Tips for Designing a Modern House

If you drive around town looking at houses, chances are you’ve seen quite a few modern style ones pop up. They stand out with their unique shape that is quite different than a traditional looking house. The inside is usually an open concept floor plan that is bright and full of windows.

If you like the look of a modern house, we have some tips to help you design one. Although these are general tips for designing, go with what you like the best.

Minimalistic

Modern houses today are more minimalistic, meaning they have fewer items inside but of higher quality. The less is more look allows for the house to be more open, welcoming, and have a smoother transition between rooms.

Typically, houses would have many rooms that were closed off from one another. Now, though, modern houses have fewer walls to open up the place.

Colours

The colours are important for designing a modern home. Avoid pastel colours. Instead, go for more neutral colours and accent them with bold, bright colours. You can pick whatever colours you like really; you just want to make sure that they complement each other.

Here are a few examples of a modern colour pallet: lime green, cobalt blue, and white; cherry red, black, white, and silver; orange, cream, and brown.

Lights

A modern design utilizes as much light as possible to brighten up the home. They aren’t just any kind of lighting though. You’ll find unique lights like colour strip lights, recessed lighting, and spotlights.

A brighter room tends to be more welcoming than one poorly lit. That isn’t to say that a modern house doesn’t use dim lighting. Quite often, people install dimmers to their lights so that they can adjust the brightness throughout the day.

Features

You’ll find that a modern home will have many features that they spotlight. One way of adding a modern touch to your home is by installing a metal staircase. They have that crisp, clean look that goes in line with a modern design.

Clean

A modern house has a clean, crisp look to it. When you tie in all the other aspects above, they come together to create that clean feeling (of course, while keeping the house actually clean). By keeping the layout, design, and decoration simple, it will help you achieve that clean look a modern house has.

On top of that, a modern home is free of clutter. They achieve this by maximizing their storage spaces and make sure every item has a home. You’ll find storage containers, cabinets, and shelving in almost every room in a modern home.

When designing your modern home, be creative and have lots of fun. There’s no right or wrong way of doing it. When in doubt, err on the side of keeping things simple and clutter-free.

Getting Your Yard Ready for a Fence Installation

Preparing your yard for a fence installation is necessary to ensure that the process goes smoothly and efficiently. You wouldn’t’ want to keep stepping around toys, plants, and have no idea where your property line is.

Doing a bit of extra work before you begin your fence installation will save you a lot of hassle during the process. Consider some of the following tips to help get your yard ready for a fence installation.

Mark the Property Line

It seems obvious, but something that many don’t think of is marking the property line. You don’t want to put up a fence just by guessing where you think the property line is. Guessing could put you in a situation with your neighbours and force you to have to redo the whole process again.

Make sure you know exactly where your property line is. If you’re unsure, get the blueprints of your property from your local government office. Gambling on where your property line won’t help you in the long run.

Speak With Your Neighbours

If you have neighbours, let them know you’re building a fence. What you choose to install will affect the shared property line. Being courteous and including them in the process will help keep a good relationship between the two of you. Plus, you may find that they want to replace their fence and will cover some of the costs for the shared portion.

During the installation process, make sure to keep all of your supplies and tools on your property. For starters, it’s been courteous to them and their property. Also, though, it’s ensuring that there is no confusion over who owns what.

Call Your Utility Operators

The last thing you need is to start digging and end up hitting a pipe or lines in the ground. Now you’re in a lot of trouble. Speak with your utility operators first so that they can point out any pipes and lines that you need to be careful about.

Keep the Yard Clean

Here is another obvious one that many sometimes forget – clean up your yard. Working around toys and other obstacles will only make the process more difficult and time-consuming. Basically, you want to have as clean of a slate as possible before starting.

Have a Checklist of Supplies and a Plan

You don’t want to start installing a fence and have no plan in mind. Going that route, there’s a good chance of messing up or finding out later that you don’t like what you’ve done. Plan out ahead of time what you want the fence to look like.

Also, have a checklist of all the supplies you need. For starters, this ensures that you have everything there and ready at your fingertips. It also allows you to keep track of all your tools so that when it’s time to end for the day, everything is accounted for.

Lay Out Stakes

Once you know your property line and have a plane, lay stakes to help you visualize where the fence will go. Run a string between the posts to measure the distance between them for the fence installation.

Decorate the Exterior of Your House With These Ideas

How much time have you spent decorating and designing the exterior of your home? Quite often we spend most of our time renovating and updating the inside of the home that we forget how important the exterior design is as well.

The curb appeal of your property is important if you want to improve the overall value come selling time. Don’t think that you need to go through a complete overhaul to update the outside of your house. There are many simple and small changes you can do that will help you create a yard that is the talk of the neighbourhood.

To help you decorate the exterior of your house, take a look at some of the ideas below.

 

Upgrade the Fence

If you have a fence around the property line, see if it needs updating. Over time, fences will wear down, lose their colour, and even start to fall apart. If your current fence is still in good shape, add a fresh coat of paint to it. You’ll quickly change the atmosphere of the property with a quick paint job.

Door and Window Canopies

If you want to add an elegant touch to the design of the exterior of the home, try installing canopies over doors and windows. We have many options available so that you can design a canopy that is unique to your home.

Canopies also serve a practical purpose, especially during the rainy months of the year. You’ll be able to stand underneath of them as you look for your keys to the door.

Use Planters

Does your yard have any colour to it? If not, you can easily add a pop of colour by growing flowers in planters. By going with planters, you can put plants almost anywhere you want. Have some by the door to your home, at the edge of the driveway, or anywhere else you think they will look nice.

You can even use the planter itself as a piece of art for the property. From simple, plain planters to elaborately designed ones, you may not even need big flowers in them.

Keep it Simple

When decorating the outside of the house, err on the side that less is more. Having too much going on will make the yard look cluttered, and it will draw the attention away from the house. You want the spotlight to be on the house, and everything around it to compliment the design of the home.

Pressure Wash the Exterior

Have you ever pressure washed a fence or deck? One run over with a pressure washer, and it can take a dull and old looking piece of wood and make it look brand new. You don’t realize how dirty the outside walls get until you go over them with a pressure washer. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to brighten up the outside of your home.

Paint the Door

It’s becoming more common to see a bold coloured door on a house. The door grabs the attention of those passing by. If you want to give the exterior of your home a bold and unique touch, paint the door a colour that suits your personality.

Keep Your Pool Area Safe for the Whole Family

What’s better than hanging out by the pool on a hot sunny day? Likely, not a whole lot. However, without proper supervision and set up, the pool can be dangerous for people of any age.

On average, roughly 120 Canadians die each year due to drowning during aquatic activities in swimming pools. Any age is susceptible to drowning, but young children how are unable to swim on their own are at very high risk.

You and the family want to be able to enjoy your pool safely without any worries. That is why having safety precautions set up before people use the pool will help decrease the risk of anyone drowning. Consider some of the following safety precautions to implement with your family pool.

 

Build a Fence or Railing

One of the best ways to prevent children from falling into the pool if you are not around is to install a fence around the perimeter of the pool. This barrier will help keep children away from the water when there is no supervision.

Having railings around the edge of the pool will help protect people even more. Also, having railings would be helpful to grab on to if someone accidentally fell into the pool.

Have a First Aid Kit and Rescue Equipment Nearby

Every pool should have a first aid kit and rescue equipment in the pool vicinity. Slips and falls can happen at any time and cause scrapes and cuts. Without proper care, those cuts could get infected and cause even more issues down the road.

Rescue equipment should be readily available in the case of an emergency. A life ring or rescue tube should be easy to grab and toss into the pool if someone fell in.

Keep Chemicals Safely Stored

Pool chemicals are toxic to humans and animals if they ingested them. Not even that, some chemicals are corrosive to the skin if the liquids came in contact with skin. That is why you should have your pool chemicals stored and locked away, and keep them out of reach of small children.

Have Pool Rules

Although the pool is meant to be a fun area, rules should still be in place to prevent accidents or worse. Go through with the whole family a list of rules that will keep everyone safe. Some basic pool rules include:

  • No running on the pool deck.
  • No diving in shallow water.
  • Always have adult supervision before entering the pool.
  • No rough-housing in the pool.
  • Do not unexpectantly push anyone into the pool.

Practice How to Swim

If people are going in the pool, they should have a basic understanding of how to swim. Even if the water in your pool is shallow, basic swimming skills can save a life. It is never too late or too early to start learning how to swim.

 

Keep your pool area safe so that the entire family can continue to enjoy it. Implement some of our guidelines to keep everyone safe if there is a pool around. Make sure the whole family knows the safety rules, as well as what to do and what not to do in the case of an emergency.

 

Make Your Front Yard the Talk of the Neighbourhood

No matter what time of year it is, you can have the best looking front yard in your whole neighbourhood. By utilizing different textures and colours, you can drastically change your yard to create a winter wonderland or a summer paradise.

As the cold winter starts to roll through, you’ll be getting your yard ready to withstand all the snow and freezing temperatures that are bound to happen. However, by being creative with bushes and shrubs, railings, and decorations, you’ll take your yard to a whole new level.

To help you make your front yard the talk of the neighbourhood this winter, consider using some of the following tips.

 

Install Railing

When snow blankets the ground, you have to be more creative with how you’ll create your yard. In summer, you have colourful plants and green grass at your disposal to help. But in winter, the snow can only do so much.

So, add railing around your yard. From simple to elaborate railings that go around the perimeter of the yard or up to the front door, you can add an elegant feel right away. Take a look at some of the railings we’ve built for residents in Toronto.

Plant Winter Shrubs and Trees

Many plants can withstand winter, and still produce berries on them even when it freezes. They help feed the birds that stick around for winter. Not only that, they can add some much-needed colour to contrast the white snow.

Look at your Hardscape

Lots of times when talking about decorating a yard, we look at the soft landscape called softscape. Those are anything living that you plant. However, we can easily forget about the hardscape, or things that are not living.

Hardscape would be the hard stuff you include in your yard, like bricks and stones. Winter is the perfect time to take a look at any additions to your hardscape to help balance everything out. It could be a sculpture, an arch over the entrance to your home, or a bench on the porch.

Tidy Up the Yard

Leaves, mud, branches, and other things that appear during the transition to fall can quickly make your lard look cluttered. Part of your curb appeal is having a clean and tidy lawn. So, before the snow comes, rake up the leaves and branches, and clean out everything that accumulated in the gutters.

Rely on Lighting

In the winter time, have fun with your exterior lighting. Having proper outdoor lighting is for your family’s safety, and to add a dramatic effect to your front yard.

Install lights in different areas of the yard. You can have small lights that line the pathway to the front door. There are post lamps that work great on decks and by the front door. Use string lights throughout the trees for a winter wonderland effect.

 

Don’t let your yard fall behind once the temperature drops. Even in the winter months, you can still have the best front yard in your neighbourhood. Incorporate some of our tips listed above to help you design your winter yard this season.

6 Tips for Decorating a Small Balcony

No matter the size of your balcony, there is always room for creativity and design. It may take a bit of manoeuvring around, but with the right plan in mind, you can transform your small balcony into your favourite hangout spot.

Having a balcony of any size is a huge perk for any living space. It allows you to bring your living room outdoors in the summer, and to enjoy the fresh air. Sit outside and watch the sunrise or sunset, all while still enjoying the comfort of your home.

Whether you are renting an apartment or own your home, there are many budget-friendly designs that you can do with your balcony. Take a look at some of our ideas to get your balcony hangout ready.

 

Start With the Railing

Although this will be more for homeowners rather than rents, changing the railing along the balcony can make a huge difference. You can go for a classic look that won’t take away from the rest of the design on the balcony, or you can go with an elaborate, custom-made railing that is the attraction piece in your design.

Browse through some of our recent railings to see how they can dramatically change the feel of your balcony.

Take Your Home Outdoors

You want your balcony to be an extension of your home. To achieve that look, keep the design scheme you have inside when planning out your balcony. Stay within the same colours and theme to keep your transition from inside to outside smooth.

Use Your Walls

One thing you’ll notice right away with a small balcony is the lack of space to place items. This will force you to be creative with your design.

Don’t forget about the wall space. The walls around your balcony are like a blank canvas. Hand plants and lights off of them, or other decorations that add to your theme.

Lay an Outdoor Rug

An easy way to change your balcony of any size is to lay down an outdoor rug. Balconies don’t always have the most beautiful flooring unless you can afford to upgrade it. Instead, take a look at different rugs available. You can start with the rug and use the colour scheme as inspiration for the rest of the balcony.

Add String Lights

You’ll want outdoor lights on your balcony if you hope to spend much time there at night. However, you don’t want to give up precious space for a lamp. Opt for string lights instead. You can hang them around the railings, the walls of the balcony, or even across for a unique feel if there’s room.

Utilize Multi-Purpose Furniture

One thing every balcony needs is a place to sit. But a couch and table can take up much space and leave you with little to no room left. Luckily, there is outdoor furniture that has two purposes – storage and seating.

When you’re decorating a small space, be creative with multi-purpose items. They can serve you in two different ways without taking up additional space. So, our outdoor couch could hold items under the cushion, and the table can turn into an additional chair by adding a cushion on top.

 

Have fun when decorating your balcony. From installing unique and custom built railings to draping string lights all around, every change will enhance the feel of your balcony. Make it the place everyone will want to hang out on when the sun comes out.

 4 Common Cleaning Tasks for Keeping Glass Railings Clean

More and more you’ll find glass railings in homes. Whether it be inside following the stairs or outside around the deck or balcony, glass railings offer safety that is aesthetically pleasing. You can see through the glass as to not obstruct the view of your surroundings. It allows you to watch your children play on the lawn as you relax on the deck above.

What makes glass railings very appealing to homeowners is how durable they are and the minimal amount of upkeep required to keep them looking new. Of course, over time they will get dirty, especially if they are outside railings. However, with a regular cleaning routine that includes the glass railings around the home, you’ll keep them looking in pristine condition for many years to come.

To help you out, here are a few tips to easily keep your glass railings clean.

 

Water Spots and Streaks

Water spots and streaks are probably one of the most frustrating parts of keeping the glass clean. You may notice water spots on outdoor railings after it rains or splashed with water. For indoor railings, likely you would notice streaks after wiping the glass down. Either way, they are annoying and can make the glass look dirty.

To avoid water spots and streaks, wash the glass products specifically meant for glass, or mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe down with a clean cloth that will absorb the water.

Dust and Dirt

Dust and dirt will make its way onto the glass of the railings. Unfortunately, it is inevitable. Inside your home, dust floats around and grasps on to things around the area. Outside, dirt will stick to the glass when it storms or is windy.

Luckily for you, dust and dirt are some of the easiest things to clean from glass. A soft, dry cloth will easily wipe off the dust and dirt, revealing crisp, clear glass.

Grime Build Up

Depending on where the railings are, you may have to deal with grime build up from time to time (or quite often). Lots of times you see grime build up on the glass doors of the shower. The same thing can happen to your railings, especially if they’re in the kitchen and continuously get splashed with liquid.

Your best bet is to try and wipe down the glass as soon as a spill happens. However, if that is not always possible, the water and vinegar solution will work just fine to clean them up. Use a damp cloth to wipe the glass. You can also use glass cleaning products as well.

Animal Feces

For outdoor railings, there is a good chance you’ll encounter animal droppings on the glass. Most commonly are bird droppings. Cleaning up animal feces from glass is quite easy, but you should take safety precautions to do so. Wear disposable gloves and use a cloth that can be thrown away after. Using the vinegar and water solution will not only clean the glass, but it will also disinfect it as well.

 

Cleaning the glass on railings typically is not a difficult task. By staying on top of it, though, you can keep the glass looking like brand new for decades to come.

The Ins and Outs of Floating Stairs

Don’t let a common household necessity blend into the background. The stairs can be a striking feature in your home if appropriately designed. From walking up a few steps to enter the home, or taking a grand staircase up to the next level, every stair can be a unique addition to a house.

One way of incorporating a stunning staircase is with floating stairs. A floating staircase adds a distinctively modern touch to any home it is in. What makes them so appealing is that they are a perfect combination of functionality while being stylish.

If a floating staircase sounds appealing to you, let’s take a look at the ins and outs to see what makes a floating staircase unique.

 

How They Work

Floating stairs, although look like it, are not actually floating. They still have structural support to make them stand up. You’ll be walking up and down these stairs, so you want to ensure they can still maintain their structural integrity.

When designed and installed correctly, these staircases give off the illusion that they are floating. Even though there will still be certain areas of support and attachments, where and how they are built will keep them hidden away.

Save Valuable Space

One major perk of floating stairs is the additional space you save underneath of them. Traditional staircases can take up a large amount of space because they require a solid structure to support them. Because floating staircases are designed without the solid structural support, it opens up space underneath for you to do whatever you please.

There are many creative designs for under the stairs. You can turn the space into a cozy reading nook, a fancy storage area, a small home office, even a dog house for your furry friend. Basically, anything that you lack in your home you can use the space under the stairs for that.

Versatility

With floating stairs, the design options are only limited to what you are house allows you to build (or your wallet allows you to afford). Although they tend to be on the pricier end of staircases, there are so many ways you can build and install them in your home.

You can go more minimalistic and have as little of accessories to them as possible – only the steps jutting out from the wall are what you see. You can have them follow along with the wall and curve up to the second floor. You could even suspend the steps from the ceiling, making them look like they are really floating.

 

In the end, floating staircases are a preference rather than a necessity. However, they do offer a unique look to any home they are installed in. Take your home to a modern level by installing floating staircases.