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Minimal style with maximum comfort

(NC) Minimalism is getting maximum attention these days, since this style of design no longer needs to have hard edges or be uncomfortable. The new approach celebrates nature and serenity without sacrificing warmth and comfort. Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore colour marketing expert, shares her three tips on how to create a warm and inviting minimalist space in your home.

Build on your base colours: Like all good design, minimalism starts with the basics. The first step to beautiful design is selecting your colour palette of two to three colours that you will use throughout your space. Warm neutrals like creams, beiges and greys will help create a timeless and subtle starting point that lets your décor shine. “Neutral paint colours like Thunder AF-68, White Heron OC-57 and even a muted rosy hue like the Colour of the Year 2020 First Light 2102-70 are ideal choices for an inviting minimal space,” says Grech.

Add natural textures. The key to an inviting design is thoughtfully adding texture and layers. Natural materials and textures have a calming effect and add softness to minimal spaces. Complement your neutral base colours with woven rugs, wooden chairs, rattan furniture and plants to add depth and visual interest and create an inviting and serene look. Group accessories in neutral shades together – think antique whites, sun-bleached beiges and stormy greys to create a harmonious look that is easy on the eyes.

Do it yourself: Consistency of colours, textures and tones are essential when creating a warm and inviting minimal space. One way to achieve a consistent look is to paint wooden furniture and cabinets to create a unified and complementary set of tones throughout your home. “Painting wooden furniture and cabinets is an approachable do-it-yourself project. There are two key elements to properly painting furniture: first, smooth out any uneven textures using sandpaper. Second, make sure you use a high-quality paint designed to minimize brushstrokes, like Advance interior paint from Benjamin Moore.”

 
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4 simple ways to become involved in your community

(NC) Want to make a difference in your community but not sure where to begin? Here are some easy ways to get involved:

  1. Find your representative. It’s important to know who represents you in government decisions. Find out the contact info of your Member of Parliament and your local municipal councilor and don’t be afraid to reach out to them with your concerns—whether you think more money should be spent on mental health care, or if you think your neighbourhood needs a new stop sign.

  2. Get out and vote. This is an easy one. Whenever there’s an election, make sure you vote for representatives who are aligned with your interests and concerns. And don’t just vote in major federal or provincial elections—local governments often have a big impact on your day-to-day life.
     
  3. Participate in the census. Taken every five years, the census is an important part of our heritage—it helps us learn more about the makeup of communities across Canada while taking an active role in the civic process. This longstanding part of our identity has been around since 1666, when Jean Talon conducted the first Canadian census. Today, the census is the primary source of sociodemographic data for key population groups and it supports economic, educational and cultural outcomes.

    Important decisions and policies are based on the data collected, such as where to build schools or invest in support workers for the elderly. An easy way to make sure you and your family’s needs are prioritized is to participate in the next census, scheduled for May 2021. You can even complete the questionnaire online.

  4. Volunteer in your community. You can learn a lot and make a big difference in the lives of others by volunteering for an organization that supports a cause you care about. Whether it’s a local shelter or your child’s school, becoming more engaged in your neighbourhood is a good first step to being more engaged in your community.

Even if you try just one or two of these ideas for getting involved, you will see how rewarding it can be for yourself and those around you.

 
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5 things to look for when choosing a new neighbourhood

(NC) A big move is always exciting, but we can sometimes get so caught up in finding the perfect home that we forget about choosing the right neighbourhood. Your community can have a big impact on your lifestyle and quality of life, so here are some features to consider when scoping out locations:  

  1. Getting around. Do you like being able to walk or bike everywhere you go? Do you rely on public transportation to get to work? Or do you have mobility issues and prefer driving? Make sure potential neighbourhoods are suited to your favourite method of transportation—that means plenty of bike paths for cycling or lots of lanes to avoid car congestion. Census data can give you a good idea of which Canadian communities are most accessible for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. Plenty of useful and interesting data about transportation and other aspects of your community can be found on Statistics Canada’s website.
  2. Demographics. Many of us like to live with people who are in a similar life stage. A quick scan of the census data for a specific community can tell you useful things about its inhabitants, like the age of local kids and even what kind of work people do. Factor this in when making your decision and keep in mind what schools, daycare facilities, retirement homes and jobs are available, depending on your family’s needs and career paths.  
  3. Affordability. An affordable neighbourhood is just as important as an affordable home. Is the main street filled with pricey restaurants you’ll only be able to afford on special occasions? Are there opportunities for fun, free things to do, like libraries or a skating rink? Before committing to a neighbourhood, make sure you can afford to have fun and experience what the community has to offer.
  4. Environmental factors. Make sure your surroundings are suited to your lifestyle. For example, an area full of bars and nightlife might not work if you have small children. If you love nature, you might want to pick somewhere with a nice park nearby. Or, if you have a dog, proximity to dog parks and walking trails might be a top priority.

Visit census.gc.ca to find useful demographic information for planning your move. Contribute to your neighbourhood’s future by completing the 2021 Census in May 2021.

 
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Designer tips to bring global style home

(NC) This summer, see the world from the comfort of home with globally inspired design. From the Greek Islands to the Santa Fe desert, Sharon Grech, Benjamin Moore colour marketing expert, shares her advice to bring the aesthetic of some of the world’s most exciting destinations into your home – no travel required.

Santorini: Create a calm and refreshing space with a palette of timeless Grecian blues, whites and greys. These serene Mediterranean shades have classic appeal that will never go out of style. Looking to refresh your kitchen? “Make your light-coloured countertops pop by painting your lower cabinetry a vibrant shade of blue, like Lazy Sunday 830,” says Grech.

Boston: If your style is a mix of classic and contemporary, take inspiration from the heritage hues and aesthetic of Boston. You can easily bring the feel of this east-coast city by adding warm toned plants and greens to your home. “Perennials such as coral bells and sedums are easy to care for and will add beautiful pops of warm colour to your front or backyard.”

Cape Town: Bring the vibrant and bold colour palette of Cape Town to your home by adding accents of pink and orange. Bathrooms and powder rooms are ideal spaces to experiment with bolder colours – painting a wall or vanity in a bright shade will create an uplifting space that energizes and rejuvenates. “Since bathrooms can be the most susceptible to water and steam damage, be sure to use a product such as Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa, which provides a luxurious matte finish designed for high-humidity environments.”

Sante Fe: Add warmth and comfort to your living room or home office with an earthy colour palette inspired by the desert landscapes of Sante Fe. Shades of gold, muted oranges and accents of turquoise create an eclectic and collected feel that complements styles ranging from classic to minimal.

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How home design trends are evolving for physical distancing

(NC) COVID-19 has brought changes to everything, and home design is no exception. Experts are expecting to see lasting impacts on everything from the materials we use to the rooms we prioritize. Check out these and other noteworthy trends:

Houses over apartments. Many people who live in condos or apartments do so to be closer to the action – work, entertainment and shops – and never planned on spending much time at home. But the pandemic has changed that, and more people are going to want a home that offers plenty of room and outdoor space in case they need to self-isolate again.

Self-sufficiency: A hard lesson we’ve learned is that things and services we thought we could count on aren’t necessarily a sure thing, so items that increase self-reliance will become very popular. Expect to see more homes with sources of energy like solar panels, sources of heat like fireplaces and stoves and even urban and indoor gardens that allow you to grow your own produce.

Outdoor living. Between playgrounds closing and parks becoming overcrowded, many of us are turning to our balconies, patios and backyards for fresh air and nature. This means we’re going to be investing more in our outdoor spaces, with functional kitchens, soothing water features, cozy firepits and high-quality outdoor furniture to create a much-needed escape.

Healthier spaces. Thanks to spending more time indoors and reprioritizing our health, we’ll turn to design to help ensure our homes are safe and healthy for our families. We’ll see a rise in products like water filtration systems as well as materials that improve indoor air quality. For new homes and additions, alternatives to wood-framing like insulated concrete forms from Nudura, which offer improved ventilation for healthier indoor air quality and an environment that’s less susceptible to mould, will be key.

Home office space. Business experts are suggesting many companies will see that working from home is not only possible but offers tangible benefits, like saving money on office space rent. With working from home on the rise, creating a home office space that inspires productivity will be a major project many of us tackle. Luxury home office furniture that feels chic and blends into your décor as well as ergonomic chairs and desks will see a major boost.

Custom and quality. With the hit to the economy, people are going to be buying less, but what they do buy will be better quality, while at the same time making an effort to support Canadian businesses. When it comes to design, trends will shift to locally made furniture, custom-built homes and pieces and materials that stand the test of time.

Find more information at nudura.com.

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