Why Do We Need a Waterproof Basement?

Having a waterproof basement is more than just a matter of convenience.

It’s a crucial investment you can ever make for your home such that your home stays safe for an extended period. So, before knowing the techniques, you need to understand why basement waterproofing is essential. Don’t worry, it won’t take your time, and it’s worth knowing. Now without any further delay, let’s explore the benefits of having a waterproof, dry basement.

  • Protection from Water Damage: A waterproof basement acts as a barrier against water intrusion. It prevents moisture from seeping through the walls or floor, protecting your belongings from water damage. By keeping your basement dry, you can dodge costly repairs and replacements of furniture, appliances, and other valuable items.
  • Prevention of Mold and Mildew: Moisture is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, posing severe health risks to you and your family. These microorganisms thrive in damp environments and can trigger allergies, respiratory problems, and other health issues. By waterproofing your basement, you create an environment inhospitable to mold and mildew growth, safeguarding the well-being of your loved ones.
  • Increased Living Space: A dry, waterproof basement opens up possibilities for utilizing the space in various ways. Whether you’re looking to create an extra bedroom, a home office, a recreational area, or a storage space, having a basement that remains dry throughout the year allows you to maximize your living space and cater to your specific needs.
  • Enhanced Property Value: A waterproof basement is a treasure when it comes to selling your home. Potential buyers are often concerned about the basement’s condition, as water issues can be a red flag. Investing in waterproofing increases the appeal and value of your property, making it more satisfying to potential buyers and potentially commanding a higher selling price.

In summary, a waterproof, dry basement provides protection against water damage, prevents mold and mildew growth, offers additional living space, and enhances the overall value of your property. It’s a worthwhile investment that ensures the longevity and safety of your home while providing you with a comfortable and usable space.

GJ MacRae Foundation Repair

470 Winston Churchill Blvd
Oakville, Ontario
(905) 824-2557


Exploring Wood Furniture Styles Across Different Eras

Unlike many elements of home design — which have all changed dramatically — wooden furniture has stayed relatively true to its original form and function. In fact, the first known use of wood to create furniture dates back to Ancient Egypt, when both peasants and Pharaohs would sit, eat, and sleep on wooden household items.

In this post, we’ll be exploring wooden furniture and aesthetic choice across different time periods in the English-speaking world, with some insight into the history of woodworkers over the past few centuries, too. But instead of beginning in 3100 B.C.E., we will take a more modest bite and start approximately 300 years ago, in the early 1700s during the Georgian period.

The Georgian Era — 1714 to 1837

The Georgian period, which encompassed the reigns of George I through George IV, is famous for its fine and high-quality wood furniture. Pieces during this period were intentionally well-balanced; designers placed a special onus on symmetry and proportion. British designers were heavily influenced by their peers in Italy and France and so used dark, elegant woods to create tables and desks with narrow, tapered legs.

Notable designers and woodworkers during this period include George Hepplewhite and Thomas Chippendale — a craftsman who drew inspiration from gothic and rococo fashions and became renowned for his ornate, beautifully carved yet functional pieces.

The Regency Period — 1811 to 1820

Rosewood and mahogany were commonly used during the brief Regency period, which sits within the trends of the greater Georgian era. Regency-era designers held clean lines in high esteem, and they leaned on brass décor in place of ornate wooden carvings.

While claw foot furniture was popular throughout the entire 18th century, it was used by artisans during the Regency era in particular; these master designers carved stools and tables in elaborate fashions to resemble animal or bird claws grasping stones.

The Victorian Era — 1837 to 1901

Queen Victoria heavily influenced this era in furniture design; her love of ostentatious, grand, and opulent style swayed the creation of household beds, chairs, and tables.

Encompassing call-backs to Tudor and Renaissance-era styles, Victorian designers favoured sumptuous and rich dark woods, with luxurious velvets lining the cushioning on dining chairs, chaises, and settees. Heavy set wooden furniture pieces were ornately carved with fillagree embellishments.

A common identifier of Victorian furniture is low or no arms on wooden dining chairs. This was a technique to allow women, amid their layers and layers of ballooning skirts, to sit more comfortably.

Wooden Furniture in the Edwardian Era — 1901 to 1914

Identifying furniture from the Edwardian era can be somewhat challenging. Craftsmen at the time attempted to reignite interest in departed styles, resulting in a mishmash of both old and new design elements.

One key indicator of Edwardian furniture is that pieces were generally made with lighter wood, like maple. When a wood like mahogany was used, it wasn’t finished using as dark a stain as it would have been in prior eras.

More exotic woods, like bamboo and wicker, began to appear in furniture fabrication during this timeframe, too. And contrasting, decorative inlays were often used for decorative flair.

The Roaring Twenties

Three furniture styles dominated the 1920s: the Art Deco style, an aesthetic referred to as Arts & Crafts, and Early Modern.

Art Deco

Originating in Paris and inspired by Art Nouveau, the Art Deco style is easy to identify by its rigid, geometric forms shaped by industrial influences, like vehicles, skyscrapers, and trains.

Rounded edges, impeccable symmetry, waterfall-style fronts, nesting tables, and impeccably polished and lacquered exotic woods, like zebrawood and ebony, are indicators of an Art Deco piece.

Notable craftsmen at this time include Edgar Brandt and Charles Picquet. The Art Deco style truly embraced ostentatious extravagance!

Arts & Crafts, also known as Mission

A style that figured itself as a statement against industrialization, Arts & Crafts furniture during the 20s put minimalism, simplicity, and natural elements at the forefront. It leaned heavily upon the natural form and beauty of wood, eschewing more ostentatious decorative flair. The simple design of Arts & Crafts is still used commonly today, especially in wood furniture for the bedroom.

Early Modern

Similarly, Early Modern designers cherished the pared-back aesthetic. However, in contrast to Arts & Crafts pieces, Early Modern furniture was made using a moodier colour palette, and pieces were less substantial and robust.

The Roaring Twenties was a period of post-war celebration. Furniture was geared toward high-end clients who had money to spend on what was, for a spell, considered a frivolity — home décor.

Hollywood Regency — the 1930s

Inspired by Hollywood’s glitz, glam, and prosperity, wooden furniture was made on a smaller scale and decorated with glass, metal finishes, and mirrors. While designs were similar to those seen in Art Deco pieces, Hollywood Regency furniture had a slight softness, with fewer hard angles and edges seen in the previous decade.

Modernism — the 1940s to 1960s

Also referred to as mid-century modern, this design style was a rapid departure from the aesthetics embraced in the past decades. Here, furniture was inspired by Scandinavian design and elements of Bauhaus. Modernist designers upheld organic forms, and commonly used teak. Both dark wood and very light wood took the limelight — it was the first period to fully embrace lighter-toned woods, like unfinished pine.

When identifying mid-century modern furniture, characteristics of note include narrow, clean geometric lines, minimal frills, and purpose over aesthetics.

Space Age – the 1960s

Furniture reached an experimental peak in the 60s and with mixed results. It was bright, groovy, and flashy (you could say it was ‘out of this world’). Plastic furniture had its moment, with the egg and Panton chairs taking the spotlight.

Wooden furniture during this time was very sturdy, often made with oak, beech, or teak. It featured slick, clean lines, allowing the period’s heavily patterned wallpaper and colourful shag carpets to do all the talking.

If robust and well-made furniture from periods like the 1960s has been well maintained and protected, and measures were put in place to keep furniture from rotting, you’ll often still see it in homes today.


Ergonomics were deeply considered during the 70s, and thankfully so! While the visual look and the tangible feel of furniture were important, this decade prioritized comfort, support, and space — with many designers focusing on modular furniture.

Pine wood and rich Scandinavian teak were commonly used, as their natural earthiness played beautifully off a room’s rich, earthy-hued, bold textiles (say, in avocado greens and harvest yellows). Wooden furniture became slightly chunkier and heavier as the decade progressed, though some designers were clearly still inspired by mid-century modern design.

Present Day

These past few decades have seen a rise in the popularity of home-refinishing projects, with many people opting to repurpose old furniture — which isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. This is especially true if one is attempting to refinish an heirloom piece, or a genuine piece of antique furniture, where extreme care should be given so the piece retains its storied integrity.

Homeowners today are also embracing a modern meets vintage look. Mid-century modern and the industrial vibe of Art Deco, albeit with a modern undertone, are currently incredibly popular. As is cottage-core, shabby chic and the prominent use of Scandi design, as seen through the use of lighter woods. It’s an exciting time for personal taste and fostering a space that’s truly yours.

When one furniture era ends, it doesn’t come to an abrupt stop. You’ll often see creators today taking design elements from the Victorian era or inspiration from the 60s.

One of the beautiful things about quality wooden furniture is that it’s always elevated and ever-evolving. However, if you buy a signature piece of wooden furniture today, it won’t go out of style or look dated in 10 years; it will be a signature piece for many decades to come.

Woodcraft.ca (Markham/Mississauga/Whitby)
(905) 475-2488

Gardening with Herbs

Growing herbs is a delightful part of gardening!

There’s nothing like the taste of herbs picked fresh from your garden. Their fresh taste in cooking is incomparable to dry herbs from the supermarket. They are easy to grow, and you can plant them in indoors or outdoors.

When choosing which herbs to grow in your garden, consider what recipes you like to cook, container or in garden beds and whether they’re annual, biennial, or perennial. Lavender, Thyme, Sage, Borage, and Marjoram have the added feature of attracting butterflies and honeybees.

How to Grow Herbs

  • Herbs prefer part sun to full sun locations and well-drained soil.
  • You can start them from seed in late March inside your home in propagation trays or sow the seed directly into the ground in May.
  • You can also buy plants that are already potted at any Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre – perfect for indoor herb gardens and containers.
  • Once planted, don’t be concerned with a lot of fertilizing. One or two applications of Parkwood® All-Purpose 20-20-20 diluted in water are sufficient for the growing season. Herbs that are over fertilized grow too quickly and their flavour isn’t as strong. If insects become a problem, spray with Insecticidal Soap. It’s non-toxic and becomes totally inert.
  • Mist foliage with water a couple of days after application. Since herbs are fairly heat and drought-tolerant, don’t overwater them. Let them dry out completely between watering. You’ll know if you’ve given them too much if you have spindly, leggy growth and yellow leaves.

Perennial Herbs

  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Winter Savory
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Chamomile
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Winter Savory
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Chamomile
  • Marjoram

Annual Herbs

  • Dill
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Coriander
  • Rosemary
  • Summer Savory
  • Chervil
  • Basil
  • Cilantro

Biennial Herbs

These herbs have a two-year lifecycle; they produce flowers and seeds the second year and then die off.

  • Caraway
  • Parsley

Harvesting Herbs

For the best concentration of taste, pick leaves just as the herb begins to bloom. This is when the oil content in the leaves is greatest.

  • Herbs can be dried by tying stems together in bunches and hanging them upside down in a dry, warm spot out of direct sunlight where air circulates freely.
  • Dry them for a few weeks until the leaves are brittle. Pick off the leaves, put in airtight bags or jars, and store them in a dark, dry place.
  • Don’t crumble the leaves until you’re ready to cook with them. Remember, dried herbs have more concentrated flavour than fresh.
  • Herbs that are better frozen than dried include Basil, lemon Balm, Parsley, Tarragon, Chives, and Lemon Verbena.
  • Pick them the same way as for drying, rinse them quickly in cold water, and shake dry. Chop the leaves coarsely, place them in Ziploc bags, and store in the freezer. They last 4-6 months before they dry out and lose their essence.
  • Herbs can also be used to flavour oil as well as vinegar which make wonderful and original gifts.

Indoor Herb Gardening

For those who really love cooking with fresh herbs all year, you can grow Bush Basil, Chives, Oregano, Marjoram, Parsley, Sage, Thyme, and Rosemary indoors.

  • Choose the sunniest window to grow them in or augment existing light with an incandescent “grow” bulb in any fixture.
  • Herbs can also be grown under fluorescent lights. Inside your home, herbs don’t like to be too hot, and they prefer a cooler temperature at night.
  • Mist them a couple of times a week.
  • Watch for Spider Mite webs that can easily be treated with Insecticidal Soap.

Ornamental Herbs

These herbs have particularly attractive foliage or flowers and can be used in mixed or perennial borders.

  • Bronze Fennel grows 90 cm – 180 cm (3’ – 6’) tall and has outstanding feathery leaves that start out dark purple and turn to metallic bronze.
  • Golden, Purple, and Tri-colour Sage have beautiful, variegated foliage and a compact form.
  • Lemon and Silver Thyme have tiny gold and green and white and green leaves respectively.
  • Creeping and Woolly Thyme are very low and grow well between flagstones. They flower exquisitely and, when walked on, release a fresh scent.
  • Purple Ruffles Basil has dark purple leaves with a crinkly texture. It makes a bold edging plant.
  • Pineapple Sage has an intense scarlet bloom that appears in the fall.
  • Garlic Chives have the perfect round, white flowers on long thin stems in late summer.
  • Lavender has terrific, mauve, purple, or deep blue fragrant blossoms that last for a long period. It can be planted individually, as a mass, or as a low hedge.

Sheridan Nurseries
(416) 481-6429

Eco-Friendly Kitchen Design for Sustainable Living

Creating a sustainable kitchen goes beyond energy-efficient appliances in today’s environmentally conscious world. You want the latest best window design, energy-efficient appliances, and much more. It’s about embracing a holistic approach that prioritizes eco-friendliness throughout the design process.

Natural Lighting and Ventilation

Maximize natural lighting by incorporating skylights or strategically placed windows. The best window design looks aesthetically beautiful, keeps cold air out, and reduces your overall heating bill in the winter. Reduce the need for artificial lighting and create a bright and inviting atmosphere. Proper ventilation is also essential for maintaining good indoor air quality.

Creating an eco-friendly kitchen is an essential step towards reducing your carbon footprint and living a sustainable life. By making a few simple changes to your kitchen, you can help contribute to a healthier planet and preserve the environment for future generations. Here are some tips on how to make your kitchen eco-friendly:

Sustainable Materials

One of the most important factors to consider when creating an eco-friendly kitchen is the materials used. Opting for renewable resources like bamboo, cork, or reclaimed wood for your cabinetry and countertops is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact. These materials are not only sustainable and durable but also aesthetically pleasing, adding a natural touch to your kitchen.

Additionally, exploring options like recycled glass or sustainable stone alternatives can also help minimize environmental impact. By choosing sustainable materials, you are making an impactful contribution towards a greener planet.

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Investing in energy-efficient appliances is a game-changer for reducing your carbon footprint. Look for Energy Star-certified models that minimize energy consumption while delivering top-notch performance. Consider induction cooktops and convection ovens for their superior energy efficiency.

Induction cooktops use electromagnetic fields to heat the cookware directly, which makes them more energy-efficient than gas or electric cooktops. Convection ovens, on the other hand, use a fan to circulate hot air, which reduces cooking time and energy consumption. By switching to energy-efficient appliances, you not only save money on your energy bills but also make a significant contribution towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Water Conservation

Conserving water is crucial in an eco-friendly kitchen. Every drop counts, and by making small changes, you can save a significant amount of water. Installing low-flow faucets and showerheads is an easy and affordable way to reduce water consumption. These fixtures are designed to use less water without compromising on performance.

Another way to conserve water is by exploring greywater recycling systems that reuse water from sinks and showers for tasks like watering plants or flushing toilets. By incorporating water-saving fixtures and recycling systems in your kitchen, you can make a significant contribution to water conservation.

Creating an eco-friendly kitchen is not only good for the planet but also good for your wallet. By making small changes like opting for sustainable materials, investing in energy-efficient appliances, and conserving water, you can make a significant contribution towards a greener planet.

Not only will you be reducing your carbon footprint, but you will also be setting an example for others to follow. Making eco-friendly choices in your kitchen is a win-win for you and the environment.

Parada Kitchens
(416) 762-3500
3316 Dundas St. West
Toronto, Ontario
M6P 2A4

Bathroom Renovation in 5 Easy Steps

Have you ever considered the possibility of creating your dream bathroom?

In this blog, we will provide you with 5 important steps that can help you bring your dream bathroom to life. It’s always exciting to embark on a project when you have a clear understanding of the steps involved and what to expect.

Step 1: Plan
Planning is a crucial and thrilling step in the process. During this phase, you can involve every member of your family to gather suggestions and ideas. It’s the perfect time to brainstorm and think about what you want for your bathroom design without any worries. Write down all the ideas on a piece of paper and feel free to show them to our professional staff.

Step 2: Design
After discussing and collecting all your ideas, our designers will create a design for your space. At this point, we have our designer assess the space and provide ideas on how the design will fit. We also consider any structural changes that may be required and can bring in one of our contractors to advise or make changes to the design to better suit your space.

If you’re in need of inspiration, be sure to check out: Our Website’s Our Project section, our social media like, Instagram, Home Stars, Pinterest.

Step 3: Select
The selection step is always a favorite among our clients. They thoroughly enjoy it. Clients visit our showroom where they can see all the products, allowing them to create a visual representation of their bathroom. This is a perfect way to touch and feel the materials of the tiles and fixtures and explore the variety of different combinations available. In our showroom, you can find a wide range of products at different price points. Every aspect of the selection step is important, as it helps us guide you in making the right decisions that align with your style and budget.

Step 4: Installation Process
Now it’s time to get to work on your bathroom!

The installation process begins with demolition day.
After the demolition is complete, here we can confirm that your final design works well in the space and address any issues that may arise. Once that’s done, we can proceed with installing all the fixtures. The timeline for the installation will vary depending on the scope of work and the age of your home. Additionally, the duration may differ depending on which bathroom in the house we are working on. Here’s a typical timeline from demolition to paint:

– Main bathroom: 12-15 business days
– Ensuite bathroom: 20-25 business days
– Powder room: 5-7 business days

Step 5: Enjoy Your New Bathroom
Now, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful new bathroom.
May it bring you many moments of relaxation and joy.

Toronto Bath Centre
(416) 482-4319
606 Mount Pleasant Rd.
Toronto, Ontario
M4S 2M8

Spring Garden Cleanup Advice

The directions regarding spring cleanup seem to keep changing, for many good reasons. Perhaps we could all use a bit help to understand why some old practices need to change. The good news, every single suggestion is less work than what we all used to do.

Don’t Dig Your Garden

In the way back, advice used to be to turn over your garden beds. Perhaps, even double digging! I think this idea came from farming, where large tractors would turn over the soil at least annually, to turn in old stubble as a soil amendment in place. However, the thinking now is that digging over beds is actually very detrimental. There are only a few instances in which I would dig over soil; for instance, if I was trying to remove the roots of a particular plant that spread via roots/rhizomes such as quack grass. And, in that case, I would still limit it to where I had a problem to deal with.

It turns out that soil has clumping structure that is vitally important to its health. That structure allows air and water to flow through the soil. If you dig it, then you break up those clumps, and end up with a more powdery soil, that compacts easily, and doesn’t have these precious pores. So, don’t dig over your garden.

While we are on the topic of soil. Please wait until your soil dries out a bit before walking on it. When it is soggy and wet in the spring, those same pores and air spaces can easily get crushed just by walking on the ground.

Adding Amendments

But then, how do I add amendments? Shouldn’t I dig those in, at least in the top portion. It is sufficient, in most cases, to simply add amendments on top of the soil. You can add a couple of centimeters of compost, for instance. The worms, rain, and other small creatures will work it into the soil for you. Bonus, it will also act as a mulch to protect the important top layer of the soil.

Did you ever notice that fence posts tend to rot just at the surface of the soil, but are likely just fine above and below that layer? That’s because there are so many microbes that live in that top layer of soil, whose function is to break down whatever organic matter falls from the sky. We don’t want to mix those up with deeper soil, where they would just die.

What about tidying up?

I confess, right now my garden looks very messy. There are leaves that I raked in there last fall that still haven’t broken down. Dried up, burst seed pods from butterfly milkweed hanging by a thread from last year’s stalks. Switchgrass that broke under the weight of snow and is waiting to be cut down for spring growth. And, hopefully, many small creatures biding their time until actual warm weather to start their season too.

We want to provide protection for those as long as we can. There is no magic temperature, or time, by which all of these creatures have emerged, as they all have their own different life cycles and schedule. Some overwinter as eggs, or larva, or adults. So, what to do? I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water! My advice is to do as little as you can stand to look at. If you must clean up, try to find a way to leave as much of the plant materials in your garden, or nearby, as possible.

I cut back my goldenrod in the spring and pile the tall branches in an out of the way place by my fence. I cut my perennials at about 30cm from the ground and drop the tops into the garden. Soon enough new growth covers those stalks and dropped materials. If the leaves that I raked in are still a bit too deep, I move them to the side to allow the plants underneath to grow. Spring cleanup used to be an arduous task involving cleaning everything, and then spreading mulch. No longer because the plants themselves are providing my mulch. I don’t even use a wheelbarrow anymore!

But I want to get mud under my nails NOW.

Oh, I get that. Spring is when I do any pruning (since I don’t do fall pruning). Soon, it will be time to prune your roses (watch for forsythia to start blooming). Also, spring is when you can most easily see many of our worst invasive weeds. Why is it that they turn green before anything else!!! Garlic mustard, quack grass, and chickweed are already going strong.

Or, set up your hammock, grab your tablet, and browse our store for the plants you want to add to your garden this season.

Plants in the City
(647) 893-7946

About the Author

Supplement posts produced by the Home Editor team present industry leaders' commentary on Home Improvement, Renovation and Outdoor Living.