other element that I really love is a blackboard,” he says. “You can create your own using blackboard paint, and then frame it, which is so easy.” Then there are “fabrics of course: classic gingham or a two-coloured plaid is nice. Area rugs also warm up a stark space,” he adds. Here’s our pick of Pinterest-wor thy accent pieces that combine countr y charm with contemporar y elegance. 106


There’s a chalkboard feel to this lyrical poster by North Carolina artist Renee Garner, celebrating the opulence of heirloom tomatoes. (Various sizes, $20-$45 at renee-garner.com)


From UK-based Garden Trading, elegant steel canisters for bread, cake, coffee, sugar or tea in softly muted colours like Chalk, Charcoal, Clay, Flint and Shutter Blue. ($18-$48 at amara. com) Keep your salt close at hand with Emile Henry’s ceramic salt pig ($46.99 at Emilehenry.com)

Primary colours pop in this delightful botanical “Villa” tablecloth, hand-printed on cotton by Pomegranate studio in Kentucky ($138 at Anthropologie)

No one does “country kitchen” like the French. Covet the brand-new Matte line from Le Creuset, like a set of three Mini Cocottes in Cotton, Sisal and Mineral Blue ($75).

A nod to the modern era: the clean lines of Belkin’s Chef Stand, designed to hold your iPad while you follow a recipe on your go-to food blog. Widely available, with a stylus to keep the screen smudge-free, for about $40.

Emile Henry’s newly released Natural Chic pitcher could have been drawn by Cézanne himself ($79.99 at EmileHenry.com).

Whether you fill them with pickles, candy or quinoa, you’ll appreciate the fresh look of Bernardin’s limited-edition green jars, only available in Canada. In the US, Ball’s Heritage collection are also launching a green jar for 2014. (Pint or quart/litre six-packs: $13 to $15)







Tips to keeping your project on budget every time BY BRYAN BAEUMLER

People often ask me how to keep a renovation on budget. Truth is, I could write a book on the topic. The first chapter would be all about planning. If you want to stay on budget, the first thing you need to do is know what your budget is. Sounds obvious, right? Trust me, when it comes to renovation, people usually do it completely backwards. Sure, it’s hard to resist fantasizing about the ultimate home makeover. And it’s fine to dream your dream. But you need to be able to set the dream aside and take a good hard look at your budget. Then, put 25 to 30% of that budget in your back pocket to pay for unexpected problems or upgrades that pop up. Why keep so much tucked away? Believe me, there are plenty of forgotten or unexpected costs in renovation, including disposal, hardware (like cabinet or drawer handles), permits and engineering fees. And there are even more surprise costs when people open up a wall and find that joists have been cut, discover hidden electrical junctions and other issues that need to be addressed. These costs should all be manageable with that healthy contingency fund. Some common pitfalls to avoid, because they can send costs skyrocketing, include adding on to the scope of work once it’s star ted, making numerous changes to the plan or design, not making decisions quickly and not being willing to compromise on finishes if additional work or cost is required. Micromanaging your contractor can also be an expensive manoeuvre, if he knows what he’s doing. But not managing

the project closely enough can be costly, too. It’s a fine line. Wondering if you can save money on materials and still have a great reno? Sure. The best plan is to prioritize the things that will be hardest to change later. For example, to have a custom kitchen look, without the price, use off-the-shelf cabinet boxes and customize the doors! You can economize by choosing from some of the good lookign and resilient laminate countertops available these days. There are also a lot of great veneer materials like Ecostone and engineered hardwoods that give the look with a slightly lower cost. On the flip side, if you find an area where you want to spend a little extra money, be prepared to make compromises on the finishes in other areas to compensate and stay on budget. Keep detailed records of ever y purchase and expenditure, and review the project on a regular basis. Most renovations go significantly over budget. That’s usually because people underestimate costs to begin with. This is a ver y common trap: be realistic with your budget to begin with and it’s easier to stick to it! Trust me, you’ll enjoy your wonderful new kitchen or family room much more if you don’t destroy your bank account in the process. A veteran contractor and award winning host, Bryan Baeumler has been educating and entertaining television viewers for more than seven years on Leave it to Bryan, House of Bryan and Disaster DIY. (Visit Baeumler.ca)





BACKYARD SPORTS BONANZA! Building a dream outdoor game court for all ages. BY LORIE STEINER

Sparkling cool pools make a splash in summer; treehouses are timeless. But for families on the cutting edge of luxury, backyard courts are all the rage. These professionally-designed outdoor sportscapes offer an active and entertaining lifestyle option for kids and adults, without having to leave home.

putting greens allows incorporation into residential yards of all shapes and sizes, bringing family – even neighbourhood – participation to a whole new level. Optimize with a court-to-rink conversion for year-round action; illuminate the space and “play time” is extended well after sundown.

individually designed to please. Says Jackson, “As long as the customer is happy with the space they have available, then we will build a court to meet their needs. Because we custom fit every installation, you’re sure to get a court that accommodates your yard, your family, your favourite sports and your budget.”

Indoor video gaming can’t compete when a custom, multi-sport complex waits just outside the door. Team Hoss consulted the experts about what’s available, costs, installation… everything you need to plan ahead for the fab possibilities. Game on!

According to Scott Jackson of Sport Court Ontario, the most popular family package is a multi-purpose court that accommodates basketball, ball hockey, short court tennis, pickle ball, badminton, volleyball and is easily converted to an ice rink. Want more? Other accessories include a court light system, and a Rebounder Net system which enables a bounce back for interactive individual play. Best of all, there are no minimum “yardage” size requirements for a game court. Whether the site is postage stamp small or surrounded by acres of green, each and every court is

At first glance, it may seem an extravagance, but the benefits of a professionally designed / built game court surface are huge, including:

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE What could be better than front row seats for your favourite sports? Shooting hoops, slapping pucks or mastering an eagle putt in your own backyard, of course. The versatility of today’s custom-built game courts and



• Suspended playing surface • Superior shock absorption • Patented Lateral Forgiveness – reduces stress and impact on body • True & consistent ball bounce • Colourful appeal and custom design options • Multi-sport versatility with one court • Low maintenance costs




Turning the backyard sports dream into reality is a smart investment with priceless perks… improved health, increased family time and a focus on FUN! Here’s proof from actual court owners that the dollars are well spent:

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL PLAY Caution, weekend warriors! Constructing a game court is not a DIY project. But left to the pros, it’s a fairly quick turnaround. On average, the installation process only takes two weeks from start to completion. Jackson explains, “Most courts would likely include a subbase excavation & preparation, then surfacing, installation of accessories and game lining. Ideally, the best subbase for a court is a concrete pad, but we can also have asphalt, interlock, compacted limestone or our interlocking Sport Base panel system.” Given our extremely harsh winters and freeze/thaw cycles, you might think the danger of frost heave in the concrete base could pose a worry. But Jackson assures us they are specifically designed and built to withstand the elements. “In fourteen years, I have not seen a concrete base heave that

was based on our specs (5” C2 32MPA mix, with fibre mesh, wire mesh or rebar). It’s very important to have a proper stone base for drainage, as well.” So, how is a fair-weather game court converted to an ice rink? Most courts have a boarder/board perimeter and a surface liner. It’s just a matter of adding water and letting it freeze, as the concrete base will help hold the colder temps. Some courts actually have refrigeration systems built into the project. For ultimate convenience, Sport Court offers an annual board maintenance program, whereby they dismantle your system in the spring, remove and store off-site during summer/fall months and reinstall in winter. “Ball park” prices vary, depending on the complexity of individual projects, but most small-to-mid-size game courts range in cost

“When my husband first told me about wanting a sport court for my three boys, I thought, ‘what a waste of money.’ Well, we have had our sport court completed for a few months now and I can’t believe how much my boys use it. We have a mini version and they play hockey, basketball and even baseball. My kids are out here all the time and I am now convinced that it was the best money we have spent in a long time.” Carolyn Salmon, Burlington Ontario Tim Thompson agrees. “Our family has been through many renovations and construction projects and we feel, dollar for dollar, it has been the best money we have ever spent. Our two boys, and now most of the neighbourhood kids, congregate in our backyard playing road hockey, basketball, badminton. The Rebounder is great for batting practice! We had a perfect ice surface this past winter and our boys’ skating skills improved dramatically. Our one regret would be not incorporating a lighting system, so we can extend our family fun long after the sun goes down.”

from $20 - $30 per sq. ft., which includes a concrete base for full, multi-sport functionality. And the options for creating unique indoor sport rooms are just as tempting. Everything from fitness to mini hockey, soccer, basketball.

PAR EXCELLENCE If golf is your go-to game, consider a putting green for the back forty. Most synthetic putting greens are installed over a stone/sand base and contoured to meet the natural surroundings and elevations. As with a game court, the greens are custom designed to suit – think small chipping areas, sand traps, even driving net systems. The only limit is your imagination. Cost-wise, putting greens tend to come in around the $18 - $25 per sq. ft. range.




TECH-TASTIC MILWAUKEE INKZALL PERMANENT MARKER & STYLUS Designed and optimized for jobsite use, these markers feature clog resistant tips and can write through dusty, wet or oily surfaces. The new line includes fine and medium point permanent markers, as well as a stylus/marker tool that works on touch devices like iPhones. Available at Milwaukee dealers, $11.99 Milwaukeetool.com


THE LITTLE AMP THAT COULD The NAD D3020 Hybrid Digital Amplifier punches way out of its weight class. With a built-in high quality digital to analog converter, it supports USB input from a computer, as well as dual optical and digital coaxial inputs. High end sound for the digital age. $549.99, Nadelectronics.com or Liptons.ca

SAMSUNG WiFi-ENABLED 4-DOOR FRENCH DOOR FRIDGE NUHEAT WiFi THERMOSTAT Nuheat introduces North America’s first WiFi thermostat for floor heating the SIGNATURE Thermostat. This programmable thermostat gives homeowners full access to all thermostat settings with wireless remote access through a smartphone app (iOS or Android) or a web browser. Suggested price $265, Visit Nuheat.com



LOFT ENTERTAINMENT MIRROR TV When it comes to Entertainment TV, Electric Mirror does it bigger and brighter than anyone. The Loft Entertainment mirror TV, is available in sizes ranging from 32” to 84”, with superior LED HDTV picture quality in an ultrathin profile. Starting at $4999, Visit Electricmirror.com

The Samsung Wi-Fi-enabled 4-door French Door Refrigerator knows that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and delivers smart functionality for busy families. With an 8” TFT-LCD screen, you can organize everyone’s Google Calendars, check the weather, check Twitter and more. Suggested price: $3499 Samsung.ca

A WIRELESS SPEAKER FOR EVERYONE The Outcast wireless all weather speaker from Soundcast provides rich omni-directional stereo sound, and deep bass from its built in subwoofer. Add the Bluecast Bluetooth receiver and unleash full control of your music. $1199.99, GoSoundcast.com or Liptons.ca











DEWALT TSTAK STORAGE SYSTEM Dewalt introduces the new TSTAK storage system – an innovative system consisting of 4 modular storage units for ultimate organization on jobsites and in the shop. The units are sold separately, but have inter-connecting capabilities so they all attach to one another – letting users design their own personalized tool box. $149.99. Dewalt.com and Home Depot

The Multi-Tool MATRIX Quick Connect System is powered by a lightweight 20V MAX* lithium-ion battery that can hold its charge up to 18 months. It is sold with the base power unit and the MATRIX Drill/ Driver attachment. The Quick Connect System allows for easy tool-free changing of available attachments such as an impact driver, a jigsaw or an oscillating attachment for sanding, grinding and removing paint. A High Pressure Inflator (BDCMTHPI) attachment is also available to handle household and home workshop inflation needs including car, bike and lawnmower tires, as well as air mattresses, rafts and inflatable pool toys. Black & Decker Matrix System, including new Air Inflator attachment. Drill $69.99. Attachments $39.99 (sold separately). BlackandDecker.com. Available at Lowe’s, WalMart,Canadian Tire, Home Hardware.




Milwaukee Tool delivers the fastest cutting 18-volt circular saw on the market with the introduction of the M18 FUEL™ 6-1/2” Circular Saw (2730-22). Able to perform applications that were once only completed by its corded counterparts, the new tool offers 30% faster cutting, 2X more run-time, and 3X more motor life than the competition. Available at Milwaukee dealers MSRP: $379. MilwaukeeTool.com

The Stanley Click ‘n’ Connect storage solution line is comprised of a stackable tool box and an organizer unit with removable dividers for customized storage. The Click ‘n’ Connect is an ideal solution for homeowners and DIYers looking to keep their tools in one place. $29.99. Visit Stanleytools.com

The Ryobi 40V Brushless Chainsaw features gas-like power without the hassle of gas and oil. The Brushless Motor produces higher torque and faster chain speed resulting in better power and performance. The 14” bar and chain is perfect for your larger cuts and yard cleanup. The lightweight design reduces user fatigue over extended use. Price N/A. Available at Homedepot.ca



RIDGID 18V COMPACT DRILL AND IMPACT DRIVER COMBO WITH RADIO The Rigid 18-volt compact drill and impact driver combo with free radio have bestin-class torque for the most demanding applications. Both the compact drill and impact driver feature exclusive Grip Light technology which engages the LED light by simply holding the tool. Suggested price $229. Available at HomeDepot.ca

MARKSMAN PRO TOOL BY CAMO This tool allows for hidden fasteners to be used for pressure treated and cedar boards with up to a 1/16” gap between them. It provides for an unblemished deck surface, prolonging the life of the deck. The Marksman Pro Tool will facilitate the use of the most inexpensive hidden deck fastener on the market. $79.95. Deckstore.ca

HIDFAST FASTENER HIDfast is the fastest, easiest way to get a fastener free surface on your deck. This pneumatic tool is a true fastener - no nails or screws are needed - and stainless steel fasteners are collated for easy handling and precise, effortless installation. Available at The Deck Store. $549. Deckstore.ca




Using the Eliminator RCS E-Z Slide attachment can save up to 70% in labor costs associated with installing hidden deck clips. The Eliminator RCS used in conjunction with the Mantis Clip is fast and simple to use. Drop the clip in the slide attachment, push against the deck board and pull the trigger. $349 For more information visit Suredrive.com, Deckstore.ca

The Dewalt DWE7491RS jobsite table saw includes a rolling stand designed for easy storage and transportation on and off the site. The saw includes an innovative fence design that provides 32 ½” rip capacity and allows a variety of wide shelving and trim materials to be easily cut. This saw also includes a 15amp motor to rip through hardwoods with ease, and weighs 90 lbs (with stand). $749. Visit Dewalt.com

The new M12 LED Stick Light delivers the best combination of brightness and coverage in its class with three powerful LEDs that provide 220 Lumens for maximum productivity. Suggested price $89. Available at Milwaukee dealers. Visit MilwaukeeTool.com




Everyone wants a great looking lawn, but it definitely takes some work to maintain one. Whether you hire a landscaper or you are a ‘do-it-yourself’ kind of guy or gal, you’ll always face the issue of sod repairs.


Harsh winters Rodents or insects Settlement issues Invasion of weeds Pets Children’s toys

When it comes to repairs, how do you know which is best: sod or seed? Start by ruling out the obvious. If you are after a thicker lawn, then top dressing with a seed and soil mixture would be an obvious choice.

LET’S INVESTIGATE SOME KEY FACTORS WHEN MAKING THIS DECISION: Each category will receive a score between 1 and 10. A higher score means a better performance in any given category.

EASE OF INSTALLATION: Sod – Relatively easy to install, it does require fertile soil beneath it. The edges of the existing lawn should be cut, allowing the sod roll to blend in. New sod should be rolled with a roller and you can expect each sod roll to cover approximately 9 square feet. A roll of sod weighs about 20 to 30 pounds. Sod is a fairly quick and easy fix for small spaces, but is labour intensive for large areas. To install it properly, you need both soil and sod. Score: 6 Seed – Very easy to install. A soil mixture is strongly recommended. Seed should be spread over the soil by hand, or with a spreader, and then raked into the soil just below the surface. Seed is easy to transport and spread, with little help required, and few tools are needed – but you do still require added soil. Score: 9

TOOLS REQUIRED: Sod – You’ll need an edging shovel, a digging shovel, a rake, a utility knife, a wheelbarrow and a sod roller. If you don’t own these tools, you’ll have to purchase or rent them, which can get pricey. Score: 6 Seed – You’ll need a digging shovel, a rake and a spreader. Fewer tools needed equals cost savings. Score: 9



COST: Sod – A roll of sod can cost you approximately $2.50 per roll. Installation cost could start from $2 /square foot. Sod is relatively affordable for a small scale project, but can be costly to cover a large area. Score: 6 Seed – Relatively inexpensive, a 22 lb. bag of seed with coverage up to 1500 sq. ft. could cost approximately $50. A very affordable option. Score: 10

schedule tapers off. Note: Heavily watered new sod is easily damaged if walked on. Score: 7 Seed – Newly seeded areas must remain moist for a long period of time. This means frequent watering with low pressure. Watering times are relatively short, but they do need to be done frequently. The lawn area will remain muddy for quite some time. Note: Excessive water can lead to seeds washing away. Score: 5

TRANSPORTING: Sod – Depending on the quantity, you may want to have your sod delivered, or you can move small amounts in your own vehicle. Once on-site, a wheelbarrow is recommended to transport the individual rolls. A delivery order can easily be processed over the phone, but delivery adds to the cost, while moving the sod yourself can be messy. Score: 5 Seed – Bags of seed are relatively light, clean and easy to transport. Once on-site, bags can be carried by hand. Score: 10

WATER: Sod – New sod should be watered heavily twice a day; in the morning and the evening when it is generally cooler. After about a week, you can water daily or every other day, depending on the weather. Once the roots have been established, the watering

MAINTENANCE: Sod – Once sod has been laid, it is maintenance free, except for watering and, of course, having to cut it. Cutting usually begins 2 to 3 weeks after the sod is installed. Score: 10 Seed – In addition to frequent, light watering, it’s important to go back and overseed any bare patches once the seeds start to germinate. Newly seeded areas can be easily damaged, so you’ll have to stay off them for quite some time. Score: 5 Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. Consider your budget, and how much time you have for watering and maintenance, then choose the option that suits your needs. Soon, you’ll be on the way to the lawn of your dreams.





You walk by them every day and may not be consciously aware of how appalling they really are. Trust us: other people notice. We’re talking about Your Ugly Planters. We have all seen them. And many of us once had a set of our own: the rusted cast iron urn, the discoloured old concrete container, the faded, cracked plastic pot – and let us not forget the tipped-over wooden barrel. That’s right, it is no longer considered “unique” or “creative”. Perhaps they were given to us, or we found a good deal or we just never thought to update, but the fact remains – these planters are ugly and it’s time to let them go!

Above: Planters blend in with building and lack bold design Left: Neglected planter with uninspired red geraniums Right: Typical Iron Urn with beginnings of rust and damage 118



THINK CLEAN AND BOLD FOR YOUR NEW PLANTER To create the design-savvy look of a fresh new planter, pay attention to the common details – bold colour and clean lines. Steer clear of heavy detail or mixed colouring, and look for a planter in a deep hue like black or brown. Darker colours contrast with the colour schemes of most houses and provide a bold backdrop for any planting arrangement.

MATERIAL THAT WILL LAST Many people save their old planters, or opt for cheaper material, believing they are saving themselves money. Instead, choose a durable material that will last longer than one winter season, and you’ll be rewarded with lasting beauty. You’ll save money in the long run. Gardenstone’s concrete planters come with a 5-year warranty and are beautifully styled. Looking for a lighter material? Veradek is an eco-friendly and weather resistant choice for indoors and outdoors. *Remember: proper drainage is the key to a lasting planter – no matter the material.

FOR THOSE LACKING THE “GREEN THUMB” Not interested in designing an arrangement? There are planting services that create beautiful arrangements for each season and will even keep them watered! You can also purchase a “ready-made” arrangement that compliments your planter style and size. For a professional look that is easy, try planting a simple boxwood, or even an artificial evergreen, on its own for a statement look.

Veradek Midori Planter

GET A PROFESSIONAL LOOK AT A FRACTION OF THE COST You see a neighbour’s planter or a picture in a magazine that you love, and wonder: How do I get that look? Most of the time, height and vibrant plants are the key distinguishing elements. Create height using branches or a fountain grass and, for your trailing plants, use hardy greenery such as ivy or potato vine that maintain their beauty from spring to fall. Handy trick – Wellesley Thompson, general manager and marketing director at Toronto area’s Pots and Plants recommends mixing in a few artificial plants to keep that vibrant look all season, with less maintenance.

Veradek Midland Planter

Gardenstone Prado Planter

Gardenstone Lido and Prado Planter

PLACEMENT AND GROUPINGS Rather than a boring flower bed beside your front patio, consider grouping planters of varying heights for a clean look that is easier to maintain. Or, incorporate planters within flower beds for a unique look.

YOU DON’T NEED PLANTS! Use interesting branches instead of a floral arrangement for a look that really shows off the planter. Bonus – no watering required! HOSS | THE HOME RENOVATION RESOURCE






I bring up these points not to scare you, but to remind you that when you plan your renovation, you have to consider what needs to happen inside those walls. Electrical, plumbing, gas and ventilation must be coordinated and budgeted for, as vital components of your design.


Now that we have an understanding of what happens inside those walls, let’s talk about the walls themselves. 8 out of 10 homeowners I deal with ask me if it’s possible to knock down a wall and open up their kitchen to the rest of the house. My answer is always the same: yes.


When we think about a kitchen renovation, we usually imagine the aesthetic beauty of the new space. We think of things like new recycled glass, or marble countertops or how dashing the slate or natural wood floors will look. We ask ourselves: Do I want to go with cherry cabinets or do I want to go contemporary with high gloss acrylic? Should my appliances be stainless, black or built-in to match my cabinets? The world is your oyster when it comes to planning your kitchen renovation. But one big question that most homeowners neglect to ask is this: What’s going on inside, above or on the walls of the dream kitchen I’m planning? For most people the answer is: Beats me? And yet, your kitchen needs wires for electrical, pipes for plumbing and let’s not forget about ducting for ventilation. These are just a few of the “behind-the-wall” things you need to consider when planning your renovation. There’s more. Don’t forget about outlets. How many do you need on each wall and where do you want to put them? Think about the coffeemaker, toaster and everything else you might use. You love all the features of the new commercial range but, remember, you’re going to need gas and electrical run through the walls before you sear the steaks or bake the bird. You’re also going to want a good ventilation system to keep the air circulating. Think about lighting, too. It’s always nice to have under cabinet and task lighting for kitchen prep. Since we’re on the subject of lighting – are you going with recessed cans or pendant lighting? Both?

But. You must consider whether the wall is load bearing, which means whether the wall supports the floor or roof above it. If it does, the weight or load must be transferred to another bearing point. The plumbing, electrical and ventilation would also have to be rerouted – and all of these things affect your budget. Opening the walls of your kitchen is a great option because it unifies the space and gives you the opportunity to come together with family and friends in the heart of your home. It’ll make your home feel bigger, even though you didn’t add a square inch to the footprint of your house. Anything is possible. But you do need to remember that a kitchen renovation is not just superficial. When you plan things, remember to think about your walls: inside and out. You’ll be glad you did.

James Young, host of the DIY Network’s TV show I Hate My Kitchen, is a licensed building contractor and electrician who loves tearing up kitchens and showing homeowners innovative ways to remodel without breaking the bank. He also hosts DIY Network’s The Hot List, which highlights the latest and greatest in kitchen products and design from around the world. (Visit Facebook: jamesyoung)






TY PENNINGTON OCCUPATION: Home Design Expert, Artist, Carpenter


BEST KNOWN FOR: Host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? When I was growing up I wanted to be an illustrator and graphic designer. So I carried that background into furniture and interior design.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THIS BUSINESS? I got my original start by having a construction business pay my way through art school, then it was a lot of different experiences, including travel, fashion and



most importantly, luck. But then having the experience to realize what you don’t know, you learn by doing or failing. And failing can be entertaining!

things – inside and out of a home. But more than that, you get to use your heart, and that inspires others to use theirs, and together you change a life... and in the process your own.



I think the biggest hurdles I faced were struggles with learning, before anyone knew what ADHD even was. A lack of confidence and fear of failure can have a huge effect on your ability to believe in yourself. I was lucky enough to have a mom who realized that I had an above average gift for creative problem solving, which is ironic, considering how many problems I created!

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? I’ve been blessed to have one of the greatest jobs in the world, where your imagination and your hands can be used to create amazing

I have a lot of dreams and always a lot of projects. One of those is to design and build a house for my own family, which I am doing with the NextGen “First to the Future” home I’m building in Florida. It will be a green, smart, energy efficient home and, most importantly, a clean, mold-free environment for my mom. I have a few other big dreams that involve making other people’s dreams come true. Once you’ve had a chance to feel that, you want to do it again and again... and again. Home-design guru, Ty Pennington stars on Inside the Box with Ty Pennington in North America and Homes for the Brave in the U.K. His Extreme Makeover: Home Edition won two Emmys and two People’s Choice Awards. (Visit TyPennington.com)