We’ve all spent a lot of time in our homes lately, and it’s allowed many to re-evaluate our current living conditions. As well, with so many making the shift from traditional office environments, to home offices, there’s been a need to shift things around to allocate additional workspace. We’ve even had to move our workout routines into our living spaces.

Spring typically brings excitement and a time of renewal and refreshment to the air, which means it’s also the time for spring cleaning and renovations. Read our new Home & Garden supplement below, which is full of inspiring ideas and inside tips to help you with your next home makeover.

We begin with advice from some local experts, who tell us about the latest trends for 2021, how to maximize your basement as a useful part of your home, and with so many people relocating to different spaces and places, we have a realtor expert tell us how to refresh for resale.

Tasco Appliances– Design Trends of 2021

It’s no surprise that we’re all a bit relieved to be done with 2020 and curious to see what 2021 has in store for us. In the midst of us celebrating the new year, we get excited to see how the appliance industry and interior design trends change. Each year trends evolve as the world around us doe. We see new colours, materials, architecture, and patterns.

At Tasco, we have the pleasure of working with many different interior designers, getting the inside scoop on the hottest trends and the newest appliance technology is one of our favourite pastimes. We had the pleasure of speaking with Interior Designer Karin Bennett of Karin Bennett Designs to discuss her favourite new design trends of 2021, and what makes her excited about the changes on the horizon.

Terrazzo is a big trend that is back in full force. ‘Expect to see it on floors, walls, and accessories’ Karin tells us. Terrazzo was somewhat of a dying art, as it’s laborious to make but incredibly beautiful and fun. Terrazzo is made by exposing coloured marble chips on concrete and polishing until smooth and shiny. Terrazzo has been used as a print for companies like Crate & Barrel and Urban Outfitters. Consumers are craving fun, playful additions to interiors this year.

Reeded/Fluted Millwork is another trend making waves in 2021. Karin explains that the fantastic part of this trend is that the ‘interpretation can look a lot of different ways, using vertical or horizontal applications and playing with widths’. She loves the look and flexibility of this trend. Reeded and Fluted Millwork will be seen as accent walls, surrounding kitchen islands, cabinets, and even furniture.

Simple railings is a trend Karin really loves. “Whether it’s glass, metal, or wood, simple and unfussy is best with this one,” she says. Simple railings are meant to take more of a backseat and allow mouldings, woodwork, and other features to stand out throughout the home.

Essentialism is a trend that has completely taken off and will continue throughout 2021. Karin tells us that ‘Essentialism is different than minimalism. After being stuck in our homes for the better part of a year, people will start purging things they don’t need. It’s a movement toward only keeping the essentials.’ Think Marie Kondo and Hygge.

It seems that with the significant changes in our world everything, including interior design, is being impacted. You can see how designers and even architects are being influenced by the volatile climate these days, and how they’re striving to create some happiness, positivity, and calm into our home bases. Simplicity, brightness, cheer, and essentialism are the focus at home this year, and we can’t wait to see how these concepts transform our current living spaces.

Tasco Appliances is an Ontario-based industry-leading retailer focused on experiential selling and lifestyle solutions for the home. Tasco’s goal is to provide customers with the finest shopping experience possible while guiding them through their vision, with expertise, to a finished project.

(905) 456-1700 or 1-866-848-6767

G J MacRae Foundation Repair – Top 10 Basement Finishing Tips

When you picture a basement, what comes to mind? A dark, dull space that houses the furnace, water tank, and laundry facilities?  However, homes with these kinds of basements are really just severely underutilized assets, that with a little imagination and elbow grease can become one of the most beloved spaces in any home!

But once your basement has been underpinned by the experts at GJ MacRae Foundation Repair, and you have a brand new 8-ft ceiling height, the question remains: what should you do with all of that new square footage?

As it turns out, the possibilities are truly endless. That’s why we put together a list of ten potential uses for your “new” basement, ranging from the expected to the unconventional.

Additional Bedroom

Additional bedrooms are most exciting when combined with a bathroom and a small kitchenette. Plus you will always have a place for your guests to stay.

Additional Kitchen or Kitchenette

If you entertain a lot or simply have a lot of mouths to feed, putting a second kitchen in the basement can be a lifesaver. This “kitchen” can range from a simple additional refrigerator and sink to a fully developed second kitchen. Regardless, this option can take a lot of stress away from mealtimes and big dinner parties in general.

Laundry Room

Basements are very common locations for laundry rooms, which in modern times can be quite spacious and beautiful (unlike the dingy basement laundry setups of yesteryear). A well-planned out and well-constructed basement laundry room can function as the cleaning centre of your home while staying well out of the way.

Storage Space

Definitely not the most interesting option on the list, but sometimes additional storage is what a home needs. Storage units can get very expensive very quickly, so creating a dedicated, temperature-controlled storage space in the basement can be an excellent alternative. The comfort of knowing your things are so close instead of off in a facility somewhere is just a bonus.

Home Office

In many homes that do not have extra bedrooms, corners of otherwise designated rooms tend to serve as the home office. In an increasingly “work from home” and technology-driven world, computers have become staples in most homes, and a home office tends to be the best place to keep them. This means that families that may have never seen a need for a home office before could make great use of one moving forward. Why not use the basement? Where relevant, a home office can also make for a nice and quiet environment for study.

Game Room

We’re not just talking about video games. If your basement has the space for it, real-world game tables like pool, ping pong, or even pinball machines can turn your basement into your home’s personal arcade. Add a table and chairs and a selection of board or card games, and family game night will never be the same again.

Home Gym

If physical fitness is your thing, or if you’d like to make it your thing, then a home gym might be a good way to go when remodelling your basement. That way you have exercise equipment right at your fingertips, without anyone tripping over spare weights in the hallway or squeezing around a treadmill.

Craft Room

Some hobbies don’t require much in the way of equipment or supplies, but some do. If your passions fall into the latter category, a basement craft room or workshop might be the missing puzzle piece. Whether it’s carpentry, sewing, or film photography, your basement could be the perfect place to store your supplies and actually practice your craft, all within the comforts of your home.

Dens or Playrooms

Since basements are below ground level (and therefore are not as noisy as above-ground rooms), they make excellent locations for informal dens or playrooms. Whether your perfect den means a surround-sound media system or a fun, safe place for your guests, basement dens are excellent additions to any family home.

Home Bar/Wine Cellar

If you have an underused basement and entertain frequently, but don’t need additional living spaces, then a home bar or wine cellar can be an excellent addition to a home. Basements make for ideal wine cellars, which makes for a cost-effective way to keep your wine collection the temperature it ought to be. And if wine isn’t really your thing, basements are tucked away from the rest of the home just enough to make them seem nice and cozy for an in-home bar.

These ten options are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the basement. Plus the fact that basement underpinning is the only form of square footage additions that will not affect your property tax, we’re certain you’ll find any number of combinations of the options we listed above.

Take a peek at one of our five-week residential underpinning projects in Toronto, all condensed to a 10-minute video.  GJ MacRae is also available to inspect and repair your basement for moisture and/or structural issues in advance of a major basement renovation.

GJ MacRae Foundation Repair 905-824-2557

Subscribe to their YouTube channel for more informative tips.

Punk Rock Realty – Refreshing for Resale

Whether you plan to sell next month or many years from now, when renovating or refreshing your home, it can pay big dollars to be doing so with the eyes of a buyer. As we all know, first impressions are everything, so ensure the exterior is cleared of all litter and debris, that trees and bushes are neatly trimmed, that windows are cleaned, and that any painted surfaces that are peeling or showing wear are sanded and painted. Also, make sure eavestroughs are cleaned out and hanging straight, gently sloping towards the downspouts, which should be clear and flowing properly, extending outwards from the house at least a few feet. The grading around the foundation should be sloping down and away from the house, which will minimize dampness and odour in the basement.

Inside, checking for drippy faucets and leaky toilets will save you money now, and will spare you from a nit-picky buyer and potential price reductions later on. Other simple tasks such as caulking tubs, sinks, and backsplashes will create a neat and clean feel, prevent future issues, and make the buyer feel comfortable that the home has been properly maintained. Ensuring dryers, bathroom fans and kitchen range hoods are clear of debris and vented properly will help to prevent mold and mildew. If these are not working as they should, the home inspector will definitely pick up on them and suggest a repair. Inspectors will also be focused on big-ticket items such as furnaces and air conditioning systems, so having these systems serviced every year will keep them running as they should, and will demonstrate to the buyer that care has been consistently taken.

Once you have determined that everything is functioning properly, you can focus on the aesthetics. Decluttering, depersonalizing, and simplifying furniture arrangements will enable buyers to easily walk through and imagine themselves in the space. If you are on a budget, and a sale is imminent, paint will be your best friend. Touch up all high-touch areas such as doors and trim, and paint the walls in warm neutral colours. Don’t be afraid to set your home apart from the crowd by creating a feature wall painted a subtle spa-like colour, such as grey-blue and grey-green, which have been very popular with people spending more time at home. This will add personality, yet being only one wall it is less overwhelming visually, and less intimidating to re-paint, should the buyer desire a different colour.

If your basement is unfinished, painting the floor and/or concrete walls is an easy way to brighten up the drab dungeon. Floor paint can be tinted just as wall paint can, so a warm colour will help create a cozier space. Ceiling joists can be spray-painted a nice fresh white, lightening the space and creating a lofty feel. Adding a throw rug and a couple of chairs will make it easy to envision it as a livable space, or at create least a pleasant one in which to work out or do laundry.

If you plan to enjoy the improvements yourself for some time to come, and the budget can therefore be increased, the first areas of improvement should be kitchens and bathrooms. Statistically, kitchen and bathroom renovations provide the best return on investment, and buyers will appreciate a clean, fresh, turn-key home in which the work that is most difficult, or impossible, to do themselves is already done. If new cupboards or countertops are not in the budget, then a fresh coat of paint and modern new hardware will go a long way.

The next priority is flooring. Dirty, worn flooring is a huge turnoff, a reminder of all who have lived there before. Although hardwood or engineered wood flooring is still the preference of today’s buyers, vinyl plank flooring has been gaining popularity. It can be both more cost-effective and easier to install than hardwood, and since most come with a foam backing, it can add a nice cushion. Combined with its durability and water resistance, vinyl plank can be a great choice for basements and upper floors alike.

After completing these tasks you should have a bright, clean, modern home that is ready for your use, or resale when the time is right. For some finishing touches, add some warmth and pops of colour with some throw pillows, blankets, and some wood décor or live-edge accent pieces to add an earthy, grounded feel. Keep it clean, simple, and refreshing!

The Broker of Record for Punk Rock Realty, Inc., Dana has lived, renovated, and transacted in the majority of markets throughout the G.T.A., Greater Golden Horseshoe, and Southern and Central Ontario – from Buffalo, Brantford, Hamilton, and Toronto, to Oshawa / Durham Region, and Peterborough / Kawartha Lakes, and is an active Realtor in all of these areas. She also holds many designations from the National Associations of Realtors, including the R.E.N.E. (Real Estate Negotiation Expert), S.R.S. (Seller Representative Specialist), B.R.S. (Buyer Representative Specialist), and the S.R.E.S. (Seniors Real Estate Specialist).

Dana Snow Cell: 905-537-2282 – dana@punkrockrealty.ca

19th Century Bedroom Interiors Are Experiencing a Resurgence Thanks In Part To Netflix

From Bridgerton to The Crown, and The Queen’s Gambit, some of the most popular Netflix series have impressed viewers with their beautiful interiors and juicy storylines. A new study by Essential Living in partnership with relationship expert Jen Kaarlo and colour expert Momtaz Begum-Hossain, the study reveals creating a “Luxury Boudoir” will get sparks flying in the bedroom. Kaarlo believes a royal combination of white, purple, gold, or teal paired with a velvet bedspread and fluffy white pillows, is perfect for bringing a little more sensuality and romance to your relationship. Boudoirs look sophisticated when you mix dark and light shades, and purple is a classic boudoir colour because it suggests royalty, spirituality, and magic, all aspects that enhance a luxurious setting. Your bed is the central feature of a boudoir bedroom and a rich jewel-toned velvet bedspread will complement the theme, while soft cushions should always adorn the bed. You can also introduce accents of teal, gold, and darker maroons for a palatial look.

If a stately home inspired by the fanciful interior decor seen on these Netflix period pieces is more to your preference, opt for a feature wall of opulent wallpaper, teamed with a four-poster bed, that will transform a modern apartment with a timeless, antique aesthetic.

When Bridgerton first graced screens, it immediately sparked the return of an unusual interiors trend not seen since the 19th century. Fans are still embracing the Georgian furniture style, and throughout the series, refined blues were used in the glorious floral embellished empire dresses of the Bridgertons and other ladies of the court, and these are also incorporated in their beautiful boudoir bedrooms.

The fourth season of The Crown brought viewers back from the late 1970s to the 1990s, as screens are filled with extravagant frills, florals, and brave, bold, and beautiful colours that just cannot be ignored.

Set during the Cold War, The Queen’s Gambit ‘Grandmillennial’ styling, introducing that ‘granny chic’ look. While many might feel floral print is outdated, you can create a luxury aesthetic when colour, texture, and patterns coordinate to create a bold and beautiful bedroom.

Predicted bedroom trends for 2021 are moving towards warmer tones, such as reds, oranges, and terracotta.

Imagery can be downloaded here

To help simplify your Victorian dream space makeover, a couple of companies are introducing easy-to-install, no-mess, peel-and-stick wallpaper creations, in a variety of stock patterns or individual made-to-order designs.

Creators of made-to-measure wallpaper murals, Wallsauce.com offers a huge range of stock imagery to its carefully curated designer collection, Panelled walls are one of the most talked-about interior trends right now. Homeowners are getting DIY savvy and installing grand wooden patterns onto their walls to bring a modern flair to a traditional feature. The inks are UV water-based and environmentally friendly. The murals are wipeable too. Upload your own photographs/ artwork and create your own wallpaper design.

Images from Wallsauce.com and here https://we.tl/t-1VcCunw0N1 credit Hamilton Conte (https://www.hamiltonconte.com/).

Designer, mother, and entrepreneur Julie Campbell’s new product Pasted Paper is making a splash in the home decor scene as well. The wallpaper is made of beautiful historical patterns and prepasted for super easy application and removal.

Images from pastedpaper.com

For tight places,  Elephant in a Box is bringing new and innovative technology to furniture. Launched April 2021, their Elephant Core is made of honeycomb which is traditionally used in aircraft and race cars, making it very sturdy. Another bonus is that Elephant in a Box has a tools-free setup process. The founders believe furniture should be optimized for the busy lives of people who use it. Furnishing a home can be physically and mentally exhausting, and people simply don’t have the extra time or energy for it. Furniture should make people happy, not anxious. So, they rethought the mechanics and home furnishing materials to make it painless and even fun!

San Francisco-based owner of Jonathan Rachman Designs advises:

l Practicality and expansion for home office space. Before the pandemic, most people didn’t need to dedicate a room for an office but now look to transform guest rooms into offices or have offices seamlessly mesh into living spaces.

l Open kitchens becoming the “central command” of homes

l Sunroom extensions to integrate the outdoors

l Mudrooms no longer serve as formal entries but as post-outdoor “decontamination” areas.

International mould expert Michael Rubinold is President of All American Restoration. and author of the new book, The Mold Medic: An Expert’s Guide on Mold Removal

He’s advised the following items that homeowners and buyers need to be aware of:

1. If you’re buying a home, mould inspection is performed, separate from the home inspections. You may not visually see mould, but it could be quietly growing in your wall cavities behind drywall.

2. Bleach does not kill mould.

3. As soon as you get above 50% relative humidity, you enter the danger zone where mould has the potential to grow.

4. Be aware of the ventilation in your attic and the dampness in basements.

5. Air purifiers are highly recommended.

Images in Email

DIY Tips

Before starting any type of renovation project, make a list of items that you’ll need. Things to consider are appropriate personal protective equipment. Protective gear may include gloves, a proper mask or respirator, and safety glasses. Remember – a dust mask will not protect you from chemical fumes.

2. Some building materials can emit harmful gases called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor air, so be sure to buy low- and zero-VOC emission products wherever possible.

3. Keep your work areas well ventilated. This is especially important when refinishing furniture, using paints, varnishes, glues, and adhesives, or doing other renovation projects that may create dust or release chemical fumes. Open windows and doors, run your exhaust fans, and work outdoors, if possible.


With the pandemic-inspired trend of indoor gardening booming, many people are wanting access to pesticide-free, fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs year-round. Rise Gardens’ indoor smart garden is made of stainless steel and real wood for strong durability. This Hydroponic, Wi-Fi-connected system is guided by a mobile app- that prompts how to care for your budding plants every step of the way. Fool-proof even for those who are known to kill every other living plant they touch.

Images HERE.

Pickering based “Mossify” is Lifting People’s Spirits and Plants

Mossify’s founder Lucas Picciolo launched in January 2020 and quickly was forced to stop due to COVID 19. After some time thinking, he thought it was the perfect time for helping people introduce house plants to bring the green inside. Mossify officially relaunched on May 18, 2020, and since then it has been thriving and has partnered with 50+ garden centres across North America, selling over 3,000 of their best selling product, The Bendable Moss Pole, which uses 100% sustainably farmed moss, which essentially allows you to train your plants to grow where you want them to (almost like a bonsai tree). They also have some fun informational videos and blogs.

Images on website


Now that spring is here, everyone is planning their outdoor spaces. COVID-19 accelerated the outdoor living trend and prioritized making outdoor space both more livable and enjoyable for entertaining. Here are spring outdoor space planning tips and current trends from Home Design Expert Tim Bakke, director of publishing at The Plan Collection, a pioneer of online home design plans.


We’ve seen new house plans over the last year or so devote more of the square footage to the rear of the house and includes the following:

  • Covered and uncovered patios, decks, and porches
  • Grilling porches and outdoor kitchens
  • Sun decks
  • Screened-in porches
  • Pergola-covered decks


With more people spending time outside, especially in early spring, late fall, and even winter, homeowners are looking to keep warm.

Outdoor fireplaces have done – and continue to do – the job. Although, today’s outdoor fireplace is often part of creating the equivalent of an outdoor living room.

Fire pits now come in all shapes and sizes. For those with more backyard space and flexibility, custom-designed fire pits ringed with benches or Adirondack chairs are in demand.

Space constrained? Heat lamps are an affordable and practical solution.


Shade in the summer is essential, and sometimes a traditional rear porch is not enough. A growing trend is a roofed pergola, whether wood or metal, with a fabric or metal roof.

Pergolas are simple four-post 10-by-12-, 12-by-14-, or 14-by-16-foot structures with attached or removable roofs that have become ubiquitous in home centres like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
These affordable structures create outdoor living space wherever it is needed or desired. Perhaps as an extension of the house, near a pool, or a focal point elsewhere in the backyard.

Ivy or other climbing plants can transform a pergola into a mini-oasis.


The line between indoors and outdoors blurs even more, with home designs featuring large stacked-sliding-glass-and-disappearing walls where almost the entire rear wall of a living room or Great Room can open up to a covered patio or deck for a seamless transition.

At a minimum, several sliding glass doors may be lined up to give the appearance of a wall of glass without the complexity or expense of an actual disappearing wall.

These open-air transition rooms are not only refreshing but significantly expand the space for entertaining.


The covered front porch holds sway in home design, with the majority of the house designs incorporating a front porch of some sort. And it seems that they’re only getting larger.

Wrap-around porches; right- or left-corner-wrap porches; Full-width, three-quarter-width, half-width porches

With railings or, preferably, without barriers (where the porch is already low enough to the ground)

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