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Renovation & Design Articles

  • 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

  • De-cluttering great way to create more space

    De-cluttering great way to create more space

    When my husband and I decided to downsize from our home to a condo, I knew I had a heavy task ahead of me.Sorting through 30 years of 'stuff' took a year of evenings but I got a good head start before we even purchased our new place. I boxed . . .

    October 18, 2014

  • Comfort is key to setting up first new home

    A good night's sleep is essential for students
    Comfort is key to setting up first new home

    Dear Debbie:I'm out of town to university and will be away for four years. My "room" budget is small, but I would like to be smart about purchases so they will go the distance. What are the priorities? Thanks -- RebeccaDear Rebecca:Your first move away from home is exciting and . . .

    October 18, 2014

  • Brighten your world

    Good lighting a design necessity for visibility and ambience
    Brighten your world

    Good lighting plays an integral role in setting the mood of your home. The right amount of light, properly placed, can add warmth to a space and create an inviting ambience. Ottawa-based interior designer Linda Nolan always incorporates three or four sources of lighting in her room designs, creating a . . .

    October 18, 2014

  • BURNING for you

    Stoves, inserts and pellet burners keep you cozy and comfortable
    BURNING for you

    What's a renovation without a wood burning stove, a fireplace insert or a pellet stove to keep you cozy and comfortable throughout the winter?Wood is a renewable source of fuel that when burned in a modern appliance can heat 2, 000-plus square feet of living space, saving fossil fuels and . . .

    October 11, 2014

  • Simple homemade solutions will keep insects at bay

    Simple homemade solutions will keep insects at bay

    Question: It is almost time to bring my plants in from outside for the winter and I would like a homemade spray for aphids, spider mites and white flies which I usually fight every winter. Do you have something I can drench the soil with to help kill/deter these insects? . . .

    October 11, 2014

  • Cold rooms not recommended in cold climate

    Question 1: For years, we have had leaking and condensation problems with our porch and cold cellar below, in our 50s style bungalow in Toronto. We finally had them rebuilt, right down to the footings, and intend to convert the cold cellar to warm usable living space. The porch is . . .

    October 11, 2014