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Renovation & Design Articles

  • Timber!

    Cutting down the proverbial cherry tree

    This column is about how to cut down a dead or living tree threatening to fall on your home or, worse, your neighbour's new deck and spa.Before you read on, please consider this caveat: In this politically correct world, it's difficult to write a renovation/DIYer column without offending some of . . .

    August 1, 2015

  • Smorgasbord

    A bounty of delicious flavours from the homegrown garden

    This summer, in what has been an exceptional growing season, local backyards will be serving up a veritable smorgasbord of fresh flavours and signature dishes. Ask a vegetable gardener about their tomatoes, cabbages, beets, beans, zucchini or whatever else they are growing and be sure to have a pen and . . .

    August 1, 2015

  • Decorate with fabrics to create a new look

    Decorate with fabrics to create a new look

    If I come across a great piece of fabric, it inspires me to make changes to my decor. Whether it is the colour palette in the pattern or the pattern itself, my head is filled with possibilities for updates. I don't always follow these decorating urges, otherwise I'd be changing . . .

    August 1, 2015

  • Vegetable oil removes grease from cast iron pans

    Question: Do you have a solution on how to remove grease that seems to be baked onto the bottom of my old cast iron frying pan? I have tried some commercial cleaners, but they didn't work. Maybe you have a remedy that will work. You have such interesting hints in . . .

    August 1, 2015

  • Yellow tree leaves a symptom of hot, dry summer

    Yellow tree leaves a symptom of hot, dry summer

    A number of people have called me recently about the premature yellowing of tree leaves and the subsequent drop of many hundreds of those leaves. The trees that are the worst culprits are hybrid poplars including Swedish aspens, Amur maple and silver maple. These trees tend to have shallow root . . .

    August 1, 2015

  • Choice of building materials should reflect humidity conditions

    Question: I enjoyed an article you wrote about dealing with moisture issues in a cottage crawl space. My question is from a different angle. I'm looking to build a "baby boomer" cottage, one level, and have been reading on the type of foundation and building materials to use. The area . . .

    August 1, 2015

  • Little GREEN house

    Larsen Truss technology fuels super-insulated reno
    Little GREEN house

    While working in Edmonton in April, 2013, I got the call every Winnipeg homeowner fears -- an ice dam of glacial proportions had perforated our roof membrane and the melt was leaking through the dining room electrical fixture, turning our light into an aquarium. It was a miracle the massive . . .

    July 25, 2015

  • Tips from the pros on how to paint your home

    Tips from the pros on how to paint your home

    It's well known that painting is the most affordable way to update your decor but if you don't have a lot of experience with painting the task may seem daunting. Luckily, paint suppliers are here to help. CIL paint has introduced a new service to answer consumer paint questions.From the . . .

    July 25, 2015

  • Resurrection of the lily

    A new weapon in the war against the lily beetle
    Resurrection of the lily

    Picking and squishing has become a daily ritual for gardeners who are growing lilies. Locked in a battle with the lily leaf beetle, some gardeners check religiously under a ladder of narrow lily leaves for rows of oblong reddish orange eggs in the quest to save their lilies. The lily . . .

    July 25, 2015

  • Why is the poplar tree so unpopular?

    I have written a great deal about the problems with poplar trees, especially the Swedish aspen and Tower poplar -- two of the most commonly planted trees in the poplar tree family. There are larger poplar trees than these two which also can be of great concern for people who . . .

    July 25, 2015