Thursday, February 8, 2018

Three Ideas For Creating A Practical Garden

~This is a featured post. ~

Is your garden a space that you get plenty of use out or is it somewhere which is wasted? Do you take full advantage of the luxury that is your garden or is it a somewhat barren space? If you are lucky enough to have a garden of your own, you really ought to make the most of the space. After all, not everyone has the pleasure of a garden.

What you want to do is transform your unused garden into a space that is both pretty to look at and practical. Gardens have so much potential to them, which is why it’s so important to ensure that you make as much of your garden as possible. Then there’s the fact that gardens which are well taken care of and looked after add value to the property, so if you want a home that is as valuable as possible, taking care of your garden should be a priority.

To give you the inspiration that you need to create a more practical and welcoming garden, below are three ideas worth taking note of and implementing.

1. Utilize screen enclosures
Do you hate being disturbed by bugs flying around you as you eat outside? Or, does the concept of finding insects floating in your pool or hot tub put you off using these features? If you want to ensure that certain areas of your garden remain free from unwanted bugs and dirt, you should invest in a screen enclosure. If your screen enclosure is broken or damaged and is no longer working effectively, it’s important to get it fixed in time for the warmer spring and summer weather. Instead of attempting to deal with the problem yourself, avoid the headache and hire a screen enclosure repair company to deal with it for you. This way, the issue will be dealt with more quickly and will be insured for a set period, so that you don’t have to worry about the same problem occurring again.

2. Plant easy-to-care-for plants
Wondering why your plants always look a mess? Could it be because you pick plants that are hard to look after? The fact is that when it comes to your garden if you want to make sure that it looks its best, it’s important to choose plants that require low amounts of care - think grasses, bamboo, shrubs, daisies, and marigolds. There’s a common misconception that when it comes to gardening, you need to have the magic touch (AKA a green thumb) to have a beautiful garden when that’s not the case. Unless you want to hire a professional gardener to landscape your outdoor space, the key to gardening success is simple: plant easy-to-care-for-plants.

3. Build a deck or patio
One of the main reasons why a high percentage of gardens don’t get that much use is simply because they are mainly grass. The issue with grass is that it’s not usable in all weathers, as when it rains it can become sodden and muddy. Whereas, if you choose to incorporate patio or decking into your outdoor space, you can make it somewhere you can enjoy in all weather. It should also help to give your home’s value a boost, should you ever choose to sell. 

Monday, February 5, 2018

4 Ideas For Livening Up Your Home

~ This is a featured post. ~

You don’t want to walk in your home each day and feel a sense of drab and disappointment. No, you want it to have energy and be instantly seen as a welcoming atmosphere. This is especially important when you have guests or visitors in your home.

What you want to do is transform your rooms so that your entire house feels livelier. Create a space that has an abundance of energy and positive vibes. This will make you want to actually spend time in your house and not run the other way. Learn a few tricks that will help you accomplish this goal.  

Add Color
You can’t be afraid to use color in your home. While black and white is pretty and sophisticated, it’s not getting the job done for you or making your space any more vivacious. Pick and choose a few of your favorite hues that mesh well with your overall color scheme and will deliver that element of surprise you’re looking for. Bold colors are definitely in and can be used to make a statement wherever you see fit. 

Entertain more
A good way to make use of your beautiful kitchen and make your home feel livelier is to entertain and cook more. It’s easy when you have resources like the kitchen advisor to point you in the right direction and give you tips for pulling it all off seamlessly. Having people over is fun and it’s a chance for you to show off your beautiful home and enjoy each other’s company. Every small event you plan is a new challenge for you, and it’ll be a fun night to look forward to. Work hard to prepare in advance and then remember to relax and be in the moment during your dinner gatherings. 

Take the time to decorate and make your home look nice. Doing so will pay off big time and your attention to detail will create the perfect environment you’ve been yearning for. Personal photos, artwork and items from the local home store will form a whole new look in your home and remove any sign of boring from your space. Your decorating will make your home feel livelier and spread good energy around the place. It’ll be refreshing since you’ve been living without it for so long.  

Increase the Coziness Factor
Your home will have more vigor when it’s warm and cozy inside. Consider increasing the number of candles, blankets and items that add more texture. Lay striking and comfortable area rugs down on cold floors and always have lighting options available in each room. This way you can set the mood for whatever time of day or gathering you have going on. A cozy home is a lively home filled with memories and people who enjoy being there.

Your home doesn’t have to be drab and uninviting. With a few small tweaks, you can have a livelier space that makes you feel excited and joyful each time you’re present. It’ll feel like you’re entering a brand new home when you’re all done. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Vintage Style Kitchen Runner Rugs

Consider this the part two of my previous post on the same topic, as my search continues for that perfect runner rug for my cottage kitchen. I am looking for something that's 

  • Stain resistant: hello, no-brainer for a high traffic area between kitchen counter and island. 
  • Easy to clean: I need a rug I can spot clean and quickly vacuum up when mess happens. 
  • Material: something that's stain resistant and easy to clean is unlikely made of natural materials such as wool or cotton. So polyester and polypropylene/cotton blend will do just fine for me. 
  • Cost: unlike a large area rug for living room or dining room where I splurged to make a statement, kitchen runner rug is intended for everyday abuse. To me, it doesn't make sense to spend a ton on it. 
  • Style: vintage-inspired of course. I am loving medallion and Bokhara patterns. 

Easy peasy right? These are the eight candidates I've narrowed down to. 

1. nuLOOM Traditional Geometric Herati Medallion Border Navy. This was the one I mocked up in my cottage kitchen. 

2. Feizy Katari in Taupe/Castle, so far the front runner. 

3. Momeni Afshar rug in copper/navy: so in love with rusty orange tones in a rug these days. It all started with this one. 

4. nuLOOM Vintage Freda Floral Garden runner in pink and navy. 

5. UniqueLoom Bokhara runner in grey: can you believe this is the runner version of the same Bokhara rug I love so much in my living room and my cottage dining room?

6. Mistana Blackwell Dark Blue rug: really love this one, the colours and the patterns, but I am a bit skeptical based on the reviews on Wayfair. A lot of buyers didn't find it as distressed as they hoped for. 

7. Surya Harput rug in pink and navy: this is the one that's now in my basement hallway

8. Nuloom Vintage Killian Gray Hallway Runner: this is another strong contender. It has a lot of blues and camels with a touch of pink on a soft grey background. 

So which one is your favourite? Which one would you recommend for my all-white cottage kitchen?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Vintage Style Rugs

I was in the market for a few pieces of area rugs and runners for home and cottage. While I do appreciate all colours when used in a right way, I gravitate towards neutrals and whites. Case in point, I loved this grey Bokhara rug in my cottage dining room so much that I ordered a much larger one for my home living room. Saturated and vibrant colours add visual interests to a space, when used with restraint and discipline. There is an ocean of choices out there when it comes to area rugs: different materials, pile height, woven techniques, origins, styles, and colours, and the list goes on. 

While I may have been taking my home and cottage for a more modern spin these days, I crave a vintage style rug for a more grounded and "always there" appeal. 

Picture below: vintage style rug Edessa Tribal Medallion Fringe Rug in rust from RugsUSA. I immediately knew this was the one when I first saw it. The rug looks even more stunning in person with different shades of rust, orange and navy hues. 

The best part is, similar to a viscose rug, depending on which way you run your hand over it (i.e. which direction the pile leans over), the rug appears more muted and pastel, see below. 

It's like getting two rugs in awesome is that, right? This has to be my favourite rug purchase to-date. 

RugsUSA has a "See this rug in your room" tool for certain rugs to allow you to play with different perspectives and incorporate a rug into your own space before you buy. I was pretty sure I wanted a navy with pink accent runner rug for my cottage kitchen, so I used this rug to see how it turned out. 

Looks pretty seamless right?

I ended up ordering this runner from Wayfair. 

Does it not remind you of Caitlin Wilson's ever-popular Kismet rug? 

Picture below: Runner rug in situ in my home basement hallway. 

In my guest bathroom. The pinks and oranges are a lot louder than expected. I think I am back to drawing board for a more subtle one. Any suggestions? 

Tips on Selecting and Maintaining Your HVAC

~ This is a featured post. ~

HVAC may not be the most interesting and sexy subject for interior designers alike. Home owners often put comfort and health, before style and layout of a home. Behind the wall and underneath your house in the utility room, HVAC is the unsung hero to keep your house machine running. 

The HVAC system is intended for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning. Choosing a good unit and keeping your HVAC in clean shape can help reduce issues, making it more efficient and decreasing the possibility of lapses in its performance. Hence, it is quite important to obtain an HVAC from trusted vendors as well as follow maintenance guidelines. Here are some important reasons why you need to have your HVAC system selected carefully and occasionally checked on.

Finding an HVAC Contractor
HVAC contractors can found through advertisements and connections in the building and construction market. Nearly every HVAC contractor is an expert in a couple of related fields, so it is best to select the individual who has a background best suited to your situation. You can also search for HVAC contractors in the phone book. Whichever way you decide to get connected with a contractor, make sure to look at their past experience. Once you have found a great contractor, it will be much easier to work with them in learning about, installing, and maintaining the heating and cooling needs of your household, but if you are wanting more tips and recommendations on how to choose and care for an HVAC unit, visit

Working with a Contractor
Your HVAC contractor ought to have all the information you would need for a good system, including parts prices, guarantee data, labor expenses, and possible savings. The contractor should also go over all information with you in person and provide good documentation for you to read over as well. Before you employ an HVAC contractor, it is best to have an idea of the job what needs your home would have, especially if it is a new construction. If a home is old, an HVAC contractor should be able to tell what type of units work best for certain home styles, as well as any upgrades to ducts that could improve the heating, cooling, and ventilation you receive.

Keeping up with Maintenance
Standard maintenance is the secret to keeping your AC operating for the length of your HVAC system’s life.  Although your contractor can help with major maintenance issues your system experiences, it is also best for you to do some small checks and changes yourself.  Here are a few that can be once a year:
  • Changing Filters - it is always good to buy a new pleated and efficient filter, especially those with an electrostatic charge that will act as a magnet to grab tiny dirt and allergen particles. This is not only good for keeping the air clean, but also of removing bacteria.
  • Keep the HVAC free of debris - removing leaves, twigs, pollen piles, and other types of debris from the air-conditioning unit’s outdoor portion is vital to ensuring that the interior mechanisms do not suffer unnecessary environmental wear and tear.
  • Inspect Lines - Taking a look at the insulation is important to making sure leaks and lack of connectivity do not occur.
  • Prevent clogs - Pouring a cup of bleach mixed with water into the air-conditioning condensate drain to prevent clog build-up from mold or algae is another recommendation.
  • Keep Majority of Registers Open - It is prudent to not close any more than 20% of a home’s registers (the grates placed as covers over air ducts).  The reason being that any more than this would put too much strain on the HVAC system in its effort to ventilate the home’s interior. 

Got any more great tips? Let us know!
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