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JIM CARUK Getting real with renovations


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18 cover story



Getting real with renovations BY SALINA YARA HALABI


tips & tricks

business profiles

20 The latest in window

08 Avi Renovations 38 Renovations of Excellence

and door upgrades

22 The beautiful and

functional uses for paving stone and stonework

24 What’s new BY SILVANA LONGO

27 A winter warm-me-up

with Lynn Crawford’s cheddar cheese biscuits

28 Start the new year by freeing yourself BY HELLEN BUTTIGIEG

33 Bringing home the gold


features 14 The Hallmarks of a great renovation


18 Trend forecast for 2013 BY ERICA GELMAN

26 Wanderlust BY ELISSA SCOTT

30 Renovating for resale BY USHEDA AKBAR-SHANKS


in every issue 06 Editor’s notebook

34 Ask a pro BY SHELL BUSEY

36 Decoding the code BY MICHAEL NYIKES




January - February 2013 Volume 11 Issue 1

vice President, wall2wall media

Jacqueline Hill director oF sales, western canada

Josh Heppner editor-in-cHieF

Susan Legge editor/account executive

nancy Chemait 780.619.3241 account executives:

Ring in the New Year with renovations Happy 2013! It’s the time of resolutions, declarations and plans of action, and we’re here to help you achieve your goals. Inside you will find plenty of ideas, inspiration, and sage advice to guide you along the way. The panel of expert designers and the professionals advertising in this issue will help you tackle the renovation and décor challenges you’ll be facing in the months to come. On the cover this issue is construction guru Jim Caruk. Best known for his HGTV hit shows Real Renos and Builder Boss, Jim has been at the top of the custom renovation & homebuilding industry for 30 years. We caught up with the master contractor to chat about his past experiences and role in the renovation world - see page 10 for all the details. Be sure to stop by the Renovation Show at the Edmonton Expo Centre January 25-27 for your chance to see and hear Jim in person. This issue marks the first installment of a new Series: Following a Local Renovation. Inside, we follow an Edmonton couple’s journey through the renovation process from planning, to construction to completion. In this first chapter, we see the couple decide on a renovator, create their wish list, dream up the design, and overcome the obstacles that come their way. Go to page 14 to see all the twists and turns on the road to their dream home. What New Year issue would be complete without talking trends? We check out the trend forecast for 2013 on pages 18-19, in which the design movements of colour, feeling, finishes and the oh-so coveted man cave are explored. Find out which of these ideas can be incorporated into your lifestyle to create an exciting living space. Home Décor and Renovations is always free and is available in the Big Yellow Box and at participating retailers and banks throughout the Greater Edmonton Region. If you have any comments, or a renovation story you would like to share, please write us – we would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year & Happy Renovating!

Shelley balla 587.784.4044 Jennifer Mizier 780.217.6778 Carolyn Porteous 780.668.3570 art director

Sarah Jang Production manager

bala Gnanapandithan Production co-ordinator/ graPHic designer

Mohammad Haidarpour graPHic designers

Caroline Wassef contributors

usheda akbar-Shanks, Shell busey, Hellen buttigieg, erica Gelman, elisa Krovblit, Silvana Longo, Michael nyikes, elissa Scott, Marie Soprovich, Salina yara Halabi Home Décor and Renovations magazine is published six times a year. Home Décor and Renovations magazine is distributed throughout Edmonton and Greater Edmonton area. This publication has been designed for the renovation market as a guide. Home Décor and Renovations magazine carefully inspects all ads for accuracy, however, the publisher and the printer shall not be responsible for any mistakes, design errors or incorrect information which is provided by the advertiser or their representative. The advertising herein, including the photographs and all artwork is the property of Home Décor and Renovations magazine and not that of the advertiser. The advertiser has purchased the right of reproduction in Home Décor and Renovations magazine only and does not have the right to reproduce the ad in whole or in part in any other place or publication without the consent of the publisher. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright and are intended for the sole use of the public.

We’re LiSTeninG! send us your comments, questions, renovation stories, pictures and great ideas! Home décor and renovations PO box 458 Station Main edmonton, alberta T5J 2K1 PubLiSHed by

nancy chemait ediTOr 6 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

Wall2Wall Media is a trademark of Yellow Pages Group Co. in Canada.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! The end of a year brings reection on the past, and the arrival of a new year brings dreams and opportunities. We thank you, our readers, for your continued support as we strive to bring you the best that the industry has to offer. We thank you, our advertising customers, for your patronage and continued loyalty to the magazine. Best wishes for your renovations! FROM ALL OF US HERE AT

JAN - FEB 2013 home dĂŠcor and renovations 7


Avi RenovAtions

avi renovations I



t was a logical step for Homes by Avi, a leader in new home construction in Alberta for nearly 35 years, to move into the world of home renovation. “We entered the renovation market about four years ago at the request of existing customers,” says Sandra Young, Vice-President and General Manager for Homes by Avi in Edmonton. Previous customers who had built a new home with the company would return a few years later asking the builder to finish the basement. They knew the quality of work and they also wanted stylistic consistency. “We had to turn these people away because at the time we didn’t do renovations,” explains Young. But, the company quickly realized that it only made sense to enter the renovation market. After all, they already had a great reputation and a wealth of experience garnered from their years building new residential homes. One thing led to another, and Avi Renovations was formed. It provides full-service renovations across the city from interiors to exteriors, additions and in-fills. Young cites kitchen and bathroom renovations, along with basement All Avi Renovations customers work with a certified professional interior design developments, as the most requested consultant who helps to coordinate all of the selections and makes suggestions. rooms for a makeover. “The other unique thing about Avi Renovations, is that if you are looking A seamless process keeps the for ideas or inspiration, you can tour one of our many showhomes,” says Young. renovation as smooth as possible. The “Because we build new homes, we’re always up to speed on the newest products first step is to first assess if the and designs. We can do everything from contemporary to traditional.” renovation is doable and discuss the While touring one of the show homes, take note of the quality workmanship. The scope of the project. Once a quote has same tradespeople who work on the showhomes, will be working on the renovations been provided, Avi Renovations will as well. “You know that you are getting a quality renovation with a trusted company,” draw up plans and discusses finishings. adds Young. Avi Renovations also provides a two-year warranty on your renovation. The next step is choosing your If further proof is needed regarding Avi Renovation’s reliability, it is a RenoMarkTM selections. “One unique thing about Avi Renovations is that we have a selections certified home renovator. This gives the consumer additional assurances that the renovator is in good standing with the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, that they centre, Avi Definitions, originally abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics, they provide a detailed, written contract for developed for our single-family division,” all jobs, they offer a minimum two year warranty on all their work, and much more. says Young. From flooring, cabinetry to Visit for full details on the benefits a RenoMarkTM certified home countertops and paint colors, all of the renovator gives you. Homes by Avi itself is already a leader in new home construction selections are under one roof at Avi and recipient of many awards. Avi Renovations provides the same unwavering quality Definitions, a 6,000-square-foot onebacked by experience and a trustworthy reputation. stop shop with over 10,000 choices in interior finishes. Choosing all of those selections can be an overwhelming task. For more information about Avi Renovations, visit

8 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013



Getting real with renovations by SALINA YARA HALABI


renovations Jim Caruk is known to many as the Master Contractor. His hit HGTV show ‘Real Renos’ presented viewers with a behind the scenes look of what really happens during a home renovation – the good, the bad and even the ugly! With 30 years of home building and custom renovation experience, Jim’s exceptional career has led him to become a strong supporter of both professional tradespeople, and skilled trades students in Canada. In addition to his success on HGTV and award-winning construction business, The Caruk Group, Jim has founded and launched the Build it Yourself (BiY) Learning Centers. With his new show ‘Builder Boss’ now airing on HGTV, Jim Caruk continues to win over viewers with his first rate skills and expertise - so we asked Jim to share some insights on the industry that he has indisputably mastered.


Setting realistic timelines for a renovation project is often the first area where individuals make a mistake. What are some tips or general guidelines to follow when it comes to creating a project timeline? A One of the main pieces of advice I give to homeowners thinking of doing a renovation, and especially my own

10 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

clients, is that a good contractor can control many things with regard to timelines, but municipalities and mother nature aren’t two. Work with your contractor to create a broad, and then a refined timeline for your renovation. It’s wise not to expect final scheduling and punch list until your contractor is “out of the ground”. Once permitting, digging, and foundations are complete, you can breathe a sigh of relief weather pending, of course. Living in Canada usually means we have a lengthy winter to deal with. What is the most important piece of advice you can offer to those who are undertaking a renovation project during the colder months? A Don’t fear the winter. Of course, it depends on the scale of the renovation you are planning, but, a good contractor knows all the tips and techniques on how to maximize on winter conditions, and how to correctly and safely plan ahead for the impending temperature dip well before it gets here. We are often told that homes lose most of their heat through poorly insulated windows or doors, and that leads to increases in energy bills. What are some proactive steps individuals can take when going through a home renovation that can help keep their homes energy efficient? A Simply put, the best proactive step is effective budgeting. Often, homeowners will overspend on wish-list interior finishes, and dip into the window fund to pay for it all. Getting the very best windows and doors you can afford will deliver big return in the long run. Get advice not only from your contractor, but from independent window & door professionals. These products have come leaps and bounds in technology over the last 10 years, with outstanding efficiency ratings, and a greater range of styles to suit the personality of your home.




Kitchen renovations are one of the most popular, and expensive, home renovation projects. Where do you think homeowners will get the biggest bang for their buck in their kitchen reno? A Hands down, the design, layout and functionality of the kitchen means as much, if not more, than good quality finishes and sturdy appliances. These days, the flow and function of work areas and equipment has to “make sense” for cooking, family dinners, homework, entertaining and so much more. When it comes to flooring, durability is a must. What are some of your favourite flooring materials and why? A The absolute classic, and my preferred floor is always engineered hardwood. Durable, warm, easy care and classic look. In tile, it would have to be marble. Natural stone is versatile, and wears like iron. Recently we did a 1930’s inspired foyer in hex marble, with a traditional border and centre design. This floor will be around for the next 100 years. People are always looking for the trendiest or most up-to-date designs for their homes. What design styles do you feel have stood the test of time? A Absolutely the “traditional” look is one that endures, and one that clients ask for again and again. Design inspirations are endless and include Cape Cod/New England, Colonial, and more, but clients always start a consult by describing the feeling they want: Substantial … Warm … Grounded ... Classic. The traditional feel speaks to everything from the flow & function of spaces, the scale of trim, mantles, exterior finishes and so much more. What is one of the biggest obstacles you have faced in a home renovation project and how did you deal with it? A The biggest obstacle (other than my favourite, “Municipalities & Mother Nature”) can be refining client vision. It’s my job to take homeowners from where they think they want to be, offer constructive reality checks, and together with my team, bring their dream to life. Custom building and renovation is a messy, disruptive, expensive business 12 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

that’s all about time, money and emotion. As I like to say, before we can make things beautiful, it’s got to get a little ugly. In 2010 you founded the Build it Yourself (BIY) Learning Centers in Ontario for homeowners looking for some extra advice and guidance on successfully completing a DIY reno project. What led you to decide that there was a need for this type of resource in the home renovations industry, and are there plans on expanding the BIY Learning Centers into western Canada? A A true, hands-on connection to the world of home improvement, seemed to be off-limits to the general public. People from across Canada constantly wrote to me wanting information and options. All they could do was read a book, watch TV, or drink coffee at an in-store seminar. That’s how BiY was born. We’ve bridged the gap with professional, practical skills training and safety know-how that this community of do-ers was hungry for. Our motto is ‘We Teach You How’. Look for announcements soon, and a definite eye on Western Canada. Be sure to catch Jim Caruk at the 2013 Renovation Show at the Edmonton Expo Centre January 25-27.


The Hallmarks of a

GREAT RENOVATION Following a local renovation story PART 1 by MARIE SOPROVICH


location you have ever seen… In a dated and well-lived home on the beautiful banks of the North Saskatchewan River lives a family who was ready to renovate.The owners had a dream for their home and the living experience they wanted to create for


their family. The children were old enough to participate in the dream but not so old that they wouldn’t enjoy the benefits for many years to come. Encouraged by this sense of timeliness and motived by the love of their location, the homeowners began their search for the perfect renovator. Every man’s castle has a back story and this one does too… years and years ago before children, Joyce and Darren had their eye on an acreage with a country view on the outskirts of the city – the perfect location for a family home. They loved nature and wanted a place that would give them the feeling of being far away from the concrete jungle and busy ways of the city. They had a house deal that fit their criteria and when the offer didn’t come together, instead of being devastated by the loss, they became proactive problem solvers. With the encouragement of Joyce’s father and a good tip from a neighbour living in the area they found an even better house with owners who were “just thinking” of listing. Sure it was more than they were really wanting to spend but the location was absolutely spectacular and behind this self-identified, over-analyzing husband was a very reassuring wife who knew they would never lose on this property. And if times got tough, she knew they could always sell it. Joyce and Darren learned some of the history of the house, who the builder was and that the house had endured a fire and was rebuilt following the original design. So, with financials stretched to the max and a baby on the way, Darren and Joyce moved into their dream location, peeled layers of wallpaper, painted, changed light fixtures and settled in for many years of happy family times and mortgage payments. As years went by, family life and careers became established,the 1970 design lost its luster and Joyce and Darren felt the urge to create a completely fresh new look that emphasized the beauty of their surroundings and created more usable space for their maturing family. Darren and Joyce now began a very thoughtful and detail-orientated journey to find just the right renovator for them. Darren described how for two years, he did his research by visiting booths at trade shows, seeking out show homes, talking to people, scrutinizing websites, asking for references, talking to


›› Is the renovator experienced with the kind of work you are looking for? (kitchen, addition, bathroom, whole house, energy efficient, etc.)

previous customers and viewing the workmanship of the companies he considered. He asked plenty of questions, he observed and listened to find the best fit for his project, budget and preferences. Darren said, “This was not a random decision.” After short listing, Darren and Joyce made their final decision on workmanship and company reputation but also on a feeling of trust they had with Aquarian, sensing the problems that undoubtedly arise during the renovation would be solved. So with their decision, a design agreement was signed and so began the process of sharing their wish list in earnest with the architectural designers and estimators who work with both dreams and budgets. The dream was big! It included a complete house makeover and, to view the spectacular river valley, a second storey loft addition with plenty of windows was on the table. The grand design was spectacular and the office was abuzz with the excitement of such a stunning new look for this house. When the estimators finished their pricing work, the reality of “just how much a renovation costs” became evident. With thoughtful discussions between Joyce and Darren and the Aquarian design team, clarifying questions helped scale the project BEFORE

›› Does the renovator provide design/build services? Do they estimate and build from your design plans? Or, will they work either way? ›› If you are looking for design services, does the renovator expect to give you exactly what you ask for? Or, do they help you explore design options and suggest other ways of achieving your renovation objectives that you might not have considered? ›› What is the designers training and experience? Have they shown you examples of their work? ›› Does the renovation company (including management and staff) seem professional? ›› Is the company (including management and staff) focused on customer satisfaction? ›› Based on your discussions with references, how does the renovator rate in terms of past client satisfaction? ›› What percentage of the renovators work is repeat or referral based? ›› Do the owners of the company belong to trade associations such as CHBA and RenoMark? ›› How does the renovator assure you that what they design can be built within your budget? ›› Can the renovator describe the process they use to ensure a smooth, successful project? Do you like their process? ›› Will the renovator provide you with a detailed schedule of the project? ›› How are change orders and the associated costs handled? ›› Can the renovator provide you with five homeowner references? “Renovating your home can be one of themost rewarding decisions you’ll ever make. Make the right choice and you’ll see a masterpiece every time you open your door.” 15

down to “the essentials”, the “nice to have” and “what we can live without”. The second storey was eliminated but some creative thinking from Tyler, our architectural designer, captured the desired south view of the river valley by extending the window in the kitchen. The project was redesigned to fit budget and still meet the needs. Joyce was able to keep the granite in the laundry room and with the removal of certain walls and moving basement heating vents, the same footprint would give a bigger feel and more living space throughout out the house without actually adding any square footage on to the house. When Joyce and Darren were comfortable with how it looked and where the numbers came in, the Construction Agreement was signed. Joyce and Darren wanted to do justice to their beautiful property and they were ready to make that a reality. Their solid background and preparation for this renovation gave them a good understanding of what might be in store for them. They didn’t know exactly what might be behind the walls where a fire had once ravaged the house. There was some uncertainty about the main beam and its durability to bear the roof load on the desired open space plan. As with renovations, sometimes you don’t really know what is hiding in the walls until you start to peel them back. With a solid plan and a feeling of trust and confidence in their renovator, Darren and Joyce began the preparation work of moving their family into a rental and the need to purge 15 years of accumulated belongings. The next things to show up were sledge hammers and dumpster bins and so the renovation began. BEFORE

16 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

Next edition explores the challenges of fire and water-damaged concrete, and what was really hiding in the roof… Problem solving and Artisans at work…. Stay tuned. Some questions to ask a renovator when you are thinking of renovating. http://www.aquarianrenovations. com/resources/ For a copy of the complete Renovator Selector Tool call the Aquarian Renovations office 780.481.7671.

MARIE SOPROVICH Owner of Aquarian Renovations; Writer, Visionary, Leader. Visit or call 780.481.7671

780 455-6839 8826 51Ave Edmonton

“I redecorated while my husband was away for the weekend”


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edmonton renovations home Improvement & Design reaches more qualified readers than any other home improvement publication. Our readers are looking for project ideas and connections to professionals that specialize in home improvement, design and construction. Within our colourful, informative format, we can highlight your business, product or service in the best possible way: with creative advertising and/ or informative articles and profiles. It’s the best way to get your business the valuable exposure it needs!

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JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 17




the saying goes: the only constant in life is change. Nowhere is that statement truer than in the world of design. Every year we are exposed to new and exciting design trends and movements in the industry. Often, the word ‘trend’ can be associated with a negative connotation, suggesting a style that will inevitably pass just as fast as the current season. However, I believe that if properly executed, a ‘trend’ can become a classic staple rather than a temporary essential.

Colour Colour is usually the first trend everyone is curious about. What’s the big colour to hit the design world? In my opinion, there have been a few. First is yellow – a creamy bright hue that will dominate with its vibrancy. Yellow can be combined easily with neutrals to create the perfect colour palette. Pair it with white & grey for a modern look, or accent it with navy for a fresh design approach. Yes, you read that correctly, navy as a neutral. This is a design trend which deserves some serious note-taking. Forget brown and beige, blue is the new chief in town. It’s much more subtle than black although the intensity of navy has the same dramatic effect. There is such a large spectrum of blue hues, from royal to electric and midnight to cobalt, you’re guaranteed to be drawn to at least one.

Feeling Lately, a huge movement we’ve been seeing in interior design has nothing to do with colour, pattern or even style but rather a mood trend. Our clients have been requesting a comfortable environment where they feel at ease in lieu of the typical designer showhome. We’ve been hearing more and more that our clients are looking for fabrics they can use, instead of just to look at. It’s an attempt to have their homes decorated to look as if they’ve decorated it themselves. This is actually one of my favourite trends because it allows the homeowner to create a personal reflection of themselves in their most


18 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

sacred environments. This trend is all about using understated pieces to form a collection of new and old, reclaimed and store-bought.

Finishes Another area we are seeing this trend of mixing and non matching is with metals. Do you love brushed nickel? Are you intrigued by bronze? Does stainless steel still excite you? Well, you don’t have to choose one. While this may be music to a designer’s ears, it can also be a pretty scary statement for the amateur decorator. It’s how you incorporate the metals and the harmony between your choices that will result in the perfect metal combination. For instance, if you are working on a kitchen design, you can use a faucet that stands out while keeping your cabinet hardware consistent throughout the kitchen.

Man Cave First and foremost the man cave is not a new concept, however, it is evolving and becoming much more mainstream. We are seeing more men who like to get involved in everything from the fabric selections, furniture pieces, artwork – even down to the rugs. This puts into perspective that the man cave

is no longer a dark and gloomy space either in the garage or the basement. These “caves” were typically poorly lit, dressed with rundown furniture and kept bare floored yet featured the large TV screen as their focal point. Rather, these trendy spaces are just as tailored and customized as the main floor living room, although the large TV screen is still the dominant feature. Trends don’t have to all be used, especially not together. You should incorporate what works for you and your lifestyle. They are a gateway to start getting excited about change and making better style decisions. These current


styles emerge from the notion of people enjoying their homes and creating living spaces that suit them personally. Let’s make 2013 the best design year yet!

ERICA GELMAN Toronto-based designer Erica Gelman, Principal of Erica Gelman House Of Design specializes in both large and small scale residential design projects throughout Toronto and the GTA. Known for enhancing and creating new possibilities in every space of your home. House Of Design

JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 19


The latest in

WindoW & door upGrades by al dueck

president, dUXton windows & doors

Fenestration advances and opportunities For 2013

there is a stronger tendency for people to invest their rewards in more visible ways sUch as in their home


The 21st century has brought a high level of prosperity as well as a greater level of stability to northern Alberta.In addition, there is a stronger tendency for people to invest their rewards in more visible ways, such as in their home. Fortunately, a combination of art and science has allowed for very striking window and door options with ever increasing energy efficiency. You can customize your home with a unique sophistication while being sensitive to numerous environmental considerations. Check out your options on the web to personalize your own architectural statement.

eXpansive WaLLs oF GLass Whether the design – reno or newco – is very contemporary or more traditional, endless custom configurations and large walls of glass are available in Edmonton. Truly every detail can be customized to suit your taste while delivering low maintenance and energy efficiency. Electrical, remote controlled awnings can add another level of sophistication without compromising the well defined lines.

fortUnately, a combination of art and science has allowed for very striKing window and door options

push the enveLope WhiLe remaininG environmentaLLy sensitive Current Edmonton custom design projects feature leading edge triple film / quad cavity R20 (cog) glass incorporated into FibreWall ™ systems and “Euro style” Tilt N Turn doors. The commercialstyle fiberglass door is finished with a slim brushed chrome pull bar.

coLour your WorLd (From bLack to coLourFuL) A more complex combination of colours and materials has burst forth while taking advantage of advances in materials and finishes. The old white is very passé while a radically bolder set of colours and trims appears on entrances and feature windows. All finishes are durable and low maintenance to respect your busy lifestyle.

sophistication oF sWinGinG doors Crisp, clean lines define newer entrance systems which offer an exceptional array of options including sidelites and transoms, and unique fiberglass door panels. Better yet, newer system options include German engineered Ferco automatic multi locking hardware, dressed up with Emtek handles or even keyless entry – for your home!

JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 21


the beautiful and functional uses for

paving stone and stonework by shane’s lanDscaPing & contracting ltD.

Driveways anD siDewalks Customize your home by

call a ProFessional Hiring a qualified professional with

creating a beautiful driveway; paving stone will add unique character and value to your property. A properly installed paving stone driveway won’t crack or separate, individual stones can be replaced or reset over time. Paving stone will last a lifetime.

the proper knowledge is a great place to start. Most homeowners underestimate the work associated with landscaping the yard of new home. Many of the procedures are tedious, lengthy and very labor intensive, often including several pieces of large equipment. Do-it-yourselfers… beware. In order to achieve the stylish and functional yard you desire to compliment your new home, hiring a qualified landscaping contractor to get the job done is your first step. A quality outdoor living space will not only make you the envy of the neighborhood and be a welcome sanctuary for your family, children and pets for years to come; it will also increase the value of your home. It is important to hire a landscaping contractor who has extensive experience in the industry, and is a full service landscaping company. A good landscaping professional should have a website with a photo library of previous landscaping projects. Browsing through and looking at homes with beautifully landscaped yards will surely get your creative juices flowing. Shane’s Landscaping & Contracting Ltd. specializes in residential, estate and acreage landscape construction. From patios to water features, driveways, retaining walls, lighting, walkways, fences, irrigation, garden beds, boulders, barbecue, fire pits and the new synthetics grasses, we can help make your landscaping beautiful. Planning your landscaping is an exciting time and we are here to help. Our team of friendly knowledgeable and hardworking staff can make your landscaping dream a reality. Call us now for a consultation.

retaining walls With function and style in mind, a

retaining wall will accentuate the landscape design in your front or backyard, and will blend perfectly with any paver style and color. Build height and depth interest by adding retaining wall blocks for edging and flower beds. Planters Create seamless and clean lines around your

gardens and trees. Planters allow for easy and neat garden maintenance, while accentuating your outdoor living space. Pillars Make a statement by creating beautiful pillars, gate

entrances or lamp posts. These pillars can make your potted creations stand out like a work of art and create interest off of your steps, driveway or patios. terracing Build a retaining wall that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing to control erosion or ease a grade change in your landscape. stePs With matching color products, steps and walls create

warm and striking entrances, additional seating areas and allow for continuity in your overall design. FirePits Add a firepit to extend those lazy summer evenings

you don’t want to end. When you have decided on the backyard of your dreams, remember to: 22 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

shane’s landscaping & contracting ltd. is locally owned and operated, providing landscaping and snow removal services to edmonton and surrounding area. call us for a consultation at 780.983.8233 or view our portfolio at


what’s new

We follow the trends and put together this handy guide of the latest and greatest products on the market and where to find them. by S ILVANA LO NG O

Invite the outdoors in with a sawn-wood effect and asymmetrical detail in the square coffee table from the Brem collection. Brem evokes a certain authenticity and durability, its tones and shapes create a highly personal interior. $1,148, 37-in. w by 74-in. h by 22-in. d. VISIT GAUTIER-SHOPS.COM

The Scholtes Coffee Center in sleek stainless steel, offers a wide range of coffee preparation options from grinding fresh beans to the perfectly prepared frothy coffee beverage. Its compact dimensions and shallow cabinet depth means it can be integrated in any kitchen without taking up a large amount of space. The attractive digital display lets you control customized professional performance to suit your taste. This low maintenance appliance is easy to clean and easy to enjoy. 18-in. h by 23 1/2-in. w by 12 1/2-in.d, $2,999. Available at Distinctive Appliances Kitchen Lifestyle Centre.

PSST! QUEBEC’S FASHION AUTHORITY GOES WEST Esteemed 170-year-old fashion retailer, Simons, opened its first store outside of Quebec in West Edmonton Mall just this past fall. The 115,000 square foot store is located on the second level, in the northwest corner of the mall along Europa Boulevard. Finally, fashionistas can take advantage of Simons curated selection of renowned international designers like Missoni and Balmain and also an exhaustive, fashion-forward collection of its own exclusive private label brands for men and women. Simons has a special area to indulge décor enthusiasts as well offering gorgeous home fashions for bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. VISIT SIMONS.CA FOR A WIDE SELECTION OF SIMONS’ FASHIONS, ACCESSORIES AND HOME DÉCOR ITEMS.

24 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

Drawing from more than five decades of culinary expertise, WilliamsSonoma recently launched their very own line of cookware, stainless steel tools and tech-driven tools for the kitchen. The new ThermoClad line uses an exclusive aluminum alloy that provides up to 35 per cent more conductivity resulting in precise and even heating and temperature control. Double-wall insulated lids ensure even temperature throughout while keeping food warm after cooking. Manufactured in Italy, the 10-piece cookware set is $999.95. VISIT WILLIAMS-SONOMA.COM

Back to black. Bring a contemporary feel to your bathroom by introducing the Jalo Lavatory faucet in black. The sleek colour and single lever style handle will add a bit of drama to your salle de bain. It comes with three handle-levers: black, red and chrome. $249. VISIT RONA.CA

Is your entrance hall missing that "je ne sais quoi"? The Medusa coat rack, designed by Archirivolto, gives a twist to a design classic using modern materials such as metal and plastic. The top section is available in several finishes and features six S-shaped polycarbonate hooks. The stem, made from polished colour-coated metal, features a plastic element in the upper section in the same colour as the hooks. $609. VISIT CALLIGARISTORONTO.CA

Winter may be upon us but imagine a garden filled with the freshest, organically grown microgreens and herbs all year-round. The Urban Cultivator can make this green dream a reality. At the forefront of the locavore movement, this dishwasher-size appliance produces greens that feel, smell and taste like spring, even during the coldest winter months. The base Urban Cultivator home model is $2,200. The commercial model costs $8,000. Order the Urban Cultivator by calling toll free 1.877.352.0490.

The Galaxy Note ll is the ultimate smartphone for creating, collaborating and sharing. The new 5-5-inch HD super AMOLED Plus screen, coupled with the innovative S Pen creates a seamless experience between your office, family and social life. $199.99. VISIT SAMSUNG.COM

JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 25


Wanderlust by Elissa scott

this is thE timE of yEar for itchy fEEt. Not thE kiNd you gEt at thE

gym, but the soles that crave beach sand squishing between the toes. Winter is the time of year people are planning their play-cation, vain-cation (medical tourism for plastic surgery), train-cation (for runners, yogis and fitness enthusiasts) and soulcations. Give a getaway any name! Many make it a stay-cation and spend that money on the home, creating a cozy nest reminiscent of fave places.

The inTro of greenery spanks up a room TouT suiTe. Tall floor planTs of palm fronds sofTen corners, add verTical inTeresT and bring The added bonus of cleansing indoor air, oxygenaTing a room. We see pictures of lavish places around the world online luring us with their Google-gasms. Think about the places dear to your heart. It could be farmland at harvest time with fields of golden wheat near an old red barn. The image you summon may be a luxury villa in the Maldives with enchanting crystal waters. Maybe it’s a Himalayan mountainside with ancient Chinese temples teetering off the edge. There are so many phantasmagorias to conjure up. The beauty is you needn’t travel for days, spend buckets of money or set your schedule upside down to bring it home through décor. Instantly inject life force into any room via living plants. The intro of greenery spanks up a room tout suite. Tall floor plants of palm fronds soften corners, add vertical interest and bring the added bonus of cleansing indoor air, oxygenating a room. A collection of small tropical plants in groupings on tables and shelves bring the organic element and feminine energy to hard, masculine surfaces. They also boost with colour in many shades of green, along with plants in other hues like pink and purple or vibrant hues to link décor. Shafts of wheat can be tucked into flower arrangements for those going for the prairie atmosphere. Objects of interest are the next method of decorating to bring on the vacation vibe. I have several travel items found while roaming Asia like Tibetan singing bowls, 26 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

Buddhist bells and Thai goddess statues. They bring connection and meaning to a room along with a cargo of memories. They don’t even have to be authentic. If you dream of one day traveling exotic places, fake it by surrounding yourself with these images. Art work and prints are always a lovely way to display allusion. My collections of books flood back mental recollections from many destinations. A decorative coffee table book of ‘travel porn’, with its scenic cover induces fantasy visually. Set the scene in the kitchen with gourmet delicacies from regions yet explored and the accoutrements that tag along with it. European cooking can be experimented with while you decorate in a French country theme. Nordic cuisine is the new big trend globally for food snobs, so explore the world through the taste buds. A Somalian delicacy from Africa and Australia is camel meat. It’s fascinating what the planet has to offer through what mama nature has blessed us with and how culture has enriched our lives. Create the home you are happy to come home to. “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Seth Godin

Elissa scott elissa scott is an artist and home couture stylist, assisting clients with savvy solutions. please follow on facebook (www.facebook. com/gruuvyroomz) or for colour queries or design dilemmas, contact elissa at 780.484.6880 or

tipsandtricks celebrity chef and KitchenAid spokesperson, chef Lynn crawford. the classic comfort food, chef Lynn shares the recipe for these savoury tea biscuits.

a winter warm-me-up with lynn crawford’s

cheddar cheese Biscuits


» 2 cups all-purpose flour » 1 tablespoon sugar » 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder » 1 teaspoon pepper » 1/2 teaspoon salt » 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces » 1 1/4 cups of grated, extra-sharp cheddar cheese » 1 cup of cold buttermilk » 1 egg, beaten InstructIons » Preheat oven to 400°F. combine first six ingredients in processor and blend. Add butter and cut in, using on/off turns until fine meal forms. transfer to large bowl. Mix in cheese. (note: can be prepared four hours ahead.) cover and chill. » Mix enough buttermilk into flour mixture to bind dough. turn out onto floured surface. Knead gently until combined, about 10 turns. Pat out dough to 3/4-inch thickness. using three-inch diameter cookie cutter, cut out biscuits. gather scraps, pat out to 3/4-inch thickness and cut additional biscuits. transfer biscuits to ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash. Bake in new KitchenAid range or wall oven until evenly baked, golden brown and firm to touch. About 18 minutes. serve warm. JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 27


Start the new year by freeing yourself by Hellen Buttigieg

the winter. Before you jump right back to everything you were doing before the holidays, take some time to look around and decide what needs to change. Not that you have to go making grand resolutions for the new year – unless that’s your thing – but look at it as an opportunity to free yourself of things that weren’t working for you. Try new methods that may improve your life in little, noticeable ways. Get clear on the year ahead If setting New Year’s resolutions is not your thing, there’s another way of defining what you’d like your life to look like – create a vision board. Get some magazines, glue and a poster board and start cutting and pasting images that you feel drawn to or that represent something you’d like to be or have in your life. If you would like to learn more about the power of these dream boards, and have a look at some of the ones I’ve created personally, check out my blog post, Creating a Dream Board ( End procrastination by knowing your payoff Ever wonder how to motivate yourself to tackle that daunting task you’ve been putting off? Rather than dwelling on the chore itself, turn your attention to how you will benefit once the job is done. If you can come up with two or three compelling ways your life will be better as a result of completing what you’ve been procrastinating on, you will find the inspiration to take action.

tHere is so mucH Buildup at tHe

end of the year that it can almost feel like a race to the finish line. Then January 1st arrives, the social calendar calms down and the cocooning begins as you prepare to ride out the rest of

28 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

Make your ‘someday’ a reality How many times have you wistfully said, “Someday, I’d like to…” It’s interesting how we often procrastinate on doing the things we most want to do. We continue to put it off because something more pressing always seems to come up. But life is short, and habitually putting off doing those meaningful things that bring us joy can literally suck the life right out of us. One thing that I personally find very effective is to catch myself when I say I’d like to do something, and immediately pull out my calendar and schedule it in, even if it’s not for another month or two… or even six. The trick is to allow enough time to prepare for the event in advance and, once the date approaches, treat it as you would any other appointment you’ve booked with someone important – keep it.

BefOre yOU jUmP rigHT BaCk TO eVeryTHing yOU Were dOing BefOre THe HOlidayS, Take SOme Time TO lOOk arOUnd and deCide WHaT needS TO CHange Make decisions fearlessly Clutter often represents unmade decisions. Many people struggle with indecision because of the fear of making a mistake (especially perfectionists). It may seem easier to avoid making the decision, but by doing so, you are deciding to procrastinate and stay stuck. Whenever possible, make decisions as you go along, before they accumulate. Although there’s no guarantee you will make the right decision, you will be taking the option that appears to be the right thing to do at the time. Avoid berating yourself if the outcome is less than you had hoped, and besides, there’s usually some recourse. See it as a great learning experience and move on. One effective decision-making technique is to ask: “What’s the worse thing that can happen if I make the wrong decision?” and “Can I live with that consequence?” This usually puts the decision into perspective and helps you make it confidently.

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renovating for resale

Designer Tips To sell your Home by usheda akbar-shanks

You love Your home, but is it time

Selling Questions

to list it? This brings to mind the popular show called "Love it or List It", which is representative of many shows depicting the spectacular transformation of our living spaces through renovation. Perhaps it is that house in the suburbs you bought in the 80's for your growing family. It could be the fixer upper you got a sweet deal on or the old cottage you inherited! Whatever your situation is, do not despair. With a little TLC and some expert advice your 'old' gem can be transformed into something hip and cool. If you are hoping to take advantage of the 2013 Spring Rush, then now is the time to start! Remember The Hare & The Tortoise story, " slow and steady wins the race".

With selling prices hovering very close to the City's assessed value, it is a buyer's market once again! Seller's beware. You are literally at the mercy of the market. The economic ripple effect has reached us and is becoming entrenched in our spending patterns. Low consumer confidence is reflected in how cautious today's buyer is, especially with the biggest purchase of their lives. Hopefully you are not in the situation where you have to sell with in a limited time frame. Even if you are not, real estate prices from early Spring to the dead of Winter 2012, have been consistent. Properties which are priced considerably higher than market value have been sitting on the shelf for many months. Stale listings have a stigma and it is even worse for the 'expired' ones. For those who had an easy sale in happier

30 home dĂŠcor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

economic times, now may be the time for a rude awakening. My advice would be to wake up and smell the coffee! Both old and brand new homes are easily accessible at the click of a button. Virtual tours abound everywhere and sophisticated marketing techniques make it very difficult to sift through the hype. Knowing that the buyer has so many good choices, makes it very important for adequate preparation of your existing home in a competitive market. Remember as I mentioned before, it is still a buyer's market.

Hot Selling Features In today's market, with such savvy buyers ,the most attractive feature has to be price. Coming a close

second is the total square footage of living space, then the aesthetic appeal of the house. A beautiful house, priced too high may not be attainable for the buyer. Many will walk away from a large beautiful home because of this. Many flashy upgrades may not pay off when it is time to sell. For instance, crystal chandeliers, gold taps, extensive and expensive landscaping, over the top drapery and so on, will attract buyers as long as the price is right. When push comes to shove, these "upgrades" will take a back seat to the aforementioned selling features. Other important features to the potential buyer are a good kitchen layout. Adequate dining space and counter space. Lots of natural light, an open concept, neutral colours, JAN - FEB 2013 home dĂŠcor and renovations 31

the insides of each drawer with a whitewash paint. It doesn't take me more than two minutes per drawer! This instantly makes it look unused and brand new, not to mention the smell of fresh paint and the feeling it invokes, especially for a designer. Do the same for under sink cabinets in the kitchen and the bathrooms.

5 Clean baseboards, walls, doors, showers and toilets. This is where maid service comes in handy, even if it is just a onetime gig. Steam clean all carpeted areas. I highly recommend a Chem Dry method. Check to see if all towel bars and toilet roll holders are secure. In some stubborn cases, a glue gun may come in handy as a last resort. Counter top 'whitish' soap scum stains are swiftly removed with CLR.

6 Repair small wall chips, and normal wear and tear by using Polyfill,

Do it Yourself Check List. Start early, about 6 months before listing.

then lightly sanding and painting. If you have a son like mine, who loves to test out the various surfaces in his bedroom with a BB Gun, then this may take much longer! Take the time to assess if a few feature walls may be just what the decorating doctor ordered. Definitely keep close to the existing colour palette when doing this. For instance, if your wall is a clayish green, then taupe with a hint of rose may be the answer. Too harsh of a contrast is jarring and makes the feature wall too obvious. Please do spend the time to consult with some colour experts at your local hardware store, and try a sample first.

1 Make sure all the doors and windows work well.

7 Emotional Preparation should also be part of the scheme. It is very

This includes shower doors, garage doors and basement windows. An excellent cosmetic change would be to re-paint a garage door. Have the raised panels a lighter contrasting shade and the rest a darker shade for enhanced curb appeal. Oil hinges, fix glass cracks, replace old hardware. Unhinged pocket doors are 'impossible' to fix unless you have a rocket science degree! You have to call in a professional handy man for this one.

stressful to sell a home especially if you are living in it. Give yourself enough time by starting at least 6 months in advance, so you can give much needed attention to detail. Get a neutral and logical opinion about the state of your house. It is very difficult to assess the home we love. This occurs because we are emotionally attached to our home, and all our possessions and experiences therein. It is human nature to think that your home is the best on the street, if not in your neighborhood. This is precisely why it is essential to have an unbiased and honest opinion from a different source.

2 Check all taps, and replace as needed, especially

The checklist of such a major project is extensive and keeps on adding to itself as time goes on. My checklist is a good place to start, and will free up time should you need to do other major work before putting your house up for sale. Remember again, "Slow and steady wins the race!"

the main kitchen tap. If the original one is leaky, full of lime scale and looking dull, then an inexpensive replacement will pay off. There is nothing more attractive to the potential home buyer than a brand new, shiny, high-tech looking kitchen faucet.

3 Make sure all appliances work. Is your built-in microwave making a strange noise, has the interior developed chips from constant wear? It may be time to replace this. Other common 'glitches' are water dispensers in fridges, minor dents in the stainless steel, and old water filters.

4 Clean out all drawers. It may be surprising for some of us, who are too busy to pay constant attention to housekeeping to find so much 'junk" in our kitchen drawers. Nobody wants to be a full-time home maker! Empty out each drawer and wipe clean out thoroughly. With quick brush strokes of an impatient artist, slap 32 home dĂŠcor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

usheda akbar-shanks b.a. sociologY, urban studies and design Freelance Writer, Intuitive Designer

Phone 780.484.3664 Edmonton, AB. E-mail







The next time you say ‘You’re worth your weight in gold,” keep in mind that gold is currently worth over

$25,000 a pound.






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JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 33


shEll BusEy: ask a pro

Maintaining chimneys by shEll BusEy

BE surE to Burn your wood propErly:

›› Burn clean, dry, seasoned (aged 6-12 months) firewood only ›› Use a mix of hard wood and soft wood where possible, depending on what’s available in your area. ›› Avoid wet or green wood. The moisture in these can cause creosote build up in your system. Creosote is a highly flammable material. ›› Never burn garbage, plastics, particle board, driftwood, painted or treated wood. ›› Burn small and hot fires. This style of burning uses more fuel but doing so causes less smoke, pollution and soot deposits in your system. More reason for seasonal cleaning and inspection.

Ensuring that your ChimnEy is wEll maintainEd

will help you get the most out of your fireplace during the heating season. Here are some maintenance tips that will prove helpful for anyone operating their fireplace: ›› Service your fireplaces and chimneys in the spring and summer months when they are not in operation. ›› Soot is corrosive, so have all your winter deposits removed at the end of the burning season. ›› Think ahead! Never light your fireplace if you are unsure of the last time it was serviced or checked by a professional. ›› Chemicals used for helping break down creosote in your system are nothing new to the industry. Products claiming to remove creosote build-up are in no way a replacement for having your fireplace serviced by a qualified professional. Some of these products can be very effective when used properly alongside routine sweeping. ›› Artificial logs are an easy alternative to wood burning. Most undergo laboratory testing for low emissions; however they can cause excessive soot deposits in many systems. 34 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

Did you know that wood burning does not contribute to climate change like fossil fuels such as gas and oil? It’s true! Wood burning is “carbon neutral.” As trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then use it to build their structure. This carbon makes up about half the weight of the wood. When a tree dies and is left to rot on the forest floor, or burn in a forest fire (or fireplace) it releases the carbon dioxide it has absorbed back into the atmosphere, therefore making wood combustion “carbon neutral.” Also, it’s advisable that you book your chimney inspection, repairs, or maintenance at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance, and when your chimney will not be in use, as many companies that service chimneys are virtually always in demand. For more information regarding wood heating, the Canada Mortgage and

Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a document called Guide to Residential Wood Heating available on their website. For more home improvement information, to send shell an email, or to watch shell’s askshell webcast go to

shEll BusEy For more home improvement tips, sign-up to receive Shell’s online House Smart newsletter at

HouseSmart Home Services Referral Network

From A-Z, Your Home Improvement Resource


Visit for helpful tips to improve your home including: Renovation Trends, New Products, Maintenance and Repairs, Do-It-Yourself Tips and Grants and Rebates for energy upgrades

r Projects Help For You

des ciency Upgra • Energy Effi d Cooling • Heating an Control • Air Quality paces ent & Crawls m se a B et W • Design • Accessible

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For any type of home improvement referral, call us at 1-888-266-8806 or visit us at: and please remember; “It’s Just That Easy!” JAN - FEB 2013 home décor and renovations 35


decoding the code by MIchAel NyIkes


With Alberta locked in the cold grips of yet another winter, I have had a number of questions regarding heating with oil versus natural gas.


While some in the business of selling or supplying oil admit it is a sunset industry, there is still a core set of consumers who believe oil is a viable and economical alternative to natural gas, despite its dirty reputation. A new steel tank has an estimated 15 year lifespan, with the most typical problem being corrosion from the inside out due to condensation. Water from condensation inside a tank gives rise to aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, and the oil becomes both a food source and a welcome environment for microbes to grow and multiply. This growth forms into a sludge that sits at the bottom of the tank. The sludge is both acidic and corrosive, attacking the metal tank. Prevention of bacterial growth requires regular water removal, filtration and treatment of the tank with additives. Condensation occurs more frequently on tanks situated outside of a home, due to constant changes in temperature. Also, a tank exposed to the sun often incurs more condensation than those that sit in the shade. But a new generation of fiberglass and double walled steel oil tanks now boast 30 year warranties against leaks. These new tanks cost approximately $2000 compared to $1500 for a regular single walled steel tank. It’s also important to note that oil furnaces 15 years ago were about 65% efficient whereas today they average around 85%. Most new oil furnaces cost about $3000 which is less than the average $4500 for a gas furnace. Although prices for oil tanks and furnaces are less expensive, fuel costs are actually more expensive than natural gas. Over the past three years, natural gas prices have dropped

36 home décor and renovations JAN - FEB 2013

nearly 30%, while prices for a gallon of oil have increased by approximately 70%. As an aside, the cost of electricity has dropped almost 20%, while the price of propane over the past three years has increased by nearly 30%. At the end of the day it comes down to return on investment (ROI). Although hardware and material costs are less for an oil tank and furnace, fuel costs are higher. Based on a customer’s rate of consumption over a certain period of time, ROI can sway from cost effective to cost prohibitive. More information regarding the code requirements around oil, gas, propane and electric heating systems can be found by contacting the Safety Services division of Alberta Municipal Affairs at 1.866.421.6929 or via email at safety. Future Decoding the code columns will continue to answer readers’ questions about how the provincial building code affects their projects. email your questions to me at Be sure to include which city you live in, as well as your phone number in case I need to follow up with you.

MIchAel NyIkes Michael is a nationally recognized speaker, columnist, and leading industry expert on building codes, residential construction, building envelope science, and environmental design. He can be reached at




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Renovations oF eXCeLLenCe

Renovations of Excellence “ThERE is No subsTiTuTioN foR ExpERiENcE” by saliNa YaRa halabi



or over 34 years Renovations of Excellence has been specializing in design and renovation projects. Offering customers exceptional project management, owner Lou Soucy ensures the entire renovation process is a professional and comfortable experience. With communication an integral aspect of the company’s core, customers can be sure that their requests and needs are a top priority from the initial consultation through the finished product. From whole home renovations, second storey additions, and basement developments, to custom built homes and commercial leasehold improvements, Renovations of Excellence can handle all your home and office renovation projects.

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Edmonton Home Décor and Renovations - JAN/FEB 2013  

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