Get gardening in the fall!

T._Apricot_Bty_and_H._Blue_Jacket_verticalThink your gardening days are over? Think again! Fall is the perfect time to plant bulbs that yield spring flowering plants such as daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, crocus and snowdrops. “Fall is one of a gardener’s favourite seasons because it is when you get to plan and create what your garden will look like for the next year,” said Denis Flanagan, Public Relations manager for Landscape Ontario. Here are  some top tips for preparing a garden bed with fall bulbs:
Preparing the bed
When preparing a bed, double digging will help to make a well-drained planting bed. Also, be sure to use top quality bulbs that are now available at Green for Life garden centres.

Condition the soil
Improve soil by adding three inches of peat moss and one inch of composted manure. Then work into depth of 30 cm. Add 1 kg Bonemeal for every 92.9 m2 (1000 sq.ft.).

Plant – the sooner the better!
When planting ensure the pointy end of the bulb is facing upwards. Read the instructions for each bulb to ensure you have the correct planting depth.  Also, add sprinkle of bonemeal to deter squirrels from stealing bulbs for food.  After planting water the area to settle the ground and initiate rooting.

Add 2-5 cm of mulch
Adding mulch will help prevent winter weeds, retain moisture and insulate against sever winter cold and temperature fluctuations.

When choosing bulbs for your garden this fall, keep in mind that for spring 2015 bright and bold colours such as red, orange and yellow will be in style in addition to the traditional white and soft pink.

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Big impact in small spaces

Unknown-2by Jennifer Rudolph

Bathrooms are the most expensive room per square foot to build or renovate in your home. It’s home to a variety of requirements including plumbing, electrical, venting and heating, not to mention a myriad of finishes all living in harmony in one small space.  Although most of these elements meet practical functional needs, don't overlook the opportunity to showcase materials that offer a little bit of indulgence and invoke a feeling of luxury.  After all it is the place where we rejuvenate and reset daily, so why not.

This project was a heritage home and we wanted to maintain it’s architectural history but also give it the feeling that it had evolved over time.  Adding the custom shaker linen cabinet and shaker wainscotting to the walls instilled the traditional heritage to the bones of the space and provided continuity to the shaker detailing throughout the house. The contemporary walnut vanity is a custom piece, and injects a current feel to the traditional canvas of the space.  Floating vanities or vanities with legs visually have less weight, making a small space feel larger.

Walls were painted an ethereal light blue to give a fresh and airy coastal feeling to the bathroom.  The neutral cool palette and white cabinetry and countertops are warmed up by the wood counterparts found in the vanity, mirror and medicine cabinet.  A silver graphic pattern roman shade modernizes the space.  An art collection of three vintage ladies by a local Vancouver artist adds deep rich hues, layering the interest to a light and serene space.

Unknown-4A custom over scaled mirror was installed all the way to the ceiling to add grandeur and expansion to the space.  The custom linen cabinet was also installed to the ceiling taking the eye upward to a colourful art niche and offering as much storage as possible. Extra long porcelain plank tiles were installed with a wood grain mimicking driftwood.

When planning your bathroom design, take inventory and access the current layout.   Ask yourself if the plumbing fixtures are in the ideal location to maximize space. Moving plumbing locations can be expensive, so access wisely and discuss with your designer or contractor the benefits and costs associated.

Good lighting is often underestimated, especially if the square footage is small.  Invest in layering your lighting, choosing different types of lighting for interest.  Wash your walls with recessed lights, which expand space and add sparkle to plumbing fixtures.  Hanging pendants or wall sconces adds functional lighting but also feature the vanity area.  Wire your switches to connect all the lights to a dimmer, leaving an independent switch for the accent lights.  This gives you the flexibility to have ample light or to create a more relaxed  atmosphere leaving you feeling a little more balanced and tranquil at the end of the day.


Q&A with Home + Design Show Organizer Jill Kivett

HomePageSlideshow_DESIGN_012114by Stephanie MacDonald

Out west here, we're excited for the 31st annual Home + Design Shows happening at On September 18 in Calgary at the BMO Centre and at BC Place starting October 16th in Vancouver. Show organizer Jill Kivett is always illuminating on the subject of what we can look forward to, so we asked her a few questions about this year's shows.

1.       What is the biggest difference (apart from the lack of gardens) between the Home & Garden Show in the spring and the Home + Design show in the autumn?

The show focuses more on the interior of the home. As temperatures cool, Vancouverites start planning for holiday visitors and entertaining.  There are so many small ways to update your home - paint, new furniture or even easy DIY projects using something you already own are affordable options that make a big impact. That said, this year we will showcase a garden display that demonstrates how to make the most of your outdoor space all year long!  Square footage is at such a premium in the real estate market, and this exhibit provides tips, inspiration and premium product for maximizing your home's livable space from season to season.

Bryan Baeumler headshot hi-res2.       How do you decide which speakers to bring into the event? 

We want to speak to as wide an audience as possible, so we opt for a good balance between home, garden and food celebrities that have the biggest following - like Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan, Bryan Baeumler and Chef Corbin Tomaszeski - and local talent. Colin & Justin not only have a new show on Cottage Life TV (Colin & Justin's Cabin Pressure) but they also have a fabulous line of home decor and furniture at HomeSense.  We are thrilled to have them back after a 3 year hiatus!

3.       What will be at this upcoming show for foodies to get excited about?

ChefCorbinHeadshotThe popularity of the Vancouver Magazine Cooking Stage just keeps growing, and with good reason! We're very fortunate to be working with some incredible chefs including Chef Hamid Salimian from Earls and Chef David Robertson from The Dirty Apron (and Chef Cobin, of course!), so audience members are for a real treat. October is the time of year when we start thinking about holiday entertaining, so why not learn a few tips from the experts themselves?  We're pairing up three of Vancouver's top chefs with three hungry home cooks in a battle for culinary supremacy. Using Samsung's premium Chef Collection appliances, one member of each pair will cook neck and neck with their competitors until celebrity host Chef Corbin Tomaszeski yells "switch!" at which point the partners will trade off for their time behind the burner. The winning home cook will walk away with $5,000 of Samsung Chef Collection appliances for their own kitchen, plus bragging rights for years to come.

4.       Can you tells about a couple of the new exhibitors that we may not have seen or heard about yet?

We have over 100 new exhibitors this year but two stand out for me.  One is A Taste of Tuscany, a company that sells authentic Italian pizza ovens (always a great way to use your outdoor space!) The second is ShelfGenie, a company that offers a ton of great custom storage and organization solutions including glide out shelves so you can maximize cabinet space! They're the perfect fit for the Vancouver market, where roomy closets are a rare find.

Cabin_Pressure12rev-15.       Is there anything you are coveting from this show for your own home?

I just moved into a brand new townhouse, so while I don't need any major renovation items, I will definitely be stopping by Home Delight to browse coffee tables, Midland Appliance to pick up a wine fridge, and our M(art)Ket area for a painting for my dining room. Those are just the give-ins, who knows what else will catch my eye!


Yanic Simard’s five tips for South Beach style

yanic-1I recently had the pleasure of designing my own relaxing Miami retreat! You too can reap the rewards of this South Beach styling with my tips to get that perfect tone-on-tone interior, including ideas you can steal for a total overhaul or a quick refreshing update.

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Easy tips to create a dream closet

By Jo Alcorn/ Photos by Jason Hartog

Do you dream of having a closet from the magazines, but confused how to balance style and organization? My latest makeover project was to create the perfect walk-in closet. I brought in organizing guru Clare Kumar ( to help with this makeover. Together we created a space that was both stylish and functional.

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Make the most of your small outdoor space with these easy tips


Summer is meant to be spent outside; enjoying the sunshine, green landscapes, and firing up the grill. Luckily, you don’t need to have a huge backyard or be an expert gardener to reap the benefits of your outdoor space this summer. According to Mark Cullen, Home Hardware’s Gardening Expert, even those with limited space can enjoy the outdoors by following a few simple tips.

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Jillian Harris chats about the spectacular 2014 PNE Prize Home

PNE2014_0751By Janine Mackie

“When you design a restaurant, you design with hunger in mind and create a darker space with accents of red and orange which elevate a room’s energy level. Never blue — that supresses hunger,” says Jillian Harris, designer of the PNE's 2014 Prize Home. “In residential homes, I gravitate towards the exact opposite – white, creams and neutral. I look for wow and vintage pieces that stimulate conversation.”

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Trend alert: Copper


Hammered Copper Pot with Lid from Turkey
$129.99. Visit

By Sara Duck

From pots and mugs to sequined pillow covers, copper coloured home accessories is a huge trend for fall. Of course the use of copper, particularly in the kitchen, has been adored for centuries for its super conducting properties. Today, copper isn't just for the kitchen (though we love an open shelf filled with copper pots), think about using copper coloured accents through out your home, for a pop of shine and hit of elegance.

Decorate your all-season cottage


By Jo Alcorn

Summer may be fleeting, but people are enjoying the lake year round thanks to all-season cottages. Designing for a year-round cottage can be a challenge, balancing the warm and cozy feeling of winter with the light, breezy feeling of summer.

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Embrace what’s left of summer by turning your yard into an outdoor haven


With summer in full swing, there is nothing that Canadians want more than to take advantage of the lazy hazy days outside before entering into the hectic back to work and school routine. By turning your yard into an outdoor oasis, you can still enjoy what’s left of the season. Mark Cullen, Home Hardware’s Gardening Expert, offers his tips to create your own outside oasis.

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The Scent of Deluxe Comfort.. Jo Malone for the Home

Scent Surroundby Stephanie MacDonald

There are some things that are worth the money, and in my books a good smelling home is one thing that enhances the life of all its occupants. Ever since Holt Renfrew began carrying the Jo Malone line of scents for the home, I've been hooked. The Lime, Basil and Mandarin Room Spray is one scent I could never get sick of!

Other fantastic fragrances include the home diffusers that give off a light, enduring scent over a period of months and she also has a famous line of scented candles guaranteed to set the mood - whether that mood is romantic, cheerful or celebratory! Check out the whole collection at Holt Renfrew.

10 Steps to Growing Citrus Indoors

Citrus_lemonby Stephanie MacDonald

I'm a true fan of all things lime-y and citrus-y, and so when I was on a walk in Victoria one day with my sister and saw an atrium bursting with lemons on the tree, I was immediately intrigued. It turns out, growing citrus indoors and out in Canada isn't that hard. I found a place that sells them, and I bought a kaffir lime, a regular lime and a calamansi orange tree. I happily planted them in ordinary pots, chatted with them, appreciated the perfume and beauty of their blossoms at which point they all got some sort of horrid infestation and died.

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Luxe Weekend Getaway Contest!

Contest-735pWideBy Sara Duck

The Home + Style Tour and FOCALPOINT e-NEWS! is hosting an amazing free contest for a chance to WIN a luxury weekend getaway at The Fairmont Royal York valued at $1,100! No purchase necessary.

You and a friend could win an exceptional dining experience and weekend stay at Toronto’s landmark hotel for two luxurious nights. You’ll also enjoy the excitement of teppan cooking right at your table at the fabulous Benihana Japanese steakhouse. To enter, visit

Don't forget to join the Home + Style community and help support Canadian HIV/AIDS causes! You’ll receive free monthly podcasts from your favourite in-the-know celebrity experts in FOCALPOINT e-NEWS! plus advance notice of special events and free contests.

Visit us online for details

It’s not too late to grow the greenest lawn on the street

lawnMany think if they seed their lawn in the spring, it will take care of itself over the hot summer months. Unfortunately, to have a healthy, green lawn all summer long, there is a certain amount of continuous maintenance that is required. Make your lawn the envy of everyone on the block by following these mid-summer fix-up tips from Home Hardware’s Gardening Expert, Mark Cullen.

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Look to nature for decor inspiration


By Vicky Sanderson

We know instinctively that looking up into vast blue sky brightens our mood, and that walking through a green and leafy forest can be deeply calming. Increasingly, though, there’s scientific evidence that being connected to the natural world is good for both our mental and physical health.

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Renovation nation?

Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-9.56.50-AMA new CIBC poll conducted by Nielsen finds that four in 10 Canadian homeowners are planning some type of renovation this year, with an average expected cost of almost $20,000 - up almost 30 per cent from a year ago.

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Punchy and Fun Colours for Summer

7bb4f5a4-b4c4-423d-894c-a282525e3f3bby Annabelle Immega

Feeling left out of the latest home fashions? Fret not, there's still time to punch up your pad with pops of summery colour! MOE'S Home Collection offers its top picks for bold hues to give your interior that extra boost you so desire, from furniture to accessories and everything in between.

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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.

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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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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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