Vanity Refresh with Karla Dreyer

Bathrooms are often small rooms with limited space for decorative details. Designer Karla Dreyer visited Modern Bathrooms to show you how to refresh the look of your vanity with design details that add both function and personality!

PERSONAL TOUCHES Create a look that is truly personalized by including items you use and love. In this vignette, we included a beautiful bubble bath, loofah, pretty toothbrush holder and candle.

BASKETS AND TRAYS Baskets and trays are great choices for functional décor. I used a Lucite tray on the vanity as a place to gather items without taking up extra visual space. I also added a basket to provide texture and hidden storage.

LUXURIOUS DETAILS Plush towels, a lovely soap or pretty candle are great ways to add a luxurious feel while also being decorative and functional.

ORGANIC TOUCHES Adding a plant to your bathroom is a great way to bring life and texture to the space. I love using eucalyptus in a bathroom. It looks fresh and smells amazing.

Vanity available from Modern Bathrooms,; Staging items provided by Crate & Barrel, and The Cross Decor,;  Photography by John Molnar,

Small Vanity, Big Style

Here are a few ways to dress up a vanity in a small bathroom.

  • When space is limited, accents need to be both functional and stylish. A pretty candle and great looking soap are perfect examples.
  • If floor space is available, use a decorative basket to add both style and function to your bathroom!
  • In a small bathroom, choosing a vanity that offers color and plenty of storage is a great way to create a functional, stylish focal point.

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Home Trends Magazine


These Are the U.S. Towns Where People Live the Longest

Location, location, location: We’ve crunched new research from 24/7 Wall St, Best Life Magazine, Livability, and the Health Inequality Project on the link between where you live and how long you live. Income certainly plays a role, with people in the top income quartile living an average of six years longer than those in the bottom quartile. Still, some cities just happen to have longer-lived residents. Read on to discover where Americans enjoy the longest life expectancy.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


How Top Construction Companies Are Attracting and Retaining Talent

If you work in construction, then news about the current labor shortage won’t come as any surprise. Construction professionals have named hiring as their top concern for a number of years; in 2017, National Association of Home Builders survey findings revealed that 82% of construction professionals listed the cost and availability of laborers as a pressing priority for the year, compared to just 13% in 2011.

That labor shortage rankles, especially since the demand for new housing and remodeling projects hasn’t really slowed. According to Kiplinger Personal Finance, sales for new home starts and existing homes have remained strong throughout the year. reports that builders would need about 1.2 million workers to keep pace with that demand. But without an influx of skilled laborers, builders are finding it hard to keep up. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders estimates that there were about 250,000 unfilled construction jobs at the end of last year, which means many opportunities for building are going unheeded or severely delayed.

Whether you blame the recession, the opioid crisis, or recent immigration policy, there’s no denying that hirers are going to have to use savvier means to attract employees if they hope to woo skilled talent away from the competition. In fact, there are several key areas you can target to improve your chances of recruiting and retaining quality employees in the wake of the labor shortage.

Group of people waiting for job interview

Incentivizing Young Laborers with Training and Development Programs

One of the issues affecting the availability of skilled labor is the lack of young workers entering the field. While the amount of construction workers has fallen across all age levels, that decline is evidenced most sharply among younger demographics.

Finding “the next generation of skilled laborers” has been a pressing concern for many interested in solving the construction labor crisis. However, evidence suggests that it’s not just training that’s lacking, but a clear, stable career path for young workers in the construction field. According to data from Builder Online, 63% of young Americans say there’s little to no chance that they’d consider a career in the skilled trade work, presumably because they don’t see it as a wise choice for long-term career development.

With that in mind, it’s important to prioritize training and development in your construction business if you want to appeal to this generation. One way to do so is to offer certification reciprocity programs, helping new contractors pay their way through requirements, such as an LEED certification program. For large businesses, cross-training workers to fill various roles—project management, sales, and management positions, in addition to on-site trades roles—offers a chance for employees to change job functions and eventually advance in their careers. If resources for larger programs just aren’t available, however, even small technical workshops and industry talks can help bring young workers to your doors. These types of programs communicate your commitment to employees to young job seekers eager to snap up jobs with long-term potential.

Enhancing Recruiting Programs to Embrace Digitalization

Today’s recruiting technologies are quite sophisticated, allowing you to identify qualified talent quickly and even automate some parts of the recruiting process. This is key, since recruiting programs can become unwieldy quickly, especially when you’re looking to scale up your hiring practices.

Leaning more heavily on technology allows you to ramp up recruiting practices without a heavy investment. Applicant tracking systems offer a path to automate procedures for job posting, filtering out resumes, and routine interaction with candidates, meaning fewer resources diverted to time-consuming manual work in your HR roles.

Digitalization can also improve your reach; smart recruitment tools analyze both internal hiring practices and often, market trends as well, to help you identify those candidates most likely to join your company. These abilities can be a huge boon to construction businesses who are trying to diversify their approach to recruiting.

Improving Diversity in Hiring

If you’re having difficulty finding skilled talent in the usual places, then it only makes sense to start looking somewhere else. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that the construction industry is nearly 91% male and 89% white, which means there’s plenty of room for diversity in the field. These practices go hand-in-hand with attracting tomorrow’s top-tier talent. Millennials and Generation Z, the youngest age group, are notoriously diverse—according to The Brookings Institute, they hover at about 55.8% and 51.5% white, compared to 75.9% for ages 55 and over. Essentially, recruiting programs designed to appeal to younger demographics must also make strides to embrace inclusivity.

Improving the diversity of your company can be tricky, but it becomes a lot easier when you take a common sense approach to your efforts. Construction executives can start by hiring more diverse HR and recruiting teams. This simple step should make a huge difference, especially among female candidates, since women are much more likely to join a team when their interview panel includes another woman.

Diverse hiring panels may also have ideas for how you can diversify your hiring approach; for instance, posting job notices in untapped locations, such as a daycare or community center. You may also want to implement practices to limit unconscious bias, such as blacking out names on resumes or asking all members of the interviewing panel to ask the same questions. Additionally, the work you do on your end to create a corporate culture where a diversity of approaches is not only accepted—but viewed as an asset—will go a long way to improving candidate diversity and embracing a larger talent pool.

The world is changing, and savvy construction executives will need to embrace that reality—and learn to work within a new employee landscape—if they hope to build the next generation of construction professionals.

The post How Top Construction Companies Are Attracting and Retaining Talent appeared first on Modernize.



My Flat Substitute for Ankle Strap Pumps

I used to wear pointy-toe ankle strap pumps with a two inch heel a lot in warm weather (sometimes without the ankle strap). The pointy toe suited my narrow feet, the dainty style suited my narrow calf, and the heel lengthened my leg line. The pumps also added what I perceived to be a dressy, elegant and refined polish to my outfits. I wore them with skirts and dresses, cropped pants, cropped jeans, a jumpsuit, and harem pants. They were a very versatile warm-weather shoe for my style. Here are the exact pumps from my wardrobe.

Sadly, I passed on all the pumps two years ago because I can no longer comfortably wear the heel height. Switching up the heel shape to a block heel makes no difference because I’m happiest in heel heights between half and one and a half inches. I walk and travel a lot, and therefore do not compromise on foot comfort. So I temporarily lost quite an integral part of my warm-weather style when the pumps went bye-bye.

I left things for a year and simply wore multiple pairs of modern classic loafers with a one inch heel because I was all too happy to have found covered Summer shoes that went the distance. As much as I adore flat loafers, they are not a substitute for pointy-toe ankle strap pumps. Too casual and not as refined or elegant.

It seemed obvious that I look for a flat version of the ankle strap pumps as a replacement, but that’s easier said than done. The strap of ankle strap flats usually cuts into my skin, and regular ballet flats are hard to fit. Round-toe ballet flats are too wide and short for my low-volume feet, and not dainty enough for my tastes. The pointy-toe styles fall off my feet. Ballet flats can also be hard and unsupportive.

By chance this Summer (because you find things when you’re NOT looking for them) I found a much better visual substitute for the pumps. They’re Banana Republic’s pointy-toe Robin ballet flat in watermelon and red suede (above). I took a chance with the watermelon, put them through their paces, and was delighted to discover that they work wonderfully well. I’ve walked Velp, Seattle and Salt Lake City flat in them, and they’re great. I promptly repeated the style in red.


With the addition of the flat substitute, I’ve been able to haul out old wardrobe favourites like my black harem pants and wear them with the same affection as when I wore them with pumps. For example, I wore the old outfit on the right in Salt Lake City last week, but with watermelon ballet flats instead of pumps. I added pearls, a denim jacket, and light blue crossbody bag. I was very comfortable walking and working, and sometimes with our Yorkie Sam in tow.

Here are the exact components of the 2018 outfit. I enjoy remixing old wardrobe items with new. The pants are ten years old, the jacket and blouse five, and the shoes and bag are new. The pants, blouse and jacket are exceptional quality items that it’s no wonder they went the distance. They look as good now, as the day I bought them despite frequent washing and wearing. I’m hard on shoes, so I don’t know how long the flats will last, but the Furla will go the distance too.

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Client Success Video: Zoi Solar

Centrally located in Austin, Zoi Solar designs, builds, and installs residential solar panels in the greater Texas area as well as other key markets in the United States. They’re a growing company with a lean sales team, which made them a perfect fit for the Modernize Appointments product. Watch the video above or read their story below to hear how their choice to add Modernize Appointments to their salesforce has doubled their sales growth.

What is your role with Zoi Solar?

“My name is Robert Brunson, I’m the Senior Vice President of Zoi Solar, and we bring in technology to help homeowners not only save money on their utility bills, but also to take them to the future.”

What kind of growth have you seen since partnering with Modernize?

“We’ve seen basically a double growth in our sales, so we’re very happy about it. It supplements what we’re doing right now, but eventually we want to move in that direction completely so it takes over our organization as far as a sale channel.”

How have Modernize Appointments helped your business grow?

“We really like the product as a small company because obviously our cash flow is low as a smaller company, but as we grow it gives us the ability to turn-key something out without building out a call center. Salespeople traditionally aren’t good at follow-ups – they’re good at selling. We want to take that out of their hands and simply send them to an appointment to let them do what they’re good at. So, I’m very pleased with the product.”

Revenue aside, what is something you value in your relationship with Modernize?

“Most companies are very transactional, and I’m really excited about our relationship with Modernize because we’re diving deep into each other’s companies and trying to improve each other and raise the bar. That’s what I’m really excited about and how my new relationship is progressing.”

What separates Modernize from other marketing companies?

“A lot of time there are marketing companies that are fly-by-night that aren’t very professional and they’re inconsistent. So, we’re looking for somebody that can consistently show up and be professional in their presence in the market with us.”

What is your advice for companies that are looking to grow with Modernize?

“The keys to being successful with Modernize is simply understanding the process and the metrics.Once you understand those things, you can work to improve the inefficiencies within those elements. What we want to do is figure out what exactly our process is, refine that, and see how we can improve those metrics on both side of the equation.”

Can you describe your relationship with Modernize in one word?

“There are multiple bottom lines in any relationship. Obviously we’re here for business and making money is very very important, but it’s not what we’re focused on. Money is a side effect of being good at what you do and loving what you do. My relationship with Modernize is a success on multiple levels. ”

The post Client Success Video: Zoi Solar appeared first on Modernize.



Bathroom Essentials

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Some of our top design contributors share their must-haves in a bathroom design.

Light Drizzle: A rain shower head is a must for a new bathroom! These are generally larger shower heads hung or installed overhead that mimic the feeling of showering in the rain; a very luxurious and relaxing experience after a long day. – Glen Peloso,

Tucked Away: I love adding an outlet under the sink or in a vanity drawer. It creates a great spot for charging an electric tooth brush or an extra plug for hair tools! – Kendall Ansell,

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Warm & Cozy: Every bathroom should have a towel warmer! Nothing feels nicer than getting out of the shower and wrapping yourself in a warm towel. I also use mine for drying small and more delicate items that I don’t want to put in the dryer. – Negar Reihani,

Photography by Colin Perry

Close Up: When I am renovating a bathroom or planning a new build, I like to include an electrical outlet for a magnifying mirror! It’s a great feature to have; no more bending over the sink to put on makeup! – Jacklynn Little,

Drawing Conclusions: When choosing a vanity, be sure to consider one with lots of drawers. Ensuites are especially notorious for lacking storage as most will choose pieces based on aesthetic and forgo function. – Gabriele Pizzale,

Fit for a King: When it comes to a bathroom, splurge on the best toilet you can afford! I particularly love the Veil Intelligent wall-hung toilet from Kohler as it has all the bells and whistles. This model features a bidet, dryer, seat warmer and best of all, automatic flushing. – Christine Da Costa,

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Spa Amenities: If you’re building a new home or have the space available in a bathroom renovation, make sure to designate a special spot for a beautiful soaker tub. Not only will it become a strong focal point in the room but it will also be the place that you yearn for after a long workday or commute. – Kim Bartley,

Photo by

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Ambience: Never underestimate the power of great lighting. For everyday use and makeup application, ample light will be required. Adding a dimmer on these same lights gives you the ability to dim them if you are taking a bath. Having the ability to control the amount of light in a bathroom is priceless. – Yvonne Whelan,

Finishing Touches: Luxe details and plush textures are a must in a bathroom. I love to outfit every bathroom with beautiful, woven towels and thick cotton or linen robes. These finishing touches will give your bathroom a spa-like feel. – Lisa Stevens,

Reflection Spotlight: I love adding a Robern Bryn Mawr framed cabinet in a bathroom. These are installed flush to look like sexy mirrors and come in many different metals. They offer lots of interior lighting, electrical outlets, and storage.- Jamie Banfield,

Photo by

Beautifully Organized: Bathrooms should have a tray to contain all your necessities. It keeps things neat and visually appealing rather than having it strewn all over your counter. – Evelyn Eshun,

Photo by Larry Arnal

It’s In The Details: Every bathroom needs a thoughtfully placed robe hook no further than a foot away from the edge of the shower/tub and high enough off the ground that the towel clears the floor when hung on the hook. This way there’s always a spot to place your towel before bathing and a perfectly accessible opportunity to grab it when you most need it. – Becky Freeman,

Photo by

Lighting Factor: Nothing creates wow-factor in a bathroom like fantastic light fixtures. There are so many beautiful light fixture options! I love to use lighting that doesn’t look like it belongs in a bathroom. Go for decorative sconces or hanging pendants. Just make sure to select something with a glass shade as paper or fabric ones won’t stand up to humidity. – Laura Stein,

Matte Black: Small bathrooms only offer a few opportunities for decorative flair and I love including a statement faucet for maximum impact. I love the new American Standard Studio S collection available at Bartle & Gibson in a variety of styles with a fabulous matte black finish! – Marc Atiyolil,



The post Bathroom Essentials appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


After the Storm: Detect and Repair Roof Damage

Your roof provides essential shelter from the outside world, protecting you and your most valuable belongings from the worst weather. Roofs are designed to weather the elements, but during a severe storm, your home may be damaged by wind, hail, or debris. But this roof damage is not always easy to see.

It’s important for homeowners to be able to identify roof damage, so you can quickly restore your home’s privacy, safety, and comfort. If left untreated, your home can suffer structural damage.

If you have recently experienced severe weather, you may see your neighbors repairing their roofs, or speaking with insurance adjusters in your area. Learn to spot signs of damage and take action, if needed.

Stay Safe and Assess Storm Damage

Before inspecting the exterior of your home for damage, make sure the storm has passed and it is safe to be outside. If you see downed power lines, electrical hazards, or flooding, keep away from the area and immediately call 911.

Even if the coast is clear, continue to be aware of potential hazards— especially on or near your roof. This is often the most dangerous place for post-storm damage as it can cause structural issues and is out of your line of vision. Check for fallen trees or heavy debris, loose or broken shingles, and ice dams if it’s a winter storm.

Detect Signs of Roof Damage from Hail

Hail damage is easy to detect. You will hear hail hitting your roof and windows, and you will see pellets of ice gathering on the ground. Hail damage is also usually easy to see— it can dent your siding or even shatter your windows. Hail can also dent your roof or tear away shingles.

Hail damage usually causes the following damage to your home’s roof:

  • Missing Shingles: Look for gaps in the pattern or pieces of exposed roof. You may also see shingles on the ground near your home.
  • Damaged Shingles: Check for shingles on your roof that are curled, buckling, dented, or cracked.
  • Build-up in gutters and downspouts that have collected loose asphalt granules.
    Flashing and downspouts that are dented, hanging, or missing.

Roof wood shingles rot and warp after storm damage.

Check for Signs of Wind Damage

High wind speeds have the potential to knock over trees, shatter windows, and damage roofs. If shingles are blown away, the roof deck or underlayment is left exposed to the elements. This leaves your home even more vulnerable to water damage.
After a heavy windstorm, check on the exterior of your home for the following:

  • Damage depending on your roof type:
    • All Shingle Roofs: Missing, cracked, or curling shingles
    • Composition Shingles: Granule buildup in gutters
    • Wood Shingles or Shakes: Rotting and mold
    • Flat Roofs: Cracks, tears, or surface bubbles/wrinkles
    • Damage to roof support or accents:
      • Flashing: Tears or buckling
      • Roofing Cement: Loose or crumbling cement
      • Gutters and Downspout: Rust, rot, or missing and dented sections
      • Chimneys: Loose or crumbling brick

Look for Signs of Water Damage

Missing or broken shingles from hail and wind damage can be quickly identified, but the effects of water damage can take longer to detect. Untreated water damage and leaks can lead to mold, which can affect your home’s foundation and structure.

Here are the most important places to check for signs of flooding, leakage, and general storm damage:

      • Gutters: Check here for water buildup. If water isn’t being redirected properly, it can pool next to your home and create mold and damage to the structure.
      • Ceilings: Check for water spots and yellow, copper, or brown discoloration.
      • Walls: Inspect for signs of cracking, peeling, or bubbling in the paint or wallpaper.
      • Check your attic, basement, and crawl spaces for mold or wood rot and leaks. This can reveal itself as a musty smell, which can occur as soon as 24-48 hours after a storm.
      • Flooring: Look for gaps or curling floorboards, sagging wood that feels soft to the touch, or expansion in wood and laminate floors Expansion occurs when the materials become waterlogged.
      • Roof: Cracked, curled, or missing shingles.
      • Windows: Look for moisture buildup (fog) between glass panes.

Ceiling becomes discolored and moldy after undetected roof damage.

Contact Your Insurance and a Find a Roofing Contractor

If you detect any of the damage above, it’s important to contact your homeowners insurance and find a roofing contractor to help stop future damage and repair your home.

1. Document the damage

Before you touch anything, take detailed notes and multiple photos of all damage to the area— both interior and exterior. This documentation will be important when you submit your insurance claim.

2. Safe-proof potential hazards

Cover or board up any windows with shattered or jagged glass. Next, cordon off any areas that could be a danger.

3. Submit your claim

The next step is to report the damages to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Time is of the essence when submitting a claim. Insurance companies have a limit of filing claims within one year of the damage. It is best to contact your insurance company by phone, as well as email.

Document all your contact in a folder to help keep conversations, details, and dates organized. Submit your photo documentation and any receipts you’ve incurred along the way (for example, proof of your housing if the storm made your home temporarily uninhabitable).

4. Make an appointment with an insurance adjuster

The insurance company will arrange an appointment for an adjuster to come out to your home and assess the roof damage. It is very important that you get three to four contractor estimates before you meet with the adjuster so that you have a professional benchmark for the project cost. Make sure your appointment with the adjuster will give you enough time to get contractor estimates first.

5. Get in touch with a trusted roofing contractor
Now it’s time to contact a few trusted contractors. They will assess the repair or roof replacement cost and offer complimentary project quotes that you’ll give to your claims adjuster at your appointment. Most contractors have experience with storm-damaged homes, so it’s wise to ask your contractor to be present to make sure you get a fair assessment.

Modernize now offers homeowners a free digital Contractor Checklist as a simple step-by-step guide to assist with your windows project. Access the interactive contractor checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal (Log in using the link provided in your email) or download it here.

6. Replace or repair
Depending on the severity of the damage, your contractor will suggest either a roof repair or roof replacement. Any changes in the original estimate should be recorded in writing. The project is finished after it has passed a city inspection and you’re satisfied with the completed work to your home’s roof.

Already know you have home storm damage? We can help. Receive up to four quotes from reliable roofing contractors in your area.

The post After the Storm: Detect and Repair Roof Damage appeared first on Modernize.



9 Things to Do in the Yard Before the First Frost

As summer scurries away, cooler temps and autumn leaves can’t be far behind. If you live in a region where frost accompanies the change of seasons, take note: Some outdoor projects have to be tackled before the chill sets in. Here are a handful of temperature-sensitive yard chores you should move up to the top of this month’s to-do list.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Link Love: News From the Fashion Week Sidelines

Starting this season, London Fashion Week is going fur-free, which means no animal fur will be used in any official runway show or presentation.

Claudia Li featured an all Asian model cast in showing her Spring 2019 collection. It’s being hailed as a monumental step forward in fashion’s diversity movement.

Vanessa Friedman, The New York Times’ fashion director, talks about what it’s really like to be at the shows.

Yahoo! Lifestyle reports that Queen Elizabeth II’s umbrella styling trick is now a fashion week trend.

Fab Links from Our Members

Vildy wanted to share this look at the underbelly of ‘effortless’ French fashion.

Annagybe found this article about ‘menocore’ very interesting, “because it does address the aspirational part of this style.”

Is there life after skinnies maybe, asks Jenn.

Fashintern thought this Vice piece about the secret signals of far-right fashion might interest people, and she’s curious if anyone has noticed these phenomena.

She also came across this article about hoarding disorder, which can relate to clothing, and lots of other things: “‘Hoarders fear making the wrong decision about what to keep and what to throw out, so they keep everything,’ says Dr Whomsley, who was one of the authors of the British Psychological Society guidelines on hoarding compiled in 2013.’

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Your Renovations Wish List for Fall

As fall approaches, there are a few renovations you may be considering in order to prepare your home for the winter months ahead. Perhaps you want to improve your home’s efficiency, complete a few seasonal maintenance and repair tasks, improve the quality of your indoor living space or prepare your home for entertaining as the holiday months approach. The home equity experts at Tribecca Finance share some common fall renovations you may want to consider.

Improve Your Home’s Efficiency

As temperatures lower and utility bills climb, it’s time to start thinking about ways to improve the energy consumption in your home. Depending on the age of your home, there are a variety of upgrades to consider.

  1. Replace old and drafty windows and doors with new, more efficient models.
  2. Replace old appliances with new, Energy-Star rated appliances.
  3. Upgrade your insulation or have your attic, basement or crawl space spray foamed for improved heat retention.
  4. Replace old shingles to increase the performance of your home’s envelope.
  5. Replace incandescent bulbs with compact florescent bulbs.

If you’re not sure where to start, the best first step is to have a professional home audit completed which will give you a complete overview of the strengths and weaknesses in your home. Some utility companies offer free or low cost audits as well.

Once you decide which upgrades are most beneficial to your home, the next step is to consider funding options. Again, the first place to start is your utility company. Find out what rebates they offer on upgrades that improve efficiency to help lower your cost. Once you have those answers, a home equity loan can help you cover the remainder of the costs with low monthly payments so you can enjoy improved performance without a large up front cost!

Seasonal Maintenance

Basic maintenance tasks completed before winter can go a long way towards an enjoyable and stress free winter in your home!

  1. Furnace and heating system inspections should be completed now to ensure you have no heating problems this winter. This may include changing air filters, replacing an old furnace, cleaning out a boiler system or the like.
  2. If you have a wood burning fireplace, have the chimney cleaned or consider replacing it with a gas insert that will reduce maintenance and improve performance.
  3. Check your roof for any issues that might cause leaking, clean out gutters and consider installing a heating cable to prevent snow and ice build up from damaging your roof over the winter.
  4. If you live in an area that is prone to winter storms, make sure you are prepared by creating an emergency kit, installing a generator as a back up power source, trimming back dead tree limbs that might fall and damage your home in a storm and ensuring winter equipment like your snow blower are in working condition

Many of these maintenance tasks will be routine and very low cost but if you find yourself in a position where you need to make a larger investment to replace an old furnace, repair a roof or something of that type, contact a Tribecca Toronto home equity loan professional to arrange funding. You will be able to access funding in just a few days, allowing you to make the necessarily repairs before it gets cold outside!

Creating Cozy Spaces

Photo Source: HomeSense Fall Look Book

For most of us, the winter months will mean a lot more time spent indoors so know is the time to take a look at your home’s interior and consider renovations or upgrades that will make your home more enjoyable over the winter months. This may include:

  1. Finishing renovation projects started over the summer.
  2. Replacing old, outdated furniture with newer, more comfortable pieces.
  3. Replace a wood burning fireplace with a modern gas insert that offers better performance and lower maintenance.
  4. Finishing an unfinished basement to add more usable living space to your home.

If finances are the thing that is keeping you from taking on or finishing projects that would improve the comfort and enjoy-ability of your home, a home equity loan may be the right solution for you. Accessing the equity in your home to complete repairs means you can enjoy the home now while also enjoying flexible repayment options that don’t leave you strapped! Plus, a Tribecca home equity loan can be used for any purpose including DIY projects, new furniture and other items that may be harder to finance through traditional sources!

Preparing for Holiday Guests

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From Thanksgiving to New Years Eve, the next few months bring with them multiple holidays and opportunities to entertain or host guests. Rather then scrambling at the last minute to try and prepare, start now by thinking about what changes you’d like to make to have your home ready to entertain. This might include:

  1. Updating your kitchen to make entertaining easier.
  2. Add or update a guest bedroom for overnight guests.
  3. Give the main areas in your home a new look with a fresh coat of paint.
  4. Repair or replace broken or damaged fixtures, cabinetry, doors, flooring, etc.

Making plans to entertain over the holidays can be a costly affair, especially when you add in all the other costs associated with the holidays! Stretching yourself to thin makes the holidays hard to enjoy! Instead, talk to your Tribecca adviser about flexible repayment options for home equity loans. You can offer your guests a fantastic holiday experience while enjoying small payments over the holidays and then pay off the balance when the holidays are over!


The post Your Renovations Wish List for Fall appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


Budget-Friendly Ways to Market Your Business

As someone who works in the construction industry, you already know that marketing is an essential part of owning your own business. This is particularly true for contractors, where competition is stiff and it can be difficult to secure new leads at various points throughout the year.

The trickiest part of marketing for many small business owners is the cost. It can be expensive to run ads and print up marketing materials, and every penny counts for small businesses. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can get the word out about your business without breaking the bank. Here are our top tips for budget-friendly ways to market your business.

Close up portrait of civil engineer using laptop to planning project schedule., Engineering and construction concept.

Be Active on Social Media


As a business owner these days, it’s essential to have social media accounts that are up to date and informative for potential clients. But having an online presence isn’t enough—being engaged and active is what drives the successful businesses who attract and retain loyal and/or repeat clients. Being active means directly responding to messages, comments, reviews, and questions in order to satisfy your current and potential clients, as well as to grow your lead base.

There are hundreds of social media platforms around, but these are the best for construction industry professionals:

  • Facebook & Twitter– This is where you will post information and updates,  respond to and interact personally with clients, and run ads.
  • Twitter- Use this account for finding and interacting with clients and other industry connections.
  • Instagram– Utilize the photo-first format to showcase your work. Customers especially appreciate before and after photos.
  • LinkedIn– Show off your expertise and experience here, both through your own business profile and also by linking to those of your employees. It’s also a valuable tool for sourcing new contractors in your field.

While the pros of online marketing are obvious (such as instant status updates and a widened search radius for clients), some contractors can be put off by the techy language and unfamiliar processes of social media updates. If this is the case, you can enlist the help of friends or other professionals to guide you through the basics or search for tutorial videos online. You can also hire a social media professional to run your online marketing for you, but this will cost you.

Boost Your Online Presence

Once you’ve signed up for and updated your social media accounts, you will have significantly increased your potential client base just by being online. If you want more people to see your updates, you can opt to boost your posts or run sponsored ads by paying a small amount to the social media platform of your choosing. This option isn’t exactly free, but is still much cheaper than hiring a full time staff member to run your marketing department.

Of course, the Internet is about more than just social media. If you want to increase viewership on your business website or other online pages from outside the platform, you can also run ads on search engines. Many ad companies run on a pay-by-click basis, so you can run online advertisements while staying in budget: you can check out Google’s AdWords for more information on how this kind of marketing could work for you.

Use Sales and Offers to Increase Your Client Base

If your construction business is experiencing a slow period, one of the best ways to boost sales is by offering special deals for existing clients. This technique can also be used to bring in new customers when you want to grow your business – after all, everyone loves a good sale!

There are several ways to go about running a sale in order to market your business, but we have a few personal favorites that we think will help you bring in new leads.

  • Offer online discounts for social media followers (eg. 10% off service for Facebook followers)
  • Host giveaways for your clients (across online platforms or in person)
  • Give incentives for clients who recommend your services (via refer a friend schemes or by sharing your social media posts)

Although giveaways and discounts will slightly lower your profit margin initially, we think the benefits of these customer-friendly practices will more than make up for any losses in the long run. Clients love to be cared for, so they will not forget that you thought about them and will come back to you time and again – and recommend you to their friends!

Tweak Your Brand

Sometimes, all you need to boost sales—and company morale—is a bit of something new. Updating your brand is a great way of making everything feel fresh and new in your business, and potential leads will definitely appreciate the effort you put into your marketing materials.

A brand update doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul; you can often completely revive the look of your brand just by changing the color scheme or font on your logo. We also like the idea of using infographics as a marketing tool, but unless your graphic design skills are excellent this could take some time.

If you decide you do want some help to make your brand look better, you can hire a graphic designer to create a mock-up of the designs you would like. While many graphic design companies will charge you an arm and a leg—hourly—for this kind of work, you can save money by finding a friend who could help you for free. Another way to find help is by advertising your design job online. Websites like Fiverr allow you to post your requirements online and freelancers will bid for your job, so you can choose how much you pay and who you work with.


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6 Features That Are Dating Your Kitchen—And How to Fix Them

Does your kitchen look like it’s past its prime? Renovating a kitchen can be an overwhelming and costly prospect, and sometimes it can be tough just figuring out where to begin. Fortunately, the pros know which changes will have the biggest impact in bringing your kitchen up to date.

This post has been brought to you by Sears Home Services. Its facts and opinions are consistent with those of
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Hiring A Contractor: Contractor Checklist

After a storm, filing an insurance claim to repair or replace your windows can be stressful. Finding a reliable and trustworthy window contractor is your first step in repairing post-storm damage. An experienced contractor will help you throughout the claims process with your insurance company, and ensure that your home is restored to its original condition as quickly as possible.

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 windows project.

How to Find a Reliable Window Contractor

The homeowner insurance claim process is usually prompted by an emergency repair. To restore the comfort, safety, and privacy of your home, you will need to have the repair or replacement done as soon as possible.

That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust— a local professional who can get the job done quickly and assist with your claims process:

Vet Your Contractors

It’s important to find a reliable windows contractor so that your repair or replacement can be done as quickly as possible. To determine the best professional fit for your window project:

  • 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.
  • Ask each windows contractor on the phone the following questions:
    • 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?

After obtaining three or four written estimates and vetting each of your potential contractors, you are ready to meet with and present the estimates to your insurance adjuster. An appointment with your adjuster is part of the insurance claim process. Your project quotes will guide the cost of your repair or replacement and will be necessary for your insurance adjuster to approve the contractor’s work.

Window contractor and homeowner discuss contract to window replacement or repair project.

Meet With Your Top Contractors

Meet in-person with your top contractors to review project-specific details and expectations. We have created a free worksheet to help homeowners compare contractors. Be sure to discuss the following with each contractor:

  • Ask for 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.

Be Aware of Warning Signs

Unfortunately, there is a small percentage of contractors who are not honest professionals. Many of these door-to-door contractors 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. You can confirm this by checking their physical business address and validating their licensing.

Here are additional warning signs to keep in mind:

  • Avoid contractors who request the entire project cost, or large cash deposit, up front.
  • 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.

Prepare for Your Final Contractor Meeting

At the final meeting, there a few steps to go over before the window contractor begins your project.

  • Reconfirm your initial quote.
  • Agree upon a payment plan.
  • Obtain a paper trail of the following:
    • Your contract
    • Project plans
    • Order changes
    • Bills and invoices
    • Proof of insurance and/or permitting, and
    • Contractor correspondence

The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your window repair or replacement project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.

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Trend: Chocolate Brown Is Back

It’s taken twelve years for chocolate brown to return as a trendy neutral, and it’s about time. Strangely, it didn’t even feature as a fringe trend. Why the perfectly lovely neutral was banished from fashionable existence makes little sense. Let’s hope those days are over. 

Chocolate brown is the last dark neutral to join the party since navy and ink blue became fashionable constants alongside black and grey. I think shades of dark brown should be a neutral we see every season, because it’s another way of celebrating variety.

Chocolate brown comes in warm and cool variations, so there’s a shade for every complexion. Cool shades are laced with grey and blue, and warm shades with yellow and orange. It’s represented in most wardrobe items this season, as seen in the collection of items.

Chocolate brown is a magical dark neutral that can create an assortment of personas. It is richer than black and warmer than grey. It can be as cool and military as dark blue. It can be as hard-edged as black and as preppy as navy.

Like all neutrals, shades of chocolate brown look splendid with other light and dark neutrals. Gone are the days that wearing black with brown is a faux pas. In fact, I can scarcely believe it was a faux pas since it’s always looked fab to me. It also looks fab with lighter shades of brown and white, and shades of dark blue.

You can wear chocolate brown with most other non-neutrals, depending on your affinity for colour-mixing, and your preferences. It looks amazing with other earth tones, sour brights, pastels, muddy colours and jewel tones. It’s not a neutral that requires much thought on how it will remix with the rest of your wardrobe, especially if you’ve built a complement or capsule with it.

Most of my clients like some shade of chocolate brown and will be happy to see it return to their wardrobes. For some, it’s their “black” and a favourite dark neutral. For some it’s brown in the form of patterns only, especially in leopard and snakeskin. For others it’s good in footwear, belts and bags.

It took a while, but I’m back to wearing chocolate brown. I’ve been building a complement with light blue and shades of white, and enjoying the fresh-for-me combination. I will also wear it with citron, chartreuse, tomato red, turquoise, shocking pink, toffee, cinnamon, blush, navy, ink blue and black. Not sure whether I will wear it with olive and burgundy, but maybe. The colour is VERSATILE.

Over to you. Do you like chocolate brown, and have you missed it? Will you wear it and in which wardrobe items?

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Update Your Bathroom on a Budget

Photo Source: Lionsgate Design

Bathrooms are one of the most costly rooms to renovate and for that reason, showing a home with an outdated bathroom may turn away buyers who overestimate what it will cost to update the space.

If you’re planning to put your home on the market, here are a few cost-effective updates you can make that will have a huge impact without a major expense.

If your vanity is still in good shape but just looks a little outdated, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Updating hardware to a more modern style is also important. I like to use hardware with crystal details as it always makes an impact.

Replace dated light fixtures. The new fixture does not need to be expensive but it should be stylish and have a contemporary feel to it.

If budget allows, consider updating the faucet to something more modern and eye catching.

A fresh coat of paint on the walls is a must. For resale purposes, a light, neutral color is your best choice.

Make sure to style appropriately. Use fresh, white linens, stunning artwork and an orchid to create a simple, modern, spa-like feel to the bathroom and remove all other knick knacks and personal items. – Tina Marie Singh,

The post Update Your Bathroom on a Budget appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


After the Storm: Detect and Repair Window Damage

Because your windows keep you safe from the outside elements, they are one of the most important features of your home. If your windows are shattered or broken during a storm, they need to be replaced or repaired immediately to restore your privacy, safety, and comfort. But not all window damage is easy to see, and if it goes undetected, it can cause bigger issues—like structural or foundational damage—down the road.

If you have recently experienced a bad storm, you may see your neighbors repairing or replacing their windows. An insurance adjuster may also be speaking to homeowners in the area.

It’s important for homeowners to be able to identify damage after an event. No matter what type of storm you have experienced, learn to spot signs of damage.

Stay Safe and Assess Window Damage

Before inspecting the exterior of your home for damage, make sure the storm has passed and it is safe to be outside. If you see downed power lines, electrical hazards, or flooding, keep away from the area and immediately call 911.

Even if the coast is clear, continue to be aware of potential hazards— especially on or near your roof. This is often the most dangerous place for post-storm damage as it can cause structural issues and is out of your line of vision. Check for fallen trees or heavy debris, loose or broken shingles, and ice dams if it’s a winter storm.

Window damage and house damage due to a fallen tree after a storm.

To Check for Signs of Hail Storm Damage

Hail damage is easy to detect since hail can leave dents in your siding, roof, and car the size of a golf ball. Hail can also easily break or damage windows.

You will hear hail hitting your roof and windows, and you will see pellets of ice gathering on the ground.

Hail damage usually causes the following damage to your home’s windows:

  • Shattered or broken glass
  • Broken, dented, or torn screens
  • Cracked glazing
  • Dented flashing above window or frame

To Check for Signs of Wind Damage

High wind speeds have the potential to knock over trees, damage roofs, and —in severe cases— even shatter unsecured windows. After a heavy windstorm, check on the exterior of your home for:

  • Shattered or broken panes
  • Cracks, holes, or dents in glass
  • Damaged or dented frames
  • Chipped or cracked paint, siding, or wood

Look for Signs of Water Damage

Shattered glass and dents from hail and wind damage can be quickly identified, but the effects of water damage can be easily missed by an untrained eye. Untreated water damage and leaks can lead to mold, which can affect your home’s foundation and structure.

Here are the most important places to check for signs of flooding, leakage, and general storm damage.

  • Windows: Look for moisture buildup (fog) between glass panes
  • Ceiling: Check for water spots, and yellow, copper, or brown discoloration
  • Walls: Inspect for signs of cracking, peeling, or bubbling in the paint or wallpaper.
  • Check your attic, basement, and crawl spaces for leaks, or a damp, musty smell, which can occur as soon as 24-48 hours after a storm.
  • Flooring: Examine for gaps or curling floorboards, sagging wood that feels soft to the touch, or expansion of wood and laminate floors, which occurs when the material becomes waterlogged.

A window is broken after a recent storm.

Contacting Your Insurance and a Finding a Windows Contractor

If you detect any of the damage above, it is important to contact your homeowners’ insurance and find a windows contractor to help stop future damage and repair your home.

1. Document the damage

Before you touch anything, take detailed notes and multiple photos of all damage to the area— both interior and exterior. This documentation will be important when you submit your insurance claim.

2. Safe-proof potential hazards

Cover or board up any windows with shattered or jagged glass that could be a danger.

3. Submit your claim

The next step is to report the damages to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Time is of the essence when submitting a claim. Insurance companies have a limit of filing claims within one year of the damage. It is best to contact your insurance company by phone, as well as email.

Document all your contact in a folder to help keep conversations, details, and dates organized. Submit your photo documentation and any receipts you’ve incurred along the way (for example, proof of your housing if the storm made your home temporarily uninhabitable).

4. Make an appointment with an insurance adjuster

The insurance company will arrange an appointment for an adjuster to come out to your home and assess the damage. It is very important that you get three to four contractor estimates before you meet with the adjuster so that you have a professional benchmark for the project cost. Make sure your appointment with the adjuster will give you enough time to get contractor estimates first.

5. Get in touch with a trusted window contractor

Now it’s time to contact a few trusted contractors. They will assess the repair or window replacement cost and offer complimentary project quotes that you’ll give to your claims adjuster at your appointment. Most contractors have experience with storm-damaged homes, so it’s wise to ask your contractor to be present to make sure you get a fair assessment.

Modernize now offers homeowners a free digital Contractor Checklist as a simple step-by-step guide to assist with your windows project. Access the interactive contractor checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal (Log in using the link provided in your email) or download it here.

6. Replace or Repair

Depending on the severity of the damage, your contractor will suggest either a window repair or window replacement. Any changes in the original estimate should be recorded in writing. The project is finished after it has passed a city inspection and you’re satisfied with the completed work to your home’s windows.

If you live in an area with high-impact storms, consider storm windows, which are installed overtop your current windows as an extra barrier against the elements.

Already know you have home storm damage? We can help. Receive up to four quotes from reliable window contractors in your area.

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Introducing: Modernize Appointments

It’s time to let homeowners come to you.

We’re thrilled to announce Modernize Appointments to our stack of products aimed help contractors succeed. You can now receive real-time appointment requests via email, and choose the times that work for your schedule. Interested to see how it works? Watch the video below!

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I’m Loving Brown and Light Blue for Fall

I start thinking about how I want to refresh my style for Autumn & Winter 2018 in July, just before the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Days before the NAS, I stumbled across Boden’s early Fall 2018 collection where I saw earth tones like brown and toffee combined with light blue, tomato red, and navy. I thought, YES. I love this, and decided right then and there that’s how I’m going to evolve my colour palette for the upcoming season. It set the mood and strategy for the NAS shop in July, and my shop with Inge in Arnhem in August when I visited my Dad.

I like cinnamon and cognac because they’re orange-y, and I adore Dutch orange. I used to have a little of it in my wardrobe, but the items were passed on. I like shades of toffee because they remind me of my late Mum who wore earth tones with the best of them. I have a stormy relationship with animal print that I love one season, and loathe the next. I seldom gravitate towards dark browns because my high school uniform was brown, and it’s taken me this long to recover from wearing it daily for six years. All this to say that I literally woke up one day — thirty years later — and was feeling shades of brown as the next neutral to add to my wardrobe.

I listened to my feelings and made the brown a reality. I bought three pairs of footwear in various shades of brown at the NAS. A pair of chocolate buckled boots, toffee perforated boots, and cognac flat oxfords. I also threw in a toffee cashmere scarf and a new brown belt to complement the lot. I had two old brown belts that work well with the new shoes too. Here are the exact items.

On my next Fall shop in the Netherlands I planned to add the light blue. I found two pretty woolly scarves from a Dutch store called Purdey that work beautifully with the new pairs of shoes. One is a light blue airbrushed floral, and the other an abstract earthy floral animal print with touches of light blue. I also got a light blue Furla from Greg as an extra, belated birthday present. The scarves work as well with the off-white Furla I got in Italy a couple of months ago. Here are the exact items.

I put in an online Boden order for light blue and brown outerwear. The light blue coat was a bust, but the Modern Retro chocolate brown leopard print Horsell jacket worked well. Here it is with a few of my older scarves and bag, when I feel like wearing brown with Winter whites.

Finally, here’s the brown and light blue complement in full with a good underpinning of shades of white. I will treat the brown leopard print topper like a false plain thereby pattern mixing it with the scarves. The collection shows new and old items from my wardrobe that create the fresh brown and light blue complement.

I’ll add a light blue or pastel turquoise coat and knitwear to the complement if it comes my way. Maybe extremely light blue jeans and toffee or cinnamon knitwear too. I’ll also remix the browns and blues with the tomato red, citron, chartreuse, optical white, navy, ink blue, black, and shocking pink in my wardrobe.

Brown, Blue and Sam

Sam approves of my new brown and light blue capsule. After all, he was sporting this colour combination long before I was.

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Adding Color and Drama in Your Bathroom

National Design Editor Glen Peloso shares some of his favorite ways to add color and drama to a bathroom or powder room.

Gorgeous Artwork

An easy way to add color to a bathroom is by hanging artwork. I suggest choosing pieces that are on canvas or ones without glass or glazing as moisture might stain the artwork or matting. (Photo Source: HomeSense)

Patterned Wallpaper

Using a non-woven backed wallpaper means that it will peal off the walls with little or no effort and your back to a clean palate to work with.

Beautiful Tiles

With tile, you can create a colorful effect on the floor, walls, and ceiling of the entire space. You no longer need to decide between wet areas and dry ones to include color because tiles can be used anywhere in the room. (Photo Source: x-Tile)

Colored Faucet

Add a splash of color in your bathroom with the addition of a stylish faucet in a bright hue. (Photo Source: Rubinet)


A collection of beautiful accessories such as a jewelry box and vases help add color and character to a bathroom. (Photo Source: HomeSense)

Glass Partition

Colored glass can be a fantastic way to add accent walls in the room. Thick glass naturally has a greenish-blue hue to it, however it comes in any color you like.

The post Adding Color and Drama in Your Bathroom appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


Bob Vila’s 35 Must-Do Projects for Fall

Once the dog days of summer give way to the cooler temperatures of fall, it’s time to get your house in shape for the change of seasons. Fall is the perfect time of year to work outside, with just enough of a nip in the air to make it pleasant, but not so much that you need a heavy coat. Before Old Man Winter comes calling, take advantage of these temperate days to tackle our to-do list of 35 projects.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


When Your Customer Refuses to Pay: 5 Tips for Damage Control

Maintaining financial stability in any business can be tricky, and many professionals in the home improvement industry struggle to stay afloat. Dealing with customers is equally difficult, since there is only so much you can do to force clients to pay on time – or at all. If you ever come across a customer who refuses to pay, however, there are several steps you can take to minimize damage to your business’ finances and reputation. Here are our top 5 damage control tips when your customer refuses to pay.

Unhappy employee or demotivated at working place

Be proactive

The best way to avoid payment refusal from clients is by asking them to sign a contract prior to beginning any home improvement project. In your contract, make sure to make crystal clear your payment policies and guidelines that specifically state what will happen should they fail to comply. Workplace insurance and contracts are essential for contractors, and are particularly useful in situations like these.

Another way to avoid late payments is by instituting a company-wide payment policy. Progress payments often work well for construction professionals: by asking for partial payment up front or payment through regular weekly or monthly installments, you can assure at least some amount of financial security for each project you complete. Clients will also appreciate this up-front approach and welcome the opportunity to spread out their payments – especially for long-term and larger scale projects.

Know your rights

If you do find yourself in a situation where clients refuse to pay regardless of any measures you have in place, there are ways to reduce the financial and emotional sting. By doing your research and knowing exactly what rights you – and your clients – have in these scenarios, you can be prepared for whatever happens.

If you and your client have agreed upon certain terms in a contract, they are legally bound to comply with these terms. Making sure your contract is clear and explicit in its terms will help you avoid payment issues and loopholes. In order to make sure your contract is watertight, you can enlist the help of other professionals in the industry or a legal advisor to give guidance and recommendations as to specific clauses and wording.

Occasionally, clients will refuse to pay some or all of their bills because they claim to be unhappy with the work you have completed. This can apply to timescales, materials used, and the quality of work. Depending on their issues and the state you live in, your clients may have a right to refuse payment – you can find out more about these kinds of situations by contacting a lawyer who specializes in construction law in your state.

Keep lines of communication open

While nonpayment can be a stressful occurrence for you as a business owner, it’s important to stay calm. Rather than bringing out the big guns immediately and contacting your lawyer, we recommend speaking with your clients first to find out exactly what is going on. Oftentimes clients will have perfectly valid reasons for late or missed payments for home improvement projects, and it’s just as important to maintain your reputation as an understanding and communicative businessperson as it is to get paid on time. If after speaking to your client you determine they will remain true to their word and contract, you can avoid legal fees and added stress for you and everyone else involved.

Give notice

If you have attempted to communicate with a client about late or missed payments and they have not responded, you can send them a notice of payment. By letting them know that they have a limited time to pay you or they could face potential legal action, you are giving clients a clear and firm reminder that they need to fulfill their end of the bargain – otherwise they will be breaching their contract.

Make sure your notice is clear: for example, after X amount of time passes, your action as a business owner will be Y. Remember to be firm with your deadlines. If your client still refuses to pay or makes no attempt to contact you, move on to your next step.

Contact your lawyer

After following the above steps (and provided your client is not refusing to pay because of anything you have or have not done), your client will hopefully contact you to resolve unsettled bills. If this does not happen, you should contact your legal team. Lawyers will be able to advise you as to what you should do in each individual circumstance, but generally you can:

  1. File a lein – a lein is an official filing of refusal to pay (more formal than a payment due notice), which can be done through your local records office.
  2. Sue – for breach of contract. This is a last resort, and one that should only be taken once all other avenues are exhausted and your client still refuses to pay or cuts communication ties altogether. In this case, your lawyer will ask you for proof that you have completed the work as promised and for any documentation associated with the project (so make sure to keep all these docs all the time, for future reference).

Although legal proceedings will certainly get things moving along in the right direction, it’s important to remember that they also carry significant risk for you and your business. Cases taken to small claims court or civil court will cost you financially and can take up significant portions of your time. Before you make the decision to sue, remember these points and ensure you have attempted every other option first.

The post When Your Customer Refuses to Pay: 5 Tips for Damage Control appeared first on Modernize.



Two-story Expansion in Just Two Days

If you’re not familiar with the idea of modular additions, this involves a process where the walls and roofing materials are pre-built off-site and then installed on-site in a very short period of time.

Modular Home Additions, a Toronto-based company that specializes in modular additions, was able to transform this home from a bungalow to a two-story while only being on-site for two days! The second story is completely framed, protected and ready for windows, shingles and interior and exterior finishes.

Follow The Process: DAY 1

First Photo: 9:00 am, Demolition of existing roof begins. Second Photo: 2:00 pm, Existing roof has been removed and protection for the lower floor has been installed.

Follow The Process: DAY 2

9:00 am, Pre-built walls are lifted into place and installed.

First Photo: 10:00 am, Roof trusses are installed. Second Photo: 2:00 pm, Second floor is completed, framed and ready for finishing.

There are a number of benefits to adding onto your home in this manner.

STAY AT HOME On the first day on-site, the existing roof is completely demolished and the Modular Home Additions team installs protection to keep the lower floor safe. This means you are able to stay in your home throughout the process, a benefit that can greatly reduce the stress and eliminate some of the living costs that come with traditional additions!

MINIMAL MESS Garbage created from the removal of the existing roof is cleaned up the same day and because the walls and roof are pre-built off-site at the Modular Home Additions factory, you don’t have the normal mess of construction or headache of finding space for construction materials. The pieces arrive and are installed all on the same day.

HAPPY NEIGHBORS There is nothing worse than waking up one morning to discover that your neighbors have embarked on a month long, noisy renovation process that is going to leave the neighborhood a mess and you sleep deprived. Not only does this process result in much less mess, but neighbors appreciate that the disruption to their everyday lives will be minimal as well! – Photos Provided by Modular Home Additions,

The post Two-story Expansion in Just Two Days appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

Home Trends Magazine


Midi Lengths and Muscular Calves

There have been comments on the blog and forum lately about not wanting to wear midi skirts and dresses when you have muscular calves because it’s unflattering to your eye, and makes you feel less than fab. There is something about the calf-length of a midi skirt or dress that draws attention to the calf area in a way that makes you uncomfortable with the visual effect.

First, your muscular calves are fabulous and why the heck shouldn’t you showcase them. Be proud of your muscular calves.

Second, I’m empathetic to what you’re seeing and feeling because some of my clients feel the same way. They like the idea of a midi length, but feel that the horizontal line of the hem cuts across the widest part of their calves, making them feel unattractive. My suggestion is to try a midi skirt or dress with an asymmetrical hemline and some movement. The collection below provides good examples.

The asymmetry of the hem creates diagonal lines that offset the width and curve of the calf. Diagonal lines are magical because they balance out proportions, either straightening curves OR enhancing them. That’s why these types of midi skirts and dresses work equally well for narrow, un-muscular calves like mine.

The asymmetrical hems on midis can have one, a few, or many diagonal lines depending on the silhouette. The length of the midi can vary too. If you wear a midi a little longer, but shorter than maxi length, the hem will float over the widest part of the calf which you might think is even more flattering.

Midi skirts and dresses with asymmetrical hemlines and movement prevent the cling that would draw attention to the widest part of calf. The drapey swoosh is just as magical as the diagonal lines.

And last, please don’t think you have to be tall. You can absolutely wear midi skirts and dresses when you’re petite. Simply adjust the length so that they are actually midi and not maxi length. Or wear the midi on the shorter end of the spectrum.

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Norway’s $1 trillion fund to beef up scrutiny of sustainability, ocean pollution

Norway’s $ 1 trillion sovereign wealth fund will demand that companies in which it invests follow stricter guidelines on global sustainability and strengthen efforts to combat plastic pollution of the oceans, it said on Wednesday.

Reuters: Environment


Designer Space: Light & Bright Home Renovation

A small, outdated home becomes a modern, open concept entertainer’s oasis.


HUSSAIN KHATHEER This home was stuck in the 1970s and had a very restricting and closed off layout. The homeowners were forward thinking professionals who do a lot of entertaining and wanted an open concept plan with the kitchen as the focal point. By removing the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room and dining room, we were able to create a modern open concept plan and doubled the size of the kitchen. We also included a stunning island, nearly 10 feet in length, in a light shade of blue which complemented the classic look of the white cabinets. The goal was to make the space feel bigger and brighter so we used white tones throughout the home and added large windows to allow for a lot of natural light which complemented the light colors.


HK A common mistake we find people make when they remodel a smaller space is that they select too many different types of materials which results in a busier and smaller feel. When you are selecting your finishes, look at all the materials as one cohesive color palette. Select individual pieces that look great on their own but when combined with the other materials, have an element of cohesiveness.


HK One area where we were able to save was on the flooring. We chose an amazing white-washed oak engineered floor that complemented the overall design feel and it saved us thousands of dollars. We splurged on the kitchen’s tile backsplash, selecting something that really popped in the space and pulled everything together. – Vancouver General Contractors,

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Home Trends Magazine


Fashion News Roundup: August 2018

Two brands branching out into menswear, the top lip colour, Old Navy extending its plus-size section, and other style news that caught our attention in August.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that Aretha Franklin, who passed away earlier this month, was a vocal advocate for size inclusivity in the fashion industry. “In an interview with Jet magazine in 1987, she reportedly asked Calvin Klein if he could ‘please make 14s,’ referring to the lack of clothing available over a size 12. She also called out Valentino: ‘Valentino has some of the most chic clothing that I have ever laid eyes on,’ she said at the time. ‘I become enraged every time I see the Valentino line,’ Franklin continued. ‘Please if you won’t do a 14 — and you’re making the girls who wear 14 very unhappy — please do a special order for me’.”



Budget-Friendly Kitchen Renovation Secrets

Update your kitchen without breaking the bank!


Adding a backsplash or updating your existing one can complete the look of your kitchen. I love the look of a glass tile. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and can be installed a few different ways to suit the homeowners’ style

Dramatic Color

If your kitchen cabinets are white or a light color, you can add personality and drama to the walls with a dark hue. I love high contrast when it comes to design and adding a dark color to the walls is an easy way to incorporate that into the space.

Before & After!

This outdated kitchen needed a fresh, new look and we accomplished that with paint and tiles. The cabinets were painted a bright white to lighten up the space and the island was painted black to create a stunning contrast. We also added a gloss black tile backsplash. The result is a fresh, modern kitchen with minimal expense!

If your kitchen cabinets are in great shape you can get the same modern update by having them spray painted by a professional or you could paint them yourself. If you decide to paint them yourself, start with an adhesive bonding primer, it promotes adhesion and gives the primer and paint something to stick to. Next, apply a coat of primer and finish with a cabinet paint.

Text by Jacklynn Little, Jacklynn Little Interiors

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Six Quality Finds for Early Autumn

You can wear some of these items right away, like the belt and the sneaks. If you’re heading into a cool spell like we are in Seattle, you might be able to wear the others too. Some of the items are discounted. They are fabulous quality all round. 

1. Madewell Medium Perfect Leather Belt

This belt doesn’t look like much because it’s very basic, but it’s a cut above the rest. I have two in black and brown, and they are extremely soft, lightweight and lie very flat against the midsection. You forget you’re wearing a belt. Classic and versatile. Substance without the bulk, and robust too. Sufficiently wide to wear with jeans, and the brass hardware is subtle. No wonder it’s a repeat style from Madewell.

2. SAS Free Time Sneaker

Don’t turn your nose up at these sneakers because they might remind you of orthopedic shoes — and what’s wrong with that, anyway? Remember that it’s all about how you STYLE an item that makes the difference. My ‘80s gene drew me to these because they remind me of a pair of white Reebok-esque sneakers I wore to Varsity in 1988/89. I LOVED those sneakers and bought another pair when they wore out. The SAS Free Time are extremely comfortable, well-made, supportive, all-leather, and fit beautifully because they come in six widths and a range of sizes. It’s like walking on air. They run long so size down half a size if you don’t have long toes. I bought them in a narrow size, which works well for my low-volume feet.

I got the white because they look the most pretty and crisp in that colour. They are perfect for plane travel and long walks. At first, I thought they were overly chunky for my narrow ankles, but the width fits so well, that they work. Greg likes them, and that’s all the validation I need. Here you can see me wearing them at the airport.

3. Boden Ellie Sweater

This Modern Retro pullover is stunning if you like a gently fluid fit and a playful neckline. Beautifully made, soft, and versatile. It could not fit me more perfectly. A little roomier on me than on the model, but still an impeccable fit. It’s versatile because you can pair it with most bottoms, AND it works on a range of body types. Quite forgiving on the midsection. The structured neckline makes it work on long and shorts necks, and multiple bust sizes. The neckline looks bulky but it’s not. It layers under jackets, coats and scarves surprisingly well. PRETTY.

4. Boden Horsell Jacket

A lovely FLUID fit with a very structured shoulder and V-neckline. It has a subtle shoulder pouf so consider yourself warned. Lots of room on the arms and torso. More roomy and trapeze-shaped on me than on the model, but works nonetheless. The sleeves are slightly bell-shaped to accommodate trendy exuberant sleeved tops. I’m going to adjust the position of the buttons for an even better fit. Excellent with all sorts of layers underneath. The jacket has the most beautiful tortoise shell buttons too. The red is a blue-red, and the blue a true navy. The animal print is hairy but VERY smooth and soft. Not furry or scratchy. Impeccable quality.

5. Boden Muriel Sweater

Fit is perfectly fluid, JUST like how you see it on the model in the striped version. Very good structure on the neckline, shoulders, upper arms, cuffs and welt – which makes all the difference. I do not think it runs big if you want it to fit fluidly like the model. You need long arms to wear the style because the blouson silhouette can overwhelm. Soft and not too thick, and with a neat and tidy neckline. Works on a range of bust sizes. The red is a shade of watermelon, and not tomato. The stripe is very bold. Not good on petites unless you have regular proportions up top. Read the rave reviews.

6. Boden Tie-Neck Shirt

A versatile blouse that looks as casual as it does dressy. Best on a straighter figure unless you tuck or semi-tuck for structure. I prefer the look on a small or regular sized bust. Layers well under a jacket and looks extra fresh in mustard. Read the rave reviews.

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10 Secrets for a Stress-Free Trip to IKEA

Those blue-and-yellow IKEA signs have become synonymous with Swedish chic, good deals—and a dose of frustration. Whether it’s the crowds, DIY furniture, or enormous inventory, IKEA shoppers can feel overwhelmed. Navigate the aisles without breaking a sweat by following our insider’s guide.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Small Changes That Make a Big Impact

Whether you’re updating for yourself or to sell, these budget-friendly changes can make a huge difference!

Update The Focal Point


Sometimes, simply updating the focal point in the room can make a huge difference. Replacing or removing an outdated fireplace can be an expensive project. Painting out the brick and dark wood mantel and adding a gas fireplace insert took this room from dated to modern and the fireplace is now a selling feature! – Amanda Shields,

Rethink the Space


Originally, this small dining area had an awkward closet door. Replacing this with a sliding door leaves the space unobstructed and makes the new pantry area easier to access. A creative wall feature adds a decorative touch that doesn’t get in the way of opening the sliding door! – Mary Gordon,

Ensure a Smooth Transition


The flooring in this home had been updated to a dark gray color but the traditional staircase did not match. It is important to create a seamless transition from floor to floor so this staircase needed a makeover!

We painted the staircase in a modern black and white color scheme and incorporated black, white and gray tones into the runner to create a brighter, more modern look that also made the staircase appear wider! – Laurie Usypchuk,

Well Planned Color

Small touches of well planned color integration can make a big impact on a space. In this living room, we added pops of yellow and gold in the lighting, decorative accents, florals and throw pillows. This soft, warm color pulls from the tones of the lit fireplace, spreading a feeling of welcoming warmth throughout the otherwise neutral space. – Liliana McInerney, (Photo by Luiza Matysiak)

Out With the Old


The wrong color can date a space and make it seem smaller than it is. Sometimes, all a space needs is an updated color palette. This bathroom received new flooring, a neutral paint color to replace the outdated wallpaper, and a fresh coat of paint on the existing vanity to create a modern, updated bathroom without a major renovation! – Heather Cook,

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Home Trends Magazine


Outfit Formula: Skirted Summer Swoosh

This outfit formula is about the elegant and fun sweep of an A-line midi skirt on a hot Summer’s day. Breezy, girly, covered, and looking great with flats. Most of the midis below have asymmetrical hemlines, because the diagonal lines provide interest and temper the skirt’s volume by adding subtle structure. 

1. Tied & Heeled

Combine a soft pleated midi with a shirt. Tie the shirt at the waist, or wear a tie-top. The shorter top increases the length of the leg from the hips upward because you’re showcasing the waist. Add heeled sandals in a colour that matches the outfit.

Violeta Combined Pleated Skirt

2. Avant-Garde & Slides

Create an arty and architectural look with an asymmetrical midi skirt and untucked top that is moderately fluid, but hints at a waist. Keep the contrast between the top and bottom low if you want to offset the horizontally cutting line of the longer untucked top. Add flat slides or mules that work with the palette of the outfit.

COS Asymmetric T-Shirt

3. High-Low & Flat Sandals

Combine a high-low A-line midi with a button-through blouse, and tie it at the waist for structure. This is a great way to lengthen the leg line without overly shortening the torso when you’re short-waisted. AND you don’t need to tuck or semi-tuck the top. Add flats sandals and a straw bag.

Lead in Lengths Midi Skirt in Black

4. Polished & Pretty

Combine a swooshy A-line skirt with a tucked tee, blouse, or lightweight pullover. Layer a fitted denim jacket over for arctic a/c. Finish off the look with pointy-toe flats. The white shoes are low-contrast against the model’s skin tone, which lengthen her lower legs. I like this version best because I enjoy tucking tops into bottoms for a polished and professional effect. I have a regular length waist, so I don’t feel short-waisted when tucking tops. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

Parker Sharri Skirt



The Evolution of Sales in the Home Improvement Industry

To quote a great philosopher, Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. So, take a look through our infographic below and reflect on the history of home improvement companies’ growth attempts. We hope this helps you to avoid making any past mistakes and move into the golden age of digital marketing for contractors because in the words of Bob Dylan, “Times they are a changin’”.

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Staging Your Home’s Exterior

This exterior stage was all about the porch. Who doesn’t love a front porch? The ‘before’ porch left a lot to be desired, so part of getting this home ready for sale was rebuilding the porch, getting rid of the old rickety wooden steps (the brick steps were just the right touch) and painting it pretty!

The siding color on this house was quite wishy washy. Was it light grey? Was it white, but just dirty? Maybe it’s light blue? It was so hard to tell that the color chosen for front door, porch post accent and window boxes had to work really hard to generate the curb appeal this house needed and bring out the best in the existing siding. The siding really inspired the whole color story here.

Fortunately, the gardens were well kept and mature, so we didn’t have to do any landscaping this time around, unless you count the double hung ferns…love! Punchy new house numbers, porch light, mailbox and a teak café table and chairs (that just say “hang out here for a while”) were the finishing touches.

Exterior Staging Tips

– Always splurge on a punchy new color for the front door.

– Out-do the neighbors without out-doing the neighborhood – you can go too far and turn potential buyers off. There’s a fine line between showing well from the curb and alienating buyers shopping in your particular neighborhood.

– Aside from the door color, always bring attention to the entry. Use pots or planters to flank each side. Place a textural mat at the door. It’s important to lead a potential buyer’s eye right through that front door!

– It would seem to go without saying, but whip the landscaping into shape! Make sure the grass is healthy, shrubs and trees are trimmed and pruned and the garden beds are weeded…oh, and top up the mulch!

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Home Trends Magazine


18 Ways You’re Accidentally Wasting Energy

You turn off lights when you leave a room, combine errands to stretch a tank of gas, and run only full loads in your dishwasher. Yet even if you’re following the basics of home energy conservation, whether to save the earth or just save some cash, there’s still more you could be doing. In fact, chances are you still have a few bad energy habits that are leading to higher utility costs. Here are just a few ways you may be unintentionally wasting energy—and a few recommendations for changing your habits and lowering your bills.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Stylish Favourites

Just for fun, today we are sharing our stylish favourites. This is all very personal and subjective, so there are no right or wrong answers. Categories range from clothing and footwear, to cities, to TV shows.  

I’ll go first. Here are my stylish favourites:

  • Neutrals: white, dark blue, denim blue.
  • Non-Neutrals: tomato red, lime green, citron, turquoise, shocking pink.
  • Patterns: stripes, polka dots, checks.
  • Clothing Items: coats, dresses, white jeans.
  • Accessories: handbags, eyewear, belts.
  • Metal: yellow gold.
  • Jewel: white pearl.
  • City: Hong Kong.
  • Footwear Silhouettes: booties, loafers.
  • Non-Designer Quality Labels: Boden, Karen Millen, Club Monaco, Reiss. L.K. Bennett, COS.
  • Scent: Flower by Kenzo.
  • TV Show: Mad Men. A visual feast of fashion and decor from 1959 through to 1970.
  • Female Celebrities: Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Cate Blanchett, Gwen Stefani, Ellen Degeneres, Beyonce Knowles, Helen Mirren, Queen Latifah, and Jessica Alba.
  • Designers: Chanel, Prada, Dries van Noten, Celine, Bally, Gucci, Ralph Lauren.

Over to you.



Designer Space: In With The Old

When Principal Designer, Negar Reihani, was approached to redesign this Vancouver home, her eye immediately went to its good features. The 4,200 square foot property includes six beds and four and a half baths, and though it was built in the 1950s, it looks anything but dated. “My goal was to create a modern, rustic home; something that was cozy and comfy to suit a busy family lifestyle,” says Negar. “I wanted the house to look fresh, but not overly elegant and fussy so that it would still feel homey.”

With the preservation of energy and natural resources in mind, Negar was inspired to create a design that paid homage to the history of the house; a plan that would allow many of the home’s original features to remain intact. The designer joined forces with the builder and the architect, Kayvan Memary. They were unified in their plan to deliver functionality without overhauling the space completely.

“We managed to keep the layout pretty much the same, and just changed the functionality of the rooms,” says Negar. For example, the smaller family room was converted into a formal living room and the smaller dining area was transformed into a home office. “We also saved two full-height fireplaces in their exact shape, which helped to reduce a huge amount of waste and energy rebuilding them.”

One area the team did choose to modify, was the kitchen. “We wanted to create a kitchen that was practical, low maintenance, yet beautiful,” says Negar, citing the beachy oak flooring, glazed mosaic backsplash, and the light fixtures as rustically-inspired details that make the space look and feel unfussy and at ease. In an effort to better accommodate a contemporary lifestyle, the L-shaped kitchen was expanded and opened up to what is now the family and dining rooms. To foster natural light, large windows, leading to the patio, were added. Similar forethought was given to the clean lines of the ceiling. “We aimed for a ceiling-mounted hood instead of chimney hood. This adds a very nice twist to the kitchen as you don’t see the hood and its visual weight in the space.”

In the bathroom, Negar cites the patterned floor tiles, oak cabinetry, dark countertops, and brushed brass fixtures as being a modern take on what used to be there originally. “We literally took what used to be there and refitted it with today’s finishes,” says the designer.

When asked if she has any advice to share with homeowners anticipating a large or small scale home renovation, Negar imparts her wisdom, born from over twenty years of industry experience. “Every kitchen and bathroom design is unique due to its needs, shape, and size. No matter the budget, I always recommend investing in one interesting element in the space, be it the backsplash, light fixture, or natural stone countertop.”


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8 Tips for Remodeling a Tiny Bathroom

Stuck with a small bathroom? Simple remodeling strategies, including a fresh color, flooring, and custom countertops, can help you enlarge the space without knocking down any walls.

This post has been brought to you by Sears Home Services. Its facts and opinions are consistent with those of
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Outfit Formula: Maximal Striped Top

Simple striped tops and tees are a fabulous modern classic, and for some a wardrobe essential. This post though, was inspired by my own NOT so simple striped shirt that I’ve loved wearing with white jeans and a citron support act this Summer. Here are the exact components of the outfit, creating a pattern-mixed effect with new lemon mules. 

If neutrals and blue denim are more your thing, check out the renditions below for inspiration. Shop your closet and come up with a new way to wear your snazzy stripes.

1. Stripes, Patches & Slides

Combine a striped exuberant sleeve top with patched jeans and slides or mules. Distressed or black jeans will work as well. Love this look with flats, and how the black footwear bookends the model’s hair, and picks up the black in the stripe.

Eloquii Tiered Ruffle Sleeve Top

2. Billowing Stripes & Flounce

The most maximal and romantic look of the four. Combine a billowing striped blouse with flared crops or full-length bootcuts and bell-bottoms. Semi-tuck the top for structure, or leave it untucked. Finish off the look with shiny shoes. The Tomboy vibe of the silver oxford creates an interesting juxtaposition with the dandy volume of the rest of the outfit.

Rachel Roy Off the Shoulder Top

3. Belted Stripes & Pattern Mix

This one is for Team Mega Structure. Create waist definition by belting a striped untucked shirt. Combine that with a pair of straight or skinny jeans. Complete the look with snakeskin or leopard footwear. Pattern mixing packs a punch, and stripes work with most patterns.

Eloquii Dramatic Puff Sleeve Top

4. Diagonal & Tuxedo Stripes

Double up the stripe by wearing a striped top with tuxedo stripe jeans. Finish off the look with heels or flats. I like the visual drama of the striped tunic, and that it matches the stripe on the jeans. Tops with diagonal stripes create magically flattering and interesting lines on the body. Don’t shy away from diagonal stripes!

Eloquii Striped Top with Asymmetrical Hem

Feel free to combine maximal striped tops with pants, or even a fitted straight midi skirt. Finish off the looks with jewellery, eyewear, watch and headgear as desired.

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Case Study: Empowering Scalable Growth and Market Share with Sears Home Services

In 2012, Sears Home Services partnered with Modernize to grow their HVAC, windows, and roofing revenue profitably by increasing their digital footprint. In a recent interview, Sears Home Services’ Senior Marketing Manager, Janice Barbosa, and Senior Director of Marketing, Collette Ivanov, discussed the impetus to partner with Modernize. “If you think of Sears in the digital space, we’ve established our position in search and email and a variety of places where we are capturing homeowners that are looking for and select Sears. There’s also the opportunity to work with partners like Modernize who also are attracting homeowners – homeowners who may not know who they want to work with. We want to make sure we have the opportunity to talk to those homeowners as well,” Barbosa explains.

Read the full case study by filling out the form below!

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14 Mansions You Can Rent Right Now

Mansions usually carry sky-high price tags that keep them out of reach for most of us. But believe it or not, a small selection of these elegant edifices can be yours for a night. As most accommodate several guests, you can even split the cost with friends or family and revel together in the lap of luxury for a while, at least. Click through for a peek at some outsize but not entirely out-of-reach properties available for rent around the country.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Designer Space: Letting in the Light

Designer Sarah-Marie Lackey creates a home designed to maximize natural light.

After having built multiple homes in the past, the homeowners, a couple in their sixties, were looking for a home they could retire in.  They wanted a light and bright color scheme with plenty of room to entertain their large family. “The goal of the project was to bring in as much light as possible,” says Designer Sarah-Marie Lackey.

It was also important to have everything on the main floor for ease of access that would allow them to age in place. The home features three bedrooms on the main floor and a two bedroom suite in the basement for guests.

“The kitchen is my favorite room in the home,” says Sarah-Marie, “I love how clean and integrated everything is!” The homeowners entertain regularly and needed an open space with plenty of room for family and friends to gather. The kitchen features cabinetry in a mix of bluish gray tones and wood finishes for a very soothing color scheme. A side-by-side panel ready refrigerator and freezer blend seamlessly into the cabinetry and integrated wine storage keeps favorites on hand for easy access when entertaining.

The kitchen island offers additional seating for guests or a nice place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. Above the island is a large skylight, one of many in this home. The homeowners value privacy but also wanted plenty of light. While windows are a great way to let in light, they would have needed to be covered for privacy so instead of adding additional windows, skylights were introduced throughout the home to bring in natural light.

A formal dining space with a large table sits next to the kitchen and continues the color scheme of soft neutrals and wood tones. Another skylight over the dining table adds natural light to the space. The dining room had a hallway off to one side that was open, leaving a view of the bedroom doors from the dining table. “The homeowners wanted to keep the hallway light and bright,” says Sarah-Marie, “but being open to the hallway took away from the formal feel of the dining room.” To solve this issue, full length screens were custom fitted to create separation between the dining space and hallway while still allowing light to flow between. The screens create the perfect solution and become a decorative feature in the space at the same time.

One of the focal points of this open concept space is a stunning three sided fireplace with a stone surround that can be seen from the entrance, kitchen, dining and living room. “It really helps to ground the space,” Sarah-Marie shares. The fireplace provides a visual connection from room to room and brings a welcoming warmth to all four spaces when in use.

Another place where the homeowners wanted an open concept feel was the master bedroom and ensuite. To create the right balance between open concept and privacy, the toilet is set into a small, separate room off to the side while the rest of the ensuite is open to the master bedroom. The spaces are defined by a partial wall that acts as the backdrop for a beautiful, freestanding tub. The ensuite features tile flooring, and the custom built-in vanity in the same wood tone as the bedroom flooring, carries the color through and creates a seamless feel.

The homeowners have a very close family and they love to have their children over for sleepovers so one of the bedrooms was specifically designed with their small granddaughters in mind. “This final detail was the perfect finishing touch in creating a home their whole family can enjoy,” says Sarah-Marie.


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14 Tips for Prepping for Houseguests from 5-Star Airbnb Hosts

The short-term vacation rental business has exploded on the internet in the last decade. It’s been a boon for travelers as well as for those who are interested in earning a little extra money from their spare space. But how do you stand out on a platform like Airbnb, where guests have SO many great options? Check out our best tips for becoming a 5-star host with satisfied customers who will book again and again.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


How to Lower Your Water Footprint in Your Garden

Gardening is a time-honored tradition, but luckily, we live in an era where water flows freely from the tap (can you imagine hauling all the water you needed for your garden by hand?). Modern environmental concerns mean today’s gardeners need to consider their water footprint in the backyard.

garden sprayer

Water-wise gardening isn’t about simply reducing the amount of water you use—it’s a whole garden-initiative. The quality of the soil, the type of plants you choose, and even how you plant them can all have an effect on your garden’s water footprint. That means you need to strategize on all fronts—the layout, the soil structure, the way you water, and where you get your water from. To get you started, here are some tips you can use to reduce your use and get a beautiful, healthy, thriving garden with less watering.

Drought-resistance from the ground up

A truly water-efficient garden works like a well-oiled machine—all the parts work towards the goal of reducing your water footprint, including the soil you use. Not all soil types retain water equally, however. For instance, if the topsoil in your area is naturally sandy or has high clay content, you’ll get better moisture levels in your garden if you work in plenty of organic compost before you plant. In fact, if the soil in your area is naturally very poor, plan on adding up to six inches of compost every spring.

Another soil addition that may help with water retention is biochar—a mixture of organic material burned to create organic charcoal, which can be worked back into the soil to absorb water. Agricultural use of charcoal dates all the way back to prehistoric times, when Amazonian tribes added it to their fields as a matter of practice. However, it’s been proven to boost soil moisture and quality by modern scientists as well. The reason it works is that organic charcoal forms carbon bonds with soil nutrients, so less are washed away when you’re watering, and it contains small pockets that more readily absorb water.

You can make your own, but generally it’s best to let the professionals handle the job, especially if you’re in an area that’s facing drought conditions or burn bans. You can buy ready-made biochar online or at any gardening supply store.

Keep in mind that biochar is still being studied by modern permaculturists, and adding it improperly can seriously alter your soil composition. Therefore, it’s best to familiarize yourself both with the pH and type of soil in your area before you begin, and always follow the instructions on the package (this primer from The Washington State University Extension is also helpful). Additionally, follow the old adage of “less is more,” and use less charcoal than you think you need.

Plant native species wherever possible

Most people tend to plant just about whatever they want to in their gardens, which leads to quite a few problems. First off, it makes it harder to garden in general, since non native plants require more care and attention in order to thrive. If you live in an arid or semi-arid climate, it can mean draining the water table of gallon upon gallon of water to keep those exotic species alive.

Getting started with native plants requires you to overcome a small learning curve—you’ll need to familiarize yourself with your area’s climate and what grows best there. And it can mean adapting the aesthetics in your yard, too. If you get really into native landscaping, you may find yourself trading in grass lawns for carefully-selected beds of local cultivars. If you’re wondering where to begin, your area horticultural society or university extension is a good place to start. They often have the best regional-specific information about what plants are best for your locale. However, the EPA’s WaterSense site also contains a list of resources organized by state to help you learn about the kind of plants that will thrive in your area with minimal watering.


Forget what you know—don’t plant in rows

Especially in vegetable gardens, our notion of the ideal garden setup is often a long, luxurious row of fresh edibles. As it turns out, however, this isn’t exactly the most efficient way to do vegetables, from a watering-standpoint.

A block or close-row system is a much less wasteful design. This is where plants are clustered in small, often raised, boxes of like vegetables, instead of strung out in long rows. Beds are three to four feet wide and of variable length, and plants are grouped in blocks that span the width of the entire bed. This has the effect of shading the soil, locking in moisture that might otherwise escape in wide-spaced rows. Tight-knit plants also help root out weeds, so you’ll get to focus more on the fun parts of gardening.

Mulch exposed soil with organic material

Speaking of exposed soil, there are definitely times in a garden where it’s inevitable. That’s where mulching comes in handy—a layer of organic material spread over the surface helps keep moisture where it should be, under the soil, instead of losing it all to evaporation.

It’s important to be particular about the kind of mulch you lay down, however, since some types, like those made from shredded cypress trees, can actually deplete threatened wilderness areas of important plant life. Pine needles, grass clippings, and even fallen leaves all make great organic alternatives—and they’re free, too! If you don’t have enough of any one of those to go around, try to look for bark mulch, which doesn’t require a tree to be cut down to make it. Spread mulch in a layer measuring between 2 to 6 inches (you can error on the thicker side if you’re mulching around tree roots or underneath shrubs).

Harvest water to use in your garden

One way to make sure you’re not drawing any water off the water table is to take it all from a free, natural source: the precipitation that falls around you. Collecting this rainwater in a set of barrels or tank will allow you to store it for later use and avoid depleting our supply of drinking water.

Most tanks and barrels have a hose hookup, so you can attach your hose directly to the barrel in order to water. Place barrels in a line below a gutter downspout—the gutter acts as a funnel to pipe the water directly into your collection tank. If you have multiple barrels, make sure to swap them out often, particularly during the rainier spring and fall seasons, so you can maximize the amount of water you collect.

Water like you mean it

If you’re trying to be more water conscious in your garden, it may seem wasteful to treat your plants a long, luxurious soak, but it’s actually more efficient in the long run to give plants a good, deep watering than a short, quick blast with the hose. Soil that hasn’t been watered deeply—where the water doesn’t penetrate much beyond the first inch or two of topsoil—will dry up quickly, requiring you to pull out the hose on the regular.

Always water in the evening or early morning, when the sunlight is less direct and won’t readily dry all the moisture. Not only will this give your plants a chance to soak up the water before it evaporates, it will also ensure that water droplets on the foliage don’t scald leaf surfaces. Use a hose nozzle with flow control settings so you can give your plants a gentle soak rather than blasting them with a full-pressure stream. Ideally, you should keep spraying until you reach a water depth of about 8 inches (you can check this by digging a small hole with a trowel to that depth about an hour after watering).

vegetable garden

Go high-tech with your watering

A last idea to get your watering efficient is to let a computer handle it. Automated watering systems, such as WiFi-connected sprinkler controllers, can sync with weather forecasts and test moisture conditions in the area to make sure you’re getting the most out of your watering. When your plants need watering, the system does it for you without you having to turn on the tap. Even if you’re not ready for a high-tech sprinkler system, water sensors placed near plants show great promise, and can connect to an app on your phone to send you an alert when it’s time to water—before plants start to droop and wilt. Sensored devices may actually be more accurate at detecting water conditions than we humans are, and home automation is a developing field, so these items are definitely something to look for in the future if you’re hoping to save water.

In the meantime, an all-natural water-wise approach can make your garden more efficient, and cut back on your water bill, to boot!

The post How to Lower Your Water Footprint in Your Garden appeared first on Modernize.



Trend Watch: Sleek Home Elevators

Jump on board the new trend and install a sleek home elevator!

There’s a new home-trend in town, and with style, ease of living, and home future-proofing as just some of the benefits, it’s not hard to see why so many are installing residential elevators in their home.

The Duo Alta is newest addition to the Stiltz Canada range offering flexibility, cutting-edge technology, good looks and an affordable price – in fact everything you could wish for in a home lift.

Home owners are opting to fit an elevator in their home for lots of reasons: to upgrade the home, to add appeal, and to make family life that bit easier.

Clever Design

The state-of-the-art design of the new Stiltz Duo Alta means it can be situated in most convenient locations in any age or build of home, be that living room to bedroom, stairwell void, closet to closet, or, to let it take centre-stage in the home, hall to landing. With its sleek and slender design there‘s no need to keep the Duo Alta out of sight!

The sophisticated capsule-shaped module is discreet and attractive and will fit with any style of home décor, be that ultra-contemporary minimalist, traditional family home, or artsy and sophisticated. There is even a wheelchair-friendly version of the lift.

Cutting-Edge Technology

Neat, and compact the Stiltz Duo Alta harnesses unique technology using a discreet wire rope hoist and built-in drive equipment which is all neatly concealed within the lift car roof space. That means there’s no noisy motor or unsightly cables to worry about. They are also very safe according to the Stiltz website.

The Duo Alta uses a standard power outlet in your home. Should there be a power outage while you‘re using the lift, a battery back-up will gently return you to the lower floor until power is restored. To get from floor to floor the lift is operated using the intuitive in-car control panel or through standard remote controls from outside the lift.

Easy Installation

From a technical standpoint, through-floor home lifts like the Duo Alta are particularly impressive, as they require very little building work, only needing a simple opening made in the ceiling for the elevator to pass through. What’s more it self-supports, without the need for a supporting wall or noisy machine room, which means it fits seamlessly within the home from the point of installation.

Installation can take as little as one day and a home lift can travel between floors in under 30 seconds. Most are ultra-energy efficient, plugging straight into the wall, using no more electricity than a standard household appliance.


Perhaps what’s best about installing a home elevator is that no matter what the reasons for doing so, home owners can relax in the knowledge that they have both added value to their home as well as future proofing their living space, should they one day have issues with movement limitation.

The post Trend Watch: Sleek Home Elevators appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Case Study: Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing with Homefix Custom Remodeling

Modernize has supplied Homefix Custom Remodeling with a steady stream of window leads and roofing leads to feed their revenue goals since 2012. Since then, we’ve been able to increase their lead volume by 78% year-over-year resulting in an outstanding 131% revenue growth.

Recently, we sat down with Keith Sinnot, Chief Marketing Officer, and Ryan Howie, Senior Vice President of Operations, from Homefix Custom Remodeling (HCR). Keith proudly claimed, “our relationship with Modernize is ever-growing. We have experienced growth that’s nearly hard to understand or keep up with over the past five years”.

Download the case study to learn about our result-focused partnership with Homefix Custom Remodeling here!


homefix custom remodeling data graphic

The post Case Study: Bridging the Gap Between Sales and Marketing with Homefix Custom Remodeling appeared first on Modernize.



Ultimate Bathroom Design Challenge: Vote for a Chance to Win!

The Challenge: We asked two designers to create a dream bathroom featuring stunning tile selections from Fifth and Fir and trendy lighting selections from Union Lighting & Furnishings. Vote for your favorite today for a chance to win a $ 500 gift certificate from Union Lighting & Furnishings!

Kim’s Sophisticated Bathroom Design Board

My ideal bathroom is an oasis of serene sophistication anchored by a showpiece double vanity in glossy black. The quiet gray walls, a bold aloe triptych and timeless jute baskets lend a calming natural touch to the urban cool of the black and white palette. The lattice theme of the natural stone flooring by Fifth and Fir is echoed by a cubist-inspired aged iron chandelier centered over the luxurious lines of the deep white soaker tub. – Click here for more information and sources.

Karla’s Dramatic Bathroom Design Board

This bathroom is fresh and textural with hints of playfulness. You can recreate this look by choosing a graphic, bold tile and highlighting it in one area (like the floor or wall) then choosing softer textural elements such as wood and light colored stone. Remember that lighting really is the jewelry of the space and a hint of black sprinkled in always grounds the room. – Click here for more information and sources.


Use the widget below to vote for your favorite design board and then earn extra entries using the listed options! One lucky contestant will win a $ 500 gift certificate to use in store at Union Lighting & Furnishings!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Outfit Formula: Fit & Flare Dress and Flat Mules

This outfit formula showcases strategy #8 for lengthening the leg line with flats, which is to wear dresses with waist definition. This styling strategy is especially effective with knee-length and midi dresses, where the hemlines are longer and the tendency to feel short-legged is greater. 

The narrowing of the silhouette at the natural waist visually raises the length of the leg line from the hips upward making your legs go on for miles in flats. The definition at the waist creates outfit structure, adding a streamlined effect.

Fit-and-flare dresses are frocks with fitted torsos that flare out on the lower half of the body. The volume of the flare varies from gentle to extreme. Here are four fit-and-flare dresses worn with a very specific style of flat called a mule (a slip-on shoe with a closed front and open back).

1. Low-Contrast Mules

Here’s a Modern Classic and Retro fit-and-flare frock in a bright, high-contrasting colour. Its midi length is elegant. You might think it’s begging for heels, but I think it’s begging for dressy flats, and was thrilled to see it styled that way. A flat mule is dressier than a flat sandal which suits the vibe of the dress, AND is the more fashionable and trendy choice. Here it’s been styled with flat white mules which are low contrast to the model’s skin tone thereby making her lower leg look longer. I LOVE how the classic dress has been made to look very 2018 with this choice of footwear. The white mules can be complemented with a white bag, jewellery, or eyewear.

1901 Midi Shirtdress

2. High-Contrast Mules

The lovely gothic and boho midi fit-and-flare has a harder edge to it because of all the black. Here it has been combined with black mules, which are high contrast to the model’s skin tone. Waist definition draws the eye upward from the hips thereby lengthening the leg line, which offsets the high-contrast effect of the flat mules.

Generally high-contrast mules shorten the leg line, but in this case it works because there is a lot of black in the dress. The black is further complemented by the bag. 

Anthropologie Tempest Laced Dress

3. Column of Colour

This is an example where the dress and mules are a similar colour and BOTH are low contrast to the model’s skin tone. The tonal effect creates an elongating column of colour where the leg line is lengthened by default.

LOQ Carmen Suede Mules

4. Raised Hemline and High-Contrast Mules

Raising the hemline of the dress — even just a couple of inches — increases the length of the lower leg. The definition at the waist of the dress increases the length of the legs from the thighs upward. Both lengthening strategies temper the shortening effect of the high-contrast snakeskin mules. The dark bits in the pattern of the mules have the added advantage of bookending the hair of the model, which pulls the look together.

Banana Republic Wrap Effect Wool-Blend Midi Dress

Fit-and-flare dresses are my favourite and I love wearing them at a midi length. The waist definition panders to my need for structure, while the voluminous bottom panders to my need for fun swoosh, elegance and practical movement. I’ve so enjoyed wearing them with flat white and patterned lemon mules this Summer. Here are my Summer fit-and-flares and the two pairs of mules I’ve paired with them. I finished off the outfits with white pearls, eyewear and either a matched or mismatched bag.

You might need a moment to adjust to the combination, so my suggestion is to just walk out the door and wear it. You’ll probably come back home a convert, because it’s easy, comfortable and fresh.

Anyone else enjoying fit-and-flare frocks worn with flat mules?

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How a Reliable Lead Source Can Reduce Your Cost Per Action

Cost per action marketing may be a smart way to capture leads from online ads, but it’s a much stronger strategy when you have robust lead verification and closing processes working in your favor. Unfortunately, building internal teams to oversee these kinds of tasks may be burdensome, time-intensive, and expensive. However, a reliable lead source can defray some of these costs. Here’s how a regular lead generation source may be pivotal to your company’s CPA strategy.


Lead Generation Sources Offer Verified Leads

Sure, with CPA marketing, you’ll experience a lot less lead fraud than you would with pay-per-click advertisements. But the leads you do get still won’t be verified by human agents. It’s difficult to know why a lead decides to fill out a form—or how close they are to purchasing—until you actually speak to this potential customer directly and learn the details of their situation.

Online advertising may offer lower overhead than other marketing channels, at least on the surface. However, there are some hidden costs behind those initial fees that typically are not calculated into their expense. Leads acquired from CPA campaigns must be contacted, verified and scored for their likelihood to convert. And in the home remodeling or construction business, where customers are making high-dollar investments, they must often be wooed with several touches from your marketing team. All of this factors into your eventual cost of acquisition.

If you are willing to invest the time and money to score and nurture leads internally, CPA campaigns may be an ideal source of potential leads. However, this method is not cost-effective for every business. From the context of your economies of scale, it doesn’t make sense to train teams of marketers to nurture leads when you could essentially outsource this work to trained professionals.

CPA Lead Generation Is Only As Strong as Your Landing Page

One of the major obstacles to a successful CPA marketing campaign is that it relies on the strength of your landing page and form. Lead generation form building is essentially an art form—it takes a great deal of attention to detail and testing, along with a dash of intuitive UI design, to get it right.

Forms can be lengthy, especially if you offer several different services, such as a kitchen and bath remodeler might. The simpler a lead gen form is, the more successful it is likely to be with visitors, particularly for mobile users. Mobile input is also subject to errors and typos, which makes the process much more cumbersome for a key segment of users. Considering that mobile now holds over 50% of the market share for internet users (vs. about 44% for desktop), losing out on that market could be devastating.

Here again, a steady supply of reliable leads can bolster conversion rates when CPA forms fail. Obviously, if you are engaged in CPA campaigns, you should work towards refining landing pages and forms to capture more leads on a diverse range of browser platforms. However, lead generation professionals, who have years of experience refining landing pages for increased conversion, can help fill in the gaps here.


Time Is Money When It Comes to Lead Conversion

We probably don’t have to tell you that leads have a short shelf life. The average lead is much more likely to convert if they receive an instant response. In fact, connecting with a lead within an hour after initial contact makes that lead seven times more likely to convert.

Lead conversion also takes finesse. Leads may need to be contacted several times throughout the sales process in order to close a sale. Ideally, your team should have access to a thorough CRM database and automation tools that can set up alerts every time a lead takes a potential action, such as revisiting your website. This level of detail can ensure that you aren’t contacting leads without context—a jarring experience for any client.

This again calls for robust and potentially expensive marketing and sales teams, which is why many businesses choose to outsource lead management actions like these.

Can You Trust Lead Generation Services?

In theory, the lead generation model follows a sound business logic. In practice, many lead outsourcing services have proved themselves otherwise, delivering cold, dead leads or sending the same leads to multiple businesses, hence flooding the market.

However, these kinds of shoddy services can be avoided by doing a little bit of research. Obviously, you should always review the company’s reputation and weigh their cost-per-lead before deciding to engage a lead service provider. You’ll also want to clarify as to how many different companies various leads are sent, since this can certainly impact the success of your campaigns.

Another thing to consider is the lead source’s area of expertise. For instance, at Modernize, while we do provide leads for all sorts of remodeling trades and industries, our focus has typically been in the solar, roofing, windows and HVAC segments. Therefore, we’re intimately familiar with the customer sales process for these types of projects and can help clients that contact us as they work through their decision. And that may result in significant cost savings overall. In other words, not all lead generation services are created equally.

Ready to put your lead generation process into overdrive? Contact us today for more information about Modernize leads.

The post How a Reliable Lead Source Can Reduce Your Cost Per Action appeared first on Modernize.



Recycling Matters: Recycled Driveway Paving!


ENVIRO PAVING The technology was actually developed in Canada for cracked driveways and Enviro Paving brought it across the country through a network of franchises. Traditional methods of paving cause a lot of headaches to homeowners, because it can‘t withstand harsh elements. Rubber, on the other hand, is extremely durable and flexible so it does not crack!


EP That’s one of the things our customers love the most! Snow and ice do not stick to rubber, and the ice will not bond to the paving. When you are shoveling or blowing the snow off, it goes very smoothly.


EP Our main business is driveways, closely followed by sidewalks, steps, patios, pool decks, hot tub decks, play areas, you name it! Because the product is porous, the water goes through and does not stay on top. This makes it an extremely safe, slip resistant surface. For that reason, we also do a lot of retirement homes, daycare playgrounds, golf course pathways, hotels and schools. For businesses like this, Enviro Paving is a fantastic investment in safety for their clients. In some cases, it can literally save lives!


EP You will be surprised. Enviro Paving is actually much more cost effective than if you were to replace your old, cracked, concrete driveway! We go right on top of your old cracked paving. You don’t have to tear it all out and dispose of it which dramatically reduces the cost.


EP There is a bit of art to it. It’s poured in place and we don’t use any heavy machinery. It is all placed by hand, using simple tools, with attention to esthetics and detail.


EP Most jobs can be poured in one day. After 24 hours, you can walk on it and after 48 hours, you can drive on it.


EP Thank you! Some companies like to claim they are recycled, even though they use man-made rubber chips. We make a point of staying 100% recycled and using only shredded tires that would otherwise go to the landfill. We use about 100 tires on an average driveway! The fact that we use no machinery and you don’t have to tear out old concrete and dispose of it makes a huge impact on our carbon footprint. For example, we only produce about 4% of the carbon footprint that paving a similar area in asphalt!


EP We provide an amazing franchise opportunity for the right individuals all across Canada and USA. In our franchise program, we are business partners and provide a great amount of support and business tools. Give us a call!


EP Call us anytime for a free estimate at 1-800-317-4797 or visit us at to request an estimate.

The post Recycling Matters: Recycled Driveway Paving! appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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How Outfits Create Elegance

Many of my clients aspire to looking elegant in their outfits. I also aspire to that, so I’ve thought quite hard about what it means to me. What makes an outfit elegant is extremely subjective. Elegance means different things to different people. I’ll share what I think and I’m curious about the extent to which your thoughts will coincide with mine.

First, it can be argued that elegance has little to do with the outfit, and more to do with the manner, poise, posture, elocution, movement, grace and confidence of the wearer. That’s definitely one component of elegance, but an elegant outfit goes a long way too.

Second, elegance is NOT a dress size, length of hair, type of complexion, age or height. Elegance is a package deal and a sum of many parts. Some of the most elegant people I know are below 5ft tall, plus sized, or over the age of 70. I do think that elegance comes more easily with age, because of the ease and confidence that grows within as you get older.

Third, elegance can be achieved with patterned, non-neutral, bold and bright wardrobe items. Keeping things solid, quiet and neutral is not a prerequisite for an elegant outfit, although that might be your preference.

I’ve narrowed it down to a few specifics that, to my eye, up the elegance quotient of an outfit.

1. Longer Hem Lengths on Skirts & Dresses

Somehow, leg coverage, and particularly knee coverage, looks more elegant. Skirts and dresses that finish somewhere between the bottom of the kneecap and four inches above the ankle bone look the most elegant. Extra long floor-sweeping lengths for formal occasions are extremely elegant, but are very impractical and therefore worn infrequently.

2. Softness and Structured Fluidity

It is a delicate balance to achieve a good amount of structure with just the right amount of fluidity in an elegant outfit. For example, a very structured body-con dress looks less elegant than a gently tailored sheath, shirt dress, or fit-and-flare frock. It’s that ease of movement or bit of “swoosh” in the dress or skirt that creates elegance. The same can be said for an elegant trouser or jeans outfit that is neither too tight nor too slouchy. If the bottoms are tailored, the top can have movement, and vice versa.

In terms of softness, I mean looks that are not too hard-edged or severe. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear white and pastels. You can wear black and darks, but the fabrics and textures of the garments must look soft, sheer and pretty. An all-black outfit can also be complemented with sparkly bling and lighter footwear and accessories.

3. Dainty Footwear

Footwear with a refined and somewhat dressy appearance, as opposed to being casual, tough, sporty, rugged or chunky, tends to look more elegant. Pointier toe boxes, narrower heels, gentle block heels, shoes without platforms, narrower laces, narrower straps, and smaller buckles. Footwear needn’t be high-heeled or close-toed to look elegant. Dressy flats, low heels and all sorts of elegant sandals do exist.

4. Dressiness

You can absolutely look elegant in a casual outfit, but there has to be a component of dressiness to it. Whether you’re adding a blazer or dressy top and refined shoes to jeans, sporting a structured casual dress with dressy flats, wearing a kaftan over a bikini, or gliding along in wide linen crops and cropped blouse with flat sandals – the dressy element is present and adding elegance to a relaxed outfit.

5. Finishing Touches

Elegant outfits seem to have important finishing touches, like a gently made-up face that adds polish and radiance to your appearance, relatively neat and well groomed hair, and some accessory bling (even if it’s just a pair of diamond studs). Well cared for hands and feet with or without nail polish is a good finishing touch too.

Again, these are my musings and they probably differ from yours, so over to you. How do you define elegance through outfits?

Eloquii Burnout Chiffon Maxi Dress

Eloquii Ankle Zip Jogger

Eloquii Neoprene Pencil Skirt



10 Lush Landscaping Ideas for a Hilly Backyard

Hillside properties can be particularly beautiful, highlighting a home’s architecture and creating great vistas. They can also, however, present a landscaping challenge. Maintenance can be difficult, and the potential for soil erosion is forever lurking. Here are 10 solid ideas for landscaping a sloping, or even a downright hilly, backyard.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert


Ask an Expert: Exterior Updates

How can I update my exterior without a lot of worry or future maintenance?

I recently found myself in the position where I was asking the same question! We had just renovated a 1950s home and realized that the exterior really needed an update. With a baby on the way, we needed a solution that didn’t bring any extra worry or maintenance and we’d heard endless stories where exteriors were repainted and then faded, chipped or peeled just years after.

Our Home Before Spray-Net

That’s when we discovered Spray-Net. Their stunning before and afters and the promise that their advanced techniques would ensure no chipping, peeling or fading caught my attention. The actual process only took a matter of hours. The crew was setting up by 8:00 am and they wrapped up at around 1:00 pm. It was incredible how fast they got everything done.

After – In just a few hours!

We loved the end result! Our dated 1950’s home not only looks great but feels like home now. If you’re looking for a way to update your exterior that is both cost effective and long-lasting, this is a much better option than traditional paint! – Jaclyn Harper, Owner and Principal Stylist, Harper Designs

The post Ask an Expert: Exterior Updates appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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Link Love: Kaftans To Wear Anywhere

I’ve yet to buy one, but every Summer when temperatures start rising above 77° F, I’m seriously tempted by kaftans as a breezy loungewear option and work-from-home outfit.

Bonus: These days kaftans aren’t just for lounging around the house or covering up your swimwear anymore either, they make excellent Summer dresses for all sorts of occasions.

The Guardian posits that “the kaftan is the new political fashion statement to make.”

Alyson from That’s Not My Age has tips on where to find a good kaftan. I love the asymmetrical lines of this kimono kaftan dress she links to in her blog post.

One of my favourite images is this photo of Grace Kelly with vintage camera, sporting a Pucci kaftan.

Need inspiration on how to wear one yourself? Then have a peek at these Pinterest images.

Fab Links from Our Members

B. Jones Style and KarenBritChick are two YouTube channels that put Shevia in a good mood and remind her of the joy of dressing. She is a long-time fan of their blogs as well.

Some of you may remember that we featured Beth of B. Jones Style in our Outstanding Outfit Bloggers series 5 years ago too.

Vildy also follows KarenBritChick and likes Emma Hill’s YouTube channel as well: “Even though I have most physical characteristics opposite to her and a completely opposite style, I love her style and her terrific personality.”

Meanwhile, Joy has been enjoying the videos by Danish fashionista Signe, like this one about how to look good in loungewear.

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Client Success Video: Sears Home Improvement

Sears Home Services, the nation’s largest repair service provider, is a key constituent of the Sears Holdings brand that has been a mainstay in American homes for more than 100 years. More than seven million homeowners utilize Sears Home Services each year for their HVAC, Windows, Siding, and Roofing installation needs, making them one of the true titans of the home improvement industry.

In 2012, the Fortune 200 company partnered with Modernize to grow their HVAC, Windows, and Roofing revenue profitably by increasing their digital footprint. In a recent interview, Sears Home Services’ Senior Marketing Manager, Janice Barbosa, discussed the impetus to partner with Modernize. Watch the video above or read the interview below!

What is your goal in working with Modernize?

“We’ve established our position in search and email and a variety of places where we are capturing homeowners that are looking for a select Sears. There’s also the opportunity to work with partners like Modernize who also are attracting homeowners – homeowners who may not know who they want to work with. We want to make sure we have the opportunity to talk to those homeowners as well.”

How has your relationship with Modernize evolved?

“The biggest evolution has been in the transparency and data flow – between us and modernize and modernize and us. Also, the quality of insights that we’ve been able to gain. In the early days, our focus was on volume. As we’ve gotten smarter about how that volume performs, we can make decisions to make adjustments that makes that volume better.”

What are some fundamental elements to the relationship?

“Transparency. In a partnership like this, you have to be able to share information and use it to create better performance for both parties. We want to be sure we’re getting the right homeowners that we can satisfy. Obviously, Modernize wants to be able to deliver homeowners and satisfy them as well. If we can both do that by sharing information and learning more about what’s working and what isn’t, then we can both do a good job in that space.”

How important is lead generation to your marketing strategy?

“I think when you look at homeowners and where they go for information, there’s been a real revolution. Some homeowners will pick a brand or a company they want to work with, but many of them just want to be educated. They want to be matched with quality contractors without doing an enormous amount of homework. What we’ve seen is a big growth of homeowners that want to use a partner that’s going to match them with contractors they want to work with. I think for us, it’s understanding the importance of that channel, and making sure that we have relationships so we can talk to those homeowners as well.”

What is your advice for new companies that are looking to grow with Modernize?

“You have to focused on your own brand and your own efforts to have homeowners choose you. You also have to understand homeowner behavior and how it’s changed. Know that many homeowners want to have that matching process occur through a third party, and that you develop those relationships so you’re present with companies like Modernize who are bringing in homeowners through that process.”

Describe your relationship with Modernize in one word.

“Partnership. I think partnership means transparency and a joint objective for success on both sides. It means finding ways to solve problems together. I think in a true partnership, you’re creating scenarios that help you both grow over time.”

The post Client Success Video: Sears Home Improvement appeared first on Modernize.



Designer Space: Modern & Quirky

 Designer Becky Freeman transforms a home into a family-friendly space.


BECKY FREEMAN This space was designed for a family with busy teenage kids. The layout is meant to accommodate activities like casual chill time with friends after school, as well as intimate settings for the family to enjoy together.


BF Although the design was primarily inspired by the family’s love of modern design, the most important feature that they requested was a teenager-friendly interior. The feeling of familiarity needed to be preserved as much as possible and an element of fun was a must. To achieve this I looked to whimsical additions like 3D animal wall décor for the kids’ love of animals as well as introducing lighthearted artwork and patterns in fabrics.


BF The Ropes & Wood painted paddles are my favorite design element in the space. They are a dynamic focal point, with a pop of color and understated modern elegance. Modern design is often saturated with monochromatic gray and white tones so the colorful geometric pattern on the paddles offer a fun, bright twist in a sophisticated format. It’s a perfect addition to the clean, Danish inspired design of the home.


BF They are recent city dwellers from the suburbs who are temporarily renting the space until they find their dream city home. They fell in love with the character of this semi-detached rental home with the amenities that the urban neighborhood provided. – Becky Freeman

Photography by Aristea Rizakos
As Seen on the cover of Canadian Home Trends Renovations 2018

The post Designer Space: Modern & Quirky appeared first on Home Trends Magazine.

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9 Worth-It Services and Subscriptions That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

Subscription services promise to simplify your life, but there are so many out there that it can be hard to figure out which are worth their cost. Before you know it, you’re paying for so many memberships that you aren’t really saving that much. That’s why we’ve created this list of subscription services that are actually worth handing over your hard-earned money. Covering all your basic and not-so-basic needs, these memberships streamline life and make things a little bit easier, whether that means that household supplies show up on your doorstep right when needed or that you can download a new novel straight to your phone whenever you want.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert