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  • A man showing how it feels to open unwanted gifts

Unwanted Gifts that Generate Clutter and Stress

December 10th, 2018|0 Comments

Have you ever received a gift, feigned praise and thanks, but secretly wondered what you would do with it, or how you could regift it? Many have, [...]

  • Excited curious little girl smiling, opening christmas gift

Five Top Consumable Gifts for Kids

December 5th, 2018|0 Comments

Kids love the holiday season! And most people I know love buying holiday gifts for children– it’s a fun way to show their love. It’s also how [...]

  • movie tickets experiential gift

Five Great Experiential Gifts for the Holiday Season

December 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

Scientific research shows we find material objects exciting at first, but over time we adapt to their presence and the happiness they generate fades. In contrast, the level [...]

  • Red alarm clock in a cream box: Give the Gift of Time

Five Top Ways to Give the Gift of Time

November 28th, 2018|0 Comments

Most of us have too much stuff and not nearly enough time—and our stuff is increasingly eating up our time.  We spend more hours and minutes than [...]

  • Woman hand close up carrying an easter egg at sunset.

Five Top Useful Consumable Gifts for Adults

November 26th, 2018|0 Comments

What all of these gifts have in common is making the effort to tailor your choices. A fancy bottle of merlot will sit on the shelf when [...]

  • Office desk with secret santa gift

Office Gift Exchange Ideas that Cut the Clutter and Boost Goodwill

November 21st, 2018|0 Comments

In the coming weeks there will be many office holiday parties accompanied by the traditional gift exchange. Let’s face it, it’s hard to buy thoughtful gifts for [...]

  • holiday tradition

Meaningful Gifts with Less Stress and Clutter

November 19th, 2018|0 Comments

It’s that wonderful time of year: many celebrate the holiday season with special foods, drinks, music, events, and of course, gifts. Gifts are how many show appreciation [...]

  • space for holiday entertaining

Maximizing your Space for Holiday Entertaining

December 4th, 2017|0 Comments

It’s December and the holiday season is pretty much here. On top of attending parties, purchasing gifts, and planning a feast, it is the season where I [...]

  • Make Holiday Entertaining Easy

Well-Designed Spaces Make Holiday Entertaining Easy

December 4th, 2017|1 Comment

I love the holiday season. It’s a great time to catch up with friends and family, enjoy delicious foods and make merry. But, it can also be [...]



November 24th, 2017|0 Comments

A lot of people decide to renovate/rebuild their newly purchased home before moving in. While this may be appealing because you don’t have to spend any time [...]

  • Toronto Urban Laneway: Graffiti Lane

Hidden Gems: Toronto Laneways

November 9th, 2017|0 Comments

This is another post in our new KAAV LIVING series providing tips from city dwellers about how to best enjoy urban life. Contributing authors are welcome. This [...]

  • Do-not-renovate-before-moving

Four Reasons Not to Renovate Before Moving In

October 19th, 2017|0 Comments

With the urban housing market these days, many people are buying homes with ‘potential’— homes they feel have good bones and can be transformed into a space [...]

  • Taking your car away

How to Enjoy a Car-free Urban Life

October 5th, 2017|0 Comments

This is a new series of KAAV LIVING posts providing tips from city dwellers about how to best enjoy urban life. Contributing authors are welcome. Our first [...]

  • Bad Renovation or Rebuild Assumptions


September 21st, 2017|1 Comment

Continuing from Part I which focussed more on renovations, there are several misconceptions about renovations and rebuilds that often lead homeowners to make bad assumptions, causing them to [...]

  • Tips for a Clutter free home

Four Tips to Achieve Clutter-Free Zen

September 7th, 2017|0 Comments

Most of us prefer the look of an uncluttered home. For many, clutter is distracting, so clear space makes us feel better. I call it Clutter-Free Zen. [...]

  • Bad assumptions about renovations

Top Ten Bad Assumptions Homeowners Make About Renovations — Part I

August 16th, 2017|1 Comment

For many, home renovations are becoming a part of life. This is in part due to the countless HGTV programs we love, and the practical need in [...]

  • Stay cool in summer, enjoy a swimming pool

Summertime Tips to Keep Cool and Save Money on Utility Bills

July 20th, 2017|0 Comments

After a cold, dark, winter, most of us welcome the first warm days of spring with open arms. We happily open our windows and joyously shed those [...]

  • Renovation from hell

Three Valuable Takeaways from Parkdale Renovation from Hell Tale

July 6th, 2017|0 Comments

As much as Toronto Life’s article on the Parkdale renovation from hell inspired a big backlash on social media regarding housing affordability and homelessness, the cautionary tale [...]

  • Piecing Together Your Big Picture

Create the Home You Need to Build the Life You Want

June 26th, 2017|0 Comments

A common question I hear from prospective renovators is: “Where do I start?” There are so many different elements to these reno projects that it is hard [...]

  • Risks include emotional home renovation

Find the Voice of Reason in Emotional Home Renovation Decisions

June 7th, 2017|0 Comments

You have a house which you plan to transform into your dream home. You’ve been fantasizing about it for a long time: watching HGTV shows, scouring design [...]

  • Consulting an expert Your Home is More than a Financial Asset

Skip the School of Hard Knocks with Your Home

May 18th, 2017|0 Comments

Get objective expert advice – just like you would for complex taxes and financial planning Your home is likely your biggest asset. Beyond the investment perspective, it [...]

  • Renovating an old home can be like surgery

Renovating an Old Home is Like Surgery

May 9th, 2017|0 Comments

Renovating an old home is like surgery: you are piercing through the protective outer layer and have to be mindful not to disturb the underlying systems and [...]

  • Selecting a Residential Property for Renovation or Rebuild

Tips for Selecting a Residential Property for Renovation or Rebuild

May 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

It’s spring– traditionally house hunting season! Time for Toronto’s already busy real estate market to swing into overdrive. This can be exciting and nerve-wracking, as it requires [...]

  • Where to find the money for your reno or rebuild

Where to Find the Money for Your Reno or Rebuild

April 5th, 2017|0 Comments

Home renovation and rebuild projects are expensive affairs. Most of us are not in the fortunate position to use savings to cover the total expense. Where to [...]

Three Musts for an Adequate Renovation/Rebuild Plan

More and more people in the Toronto real estate market are finding themselves trapped in a starter home, unable to move to a larger house when more space is needed. Now they are looking for [...]

How Home Renos/Rebuilds Are Like Foreign Travel

I love to travel. Especially to places where the language, culture and landscape are so different that my regular points of reference are no longer valid. Believe it or not, renovating or rebuilding can be similar. [...]

The Trouble with HGTV: Entertainment vs. Education

HGTV is enjoyed by many Canadians. Programs about real estate, home and garden design, and renovations are favourites. I’ve watched many of these shows over the years, especially leading up to the rebuild of my [...]

10 Relationship-saving Tips for Major Reno/rebuild Projects

Reno/rebuild projects can tax a relationship as much as the pocket book. Why? They require a lot of collaborative decision-making, and the path to consensus is not always easy. Discussions can be fraught with emotion [...]

Tips for Getting the Big Home Renovation Purchase Right

Growing up as the child of immigrant parents who started with very little I was taught the value of money at a very early age. This was followed later by a tutorial on budgeting and [...]

Three Factors That Impact Your Reno/rebuild Timeline

Thinking about a major renovation or rebuild this year? Don’t dawdle. Projects of this nature typically take longer than expected. Based on our own experience, and my conversations with families considering major renovations and/or rebuilds, [...]

Successful Renovation/Rebuild: Three Key Elements

I love hearing home renovation and rebuild stories. As I listen, I think about how these projects could be even more successful and less stressful for homeowners, if only they hadn’t missed some important steps. [...]

Why is Toronto Becoming a Hotbed for Home Rebuilds?

It is increasingly common to run across house rebuild sites in urban Toronto. I spot them regularly as I drive and cycle through the neighbourhoods. A number of different factors can prompt property owners to [...]

Financial Reasons to Self-Build vs Buy Spec House

When looking for a house, many gravitate towards newer homes. Some want new because it will mean fewer repairs and less upkeep. Others want new because modern design appeals to them. Two choices for getting [...]

Home Design that Reduces Stress

When we lived in our old house, its condition and upkeep were constant sources of stress. What we didn’t realize was how much the design and layout of the rooms also contributed to our stress. [...]

Why Are We So Stressed at Home?

Research has shown that we are more stressed at home than at work. Why is that? Some say this is in part because the tasks and compensation at home are not as clear as they [...]

7 Important Questions to Ask Before Renovating

After spending years watching reality TV programs about renovating homes, most of us assume that if the location is good, but your house isn’t working for you, the only options are to renovate or move. [...]