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Renovation & Design Articles

  • Doors of perception

    Doors of perception

    If you've been reading my column regularly you'll know that my husband and I recently downsized to a condo. It needed a fair amount of updates which we've been working on for the past few months.The condo was kind of stuck in the '70s, which is when it was built, . . .

    October 25, 2014

  • Tips for cleaning cupboards without removing finishing

    Tips for cleaning cupboards without removing finishing

    QUESTION: The house we live in is 17 years old. The cupboards are lacquered and I have noticed that below the handles on my kitchen cupboards the doors feel slippery. I can see no grime, but I assume that there must be some oil that is not coming off with . . .

    October 25, 2014

  • Taking the lead

    Self-employed couple handles majority of home renovation themselves
    Taking the lead

    Martin and Melissa Botincan decided they would rather pay themselves than depend on others for a weekly wage or become involved in an unmanageable mortgage.Their philosophy extends to the reno of a late 1940s home in Tyndall they purchased several years ago and worked on when their busy lives allowed . . .

    October 25, 2014

  • Bounty hunters

    Two guys in a truck track down treasures for new Cottage Life show
    Bounty hunters

    Everything old is new again, at least in the antiquing business. A stranger's long-forgotten Tiffany lamp can find new life in your entryway, and a vintage Smith Corona typewriter can become the showpiece of your office.In the new television show Backroad Bounty, currently airing Mondays on Cottage Life TV, antique . . .

    October 25, 2014

  • How does your garden grow?

    Assess the winners, losers and be prepared to experiment
    How does your garden grow?

    Gardening, on any scale, is a financial investment. Most of us start out with a sensible list of plants to guide us in our purchases. When we walk into a garden centre in the springtime, though, best intentions are often taken over by an overwhelming need to try this . . .

    October 25, 2014

  • Light up your life

    Set the mood with these sultry scented candles
    Light up your life

    I'm addicted to candles. No matter where I am -- at home, at work, entertaining -- I always have a candle burning. The flickering light sets the mood for a dinner party or a night in with friends, and if you've read my column before, you know that lighting is . . .

    October 25, 2014

  • Roof ice damming related to air sealing and insulation

    Roof ice damming related to air sealing and insulation

    Question: I have an ongoing problem with ice damming. I did change the shingles on the roof twice. The last time was seven years ago. Now, I am thinking of changing the furnace to a high-efficient unit, plus I would like to change my attic insulation to foam insulation. There . . .

    October 18, 2014

  • Drain snake is best bet to unplug toilet

    QUESTION: I plugged the toilet and tried to plunge it, but it won't drain. Help! Brad, WinnipegANSWER: Wow, I admire your honesty. Most people would have blamed this on someone else. Since the plunger failed, your next step is to purchase a drain snake, which is a long wire coil . . .

    October 18, 2014

  • Dividing-wall debacle

    Bungalow renovation takes a turn for the worse, but owners happy with end result
    Dividing-wall debacle

    Live in a gloomy, cramped bungalow built in the late 1940s?Why not remove a few divider walls to open those tiny rooms to let in the light and accommodate a growing number of family members, including grandchildren?That is what Rick and Victoria Preston did recently to their 1, 200 square-foot . . .

    October 18, 2014

  • FIREPLACE ADDS FLASH to backyard setting

    Elevates landscape with stunning effect
    FIREPLACE ADDS FLASH to backyard setting

    For landscape designer Colleen Watson, fall is one of the most exhilarating times of the year. The same goes for many homeowners, too.What's driving them? Backyard projects that are nearing completion.On crisp fall days when temperatures are in single digits more days than not, Watson has all the incentive she . . .

    October 18, 2014