July 24, 2024

Month: June 2024

Sarah Beeny shares a idea on exactly where to conserve during a residence reno

Sarah Beeny is definitely a seasoned house expert, becoming recognized for presenting Television reveals these as House Ladder and her personal modern docuseries, Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Region amid quite a few other people. And that's not to point out the priceless working experience of renovating quite a few of her own homes. So when she offers assistance about wherever to preserve and in which to splurge when renovating a property, we make absolutely sure to hear.

It is often a delight when professionals handle to surprise us with their suggestions, as Sarah did with her spending budget kitchen area strategy in a current interview with Ideal Household that just may conserve you from some kitchen area renovation regrets and aid help you save some income for parts where it is really much more greatly needed.

Sarah’s suggestion neatly aligns with Kevin McCloud’s IKEA kitchen philosophy, in that you really do not have to spend a great deal of funds on the base of your cooking house. ‘You can often get absent without the need of a right kitchen,’ points out Sarah. ‘You can just use bits of furnishings that you can get so cheap!'

A kitchen made of vintage furniture

(Picture credit rating: Foreseeable future PLC/David Giles)

Sarah Beeny’s house renovation strategies

‘You can get 2nd-hand furnishings for virtually very little and then paint it all the similar colour,' suggests Sarah. 'That way you could get a makeshift kitchen area for most likely £200. And it won't do permanently but it will do for a while.'

A kitchen with a vintage open bookshelf used to display tableware

(Image credit history: Upcoming PLC/Tom Meadows)

As for what to do with the discounts? Spend in the crucial baseline of the house that you may well regret chopping corners on. ‘Make guaranteed that your wiring and your plumbing is accomplished proper,' she advises. 'Make sure you really do not have damp on the walls, have the plastering appropriate, electrics ideal, get all of individuals foundation items suitable. And then fret about performing much more high priced issues later on.'

Can newcomers to Canada solve the construction industry’s labour complications?

Development is a multi-billion-dollar business which is driving progress in Canada, but there’s a best storm of uncertainty on the horizon.

As the industry continues to grow, a labour scarcity is protecting against the constructing field from achieving its accurate potential. And in the subsequent 5 yrs, 20 for each cent of the workforce is set to retire, with not enough staff to exchange them.

That’s problematic for an business that did $7.2 billion in revenue in 2019 in the Prairies by yourself.

With Canada’s populace rising as a result of immigration and the arrival of refugees, the labour lack is ensuing in less houses, exacerbating a housing crisis which is gripped the country put up-pandemic.

What does it all suggest for the up coming couple a long time?

One particular resolution may be those quite newcomers now calling Canada dwelling, with a likelihood for new legacies in just attain.

Enter the Winnipeg-centered Western Retail Lumber Association (WRLA), which will help its member businesses – in the Prairies, B.C., northwestern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut – increase in the business.

“We’re below to support tiny to medium and big businesses that get the job done in the developing resources marketplace,” explained WRLA president Liz Kovach. “Our associates develop and offer every little thing that goes into a building. So whether it’s a professional developing, residential or agricultural developing, that’s what they do. And our work is to aid them operate definitely terrific, sleek firms the place we help their team in their teaching demands and of system, their advertising and marketing desires as well to their consumer room.

“Our business and our affiliation signifies almost everything from begin to finish. So whether it’s a tree that is harvested and processed into lumber, whether it’s siding that commenced out as a steel coil and has now been manufactured into something that seems gorgeous on the outside the house of your home, irrespective of whether it’s the insulation that you never see but you appreciate when it keeps you neat or warm dependent on the time of 12 months it is. All of all those, from start off to complete, our associates generate.”

Related: Canadian lumber business grappling with countless numbers of unfilled positions

But the design marketplace is so considerably more than a selection of lumber, sidings and insulation, according to Kovach. It’s about “building communities,” she claims.

“When you stroll into a area lumber keep, you are not basically halting to feel about what that involves simply because you just need to have some thing. No matter if you have to have a screw, regardless of whether you will need wood, no matter what it is that you want. But these individuals truly are encouraging the design sector create communities.

“And I know a whole lot of people really don't see that,” she included.

‘There’s normally likely to be a need’

What Kovach sees are the signals: a battling financial system, the labour shortage, an escalating population, the housing disaster.

“We’re normally going to be constructing, there’s generally heading to be a have to have and we see there’s development all over the place which is necessary,” she said. “We’re actually heading to start off to see the change once the desire rates go down and after our economic climate starts to choose up on the constructing facet. We’re truly likely to see the effect of how much desires to be created here in Canada.”

That’s wherever the WRLA is taking an energetic position in trying to make it simple for newcomers to understand about the marketplace and “build their job from there.” Kovach says bringing new faces to the field is critical to retain it shifting – and hold a roof in excess of everyone’s heads.

“For newcomers, this is a wonderful area to arrive,” the association’s president reported. “We have so many of our businesses that have these a cultural variety. If you go by way of all of our crops, you’ll get to see the flags of all the cultures that are represented and it’s genuinely incredible to see. You can see the variety on the ground, persons are doing the job genuinely nicely with each other and there’s absolutely some coaching there to enable people triumph and excel.

“We’ve witnessed a lot of newcomers to Canada who have found some interest, and I have listened to of a whole lot of them now and it’s seriously cool mainly because now we get to get the job done with them on some of their instruction and growth as nicely. It is exciting to be a aspect of that.”

Liz Kovach, president of the Western Retail Lumber Association, says extra workplaces in the sector are integrating cultural areas of the men and women who make up their workforces. (Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

Kovach states no issue what the skillset, there’s home in the building industry for persons to arrive operate. Aspect of that is since the WRLA provides schooling and teaching that specially caters to varying stages of abilities and encounters. It’s also, according to Kovach, due to the fact virtually every single ability is transferrable to the sector.

“I’m a great instance,” she informed CityNews. “I was training to be an athletic therapist, now I’m performing in the making offer field. I would have never ever been equipped to prepare this. As you understand and as you start to realize what some of your strengths are and your pursuits lie, that’s when you commence to generate that shift.”

Job transform for immigrants to Canada

Far more excellent examples are not challenging to arrive by.

At Winnipeg’s Quik-Therm Insulation, a producing plant on Sargent Avenue, Canadian immigrants are functioning hard in an marketplace that was the moment international to them.

Michael Bernardino and his coworkers Neil Aguilar and Jotham Benedicto may possibly no extended be thought of newcomers to Canada – they all immigrated from the Philippines in the early to mid-2010s – but they’re surely newcomers to building, aiding to fill a hole left by the expanding shortage of staff in the sector.

They all came to Canada hoping for extra prospects for them selves and their people.

Bernardino, who has been working at Quik-Therm for two many years, gave CityNews a warehouse tour, where expanded polystyrene sheets are turned into insulation.

“We have shares prepared to laminate,” claimed the 42-12 months-previous. “We minimize blocks, (dependent) on the order of the prospects.”

Then will come lamination, which Bernardino calls his favorite portion of the method.

“So generally we operate it through (the laminator machine), to put a movie on major and below the styro… It’s gonna be laminated from bottom and prime. Then it is gonna go by way of this perforator, it places some little holes for h2o and air to evaporate… Then we stack them and bag them.”

Bernardino’s entry into the building marketplace was unplanned and surprising. An expert nurse, he immigrated to Canada in 2014 from Angeles Metropolis in the Philippines to sign up for family in Winnipeg.

“I was a bit disappointed since of how rigorous the regulatory system of nursing right here prior to. So then why not shift to a further small business?”

—Michael Bernardino

“Back then I was however residing with my brother, so I really do not want to be a burden to them, so I have to have to locate a position to assistance fiscally.”

Bernardino located a work at a warehouse, and it inevitably led to him working at Quik-Therm. Aguilar and Benedicto afterwards joined him at a job they all say does not even feel like get the job done.

“No pressure. Even soon after work, you can go dwelling (with) no stress,” described Aguilar, who came to Canada from Quezon with his uncle in 2012. “Unlike other warehouses, exactly where initial detail in the morning you’re currently weary. But listed here, you will hardly ever get drained.”

“We treat every single other as a household,” Bernardino said. “So there is no stress, all of us are happy, and at the stop of the working day, you just played and not get the job done. I consider which is the most crucial part. You enjoy what you’re working.”

“It is fun,” added Benedicto. “That’s the most significant detail, proper? You are likely out in the early morning and then you’re excited going to your position and all the individuals below. We’re all loved ones listed here. It’s a family enterprise and that is why, my very first day right here, even my interview when I came below, I felt like I’m home. This is like household. Even the warehouse, it feels like it’s not a warehouse.”

(Still left to Correct) Neil Aguilar, Jotham Benedicto and Michael Bernardino make up the production line at Quik-Therm Insulation in Winnipeg. (Joanne Roberts, CityNews)

Benedicto, who still left Manila with his spouse and 3 young ones in 2017, is the latest member of the Quik-Therm workforce, with 3 months less than his belt.

“When I had my youngsters, me and my wife made a decision to go listed here for much more possibility and hope for a safer and superior long term for my children,” he reported.

Ryan Cullen, Quik-Therm’s director of operations, calls doing work in Manitoba “a blessing.”

“It’s neat to see your home province and operating with people today in your dwelling province and getting it out the doorway and then heading all all through Canada,” Cullen said. “We’re going up north to Nunavut, into the Yukon, to Northwest Territories and owning an affect. I feel it’s just, from my standpoint, it’s just cool becoming included in a Manitoba business and then creating a variance all during Canada.”

Coming from 3 various areas in the Philippines and three diverse employment backgrounds, Bernardino, Aguilar and Benedicto all had hesitations entering an business they understood very little about. Now they’re in the midst of a new vocation.

“I’m on the lookout forward to additional several years in here and ideally I will increase myself and I have my vocation growth right here,” mentioned Benedicto.

The three mates are not confident what the long run holds, but they know their organization will be at the rear of them. Aguilar, for one, is headed to Pink River Faculty soon to analyze IT Quik-Therm built it crystal clear he has a work with them each during and soon after his schooling.

As the firm grows and it wants extra members, Bernardino and his colleagues have turned into de facto recruiters.

“I’m considering of our buddies, to get them to operate with us, to experience this sort of vibe,” Bernardino said. “Like loved ones matter in the place of work. I imagine that would be good for us and hopefully for them, much too.

“To other Filipinos right here in Canada, if you want to work in this type of business, why not consider it? Perhaps you’ll like it.”

And it is not just Filipino immigrants who are becoming a member of the creating sector. The Western Retail Lumber Affiliation states it is seeing newcomers to Canada from all about the world selecting to give the field a try out, and as a result has been establishing components particularly meant to guidance persons whose initial language is not English.

‘For young people in our industry, the option is amazing’

The constructing market is not just about producers and construction personnel, as there are diverse work in the sector, this kind of as shipping, producing, revenue, advertising and marketing, IT, HR, management and client company.

Market leaders say the labour shortage extends to those people aspects of design as very well. It has them touting the benefits of a profession in building.

Mark Kennedy, the vice-president of functions at STAR Constructing Supplies in Winnipeg, states the opportunity job development in the development industry is really promising.

“For youthful men and women in our market, the chance is wonderful,” stated Kennedy, who turned a element-time gig at a design firm into a 35-12 months-job. “There is a ton of more mature fellas like myself that are on the lookout at the end of our professions and possibly looking to retire. And right now you can publish your personal ticket if you’re a youthful particular person who wants to get the job done tough and study the organization, you can genuinely do perfectly in this marketplace.

“With the expansion and the housing problems that there’s been lately, it’s challenging to come across excellent people, and knowledgeable individuals are quite hard to locate. It’s a quite competitive market place, so finding these excellent men and women and retaining them is most likely our major obstacle.”

STAR is a enterprise that provides setting up elements to contractors and to dwelling builders.

“A ton of it all starts off from right here,” Kennedy claimed. “So every task that you see that is likely up wherever you see cranes or development or anything at all all starts from a lumber yard.”

Mark Kennedy, vice-president of operations at STAR Creating Materials in Winnipeg, suggests any individual moving into the field can produce their individual ticket. (Steve Anderson, CityNews)

What commenced as a “little homegrown business” in Winnipeg grew into what it is right now, with Kennedy emotion the good results of the retail store mirrors anyone’s prospective for advancement in the field.

“We had (a) gravel lumberyard,” the vice-president of operations recalled. “If it rained, it was these massive puddles that were coming in. The warehouses were slipping in excess of. Our retailer was tiny and we experienced everyone tripping about everybody.

“During COVID, we in all probability would have had to shut down if we stayed in that place. So we understood that this was a huge endeavor for us in order to rebuild and rebrand of who we had been and who we preferred to be.”

Pursuing that “much-desired update,” STAR Developing Materials now has a renovated retail area, a seven-acre shipping and lumber garden, and many warehouses.

A great deal like the company, Kennedy’s possess occupation grew above the a long time. He labored at a lumber corporation by means of school and turned that into a total-time position following graduation.

“From there it’s just chance following option arrived by,” he mentioned. “It took me to Vancouver and the West Coastline … and then that brought me again to Winnipeg exactly where through a few unique possibilities again, I finished up at STAR and now I’m working the company.

“I don’t think I’ve ever applied for a position. It was fundamentally just an opportunity came upon itself from enterprise to enterprise and slowly but surely moved up and just worked really hard at what we were undertaking and you get identified.”

Kennedy hopes his story evokes other individuals to get a likelihood in an marketplace that desperately demands new faces. With a fifth of the workforce retiring in the coming yrs, it spells uncertainty for the in close proximity to potential.

But the impending hole in the making sector also opens a earth of choices – for immigrants, youthful Canadians, or anybody looking to learn and improve and be component of the upcoming era building Canada’s foreseeable future.

Walmart is practically giving away this bestselling 4-piece rattan patio furniture set ahead of summer

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Walmart


Want to level up your outdoor living space this summer? Head on over to Walmart -- the Walmart website that is -- because we found a really fantastic deal on a top-rated rattan patio furniture set for $206. CBS Essentials readers are going crazy for it: It's our bestselling patio set of 2024.

Right now you can get this 4.2-star rated patio set by Costway that includes two single chairs with cushions (23.5" x 25" x 31"), a loveseat with a cushion (43.5" x 25" x 31") and a tempered glass top coffee table (35" x 18" x 17.5") that supports up to 165 pounds. The chairs support up to 400 pounds. The washable cushions are available in white, turquoise, red, navy and beige.

"This patio furniture looks great and is very comfortable," a Walmart reviewer said. "All the pieces and hardware were clearly marked and the assembly instructions were easy to follow. Very well satisfied."

Originally priced at $369, you can get this four-piece patio furniture set at Walmart starting at $206. Shipping is included.

Looking for more patio furniture deals? Walmart has plenty of discounted outdoor furniture pieces and patio sets to shop right now. Tap the button below to see all the deals.


More great patio furniture deals at Walmart

Walmart is your go-to store for inexpensive patio furniture this spring. Check out these curated Walmart patio furniture finds, with options for every size of porch or deck.

Tappio 3-piece bistro set with table: $85

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Walmart


On a tight budget this spring? Here's an outdoor patio furniture solution under $100. This three-piece rattan set includes two chairs (23" x 23" x 28") and a table (15.75" x 15.75" x 17").

"I love my set," says one verified Walmart reviewer. "I use it for my upper balcony at my townhouse. It's the perfect size and the seats are wide so you don't feel like you are going to have to squeeze in the chair and break it. They look a little low when you put them together but are actually a good height."

Regularly $130, you can score this patio furniture deal for $85 at Walmart now.


OC Orange Casual 3-piece outdoor sectional: $240

oc-orange-casual-outdoor-sectional-sofa.jpg

Walmart


This three-piece rattan patio set, rated 4.4 stars by Walmart reviewers, includes a loveseat (26.8" x 49.2" x 26"), lounge (27.2" x 49.2" x 26") and table with a tempered glass top (21.65" x 21.65" x 12.6"). The polyester cushions feature a zipper for easy removal and cleaning.

"Super easy to assemble, comfy and good looking," says one verified Walmart reviewer.

Regularly $530, get this three-piece set on sale at Walmart now starting at $240.


Rattan eight-piece outdoor furniture set: $410

walmart-8-piece-patio-set.jpg

Walmart


Need more seating for your guests this spring and summer? This eight-piece patio furniture set includes four chairs (23" x 22.5" x 32.5"), two loveseats (41" x 23.5" x 32.5"), two tempered glass coffee tables (27.5" x 16" x 16") and washable cushions.

Says one Walmart reviewer about the 4-star-rated rattan patio set: "I love the set, I use it almost every morning. The assembly was easy and the seating is comfortable. I bought the double set, one for under my carport, one for the garden. 

Save on this bestselling outdoor patio furniture set at Walmart now. It's available in six colors, ranging from turquoise to gray.

Regularly $510, get this patio set at Walmart for $410.


Rattan outdoor patio daybed: $220

costway-outdoor-patio-furniture-daybed.jpg

Walmart


Lounge all spring and summer on this rattan outdoor patio daybed (61" x 52" x 27.5"). The washable cushions are available in five colors. Supports up to 800 pounds. Prices vary by color, though most are on sale.

It's rated 4.0 stars at Walmart.

"This outdoor daybed is exactly as described and pictured," said a Walmart reviewer. "Looked for a year to find an affordable one. This was it!"

Regularly $389, get this patio set at Walmart for $220.


Rattan 3-piece outdoor furniture set: $154

three-piece-walmart-patio-set-165.jpg

Walmart


Looking for furniture for a smaller outside space? Check out this three-piece rattan set. There are eight colorways available.

Perfect for small spaces, this patio furniture set includes two single chairs (26.5" x 26.5" x 30") and a glass-top coffee table (19.5" x 19.5" x 19.5"). The cushion covers are zippered for easy removal and washing. The chairs support up to 390 pounds.

"Really nice set for the price," a Walmart reviewer says about this 4.2-star patio set.

Find this set at Walmart starting at $154, reduced from $389. 


22 Home Design Trends That Are Mega-Popular For Reasons Many People Will Never Understand

Decorating a home is a double-edged sword; on one hand, you can furnish and customize exactly as you please, but on the other hand, aesthetics vary from person to person — and sooner or later, you're bound to invite someone in who just doesn't vibe with your personal tastes. Recently, we shared people's least favorite home design trends that are just about everywhere these days, and even more of you chimed in with your hot takes on how people decorate their spaces. These were the best ones.

1."Doorless bathrooms. Why would anyone build a doorless bathroom, much less in a bedroom? 'Why do I always have pink eye?' That's because poop and mold are on your pillows, Brittany. And don't forget, if you're a private pooper, you're gonna have to go somewhere else or ask your partner to leave the room. Who thinks of this stuff?!"

A cozy bedroom with a large ornate mirror, a bed with a floral comforter, a window, a towel rack, and a doorway leading to a sink areaA cozy bedroom with a large ornate mirror, a bed with a floral comforter, a window, a towel rack, and a doorway leading to a sink area
John Keeble / Getty Images

2."Exposed beams are beautiful and have been around for centuries — but you're not fooling me when you slap up some heinous, faux wood 'beam' on your ceiling for that rustic, modern farmhouse look. I recently saw a TikToker put up a faux wood beam made of foam, and I swear I nearly threw up."

—Anonymous, 36, Indiana

3."Built-in appliances are definitely dumb. Unless there's an easy way to remove the appliance for repairs or replacement, building around it is asinine."

Modern kitchen with white cabinets, wood countertops, electric stovetop, built-in oven, and large corner windows showing a city viewModern kitchen with white cabinets, wood countertops, electric stovetop, built-in oven, and large corner windows showing a city view
Anatoliy_gleb / Getty Images

4."'Agreeable gray' everything. When we repainted our living room, we read about how agreeable grey is perfect, so we got a tester pot and painted a wall that was out of direct sunlight. It looked like wet cardboard. It also took four or five coats of primer to cover up. We now call all that class of colors 'grievous griege.'"

LastMangoInParis

5."One trend I cannot stand is putting gigantic houses on itty bitty-sized lots. There will be little yard to speak of, but a 4,000-square-foot house that is fighting against their neighbors to the extent that you can look into your neighbor's windows — but have nowhere to be outside or throw a ball for your dog."

Modern suburban street lined with large, two-story houses featuring brick exteriors and well-maintained lawns. No people are visibleModern suburban street lined with large, two-story houses featuring brick exteriors and well-maintained lawns. No people are visible
Marc Dufresne / Getty Images

6."Doorless showers. Every time you use those awful doorless showers, the entire bathroom gets soaked."

—Anonymous

7."Pillows, pillows, and more pillows! Big pillows, bright pillows, itsy-bitsy pillows. They look pretty when arranged perfectly on a bed. The problem is most of the time, they end up jumbled or thrown on a chair."

Modern bedroom with a tufted headboard, four black and white pillows, white bedding, and two nightstands with geometric lamps and small decor itemsModern bedroom with a tufted headboard, four black and white pillows, white bedding, and two nightstands with geometric lamps and small decor items
John Keeble / Getty Images

8."Huge master bedrooms and bathrooms that minimize the number of bedrooms (or rooms) possible. I'm not having a party in my bedroom, so yeah, it doesn't have to be so big."

ropre

9."Why do I see houses that are ALL built with the garages set as the FIRST in-your-face visual with new homes? Please, for the love of aesthetics, stop creating this atrocity!"

A modern suburban two-story house with a double garage, front lawn, and a single tree on the right sideA modern suburban two-story house with a double garage, front lawn, and a single tree on the right side
Erik Isakson / Getty Images/Tetra images RF

10."Why are they designing homes where you have to walk through the bathroom to get to the closet? What if someone is using it when I want to get dressed?"

—Anonymous

11."Two-tone kitchen cabinetry. The next owners will be thrilled to rip out that island that doesn’t match the rest of the kitchen — or even worse, the different colors on lower and upper cabinets."

A modern kitchen with wooden floors, blue and white cabinets, and stainless steel handles. A small rug is placed in front of the sink areaA modern kitchen with wooden floors, blue and white cabinets, and stainless steel handles. A small rug is placed in front of the sink area
Triggerphoto / Getty Images

12."Those huge bowl sinks set on top of vanities or counters. I call them above-ground sinks."

Michelle

13."Free-standing bathtubs. They create about 30 square feet of nearly unreachable space that needs frequent cleaning."

Modern bathroom with a free-standing bathtub in the center, a large window with a roller blind, and two vessel sinks on a wooden countertopModern bathroom with a free-standing bathtub in the center, a large window with a roller blind, and two vessel sinks on a wooden countertop
Dreamtimestudio / Getty Images

14."No mud rooms or small entryways in favor of larger living spaces. Being in the Midwest, it can get wet and muddy as seasons change. I need a place to take off my winter gear and not track dirt into my main living spaces."

—Anonymous, Minnesota, 25

15."Kitchen sinks in a center island. Not everything goes in the dishwasher. So where do all the dirty items go until they get washed? And where do they air dry? Right on display in the center island. I also saw an island stove with a pot filler sticking straight up from the counter. What an eyesore!"

Modern kitchen with white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a large island with a sink, and tile backsplashModern kitchen with white cabinets, stainless steel appliances, a large island with a sink, and tile backsplash

—Anonymous, 75, California

Photovs / Getty Images/iStockphoto

16."Don’t get me started with the ridiculous trend of not having stair banisters at home — or anywhere else. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen."

sofiesfair2015

17."Pot fillers. How old is the water in those pipes that you're just about to put in your cooking? It's not like it gets used every day and the water is fresh."

Modern kitchen with white cabinets, marble countertops, a stainless steel oven, and a gold faucet with a pot filler above the stove. No persons visibleModern kitchen with white cabinets, marble countertops, a stainless steel oven, and a gold faucet with a pot filler above the stove. No persons visible

—Anonymous, 75, California

Joe Hendrickson / Getty Images

18."Those kitchen cabinets that reach the ceiling are a waste of money. Nobody can reach the top shelf unless they're pro basketball players. Just enclose the space over the cabinets if you don't want an open space. It's a lot cheaper."

ymnpggx

19."I hate my fake balcony so much. Like, why?! They're just big, sliding glass doors to nowhere. I see them all over Arlington now!"

A small balcony with wooden furniture and a potted plant, flanked by a brick wall and railingA small balcony with wooden furniture and a potted plant, flanked by a brick wall and railing
Pavel Adashkevich / Getty Images

20."All the DIY paneling. Sticking wooden bits onto the wall to make it look like a period property is weird."

—Anonymous

21."Any room or place I see with barn doors becomes instantly tacky to me. You got a multi-million dollar home? Great! You have barn doors inside? Trash…"

A rustic wooden barn door with a V-pattern, mounted on a black sliding track, installed in a minimalist roomA rustic wooden barn door with a V-pattern, mounted on a black sliding track, installed in a minimalist room

22."The common trend with new builds where bathrooms are built anywhere near kitchens, or places where eating takes place (like right off the kitchen bar counter or dining table)."

minialligator19

What's a current home design trend that you just can't get behind — and why? Tell us about it in the comments below, or submit anonymously using this form.

Vital measures to stabilize authentic estate market place

Prospective homebuyers question queries on housing tasks at a authentic estate agency in Beijing in March. [JIANG QIMING/CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

China"s genuine estate marketplace is expected to become completely stabilized in the 2nd 50 percent of 2024, ending a three-12 months adjustment period, if the most current rounds of highly supportive policy actions are very well applied to boost homebuyer assurance and relieve liquidity anxiety among the builders, authorities claimed on Friday.

They also count on restrictions on housing buys and loans will be gradually phased out, even though more coverage measures could be desired to fortify market place anticipations and speed up recovery of the sector.

Chinese authorities on Friday eased home finance loan procedures and vowed to battle the tough struggle of dealing with the chance of unfinished professional housing. They also asked to market presold property deliveries, cut down housing inventories and enhance financing for developers. Share charges of developers on A-share markets subsequently surged.

On Friday, the state removed business house loan fee minimums for very first and second properties nationwide, and lowered bare minimum down payment ratios for to start with and next residences, respectively, to 15 percent and 25 percent.

It also introduced the establishment of a 300 billion yuan ($41.51 billion) relending facility for inexpensive housing to really encourage and information economic institutions to help community State-owned enterprises in buying unsold accomplished industrial housing at suitable costs — to be applied as both sale-oriented or rental-oriented reasonably priced housing — in accordance with sector-oriented and regulation-primarily based concepts.

Beginning from Saturday, it will minimize desire charges for personalized housing provident fund financial loans by .25 percentage points.

In another advancement, at a information convention in Beijing on Friday, it was introduced that new steps will be introduced to aid regional governments to recall or buy back again unused household land parcels held by home developers to assistance minimize their economic tension. Governments in towns with excessive household inventories can arrange local Point out-owned enterprises to get unsold properties at acceptable charges and change them into economical housing, it said.

"Centering on lowering mortgage loan premiums, loosening residence invest in constraints and encouraging community government buys of unsold homes to transform them into inexpensive housing, the latest rounds of coverage steps will supply potent guidance for both of those supply and demand sides in the authentic estate sector," claimed Wang Qing, chief macroeconomic analyst at Golden Credit rating Ranking Worldwide.

"This will advertise presold house shipping and alter the ongoing craze of a considerable calendar year-on-year decrease in accomplished areas of professional houses considering the fact that the start off of the yr. Additionally, it will efficiently lower inventory tension, relieve the financial pressure on builders and greater manage default pitfalls," Wang mentioned.

The desire level for new mortgages prolonged to citizens was 3.69 percent by the end of March, stated the People's Lender of China, the country's central bank. The real mortgage loan price, on an upward pattern given that 2021, was believed to be amongst the optimum in background specified the at this time very low inflation concentrations, which was a key aspect fundamental the downward strain in the property marketplace irrespective of supportive policies in area, Wang mentioned.

"That usually means there is sizeable coverage area for supporting the residence industry, and if these adjustments are designed in a timely method, the sector could stand a very good possibility of stabilizing," he additional.

Yan Yuejin, director of the Shanghai-based mostly E-residence China Study and Growth Institution, mentioned the new progress also signaled that efforts to improve land utilization across various destinations are set to accelerate, which will aid authentic estate builders convert their land inventory into dollars and therefore reduce their liquidity stress.

"In the earlier, insurance policies to make improvements to land use generally focused on minimizing land idleness and squander. This time, having said that, it is very clear that the emphasis has shifted towards principally assuaging the challenges confronted by authentic estate enterprises and lowering their personal debt burdens," Yan reported.

Wang Xingping, senior analyst of corporates at rating company Fitch Bohua, explained the new policy measures were "unprecedently supportive" of the residence sector.

Yet the extended assets market place downturn, in tandem with downward macroeconomic stress, has severely dampened current market confidence, Wang mentioned, adding, "There is continue to a superior chance for much more supportive procedures aimed at stimulating revenue in the short operate, which will help to constrain the drop in property product sales."

Chinese cities described further home rate drops in April equally in year-on-year and month-on-thirty day period phrases, which indicated that the residence market stays in a procedure of adjustment, said Wang Zhonghua, a statistician with the National Bureau of Statistics' city division.

Value declines broadened month-on-thirty day period in all the tier-three towns for both of those new residences and pre-owned attributes, reported Wang of the NBS.

Lu Ting, main China economist at Nomura, said the task of ensuring the delivery of presold residences retains the critical to halting the "downward spiral" facing China's residence marketplace.

Households' unwillingness to invest in attributes has intensified real estate developers' liquidity anxiety, which, in switch, even further impeded home supply and discouraged property getting, Lu explained. "It is for that reason reasonable for the central govt to set up a fund exclusively focused to guaranteeing housing shipping."

Liu Zizheng contributed to this story.

Sustainable home renovation tips: 6 expert ideas |

Renovations present a unique opportunity to make your home greener, creating environments that combine aesthetics and practicality with environmental consciousness.

Every decision made during a home renovation can contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle, from choosing eco-friendly gadgets and materials to minimizing waste and reducing energy consumption.

New Building Permit Hub launched to speed up homebuilding

To get more homes built faster and address challenges in B.C.’s housing market, a new digital Building Permit Hub will help streamline and standardize local permitting processes.

“The permitting process can be slow and complicated, delaying the construction of homes we urgently need,” said Premier David Eby. “Together, we’ve made progress cutting provincial and municipal permitting times, but we have to keep going. This new one-stop shop for local building permits will reduce red tape for homebuilders, local governments and First Nations, and ultimately save money, speed up construction and help people get into homes faster.”

The Province is digitizing local permit processes to make it easier and faster for homeowners and industry professionals to submit applications to local governments and First Nations. The Building Permit Hub is the next step in the Province’s work to speed up homebuilding and reduce the costs of housing, and meet the Province’s goal for British Columbia to become a North American leader in digital permitting and construction.

“We are exploring new ways to speed up the delivery of homes for people in B.C.,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “The Building Permit Hub will make the permitting process smoother for builders and local and First Nations governments, ensuring homes are built quicker without unnecessary delays. This is one of many actions we are taking in our Homes for People action plan.”

The Province’s work to cut provincial permitting times is showing results. Provincial permits are being processed faster and backlogs are being cleared with permits being processed faster than they are coming in.

The Province has heard from industry, local governments and First Nations that some of the biggest challenges with the local building-permit submission process are incomplete applications, inconsistent submission requirements from one community to another and different interpretations of compliance with BC Building Code requirements. These problems contribute to costly delays to building new homes for people.

The Building Permit Hub will address these challenges by offering a one-stop, simplified process, resulting in faster processing and review times. Builders will submit their permit applications online in the hub, which will:

  • standardize building-permit submission requirements across jurisdictions in B.C.;
  • automatically check that the permit application is complete; and
  • automatically check compliance with key parts of the BC Building Code.

A provincewide system that addresses the different permit requirements in each community will result in complete and consistent applications that are straightforward for local governments and First Nations to approve.

“This permitting tool will evolve, incorporating user feedback to deliver a seamless experience for those building the homes people need throughout the province,” said George Chow, Minister of Citizens’ Services. “Government is working to unlock the full potential of digital innovation and technology, as we tackle the housing crisis together.”

The Province worked closely with communities and industry experts to develop the Hub.

Twelve local governments and two First Nations will pilot the first version of the Building Permit Hub. The Building Permit Hub will go live on Monday, May 27, 2024, to allow communities to update the tool for their local requirements and permitting capability is expected to come online this summer. The hub will be further developed in summer with additional features added, such as permit applications for secondary suites and accessory dwelling units, and will eventually be available throughout the province, allowing every community to process building permits digitally.

The Building Permit Hub will scale up to include more types of housing. Advancing digital permitting and construction is part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan to build homes for people faster, protect renters and fight speculation. The Province is investing in other digital housing solutions as well and has already delivered a web-based, interactive version of the building code.

The Building Permit Hub is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 78,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway.

Learn More:

To view the new Building Permit Hub, visit: https://buildingpermit.gov.bc.ca

To learn more about government’s new Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023HOUS0019-000436

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for people in British Columbia, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/

Four backgrounders follow.

Shop Amazon’s Most Comfortable Rattan Patio Furniture Up to 63% Off

For years now, rattan furniture has remained popular both indoors and outdoors, and it’s definitely not going away anytime soon (even professional interior designers say so!). Unlike other materials frequently used to make outdoor furniture, rattan patio furniture is versatile enough to fit almost any vision, regardless of trendy aesthetics or style. Plus, rattan patio furniture is perhaps the easiest outdoor furniture to take care of; you can easily fix broken strands with epoxy glue, clean it with nothing more than mild soap and water, and yes, you can even paint on it, too.

Because Amazon is undoubtedly one of the best places to buy outdoor furniture online, we did some research and discovered the best rattan patio furniture deals worth shopping right now. From dining tables and chairs to comfy sectionals, each of these rattan picks will add comfort style, and of course, more seating to your outdoor space. And thanks to potential savings of up to 63 percent, prices start at just $90.

Shop Rattan Patio Furniture Deals on Amazon

Christopher Knight Home Salla Outdoor Acacia Wood Dining Set

Amazon


For a subtle nod to rattan, this outdoor dining set effortlessly mixes textures and materials by pairing the wicker chairs with a solid acacia wood table and matching bench. (By the way, wicker is the weave, rattan is the actual material.) It comes with four chairs and a 63-inch long bench that can seat two people or up to three kids. The teak-finished table and bench introduce another material into the fold for extra contrast, as the frames on both are made of matte black metal that’s sturdy and long-lasting. All in all, it seats up to six people (again, maybe seven if you have kids), and the table itself spans 33 by 70 by 29.5 inches, providing ample space for dishes, food, and even board game night.

Devoko Three-Piece Patio Furniture Set

Amazon


An Amazon best-seller in the patio furniture category, this popular three-piece set is a quick and affordable way to add some extra seating to your outdoor space. With two comfortable wicker chairs and a small rattan coffee table that nestles in between, it’s the perfect bistro set for intimate conversions over a shared charcuterie board. Of course, it’s completely waterproof, quick and easy to assemble upon delivery, and the table comes with a tempered glass top that conveniently wipes clean with water. Both chairs come with a sponge-filled cushion that’s easy on the rear, too, and the covers can be removed whenever they need a deep cleaning.

Outsunny Seven-Piece Outdoor Patio Furniture Set

Amazon


This best-selling patio sofa is on major markdown right now, despite being able to accommodate as many as six people at once. A steal like this could easily go for over $700, so if you’re looking to add the most amount of seating as possible for the lowest cost possible, this is your chance. The U-shaped sectional is modular, meaning that each piece stands alone and can be rearranged to your liking. It also comes with a tempered-glass top coffee table that measures 28.75 by 25.5 by 12.5 inches—a convenient size for holding everyone’s drinks and even a few hors d’oeuvres, too. The sofa’s rattan construction has all the markers you’d look for in the material, including UV resistance, weather resistance, and waterproofing. Even the removable cushion covers are water repellent, so this entire set really can withstand all types of weather, all season long.

Pamapic Five-Piece Outdoor Patio Wicker Chair Set

Amazon


This gorgeous five-piece set is beloved by customers, and has more than 1,500 five-star ratings to prove it. For less than $350, you get two large, comfy chairs, a table with shelving, and two pull-out style ottomans to relax your feet on. The wicker weave on this set combines multiple colors of rattan, which gives it even more texture and dimension for an expensive Hamptons-esque flair. The rattan is waterproof and UV-resistant, therefore able to withstand all weather conditions, and because the ottomans tuck neatly underneath each chair, the entire set is space-saving, too.

There are more rattan patio furniture deals where those came from—aka Amazon. Keep scrolling below to shop and save on even more of our favorite patio furniture picks.

Signature Design by Ashley Grasson Lane Outdoor Patio Loveseat

Amazon


Devoko Five-Piece Patio Sectional Set

Amazon


Flamaker Three-Piece Patio Set

Amazon


Signature Design by Ashley Paradise Trail Outdoor Patio Sofa

Amazon


East Oak Breezeway Three-Piece Outdoor Bistro Set

Amazon


Best Choice Products Seven-Piece Modular Outdoor Sectional

Amazon


Manhattan Comfort Furttuo Rattan Outdoor Rocking Chair

Amazon


Wisteria Lane Four-Piece Outdoor Conversation Set

Amazon


How to mix and match bedroom furniture

Among the trends that the design world is all too happy to declare dead, the matching bedroom set, or suite as it’s sometimes called, is right up there with flush-mount “boob” lights and popcorn ceilings. “Conceptually, it’s very dated,” San-Francisco-based interior designer Marea Clark says. “When every piece of furniture looks exactly the same, it feels a little lazy and makes for a boring environment.”

Many companies still make these matchy-matchy sets, but they are unlikely to grace the pages of today’s shelter magazines or designers’ social media feeds. Instead, designers favor mixing an array of furniture finishes and styles for a more eclectic, collected look.

It hasn’t always been that way: America’s taste for the bedroom suite soured only recently. According to Alexis Barr, a design history instructor at the New York School of Interior Design, the idea of having matching bedroom furniture took off during the industrial revolution of the mid-1800s and remained popular through the 20th century, thanks to a mix of savvy advertising, expanded credit lines and a rising middle class.

“There was an attitude that if you’ve made it and you have your life in order, you can afford to buy things that go together,” says James Farmer, an interior designer in Perry, Ga. “Now we think differently about these things.”

But achieving the artfully mismatched look requires balancing furnishings in varying styles and materials. Pick too many motley pieces and your boudoir might have the aesthetic appeal of a roadside junk shop. So how do you master the mix? Here are the guidelines designers swear by.

Whether you’ve just inherited a bedroom set or you bought one 20 years ago and aren’t ready to replace it, you can work with what you have to achieve a look with more personality. “If you already own a matching set, changing one significant thing can make a difference,” Farmer says. “It’s like buying a suit off the rack and adding a funky tie. That tweak is what makes it your own.”

The easiest and least expensive items to swap out from a traditional suite are the nightstands. Adding a pair of bedside tables in a different finish or style can energize even the fustiest outdated set. And if there’s a matching headboard, changing it to an upholstered one helps because it’s one fewer wood piece in the room. “An upholstered headboard is a great opportunity to bring in some color or pattern through the fabric,” Clark says. “Plus, they’re comfortable; it’s nice to have something soft to lean against in bed.”

When shopping for dressers, chests and nightstands, designers recommend mixing natural wood-tone finishes, which could include rattan and cane, with painted and metal ones to avoid the dreaded sea of all brown furniture. “If you have five different kinds of stained wood coexisting in your room, it can feel like a thrift store exploded,” designer Shannon Claire Smith of D.C.-based Shannon Claire Interiors says.

For instance, Smith advises against buying nightstands in a light wood finish and a dresser in a similar but different tone because it might look like you tried to coordinate them and fell short of the mark. “Instead, I would combine the light wood nightstands with a black painted dresser, or do a burl wood dresser with lacquer-painted nightstands in a color,” she says. “The possibilities are endless, just so long as the finishes are different enough to look like you did it on purpose.”

That’s not to say that you can’t have two different wood tones happening in the same space. When Charlotte-based designer Charlotte Lucas works with more than one wood finish, she too aims for contrast. “It’s easier to mix a darker wood tone, such as ebony, with a lighter burl wood piece because there’s enough variation for them to complement each other,” she says.

Consider scale and proportions

Smith says one of the trickiest proportions to get right is how the bed relates to the nightstands and vice versa. “Beds these days are awfully low profile and they don’t have box springs like they used to,” she says. “Platform beds can be a great look, but if you don’t pay attention to that scale, it can feel very low slung, making the other furniture in the room feel off.”

Ideally, you’ll want no more than two to four inches between the top of the mattress and the top of the nightstand.

“You don’t want to feel like you’re reaching up really high or down low to set something on the nightstand next to you,” Clark says.

The proportions get even more complicated when you have non-matching pieces on each side of the bed. Say you found the perfect antique desk and you’d like to use it as a bedside table. In that case, you should look for a nightstand, table or chest with a similar proportion and finish for the other side of the bed to unify the pieces. “The other rule of thumb is to make sure they are both the same height within an inch or two,” Lucas says. “If you have two radically different heights with identical lamps, it’s going to look really off-balance.”

If one bedside table is more than a couple of inches taller than the other, you can still make it work by choosing different lamps that hit at the same height. What’s on both sides of the bed should carry a similar visual weight and have the same overall height.

Even the most eclectic interiors need balance and harmony. Bringing in too many stylistically unrelated pieces of bedroom furniture can produce a disjointed and chaotic result — the opposite of restful. “Your room might start feeling kooky if every piece is in a different style from a different period,” Clark says. “Balance older, vintage or antique finds with newer pieces so it doesn’t feel like a flea-market hodgepodge.”

Designers agree the key is to pick one dominant style to anchor the room, then pepper that with a few contrasting pieces in other styles. For instance, in a room of mostly modern furniture, one or two over-the-top French or antique pieces can break up the monotony. “Similarly, if you have all traditional furniture with classic lines, throwing in one sculptural, mid-century item is a great way to make the room feel instantly cool,” Smith says. “Drawing that juxtaposition is key to making the space unique.”

Farmer adds: “There’s a gift that you’re giving yourself when you appoint your bedroom. It’s your space, so be unapologetic about expressing your style.”

Michelle Brunner is a writer in D.C. who covers interior design and culture.

This is how considerably you have to have to generate to invest in a property in Toronto suitable now

Whilst home loan premiums in Canada are beginning to development reduce, there is regrettably little aid on the horizon for possible homebuyers, as affordability circumstances continued to worsen in most cities — which include Toronto — throughout the thirty day period of April. 

The most up-to-date affordability examination by Ratehub.ca paints a somber photograph of the country's present-day true estate marketplace, finding that it became tougher to qualify for a home finance loan in 10 out of 13 significant marketplaces in Canada last thirty day period owing to increasing residence costs. 

The report analyzed the bare minimum yearly earnings essential to get an average property in major Canadian metropolitan areas primarily based on April 2024 and March 2024 real estate details, although also using into account how mortgage rates and the mortgage anxiety check are impacting the income desired to get a residence. 

In accordance to the examine, the regular five-12 months mounted home loan rate decreased a little bit between March and April from 5.62 for every cent to 5.5 per cent. 

The common mortgage loan anxiety test — which involves borrowers to prove that they could find the money for to have their mortgage at a fee of two per cent or larger than the one they receive from their lender — also sits at 7.5 for each cent. 

"The two critical variables that impact home affordability, residence values and fascination costs, moved in reverse directions," said James Laird, Co-CEO of Ratehub.ca. 

"Curiosity premiums are down and residence values are up in 12 out of 13 towns we seemed at. The raise in household values was adequate this sort of that affordability worsened in 10 of 13 cities even with the level drop." 

The data collected was dependent on a property finance loan with a 20 for every cent down payment, 25-calendar year amortization, $4,000 once-a-year property taxes and $150 regular heating. Average household costs were sourced from the CREA MLS Home Price tag Index (HPI).

In Toronto precisely, the normal household value in March 2024 was $1,113,600 and $1,128,100 in April 2024, representing a transform of $14,500 —the 2nd-best raise witnessed in Canada moreover Halifax. 

home prices toronto

How a great deal you need to have to make to be equipped to afford a property in major Canadian towns. Supply: Ratehub.ca

The research also uncovered that the cash flow expected to acquire an typical property in Toronto in March was $217,500, a figure that increased to a staggering $218,050 in April. 

Regardless of the increase, the newest info release from the Canadian Genuine Estate Association (CREA) reveals that an boost in listings has resulted in the most "balanced marketplace conditions we have witnessed at the countrywide level given that before the pandemic" this spring. 

"House loan costs are continue to higher, and it continues to be complicated for a whole lot of persons to split into the market," said James Mabey, Chair of CREA's 2024-2025 Board of Administrators. 

"For those who can, it is the initially spring marketplace in some time wherever they can store around, get their time and exercise some bargaining energy. Given how substantially desire is out there, it can be really hard to say how extended it will final," Mabey continued. 

In accordance to Ratehub.ca, it is really anticipated that homebuyers will return to the authentic estate industry at the time the Bank of Canada starts off chopping its lending amount, which could occur as early as the future announcement on June 5, 2024. 

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Summer Home Improvement Projects to Cross Off Your List

Summer is a great time for home improvement projects and DIY updates around the house. Set some time (and money) aside this summer to give your home some TLC. Not only will it increase the overall value of your home, but little upgrades here and there can also save you a lot of money down the line.

sturti/Getty Images

Some home improvements can be expensive, such as adding central air conditioning or remodeling an entire room of your house. But some lower-cost projects can add value for less money. Here are some simple, affordable home improvement projects to try this summer that won't break the bank.

1. Pressure-Wash Outdoor Areas

Winter weather can leave all sorts of dirt and grime on your home's exterior and other outdoor areas. Take advantage of the warmer weather to give your home a high-powered cleaning. A pressure washer can quickly remove buildup on siding, driveways, decks, patios, and walkways. 

If you don't own a pressure washer, you can often rent one at your local home center or hardware store. As you clean your home's exterior, direct the spray downward to avoid forcing water into cracks or seams. Use a lower-pressure setting on surfaces that could easily be damaged, such as painted siding or wood decks.

2. Refinish Your Deck

Sprucing up your deck with fresh paint or stain in anticipation of summer entertaining is a summer home improvement project that will really pay off. Not only will refinishing your deck give it a clean look, but it will also help reduce cracks and splinters, making the surface friendlier for bare feet. Proper prep is key to a beautiful finish, so take the time to clean the surface and strip off the old finish before you begin. 

While you're at it, consider painting your patio furniture to make it look good as new. Then hang some outdoor string lights to make your space a dreamy oasis perfect for hosting a event.

Jay Wilde

3. Build a Shed

Add value to your home and a spot to park your lawn equipment by building a shed in your backyard. Before starting this project, check with your local authorities, as building codes and ordinances vary by location. Once you've gotten the go-ahead, choose a spot in your yard that offers convenient access and prepare a solid, even foundation. You can purchase shed kits at home centers and online or find building plans that can easily be customized with different materials.

4. Declutter Your Home

A summer home improvement project that can make a big difference in your living space is decluttering. Air out and organize those sometimes-forgotten areas that tend to be used less in colder months, like the garage, an outdoor shed, or a basement. It doesn't usually cost anything to declutter, and you can earn money by selling items you no longer use. Plus, you can use your earnings toward other home repairs. 

"It costs nothing except a week or two of your time, and the ability to let go and part ways with unneeded clutter that no longer brings you or your home joy," says Emilie Dulles, lifestyle design expert and founder of Dulles Designs. Your clutter can cost you money, and getting rid of things you don't use will make room in your house and even give you ideas for other improvements.

5. Refresh Your House with Paint

Summer is the perfect season for more significant paint projects. If you have areas in your home that you've been meaning to repaint, such as entire rooms or the exterior, summer is the time to do it—and a little paint could go a long way in transforming your space. The warm weather lets the paint cure properly and ensures that it will last longer. 

"I think painting is one of the best DIY projects because it can be easily corrected if you make any mistakes," says Chicago-based real estate developer Bill Samuel. "It really has a huge impact on the overall space when you take your time to repair any blemishes and do a quality job." Samuel says you can expect to pay between $15 to $50 per gallon; more expensive paints will usually cover the walls better and last longer. Dulles recommends painting parts of your home (or all of it) white to make it look bigger and brighter.

6. Check Gutters

This might not be the most fun or creative home improvement project, but it's an important one for protecting your home against summer storms and preparing for the colder months ahead. 

"Winter, followed by a rainy spring, can take a toll on your gutters and downspouts," says Bailey Carson, home expert at Angi, a digital company that helps people find local professionals for home projects. "If they're ignored, you could end up needing to replace them altogether, or worse, dealing with foundation damage, interior flooding, driveway cracks, or landscape erosion." The damage would cost you way more than cleaning your gutters, which averages $160, ranging from $118 to $225. 

All you need (if you don't have this equipment) is a gutter cleaning attachment for your garden hose, a ladder, a bucket, a gutter scoop, and heavy-duty gloves. You could also buy a gutter guard to protect your gutters and prevent leaves from gathering in them in the first place.

Adam Albright

7. Spruce Up Landscaping

Give your yard some attention, too—you're probably spending a lot more time in it enjoying the beautiful summer weather. While the cost of renovating your outdoor space varies depending on the project, there are simple DIY improvements to elevate your backyard or front yard for a lot less. 

Commercial real estate investor and founder of Property Cashin Marina Vaamonde says landscape your front yard. "Gardens make homes more aesthetically pleasing, and they also can add to the property value. Summertime is the perfect time to plant perennials, a variety of beautiful-looking flowers that are low maintenance," says Vaamonde. She also suggests lupines and hydrangeas as other beautiful (and low-maintenance) additions to your garden.

Adding plants or flowers up the walkway to your front door can give you instant curb appeal and liven up your front yard, says money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. You can do the same sprucing up in your backyard to eliminate overgrown or dead plants, trees, or shrubs, and add some patio furniture.

8. Clean or Replace AC Filters

Another not-so-fun but critical summer home improvement project: cleaning or replacing the filters on your HVAC unit. Don't worry: this one is quick and won't take as much time as cleaning your gutters. 

"Filters get dirty, especially if they haven't been changed in six months," says Rick Hoskins, home DIY expert and founder of FilterKing. Dirty filters can cause allergies by circulating dust, mold, and other allergens throughout your home when the AC is on during the summer. All you have to do is find your AC and furnace vents, unscrew them, and clean or replace the filters. Hoskins suggests looking for filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 for optimal protection.

9. Repair Siding

Summer is a good time to evaluate your vinyl siding for holes or tears that compromise the barrier it provides to your house, as well as unsightly areas that might have grown dingy or stained. If you find a small damaged area, you can clean and repair with caulk. If your siding has a larger area that needs repair (beyond your DIY skill level), seek professional help.

Check the integrity of your caulk at siding seams and in the corners. A fresh bead of caulk might be needed to secure the siding. Remove the old and dry caulk, then run a fresh bead where needed.

10. Install a New Doorbell

Your home might need a new doorbell that simply works better or maybe you're ready to upgrade to a next-generation video doorbell that keeps the "porch pirates" away. Either way, summer is the perfect time to replace your doorbell.

Even if you aren't tech-savvy, installation is fairly simple and the manufacturers do a thorough enough job explaining the process. Of course, no two homes are alike and, sometimes, the manufacturer's instructions can leave you with unanswered questions. To ease you through the process, we've put together a step-by-step guide for installing your video doorbell.

Kritsada Panichgul


11. Plant a Garden

The longer days give us more time to work outside. For gardeners, or hope-to-be gardeners, summer is the season to try to new plants, design a new garden bed, amend soil, and more. If you've never planted a thing in your life, there's a lot to consider—your planting Zone, your soil, light conditions, how much you want to tend to your plants, and even food production vs. flower beds.

If you want to start small, consider a raised garden bed. The structure of the bed (usually some type of wood) defines the size of what you can grow, and therefore, how much time you'll need to devote to your garden.

12. Clean Your Windows

Clean windows improve your home's curb appeal and allow natural to fill your rooms inside. They also give you a better window to the world outside. But cleaning those windows can present a logistical challenge. How do you safely get to your exterior windows, especially those on the second floor? There are various approaches, including using a ladder, extendable poles, magnetic window cleaners, and robotic cleaners, and safety is a top priority.

If you're not cool with working on a ladder or have a tricky terrain, there are plenty of other gadgets and tools that make it possible to reach difficult windows—from telescoping squeegees to cleaner sprays you attach to a garden hose to robots.

13. Add Lights in Your Garden

Bringing in light is a great way to make your garden usable at all hours. Garden lights along a sidewalk can add style as well as safety. There are plenty of low-voltage landscape lights to choose from. Or for the easiest way to add light, buy some solar lights. They are a stock item in the big box stores or you'll find lots to pick from online. You pop them in the ground and that's it. The sun charges them throughout the day. The lights come on in the evening.

Another way to bring light to your yard is by hanging string lights in your tree. Wrap them on low hanging branches or around the trunk. If a permanent installation is an option, hire a pro to install uplights on trees for extra drama.

The longer summer evenings will be more fun with light

Furniture getting last chance at SIRCH

Kevin Dunlop stands outside a portable shed in front of the Thrift Warehouse in Haliburton, working on a cedar chest.

He bends over a table doing marquetry – a decorative inlay of a canoe reflected in water.

People might know Dunlop from his days on the Studio Tour, when he was known as the Marquetryman.

As he works on the chest, he says he’s been in the Highlands since 1981.

“My wife’s more local than I am,” he says with a grin that shows laugh lines around his mouth and eyes. “I’d never get that kind of credential.”

SIRCH has hired Dunlop for a new pilot, ‘last chance project.’ Marketing manager, Laurie McCaig, said for the next few months, the warehouse will be accepting wooden furniture that would normally be turned away, and end up in the landfill.

“We’ll determine whether it’s worth it to improve it and sell it by repairing, restoring, refinishing, repurposing or upcycling,” McCaig said.

Dunlop tells the story of the chest. It came in with loose veneer on the top, as it had been water damaged. It was rejected at the receiving door. They called Dunlop over for a second opinion. He was hesitant, recognizing it would be a big job. However, he said staff challenged him, “and I decided to take on the project.”

He scraped the bad veneer off the lid, made the marquetry panel, sanded it, put a new finish on it. It took about three days, but the time was an anomaly.

“For the most part, the pieces I’ve been able to save have been under two hours of work,” he says.

He added he spends a great deal of time in conversation with people while he works, educating them on how, they too, can fix furniture destined for the landfill.

“We’re not only trying to rescue the furniture, but we’re trying to stimulate peoples’ imaginations, so they can now go into the thrift store, look at something that’s not quite ready for main street, and can imagine what they might be able to do with it. They can pick my brain and get some ideas on technique.”

Dunlop said he’s “loving it.” McCaig added Dunlop is the man for the job. “He has a fantastic reputation in the area. That friendly face gets it every time, but his wealth of knowledge of woodworking, with him having a studio tour booth for many years, he was just the perfect fit. We were happy to bring him onboard.”

McCaig said he’ll be there until October. “We’re just trying to divert as much as possible from landfill, and we’re trying to teach, that’s what we’re all about. Someone might see a piece like that and say ‘oh, I don’t know’ and just toss it. Instead of tossing it, either bring it here and donate it, help the community, or take on the project yourself, because maybe Kevin can give you an easy solution for a problem. That’s what the program is all about.”

Dunlop said the public is enjoying the program as well.

“Half the people already are quite interested. They’ve been talking about things they’ve brought back to life. I’ve been inviting them to bring before-and-after pictures. I’d like to put up a bulletin board with peoples’ projects. And, people are really picking my brain for techniques.”

He adds, “at this point in my life, it feels good. In my career as a furniture maker, I’ve been responsible for cutting down some trees, now it feels kinda’ good to be making sure that the one’s with good bones are not going to the dump. For me, it’s a process. It’s been a nice headspace when I’m doing the work. Once it’s done, that’s just a byproduct.”

The Thrift Warehouse is at 128 Mallard Rd. in Haliburton.