Kitchen Prep

kitchenBy Mark Cooper

The fact is, you want to know what to expect from your renovation, and when. Since the kitchen is considered the heart of the home it’s important to get everything done efficiently and on budget so you can get back to everyday life, so here are some of the main things you should take into consideration when contemplating a kitchen overhaul.

The first step is all yours: figuring out what you want to accomplish and why. Then, unless changes are minor, it’s worth five to ten per cent of your total budget for a professional designer.  You’ll need a week or two to schedule a meeting. Ensure you’ll be happy with the room layout, rather than trying to work around existing doors and windows. In the big picture, they’re not very hard or expensive to move.

kitchen2Much of your cost will be quality cabinets and countertops. Choose cabinetry made locally: the wood has already acclimatized, and  you’ll avoid expansion and shrinkage common with imports from dryer climates. transportation).

Plan ahead. Today’s kitchens utilize deep, full-extension drawers, especially for lower cabinets — you don’t want to be on your hands and knees searching for pots and pans.

Lighting is key. Under-cabinet, pendant and pot-lights will ensure your work surfaces are well-lit and your design is highlighted.

Along with those big decisions, count on a couple of weeks determining special features and design details – styles, colours, locations of cabinets, and types of drawers. Sometimes a minor point will affect something major, and you have to know where the pipes and wires are going to be before you start construction.

This is when you confirm your order for appliances. Don’t delay. You’ll be building around their specs, and it’s costly to rework your design if your expected models aren’t available.

Then expect a week or two for demolition and clean-out. Walls and floors will probably have to be gutted, even if you’re not making exterior changes. After that, assuming no structural surprises, you can begin roughing in ductwork for fans, electrical connections and plumbing. It’s also time to put in audio-visual wiring. Even if you don’t want music or TV now, it won’t be expensive or disruptive when you do.

Cabinets can take six to eight weeks to arrive, giving you time to install insulation, vapour barriers and drywall, as well as getting a coat of primer on and maybe some of the paint.  Once the cabinets are installed, you can complete the flooring and get your countertops cut and placed.

Then some finishing work, and you can stop eating take-out. The biggest delays can be finding and scheduling trades. That’s one of several key reasons to get a good general contractor with a reputation for having expert tradespeople available when they’re needed for your schedule. As you can see overall, it could take 8 to 12 weeks or longer, depending on your scope. So, if you want to cook Christmas dinner in your new kitchen, you’ll have to talk turkey before the end of summer.

10 design rules for children’s bedrooms

Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-9.48.26-AMby Lynn Fenwick B.I.D.

With all the years we have been doing show homes, and all the various renovations we have shown on our website, we seem to get a lot of excitement from children’s bedrooms.  Is it because parents tend to neglect decorating children’s rooms after the nursery stage and then get the nudge from their children when they are old enough to make a suggestion?  Or,  it could just be that children’s rooms tend to be fun! At Fenwick and Company, we have developed a 10 point guideline for kid’s bedrooms that we want to share with you.

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Tips for staging your home

Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-9.34.19-AMBy Laura Le

Staging a property in preparation for the current real estate market is more important than ever. Potential buyers are very savvy and have very high expectations when they are purchasing a property. They can research any property from anywhere: sitting in the comfort of their living room to riding public transportation home from the office. Here are some tips to help with the staging process.

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The Grey Zone

Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-9.18.36-AMBy Mickey Foulds

Colour trends come and go with dramatic frequency. Every year Pantone declares a “colour of the year” which is often a vibrant and dynamic shade (eg.  2014 Radiant Orchid , 2013 Emerald, 2012 Tangerine Tango) -  and which is subsequently seen everywhere in fashion and design. It is no coincidence that, when walking through the mall, all the vendors seem to have similar colours in their windows. This is planned years in advance by a committee of experts and the choice reflects social and global circumstance. This information enables manufacturers to start preparing and supplying fabric, art and accessories in these colours to meet market demand.

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Year-Round Comfort

Dyson-AM04-Hot-and-Cool-Fanby Stephanie MacDonald

Last summer, July was one of the hottest on record, and coincidentally my family happened to come into possession of a Dyson Hot + Cool Air Multiplying Fan. Originally, we were more enamoured with the vacuum we obtained at the same time and the fan just sort of sat there, but as the heat continued to make our home into a sweat lodge the fan was plugged in and our lives were changed. Cool breezes prevailed against the heat, and the quiet, gentle cooling effect made our home habitable again.

In the winter, this fan proves even more indispensable, it can actually heat our main floor in less time than either the gas fireplace or the electric heat, and it's so portable we even take it to the cabin up in Whistler. Like all Dyson products, it's a bit expensive, but worth every single penny - you'll save more in electricity in a year than it costs to buy, so it's a great investment.

Colour crush: Stiffkey Blue No.281 by Farrow & Ball

StiffkeyBlue2014Trend-easy-living-12nov13_pr_b_426x639-1By Sara Duck

I'm seriously colour-crushing on this gorgeous, rich, blue hue called Stiffkey Blue No.281 by Farrow & Ball. F&B are known as paint perfectionists and have created some of the most iconic paint colours used by designers and homeowners alike! I think this shade would work great in a powder room with gold finishes, an at-home office or boys room. This moody colour works well with contrasting neutral tones. For more information visit










Tickled pink!

photo-2By Sara Duck

Last week I had the opportunity to check out the HomeSense fall/winter 2014 preview and I must say, you will love what's coming to stores soon. I especially loved the trend of  decorating with pink for the cooler months. Normally associated with the spring and summer seasons, pink is surprisingly versatile and looks très chic when paired with gold, grey and natural wood elements. Swoon! For more information visit

Guest Bedroom Glam

ming-sun-duvet-cover-available-in-4-sizes-400px-400pxBy Heather Draper

The summer season is in full swing and that means a constant stream of visitors is not far behind. But what guest wants to sleep in the old kids’ room or home gym? Interior designer Heather Draper shares her top tips for creating the perfect space for guests with pieces from The Heather Company collection

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Soothing Water Features Add Zen to Any Outdoor Area

water_feature_narrow_recycling_fountain_lgby Stephanie MacDonald

It's no coincidence that waterfront property commands the highest prices in real estate. But even if you can't afford your own beachfront estate, you can still add the special, relaxing ambiance that water creates to your home. No matter what kind of yard you have, there's a water feature that can make it more beautiful and tranquil.

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Cool collaboration: Sarah Richardson for Hallmark

sarahricharsdon_hallmark_13By Sara Duck

Canadian designer and TV personality Sarah Richardson has teamed up with Hallmark for an exclusive collection of greeting cards, stationary and gift wrap featuring her signature design aesthetic. The collection ranges in price from $1.99 - $29.99 and is now available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores across Canada. "In a world of email and text messages, sending a hand written note is a thoughtful way to connect with someone - it's also a reflection of personal style and expression," says Richardson.  "I'm excited to partner with Hallmark to bring my signature approach to print, pattern and design to a collection of paper products that can be embraced by everyone."  For more information visit

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Cottage care

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 3.23.03 PMHD&R chats with Peter Khatami, co-owner of Nostco Construction, on getting to work at the cottage, so that you can enjoy your summer longer!

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Cool brews from Starbucks


By Sara Duck

We can't get enough of  the new customizable Teavana Shaken Iced Teas and Iced Tea Lemonades from Starbucks, a perfect way to cool off this summer! And we think it's a great drink to serve guests during your summer barbecue's. Unleash your inner barista with these simple steps for serving up a perfect cold brew.


Steep 2 tsp. of your favourite tea for two-three minutes

Toss into a shaker with a scoop of ice and shake about ten times

Did you know? Shaking your drink brings out and disperses the flavours evenly

For more information visit

Creating a sanctuary in your home

1f6119224f797e1d2589b5d3730299caBy Stephanie MacDonald

Call it a meditation room, or a reading nook, or a sacred space, but regardless of how flaky a name you give it, having a calm sanctuary in your home  can have a tremendously healthy effect on your life. With more demands on our time and attention than ever before, your mind and body need a break every once in a while, so here are a few tips on creating a place in your home free of demands on your brain and your body. Whether you use this space to do yoga, read quietly, to meditate, to catnap, to pray,  journal or something else that makes you feel calm and centred, it's up to you, just make the modifications to suit the space to your needs.

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Style meets sustainability with cork flooring

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 11.01.25 AMEdited by Sara Duck
Today’s wide array of cork flooring finishes give cork a chameleon-like versatility, making it adaptable to the aesthetics of any style; from rustic retreat to an urban loft. Its versatility and sustainability have earned cork preferential treatment among consumers focused on an eco-chic style and present design-conscious families with fashion-forward decor alternatives that are both comfortable and stylish.
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Serving up style

Showing off its grains, this American walnut tray offers contemporary style.  Willoughby Large Tray. $75. Visit

Showing off its grains, this American walnut tray offers contemporary style.
Willoughby Large Tray. $75. Visit

A great serving tray is the all-important accessory for outdoor entertaining. Match your tray to your outdoor decor for added sophistication.

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Room inspiration: Mid-Century modern mix

w-ha_hs_moving_hs_rf_2014_001_room_final-lrBy Sara Duck

This space from HomeSense, is a great example of how to mix different design styles to create a truly unique living area. Design is all about creating a space that speaks to you. What I love about this particular arrangement is the mix of elements (wood, glass, metal, textiles) and styles (classic, contemporary and Mid-Century Modern) coming together for an eclectic yet polished look.
Side Tables. From $149.99. Table Lamps. From $39.99.
Consoles. From $199.99. Sofas. From $799.99. Visit


Tailored Vanity Collection by Kohler

zab41444_rgbby Jamie Banfield

Kohler allows homeowners to completely customize their vanity space with their new Tailored Vanity Collection. You have a choice of five distinctive vanity designs, each of which can be tailored to suit your style -Hardware, finishes and even custom drawer configurations can all be chosen by you. The flexibility of this collection allows you to add a personal touch to such an essential space. Visit

Creating Inviting Outdoor Spaces

outdoor-rooms2by Jennifer Rudolph

A recent walk along the urban oasis of Vancouver’s Creekside Village seawall to Granville Island had my design senses inspired.  The collection of newly designed street level restaurants, cafes, markets and boutique hotels are all designed with the intention of luxury living, hospitality and recreation.  The seafaring atmosphere had a laid back vibe that had me feeling like I had been transported to my own vacation retreat.

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Hello yellow!

FAB28RG1_6By Sara Duck

Smeg, the Italian appliance brand known for its iconic 50s style refrigeration, has expanded their line with two vibrant new colours, yellow and white. We absolutely adore the yellow vintage style fridge and think it would look just dandy in a kitchen mixed with modern elements. For more information visit

“I Can’t Believe that’s A Prefab House!”

SC-06 - Bowen - 299 straightenedby Jeff Leung

Take a look at some of the range of prefab homes out there, from cozy cottages to immaculate chalets and you, too, will find yourself exclaiming, "That's prefab?" Prefabricated home packages have been ordered and built for over a century.  Originating as early as 1908, plans for prefabricated homes could be ordered through the Sears & Roebuck Co, better know in modern times as the Sears Catalogue.  Why this building process fell off standard build practices for the early part of the 21st century is a mystery, but lately, with more focus on modern, greener and more alternative ways of building unique homes, there has been a resurgence of the Prefab Home Process.

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Extend the Summer with an Outdoor Fireplace!

HZO42-B-610x340 by Stephanie MacDonald and Nancy Brady from the Richmond Firebox

Sitting around an outdoor fireplace is a wonderful way to relax at the end of the day, wind down your dinner party or to tell sleepy little ones bedtime stories before bed. The are also a great way to extend the summer season well into the fall, as a cozy fire attracts all who come near it for its warmth and gentle glow. Since fire regulations in many places in Canada preclude the use of actual wood-burning fireplaces, the (more convenient) gas fireplace is the way to go here.

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Tropical-inspired decor

Ixatapa Tonal Green Lounge Chair. $279. Visit

Ixatapa Tonal Green Lounge Chair. $279. Visit

By Sara Duck

Aloha! Embrace the summer months with these tropical-inspired decor items.

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Six tips for cottage inspired decor

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 10.05.33 AMBy Yanic Simard/Photo by Ted Yarwood

Cottage Colours: It’s hard to imagine a cottage-inspired colour scheme without the calming essence of a clean, fresh white.
>> For an earthy, zen atmosphere, pair white with off-white neutrals (greys, beiges, or both) and let texture and materials become the focus – it recalls the simple beauty of sandy shores and pebbled paths without feeling too stark.
>> For a livelier nautical vibe, blue can’t be beat as a cottage-inspired favourite. In general, a cottage interior tends to choose a limited palette and stick to it, so pick one hue to repeat in smaller or larger doses from room to room (and if you want a little extra punch in a key area, try small hits of red for spice).

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The Ugly Side of Summer

Carson_2By Carson Arthur

We spend all winter waiting for it and when summer finally gets here, many of us spend our time either suffering or hiding indoors. Here are my favourite ways to avoid the worst parts of summer this year!

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White Haute

457977453By Sara Duck

White is such a hot shade for both fashion and decor this summer and I couldn't be more thrilled. I love the simplicity of white, the crisp elegance and almost dreamy effect it can have when used in decor. In honour of the first day of summer, happening this Saturday, June 21 – I've compiled some inspiring white themed decor and fashion images, white on!



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Patio Perfection in five easy steps

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 1.26.14 PM

By Jo Alcorn

Is your outdoor space a bit of a killjoy? For those of you seeking inspiration to spruce up your small patio or balcony space, I have some fabulous design tips from my own outdoor living area to help get you started.

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Design 101 with Sarah Richardson

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 1.01.29 PMBy Salina Yara Halabi

Sarah Richardson has made her mark in the design world – to say the least! With a resume of hit shows, including Sarah 101, Sarah’s House, and Real Potential, this design darling has shown us that even the most unsalvageable looking spaces can be transformed into something beautiful. Sarah took some time away from her busy schedule to solve some interior design dilemmas and provide us with her oh-so-coveted advice.

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Get reno-organized!

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 12.12.09 PMBy Hellen Buttigieg

Renos are as exciting as they are stressful, and staying organized before, during and after the reno was the best thing I did to keep the stress level down. If you’re planning a reno, here are my top tips to help you get through it as easily as possible.

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Canadian Furniture Gets Funky at Straight Line Designs

DSCN1492by Stephanie MacDonald

Walking into the Straight Line Designs studio you can’t help but notice the positive energy and enthusiasm of everyone involved in the process of making this remarkable furniture. And no wonder, Straight Lines products are anything but straight, and they redefine the line between art and furniture. Every piece is completely functional and expresses an exuberant sense of humour — much like Judson Beaumont himself, the man behind all this controlled madness.

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Small Space Revolution

UlisseDining02web by Stephanie MacDonald

How are today's city homes like people who do yoga? Well for one thing they're healthy; with LEED building standards, fresh coastal air and non-toxic and low VOC finishes, we have some of the cleanest living spaces around. But another thing they have in common is flexibility! With space at a premium when you live in the city, being flexible is the key to comfort. With that in mind, we've discovered a couple of companies who can make your 350 square foot condo in the sky feel positively roomy, and your 600 square foot home seem like twice the size, with these clever built-ins.

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Celebrating Dad


happy fathers day posterBeing a dad is an easy job when he's got a great kid like you, right? June 15 is Father's Day, and that means picking out the perfect present for pops! The team at HD&R would like to give you some of our top picks of the best gifts for Dad.






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New line of gardening furnishings from Virginia Johnson

VJ Garden group vignette 6Canadian textile designer Virginia Johnson has launched a lovely little line of garden furnishings, planters and accessories. The collection features an airy bench and table, blue and yellow planters (in different shapes and sizes), hand painted ceramic garden stools as well as scented candles and shaped cushions.


Creating Flow and Continuity

Flow2by Julia Smith

How do you create a home that draws you in, right from when you step up to the front door?  You want people to be welcomed into the space, and for you and your guests to feel a natural pull inwards — a flow from room to room.  There should be a connection from the outside to the public spaces of your home, where you would entertain guests, to the private spaces where you can put your feet up and relax.

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Get Back to Nature – inside your home


by Jennifer Rudolph

Natural materials are wonderful to work with in a project.  Earthy, organic, with saturated colors, everything you find during in a walk in nature can be expressed in your living space.  When we get the opportunity to bring that into our homes, we can feel we’re just a little bit more connected to nature, and in turn, ourselves.

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Cabin Fever

Screen shot 2014-05-28 at 1.46.42 PMBy: Jamie Banfield

If your social calendar is filling up and leaving you with little to no time to escape to your rustic seaside getaway, let’s bring the elegance of cabin chic to you! With a few tweaks, you can have your home  looking like it belongs on the beaches of Tofino, British Columbia.

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New Product: Touchless Toilet from Kohler

zab54634_rgbKohler Canada is taking flushing to a whole other  level with the launch of their new Touchless Toilet. Users simply hold their hand over the tank sensor to activate the no-touch-flush. No handle to touch offers users a more hygienic way to flush, with fewer germs to spread. For more information visit



2014 Modern Home Tour

Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 12.16.55 PMBy Sara Duck

Do you fancy yourself an architectural aficionado? Do you love modern design? Or maybe, like me, you are curious to see inside some pretty cool houses in the city you love. Well, listen up – we've got the low-down on a fabulous tour geared towards showcasing modern homes in the GTA. On June 7, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Modern Home Tours will open the doors on five to eight architecturally progressive and contemporary homes that exemplify modern living – unlocking a world of design in and around the Toronto area.

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New product: DÉco screws and nails

image001By Sara Duck

Have you ever had a beloved picture come crashing to the floor mere moments after you just hung it up? If that scenario sounds familiar, don't fret, you aren't alone! Here are two new products that will make hanging up art a breeze.

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10 tips for Estate Sale Success

487924973By Sara Duck

When it comes to estate sales the old adage is true, one person's trash is another person's treasure! But in order to create a treasure trove of finds for potential buyers, you need to know how to throw a successful estate sale.

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Three things to bring when shopping for patio furniture

Carson_2By Carson Arthur

Shopping for patio furniture is fun for some, and stressful for others. Most people assume that shopping for patio furniture is just like shopping for new fixtures for the inside of your home. This is partially true, but there are some very important things to consider when dealing with the outdoors.  Here are my three items that I take with me whenever I go patio shopping.

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Tommy Smythe shares his thoughts on design

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 2.41.27 PMBy Heather Ryan

One of Canada’s most beloved design personalities and co-host of several award-winning HGTV series, Tommy Smythe, is not afraid to tell it how it is and viewers appreciate his frank, delightfully acerbic approach to interior design. Smthye recently shared his  exceptional sense of style and passion for design when HD&R sat down with him.

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Quit Clutter for Good

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 2.24.51 PM

Five tips from organizing guru Laura Wittmann of Clutter Rehab to get you inspired for cleaning and clearing out your space.

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Happy Victoria Day – Summer is here!

Victoria_édifice_fédéral_canadaBy Elisa Krovblit

Okay, I'm being optimistic. It's not the usual seasonal highs, and the budding trees may be a bit behind, but the weather's nice and the long weekend is here so I'm hoping there are plenty of people willing to join in on the optimism.

Victoria Day long weekend celebrates the birthday of Queen Victoria (May 24, 1819) and the start to summer. What better way to celebrate than a backyard tea party?






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Wall Flower

Tulip Petals. $289. Coverage: 12ft.-by-8ft.  Visit

Tulip Petals. $289. Coverage: 12ft.-by-8ft.

By Elisa Krovblit

There's no missing it – the wallpaper trend is in full bloom! Floral motifs have always been a standard, but contemporary designers and new printing techniques have taken flower prints to the next level. Whether it's a feature wall or full room coverage, have some fun finding the perfect florals for your home.

Tip: DIY-ers, don't just go by the square footage of your wall if you're ordering by the roll. You need a lot more wallpaper than you think in order to get your pattern lined up at the seems. There will be a lot of waste, but that perfect finish is worth it!

Bringing Home Mid-Century Modern

Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 2.59.46 PMBy Yanic Simard. Photos by Ted Yarwood

When Grimsby couple Patricia and Frank came to our firm, they asked us to design the front den of their home to become a multifunctional getaway where the family of five could relax and hang out, and also use as a makeshift office area when working from home. They wanted it to be calm and relaxing, yet still have a sophisticated edge to it. I knew right away that this space would host an eclectic mix of furnishings, including those inspired by the mid-century modern era.

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Kirsten Korhani of Korhani Home

Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 2.50.58 PMHD&R CHATS WITH KIRSTEN KORHANI, chief designer and creative director at Korhani Home, who has been leading the way in merging style and fashion for home. Her innovative designs, affordable floor coverings and decorative accent pieces have driven the brand to create products that have become statement pieces in homes across the globe.

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Tips for creating a custom bathroom oasis

Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 2.36.10 PMBy Sarah Barber. Photo by Amelia McGoldrick

Do you dream of a custom bathroom oasis in your own home? Is your must-have a cosy heated floor, a steam shower, or perhaps a big soaker tub and a TV? With all the new products and technology available, your perfect bathroom has never been easier to achieve.

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Trending: Coloured Tableware

Emma Salad Plates & Snack Bowls. $7.$15. Visit

Emma Salad Plates & Snack Bowls. $7.$15. Visit

By Sara Duck

Add a splash of colour to your table this season with pretty bowls and plates that pop!







Editor’s pick: the perfect present for Mother’s Day

kobo for mother's dayIt's not that mom isn't important every day of the year, it's that she's so important that there needs to be one day a year that's completely hers! If you need a bit of inspiration picking the perfect present for mom, let us help. The HD&R team has picked out some particularly perfect presents, sure to make mom feel the love.

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Bouclair’s new Atelier Furniture line

Scandinavian HRBy Sara Duck

We've gone mad for Bouclair's new Atelier furniture line, featuring nine distinct themes such as Scandinavian (left), Industrial Chic, Vintage Mod and more. Putting together a cohesive look in your space, that reflects your style, has never been so easy and affordable.

It’s time to celebrate


By Sara Duck

Our beloved cheap and chic store Target has teamed up with three top bloggers to create individual party and entertaining capsule collections – set to launch through out the year. Each collection will have a theme relevant to the time of year and will reflect the personal style of the blogger. We adore the collection chosen by Joy Cho of OhJoy! ( – the happy colours and cool accessories make us want to party! Prices start at $4. Visit Read more

Kitchen renovation tips

KitchenB_v1Photo by David Bagosy

Award winning designer Laura Stein offers tips and tricks to make a kitchen renovation fabulous and functional.

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Spring inspiration on a dull day

img51oBy Sara Duck

Yes, I 'm fully aware that April showers, bring May flowers – but on yet another gloomy day, I thought I would chase the rain clouds away by choosing my favourite cheery, spring-inspired interiors. There is something about a new season that always inspires me to incorporate little updates in my home, I like to fully embrace the seasons, and that includes the space I live in. What spring updates will you be doing in your home? Do tell!

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Why hire a professional renovator?

By Bryan Tuckey

Taking on a home renovation project can be an enjoyable and financially rewarding experience – if it’s done properly, that is. But a renovation gone wrong can be stressful, both emotionally and financially. And while some home renovations are easier than others, more often than not, it’s best left to the professionals like a RenoMark renovator.

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Make a good first impression at home

When it comes to selling your home, International landscape designer Carson Arthur and celebrity designer Jo Alcorn want to get you top dollar for your listing, find out how.


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Tips for entertaining al fresco

Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 12.29.36 PMBy Sara Duck

Celebrate the long, warm, summer nights by entertaining outside. Interior stylist and TV personality Janette Ewen gives you advice on throwing the perfect outdoor party.

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