Getting Ready for IDS19

Each year, designers, design experts, design students and design enthusiasts converge in Toronto to kick of the year with the Toronto Interior Design Show! Of course, we will be there sharing plenty of inspiration and fun finds: but we thought we’d have a few designers weigh in on what they are most looking forward to this year!

TICKETS FOR IDS19 ARE AVAILABLE HERE.

Evelyn Eshun at IDS14, Photo by Larry Arnal

Each year, IDS is a portal for me to dive in and get inspired for the year to come. I am excited to see the use of materials, color and textures and I’m looking forward to seeing lighting suppliers; a fantastic light fixture not only provides light and atmosphere, but also personality. There are so many speakers and presenters that I admire coming to the event this year. Though I have not signed up yet for anything specific, I know that whoever I see speaking, I will be inspired and informed. Evelyn Eshun, Design & Event Editor for Canadian Home Trends Magazine,

We are very excited by this year’s ‘Power of Design’ theme and look forward to contributing to the debate. The Backcountry Hut will provide the Concept house for this year – THE GREAT LAKES Backcountry Cabin Designed by Leckie Studio Architecture + Design. Visitors will experience a modernist interpretation of the notion of rustic wilderness living, seamlessly integrated with some of the most advanced products on the market like; Velux Active with Netatmo, AYA Kitchens Elite range, Loewen, Blu Bathworks, Miele or Laminam by Stone-Tile. We’re also excited to hear from Neri & Hu. They’re are a creative force that we admire and have followed since their early projects. Their unique way to inject new forms and create a sense of identity with the existing spaces is shared obsession. – Leckie Studio

I’ve been a fan of Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu’s work for a while. Neri & Hu are the IDS guests of honour for the 2019 show and I am looking forward to the presentation of their work on January 18th. I’m also excited to see what new unexpected designs will be presented by the young Canadian designers at Studio North & Prototype.- Thom Fougere, EQ3

Studio North & Prototype is a highlight for us. We are always excited to see what individual designers and smaller studios are working on. You get an intimate look into the designer’s mind through the processes they are experiment with. This year, I’m also excited to hear from Marina Tabassum. The body of work from her firm speaks a sophisticated cultural sensitivity. We look forward to hearing her experiences that helped to form this language. – Mason Studio

For us, IDS offers a great opportunity to catch up for our friends in the industry and build on the strong relationships we’ve made with designers, brands and suppliers. We like to go in with an open mind and let the buzz and energy of the show inspire us. In particular, we enjoy the talks. It’s great how IDS has hosted so many talented stars over the past twenty years! – DesignAgency

I’m excited to see the redesigned show floor with all the new installations and I always look forward to seeing the newest innovative products from suppliers. This year, I’ll be presenting trends on Sunday, covering what’s in and out for homes in 2019, paint colours we’re loving, and fads to avoid this year. – Brian Gluckstein

The post Getting Ready for IDS19 appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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What To Expect During Your Solar Panel Installation

You have done extensive research, decided that solar paneling is a good choice for your home and are looking to hire a great solar contractor. Congratulations! You are now ready to begin the process of solar panel installation. Like any home renovation, the solar panel installation process will vary depending on your home’s unique attributes, so working in tandem with a seasoned contractor will ensure smooth sailing. Read on for advice on what to expect during the entire solar installation, and how to prepare for the installation process.

The Solar Panel Installation Process, Step By Step

In general, home solar panel installation and activation follows this process:

Site Assessment and Design

  • Timeframe: 1-4 Weeks
  • This step begins with an initial site inspection, where your contractor will visit your home to get a better understanding of your needs. Your contractor will then design your solar panel system based on your home’s unique attributes. If necessary, most contractors can also work with you to address any issues that might hinder panel installation, like pruning nearby trees or making roofing repairs.

Permitting

  • Timeframe: 2-8 Weeks
  • Your solar panel designs must now be submitted to your local government for permitting. The process for approval varies from region to region, but never fear: Your contractor should work closely with you during permitting, and will likely be very knowledgeable about your area’s permitting process.

The Solar Panel Installation

  • Timeframe: 1-7 days
  • After receiving approval, your solar contractor can begin work. This includes ordering your solar panels, as well as making sure your roof is structurally sound and free of obstructions. On the big day, an installation crew will install the proper wiring and mounting equipment and then place and connect the solar panels themselves. Depending on the size of the solar panel system being installed, this process can be done within a day.

Government Inspection

  • Timeframe: 2-3 Weeks
  • A final inspection by your local government and/or municipal utility must occur before your new solar array can officially be turned on. An inspector will visit your home to ensure that your solar panel system is properly installed. They may also install a net meter, which tracks production and allows your home to send excess power back to the electrical grid.

Activation

  • Once you receive final approval, you can immediately flip the switch and begin harvesting solar energy for your home.

Factors That Impact Solar Panel Installation

There are several factors of your home’s design to take into account before beginning installation. Solar panels work best on large, rectangular, south-facing sections of roof. Also, mitigate shade cast by trees or nearby buildings, as that can reduce your solar panels’ efficiency.

Last, the type and age of your roofing material is an important consideration. Solar panels can be installed on almost any roofing, but the material itself will determine the mounting system that works best for your home. The material should be sturdy and rot-free. If a roof replacement is necessary, that job can often be completed in tandem with the solar panel installation.

Don’t be daunted by these considerations. A good solar contractor will understand your home’s unique properties and find the right number, size, and style of solar panels for you. Modernize is an excellent place to start your search for a trusted, local solar contractor to partner with for your solar panel installation.

How to Prepare Your Home For Installation Day

You might be wondering how you can physically prepare your home and family for installation day. The good news is that solar panel installation itself is a fairly convenient, hands-off home renovation that requires very little preparation on your part. Small thing to keep in mind include:

  • Work with your contractor to make sure your roof is free of obstructions before installation day. This might include pruning tree limbs or relocating your satellite dish.
  • Solar panel installation can be noisy, so consider how the sounds of hammering will impact your daily routine. For example, small children or pets might be more comfortable staying with family during installation.
  • Make extra space in your yard and driveway for the installation team. Remove decorations and outdoor furniture from the vicinity to allow room for scaffolding. You should also relocate your vehicles, so construction crews can park as close to your home as possible.

Solar panel installation can be a long journey, but it’s one that ends with a significant increase in home value. If you’re interested in reaping the financial and environmental benefits of a solar-powered home, our tools can help you get started.

The post What To Expect During Your Solar Panel Installation appeared first on Modernize.

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Team Straight or Team Flared

Today’s poll is about your preference for structure or movement on the bottom of a skirt or dress. You bat for Team Straight Skirt & Dress if you prefer skirts and dresses with slim silhouettes, like pencil skirts, tulip skirts, trumpet skirts and sheaths. Note that pencil skirts and sheaths can be straight to very tapered on the side seams, both of which fall into Team Straight. You bat for Team Flared Skirt & Dress when you prefer a silhouette with movement at the bottom. The side seams are in no way straight or tapered. That means A-line skirts, any style of flared skirt, fit-and-flare frocks, shifts and architectural sack dresses.

My clients tend to be an even split between the teams. Some like a lot of structure on the bottom, and some prefer movement. Many prefer pencil skirts for the simple reason that they’re easier to combine with tops and toppers, and because they look slimmer in a pencil skirt. Pencil skirts also feel and look less juvenile than a flared skirt. Others prefer the fit of flared skirts over their curves, and enjoy the swooshing movement.

I bat firmly for Team Flared Skirt & Dress. I went off very structured pencil skirts and sheath dresses in a big way the last couple of years. I much prefer wearing skirts and dresses with a little or a lot of movement in the hips, thighs and calves because they’re more comfortable, easier to walk in, less strict, and Modern Retro. I love the swoosh against my legs, the romantic integrity, and the elegance of a flared midi skirt/dress. That’s why most of my current skirts and dresses are flared in some way.

Here are my flared dresses and skirts. The first three dresses and pink skirt look like sheaths and a pencil, but they are A-line and not straight on the side seams in person.

That said, I do have few straight dresses and skirts, three of which I bought last year. The watermelon lace dress is old, gorgeous, beautifully made, and fits well. But I’m off the tailored structure from neckline to hem and haven’t worn it in years. The olive and navy sweater dresses are very relaxed through the waist, soft and cosy, and not tapered at the side seams, all of which help temper the hip hugging fit. I bought the red floral dress for a wedding and it’s structured from neckline to hem. I haven’t worn it since the wedding a year ago. The denim skirt is old, does not have stretch, and is very fitted. But I’m in love with the ‘80s acid wash so I wear it every year. The turquoise lace skirt was bought last year. I love it, and it was frequently worn in hot weather. It’s straight but not tapered at the side seams so I can walk in it very easily. It’s almost A-line, which is why the silhouette is a winner.

Over to you. Do you bat for Team Straight or Team Flared Skirt & Dress? Tell us why and no batting for both teams. Feel free to sit this one out on the bench with leak fritters and a green salad if you can’t pick a side.

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5 Tips To Hire the Best Window Replacement Contractor

Replacing windows in your home is a worthwhile, but costly, investment. Because your windows keep you safe from the outside elements, they are one of the most important features of your home—not to mention an indicator of upkeep and maintenance to anyone considering whether to buy it. A trustworthy window replacement contractor is your safest and highest quality option if you want the project done correctly, both in the short and long term.

At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, half of the homeowners who undertook a window replacement home improvement project did so to increase the value of their home, and 80 percent of them found a contractor for the job through referrals. But it’s important to properly vet and research contractors before choosing your perfect fit, even if a friend or a family member personally vouched for them.

Here are some tips to keep in mind while you make the pick.

1. Get to Know Your Window Replacement Needs

A trusted contractor will be able to assess, identify, and explain potential improvements or upgrades to your home’s windows. Still, it’s best to approach your search for a contractor with some idea in mind of what you need—and even what you don’t need. This will ensure your project is focused and lessen the opportunity for unnecessary and costly improvements you didn’t want in the first place.

If your windows are shattered or broken during a storm, for example, they need to be replaced or repaired immediately to restore your privacy, safety, and comfort—not to mention your property value. But not all window damage is easy to distinguish. And if it goes undetected, it can cause bigger issues—like structural or foundational damage—down the road. Damage to your windows from seasons past might have gone unnoticed, or prior homeowners may have neglected problems you have now inherited like mold or poor insulation.

It’s always good policy to triple check for new—and old—indicators. Hail damage, for example, could result in damage that is not as apparent as broken glass, from torn screens to cracked glazing and dented flashing. Wind damage could leave behind dents in the glass, damaged frames, or cracked siding.

If you do find some damage, carefully document it and safe proof your house against hazards it might cause. A reliable contractor should still double check your work. But seeking estimates with specific information in your hand will make the vetting process that much more easy and, ultimately, successful.

2. Aim for the Most Reliable Window Replacement Contractor

To ensure a long-term and sustained increase to home value, a reliable contractor is key. There’s a lot to consider under the umbrella of reliability. In recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your windows project.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you find the best possible window installation contractor.

Ask for Referrals

A strong majority of homeowners approach all home improvement projects by first gathering referrals. Some of the most common approaches are:

“Call them. Pick up the phone, ask them a lot of questions, and if possible go and see [the completed work],” recommends Skip Bedell, who stars in HGTV’s Catch a Contractor. “I’ve found that if people are really proud of the job that was done on their house, most of the time they don’t mind letting other people come by and see it.”

Vet Your Options

One of the most important parts of your search is vetting different contractors and comparing their work.

  • Request quotes from three to four contractors in your area.
  • Visit the website of each contractor.
    • Is it updated and professional looking?
  • Explore the customer reviews for each contractor.
    • Are they mostly positive? Consider negative reviews and responses.

Talk to Your Favorites

Once you have a short list of your top choices, get them on the phone. A trustworthy contractor will appreciate an opportunity to discuss your project further, and a conversation allows you to get to know them. While you know best what you want to learn in the conversation, here are some questions we recommend you ask:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How much experience do you have with window repair or installation?
  • What is your project estimate?
  • Can you provide a list of references?
  • Can you provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

“If they’re not licensed and not insured, you don’t want them in your house. Period. End of story,” Bedell advises. “The license is a huge help in that if you have a problem later on, you can go to the licensing agency and get assistance in filing any complaints.”

Meet the Finalists

Meet in-person with your top contractors to review project-specific details and expectations. You can use Modernize’s free worksheet for homeowners to compare contractors. Be sure to bring up the following with each contractor:

  • Ask to see proof of insurance, which should provide their insurance company name, policy number, and policy limits.
  • Discuss who will manage warranty details and responsibility.
  • Make sure to get a fixed price before signing a contract.

3. Don’t Wait Until Your Windows Need Replacement

If a recent storm blew out a window or caused peripheral damage requiring a window replacement, you will want to get the project done as quickly as possible. But you certainly don’t need to wait for a storm to blast through before creating a meaningful relationship with your local windows contractor.

If you have a trusted contractor who has perhaps offered you an assessment of your house’s windows, shown you options for new windows, or helped you learn the needs of your home, you will have less work to do when an emergency does arrive. You could stop by showrooms to take a look at windows or use Modernize to find local window replacement contractors. Whatever tool you choose, we recommend you do so on your own time instead of under the stress of an emergency.

The right time to find a reliable contractor is now.

4. Be Aware of Warning Signs and Avoid Hidden Costs

As with contractors for any home improvement, some are not honest professionals. Before choosing your contractor for an affordable window replacement, be sure you can trust them and that their estimate is transparent and complete.

Door-to-door contractors, for example, flock to areas impacted by storms, and scam unsuspecting homeowners with offers that boast pre-payment or covered deductibles. The best way to avoid scams is to choose a local, trusted contractor—someone who has been around and stuck around, and whose reputation and reliability are central to their success. You can confirm this by checking their physical business address and validating their licensing.

Here are additional warning signs that can protect your window replacement budget:

  • Avoid contractors who request the entire project cost, or large cash deposit, up front. A down payment shouldn’t exceed 10 percent or $ 1,000. “If someone is asking you for a huge chunk of money before they’ve done any work at all, that can raise a red flag,” Bedell explains.
  • Avoid anyone who pressures you to sign a contract immediately.
  • Be wary of any outliers in your quotes. All estimates should be relatively similar unless the material type is significantly different.

When it comes to window replacement projects, there are some hidden costs homeowners could be surprised with down the line. The best way to avoid these is to ask the contractor about them.

A great example of a hidden cost for window replacement projects is complications with lead. If your home was built before 1978, your walls are likely coated in lead-based paint. In recent interviews with Modernize, all homeowners with older units were surprised about this possibility. Windows carry a higher lead exposure risk due to their exposure to outside elements and paint friction—renovations and repairs can create toxic lead dust. Testing for toxic lead typically costs between $ 200 and $ 400. If you have an older home, talk with your contractor about a lead paint test, and how it could impact the cost of your window replacement project.

Other examples include old window disposal and framing changes. Here is Modernize’s full review of the possible hidden costs in window replacements.

5. Evaluate Window Replacement Contractor Quotes the Right Way

The best contractor is not always the cheapest contractor. And the best window replacement quote isn’t always the lowest.

A recent Modernize survey revealed 63 percent of homeowners compare three to four contractor estimates ahead of a home improvement project. Evaluating multiple quotes helps homeowners scope their budget and encourages contractors to be competitive with their pricing. It’s important to understand your window estimates and why quotes may vary from each other. Before comparing your own set of estimates, see our guide Evaluating Contractors’ Window Replacement Quotes.

Here are some musts in any estimate you find:

  • Lots of details
    • The more description the better, what Bedell calls “every aspect of the work.”
  • Clear start and end dates
    • An experienced contractor should be able to know when your windows will be replaced and good to go. “This is hugely important,” Bedell says, “because another big problem that people run into is when a contractor says it’s going to take two weeks to do your job and six months later he’s still there because he only came one day a week.”

Comparing contractors is easy and effective with our free worksheet to help homeowners find the best window replacement contractor. No matter what you use to determine who will replace your windows, it’s important you keep in mind that saving money today could cost you much more money later if the windows don’t hold up or, more realistically, the process to replace them is shoddy. Quality, especially when it comes to your windows, is a lifelong investment.

The post 5 Tips To Hire the Best Window Replacement Contractor appeared first on Modernize.

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Designing a Monochromatic Space

In monochromatic design, one color is chosen and applied in varying shades throughout a room to create an effect that is refined, liveable and surprisingly stylish.

TRUE COLORS The first step in implementing this style is to carefully select the one color that you plan to use. Create a cohesive look by choosing three tones from the same color family. Starting with a base shade to define the space, then select one tone lighter and one tone darker than the base shade to create a color scheme. Pay a visit to a capable paint provider for their experience and intimate knowledge of the color wheel. Remember, white or other neutrals can also be added to complement your primary hue.

SIMPLICITY REIGNS Though decluttering your objects is ideal, inspire yourself in the right direction by minimizing your color palette in order to bring calm to your space and streamline your design aesthetic. Limiting the colors that you use will give you the clarity of mind to remove unnecessary items that don’t belong in your color scheme.

Photo Source: Dulux

TEXTURAL EFFECT Some fear that loyalty to only one color may result in a boring look but texture always saves the day. Interest is added by complicating the surfaces of various elements in the room. As light hits surfaces in different ways, the singularity of the sole color is broken up and prevented from falling flat. Despite existing in the same color, textures can appear light or dark. Look for throw pillows, window treatments and area rugs in the same tone that add layers and texture to spice up the space.

Photo by Decoist

SPACE ILLUSION If your abode is feeling a little snug, turning to a monochromatic color scheme can be a valuable trick to make your place feel larger. Choosing a variety of shades, tones and tints of the same color tricks the eye into experiencing the space as roomy and airy through cohesive design principles and a serene ambiance.

The post Designing a Monochromatic Space appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Talking to Your Solar Installer About Solar Panels and Shade

Assessing contractor quotes is an important step in the journey to increase the value of your home with solar panels. Evaluating multiple solar panel quotes helps homeowners scope their budget and encourages contractors to be competitive with their pricing, which is especially significant in today’s solar energy market. It’s important to understand your project’s unique parameters when sifting through these estimates. One such unique marker is your house’s solar irradiance. Simply put, this defines the exposure to sunlight you can expect where you live. This exposure, along with several external factors, will have important ramifications on the type of solar panels, mounts, and equipment required for your home improvement.

Having a solid understanding of these basics will help you understand your solar installer’s quote and enable you to have an informed foundation from which to discuss the project. Be sure to communicate honestly with your contractor about your needs and concerns when it comes to the shade at your house.

Do Solar Panels Work In Shade?

Short answer: Yes, of course. Shade doesn’t stop the solar panels for your home from doing their job.

Excessive shade can, however, reduce the amount of energy a solar panel system is able to generate. While solar panels are designed to operate in all weather conditions (including the winter, which is actually a great time to install them), external factors like trees or buildings might impact their efficiency. Since rooftops are popular placements for solar panels, their size, shape, slope, and age will factor into their fitness to support solar energy. For example, solar panels typically “perform best on south-facing roofs with a slope between 15 and 40 degrees,” according to the Department of Energy. Ask your experienced contractor to assess the current and potential shade your house will experience and plan accordingly—there are many ways to deal with shade.

The solar farm in Woolwich, ME, missed its 2018 solar energy projection partly because of the shade cast by four maple trees. (Nathan Strout / The Times Record)

Take the Woolwich solar farm in Maine, for example. It barely missed its projected energy generation for 2018, but city officials remained optimistic. Why? They were able to identify the main culprit: four maple trees. And that obstacle has an easy fix: “The town is looking into cutting those trees down to ensure that all of the panels get the maximum amount of sunlight,” the local Times Record reported.

When it comes to choosing who will install your solar paneling, it’s important you find a local and trustworthy contractor who will meet with you in-person and on-location. Request your solar panel installer to appraise your property and identify areas of concern.

Additionally, a local contractor will know the climate and weather conditions your location experiences.

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

While a roof is a popular option for solar panel installation, there are other options.

Before determining what kind of and how many solar panels you want, it’s good to understand the type and amount of solar energy present at your location. Various public resources are at your disposal to do just that. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for example, created a map showing the concentration of sunlight radiation across southwestern states like California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. How red is your region?

Concentration Solar Resource for Southwestern US. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Another more specific example comes from a UC-Berkely National Laboratory team. The group examined when during the day they could expect to find solar panels in shade. They tested Californian cities Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego, and determined those time ranges to be:

  • In the morning from 6 to 10 a.m.
  • In the afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m.

On an annual basis, the researchers determined, panels were only affected with a 20-percent decrease at peak shade. Want to know more about your own location and its irradiance properties? Use the Department of Energy’s calculator tool, which asks you for your address and spits out the solar energy you can expect.

A local contractor will be able to explain what you should expect in terms of energy and how you can expect it to increase the value of your home, not to mention what kind of panels you will benefit the most from, and where they should get installed. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

What Are My Solar Tracking and Mounting Needs?

While trees, power lines, neighboring structures, and far-away mountains can all cast shadows on your house, don’t forget the sun’s movement also governs the movement of this shade throughout the day.

For best solar paneling positioning, various technologies track the sun’s movement and react to it. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “rack mounting is currently the most common method because it is robust, versatile, and easy to construct and install.”

Solar tracking systems are add-ons to solar mounts that are designed to help turn the panels to face directly at the sun throughout the day. With 90 percent of the sun’s energy in the direct beam of light that it produces, this direct beam can only be captured completely by a panel facing right at the sun. The farther the panel is tipped away from the sun, the less efficient it is. This results in even carefully installed static—that is, fixed position—solar panels operating with nearly 50 percent to 75 percent efficiency losses at some point during the day. Solar trackers can help salvage those hours when the sun just isn’t shining directly on the panels like it needs to be.

While solar roof panels typically track the sunlight and swivel to keep the panels oriented properly, they could be expensive and difficult to install. In contrast, pole-mounted or ground-mounted units can offer similar benefits at a lower installation price. A ground mount is a durable frame that mounts right to the ground on your property. This frame is designed to hold a specific number of solar panels, which depends on the frame. A pole mount is a durable rack or frame built to hold a set of solar cells that are mounted up on top of a single pole. One well-installed pole is capable of holding a surprisingly large number of solar panels—at times, up to as many as sixteen. In other words, your roof is not your only option.

“Naturally, tracking involves more up-front costs and sophisticated systems are more expensive and require more maintenance,” the Department of Energy reports. “As systems have improved, the cost-benefit analysis increasingly favors tracking for ground-mounted systems.”

As before, the best way to determine which of the mounts you want for your property, and which are best poised to increase its value, you should consult a trustworthy contractor. Be sure to get an in-person assessment from your contractor, allowing the installer to suggest options and explain potential benefits and, sometimes, challenges. Either way, a local expert will help you get the most of your home improvement project, no matter the season.

The post Talking to Your Solar Installer About Solar Panels and Shade appeared first on Modernize.

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Metal Roofing On The Rise

Metal roofing was once heavily associated with warehouses, barns, and storage facilities— but no longer. Twenty years ago, the metal roofing market share was just 3.7 percent, but a recent independent study conducted by Dodge Data and Analytics found the 2016 market share for residential metal re-roofing is now 14 percent. This is up from 11 percent in 2015. Metal roofing is now second only to asphalt roofing.

Metal roofs are lauded for their durability, performance in extreme weather, sustainability, and longevity, but homeowners also value the appearance of a modern roof. The study found 29 percent of homeowners found metal roofs attractive. Metal materials are available in a wide variety of styles and more than 100 colors that complement most any architectural style.

Location and Weather Impacts Adoption

Metal roofing is growing throughout the United States, but the independent study above found geography has a large impact on the adoption of residential metal roofs. The region with the largest market share is the East South Central United States (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee), where 30 percent of homes are being re-roofed with metal.

Other notable regions include the East North Central region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin). This region contains 13 percent of the metal roof market share, and the New England region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New England) has 12 percent.

Metal roofs accommodate homeowner needs in both warm and cool climates.

In hot climates, shingles are susceptible to cracking and curling under the sun’s heat, making a roof vulnerable to leaks and future storm damage. Metal is an ideal choice, as it can easily withstand blistering conditions. Metal roofing can also keep a home cooler, and can reduce air conditioning costs by 20 percent or more.

In cooler, rainy climates, metal roofs also provide homeowner advantages. Metal roofs help reduce snow burden and prevent rain and snow from collecting. (Snow guards should be used to ensure snow slides safely off a home.) Panels are built to resist cold weather damage.

Budgeting for a Metal Roof

Modern metals are a substantial investment for homeowners. Metal roofing materials can range from $ 7.00 to $ 9.00 per square foot. The installation of a metal roof can cost between $ 21,000 to $ 50,000.

Comparatively, asphalt shingles can range from $ 1.50 to $ 5.50 per square foot, and foam can cost as low as $ 1.65 to $ 2.50 per square foot. The higher prices for metal materials are balanced with extended warranties and long life, as metal roofs can last up to 60 years.

Investing in Your Home

An added benefit of this premium home improvement is the increased resale value of a home. The Metal Roofing Alliance reports that homeowners are typically able to recoup an extremely high rate of the roof’s cost— 85.9 percent according to national averages. Twenty percent of homeowners surveyed found roofing to be a good investment to their home’s value.

Finding and Vetting a Metal Roofing Contractor

When selecting a contractor, take care to find one who specializes in the installation of metal roofing. Our Modernize Contractor Checklist was created to help homeowners find and vet a trusted contractor. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

The post Metal Roofing On The Rise appeared first on Modernize.

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White Statement Boots

A new outfit from Veronica Popoiacu of Bittersweet Colours, whom we introduced to YLF in August 2013.

Veronica’s love affair with dresses continues unabated. Here she’s sporting a romantic vintage dress with a turquoise, white and black floral print that accentuates her slim waist. The pussycat-bow neckline emphasizes the retro vibe of the dress, while the elegant, just-below-the-knee length looks marvelous with the tall boots. Veronica’s amazing statement stacked boots add lots of crisp pizzazz to the look, and echo the white in the floral pattern. The dressy midi coat in a darker shade of turquoise is a great length to wear with on-trend midi dresses. And leave it to Veronica to find a colour-blocked satchel that perfectly matches the colours of her outfit!

Veronica Popoiacu - 1

Veronica Popoiacu - 2

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Top 5 Marketing Tips to Get Ahead in 2019

Marketing is changing. Traditional promotional methods are not as successful as they used to be. How can you make sure that your content marketing strategy is not staying behind?

It’s the perfect time to start thinking ahead to adjust your plans for the next 12 months. Here are five tips to get you thinking of what you need to improve in 2019.

Ready to grow your business?

The post Top 5 Marketing Tips to Get Ahead in 2019 appeared first on Modernize.

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Once Upon a Color

Add personality to any room in your home with these colorful ideas.

ISLAND LUXE

A rich deep blue adds a pop of color to this kitchen island while maintaining the luxurious feel of the marble and gold details. – Designed by Jack Creasy for Bloomsbury Fine Cabinetry, www.bloomsburydesign.com, Photography by Kassandra Arbour, www.kassandraarbourphotography.com

PAINT PRO

Paint techniques are a wonderful, cost effective way to create a beautiful focal point like this gorgeous feature wall made by blending painted lines. – Beauti-tone, www.beauti-tone.ca

MODULAR COLOR

These silk wrapped modular lights let you mix and match various sizes and colors to create a pop of color on a wall or ceiling. – Simon Says Lights by Aqua Creations at SwitzerCultCreative, www.switzercultcreative.com

BACK IT UP

Bathrooms can be a great place to add drama and personality with fun touches like this graffiti style backsplash! – Space Designed by Estee Design, www.esteedesign.com; Photography by Brandon Barre, www.brandonbarre.com

FREE FORM

Geometric tiles create a colorful and artistic design that is both functional and decorative. – Space Designed by AMR Design, www.amrdesign.ca; Contractor, Benjamin Matthew Contracting, www.benjaminmatthew.ca; Photography by Ryan Patrick Kelly Photographs, www.ryanpatrickkelly.com

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Outfit Formula: White Jeans in Winter

Wearing white jeans in Winter looks fresh and gives your blue jeans a break. It might not work in your snowy, slushy, rural and wet climate, or be your cup of tea. But as a white jeans advocate, I’m hopeful you’ll give it a go anyway. Maybe you’ll wear the look on a bright, dry and sunny Winter’s day. Or when you’re being chauffeured and don’t need to traipse through the snow. Failing that, freeze the idea till things thaw out in Spring.

For those who like to wear white jeans in Winter like I do, here are four ways to combine them with a neutral support act. You can swap out the black for navy or olive if that’s more to your taste.

1. Classic Fabness

Create a column of white with jeans and an off-white or tan pullover. Tuck or semi-tuck into the high rise and add a belt to bookend the black jeans, and possibly your dark hair. The horizontal line of the high-contrast belt is offset by the column of colour and high rise of the jeans that elongates the silhouette. Top things off with a high-contrast neutral coat. I love this even though I don’t wear black booties. I’d substitute the black for cognac booties and belt, and wear an olive parka, or navy coat.

Mango Faux-fur Quilted Parka

2. Earthy Flares

Create a column of Winter white with white jeans and a cream pullover. The white flares are lovely but desperately need DRY weather. I like the oversized fit of the pullover that’s offset by the sleeker thigh fit of the flares. The unstructured toffee topper adds visual interest. The heels create a longer leg line which can prevent that “dumpy” feeling when you wear wide unstructured layers. But by all means create a more structured silhouette and wear tapered jeans. White boots are fab, but toffee or metallic work as well.

Mango Wool Coat

3. Cosy and Wrapped

Combine white skinnies with a turtleneck or layering pullover of your choice. Bring on the drama with a patterned or solid wrap or poncho. Wear it unstructured or belted at the waist. Add neutral boots that work with the palette of the outfit. Here, tan boots would have worked as well as black.

Violeta Check Poncho

4. Structured Equestrian Lite

This one is for extremely mild Winter weather. Heck, I’d wear the combination in Summer. Combine white skinnies with a black tee and plaid equestrian blazer. Add black boots, mules, shooties, loafers or booties. For a proper Winter, I’d tuck white skinnies into tall black riding boots, and layer a black turtleneck under the patterned blazer. I’d throw an anorak, military coat or cocoon coat over the lot.

J Brand 620 Mid-Rise Coated Skinny Jeans


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Making Impact with Color

Home staging experts share tips for choosing and working with accent colors in your home.

When creating a bold colored focal wall, you want to paint a wall that either has the main architectural element on it (like a fireplace) or a wall that will have the dominant piece of furniture against it. In this case, we created a stunning navy blue focal wall behind the bed to draw the buyer’s eye while creating high impact and drama. – Heather Cook, www.homestagingdesign.ca

Green is a great color for a space that needs a touch of nature. We used green as our accent color for this 24th floor downtown condo to bring nature up from below and life to the “concrete jungle”. – Laurie Usypchuk, www.lovethishouse.ca

While pillows are hands-down the best accessory for adding color, it’s not up to just one accessory to bring in an accent color. Layers of the accent color in various hues and a variety of accessory choices will pull everything together. My top five accessories for adding color include pillows (and throws), plants and succulents, books, vintage china and food vignettes! – Mary Gordon, www.amaryllishomes.com

When choosing an accent color for staging, I tend to be drawn to blues. Blue pairs well with a neutral palette, is on trend and isn’t too much of a distraction. It evokes feelings of calmness and serenity and it is one of the most popular colors which means it will appeal to the broadest range of potential buyers. – Amanda Shields, www.mintconditionstaging.com

You don’t have to choose a color to make a room pop. You can use different elements and textures to create the perfect balance in a neutral space. In this open concept space, I added drama and texture with a darker shade of gray on the dining chairs to tie in with the iron screen beside the stairs. The wood tones give the space a feeling of warmth while accents in gold and silver add that final pop of color in place of an accent color! – Liliana McInerney, www.upstagebylili.com

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Happy 2019!

As festive and full of good cheer as the holidays are, I’m relieved when they’re over. Goodbye Christmas music that causes annoying earworm. Goodbye Winter collections, holiday baking, holiday eating, sparkly lighting, relentless retail sales, and extremely busy airports. I’ve begun thinking about Spring and Summer fashion, and I’m breathing a sigh of relief. 

I look forward to the start of the new year, making January one of my favourite months. It’s a time to reflect, reboot, improve, clean up, make changes, and start afresh. I think about my priorities, how I can do things in a better way, and be a better person. Most of all, I make a point of creating peace in my heart about the things that bothered me during the previous year so that I can move on and enjoy life.

I’ll be reflecting a lot about fashion and style this month, and look forward to hearing your thoughts as you reflect with me. In the meantime, I wish you a happy, healthy and fabulous 2019 that is full of love, laughter, fab adventures, fun fashion, great style, and peace in your heart.

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Designer Space: Modern Holiday Chic

The goal for this holiday décor scheme was to incorporate a holiday tree without compromising space – namely, seating space and traffic flow, and to include some kitchen décor.

We focused on using space around the windows. The design of the rooms is traditional with modern lines, and the palette pairs sophisticated black and white tones with gold metals, so we chose a heavily flocked pencil tree to blend well with the white interior.

We also used some blackened manzanita and artificial branches with snow in traditional planters/vases to add a natural but dramatic display.

We chose Chanel for our inspiration with black, white and gold ornaments, black shopping bags and wrapped boxes, and white faux fur under the tree. We used the homeowner’s Chanel black boxes and white satin ribbon, along with any other black boxes we could find.

We loved repeating the black and white theme with fur, feathers, flocking black boxes, ribbon and ornaments in black and white. Adding snow with natural elements of greenery and branches brings the outside in and really made everything look fresh!

Homeowners tend to be too heavy-handed with holiday décor, and pieces are often disconnected. When things flow, the look is much more spectacular! Incorporating natural elements is always a good idea. Fresh greenery, pinecones, real branches and snow that looks real always works.

Design By Jillian Straky, www.housewears.ca

The post Designer Space: Modern Holiday Chic appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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15 U.S. Towns with Wacky New Year’s Traditions

While New Year’s Eve is typically observed with raucous parties and freely flowing libations, some towns veer away from tradition to embrace oddball festivities that reflect their distinct personality. If the Times Square ball drop is too tame for your tastes, venture to any of these off-the-beaten-path cities where peculiar pastimes on the eve—or the first day—of the new year are sure to make your celebration memorable.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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How to Find the Elusive Sweater Dress

Dresses are generally hard to fit, and sweater dresses can be the hardest of all. Too short, tight, itchy, lightweight, shapeless, or just all-round unflattering. That said, when you find a sweater dress that works, it’s the best Winter dress because it’s warm, cosy and versatile. Dress it up or down, layer it with hosiery and toppers, and combine it with any style of boots. 

Sweater dresses come in many variations. Short, long, body-con, fluid, A-line, solid, patterned, casual, dressy, sporty, retro, chunky, fine gauge, and belted. Take your pick.

In 2008 I wrote a post on how to find a flattering sweater dress and the guidelines are just as relevant ten years later. I’ve changed my preference for my perfect length though. A decade ago, I liked my sweater dresses just above the knee, and now I like them just below the knee.

I’ve had many sweater dresses over the years and loved them all. They became instant workhorses because you can throw them on with fun hosiery, boots, a topper, scarf, bag, and not feel cold in the dead of Winter. They are a fabulous change to jeans and pants. If only it weren’t so hard to find a perfect fit. I currently have one midi sweater dress from last season and I am constantly on the lookout for more. My challenges are insufficient length, a fit that’s too body-con, a neckline that’s too wide, bad quality, or flimsy fabric. Or I find a fabulous fit and great quality but it’s in a colour I don’t like, or at a price I don’t want to pay.

These sweater dress guidelines aren’t flop proof, but they might help get you on your way.

1. Embrace a Fluid or Oversized Fit

Surrender the waist with a very straight cut, or avant-garde and arty silhouette that drapes over lumps, bumps and extra bits in an architectural way if body-con fits are not your thing. This type of gently fluid or very voluminous cut can work on any body type when there is just enough structure in the outfit. My olive sweater turtleneck sweater dress is fluid and straight through the body, hugs my hips and bottom a little, and tapers at the hem for structure.

2. Consider an Empire Cut

The baby doll style is an extra roomy option on the bottom, making it a forgiving A-line silhouette. Good for apple shapes, pear shapes, and even straighter figures who crave ample movement. A larger bust needs a lower neckline in this style, and the empire cut should not cut across the bust.

3. Find a Fit & Flare

If you’re curvy or very curvy and prefer to define the waist, silhouettes that are belted or fitted on the torso create that type of structure. The flared bottom creates movement and camouflages hip and thigh extra bits you don’t feel comfortable showcasing. You can also add a wide belt to a fluid fit dress to define the waist.

4. Choose Heavier Knits

This does not necessarily mean “chunky knit” because fine gauge knits can be substantial (like the knit of my olive sweater dress). Knits with weight smooth over the contour of the body instead of grabbing onto curves in an unflattering way. Chunky knit sweater dresses with a fluid fit can also be a lot more flattering than you think.

5. Get the Length Right

Sweater dresses can’t be hemmed, which means that the length has to be perfect upon purchase. I like them just below the knees these days, or a little longer. But many of my clients prefer them on the knee, or just above the knee if the fits are voluminous and the knit is chunky. Some will wear them a whole lot shorter with very tall boots and opaques.

6. Complete the Outfit

Make sure you try a potential sweater dress with the right support act before you say no thank you. The right shoes and hosiery can make the difference. And remember that shapewear is a lot more comfortable than it used to be.

7. Block the Dress Back to Size

Sweater dresses can lose their perfect shape and fit after laundering. This is usually an easy fix with the steam iron that presses out wrinkles, and blocks the areas back to the right shape.

And last, you can wear a knee-length sweater dress over cropped flares, cropped straights, culottes, bootcuts, leggings and skinnies if you like. I LOVE this outfit, although I’d wear flat white booties and a white bag. For this look, I would get a knee-length sweater dress instead of a knee-covering one.

DURO OLOWU Polka-dot Jacquard Wool Sweater Dress

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Designer Space: Vintage Modern Renovation

An outdated home gets a modern update with a nod to its original character.

CANADIAN HOME TRENDS WHAT INSPIRED THE OVERALL DESIGN FOR THIS RENOVATION?

FRANCESCA COSTA We wanted to keep the character of the home and play off of the solid wood oak doors throughout. We went with a vintage feel with black fixtures and white cabinets. Then, we added a punch of modern with the navy blue island and gold hardware.

CHT DID THIS RENOVATION OFFER ANY UNIQUE CHALLENGES?

FC The biggest challenge with this home was the layout. Sidesplits have interesting layouts. Most people either love them or hate them because there are so many closed off rooms. We decided on an open concept layout to maximize the space and make it feel more open. Doing this means removing some walls, putting up others and the challenge of figuring out which ones to do.

CHT IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE THE FINISHED SPACE IN A FEW WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

FC Modern, classy, elegant and bold.

CHT WHAT IS A COMMON MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE WHEN REMODELING A HOME FOR RESALE?

FC The most common mistake is that they don’t touch everything. If you are going to remodel, you have to make sure the look is cohesive. If you create a modern space but don’t remove the outdated popcorn ceiling because it’s time consuming, you end up with an unfinished look. The same goes for staircases and handrails which are another common thing that homeowners will leave because it’s too much work but the result is an outdated or unfinished feel!

CHT WHERE DID YOU SAVE AND WHERE DID YOU SPLURGE?

FC When choosing pieces for a renovation, we prefer to splurge on items that will make the house unique and fabulous, like the wine/coffee station in this house. To save, we focus on shopping around and we scope out deals like clearance sales, tax free events, etc. – Francesca Costa

http://www.costagc.com

The post Designer Space: Vintage Modern Renovation appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Real Estate Experts Say to Watch These 15 Markets in 2019

Let’s call 2019 the Year of Transition. While experts hesitate to call it a buyer’s market, parts of the country are heading in that direction. We’ve crunched data from industry insiders, including Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia, to find out which cities offer the best deals for home buyers.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Designer Space: Simple Drama

CANADIAN HOME TRENDS CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE KITCHEN’S DESIGN?

ANNIE KANG We wanted to create a multi-purpose space with an island designed to be used as a food prep area, dining table, work table, breakfast nook, bar and entertaining area with a great backyard view. We also included an open shelf cabinet unit to house cookbooks and decorative elements! The use of two simple, contrasting colors, in a polished high-gloss finish, results in a space that is both dramatic and exquisite. Using the same black for the surround moulding brings the kitchen together.

CHT HOW DO YOU DESIGN AN ON-TREND YET TIMELESS KITCHEN?

AK Slab doors are a timeless trend we have seen at Lucvaa since the company started in 2007. With all the advancements in technology, there are thousands of melamine products to choose from. The price range is wide so it can work with nearly any budget. You can choose from a range of colors, sheens and textures. Your choice of flat, high gloss to concrete, wood or metal textures will customize the look to suit your personal style.

CHT WHERE DID YOU SAVE AND WHERE DID YOU SPLURGE?

AK We saved on decorative hardware by choosing a Slab MDF Door with touch-to-open functionality. This gives the space a clean, modern look. We spent more of the budget for the cabinets’ aesthetic finishes and accessories to optimize the organization of the cabinetry. We used drawer organizers, pull-out pantry units, and pull-out spice racks. The homeowner chose to splurge on the countertops and the finishing touches for the space.

CHT CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE HOMEOWNERS?

AK The homeowner is a big pet lover so we included a pull-out feeding station for her pets. When she is entertaining, the feeding station disappears into the island.

Design by Annie Kang for Lucvaa; Cabinetry, Lucvaa, www.lucvaa.com; Hardware, BLUM, www.blum.com

The post Designer Space: Simple Drama appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Adventurous Drama in Sacramento

We’re ending 2018 on a bang with blogging legend Kasmira Kit (43). Sacramento-based Kasmira is a state emergency services analyst who has been blogging for 12 years, and posts an outfit almost every weekday. What a feat! Over the years, her style has remained so very recognizably her very own. It’s creative, unique, timeless, quirky, and beyond trends. Kasmira is an adventurous dresser who loves statement leggings and novelty hosiery. She’s also a master of maximal pattern mixing and unusual outfit combinations.

“Over the past five years, I’ve really committed to a limited color palette. I find it easier to wear my entire closet when the colors fall into a cohesive ‘story’. I used to wear every color but I found that a rainbow selection actually suppressed my creativity by overwhelming me with choice. I’d call my look Utilitarian Drama. (That has not changed!) I’m always torn between the extremes of being practical and being expressive. My daily outfits fall somewhere in the spectrum.”

Kasmira - 1

A fun jacket + turtleneck + statement skirt + novelty hosiery is one of Kasmira’s go-to outfit formulas. For this particular version, our 5’5” blogger has tucked a simple black turtleneck into an eye-catching, flowy midi skirt. Tucking the top streamlines the look and accentuates Kasmira’s svelte waist. So does the wide black belt. Her plaid, black, white, green and red skirt is the statement piece. The rest of the outfit cleverly works within the same colour palette. The cropped, waist-length moto jacket lengthens the leg line and adds a casual touch. The white hose with black polka dots are a quirky way to add some pattern mixing. Kasmira’s tassel necklace echoes the wood heel on her black loafers. The red crossbody ties the outfit together.

Kasmira - 2

Kasmira is a master pattern mixer and regularly combines dressy and sporty pieces. Here she’s wearing a brown leopard print shirt under a black and white patterned mini dress. The warm-toned leopard print is repeated in the sand-coloured pointy-toe booties, which bookends the look beautifully. At the same time, Kasmira’s grey updo picks up the colours in the cool-toned dress. Adding sporty statement leggings with see-through panels is unexpected and very Kasmira. The siky black pussy bow is the playful finishing touch. A fun and dressy juxtaposition against the sporty leggings.

Kasmira - 3

This is a fab example of Angie’s Arty Kimono Jacket with Denim outfit formula. Kasmira has paired light-wash denim shorts with a striped top that is cropped enough to showcase her brown patterned belt. The breezy kimono is an easy way to add a third piece to an outfit in warmer weather. It also creates a dramatic vibe that fits Kasmira’s style personality perfectly. The rugged cowboy boots work well with the faded denim shorts and bring the on-trend Western vibe into the look. Wearing boots with patterned insets is an unexpected and fun way to pattern mix. The brown necklace echoes the brown in the kimono and Kasmira’s belt. Soft peachy lipstick and she is ready to go.

Kasmira has been documenting her outfits for 12 years! I asked her where she keeps getting ideas for putting together an outfit she loves every day:

“I stay inspired by challenging myself to create a brand new ‘look’ every day. I’ve almost never repeated an outfit combination in 12 years. I believe there are (nearly) infinite possibilities within a finite wardrobe. I challenge myself to find those possibilities. I’m committed to avoiding disposable fashion and wearing my items until they fall apart (or no longer fit), so that means constantly exploring new combinations. I also find inspiration from other bloggers, any ‘new’ item I add to my wardrobe, and my archives.”

Kasmira - 4

Shocking pink with earthy brown tones is an unusual yet very fun colour combo. By wearing the sweater over a dress and adding a belt, Kasmira has created a faux-skirt look that makes her dress an even more versatile wardrobe piece. The gauze, floaty fabric of the knee-length dress creates dressy elegance. The felted balls on the sweater are a playful touch that is trademark Kasmira. Her brown high-heeled boots lengthen the leg line and work well with the brown frock. Sporting floral patterned tights with the floral dress is a creative pattern mixing move that adds extra pizzazz. Note how the colour of the sweater is repeated in the pink flowers on the tights. Pink lipstick and long, pink feather earrings tie everything together.

Kasmira - 5

Kasmira didn’t intentionally bookend this outfit, but mentioned that she really likes how the greyish taupe boots and her gray hair look with an almost all-black outfit. She’s layered a slim-fit wrap sweater over a black and white striped tee and tucked both into high-waisted black jeggings. The on-trend high rise and button-fly are emphasized by adding a black belt with oversized silver buckle. A hip-length black velvet blazer adds soft textural interest. So do the over-the-knee suede boots that are high contrast against the black skinnies. Opting for light-coloured over-the-knee boots makes them stand out more and creates extra drama. The horizontal line created by the high-contrast top of the boots is offset by the length of the boots, which lengthens the leg upward from the calves. Soft pink lipstick and a dainty silver necklace complete this polished casual outfit.

Kasmira - 6

A bold outfit that has Kasmira’s name written all over it. She’s paired a straight, mid-thigh sweater dress with eye-catching galaxy print leggings. I love that the blue in the cosy striped sweater dress is brighter than the navy you usually see in Breton-striped items. It’s also the same blue that comes back in the bold leggings and the bright floral patterned scarf. This helps tie everything together beautifully, and makes the advanced pattern mixing work so well. Adding an on-trend longer length blazer in light toffee adds warmth to the otherwise cool-toned colour palette. So do the cognac cowboy boots. And aren’t they the perfect way to add a classic Western vibe to our blogger’s space cowboy leggings!

I can’t wait to hear what you think of Kasmira’s bold, dramatic style. Let us know in the comments, and then hop on over to her website to browse the rest of her wonderful outfits.

 

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Indonesia issues ‘extreme weather’ warning for tsunami-hit coast near Krakatau

Indonesian authorities warned on Wednesday of “extreme weather and high waves” around the erupting Anak Krakatau volcano, urging people to stay away from the coast already devastated by a tsunami that killed more than 400 people.


Reuters: Environment

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15 Reasons to Think Twice About an Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans have dominated modern home design since they first appeared in the 1950s as part of the overall trend toward more contemporary styling. Open concept homes skyrocketed in popularity in the 1970s, and by the mid-’90s nearly all new construction incorporated some version of an open floor plan or great room. But after nearly half a century of ascendancy, open concept living has been losing ground as buyers turn to cozier, more energy-efficient houses. Here are just a few reasons you may want to pass on that open floor plan.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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11 Bathroom Renovation Ideas to Freshen Up Your Bathroom

Are you contemplating freshening up your bathroom décor and design? There are many ways to go about this but knowing where to start is not always easy. Below we give you 11 bathroom renovation ideas that are guaranteed to give you the bathroom of your dreams.

1. CONTEMPORARY BATHROOM VANITIES FOR BOTH AESTHETIC AND FUNCTIONAL PURPOSES

You can install sleek bathroom vanities to give your bathroom not only a fresh new look but also to get more storage space.

You can include a vanity with a countertop or one without,depending on your requirements. The vanity is the focal point of the bathroom and you should, therefore, be creative. Quartz and marble are the most popular materials for vanity tops today.

If you want a contemporary look, go for a wall mounted unit as this gives you extra floor space. Stainless steel also gives you a contemporary look and feel.

If you want enough room for two, consider upgrading from a single sink to a double sink. For more space, use custom drawers. 

If your bathroom is small, consider a pedestal sink or a compact powder room vanity. Pedestal sinks give bathrooms an antique look and feel.

For example, Muti, Tidal Canada and Ron Bow offer wide variety of vanities in different designs and styles.

2. DRAMATIC BATHROOM ARCHITECTURE

If you want a complete overhaul of your bathroom (and you have some money to spare), you can go for dramatic bathroom architecture complete with handsome moldings, lofty ceilings, and deep arches.

3. SMART TILES FOR EASY INSTALLATION AND GREAT LOOK

You can install smart tiles which are self-adhesive and very easy to install. All you have to do is cut the tile, peel off the tape, and stick to the floor or wall.

Marble gives you a natural finish that complements any style from traditional to transitional to contemporary and is long-lasting. You can have marble in a variety of geometric shapes and patterns.

Maax offers great utile wall tiles that have the same deep texture, stylish patterns, and rich colors you expect from wall tiles.

4. WATER-EFFICIENT TOILETS FOR COST SAVINGS AND BIDET ATTACHMENTS FOR A CLEANER BATHROOM

Go for a water-efficient toilet that will help you reduce your utility costs. Porcelain perches come in different styles – pick what complements the rest of your bathroom décor.

Bidet attachments and handheld wands give you a cleaner,
healthier bathroom.

Acti-Clean self-cleaning toilet and innovative cartridge system from American Standard gives you a fresh, clean toilet. The system offers 2cleaning cycle options, one for a 10 minutes thorough clean and one for a 1minute regular clean.

Some of the top toilet manufacturers in North America are Duravit, Toto, Kohler, Produits Neptune, and American Standard.

5. FEATURE-PACKED SHOWER HEADS AND PANELS FOR A PREMIUM LUXURY EXPERIENCE

A good shower in the morning sets the right tone for the rest of your day. Go for a feature-packed shower head and panel to have the same experience you would have in a 5-star hotel. A good shower head gives a gentle stream that soothes you.

Today’s shower heads and panels come with such features as LED displays that change color as the temperature of the water changes and adjustable shower handles.

6. EYE-CATCHING BATHTUB WITH MORE SPACE

Go for an eye-catching bathtub without compromising on functionality. You can go for a soaking bathtub, a freestanding bathtub, or a whirlpool tub, whatever your preference is.

Today’s bathtubs are available in different styles from shabby chic to formal antique.

If there are seniors in your home, go for low height tubs for easy entry and exit. These can go as low as 16 inches.

Top bathtub manufacturers include Kohler, Maax, Zitta, Victoria & Albert, Oceania, Produits Neptune, Mirolin, Bain Ultra, and American Standard.

7. POLISHED FAUCETS FOR A SUBTLE FLOURISH

You can go for a waterfall faucet for natural beauty that will turn your bathroom into a spa. Bronze and chrome faucets are particularly breath-taking. Be consistent with the material you choose.

Moen, Grohe, Kohler, and Delta have a wide range of polished bathroom faucets that combine style, aesthetics, and exceptional performance.

Other top manufacturers of faucets are American Standards, AquaDesign, Blanco, Brizo, Franke, Hansgrohe, Kindred, Maier, Biobel, and Rubinet.

8. SIMPLE, MINIMALISTIC SINKS FOR UNDERSTATED SOPHISTICATION

Consider installing under-mount sinks for a sleek, modern, and contemporary look. The understated sophistication you get with this “less is more” approach lets the sink take the spotlight.

Under-mount sinks below the countertop offer an innovative design that will send a statement in the bathroom space.

Pedestal bathroom sinks save you much-needed floor space and are easy to install. They can give your bathroom a traditional look or a contemporary one, depending on how they are implemented.

You could also go for a wall-mounted sink that does not require a vanity base or a countertop. This is particularly ideal for a small bathroom as it gives your bathroom a more spacious look and feel.

Top sink manufacturers include Franke, American Standard, Blanco, Cantrio Koncepts, Duvavit, Victoria & Albert, Kindred, and Kohler.

9. LARGE MIRRORS FOR AN ILLUSION OF EXTRA ROOM

When picking your mirrors, consider large or oversized mirrors for an illusion of extra room and more light to brighten the bathroom. Large mirrors also have a functional benefit in shared spaces as they make mornings easier.

Mirrors come in different designs and have different functions ranging from LED mirrors to adjustable makeup mirror.

10. DISTINCTIVE ACCESSORIES AND HARDWARE TO COMPLEMENT THE BATHROOM DÉCOR

The accessories and hardware you pick should complement the rest of the bathroom décor. The materials, finishing, and forms should match the other fixtures in the bathroom, otherwise, they will feel out of place.

11. ILLUMINATING LIGHT FIXTURES TO SPOTLIGHT YOUR UNIQUE BATHROOM DÉCOR

The right vanity lighting will make your unique bathroom design even more spectacular. Light fixtures, just like other bathroom accents like faucets, tell a story about your bathroom.

The post 11 Bathroom Renovation Ideas to Freshen Up Your Bathroom appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Link Love: Holiday Medley 2018

We’re continuing our tradition of ringing out the Link Love year with a collection of style-related stories that didn’t quite fit into the themed Link Love posts we published throughout the year, but are worth a look anyway. Enjoy!

Fab Links from Our Members

Shevia agrees with Robin Givhan’s take on racially charged items at Prada’s SoHo store.

In her “endless quest to have trends like this not be misunderstood on her (what looks hip on the young can look merely clueless on the not-young),” April enjoyed this guide.

SarahD8 wanted to share this article about an interesting intersection of politics and fashion in the US.

Vildy found this article on how premium mediocre conquered fashion quite interesting.

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Designer Space: Family Class

HOMEOWNERS, JANET AND VICTOR, AND THEIR TWO TEENAGED SONS, LIVED IN THEIR HOME FOR 15 YEARS BEFORE DECIDING IT WAS TIME FOR AN UPDATE. Their property contains four floors with three bedrooms and a basement. At 2,640 square feet, the homeowners knew a design overhaul was no small job, so they procured the expertise of award-winning designer Yvonne Whelan to head the project.

Save for a few special requests, Janet, an IT professional, and Victor, a finance executive, put their trust in their designer. Says Yvonne, “I sent them a mood board and we went from there. The goal was to bring in some fun and not to be too serious, but always classy.”

Though the home was well overdue for an interior update, the project was born from a desire to renovate the kitchen. “We wanted a fresher look and to brighten things up a bit,” says Janet. “One special request was to maintain an eat-in kitchen. It was important for us to have a proper table around which our family could easily gather every day for meals.”

From the outset, the kitchen had good bones. As such, Yvonne chose to keep the layout and cabinetry intact. After redesign, the kitchen boasts custom millwork, a modernized fireplace, and custom banquet – ideal for convening as a family. Yvonne also opted to paint the cabinetry, and change the backsplash, hardware, sink, and faucet. She divulges the sphere-shaped pendant lights in the kitchen were a splurge made possible by saving on replacing cabinets.

The furniture interspersed throughout the home is a mix of old and new. “They had some beautiful pieces that were investment pieces, but the homeowners were open to upholstery upgrades and painting,” explains Yvonne. “They were also open to suggestions to add new pieces, especially built-in options, to maximize their space.”

As for the color scheme, the homeowners credit Yvonne. “The great thing about working with Yvonne was that she really took the time to get to know our style and understand our family’s day-to-day living preferences. Using these insights, she narrowed down all of the numerous design choices and presented them to us in a way that was less overwhelming than trying to source everything ourselves and make decisions on our own.”

On the main floor, the designer opted for a trend-forward greige for the walls. Vibrant accent pillows and polychromatic artwork serve to permeate any monotony. Says Yvonne, “The homeowners love color so I brought it in wherever possible.”

“As for the bedrooms, we wanted calming and timeless colors to stand the test of time,” says Yvonne. She cites the circular motif wallpaper as the jumping off point for the rest of the master bedroom design. “We kept
the homeowners’ beautiful bed and dressers but updated the hardware. We also brought in stunning drapery, art, lamps, a chandelier, and a new custom bench and chaise.”

Post-renovation, the family has nothing but positive things to say about their like-new home. “My favorite thing is that the design aesthetic flows everywhere throughout the house and feels consistent,” says Janet. “Every room reflects our personal style and we all feel comfortable in the space. I look around and feel both a sense of calm, and excitement about the home we’ve created for our family at the same time.”

Sources:

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12 Things You Never Thought to Do With Packing Peanuts

Loose-fill packaging materials like polystyrene packing peanuts do a great job of protecting fragile items during transport. But what to do with them once you’ve opened that shipping box? Whatever you do, don’t throw them away! There are a lot of ways you can reuse and repurpose packing peanuts. Check out our favorites.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Fab Finds: Luxe, Timeless, Comfy and Unique

The COS, Scotch & Soda and Naturalizer items here are tried and tested. Bop Basics is a new-to-me brand that has a lot of potential and a unique vibe. 

1. COS Cashmere Scarf

These scarves are timeless Modern Classics, very warm, and extremely comfortable. They drape like a dream and look awfully polished in a more relaxed way. GORGEOUS quality that goes the distance. Simple, elegant and luxurious. They’re a repeat style since I bought the Dutch orange last year, and came home with the citron a week ago.

2. Scotch & Soda Items

Scotch & Soda is a Dutch brand that is available in the US. They have stand-alone stores, but their items are sold at retailers like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Shopbop and Amazon too. The brand has a knack for creating casual pieces in dressier fabrics. Or adding a relaxed vibe to a formal look. Their patterns, textures, trims and colour combinations are a little different to the norm, and therefore well worth a look. The collections are interesting, pattern and colour rich, and full of maximal ideas on how to style a look. So far, I’m impressed with the quality. The brand is pricier in the US, but great if you score the items on sale, or shop in the Netherlands where the prices are cheaper and the assortment more diverse.

The brand stocks XS to XL in most items. The XS fits a US0/2, and the XL fits a US 14/16. I like shopping at Scotch & Soda when I’m in the Netherlands, and recently came home with four fairly timeless pieces. My 2018 holiday look.

3. Naturalizer White Booties

These three styles of white boots have been winners for me and some forum members. The best part about them is their extreme comfort, and their WIDE width availability. I bought the “Blairs” early in the season in regular width, and predictably they became instant workhorses. I duplicated the boots so that I have a new pair ready to go for next year since I’m wearing my current pair into the ground.

4. Bop Basics

Shopbop has brought out a line of simple and luxe items that appear to be well made, are relatively more affordable than the rest of their designer pieces, and look quite interesting. I haven’t seen these items in person yet, but the brand is on my radar as I continue to search for quality items at a more reasonable-than-designer price.

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2019 Color Trends: Green, Blush and Black

Look out, color ahead! For 2019, bold is the way to go. Deep hues are all the rage right now in interior design and finding new ways to work them into your existing color palette is exciting and not as difficult as it may seem. Here are a few options to help ease you into a more colorful life.

SEEING GREEN

Already showing up everywhere, the new green is deep and dark, offering a sense of calm as well as providing the perfect canvas to contrast earthy textures in leather and wood. This shade of green has a luxurious look that manages to feel both classic and entirely new. All the lush, botanical pictures inundating our social media feeds have been cleverly translated into a wall color that doesn’t require a green thumb. Thankfully, this tone pairs nicely with the gold and brass accents that have been popular in recent years. Whether you go bold and cover entire walls in this rich hue, or merely add in pops of color, this design move will spice up your look.

Green Photo Credits: Paint Color, Night Watch, PPG; Throw Pillows and Sofa CF Interiors; Room Photo, IKEA

YOU’RE MAKING ME BLUSH

Strong tones can be hard to handle, especially if you consider including more than one shade. A well-chosen pastel or pale hue can help to soften the impact, complementing the darker color without competing for attention. Rather than the cool tones of spring pastels, a soft blush introduces a gelato-inspired warmth to the space. A blush pink with a little bit of a brown undertone will update and replace the default use of white as a palette cleanser. Think of blush tones as the new neutrals: colors that are light but still hold a depth and richness when layered on walls and accessories.

Blush Photo Credits: Paint Color, Wild Aster, Benjamin Moore; Sofa and Fabric Swatch, SwitzerCultCreative; Textured Throw Pillow, CF Interiors; Blush Throw Pillow, CB2

BLACK IS BACK

The big news about this color palette is that even black feels new again when accenting a smart combination of jewel tones and warm neutrals. If all-over black intimidates you, try introducing matte black elements in ceramics, lighting fixtures or furniture. The new look delivers sophistication, not minimalism. Instead of severity, this color trend comes from a warm, earthy place that recalls the rich tones found in nature. In previous years, strong doses of black have infiltrated the fashion and beauty world. Now look to interior design décor items like homewares and accessories to embrace the endlessly chic color.

Black Photo Credits: Paint Color, Caponata, Benjamin Moore; Bench, Moe’s Home Collection; Stool, Renwil; Pendant and Clock, CB2

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Fab Find: My Favourite Winter Sneakers

I can’t rave enough about these hi-top sneakers from Converse because they are EXTREMELY comfortable and very warm. They’re leather, so they look more polished than the canvas options. Their white soles and toe boxes are iconic, Modern Retro, and add a crisp and prettier touch to the sneaker. They create a tailored fit on the foot despite the size of your ankles, because you can manipulate the width with the laces.

They look streamlined and hip, and work well with cropped pants and jeans. I’ve also worn them with midi dresses and hosiery. They are sufficiently roomy for wider feet, and will accommodate an orthotic if you go up half a size. They run true to size, and work well with socks and knee-highs.

The best part about these hi-tops is their fleece linings, which are super soft and keep your feet toasty warm. The leather is weatherproof, and the soles are grippy and stable on frozen sidewalks.

I was walking around in below freezing temperatures with ice and snow in Salt Lake City for two weeks last month, and these hi-tops are the bomb. I take them along when I see my Dad in the Netherlands in colder weather, and they’re fabulous in the Seattle rain too. Simply wipe them down to keep them clean, or use Oxi Clean on the soles.

I have three pairs of these Winter hi-tops and I’m not opposed to getting more, because they have become a wardrobe essential. I got the black pair about a year and half ago, loved them and got the off-white pair a few months later. This year I bought the cream pair with a watermelon stripe, which work well with a watermelon Furla and new watermelon specs. All three pairs are workhorses, and the most comfortable shoes in my wardrobe. These are 20,000 step city shoes.

There are more variations in colour and style as seen in this collection. Remember that the hi-tops are leather and have fleece linings, and that’s what makes them special and a cut above regular Converse hi-tops. None of the styles have side zippers for easy access, so you have to tie and untie the laces every time. But the most recent pair I got has a hiking boot hook feature at the ankle, making pulling them on and off a little easier and faster.

My favourite sneakers of all time.

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2019 Lighting Trends with Glen Peloso

LED lighting is showing up everywhere. This energy-efficient technology also offers a great deal of flexibility, allowing for the design of unique, sculptural pieces with architectural details.

FLEXIBLE GENIUS

This pendant light uses LED lighting technology to create adjustable lighting zones that can be used to direct the light and create different light patterns as needed.

Tamasera by Eglo, Available from Living Lighting,
www.livinglighting.com

GEOMETRIC LINES

Geometric shapes are a popular choice for contemporary décor. LED lighting allows for clean lines with lighting built right in resulting in perfect geometric patterns uninterrupted by traditional light bulbs.

Martelo by Kuzco, Available from Living Lighting,
www.livinglighting.com

MODERN RETRO

LED lighting lets us create a modern take on old trends like this stunning chandelier that offers a modern look with an art deco feel.

Vega by Kuzco, Available from Living Lighting,
www.livinglighting.com

BETTER MORNINGS

Two LED bar vanity lights placed on either side of the mirror provide more even lighting with less shadows than overhead lighting. This is better for applying make-up, shaving and other tasks.

Nolita by Kuzco, Available from Living Lighting,
www.livinglighting.com

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Northern China smog worsens in October-November as pace of restrictions eases: Greenpeace

Smog in northern China worsened in October and November compared to a year earlier, environmental group Greenpeace said on Thursday, as the government eases the pace at which it ramps up air quality controls at a time when the economy is slowing.


Reuters: Environment

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Fabulous Grey & Grey Hair

Solid grey is my least favourite neutral, and overly cool for my warm complexion. In Seattle, where the days are grey for half the year, it’s the last colour I want to wear close to my face. I will wear grey in a pattern, or sport light pearl grey footwear and bag, but that’s it. 

I do like grey on those who wear it well. Shades of grey tend to look fabulous on cool-toned complexions. Most of all, grey is SPECTACULAR with grey, silver, white, or salt & pepper hair. It picks up the colours running through their hair. Colour repetition is complementary, flattering, and pulls an outfit together, which is why it’s pleasing to the eye. Clients with grey or greying hair look sublime wearing grey. Husband Greg has a salt & pepper ‘do and wears shades of grey with the best of them.

Just look at how well the grey-haired model I have used in these examples wears grey.

1. Ombréd Cool Tones

Both the light and dark grey in the pattern are repeated in the model’s hair. The cool-toned blue hem and black bottoms work well with her cool-toned complexion.

Artful Home Feather Judyth Blouse

2. Greyed Green

This shade of seafoam is so unsaturated that it can almost pass for grey, and therefore picks up the grey in the model’s hair. Silvery grey footwear does a good job of bookending, and the silvery jewellery is the grey cherry on top. Tonal, elegant, and beautiful. My favourite of the four outfits.

Artful Home Rila Dress

3. Black & Grey

The grey dots in the black pattern pick up the grey in the model’s hair. The shades of grey in the necklace and silver earrings do the same. I’d have preferred the outfit with silver footwear, but the black elongates the line of the leggings and looks great too.

Artful Home Gabrielle Dress

4. Warm Greys

The textured greys in the poncho have a taupe tinge to them that warms the palette. Although taupe is a cool neutral, it’s relatively warmer than grey and therefore brings out the warmer grey hues in the model’s hair. The warm gold earrings are an unexpected addition. The column of black cools the palette back down.

Artful Home Verso Poncho

When my hair goes grey, I bet I will enjoy wearing solid greys a whole lot more. In the meantime, over to you. Do you wear grey, and do you have greying hair to complement grey wardrobe items?


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Must Be Nice: 10 Extravagant Services People Hire for the Holidays

For many, the holidays are a whirlwind of activity, chock-full of decorating, entertaining, and shopping for that perfect gift to put under the tree. But even at this busiest time of year, some people aren’t rushing around. In fact, they’re not even lifting a finger. A few smart—and well-heeled—folks are turning to professionals to take care of all their holiday needs. Click through to discover some of the unbelievable (and pricey!) services people hire for the holidays.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Pantone Color of the Year with Ocean Vibes

A series of Living Coral design boards wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the home of the coral itself so for our fourth and final design board inspired by Pantone’s Color of the Year, Living Coral, we’ve put together a look inspired by the ocean. This design board is subtle  and sophisticated with plenty of white, soft grey and smokey blue tones and pops of teal and coral. An actual coral motif carries through-out the room in the rug, throw pillows and accessories.

Sources:

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Here’s How Designers Decorate for the Holidays

Searching for inspiration for your holiday decor? Look no further! We’ve gathered the boldest, brightest ideas for 2018 from top designers around the country. These artful tips will help you put your own twist on traditional themes and bring joy to friends and family all season long.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Link Love: Clothing in Politics

Jess Cartner-Morley analyzes how Michelle Obama’s style has changed during this new chapter of her life.

An interesting article about Meredith Koop, who spent many years in the White House working with the former first lady on her wardrobe, and now continues to do so for the book tour.

Two interesting articles by Vanessa Friedman, chief fashion critic for The New York Times:

Fab Links from Our Members

Jessikams recently rediscovered this series of “sixty second styling” videos on Refinery29: “So helpful, like having a friend’s older sister tell you how to go from geek to cool kid.”

We did not invent clothes simply to stay warm. Rachylou thought this was an interesting article.

Suntiger enjoyed this TED talk on lessons from fashion’s free culture.

kkards wanted to share this article about how Cambridge Analytica used fashion tastes to identify right-wing voters.

Suz found some fashionable outfits from The New Yorker for those like her who work from home.

Fashintern wonders what you think of this Huffington Post piece critiquing a recent Wall Street Journal article about what to wear when you work from home.

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Pantone Color of the Year with a Vintage Twist

 For our second Living Coral Design Board (Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year), we went for a sophisticated look with a vintage feel. Pairing this bright color with earthy greens and yellows, wrought iron and wood finishes and plenty of texture creates a blend that is modern yet aged, elegant yet rustic, and soft yet bold.

A beautiful art piece adds sophistication to the room and also incorporates a variety of colors allowing for flexibility should you want to add or remove colors in the future. 

Sources:

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Four Sets of Toiletries

I have four sets of the exact same toiletries that I keep in different locations. By toiletries I mean beauty and skincare products, hair products, grooming products, make-up, and a bottle of Flower eau de parfum by Kenzo. I have one set to use in our home in Seattle. A second set that stays in our loft in Salt Lake City. A third set that I keep packed in a travelling toiletry bag in small travel-size containers. And a fourth set of spares that I store in Seattle so that I can replenish immediately when I run out.

It’s practical and efficient having multiple toiletry sets because I have two homes. I’m in Seattle most of the time, and in Salt Lake City for one or two weeks a month. I travel to see my Dad in the Netherlands every three months, and Greg and I travel a bit during the year. Keeping four sets of toiletries that are ready to use in multiple locations minimizes packing and unpacking time, keeps me organized, prevents me forgetting items, and allows me to use the exact products that I have carefully chosen over time.

It was quite the upfront expense, but once I got over that I was relieved to have the system up and running. Apart from lipstick and lip balm, I don’t carry a toiletry or make-up bag in my handbag, so thank goodness I don’t need a mini fifth set.


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Destination Spotlight: Grafus Studio

Grafus Studio, located at 225 King Street East in Toronto, features products sourced from vendors internationally, where everything available in the store, has been “touched by design.” The store offers a curated look that is transitional and elegant with details that are unusual yet understated and classic in appeal. All of the seating has been custom designed with fabrics selected by Glen Peloso and his team to help you create beautiful rooms, from the casual to elegant.

Piper – The “performance fabric” on this chair, combined with great colors looks great in any room.

Andrea Swirl – The amazing shapes in this curated glass vase collection shows us all of the most current colors that are trending at various North American markets: blue, green, gold and other metallics along with texture and light play.

Darcy – This beautiful velvet sofa is a popular choice among the store’s clientele. It offers both style and comfort.

Accessories – A curated collection of accessories are hand picked to work together. The studio offers a wide variety including natural wood finishes, metallic details, exclusive throw blankets and high quality everblooms.

The Studio – Grafus Studio is drive by design, from the largest sectional to the smallest accessory, with customers squarely in mind!

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Great Gift Ideas for Chefs, Foodies and Cooking Enthusiasts

MINI-PREP PLUS PROCESSOR Grind or chop ingredients instantly at the touch of a button. Features a 3-cup bowl with handle and auto-reversing SmartPower Blade. – Cuisinart, www.cuisinart.ca

SUPERSTEAM + It’s 3 ovens in one: whether you’re cooking with Superheated steam, regular steam, or convection heating, you can cook anything just the way you want. – Sharp, www.sharp.ca

MICROWAVE DRAWER The microwave drawer allows you to focus on your kitchen’s design and workflow by offering flexible installation options that declutter your counter space. Sharp, www.sharp.ca

CONVECTION MICROWAVE Combination convection and microwave oven gives you the best of both worlds. Convection technology gives you perfect roasting, baking and browning while the microwave provides the speed you desire. – Sharp, www.sharp.ca

SLO-PRO RED COOKER The Thinkkitchen Slo-Pro Red Cooker lets you prepare everything from chili and meat sauces to tender pork and beef roasts without spending hours in the kitchen. Treat your loved ones to an easy, delicious comfort meal perfect for warming up after an evening of caroling! – Stokes, www.stokesstores.com

PURDY’S CHOCOLATES With over 100+ years of excellence behind them, Purdy’s offers a delicious variety of unique treats, traditional favorites and fun gift ideas like this Chocolate Survival Kit. – Purdy’s, www.purdys.com

NOLAA GRANOLAA Organic, gluten-free, vegan, locally sourced granola in great flavors like Choconana and Almonds & Apples makes a delicious and healthy snack. – Nolaa Granolaa, www.nolaagranolaa.ca

PASTA BASKIT Gift baskets like this Pasta Baskit are a thoughtful gift for any foodie who loves to cook and eat! – Baskits, www.baskits.com

LAKEVIEW CELLARS VIDAL ICEWINE Bursting with aromas and rich flavors, pair this delicious dessert wine with any of your holiday treats. Lakeview Wine Co., www.lakeviewwineco.com

WHISKEY BARREL AGED MAPLE SYRUP The complex whisky and barrel notes of this aged maple syrup make it excellent for cocktails, ice cream, cooking and, of course, pancakes. – Kinsip, www.kinsip.ca

JACEK ARTISAN CHOCOLATE Designer couture chocolates are a sweet treat for the gourmet aficionado on your list. – Jacek Chocolate, www.jacekchocolate.com

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Fashion News Roundup: November 2018

Two new fashion exhibitions, a Zara maternity collection, a big beauty brand goes cruelty-free, and more news from the fashion trenches this month.

Fun Fashion Quote

I like Nora McInerny’s down-to-earth take on wearing bright lipstick:

“People always seem so scared to try it. Other women often ask, ‘How do I wear a bright red lipstick?’ Like, you literally put it on your face. You are the only person who is worried that you look different. I was always afraid it would be too much, but truly, you are the only person who’s thinking about your appearance that deeply. No one is thinking, ‘How dare she?’ Nobody cares.”


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The 34 Greatest Things Ever Built in America

If America were a brand, it would be one of the most prolific ones on the planet. Over its 242-year life, it has produced, in equal turn, striking skyscrapers, mighty monuments, and sprawling man-made spaces that are adored by masses. For a closer look at iconic American craftsmanship, scroll through for a list some of the country’s most celebrated creations to date.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Exclusive: EPA lifts advanced biofuel mandate for 2019 – document

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifted its annual blending mandate for advanced biofuels by 15 percent for 2019, while keeping steady the requirement for conventional biofuels like corn-based ethanol, according to an agency document seen by Reuters on Thursday.


Reuters: Environment

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15 Handy Things You Can Do With Ashes from Your Fireplace

A wood-burning fireplace adds both ambience and welcome heat during the winter months. But what to do with all the ashes those cozy fires leave behind? There are lots of ways to recycle wood ash. Before you scoop the next batch of ashes in the trash, check out our top 15 uses for the ashes from your fireplace.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Designer’s Choice: 2019 Trend Predictions from Canadian Designers

Warm colors like camel (Earthy Cane, Dulux) and green (Night Watch, Dulux 2019 Color of the Year) are coming on strong. A great way to use these colors is to mix them with other popular colors. For example, adding green to a navy scheme or camel to a neutral gray scheme will add depth and warmth to the room. I am also seeing a resurgence in faux finishes, graduated colors and ombre patterns. This is a fresh way to blend two colors and create drama. – Gabriele Pizzale, www.pizzaledesigninc.com

In an effort to bring authentic personality into a space, we are increasingly looking toward sculptural lighting, made by makers with interesting combinations of materials and unique finishes. Shades of black (Black Forest, Dulux) and white (Gypsum, Dulux) are always dramatic and appealing, especially together. – Lisa Stevens, www.lisastevensco.com

In 2019, I expect to see the trend move to deeper, more grounded hues like midnight blues (Mountain Lake, Dulux) and black. Different shades of dark blue can be seen in fabric, furniture, accessories, wallpaper, etc. Black will stay present in lighting, plumbing fixtures, millwork, fabrics and other interior elements with gold (Gold Ticket, Liquid Metal) adding sparkle and luxury to the more transitional application of the above colors. – Negar Reihani, www.spaceharmony.ca

Some of my favorite colors for 2019 are vibrant berry and current inspired tones (Chilled Wine, Dulux) that make a huge statement. I also expect to see greige (a warmer gray) and creams (Willow Springs, Dulux) making a huge comeback. For décor and accessories, rounded sofas, natural wood accents, light oak floors and non-traditional moldings will all play a big part in design for 2019! – Yvonne Whelan, www.yvonnewhelandesign.com

Beige is making a comeback but in a more buff hue (Pale Taupe, Dulux) in 2019. We’ll also see a more saturated, deep blue (Smoke Blue, Dulux) that is powerful yet calming with a slight black undertone. For furniture and accessories, we will see a lot of warm tones and shades of rust and amber along with geometric patterns and shapes. – Karla Dreyer Design, www.karladreyerdesign.com

In 2019, I expect to see a lot of pastels, dusty blues (Nautical Star, Dulux) and greens (Bahia Grass, Dulux). (Shown with Elusion, Dulux) A growing trend is color matching with walls and accents in the same color. I also think natural wood wallpaper and pretty accessories will be a popular choice. – Kendall Ansell, www.kendallansell.com

Blue is always a great go-to color, however in 2019, I see the color having a gray undertone and hint of green (Baritone or Chalky Blue, Dulux). Pink has been very popular and I expect to see pinks with a coral undertone in the coming year (Siesta Rose, Dulux). It’s a more elegant, classic and vibrant version of pink which is a very useable color with any décor. Another trend I see changing in 2019 is wallpaper; moving away from flowers and birds to more geometric patterns that work well with a wide variety of design styles and can be coordinated with other patterns in the room. – Jacklynn Little, www.jacklynnlittleinteriors.com

Matte black continues to be everywhere; in furniture, accessories, light fixtures, appliances and plumbing fixtures. I love to use hits of black in spaces, so I’m loving this trend! Graphic black (Onyx, Dulux) and white (Delicate White, Dulux) color palettes create a wonderful backdrop that pairs beautifully with another color trend we’re seeing now: warm hues like rust, clay, burnt orange, mustard yellow and dusty pinks. Indoor plants have been an important element of decorating for a few years and this trend will continue. Plants add a natural vibe, a great pop of green and life to a room. – Robbin Caskenette Interiors, www.robbincaskenetteinteriors.com

We’ll see warmer greige tones (Hourglass, Dulux) as neutrals in 2019, paired with cool charcoal grays, rich jewel tones, and deeper earth tones. I believe we’ll also see more color in painted cabinetry, both in dark tones and in pastels like the smoky blue green (Nautical Star, Dulux) in this laundry room. Elaborate tile patterns and shapes in backsplashes and flooring will continue for 2019 as well as more emphasis on ceilings with color, wallpaper, and architectural detail. – Jillian Straky, www.housewears.ca

We will see a lot more deep greens (Blarney Stone, Dulux) and sophisticated pinks (Magenta, Dulux) in 2019. These colors pair well with the grays and blues that have been popular for a while and their jewel tones work well with rich metal tones. We can expect to see plenty of curves, velvet textures and natural wood tones as well. – Glen Peloso, www.grafus.ca

While we will still be painting walls white, they will have a pastel undertone such as a pale grayed out lilac or apricot for 2019 (Guardian Angel, Dulux)! Colors will be warmer, earthy tones (Nutmeg, Dulux) which pair well with pastels, whites and warm grays. We are bringing the outdoors in with more natural finishes of wood and stone, linen bedding, undyed wool rugs, artisan made products, plants and plenty of natural light. Minimizing clutter and incorporating textures rather than patterns are key to making this trend work. – Trish Knight, www.trishknight.com

Rich gray is one of my favorite colors for 2019. I also see a big shift towards pastels that will continue in 2019, like this pastel pink (Apricot Cream, Dulux) that is perfect for this room. (Also Shown: Silent Night, Dulux) I am also expecting to see electric opening wine fridges as a popular choice for kitchens and in-home bars! I love the Liebherr Integrated Panel Refrigerator. It uses an electric driver with soft touch opening and closing. If left open, the fridge will suction itself closed and will open with the touch of a finger. – Jamie Banfield, www.jamiebanfield.ca

 

 

 

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Fun New Proportions with a Pleated Skirt

I stumbled across this outfit and thought, WOW, that’s fabulous and very creative. A little Sporty Luxe, a lot of irregular juxtaposition, some subtle pattern mixing, just enough structure, and some glam for good measure. 

Eloquii Chevron Print Midi Skirt

Pleated sunray skirts are hard to wear at the best of times. They can make us feel wider than we might like, draw unwanted attention to the midsection, and are a whole lot of skirt. Intuitively, we want to add structure to this silhouette of skirt by combining it with a short body-con top that showcases the waistline and the narrowest part of the body. This outfit throws all the conventional wisdom out the window, and I like that.

The dressy pleated skirt has been combined with a very fluid casual hoodie (and contrast drawstring, of all things!). The welt covers the waist and hips thereby camouflaging midsection extra bits. A blazer is layered over the top for structure and dressiness, which is not an uncommon styling technique. But the trendy long length of the blazer is a daring and fresh combination. Arty, creative and interesting.

The length of the skirt is dead right. Elegantly longer, but sufficiently short to expose some leg, thereby adding structure to the outfit. The tailored, dressy, pointy toe mid-calf booties elongate the outfit and leg line. But look at those cheeky high-contrast toe boxes that chop the foot in half. I think the pointy toe box offsets that effect, and the caramel pop of colour complements the earth-toned top part of the outfit. The grey of the boots complemenst the grey in the pattern of the skirt, helping to pull the look together.

Remixing earth tones and cool tones is another interesting component, as is the subtle pattern mix. The model’s make-up and hoop earrings are the polished cherry on top. I think this outfit is sublime. Jarring and unexpected in many ways, yet it works wonderfully well in our fashion era. What do you think?


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