All-White Bathrooms Are Getting Drenched in Color

All-white bathrooms were once celebrated for their clean lines, simplicity and spa-like aura. But such muted designs are now falling to the wayside in favor of more color, texture and patterns. Dark cabinets, wallpaper and patterned tiles are top bathroom trends this year, according to the latest survey from Fixr(link is external), an online home remodeling resource. Fixr surveyed 60 design experts to find out the hottest bathroom aesthetics.

Bathroom Trends Chart

Darker cabinets: Cabinets made from natural materials that provide a grainier, wood-like aesthetic are gaining favor. Japandi and Wabi-sabi styles, which emphasize natural materials, are inspiring some of these wood tones. The wood can have unique variations to help create contrast against otherwise mostly white finishes.

White Bathroom
Photo credit: Imaginima / Getty Images

Backlit mirrors: Nearly half of designers believe backlit mirrors, which provide light around their perimeter, will be popular this year. “A backlit mirror works two-fold: It offers ambient lighting to the room, which is perfect for relaxing … but also serves as task lighting,” Fixr notes in its report. Many of these mirrors also include features like anti-fogging and magnifiers.

Backlit Bathroom Mirror
Photo credit: Victor Dyomin / Getty Images

Patterned tiles: Homeowners are showing a willingness to experiment with bolder choices for their floors and walls. Patterned and textured tile and wall coverings are bringing added dimension and depth to spaces. Thirty-six percent of designers called this the biggest bathroom trend of the year. The tile patterns may be geometric, such as hexagons and herringbone, or vintage, such as an octagon dot pattern. Fixr also notes that marble tiles are coming in many different colors and patterns, such as black marble with contrasting white veining.


216 21 Street Nelson Heights
Hello Beautiful
Located in Cold Lake North, Nelson Heights Community.
This community offers,
☑️An outdoor rink
☑️Kinosoo Beach
☑️Splash Park
☑️Provincial Park
☑️Nelson Heights Middle School
☑️Walking Paths
and so much more.
What a great community to raise your family.

Selling Your Home in the Winter: How You Can Make the Most of It

From creating a warm, inviting space in your home, to clearing your driveway for potential viewers, to making sure any essential home renovation and repair is complete, we’ve compiled some ways to prepare your home in the winter and help maximize your selling potential. 

If you think selling your home in the winter is the same as selling your home in the summer, well, that’s a cold take. Each season has its distinct benefits when it comes to listing a home, so how can you take advantage of the snow and frigid temperatures?

We recently spoke with Amber van den Broek, a REALTOR® from Winnipeg, Manitoba and owner of Amber van den Broek & Associates, to speak about the  advantages of selling your home in the winter.

“There’s less competition on the market during these slower months,” she says. “As a seller, you have the focused attention of all the buyers hunting for a home in your area, or even outside your location. When supply is low, demand for your property can be high simply by being the only option.”

If you’re thinking about selling your home in the winter, here are some tips on how to prepare for a successful sale. 

Maintain Your Landscaping During Winter.

Make the most of the outdoors


Despite not being able to appreciate the lusciousness of your garden or lawn in the winter, landscaping shouldn’t be neglected. 

“Landscaping is your ultimate first impression,” said van den Broek. “A buyer makes their initial decision of like versus don’t like in approximately 60 seconds, so the walk up or drive by shouldn’t be underestimated. A buyer will feel confident that seasonal maintenance has likely been completed, and that you’ve taken care of your home inside and out.”

As a rule of the proverbial green thumb, remove anything that’s unlikely to survive the winter so there aren’t dead plants in the garden. If you’d like to add plants and shrubs, be sure they’re the evergreen kind such as Blue Holly or Winter Heath. If you have pets, ensure you’ve removed any droppings and yellow snow before potential buyers show up. Even if your area doesn’t get much snow, make sure your front yard is well-kept, with any dead leaves raked up and thrown away.

Clear your driveway and pathway

Shovelling snow is twofold in terms of safety and removing the thoughts buyers conjure up of having to do it themselves. Consider installing solar-powered lights to help illuminate the path and be sure to salt/sand any walking paths to lower the risk of a fall for potential buyers.

Tips to prevent long icicles from forming on your roof.

Lessen the chances of icicle formation

Icicles are very pretty to look at, but they can wreak havoc on your home. Melted snow from your roof contributes to ice dams being formed in gutters, which in turn can cause water to back up into your home. The formation of icicles can also indicate issues with your roof or ventilation, which could be a red flag to potential buyers. While you can remove small icicles yourself—make sure to take all safety precautions if you need to venture onto the roof–it’s best to leave the removal of larger ones or hard-to-reach icicles to the experts. 

Winter-resistant furniture in the front and backyard

Create a welcoming first impression by staging your front porch with durable furniture and winter-resistant blankets and rugs. Warm lighting provided by lanterns that can withstand the cold will also add to the charm. The backyard is just as important, so be sure to shovel patios and decks, and set it up in a way that highlights how the space can be used year-round. 

Cleaning the front entrance

This is technically an inside task, but it does involve elements from the outdoors. Salt, dirt, and snow all get tracked into your front entrance in the winter months, which isn’t visually appealing to potential buyers. You only get one chance at a first impression! Clean up any salt and dirt from your front entrance, and keep coats, mittens, boots, etc. in a closet so there’s no clutter when people come in. 

Muddy footprints on the carpet? Professional cleaner Madison McCausland shared her tips on getting those stubborn stains out!

Tips to Highlight Your Home's Curb Appeal.

Highlight the cozy indoor appeal

Create a warm and inviting space

“Selling in the winter months gives home sellers an opportunity to create a very welcoming, cozy vibe to their space,” van den Broek explains. “Staging works, and winter is certainly a time to get creative. Ensure the home is at a comfortable temperature, and if there’s a fireplace, make sure it’s turned on, or lit if it’s wood. We always use candles at our open houses in the winter time, nicely scented like gingerbread, baking, apples, or pine.”

“Having a tray of treats always makes buyers feel at home, and if it’s closer to the holidays some decorated cookies or candy canes for kids. The more your house feels like a home, the more a buyer will start to feel AT home!”

Did you know the World Health Organization recommends a range of 20 C to 22 C as the ideal temperature in your home to maintain overall good health and wellbeing? Aim for this temperature during an open house to keep things comfortable. No need to go too warm—people will likely be wearing jackets!

Round off any essential renovations

Be proactive with ensuring cosmetic renovations such as chipped paint and drafty windows are complete prior to listing your home. For van den Broek there are some common red flags buyers look for when purchasing a home in the winter. These include:

  • leaking window seals;
  • condensation inside the window panes, which can indicate humidity is too high in the house;
  • drafty windows and doors;
  • temperature differences in basement rooms;
  • no snow on the roof, which could indicate insulation issues in the attic;
  • back drafts of a smoky ash smell from a wood-burning fireplace; and
  • cracked corners of the foundation which can indicate a structural issue.

Sealing windows to reduce air leaks, adding further insulation where required to prevent drafts, ensuring the weather stripping around your front door has no leaks, checking the insulation levels in your attic, and updating old furnaces can be beneficial upgrades for homeowners and enticing for potential buyers. If possible, consider having your furnace serviced by an HVAC professional to be certain everything is in tip-top shape. 

Certain provinces are currently offering rebates to improve your home’s energy efficiency, which could help with the costs of some of these repairs or updates. For example, Enbridge is offering Ontarians “up to $5,000 in rebates for insulation, air sealing, new windows/doors, water heaters, boilers, furnaces, and home energy assessments.” British Columbia has a similar program through BetterHomesBC for up to $6,000. Check with your provincial energy provider to see what’s available to you!

Tips for winter decor to welcome buyers.

Embrace neutral seasonal décor

If you’re planning festive celebrations, it’s best to avoid flashing lights and large decorations that could shrink the size of your space, as well as overtly religious ornaments.

“For outside it’s nice to have some winter décor welcoming buyers to the property—a simple wreath, flower pots with birch branches and twinkle lights, solar powered walkway lights, and pay attention to overall lighting outside.”

Winter Staging Tips to Sell Your House.

Showcase your home’s versatility

Even when you’ve succeeded in transforming the exterior and interior of your home to be both charming and inviting, if possible, show photos from other seasons in your listing because, the more guesswork you take out of the equation, the more a buyer can make an informed decision they feel comfortable with.


Celebrating Gold!
I've been a Realtor® for over 3 years and I've had to relocate from Calgary to Cold Lake between that time and start over. I've met so many amazing clients along my journey here in Cold Lake and I'm so grateful.
For 2023 I hope for a more blessed year in my career and I look forward to meeting new clients along the way.

Here are the Top Paint Colors for 2023

Deep reds, bold blues, and neutral earth tones are leading the way for the top paint colours of 2023. See what companies like Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, Glidden, Behr, and Pantone have chosen as their colours of the year. 

Refreshing the home is a big part of embracing the new year, and with so many potential changes from flooring to furniture, it’s hard to know where to start. Paint is a quick and easy way to freshen up any space or piece of furniture, and interior designers and paint companies have their predictions on emerging colour trends for 2023. Ranging from earthy reds to warm neutrals, here are the colours the pros say we’ll be painting our homes with and why they work. 

Pantone colour of the yearImage provided by Pantone, credit: Huge

Pantone’s highly anticipated Colour of the Year for 2023 was announced at the beginning of December. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta is meant to be a “brave and fearless” colour for those who have a “rebellious spirit” and exude optimism and joy. The bold colour lives in the red family, or what Pantone refers to as “The Magentaverse.” 

“PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute. “Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter. Invoking the forces of nature, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.”

Though this isn’t a paint colour you can run to the store to purchase—Pantone’s Colour of the Year isn’t specifically a paint, just a colour—it serves as inspiration of what 2023 can bring. Pantone offers a set of designer tools to help you use their colours in your interior design projects.

 Raspberry Blush - 2023 colour trends by Benjamin MooreImage provided by Benjamin Moore Canada

Raspberry Blush by Benjamin Moore

Benjamin Moore’s 2022 colour of the year, October Mist, was an earthy green that resembled the stem of a flower. For 2023, their colour resembles the petals of a rose. Raspberry Blush is a vibrant red-orange that delivers bold personality. It’s charismatic without being loud, much like the electro-funk duo the paint company partnered with to commemorate this year’s selection. The Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo has released a new song titled Raspberry Blush that reminisces about the positivity and enjoyment of colour and music together. Use this coral tinged pink on an accent wall, arch, or bring some colour to your powder or dining room.

You could also consider Terra Rosa by Dunn-Edwards if you’re into the soft clay colour.

Blank Canvas - Colour of the year 2023Photo via Behr Media Library

Blank Canvas by Behr Paint Company

Sticking to more of a neutral hue, Behr has named Blank Canvas its 2023 Colour of the Year. A stark contrast to some of the other more vibrant colours, this creamy shade of white ushers in a clean and inviting blank slate. With this choice, Behr leans into a relaxing, calming colour that can offer endless décor possibilities. Blank Canvas can be paired with bold blues, browns, and greens. Use it in the bedroom to promote tranquillity or to finish off trim and moulding.

“Blank Canvas effortlessly offers a clean and inviting blank slate that allows individuality and creativity to flow freely,” Erika Woelfel, Vice-President of Color and Creative Services at Behr Paint Company, said in a press release. “This white easily harmonizes with a wide range of hues, including neutrals, earth tones and pastels for a charming and cozy appeal. Blank Canvas also pairs beautifully with black for a dramatic impact, and with bright accents like green or cobalt blue to instantly lift your mood.”

Redend Point by Sherwin-WilliamsImage provided by Sherwin-Williams

Redend Point by Sherwin-Williams

The Sherwin-Williams paint company is evoking a sense of connection, warmth, and softness with its pick for the year. Whether used in the living room or in the kitchen, the colour is the ideal choice to bring a sense of community and nature into your space. The colour also pairs well with earthy neutrals like dark beiges and greys.

“Redend Point was inspired by the idea of finding beauty beyond ourselves,” says Sue Wadden, Director of Colour Marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Build on its earthiness by utilizing the hue alongside natural-looking textiles and wood accents or create a desert oasis by layering terracotta shades and clay materials.”

Colour of the year - Vining Ivy by GliddenImage provided by GLIDDEN Paint

Vining Ivy by Glidden 

Sticking with the earth tone colour theme of 2023, Glidden’s colour of the year is Vining Ivy. A mixture of blue and green, this in-between jewel-toned colour can be used in almost any space. The company chose a versatile colour so people don’t have to think so much about what works with their home.. The colour can be used as an accent to give a pop to your space or paired with soft pastels, light neutrals, or deep browns and blues.

“Consumers are seeking to simplify… as the past two years have shed a new light on the importance of serenity and little moments,” said Ashley McCollum, Glidden colour expert. “Vining Ivy embodies this vibe perfectly. Its versatility takes the guesswork out of design, leaving consumers with more time to indulge in the things that matter most to them.”

McCollum suggested using this colour on kitchen cabinets, as an accent wall, or in a smaller room to contrast a neutral palette.

Soothing colours of 2023

This year we are seeing a movement towards clays, stones, and earth hues inspired by nature. Colours that bring calm, zen, and tranquillity are leading the way and people are being urged to paint their home in a way that brings comfort to them. These colours add a touch of calmness, optimism and hope in what’s ahead. So before you tackle your new painting project, consider whether these trending colours help showcase or inspire the feelings you’re chasing. 


How to Apply Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper (And Ways to Use It)

Have you ever wondered how you can transform an ordinary room into something extraordinary? With peel-and-stick wallpaper, you can easily and quickly decorate your home—especially if you’re a renter or like to redecorate often.

Install peel-and-stick wallpaper to add a pop of colour to bland walls, a subtle texture to a ceiling, or a fun pattern to walls, stair risers, and furniture. When compared to traditional wallpaper (which requires pasting), it’s much easier to install and remove. No commitment, no wall damage! Peel-and-stick wallpaper is typically sold by square foot, so your costs will depend on how large of a space you’re looking to cover. You can find it at local home improvement or craft stores for about $70 for 30 square feet, or online shops like Etsy for around $80 for 16 square feet—depending on the shop and material. Regular wallpaper typically costs around $45 for 56 square feet, but this doesn’t account for the other supplies you’ll need or the time you’ll spend applying it.

Steps to Install Peel and Stick WallpaperImage via SweetWallpapers on Etsy

How to install peel-and-stick wallpaper

Using removable wallpaper makes wallpapering a fun DIY weekend project. Self-adhesive wallpaper peels away from its backing, adheres to the wall, and can be removed and repositioned easily—at least once before it possibly loses some of its stickiness. Consider temporary wallpaper if you’re looking for an easy and mess-free way to try a new style.

Determine how much wallpaper you need

Find the square footage of the wall or space you want to cover and divide it by the square foot of one roll. If your wallpaper is patterned, you’ll need to add 20% to ensure the pattern matches on neighbouring strips. Then add an extra roll or two just in case of errors such as short cuts or tears. Also, it’s advised to order a sample of the wallpaper to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for before you place your full order.

Gather your tools

You’ll need:

  • a tape measure;
  • a pencil or chalk line;
  • a level or laser level;
  • a ruler or straight edge;
  • a utility knife;
  • a smoothing tool; and
  • a step stool or ladder.
Clean and dry the wall before installing wallpaperImage via ScandinavianWorkshop on Etsy

Prepare the surface

It’s important for the surface to be clean and dry before installing peel-and-stick wallpaper. Give your walls and baseboards a wipe-down with a microfibre cloth to remove dust. If the area is greasy (like a kitchen backsplash) clean the surface with hot, soapy water and let dry. Remove outlet covers and move all furniture out of the way. If your walls are freshly painted, wait the recommended cure time before installing your wallpaper. 

Make your guideline

Measuring left to right from the corner, use a tape measure to measure the width of your first panel and mark with a pencil. Using a level, draw a straight line from top to bottom.

Cut strips of wallpaper

Measure the height of the area and cut strips to fit, adding eight to 20 centimetres to the bottom or sides—wherever the wallpaper will be lining up with the next piece. This accounts for any pattern matching. Large patterns might require more overhang.

Peel and install

Peel back about 20 centimetres of the backing on one strip. Line it up with the ceiling and the guide mark you made on the right. Stick the wallpaper to the wall and then slowly peel and stick the paper down the wall.

Smooth as you go

Use a smoothing tool to push out any air bubbles and to ensure the entire strip is securely attached. Once you reach the bottom, cut the overhang using a straight edge and a very sharp utility knife. Repeat until the wall is covered, paying special attention to matching your pattern at the seams.

Enjoy the new view

Stand back and admire all your hard work!

Keep in mind, you don’t need to cover your entire room with peel-and-stick wallpaper design. Accent walls can be a striking way to add character to your room. Pick the wall that will work best—preferably the one that gets the most natural light—and, ta-da, a new look in your room with only a quarter of the work to do.

Elizabeth Rees, co-founder of Chasing Paper, told Apartment Therapy peel-and-stick wallpaper can last “as long as you’d like to keep it up” so long as you applied it to a clean, smooth surface.

Explore the walls in a whole new wayImage via WestCoastWalls on Etsy

Helpful peel-and-stick wallpaper tips

As with any DIY project, there are many tips to help the task go as smoothly as possible.

  • Recruit a helping hand: while peel-and-stick wallpaper can be a solo project, having a helping hand certainly will make things easier and faster.
  • Ceilings are not a guide: while you might be tempted to line your wallpaper up with the ceiling, don’t! Most ceiling lines are not straight, causing the wallpaper to appear crooked. Instead, use a levelled vertical line as your guide. The same can be said for corners in rooms. Make sure you’re measuring precisely to avoid any hiccups. 
  • Don’t pull too hard: as you remove the backing of the wallpaper, it’s important not to pull too hard as it can stretch out the vinyl material.
  • Set aside the scraps: you’ll likely end up with a good amount of scraps as you trim the excess from the bottom and top of each strip. Keep these in case you need to fill a tight space. You can also use them on other DIY projects like trays, candle holders, or notebooks!

Surfaces not recommended for peel-and-stick wallpaper

There are many surfaces on which peel-and-stick wallpaper should not be used, as the adhesive may not adhere properly, or the wallpaper may not lay flat.

  • Textured walls: without a flat surface to cling to, the wallpaper won’t be secure.
  • Brick and cinder block: similar to textured walls, the lack of flat surface poses an issue.
  • Outdoors: unless it’s specifically made for the outdoors, the wallpaper isn’t waterproof or weatherproof.
  • Non-stick paint: for obvious reasons, peel-and-stick wallpaper won’t work on non-stick paint.
  • Old wallpaper: in addition to structural issues, the pattern of the old wallpaper may bleed through the new stuff, which isn’t a visually pleasing aesthetic.
Creative ways to use peel-and-stick wallpaperImage via SandedEdgesFurniture on Instagram

Unique ways to use peel-and-stick wallpaper

There are plenty of peel-and-stick wallpapers on the market that can transform the look of any space, and they’re not just for walls! Here are some fun projects that use peel-and-stick wallpaper to add a little flair to your room!

Add some pizazz to cabinet interiors or bookshelves

Take the insides of your kitchen cabinets or the back of your bookshelves from boring to beautiful. You’ll love seeing a pop of fun every time you reach for a dinner plate.

In terms of application, this follows the same steps as if you were doing a wall, only on a smaller scale. You’ll need to measure, cut, and smooth the wallpaper into the drawer or onto the shelf, making sure there aren’t any air bubbles underneath. 

Add interest to a ceiling

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to give your ceiling a fresh new look, peel-and-stick wallpaper is the way to go! Not only is it easy to install, it’s a great way to cover up any imperfections on your ceiling. You’ll want to recruit a helping hand for this project since you’ll be working against gravity, and four hands will be better than two. Note, this only works on flat ceilings as peel-and-stick wallpaper will not adhere properly to popcorn or textured surfaces.


  • Peel-and-stick wallpaper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Level or laser level
  • Utility knife
  • Smoothing tool


  1. Move all furniture out of the way. An unobstructed work area will make installation easier. Also, remove any ceiling lights or fixtures.
  2. Prep the ceiling as per the instructions above, making sure the surface is free from dirt, cobwebs, and dust.
  3. Make a guide for your first panel. Measuring left to right from the wall; use a tape measure to measure the width of your first panel, and mark with a pencil. Using a level or a chalk line, draw a straight line across the ceiling.
  4. Measure the length of the area and cut strips to fit, adding eight to 12 centimetres to whichever edge will be lined up with the next sheet to account for any pattern matching.
  5. Peel back about 20 centimetres of the backing on one strip. Line up with the wall and the guide mark you made on the right. Stick the wallpaper to the ceiling and then slowly peel and stick the paper up onto the ceiling. You’ll find it helpful to have a friend hold onto the slack of the overhang so that as you move your way across the room the weight of the slack doesn’t pull down the panel.
  6. Use a smoothing tool, push out any air bubbles and ensure the entire strip is attached. Because walls and ceilings aren’t 100% straight, it’s best to ensure your panel is lining up with the guide mark on the right and not the wall. If the panel overhangs onto the wall, use a straight edge and a very sharp utility knife to trim the excess.
  7. Once you reach the bottom of the panel, cut the overhang using a straight edge and a very sharp utility knife. Repeat until the ceiling is covered.

Tip: If there are junction boxes in the ceiling for lighting, run the wallpaper over them. Use a sharp utility knife to cut a starburst into the wallpaper, starting from the centre of the fitting, outwards. You should be able to trim the excess and wrap the small overhanging edges into the box. Once the fixture is installed you won’t see any of the cuts.

Style your stair risers with peel-and-stick wallpaperImage via StickerLime on Etsy

Climb to new heights with stair risers

If you’re looking for an easy and relatively inexpensive way to add a touch of style to your stair risers, peel-and-stick wallpaper is a great option. 


  • Peel-and-stick wallpaper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Smoothing tool


  1. rep the risers as per the instructions above, making sure the surface is free from dirt, grime, and dust.
  2. Measure your stair riser and mark those dimensions on a piece of cardboard. Using a straight edge, cut out the cardboard template.
  3. Using the template, trace the shape on the back of the wallpaper, marking it with a pencil. To minimize accidental tearing when cutting, use a very sharp utility knife and metal ruler. Placing wallpaper on an extra-large cutting mat or some pieces of cardboard when cutting can also minimize tearing. You can also very carefully cut the pieces with sharp scissors.
  4. Before installing, test the fit of the wallpaper on the riser. If the fit is good and tight to the edges, install. Peel back about seven centimetres of the backing. Line up with the top of the stair riser against the tread. Work your way down, peeling the paper backing and stick the wallpaper to the riser. Use a smoothing tool as you go to ensure good, even adhesion. Work out any air bubbles. Repeat until all stairs are covered.
  5. Take a celebratory climb and then stand back and admire the view!
DIY Wallpaper project Image via RockyMountainsDecals on Etsy

Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a beginner-friendly DIY project that can completely transform a room. The best thing about it is you just need to peel and stick it to the wall, no glue required. It’s also easy to remove, which is handy if you’re in a rental property. 


Prepping Your Home for a New Puppy

After a long search you’ve finally found the perfect furry friend to bring home. Your world is about to change in the best way as flapping ears, a wagging tail, and a droopy tongue become your new normal. Before bringing home your new puppy or dog, there are important changes to make to ensure your pet is safe and happy in its new space, and that your home doesn’t get completely destroyed!

Pet Friendly Floor


When it comes to floors and dogs, hardwood and carpet both have their pros and cons. Hardwood is good because it’s easy to clean paw marks, accidents, and shedding fur. The downside to hardwood is it can be easily scratched by long nails. Waxing floors often, clipping pet nails, and taking long walks with your puppy can help extend the life of your hardwood. 

Of course, it’s not practical to completely redo your flooring from hardwood to carpet once you get a dog. However, opting for area rugs or carpet runners in high-activity areas could be a nice compromise.

With any carpet, whether it’s wall-to-wall or area rugs, be prepared to quickly clean any accidents with special cleaning solutions and odour eliminators. Accidents are going to happen, but cleaning a mess properly can make or break a repeat performance. Dogs will revisit spots where they smell their own urine, so be sure to clean the fibres well with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda and, if you can help it, don’t let the mess sit!

Pet Friendly Plants


Understanding your dog’s habits is important when it comes to managing your plants. If they’re the curious type who often stick their noses in places they shouldn’t, you’ll want to put your plants on a shelf or hang them in a basket. In addition to just making a mess, your dog getting into your houseplants could be dangerous. There are common houseplants that can be toxic to pets, including:

  • aloe vera;
  • jade;
  • lilies; and 
  • the popular Philodendron (a Monstera look-alike).

For those who don’t want to skip the houseplants, but still keep things safe, pet-friendly plants include: 

  • Boston ferns;
  • succulents; 
  • inch; and 
  • spider plants. 

If you’re an animal and plant lover, these are some changes worth making to help your little paw-tner be protected and safe.

Tips on Dog Proof Garbage Can

Garbage area

To any pup, the smell of a garbage bin can be fascinating—not to mention an open invitation for rummaging. Whether in the kitchen or bathroom, your bin likely contains harmful contents such as spoiled food, plastics, hygiene products, and tons of choking hazards. Keep your dog out with a covered trash can that lives in a cabinet or is elevated. 

Moreover, take precaution and bring harmful trash, compost, and recycling immediately outside to the bin or down the garbage chute. In addition to chocolate, there are many foods that can be harmful to your dog if ingested, such as: 

  • Macadamia nuts;
  • onions and chives;
  • avocado; 
  • corn on the cob;
  • grapes and raisins; and
  • nutmeg.
brown dog sits in dog bed covered with a fleece blanketPhoto by Jamie Street on Unsplash

10 Tools Every Homeowner Needs

Even if you don’t consider yourself handy—and there’s no shame in that—having a well-equipped toolbox is a must for every homeowner. You never know when you’ll need to screw a cabinet handle back in, hammer down a floorboard, or tighten a loose pipe until a professional can do a permanent fix. Your toolbox doesn’t need to rival that of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s, but there are some basics you’ll want to gather up. 

We asked Mike Sexton, owner of Double Check Handyman and Shed On Site in Fredericton, New Brunswick, to give us some insight to the 10 tools every home should have. 


1. A hammer

This is probably the one everyone thinks of, but not all hammers are created equal.

“There are a couple of different kinds,” says Sexton. “Don’t get a framing hammer with a straight back, get a standard one. Hammers come in different weights, so get around a 16-ounce hammer.”

A comfortable grip is also key when choosing a hammer, and you can also find some with vibration-dampening coatings. Something else to look for is a flat head, rather than dimpled or checkered. This will avoid nail slippage when you do need to hammer something. 

Wrench Set

2. A wrench set

Anyone trying to put together furniture knows the importance of a wrench—more specifically, they know the frustration of not having the size you need. Adjustable wrenches are available, which you may think is the best choice as they give you different size options, but Sexton actually recommends having multiple wrench sets on hand.

“Get an adjustable wrench and a small set of metric and standard combination wrenches, which have an open end and a closed end, like a circle with ridges on the inside,” he explains. “The reason for this is often you need to hold a bolt on both ends to loosen it. The adjustable will hold one side, and the other wrenches will hold the other end.”

Tape Measure

3. A tape measure

Whereas wrenches and hammers have specific criteria to look for, the same isn’t required for a tape measure. 

“Almost any tape measure will do,” Sexton admits. “A 25-foot tape measure is best, and is still compact. There’s no need to get a high priced one.”

Skinnier tape measures are more susceptible to collapsing when you have them extended too far, so opting for one with a ¾-inch-wide tape is a good idea. 

Screwdriver Set

4. A screwdriver or screwdriver set

Phillips, flat, hexagon, square—there are multiple heads for screwdrivers, and those who are less handy may not always know what they’re looking for. So, when you’re adding a screwdriver to your toolbox, what should you choose?

“Either a set or a multi-tip screwdriver will work,” Sexton says. “I prefer a multi-tip, since there’s less looking around for stuff when you need it.”

A multi-tip screwdriver comes in a couple different varieties as well, so it all depends on personal preference. Some come with a case of removable magnetic tips you can swap in and out as needed. Others include all the tips in the handle with switches you push up to unveil the tip you need (think of those multi-coloured pens we used to have in high school). 


5. A set or pair of pliers

Pliers can come in handy when you need to manipulate smaller objects, like when you’re trying to hammer a nail into something or bending a rogue staple back to avoid catching yourself on it. There are a few types of pliers, but there are only two you really need to consider for a basic toolkit. 

“You can get a set of pliers, or a good pair of needle nose and something called ‘linesman’ pliers,” Sexton explains. “Those two will do the job 99% of the time.”

Sexton also specifically advises with pliers, you should invest a bit more in a quality pair or set. Ones that are too cheap can break quickly and end up causing more frustration than needed. 

Allen Wrench Set

6. An Allen wrench set

Though it sounds similar to a regular wrench set, Allen wrenches, also known as hex keys, are entirely different. These hexagon-headed tools are most recognized from the IKEA assembly method, and while they seem basic, they can definitely come in handy in a pinch. 

“Make sure you buy a combination set of both metric and standard,” Sexton shares. “Most brands will do.”

Allen wrench sets can be purchased either as individual hex keys in a case, or hinged together like a Swiss Army knife so you don’t lose track of any size. 


7. A level

Moving into a new home usually involves hanging pictures and artwork on your walls, in which case you’ll want to invest in a level. These can also come in handy when setting up furniture to make sure the feet are all installed at an even height, letting you know if you need to add any jambs under one side. 

“Don’t buy a discount level, most of them are not truly level,” Sexton cautions. “A small six-to-eight inch level is great. If you need to go up a size, then go for a two-foot level.”

Utility Knife

8. A utility knife

You’re going to have a lot of boxes to open as you unpack your new home, and you never know when you’ll need to take on a handy project like replacing the screen in your windows. Having a utility knife on hand will make these jobs quicker and save the life of your scissors. 

“Buy a normal size utility knife, not the miniature style,” Sexton suggests. “Also, make sure you have a pack of extra blades. You don’t need to get specialty blades, the standard blades will work for almost everything.”


9. A flashlight

Most of us have flashlights on our phones, so the idea of having a physical flashlight feels a bit silly. But while your phone flashlight may be great for a short while in the event of a power outage, Sexton explains having a headlight is actually better suited for your toolbox. 

“You can get a normal flashlight, but I highly recommend getting a headlight with a band that goes around your head and has the light in the front. Alternatively, you could get one of each.  You won’t always be able to hold a light while you’re using your hands to do things. I exclusively use headlights for work.”


10. A drill or driver

Power tools might be intimidating to some, but having a drill or driver is a good idea for every home. 

“A driver is a tool that looks like a drill, except it makes a quick hammering noise when turning,” Sexton explains. “Its purpose is to make driving difficult screws much easier. Having both a drill and a driver are great, but if I had to make a choice, I would default to a driver.” 

If you’re getting a drill and driver, Sexton shares there are different options. 

“You can get small drill bits that fit in a driver, and it can double duty as both. Ideally, you should get both a drill and a driver, and often they are sold in kits. Cordless is best, but don’t forget to charge the battery. Corded drills can work, but drivers are typically only available as cordless.”

Ready to take it a step further? Build yourself a functional starter workshop with these six tools.

Other things to consider

In addition to these 10 tools, Sexton shared a few other things you might want to consider keeping in your toolkit. 

  • Spare batteries—at least 20 AAA and AA batteries on hand, plus a few C batteries, and some 9V batteries, too. Alkaline can sit for years and not lose their charge. Rechargeables are great, but they lose their charge too quickly, and get forgotten.
  • An oscillating tool—oscillating tools are great for making cuts on things in difficult places. Cordless is great, but corded will also do.
  • An emergency pipe repair—Sexton recommends the ‘Kibosh Rapid Pipe Repair’. Get a 1/2 inch and a 3/4. If you get a leak in a pipe, this can plug it immediately and prevent potentially costly damage.


So if you’re not a handyperson, it’s always advised to call in the professionals when things go wrong. However, having these tools in your home can be gamechangers in the event of an emergency. 


Architectural Trends in New Homes

Design trends come and go each year, and it’s always an exciting undertaking for interior designers to explore the current and upcoming design themes for condos, townhouses and single-family homes. When we think about these trends, however, we often overlook architecture or building design and instead tend to focus on fun, non-structural elements such as colours, materials, textures and accessories.

What’s interesting about this is the fact that architectural trends are a key consideration for both the government and developers when it comes to constructing new homes. 

“Guidelines are developed in collaboration with city staff, developers, planners, and architects,” says Melanie Doytchinova of Kirkor Architects & Planners, based out of Toronto, Ontario, and Calgary, Alberta. “These guidelines are essentially the new trends being set by the government with the intent to improve quality of life and provide a better mix of housing types to support people at different stages in life.” 

What’s clear is our modern lives significantly impact the design of our homes and the unique architectural trends and designs we see emerging.

Worker installing solar panels on a roof for an eco-friendly home designImage via Bill Mead, Unsplash

Eco-friendly homes

With an ongoing emphasis on climate change awareness and sustainability, designing and building with the environment in mind remains a top priority for many builders and homeowners. Incorporating sustainable practices, techniques and materials in new builds—as well as updating older buildings—has become the new standard.

Homeowners are looking for something adaptable, affordable, and sustainable. As well as being good for the environment, eco-friendly designs often go hand-in-hand with long-term cost efficiency of our homes. Whether it’s through the use of solar panels, recycled house materials, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, insulation and air tightness, or being mindful of window and door selections for energy reduction, it seems there’s a conscious effort to support the planet. This effort is reinforced by the range of government-backed clean energy incentives and rebate programs in operation across the country. 

Curious about the relationship between architecture and how we interact with the place we live? Episode 27 of the REAL TIME podcast features Canadian architect Todd Saunders, who shares his perspective.

Exterior view of modern apartment building offering

Minimized window-to-wall ratios

Specifically, in relation to windows, Doytchinova mentions large windows are a “trend we’ll be moving away from” as there are guidelines related to sustainability minimizing window-to-wall ratios in order to make new construction more energy efficient. “We’ll start seeing the trend of the ‘glass towers’ move more and more into solid wall construction with punched-in windows,” she suggests. 

Despite the aesthetic appeal of large windows and the uplifting psychological effect they have on us when natural light floods through them and brightens up our homes, energy efficiency also needs to be taken into account. When coupled with the known fact that windows are (usually) the main cause of energy loss in our homes, it becomes clear why minimizing the window-to-wall ratio helps to reduce energy consumption.

A large living area with beige furniture and carpetingImage via ​​Francesca Tosolini, Unsplash

Design flexibility

Design flexibility allows residential buildings to evolve over time as requirements, likes, and dislikes change. In terms of adaptability, this could include elements like moveable partitions, a room’s ability to expand, multi-use spaces, or even furniture that can be repositioned without making a permanent change to the building. 

“Designing more adaptable units by using movable walls, fold away furniture, demountable partitions, prefabricated elements, or modules rather than drywall and framing could be a future trend,” says Doytchinova.

“The trend is to build in a way that’s flexible and allows for alterations, like adding or removing walls and partitions to accommodate a household’s needs for space during varying life stages,” Doytchinova adds. “Therefore, it’s encouraged to use alternative construction systems that can be easily repurposed. We’re encouraged to prioritize using columns for the building structure rather than shear walls in order to be able to, one day, combine rooms or apartments and adapt layouts.”

A modern open-concept living room, dining room and kitchen with white walls and black architectural accents

Suitably sized housing options for all

Closely related to design flexibility is the trend—and requirement, for many—towards more space

“In the last few decades, contemporary unit sizes, layouts, and amenity spaces have been designed and marketed to smaller households without children,” says Doytchinova. “Now, the objective is to ensure new developments respond to all segments of the population with a range of housing types.” 


The Color Green in a Room

Green is considered the most restful color for the eye.Combining the refreshing quality of blue and the cheerfulness of yellow, green is suited for almost any room in the house.In the kitchen, green cools things down; in a family room or living room, it encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and togetherness.

Green also has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating.It is believed to relieve stress by helping people relax.It is also believed to help with fertility, making it a great choice for the bedroom.


The color Yellow in a room

Yellow captures the joy of sunshine and communicates happiness. It is an excellent choice for kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms, where it is energizing and uplifting. In halls, entries and small spaces, yellow can feel expansive and welcoming. Even though yellow although is a cheery color, it is not a good choice for main color schemes. Studies show that people are more likely to lose their temper in a yellow interior. Babies also seem to cry more in yellow rooms. In large amounts, this color tends to create feelings of frustration and anger. In chromotherapy, yellow is believed to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.


The Color Red in a Room

Red raises a room's energy level.The most intense color, it pumps the adrenaline like no other hue.It is a good choice when you want to stir up excitement, particularly at night.In the living room or dining room, red draws people together and stimulates conversation.In an entryway, it creates a strong first impression.

Red has been known to raise blood pressure and speed respiration and heart rate.It is usually considered too stimulating for bedrooms, but if you're typically in the room only after dark, you'll be seeing it mostly by lamplight when the color will appear muted, rich and elegant.

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