All posts by admin


Maximize Your Kitchen Space with These Pro Tips.   

Mobile Islands

Mobile islands are a wonderful invention. There are days when we all wish we had more counter space. Sure, our kitchen works very well for our family’s day-to-day dining needs, but not for special occasions. When Thanksgiving rolls around and Aunt Ida lugs in the most impressive display of Tupperware, filled to the brim with all sorts of food that may or may not be entirely edible, there just isn’t a place for that kind of overflow to go. Not to mention that for a Thanksgiving feast there is likely to be an armada of dishes such as carrots, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams and more. Perhaps you have the food setup in a buffet-style arrangement? You will need quite the counter space to lay out all of those dishes along with cutlery, plates, glasses, drinks, condiments and more. Really, the question is not so much “Do I need a mobile island?” as it is “What size of mobile island do I need?”

They really are incredibly helpful. You park them where you want them, and whenever you need them somewhere else, you simply roll them into the place. This helps maximize the floor space of a smaller kitchen, while not changing the layout of the room. When you want to have an evening of baking with a good friend, just roll out the mobile island. You on one side, your friend on the other. Let the baking begin!

Lazy Susans and Close Cousins

So, you have a lazy susan but you have not quite figured out how to make the most of it. You are not super fond of getting down on your knees to search for spices, sugar and other pantry items, while spinning and spinning and never quite finding what you’re looking for.

Allow us to introduce you to a lazy susan relative – the super susan. As well as the magic corner and the leman. The magic corner has a door that you open and then shelves that slide out so the items come to you, as opposed to you craning your neck to find them in the dark corner of dizzy dreams. The super susan and the leman are similarly nifty!

Reclaim Space from an Old Flue or Adjoining Closet

If you live in an older home, you may have some unused, extra space at your fingertips. An old, natural gas furnace that required a chase may have been replaced with a high efficiency natural gas unit, or perhaps an electric heat pump. Neither of which require the chase. Commonly, a hot water tank is standing in the way of reclaiming that space and turning it into a beautiful pantry. A natural gas hot water tank can be replaced with an electric hot water tank that does not require an exhaust vent! You may also look for space in rooms adjoining your kitchen and perhaps turn an unused closet into a kitchen pantry.


Consider replacing your kitchen table and 4 chairs with a built-in banquette. One major advantage of banquettes is the storage under the bench chairs. Can one ever have too much storage space in their kitchen? There is no more wasted space with a banquette and it provides more space, overall, in the kitchen as you don’t need to leave space to pull out a chair. The banquette seating may have 3 foot long drawers that slide out on each end. These are called “super slides”.

Not to mention the color coordination possibilities with the custom seam cushions. Your kitchen is a safe place to proudly display your love of plaid, paisley or pastels, if you so choose. The list of material options is nearly endless, so have fun picking out the perfect pattern for your banquette seating.


Kitchen Organization Bling

That useless, unused space beneath your kitchen sink? Put a drawer in there. Maybe nobody will even think there is a drawer there and you can hide one of your favorite chocolate bars there for a rainy day. We won’t tell.

Custom, built-in spice racks are trending currently. Perhaps you have a thin space between your refrigerator and cupboards? A svelte, slide-out spice rack may fit in there perfectly. How functional would that be! Not to mention, how many more spices could you store in a slide out spice rack than in your cupboards? How quickly could you find them if you could just slide them all out and not have to dig around in the cupboard for them?

There are many types of drawer organizers that can help tidy up a kitchen. Where does one put all their pot lids? If the pots are stored in a stacked manner, the lids cannot be on top of the individual pots. So, where do they go? The lid organizer is a game changer for those with a lower cabinet space. It looks so neat and tidy when filled with the lids you can used to never be able to find.

Slide-out drawers are one of our favorite accessories. Firstly, let’s just get one thing straight: we highly, HIGHLY recommend installing as many drawers in a kitchen as possible. If the cabinet is below the countertop, please, make it is a drawer. We will say this again – nobody enjoys getting down on their hands and knees to dig something out of the lower cabinet with cupboard doors. With drawers, you can see and access everything in that cabinet anytime you want to! Perhaps, though, you purchased a home that has a beautiful kitchen and alas, they had it custom built with gorgeous lower cupboards. Well, save your tears, my friend. You can add slide-out drawers to those cupboards without changing the doors.

Add a kitchen sink insert. These inserts are very helpful for meal prepping. It’s like extra counterspace!


Remove Drops off Tall Cabinets

Many older kitchens have bulkheads, another term for a drywall drop, above the wall panels. Often when removing these bulkheads you will have room for floor to ceiling cabinets. On average, reclaiming this wasted space will give you 25% more wall cabinet square footage. These top level cabinets are the perfect place to put those dishes you only use once in a while. It is also great to store those fine china hand-me-downs you will never use but cannot get rid of.


Re-locate rarely used items in your kitchen

Ask yourself a couple of questions: are there things you store in your kitchen that are rarely used that could be stored in your attic or garage? Kitchen space is high value real estate. Does that never-been-used fondue set really need to set up home in your kitchen cabinet? Or the breadmaker that makes delicious, fresh, preservative-free bread but is humongous and heavy and takes up more space than all of your cups combined! Perhaps you even have things you can donate. In this scenario our recommendation is to move it or lose it.

Lighted Vanity Mirror

Elevate Your Bathroom with these Top 9 Accessories

Hair Styling Station by Glamour G

Putting your best foot forward often starts with wearing your best hairstyle. Not everyone can have naturally great hair days. In fact, we know very few people who have great hair days without, at a bare minimum, the use of some gel and a hairdryer. The curling iron is a must have hair styling device for many modern women. The challenge is where do you store a burning hot stick? We give you – the hair styling station. This nifty unit has a heat-safe spot just for your curling iron and your blow dryer as well as other spots for your other hair accessories. It is even electrified. Everything you need to have the perfect hair day in one, handy place. You’re welcome.

Heat Proof Resistant Hair Dryer

Glamour G Station Heat Proof Resistant Hair Dryer Flat Iron Holder Comb Trio Holder

Tushy Spa 3.0 Warm Water Bidet

We know. One cannot mention the word ‘bidet’ without hearing Crocodile Dundee’s Australian twang triumphantly call out: “For washing your backside, right?” We should mention that many modern bidets do not require an extra, er, bowl. Rather, an adapter connects from the water supply under your sink to your toilet. The tushy water is as clean as the water you wash your hands with. And it’s warm!

Why a bidet, you might say? Your tush can be twice as clean, for one. The average family of four could save up to 75% on toilet paper by using a Tushy Spa which equals about $100, annually. Using 75% less toilet paper means helping cut down on, forgive us, waste as well as saves a good number of trees.

72% of households in Japan have a bidet-style toilet. You know what that tells us? That 72% of households in Japan don’t have to unclog their toilets when Uncle Manny comes to visit. Now that is priceless.

Warm Water Bidet

Modern Bidets

Lighted Vanity Mirror

Getting ready for work would be SO much easier if only you could see your face while you shave or while you put on makeup. Our eyesight does not get any better, with age, unfortunately. Perhaps that is so we cannot clearly see our wrinkles? Regardless, proper and efficient personal grooming requires illumination. We love the lighted vanity mirror with perimeter lighting. They illuminate all of your face and virtually eliminate any shadows due to the large perimeter light. So many older vanity lights have some lights at the top of the mirror that point down or just shine out. However, your face is not at the top of the mirror, so the light does not shine directly on your face. Not super helpful, is it? New perimeter vanity light mirrors use LEDs and are dimmable. We are partial to the Profila Illuminated Bathroom Mirror because it has an anti-fog system! So, have your hot shower and shave without wiping the fog off the mirror first. Live your best life!

Lighted Vanity Mirror

Profila Illuminated Bathroom Mirror

Heated Towel Bar

It’s a cold, dreary, winter morning and extracting you from under the covers requires a ridiculous amount of willpower. You’re finally in the shower, under the decadent spray of hot water but unless you find a new body part to shave, you really cannot justify staying in there any longer. The thought of leaving the warmth of the shower and exposing yourself to the frigid air of the bathroom is less than pleasant. If only you could extend the spa nirvana and wrap yourself in a hot towel. Wait – you can! A heated towel bar will keep your bath sheet nice and toasty until you’re ready for it. It will also dry your towel very quickly if you want to take that towel to the gym or pool after work. Many people use heated towel bars to dry delicate laundry items such as ski jackets and bathing suits. The units come in several different colors/finishes and most take only 15 to 20 minutes to heat up. Luxury awaits!

Heated Towel Bar

Jeeves H Curved Heated Towel Bar

Bathtub Tray

There are a few different kinds of baths people tend to take. There’s the bath to sooth sore muscles, the bath to treat the skin with Epson salts or some other healing additive, and there’s the bath to get away from the stresses of the day. We believe a bathtub tray is suited to all of these types of baths. The tray can hold an open book to read, a beverage to sip, even a phone – if you must, or a bowl of bon bons. Having everything you need at your fingertips in order to fully relax and enjoy your bath is highly underrated. The Aquala Bathtub Caddy in walnut from Umbra Studio ticks off all the boxes on our list. It even has a double hook for your luffa sponge! How thoughtful of them.

Bathtub Tray

Aquala Bathtub Caddy

Bamboo Mat

You do not have to be born in Norway to appreciate the features of a Scandinavian Spa bamboo mat. They are a beautiful feature to add to your bathroom but that’s not the only reason to appreciate bamboo mats. Bamboo is extremely durable and strong. They hold up well to wear and tear. They are fire resistant due to their composition. Bamboo mats are allergen-resistant due to their smooth surfaces that are easy to clean, but hard for allergens like dust mites to hide on. They come in many different sizes, patterns and stain colors. However, the natural wood color adds a touch of class to any bathroom and with a few similar accessories, can turn your space into a spa-like getaway.

Bamboo Mat

Bamboo Slat Bath Mat

Exciting paint color

Paint as an accessory? We say yes! Okay, okay, perhaps it is not what one would traditionally label an accessory, but for many intents and purposes, it functions as one. Painting your bathroom a distinctive color can change the whole feel of the room. There are so many more shades of every color available nowadays than 30 years ago that you are sure to find the perfect hue to transform your bathroom. If you love the look of bright white penny tiles, consider matching them with an indigo blue paint color on the wall.

Exciting paint color

Bathroom Paint Colors

Wooden Ladder

A stained, wooden ladder can be a real game changer for an ensuite bathroom. It is a wonderful place to store clean towels. Bath towels can be purchased in a rich colors to pop against the flooring and walls, providing a double decorating feature. Even a ladder that is elegantly leaned against a bathroom wall without a single item draped over is a beautiful feature that can change the look of the room.

In a smaller bathroom that may be lacking in shelving space, consider placing a ladder against the wall above the toilet. Use the rungs as shelves to store your toiletries, towels and other supplies.

Wooden Ladder

3 Tier Toilet Leaning Bathroom

A one-of-a-kind sink

Gone are the days of choosing a sink for your bathrooms from a selection of perhaps 8, white, porcelain basins. Colors, shapes and textures have been trending strongly over the past several years and manufacturers have responded in kind. For example, the semi-recessed vessel bathroom sink, below, would be a commanding feature in almost any bathroom. In the case of such a basin, a designer would often design the whole bathroom around the showstopper sink. The marble veined in gold color is rich and quite luxurious. Paired with a wall-mounted, waterfall spout faucet in either color of the basin, you may find yourself spending much more time in the bathroom than necessary!

A one-of-a-kind sink

Round Semi Recessed Vessel Bathroom


What to Consider When Managing a Large Renovation or Whole House Renovation

Managing a large-scale renovation such as renovating an entire house is most certainly more complicated then renovating a single room or in most cases even a single level. Let’s talk about some of the most common considerations required of a large-scale renovation. The most important thing to consider is whether you are going to hire a general contractor who will look after the labour and materials and BC building code compliance issues. Or, will you hire a design/build company that will look after every aspect of the project from start to finish, including design, build, inspections, permits, BC building code compliance, material ordering, subtrade supervision, project management etc.

House Renovation


One thing that is often overlooked when taking on a large-scale renovation is the actual scope of the project. For example, you’re much more likely to remove a wall in a large-scale renovation and removing a wall will often require a structural engineer and a full set of plans. If part of the renovation is increasing the square footage of the living space by adding an addition or an extension you will require permits drawings and possibly approval from other overseers. When compared to a small renovation where you need to pick out tile for the floor and quartz for the countertops versus a large renovation where you’re redoing an entire home or one floor there will be many more decisions that you need to make. There will also be many more types of decisions that you need to make so you will need to dedicate a reasonable chunk of time to making these choices.

A design build company is a must. A single contractor may not have the resources or time to effectively manage your project while running his own business and managing his other clients. A design build company walks you through the entire process from beginning to end.



As whole house renovations tend to be more costly due to their scope and size and they tend to be something a homeowner may only do once in their lifetime, one should contemplate needs that come with aging. It is wise to consider adding a suite to your home so you have the potential of having one of your kids and their family living with you one day to help look after you. Other considerations include barrier free showers, the future ability to add an elevator or stair lift, as well as the ability to add accessibility ramps to the exterior of the home.


Logistics & Setting Reasonable Expectations for Timelines

Unlike on reality TV shows, when an entire renovation is shown in 30 to 60 minutes, and the only people you see are the host and perhaps one or two sub trades, the reality is quite different.

You don’t see the 10 to 20 people who are busily working behind the scenes completing that renovation. Most whole house renovations include multiple trades all working together to complete a project in 6 to 9 months.

When building permits, structural engineers and inspections are involved, as well as structural work, this will add more time to the project.

When renovating an entire home, the family will not be able to live there and therefore will need to make alternative living arrangements for the duration of the project. If simply one bathroom or bedroom or even a kitchen was being renovated there are ways that the family could continue to live in the home during that renovation but certainly not during an entire building renovation.

Logistics & Setting Reasonable Expectations for Timelines


It’s very important that your design build company goes through a budgeting process with you. As the scale of the renovation can lead to a large cumulative override of cost if proper budgeting and estimating are not done. If a tradesperson underestimates the amount of material needed for one room this would increase a small renovation budget buy a small amount. However, if a tradesperson underestimates the amount of material needed for a large renovation this will increase the budget by a significant amount. Some people may decide to take a chance on a lesser known contractor for a small bathroom renovation. However, on a larger full home renovation most people will realize it’s not worth the risk of hiring an unknown contractor. They will instead choose to hire a well-established, well-respected local design build company to handle this large project.


Why You Need a Designer

This is one of the few instances wear a television home design show maybe gets it right. You absolutely need a designer to plan the colours, textures and layout of a large-scale renovation. We have imaginations and we may watch a lot of design shows, and we may even read a good amount of design magazines. However, all of that really only amounts to the tip of the iceberg of interior design options that are available to you right now in the market. Furthermore, many design shows are based in the United States the readily available design materials and accessories may be a bit different than the ones here in Canada. Trends in Canada maybe similar but often differ significantly from those in the US.

A professional design build company is experienced and skilled at designing an entire home or entire living space. The design build company will know about all of the options that are available and will have connections with all of the suppliers who distribute them. Moreover, a design build company can design every square foot of your home so that it flows and is fluid in a very united, connected way. You will be able to enter your home after a full renovation and the colours, design and textures will flow from the point of entry through the entire house from one room to the next. You certainly want your home to look unified and fluid in its design and colour palette. A design build company can do that for you and do it very well.

Why You Need a Designer

Project Management

Another one of the few instances where a televised home makeover show is likely realistic in comparison to a whole home renovation is the project management portion of it. On many of these programs there is a designer/contractor team who leads the renovation. These individuals work together to create a beautiful, cohesive living space for their clients. The contractor manages all of the tradesmen and sub trades. This takes a chunk of their time and energy but because this is a regular day on the job for them and they have an extensive amount of knowledge and experience in all areas of renovations, they manage this part of their job with great efficiency. Whereas, if an individual who is not experienced in the construction trade decides to be the project manager of a large-scale renovation, this will be a huge, exhausting challenge for them. When an experienced contractor looks at a set of blueprints or permits or invoices he or she knows and understands exactly what they’re looking at. The average person will need a lot of translation and quite frankly we don’t think Siri’s up to that.

A good design build company will have an excellent project management team and will make your large renovation go as smoothly as possible. They will know how to plan the timelines and build in potential delays. They will know how to solve problems that may arise and how to keep the project moving along at a good pace. Project management is often overlooked but we cannot stress enough how important this aspect is when it comes to a large-scale renovation.

Project Management

Why it Makes Sense to Spend Money on Interior Design

So, you’ve watched a few design shows and you’re a Pinterest home design champion. Nobody has more home interior design pins than you do. Nobody. Naturally, you feel you’re exceptionally well suited to design the interior of your home. This may be true; however, the majority of the population does not possess the skills to design an entire home based on current trends and available materials. A design build company, on the other hand, is very qualified to not only design the interior of your home from one end to the other but to plan and build the entire renovation from start to finish. They are continually updated on current trends and materials as they work with suppliers and visit warehouses and stores when sourcing materials.

A design build company will not only know how to craft the colours and textures in your home to provide continuity and flow, but they will know where these materials are coming from and how they are made. They may know in advance of any problems with specific suppliers and materials, as well as the recycle-ability of the items. It makes a lot of sense to not only hire a very qualified design build team to design the interior of your home, but to have one company, one team in charge of the renovation from top to bottom and start to finish.< Why it Makes Sense to Spend Money on Interior Design


Kitchen Hide and Seek Design Tricks and Tips

Hide and Seek may be a child’s game, however, we feel the title warrants use to describe some of the clever kitchen design tricks we have at our disposal. You can be the judge.

Hidden Pantry

We do not recommend this as a place for a kid to hide, but we cannot say the same for dry goods, canned food and almost anything else one might use to prepare a meal.

There’s no need to have your appliances, Christmas dishes, kitchen cleaning supplies, paper towels and jumbo-sized produce packages from Costco on display in your kitchen. Tuck them all away in a hidden pantry that is right under your guests’ noses. Wow them with this little hideaway that is hidden in plain sight. The storage possibilities in such a pantry are quite endless. And yes, we confess, such a pantry MAY make an ideal hiding place. But let’s give the hide and seekers a sporting chance at least, yes?


Kitchen by Gulick Group

Chameleon Refrigerator

Refrigerators come in so many different sizes nowadays, and colors. Sometimes when a refrigerator kicks the proverbial bucket, it may be tricky to find a replacement that is the exact same as the original. Not to mention that nobody actually enjoys seeing fingerprints and smudges on a stainless-steel refrigerator door. At least, nobody we have met or would like to meet. Enter the chameleon refrigerator – which does not actually have the ability to change its color to blend in with its surroundings. Rather there are two types of refrigerators that we consider have chameleon-like abilities.

Firstly, there is the overlay panel refrigerator. One may also call this type of appliance a panel-ready refrigerator. This is a built-in refrigerator that has be specifically designed to accept a fitted panel that is the same color and design as your kitchen cabinetry.

Secondly, there is an integrated refrigerator. The difference is that an integrated refrigerator is fully camouflaged and has no compressor vents that are visible. It will sit perfectly in line with the kitchen cabinets and is crafted with an inset door. Thus, when an integrated refrigerator door is closed, it blends right in with the kitchen cabinets. It is one of the most popular features of professionally designed kitchens. However, under no circumstances is any refrigerator to be used as a hiding space for children. Birthday cakes, yes; living things, no.

Integrated Overlay Panel


Kitchen by Boston Appliance

Disappearing Dishwasher

Come on, you didn’t really think that refrigerators were going to get to have all the fun in the kitchen, did you? The dishwasher wants to hide, too, and we are happy to grant its wish.

A kitchen with clean lines and a uniform look is absolutely striking. Alas, if only that dishwasher matched – no – blended into the background. Let’s face it: a dishwasher rarely if ever enhances the design of a kitchen. We WANT our dishwasher to blend in. When all the dishes are loaded into the dishwasher and we get to experience the satisfaction of pushing the “on” button – preferably when our spouse is watching us do so – we would like no reminder of said dishes. Well, we are happy to inform you that your wish CAN come true. Much like refrigerators, dishwashers can be built in to be camouflaged with a cabinet that matches the rest of the ones in the kitchen. You may install pulls or knobs on it to further blend the appearance. So, the next time you turn the dishwasher on, it will truly be out of sight and out of mind.


Kitchen by Decor Pad

Tucked Away Microwave Oven

Microwave ovens are a very handy appliance. Quickly softening a stick of butter, reheating leftover food and rapidly cooking frozen vegetables are just a few of the wonderful tricks a microwave can perform. If only they didn’t take up so much space on my counter!

Guess what? They don’t need to! You can have a microwave oven that is built right into the cabinetry design of your kitchen. Imagine the counterspace that you will have with no microwave oven eating it up. One of the coolest features of a built-in microwave oven is that many of them come with a button that makes the oven door slide out. That’s right, no more ducking to avoid the swinging door of the microwave. This one slides straight out so you can reach in and remove your edible item. Life is good!


Kitchen by Sharp

Appliance Garages

Perhaps you make a cup of coffee in the Keurig every morning before leaving for work. So, the coffee maker is there all day, every day, sitting on your counter. The nerve! Taking up that valuable counter space all for 4 minutes of use per day. Can you imagine the inflated sense of importance that appliance must have? We cannot stand for this and neither should you. We give you the appliance garage. The appliance garage is a cabinet that stores your otherwise egotistical appliances out of sight. This frees up your valuable counter space for things like a kettle. Just kidding! The kettle can join the coffee maker in the appliance garage, too. But the freed-up counter space will come in handy for cooking. The appearance of an empty countertop is quite breathtaking for many home owners. Minimalists absolutely adore appliance garages. As they should.


Kitchen by Decor Pad

Under-Counter Freezer or Refrigerator

Yes, it’s true. The hotel industry basically fueled the demand for these appliances. However, that does not mean that homeowners cannot partake in the benefits.

Many homes simply need more freezer space than what is offered in a refrigerator. The need for a large stand-alone freezer one might find in a garage is not as common as the need for just a little more freezer space. Why not build in a mini freezer right into your kitchen? The lower cabinets could not be used for a better purpose, in our humble opinion. Save yourself the trip to your basement or garage when you’re in search of frozen meat to thaw out for dinner. Just take two steps forward, or back, or whichever direction you are coming from in your kitchen and pull that frozen item out.

Perhaps additional freezer space is not what you need. Perhaps your refrigerator is perfectly sized to hold all your frozen and refrigerated goods except for your wine bottle. Sure, if you didn’t have that bottle of ketchup in the refrigerator, your lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc could fit right there. Alas, your ketchup loving children will not give up their favorite condiment. Oh well, I guess you just need to install a built-in wine cooler. Your kids will love you for it – especially when you add a few cans of pop in there for them to enjoy on the weekends. The temperature can be set to the correct temperature for the wine, which is something you cannot do with your refrigerator. Refrigerator food should be stored at a constant temperature of about 3 degrees Celsius, which is too frigid for white wine. Lighter white wines should be served between 7 and 10 degrees Celsius, white wines that have more body are best chilled between 10 and 13 degrees, and sparkling wines should be chilled between 6 and 10 degrees. Essentially, if you keep your wine cooler at 10 degrees, virtually all of your white wine bottles should be a serve-able temperature at all times. And your ketchup will be happy in the main refrigerator, where it belongs.


Kitchen by Kitchenaid

Secret Pet Dish Area

You didn’t think we’d forgotten about your favorite, four-legged, family member, did you? Never! There are many different types of hidden pet dish options for you to explore.

Your furry friend can break bread – or biscuits – at the same time and in the same place as you and your family do. Oh – but you don’t have room on the floor for a pet food dish and pet water dish, you say? You’d be tripping over it? Let’s just tuck it away then, shall we? Lower cabinets can be fitted with built-in sliding drawers that house pet dishes. Many of them you may just gently ‘kick’ with your foot for the drawer to slide open. When Fluffy is done chowing down, you just gently push the drawer closed with your foot and your kitchen floor is once again clear.

Dish Area

Kitchen by Contemporist

Honestly, there is almost no limit to the number of things one can hide in their kitchen if one wants to. We are talking about food, appliances and all LEGAL items, here. That being said, some of these hidden spaces could be used to hide Easter eggs or small birthday and Christmas presents if the need arises. You’ll figure that all out and we’ll help you do it.

Ice Cream

9 Easy Kitchen Holiday Hacks for the Season

We normally write about the design, renovation and building of living spaces. However, with Christmas around the corner we thought we’d post something on the lighter side this week.

Ice Cream Anti-Cozy

It seems like we are always trying to keep things hot. Coffee, tea, appetizers, meals and more. We are not nearly as obsessed on keeping things cold. What would you want to keep frigidly cold, anyway? How about iced cream? We take a tub of delicious mint chip out of the freezer and then the countdown seems to start. We must get that sweet treat back in the freezer PRONTO! But, wait, what if we could buy ourselves an extra 5 or 10 minutes? The luxurious scooping of creamed goodness could be drawn out and cones could be filled with next-level precision. Repeat these two words and never forget them: bubble wrap. Simply wrap the ice cream tub in bubble wrap and it will stay firm for about an extra 30 minutes or more. It could still be out when you decide, as we all do, that one bowl of iced cream will simply not do. You’re welcome.


Ice Cream

Kitchen by


Soft Cookies for Days

One slice of store purchased white bread will keep your cookies fresh and soft for several days. Slip this slice of bread in an airtight plastic container and add your cookies. Your guests will think you baked cookies just for them when you baked them three days earlier! Don’t worry – we won’t tell anyone.

Soft Cookies


Your Oven’s Secret Super Power

Some homes are set to temperatures that are just too brisk for homemade bread to rise in. Not to worry, you don’t even need to turn your oven on for this hack. Boil some water and pour it into a pan or casserole dish and place it on the bottom rack of your oven. Slide your dough onto the rack directly above the hot water and close the oven door. The humidity and heat from the hot water will proof your bread in no time!

Super Power


Super Speed Wine Chiller

Your spouse runs up to you and screams: “The Johnson’s are coming for supper!” You told the Johnson’s about this FABULOUS bottle of white wine you picked up on Sonoma at a vineyard and they are bringing over the perfect cheese appetizer to bring out the hickory and cherry notes of that bottle. Sadly, that white wine is still sitting in the pantry where you left it when it should have been put in the refrigerator the night before to chill. The horror! Well, don’t you worry. We’ve got you covered! Place your bottle of wine in a large pitcher and fill that pitcher with ice water. Fast-forward 20 minutes and your wine will be ready to serve.

Wine Chiller


The Label You Never Saw Coming but Cannot Ever Forget

You know the thick rubber bands you try to delicately remove from your broccoli heads but end up snipping with scissors because you’re a tiny bit impatient? (We understand – we like broccoli, too.) Here’s a double tip – cut the broccoli stem while the elastics are still on the broccoli. This frees your broccoli quickly, and allows you to save the thick, elastic bands. Now, take an elastic band and wrap it around your jar of homemade jam. Use a permanent marker to write the flavor and best before date of the jam onto the elastic. Now it will be easy to get a good grip on that jar. When the jam is done and you need to wash the mason jar, just pull the elastic band off. No stubborn sticky labels to remove in order to reuse the jar this time! And you can use that elastic band t to keep your Christmas wrapping paper from unrolling. Hey – that’s three tips in one!

elastic bands

Kitchen by


Mason Jar Spice Shaker

Don’t recycle the lid from your parmesean cheese container. That lid fits on a narrow mason jar quite perfectly. Now you have the perfect spice or sprinkle shaker for when you would like a larger sprinkle of flavour. Perhaps you’ll store your coffee in here. Glass jars, such as mason jars, don’t add any unwanted flavours to your food. And you can see exactly what’s inside them.

Mason Jar

Kitchen by


The Christmas Cooling Rack You Never Knew You Had

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. The music, the decorations and the food. The problem is that when you have a house full of family for the holidays and you are baking cookies like there’s. no tomorrow, wherever can you put those baking sheets to cool? Take your ironing board out and set it up in an out of the way spot in your kitchen. Without a cover your metal ironing board makes one pretty big cooling rack. When you’ve cooled all your treats, you may. Use that ironing board as a buffet server. Put a festive table cloth over top and presto! It is at your service.


Kitchen by


End Food Fraternization

Tupperware only comes in so many shapes and sizes, but children’s school lunch preferences come in an endless array of variations. What to do, what to do. Cupcake liners to the rescue! Separate your cheese from your crackers by putting the cheese in a liner next to the crackers. Prevent your kids’ cookies from mixing with their brownie by using a fun muffin liner to keep them in their corners. Make school lunches great again!


Kitchen by


Extend the Life of Your Herbs

Herbs can be expensive when purchased at a grocery store in the winter. They often come in a bunch that is too large to use in a single recipe. However, they wither before you can use them again for a different meal. Parsley and cilantro can be kept fresh, longer by trimming their stems and placing them in a vase of water. Gently cover the stems with a transparent plastic bag – such as the one your herbs came in – and tie it in place. Store this on the counter or in your refrigerator for about one to two weeks to keep your herbs fresh longer.

Your Ice Cube Tray’s Hidden Purpose

You bought a new refrigerator that makes ice and no longer need your ice cube trays, you say? We disagree! Ice cube trays are used by many home gardeners and chefs to freeze things in tiny portions. When making a big batch of pesto, don’t discard the leftover sauce. Add olive oil to the pesto and pour this mix into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, move the ice cubed pesto into a freezer bag and save to use in another month or so.

Your kids would be more interested in another use for your ice cube trays. Do they want to take apple juice or orange juice to school in a thermos but they don’t want to add ice cubes and water it down? Just pour some apple juice or orange juice into an ice cube tray and freeze it. Then pop a few of the juice cubes into your child’s thermos along with the matching juice and voila! Ice cold juice at lunch time. “Thanks, Mom!”


Kitchen by



Kitchen Trends 2023

Like the rest of the world, we sometimes wish we had a crystal ball that would allow us to see things that are going happen in 2023. Sure, winning lotto ticket numbers would be nice, but it would also be good to know whether or not that stunning pendant light is going to be in style in the near future. (Spoiler alert – it definitely IS!)

While we have no crystal ball, we are still able to see some trends emerging in 2023. Please bear in mind that what’s trending in Vancouver, B.C. may not be the same as what is trending in Austin T.X. or in metro Toronto.

The trying-hard-to-forget-you pandemic continues to affect overall kitchen trends. Home owners are investing in higher levels of customization in their kitchens as they are spending more time in their homes for the most part. Kitchens have become the centre of family life once more and people are investing more money in their kitchen renovations as a result. Investing in the overall design of the kitchen, cabinets and other stylistic choices.


Light is trending, really. In 2023, many kitchen remodels will include adding a lot of light to the family hub. Small windows will be replaced with large ones or will be accompanied by additional windows. Task lights and pot lights will be popular as well as kitchens that are designed to allow more sunlight in. Maximizing the amount of light in a home is not exactly a new trend, we know. Due to so many people having to work from home and restrict their traveling over the past couple of years, additional light in the home has become a priority for mental health.


Connecting Indoor and Outdoor Living Spaces

With so many Canadians working from home at least part of the time, the desire to easily have a change of scenery is stronger than ever. In 2023, more and more renovations will involve making the kitchen or family room flow into outdoor living spaces. The ability to work on a back deck on a laptop or Macbook while sipping coffee and hearing birds tweet is a high priority for many homeowners now and into 2023. Backyard oasises with beautiful plants, flowers, landscaping and features such as waterfalls and stone retaining walls will remain in demand.

Many kitchen renovations will involve replacing a window with patio doors or French doors that open to an outdoor living space. Studio sheds to be used as a home office or a hang out space for mom, dad or the kids, will continue to be in demand. Sustainable flooring in outdoor living spaces will be popular as will outdoor kitchen areas to spend more time outside.


Soothing Interiors

Neutrals and cool blue colors are trending into 2023. Colours that are calming will be used not only in kitchen design but in the overall design of the home.


Assorted Materials, Patterns and Textures

Men and women alike love decorating their home to display their individual style. In 2023, we expect to see many more types of materials, textures and patterns in kitchens.

Assorted Materials


Pops of color will be popular in the kitchens of next year. Cabinets that are more than one color, specialty glazing on islands and counters, funky backsplash tile and unique pendant lighting will be popular in 2023.


Family Friendly Designs

With family members all at home to work or even to go to school, family friendly kitchen designs will continue to be immensely popular moving into the new year.

Kitchen islands and breakfast bars will be incorporated into many renovation designs. Islands and breakfast bars are not only the perfect place for your kids to grab breakfast or work on their homework, but they provide the perfect opportunity to add a showcase lighting fixture above them.

Kitchens are continuing to become the hub of the home. They are where friends gather, couples cook together and families play board games. Now and in the future, there will continue to be no place like home.

Friendly Designs

Pet Feeding Station

Dogs are members of the family too, and they are getting their own place in the kitchen! Built in nooks with slide out dog food and water bowls are very popular and will continue to be moving into the new year. More and more home owners are requesting a special component for their favorite fur ball. These pet-geared nooks very often are hidden behind a cupboard door for when you have a special gathering or just need to clean!

Feeding Station

Kitchen by


The more time spent in a kitchen now has people considering what they feel is missing. Phone charging and laptop charging ports are making a splash in newer kitchen designs. Two separate sinks in a kitchen for couples who enjoy prepping and cooking together. Cork or other specialty flooring that is soft on the feet, warmer than tile, and unique. Built in wine coolers to show off a favorite vintage are becoming common in high end homes. Office nooks with designs that reflect a person’s hobby are popping up now and will continue to do so. Any little hint of personalization that means something special to the homeowner is strongly considered in current and trending future kitchen design.


Kitchen Garden
Working from home over the past few years has given people a little more time to focus on healthy eating. A large number of individuals entered the hobby of vegetable gardening for the first time in 2022 and we expect even larger numbers to do this in 2023.

The rising cost of food has made growing your own vegetables and herbs more viable than ever. It is very common to have a windowsill herb garden designed into a kitchen renovation, where lighting will feed the plants as well as illuminate a kitchen workspace. Many homeowners have deck gardens. Their kitchen is renovated to flow into the back yard where they have a deck with built-in vegetable planters. They grow tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers and more right on their decks. This serves as sustenance and therapy. Soil is proven to be a mood booster.

Kitchen Garden

With the many changes over the past few years, one can expect changes in design trends as well. From family-friendly kitchens, to new textures and materials, to additional lighting, we like where kitchen design is going in 2023 and we think you will, too. However, with all the changes in the world today, it is not unlikely to expect that some surprising design trends will emerge.

Common Home Renovation Terms You Should Know!

So, you want to undertake a home renovation? There are some terms and titles you should familiarize with before you get started. Once you’ve learned all the lingo and inside information you should be equipped with enough renovation knowledge to get you started.


Millwork is used when discussing various types of craftsmanship work on a renovation. The kitchen cabinets, any trim in the house, specialized ceiling work, built in desks and shelves, and some types of flooring are all different types of millwork.


Kitchen by


Most people are familiar with this one. Blueprints are a set of technical drawings created by designers and architects that shows the layout of a building, living space or renovation.

Modern day blueprints for a renovation or new construction typically include: a site plan with survey points, floor plans, elevations, cross sections, and a materials specifications page.

Historically, this drawing would be created on blue paper – hence the name “blueprints”. The lines were white. Whereas in the present day, blueprints are Typically on white paper with black lines and have other details in different colours. In the age of iPhones blueprints are often stored on iPads or iPhones as opposed being printed out.


Kitchen by

Building, Plumbing and Electrical Inspectors

The term that strikes fear into the heart of home renovation undertakers is building inspector. Building inspectors are hired by the local government and they ensure that any type of renovation is done in compliance with all of the local rules and legislation.

One benefit of a building inspector is that it is on their shoulders to ensure that health and safety measures are met and that all of the work is completed to code including the plumbing and electrical and any work that is done that would involve building code regulations to be considered. Sadly, they have the power to halt your renovation until they’ve inspected everything, and all of the work has been completed to their approval.

Building Permit

This greatly coveted piece of paper is permission or approval given by your local ministry that allows you to remodel, renovate or build on your property. Building permit applications require a complete set of blueprints and a structural engineer’s stamp of approval in order to be processed. You may not need a building permit depending on your project and that depends also on where you live as there are different rules for different cities and provinces. Regardless, whether or not you believe you need a building permit we recommend you find out for sure because if you do need one and you have not secured one the authorities can halt your renovation and force you to make costly changes if not cancel your project out right. The changes they order may or may not be easy things to change.

Site Services

Often the term site services is used when referring to a site services permit from a city. A site services permit allows you connect your home’s water and sewer services to the city’s services. A site service may also refer to connecting your home to a public or private utility such as gas, telephone, electricity, internet or cable.

General Contractor

You would likely hire a general contractor to manage your renovation. The general contractor will coordinate the entire project as well as provide a quote on the total cost and on the timeframe of the project. A general contractor will very often hire subcontractors to take care of specific types of work such as electrical, plumbing and millwork. Any general contractor you hire should be fully licensed as well as insured. A good rule of thumb when it comes to hiring a general contractor is to check with your local Better Business Bureau and read Google reviews to verify that the person you are considering hiring has a positive work history with previous clients. A good general contractor has enough respect in the community with trades vendors and other professionals that he can easily resolve issues and get things done.


As mentioned above a subcontractor is typically hired by a general contractor to complete a specific part of the job such as electrical, plumbing, etc.

Some common subcontractors are:

  1. Plumbing
  2. Electrical
  3. Gas
  4. Drywall
  5. Insulation
  6. Tile
  7. Millwork
  8. Framing
  9. Roofing
  10. Finishing

unlike A general contractor who may have a wide range of skills, a subcontractor typically specializes in one or two trades only. For example, an electrician only does electrical whereas a plumber will do hot and cold water drainage and gas. As you can see even a subtrade who specializes in more than one trade will have closely related trades. You won’t or at least shouldn’t see a plumber installing drywall. All sub trades are performed under the supervision of the general contractor and his staff.


The term fixture may be used to describe components that are set in place and affixed to a wall. Some examples of this type of fixture would be chandeliers as well as decorative features that are attached to the home. When speaking about a renovation, a fixture typically refers to items such as sinks, faucets, shower controls, bathtubs and even a built-in oven.

Kitchen by


This term is an acronym. GFCI, also known as GFI is an acronym for ‘ground fault circuit interrupter’. A GFCI is a device that interrupts an electrical circuit in order to protect you and your family from any harm if you were somehow exposed to an electrical current in or near water. GFCI’s are generally required in every home in laundry rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, garages as well as any location that has a source of water. A GFCI Is a component that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that your family is protected from any nefarious rogue electrical currents.


You are probably familiar with this term, though you may not recall exactly what the acronym stands for: heating, ventilation and air conditioning.  HVAC systems Are very helpful when regulating the temperature and humidity level in your home. As with any appliance an HVAC system should be properly maintained and inspected on a regular schedule.


This term is used frequently when discussing carpentry and woodworking. ‘Medium-density fiberboard’ – MDF — Is a type a board or panel that is made with sawdust and shavings as well as wax and resin. It is generally used in place of plywood and similar wood products. MDF is cut to size and created with a silky-smooth finish and unlike real wood contains no grain or not. When using a saw on MDF it doesn’t splinter or tear like real would often does. MDF is ideal for low impact carpentry projects such as trim and shelving. A downside of MDF is that it is heavier than plywood. Also, it gets damaged more easily and scratched more easily than real wood does. If MDF is left untreated and it is exposed to a small amount of water, it can swell up in size and break. There are types of MDF available today that are moisture resistant. The biggest concern with MDF is that most of it contains urea formaldehyde. This is a suspected carcinogen, so when working with MDF we advise you to do so outside or in a very well-ventilated area. Wearing a respirator would be a great idea as well.


You have probably heard the terms remodel and renovation used interchangeably. The term remodel is typically used in the United states whereas the term renovation is typically used in Canada. Essentially speaking renovating/remodeling refers to upgrading or updating or completely changing a living space. The term new construction is typically used to denote the building of a brand new home\Garage\studio shed from scratch. The only area that blurs the lines is home additions. Although a home edition is typically all new construction, because it is connected to the existing home it is generally considered a renovation in Canada. Kitchens are often remodeled/renovated and during that process the kitchen layout may remain the same with new appliances and cabinets or it may change dramatically with new locations for appliances and a new floorplan. During a renovation/remodel It is very likely that plumbing fixtures will be replaced with new ones, and the electrical system could be upgraded to compensate for new and additional lighting.


Experts Reveal Top Tips for a Small Kitchen Remodel in 2022

Custom Cabinets

A good design build company will help you choose a custom cabinet layout that makes the most out of your space. When you go to a big box store such as Ikea, the only cabinets available are “stock” ones. Stock cabinets come in a limited set of dimensions, which equates to wasted space in your kitchen. If you want to utilize every inch of space, you must install custom cabinets that are built for your available space.


Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.

Magic Corners

Magic Corners are one of the coolest kitchen features on the market today. The kitchen corner dilemma comes to play in almost every remodel and new build, except for the galley kitchen. That corner is valuable real estate in a small kitchen. A lazy susan is definitely one option, but that requires kneeling or bending down and spinning the lazy susan until you find what you’re looking for. Whereas a magic corner does all the work for you. You may not fully utilize every inch of space in that corner, but you will be able to easily access all of it with your magic corner.


Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.

Cool Built-Ins

There are a great number of space saving, built in options for small kitchens on the market currently. A built-in spice rack can utilize a couple of inches of otherwise wasted space next to your refrigerator or cabinet. Plus, you will be able to see and access every single spice you have whenever you want to. The poultry seasoning is usually tucked away in the back of a cabinet along with the other rarely-used-herbs we find in most kitchens. You cannot for the life of you recall what recipe called for the use of cayenne pepper, but nevertheless, you have a jar in your cupboard. Spoiler alert – if you made squash soup or a fancy Mexican dish, cayenne pepper may have been deployed.

Built-in, slide out pantries are wonderful at using up any gaps in the kitchen. And best of all when you slide them out, you can see exactly how many boxes of crackers you have. However, if you have teenagers in the house, you likely have no crackers whatsoever. We recommend hiding crackers in boxes of bran cereal so you may once in a while snack on them yourself.

A built-in paper towel holder can save precious counter space. That space in front of your kitchen sink may be the perfect depth for a paper towel dispenser. That is certainly saving some space on your counter and it looks much cleaner, too.

Toe-kick storage cabinets are fantastic storage options for small kitchens. That space under your kitchen cabinets, just above the floor is usually viable space that is up for grabs. Toe kick drawers are perfect for tough to store items such as serving platters, cookie cooling wire racks, baking sheets and more. Now, you do not actually kick the drawer to get it to open. We want to be clear about that! You tap your foot against it, and it glides open. You don’t have to bend down and open it with your hands. This is perfect if you are drying a muffin tin and want to put it away. The muffin tin is in your hands, so you tap the toe kick drawer with your foot, place the muffin tin inside, and push it closed with your foot. Some people even use it to store their dog dishes! When it is feeding time, they tap the drawer and it opens up to reveal a doggie dining area. Close it back up when chow time is over so your kitchen is prim and proper once again.

Kitchen by Diamond At Lowes

Drawers, Drawers, Everywhere

Repeat after us: drawers are good, doors are bad. There are a few instances where doors are needed – such as if one is traveling to Narnia via a wardrobe – but the majority of stored items can be more easily accessed in drawers.

Think about the cupboards that are beneath the countertops. The items stored in those cupboards are hard to reach and likely unorganized as a result of you needing to be on your knees to reach them. Drawers simply slide out and you can see and access every single thing in them. More and more kitchens today are being designed with upper doors and lower drawers. With a smaller kitchen where every bit of space is needed, drawers are an absolute must.

Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.

Rolling Island

Rolling islands are incredibly versatile. They can be tucked away under a counter top or situated at the end of a counter top to increase that counter space. They can be pulled out into the middle of the kitchen and be used as – wait for it – and island. They can also be rolled into a nearby room and be used for folding laundry, paying bills, homework and many other things.

You have the extra counter space when you need it, but not when you do not need it. The best of both worlds, and an absolute asset in a small kitchen.

Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.

Lots of Lighting

A small kitchen can look larger with the right lighting. Fill your kitchen with lighting. Under the counter lighting, over the sink, pot lights in the ceiling, task lights over food preparation countertops. There are generally three different types of kitchen lighting.

  1. Pot Lights – These can be placed almost anywhere in the kitchen ceiling. They come in several sizes and can be dimmable, which we highly recommend. On cloudy days and in the evenings when it’s dark out you may want to have the pot lights on the brightest setting. On sunny days when simply looking out the window can blind you; you may need a little bit of light from the pot lights, but not very much.
  2. Under Cabinet Lights – These lights are, as the name suggests, situated under the cabinets. The counterspace against the wall, under the cabinets in a kitchen does not need to be dark and gloomy. Install a series of under cabinet lights to take full advantage of every square inch of your counter.
  3. Task Lights – to direct the stream of light where it is most needed. Task lighting is generally installed over sinks, islands and food preparation surfaces. Pendant lights with LED bulbs are fine choices for this type of lighting, as are track lights, powerful pot lights and other kitchen lights. The goal is to light your workspace area so you can get your task done as efficiently as possible.

Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.

Kitchen Too Small? Take Out a Wall!

A very common kitchen renovation today is to remove a non-load-bearing wall in or near the kitchen. Gone are the days where families want private, formal dining rooms. Today’s couples do not want to be sequestered, alone in the kitchen while their guests dine in the next room. The walls are coming down and the kitchen is opening up to the dining area or the family room area. With that wall gone there is more space for the kitchen. There is likely now room for an island or a peninsula with bar stool seating. Many families choose this type of small kitchen renovation to help connect their family together. The kids grab breakfast at the island or peninsula while mom or dad is making coffee or tea. The kids may park themselves at the same place to work on homework in the evening. This allows them to connect with mom or dad while supper is being prepared.

Kitchen by Indoor Outdoor Guy Renovations Inc.



Guide to an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Build Better Cabinets

The first step to becoming the proud owners of an eco-friendly kitchen is to hire an eco-friendly design build company. An eco-friendly design build company will be skilled at designing and building kitchens that are kind to the environment and will last a long time. A professional company will ensure that there are very well-built cabinets in your kitchen that will not wear out in 10 years. Many big developers use the most cost-effective materials when building kitchens. Cost-effective to the developer does not equal quality. The developer will get a higher return on their investment as they pay less for lesser quality cabinets but do not typically pass along those savings onto you.

A reputable design-build company will ensure that your kitchen cabinets are built to last a long time.

Such a company will embrace ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly.


Kitchen by

Increasing the Insulation in your Kitchen Walls can save you money on heating bills in the winter. If renovating your kitchen, your electrician will likely need to open up the walls to do some electrical work. While the walls are accessible, it is the perfect opportunity to increase the insulation. There are many eco-friendly options when choosing the type of insulation. One popular option is using recycled blue jeans. The material is very durable and may provide health benefits due to not using fibreglass insulation.


Kitchen Walls

Kitchen by

Consider intentionally constructing a kitchen that is connected to the backyard. Doing this will connect you to your outdoor living spaces. You’ll be more inclined to go outside and even grow food in a garden. Growing your own vegetables and herbs is not only healthier for you but reduces your carbon footprint. A quart of cherry tomatoes grown in your backyard goes in a bowl and into your kitchen. One purchased in a store was picked off a tomato plant, packed into a plastic, clamshell container, placed in a truck that shipped it to your grocery store. You likely drove your car to the grocery store to buy the tomatoes. Fresh produce often has quite the trek to reach your table. An herb garden can improve quality of your life. Many herbs are perennials that can be harvested over and over all summer long. Gardening has been proved to reduce stress and anxiety. Not to mention the fact that herbs you grow will be as fresh as can be and will taste much better than purchased ones.

Planting shrubs beneath your kitchen windows can have a positive effect on your mood as well. A bright rhododendron or classic camelia could shade the lower half of your wall and help reduce your cooling bill.

An herb garden does not have to only sustain you for the summer months. Many design & build companies are incorporating indoor herb gardens right into the kitchen design. A self-watering garden shelf can be incorporated into your kitchen. Dimmable, LED light strips are discrete, energy efficient and perfectly equipped to keep your plants happy all year round. Hydroponic shelves are available if you prefer a soil-free system. Some systems have a notification component that will alert you on your cell phone when the water is low. You basically just need to add water once in a while and clip your herbs whenever you need them! Fresh herbs at your fingertips could turn you into a gourmand in no time!


Kitchen by

Use Eco-Friendly Materials

Cabinets are not the only materials that comprise an eco-friendly kitchen. Countertops and flooring are important, too. While some developers will opt to put laminate counters in kitchens, those counters are not designed for longevity. Quartz, granite and cement counters will last for a very long time. That is an eco-friendly investment. The landfill does not need any more worn out, faded laminate countertops. It has plenty as it is!

Eco-Friendly Materials

Kitchen by

There are many eco-friendly flooring options today to choose from. However, what goes into the determination of eco-friendly flooring? Think about whether or not the flooring has the ability to be recycled when it wears out, or refurbished – such as hardwood flooring. Does it last a long time, or do you have to constantly invest in maintaining it? How was it created and where? If the creation of the flooring using processes that pollute the air, it may not be very eco-friendly, no matter how long it lasts in your home. If a truck shipped the flooring from two thousand kilometres away, that was not very eco-friendly either.

Cork flooring is a renewable material. Did you know that this material comes from the bark of the cork oak tree? The bark grows back after it has been harvested! Cork flooring has insulating qualities as well.

Hardwood flooring is made from wood. It can be re-finished, and it lasts a very long time if taken care of. It is also biodegradable.

Linoleum flooring is actually made from flax plants. Flax plants have a high degree of availability and they are renewable. They can last more than 20 years if maintained.

eco-friendly flooring

Kitchen by

Energy Efficient Lighting

Increase the size of your window space to allow for cheaper heating and lighting. If possible, take advantage of a south or west facing kitchen to line that wall with big, bright windows. In doing so, you can take advantage of natural light. You may even get to watch some beautiful sunsets out those windows while having supper.

Efficient Lighting

Kitchen by

Energy Efficient Appliances

There are many more energy-efficient options today than even 5 years ago. The instant pot appliances, for one. If we tweak the way we cook, a little more energy can be saved. For instance, do you know that convection button on your oven? It cooks food faster, saving you electricity.

Crockpots do not draw much energy and the bonus of using one is that you can put all the components in before you start work for the day, and it cooks all day while you work at your job. Then you come home to a house that smells divine! And the best part is there is only one pot to clean!

New dishwashers use less water but deliver cleaner dishes. Using a dishwasher that has a condensation dry function will save even more electricity. Newer refrigerators are better insulated and therefore more efficient. Not to mention that if they have a water dispenser you will get instantly cold water from the refrigerator. This saves water as you won’t be running the kitchen faucet for a minute until the water gets cold enough for your liking. Refrigerators also use less power.

If you want an eco-friendly kitchen, one big thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is purchase appliances that will last longer than 10 years. Most appliances in big box stores are going to last an average of 8 years. This lifespan is not due to the insulation or exterior finishes. The problem is the quality of the electronics and motor packages used in the appliances.

Every brand has low-end, middle-end, and high-end products. Most of the time the high-end ones come with better electronic components. These top models will likely last 20 to 25 years but cost $5,000. A lower-end refrigerator will last an average of 8 years and cost you about $2,000. However, when it breaks, you cannot wait 3 weeks for the replacement part to come in to repair it, so you end up buying a new one. What happens to your old refrigerator? It goes to the dump. Over 20 to 25 years you could send 3, low-end refrigerators to the dump instead of investing in a high-quality one that lasts for 20 to 25 years.

Efficient Appliances

Kitchen by

VOC-FREE Paints & Finishes

Volatile Organic Compounds, (VOC), contain compounds with a composition that allows their evaporation. Basically, you cannot see these chemicals, but you can smell them. When you paint your home or purchase new furniture and bring it into your home you can smell them. Off-gassing, which is the evaporation of these chemicals, can last a few years.

These chemicals can cause headaches and many other short- and long-term health effects.

A good design and build company will use zero-VOC and/or low-VOC paints and finishes, depending on your choices. Zero-VOC paint is often water-based and literally contains no VOCs. The VOC-free paint costs a bit more than standard paint, but can you really put a price on your health?

To further improve the air quality in your home, you may consider an air-purifying system. Indoor, potted plants can improve the air quality as well.

Water Efficient Fixtures

It is easy to purchase water-efficient appliances and fixtures today. Dishwashers, laundry washing machines, toilets, showerheads, and faucets are offered in a plethora of water-efficient options. There is even a special toilet that uses gray water from the sink for toilet flushing!


Kitchen by


Just say no to the garborator. By getting rid of it, you are doing your part to help the municipality reduce sewage outflow. Composting is the way to go. You’ll use fewer plastic garbage bags if you compost, resulting in fewer garbage bags at the landfill. Not to mention how happy your vegetable garden will be with the compost!

Recycling has been made easy with a huge variety of recycling bin options.

Under the sink slide out drawers that contain compartments for compost, paper recyclables, plastic recyclables and garbage come in many sizes. Consistently recycling will reduce your carbon footprint and it is easier than ever to do so.


Kitchen by

Buy Larger Quantities of Staples

Purchasing big amounts of flour, grain, sugar as this reduces packaging. Also reduces trips to store – carbon footprint. Design extra space n kitchen to hold these things. White rice keeps forever. It does not hurt to be prepared in case of a natural disaster such as an earthquake or a flood. Having the ability to store large quantities of food will not only aid you in the event of a. natural disaster, but it eco-friendly. Larger quantities of food come in less packaging and last longer, which means you are not driving to the store as often to purchase them. A good design build company can help you design your kitchen to have a higher capacity of food storage. Tupperware containers will keep your spices, baking staples, cereal and pasta fresh for much longer than the packaging they arrived in. A big bag of rice fits nicely into a 5-gallon bucket with a lid on top. Place some moisture absorbing gel packs inside the bucket and that rice will keep for a very long time.


Kitchen by


Install a Bottled Water Dispenser Right into your Kitchen

One huge jug contains 18.5 litres of water whereas a 24 case of bottled water contains a total of 12 litres. The 1 cooler jug is cleaned and reused. The 24 bottles of water after consumption will end up in different places. Some will be put in the garbage and others will make it to the recycling bin. Invest in some good, reusable water bottles and use the water cooler. The water will always be cold and you will not be adding any plastic to the landfill. It is very easy for kids to fill their thermoses with water from the dispenser and they will be more likely to drink water after school if they have a dispenser handy. Choose a water cooler that will continue to dispense water even when the power is out. Most of them are powered by gravity, anyway, which means they will continue to dispense water no matter how long the power is out. If your water source is a well, a water cooler will be invaluable to you. Well water is pumped via an electronic pump so if the power is out, you do not have water. Except from your water cooler! Smart cookie!


Kitchen by

Top Seven Reasons to Consider a Kitchen Renovation

1. To increase the value of your home.

It is no secret that prospective home buyers view the kitchen as a make it or break it factor in their purchase decisions. One of the best ways to increase the value of your home, and the likelihood of it selling at or above list price, is to renovate your kitchen. A modern kitchen with modern appliances and a functional, well-designed layout will appeal to the market. The kitchen is the heart of the home and increasing the livability of that room will bode very well for you.

Perhaps your desire to increase the value of your home is not tied to putting it up for sale. Increasing the value of your home will also increase your net worth. Regardless of the reason you have for increasing the value of your home, renovating your kitchen is almost certainly going to help you accomplish that goal. Of all renovations, kitchens give you the highest return on investment. A kitchen remodel provides an average of 120% or more return on investment. That is the best return on investment renovation, generally speaking, that one can complete.


Kitchen by Tsawwassen Kitchen & Main Floor Renovations

2. To better accommodate your family.

You and your spouse possibly bought your home before you had children. You were a young, professional, working couple with lives that were so busy outside of the home that you rarely ate in your kitchen. Fast forward 10 or 15 years and you have a family. A loud, raucous, wonderful, family filling your home with laughter and other not so joyful things once in a while. Understandably, your needs have changed and your kitchen needs to change to accommodate that.

Many families choose to install a breakfast bar or island with bar stools. This becomes the perfect place for your kids to grab a quick bowl of cereal, or to work on homework. Island lighting is often the brightest illumination in a house. (Us Canadians like to see what we prepare and consume). The brightly lit counter space is also the perfect place to clearly see math equations, while keeping said homework out of your puppy’s reach. Mom and Dad can help their kids with homework while they prepare supper which is nice for both parties, if not a tad unfortunate for the puppy.


Kitchen by The Estate Kitchen

3. Increase storage space and make the kitchen more functional.

A growing family requires more cupboard space to store food and dishes. Your children will likely need to take lunches packed in reusable containers to and from school each day. These containers take up a good amount of space. Rather than relegating your lovely wine glasses to the attic to make storage for sippy cups, plastic bowls and tupperware, you may opt to increase the cupboard space in your kitchen.

Life B.C. – Before Children – may have had you requiring nothing more than a toaster, microwave and oven. Life A.C. – After Children – may require you to own a larger toaster as well as a crockpot, stock pot, rice cooker, pressure cooker…you see where we’re going with this. Your kitchen will be a much more organized and enjoyable space for your entire family if every utensil, plate, container and small appliance has a home. Discreetly placed appliance garages are very popular in modern kitchens, and one can see why. You may have access to all your handy appliances, but they are not taking up precious room on your counter.

In the past, most cabinets didn’t go all the way to the ceiling, but they do today…if you want them to. Modern cabinets stretch from counter to ceiling, providing a lot more storage space.

Rarely used items such as Christmas dishes, a popcorn machine, serving trays, etc. should not be taking up space in the lower cabinets. Move those less-used items to the top cupboards to free up premium space in the lower cabinets. A current kitchen that doesn’t have cabinets all the way to the ceiling and has empty space or a drywall drop, can take advantage of that extra, unused space and have 25% more storage capacity. This is the perfect place to put the wedding gifts you don’t want but cannot get rid of.


Kitchen by Shell Road Kitchen & Home Renovation

4. Deterioration.

While your kitchen was possibly practically perfect in every way when you first moved into your house, it has likely deteriorated over the past 20 or 30 years. The countertops may have chipped or cracked, the cupboards faded, the appliances broken down. You decide to head to the store to replace your refrigerator. Sounds easy enough, right? You would be wrong. Standard refrigerator sizes have changed a lot over the past 10 years, let alone 20 or 30. You likely will find a larger refrigerator that you love, but your kitchen is too small to accommodate it. Well, it is the perfect time to renovate that key space in your home. You can bring your kitchen into the 21st century with style. A good design build company will help you plan the area that you have always dreamed of. You will be excited to have friends and family over to show them your beautiful, new kitchen.


Kitchen by New Westminster Kitchen

5. To accommodate aging in place or a disability.

You love your home and you rightly do not want to leave it and you certainly do not want to move into any sort of a care home. Lucky for you, a kitchen renovation can help you stay where you are. We would be remiss not to mention that your home will likely need a few other modifications to accommodate you perfectly, such as a ramp at your entrance and a main floor master suite. However, having a kitchen that you can move around in and cook in freely is an absolute necessity.

Many home owners choose to replace all lower cupboards with drawers so they can easily access everything inside them. We think this is a great idea for ANY kitchen, actually! The kitchen should also be wide enough to easily move in and through it. The appliances should be easily accessible as well as the sink. Your kitchen can be renovated to look beautiful as well as be incredibly functional.


Kitchen by Vancouver Home Makeover

6. The original design is bad. Very bad.

When homes are built by a developer for resale, they often have cheaper kitchens with a bit of flash, but with accessories and details that are often missing. Generally speaking, the overall quality is often the minimum required to sell the house. A good design build company can often give you an amazing kitchen that does a better job of meeting your needs while taking up the same amount of space. They will work with you to customize every aspect of the kitchen while factoring in how you will use the space and what appliances will call it home. Unlike the big home developer who is only concerned with profit margins, a design build company will steer you towards quality products and installation methods that will give you a much longer lasting kitchen.

original design

Kitchen by Richmond Modern Kitchen Renovation

7. Most kitchens built in the 70s were not designed to be the centre of family life or for entertaining.

Rather, kitchens constructed in this timeframe were designed to be very functional for one person to be in there doing all the cooking. Nowadays, couples often cook together and have their kids cooking with them. How else will their kids learn to cook healthy, well balanced meals if mom and dad don’t teach them? Presently, a lot of clients want to have friends over where four adults can cook and visit together. No longer is the cook cut off from the guests while the meal is prepared.

Kitchens used to often be L-shaped and have no island. Currently, clients usually request a very family-oriented kitchen with entertaining possibilities and an island. The space where a traditional, old table and chairs set stood is today replaced with a large island that accommodates the whole family. There is usually a built-in desk area to do homework or pay bills.

A reputable design/build company will help you re-design your kitchen space to provide a more functional, modern layout that today’s families’ need. Often a wall between the kitchen and the dining room will be pulled down to create your dream kitchen. It will provide more space for cabinetry and that killer island. You won’t need a kitchen table as well as a dining room one now that you have a large island with seating for your family. You will enjoy a kitchen open to the dining room where entertaining guests is easy and fun!


Kitchen by Townhouse Kitchen Renovation