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Rejuvenating Timeless Architecture with Modern Amenities

As custom exterior expert, we spend a large part of our time finishing new builds and completely transforming existing homes. But every once and a while, we’re asked to modernize a home while maintaining its existing architecture and style— exactly the case at this Thornbury Cape Cod home. And with the project now complete, we thought we’d take this opportunity to walk you through the homeowner’s desires and how we delivered on them. Check it out!

The Ask

Right from the start, the homeowner knew they wanted to keep the existing charm of their home. They loved the timeless Cape Cod style, but were tired of maintaining the wood siding, decking and other aspects of the home for the past 20 years. We were tasked with applying modern products and finishes to create a new, maintenance-free home that resembled the existing exterior they still very much loved. From the siding and windows to the doors, decking and railing, the homeowners wanted almost every aspect of their home’s exterior brought up to date.

Initial Tasks

Unlike other projects where the sky is often the limit when it comes to colours, products and manufacturers, our team very quickly had to narrow down options to only those that would resemble the existing character. With our shortlist in hand, we returned to the Thornbury home to get exact measurements and pictures for previews. Using the latest in 3D rendering technology, we were able to digitally recreate the home and outfit it with the real-life products we were proposing. This tool was a great asset in reassuring the homeowner that the exterior of their home would remain the same— albeit with a lot less maintenance.

Windows

The first step of this Cape Cod rejuvenation was to remove the existing windows and prep the jambs for the new windows. During the quoting process, the homeowner requested we save their interior trim and so extra precaution was taken during the removal and measuring process. Once ready for installation, our team installed Ostaco Core Plus windows with SDL Grills for maintenance-free Cape Cod styling. With that being said, the homeowners wanted a slightly more modern look to the windows and so we decided to reduce the number of squares in the grills— providing more glass and the modern appearance the homeowner requested.

Doors

The next step of this project was to replace the exterior French doors. This home is fortunate to have multiple levels of outdoor space (accessible from many rooms in the house) and so it meant that there were many sets of doors to replace. Again, we started by removing the old doors and prepping the door jambs for the new doors and then continued to install new Ostaco Fibreglass French Doors with retractable screens. The retractable screens will give the homeowners the opportunity to leave the doors open without having to worry about the burden of bugs in the warmer months.

To further enhance the multiple levels of outdoor space, we also installed Centor S1 retractable screens on the upper deck. These screens completely bugproof the space and allow it to be used no matter how buggy it may be. And with a view of the pond in their backyard, this is bound to be a go-to space now.

Returning to the front of the house, our team also installed Upward Canadian-made steel garage doors along with a Lift master side-operating jack-shaft motor to eliminate the old trolley motor— making the garage door system quieter and more reliable.

Siding

Once the doors and windows were up to date, it was time to start tackling the biggest part of this project, the siding. This was the main reason our team was hired as the homeowners were tired of maintaining the existing wood siding. Once the home had been peeled back to the sheathing, our team got started by installing 1” of Enerfoil insulation board to increase the R-factor of the home. With the home insulated and ready for its new siding, we installed Gentek Everlast PVC siding in the exact same colour and style of the wood siding we had just removed. This was capped with large white PVC trim on the corners, freeze boards and headers around the windows and doors to complete the authentic Cape Cod styling.

Decking & Railings

With so much to see right out their back door, the deck is a vital part of this home. To bring it up to date, we removed all the old deck boards and laid down new Home Team aluminum decking. Not only does this make the deck maintenance-free like the rest of the house, but it’s also seamless— providing protection from dripping water above. This means the homeowners can sit under the deck in the rain and not get wet. We also installed Gentek vinyl panels and Sagiper woodgrain soffit to warm up the underside of the deck without creating any additional maintenance.

To cap off the new deck, we also installed a Home Team aluminum railing system with glass partitions. Not only is it maintenance-free, but the glass also allows for an unobstructed view of the backyard whether you’re indoors or out.

Product Breakdown

Siding

  • Gentek Everlast PVC siding – same colour and style as original

Windows

  • Ostaco Core Plus with SDL grills

French Doors

  • Ostaco Fibreglass with SDL grills with retractable screens

Garage Doors

  • Upward Steel Insulated, Carriage style
  • Lift Master Side-operating Jack Shaft

Decking

  • Home Team aluminum decking

Railing and Columns

  • Home Team aluminum and glass railing system

Other

  • Centor S1 retractable screens on upper deck
  • Gentek vinyl-beaded panel
  • Gentek Sagiper soffit
  • Reline PVC panels

Completed Photos

When it comes to custom exteriors, a complete transformation doesn’t always have to be the end goal. With the advancements made in today’s products it’s very possible to update your home’s exterior without altering its appearance. And with access to thousands of products from the industry’s leading suppliers, we have the know-how to deliver your desired effect on any budget. If you have any questions about the products used in this project or other products that we carry, don’t hesitate to visit our showrooms, email us or give us a call— a member of our team would be more than happy to help you.

“If It Goes On The Outside Of Your Home, You’ll Find It On The Inside Of Ours.”

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Shopping Online With The VanDolder’s Virtual Home Team

The times are changing in more ways than one. Aside from everything happening in the news nowadays, technology is changing the way we work, shop and live. From online shopping to virtual tours, more and more of the goods and services we require are becoming available online. And as leaders in the home improvement market, we feel the responsibility of adopting emerging technologies as they pertain to your custom exterior renovations. While our one-of-a-kind village-style showrooms offer a unique shopping experience, we also understand that some people prefer to do things online and virtually. From simple things like email and video calls to more sophisticated offerings like online quoting and 3D render previews, we now have online and virtual services in place to help you through every step of the renovation process.

Introducing The Van Dolder’s Virtual Home Team.

Communication

Communication is key to any shopping experience. You want to make sure your needs and wants are heard, and we want to make sure you know what is going on every step of the way. To do this, we’re turning to our smartphones. Phone calls, text messages and emails are nothing new, but now more than ever they are essential in maintaining a constant, reliable line of communication between you and our Sales Team and Installers. On top of these familiar methods, our Sales Team are also now available via video call to virtually show you around our showrooms. Using video call services like Zoom and Facetime, we’ll be able to work together every step of the way while still having the capability to show you real products, colours and finishes in our showrooms.

Online Product Previews

Technology continues to evolve every day, and because of this, the screens on our phones, computers and televisions now provide us with life-like colours and picture. And while this means the best possible experience when watching your favourite movie or sports team, it also means the same when shopping for new windows, siding, doors and more. Using the customizer services available on our supplier websites, customers can see life-like representations of colours, finishes and other options.

Looking for inspiration and real-life uses of the products you’re considering? For starters, head over to our Project Gallery page to see completed photos of various projects we’ve worked on as well as the products we used. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for there, we highly recommend searching by hashtag on platforms like Instagram. Many brands, including ours, add descriptive hashtags to social media posts to help customers when looking for a specific colour or product. You can try general searches like #Gentek if you’re unsure of the product or colour you want, but you can also try more specific searches like #WindsweptSmoke if you know exactly what you’re looking for.

For brands that have Instagram accounts, we also suggest visiting their profiles to check out the content they have shared as well as what they have been tagged in for additional inspiration.

3D Model Previews

Once you’ve determined the scope of your project and have narrowed down your product choices, whether by visiting our suppliers online or by working with one of our team members, it’s time for the real fun to begin. Using new technology that has recently become available to us, our staff are now able to digitally recreate your home from images you supply so you can preview real-life products in-situation. Can’t decide between Iron Ore or Black windows? We can show you both. How about Snow White siding or Linen siding? We can show you that too.

Online Quoting

And as an added bonus, we can also now provide accurate quotes based on the images you supply. No need to worry about scheduling a time for us to come and manually measure your home, our visualization tool provides accurate measurements that our Sales Team can use to provide you with a quote. And only once you have decided to proceed with your project will our team visit your home to confirm exact measurements— reducing the number of required visits and speeding up the project process.

Like many other industries and aspects of our lives, home improvement is adapting to the growing online nature of the world. And as this transition takes place and more and more clients choose to handle their next project virtually, our staff will be ready to provide you with The Home Team experience you’d expect— whether you choose to visit one of our showrooms or not.

We’re excited to enter the virtual world and for the opportunity to share the experience with you.

If you’re ready to get started on your next project, use the contact form below to get in touch with a Virtual Home Team member.

What are you looking for?*


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Inaugural Andy Van Dolder Scholarship Awarded

Tim Van Dolder presenting the award at Georgian College’s Barrie campus.

On January 30th, 2020, the first-ever Andy Van Dolder Scholarship was awarded. The scholarship’s first deserving recipient was Leah Simon, who described receiving the award as a big help towards finishing her education.

“I can now focus solely on studying, and my school work instead of having to find a second job to help pay for all my bills with school and at home. This is a major help to me and my family.”

The Andy Van Dolder Scholarship was created in honour of our late founder, father and friend, Andy Van Dolder. Andy possessed an unrivalled passion for home improvement and was known around the region for his gregarious spirit. His scholarship is presented to a student in Georgian College’s Carpentry and Renovation Techniques Program who demonstrates academic merit (+75% average) as well as a commitment to the program and profession— something Andy did for over 56 years. The scholarship is valued at $1,000 and is awarded to a student from the Grey Bruce Simcoe region twice a year.

The entire Home Team family would like to congratulate, Leah Simon on being the first recipient of the Andy Van Dolder Scholarship. We wish her all the best as she finishes her studies and begins her career, and we know that Andy would be proud of the passion she displays for her chosen field.

Information about the Andy Van Dolder Scholarship will be available online in Fall 2020 on Georgian College’s website. If you’d like to learn more about the scholarship in the meantime, we ask that you contact Tim Van Dolder at our Collingwood location so that he can redirect you to the appropriate Georgian College contact.

Congratulations once again, Leah!

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Maple Leaf Muskoka Cottage Transformation

The Muskoka region, in Northern Ontario is best known as the Canadian summer retreat for celebrities to enjoy their extravagant, multi-million dollar cottages.

Last fall, former Toronto Maple Leaf great, Wendel Clark, approached us with the challenge of renovating his Muskoka home. And as any Canadian would have done, we jumped at the opportunity. Check out the project details below along with a list of the products we used to transform his Muskoka cottage.

Project Goals

Wendel and his wife, Dee, wanted to convert their 3-season room into a year-round relaxing retreat. Living on the lakefront, they also wanted to maximize their view of the lake, add access to the outdoors from this room and create a maintenance-free exterior. And they wanted it all to seamlessly blend into the existing interior and exterior of their cottage.

No problem.

Our Solution

With the project goals laid out, we began tackling this Muskoka cottage transformation.

First up, maximizing the view of the lake and creating an access point to the outdoors.

When we first learned of Wendel and Dee’s desire to maximize their view of the lake and create an access point to the outdoors, we immediately knew Centor’s bi-fold doors were the perfect solution. These large window-like sliding/folding doors provide a floor to ceiling view of the lake like a window wall, but also double as a door, providing effortless access to their yard. We started the install by removing the existing windows and knee wall and then reinforced the header to be able to support the weight of the Centor bi-fold door. The bi-fold door’s exterior was painted to match the cottage’s existing windows, and its interior was stained by our team to match the timber frame of the room. The door was installed along with a retractable sunshade and a retractable bug screen to enhance the practicality and usability of the room further.

With the door installed, Wendel and Dee now have an uninterrupted view of the lake, access to the outdoors as well as a room that is more suited to their lifestyle than before.

Next up, the start of a maintenance-free exterior.

With the most substantial part of the project successfully completed, we moved on to replacing the existing windows on the wall opposite from the Centor door with new, energy-efficient windows that would help make the exterior maintenance-free and the interior warm year-round.

For this part of the project, we turned to Lepage’s XL Double-Hung window. We chose a double-hung window for this scenario to maximize ventilation and an aluminum clad exterior that was paint-matched to the existing windows to create a seamless, maintenance-free exterior. At the same time, the interior received a factory stain to match the room’s timber frame once again.

Products Used

Windows

  • Lepage XL Double Hung windows with paint-matched aluminum clad exterior and factory-stained wood interior

Doors

  • Centor Bi-Fold Door with factory paint-matched exterior and custom stained wood interior
  • Retractable sunshade and bug screen

Other

  • Additional insulating was provided beneath windows

Project Gallery

Whether your home stares out over Lake Muskoka, acres of farm field or maybe just your backyard oasis, we take great pride in helping homeowners like Wendel Clark, maximize their home’s view and bring their custom exterior dreams to life. Equipped with some of the best suppliers in the industry, our team is ready to tackle any project you can think of. Visit our Owen Sound or Collingwood village-style showroom today to see and feel products in real-life settings that may be perfect for your home.

“If It Goes On The Outside Of Your Home, You’ll Find It On The Inside Of Ours.”

Photos and Videos by Fox Production Films
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Van Dolder Custom Exteriors

Capturing The Coastal Curb Appeal at Cobble Beach

At Van Dolder’s Custom Exteriors, enhancing your home’s curb appeal is what makes us tick. Harmonizing personal taste with the beauty of local surroundings is a craft— one that we’ve spent over 50 years refining.

In early 2018, Van Dolder’s Custom Exteriors met with a family who had just recently started the process of building their dream home in the Cobble Beach neighbourhood. With many months of hard work now behind us and countless people to thank, we’re proud to show you this gorgeous home’s exterior. Let’s take a closer look!

The Ask

When designing the exterior of a custom home, the home’s surrounding environment and the family’s personal preferences play a big role in product choice, colour selection and final design. For this Cobble Beach home, we were tasked with merging the coastal ambiance of Georgian Bay as well as the surrounding forested areas with the family’s liking for contemporary style. The family also loved their previous home’s wood siding and wanted to maintain the warmth and richness of wood in their new home’s exterior—without the exhausting maintenance of traditional wood siding.

The Solution

Starting with the siding and knowing the family’s fondness for wood, we chose Maibec’s Genuine Wood Channel Siding. Maibec’s Genuine Wood Siding has a textured finish and follows strict quality standards throughout its entire manufacturing process. This offered the homeowners the beauty of wood siding that they were looking for, but with increased protection from the damaging effects of the sun, wind, heat and rain that are all too common along the coast of Georgian Bay. To complete the home’s exterior and compliment the genuine wood channel siding, we also selected matching Maibec Genuine wood shingles and trim boards.

One of the most significant advantages to Maibec’s products is their extensive selection of colours and their ability to match custom colour choices as well. In this case, the homeowners worked with Interior Designer, Wendy Bye, to select a Benjamin Moore colour for their siding. They simply provided a colour sample, and Maibec was able to match it perfectly— giving the homeowners a high-quality factory stained shade that seamlessly fit the colouring of the surroundings.

When we think about this home and what sets it apart from others, we think of the gorgeous view. To appreciate the beauty of the forested areas and the Georgian Bay coastline the architect’s plans called for a set of magnificent, one-of-a-kind, 16-foot curved windows along the eastern side of the home. For these very special windows, we called upon our friends at Bigfoot windows to craft and supply the unique size and shape that were needed.

Once we had this feature window crafted, we enlisted Ostaco’s Enersense windows for the remainder of the home. Ostaco’s Enersense windows require very little maintenance, provide a secure seal and have achieved the highest ENERGY STAR® rating for energy efficiency. And for this family, energy efficiency was a top priority.

As you can see, we also chose black colouring for the windows to achieve the family’s desired contemporary look. Black windows are very much on-trend right now and continue to be a clean, simple way to achieve several looks. Pulling from the home’s surroundings, we also like how the black colouring resembles the depths of Georgian Bay.

A front door says a lot about a home. It’s the first thing to welcome guests into your home and influence their initial impression. And for this home, we knew ordinary simply wouldn’t suffice. This is why we worked with Bigfoot once again to create a one-of-a-kind entry door that reflects the uniqueness of the rest of the home. For the rest of the home’s doors, we used Ostaco’s black painted doors for a bold, yet elegant appearance. Many of these doors were outfitted with built-in retractable screens from Phantom Screens to allow the family to take advantage of the natural coastal ventilation. These screens were an easy choice for many reasons. On top of providing natural ventilation, they also offer protection from harmful UV rays and can accommodate single, double and even oversized door openings.

Van Dolder Custom Exteriors

Cobble Beach is known for its exquisite coastal views and surrounding scenery. So as with any home with a view, we knew the outdoor living space needed to provide the family with space to enjoy the views as well as the company of family and friends. This led us to build the deck using decking from AZEK’s Vintage Collection. This gave us the appearance of real wood that the family wanted, but with superior durability and much less maintenance— meaning the deck will be there for many gatherings. To complement the home’s contemporary style, we selected the Azek decking in the mahogany colouring. This gave it a rich, timeless appearance, while its dramatic streaking and variations from board-to-board, captured the beauty of real wood.

The view from the deck is awesome and to preserve an unobstructed view from the deck we used our very own clear glass railing system. Each railing system is custom-made to our client’s specifications and provides spindle-free views on all sides.

And last but not least are the soffit and fascia. Many don’t realize, but soffit and fascia play an integral role in the structural integrity of a home. Properly installed soffit provides ventilation that’s essential to good air circulation, which reduces excess moisture that can cause rotting and decay of a roof’s structure— not to mention they can make or break the look of your home’s exterior. On the front porch, we used material from Maibec in Muskoka brown, which has natural wood tones that complimented the real wood siding perfectly. And for the rest of the house, we used Gentek’s Canadian-made black vented aluminum soffit and smooth fascia.

Product Breakdown

Siding

  • Maibec Resistech Engineered Lap Siding in Nautilia on the north, south and west side
  • Maibec Genuine Wood Channel Siding with a textured finish in sun-kissed beige on the east side.

Shingles & Trim Boards

  • Maibec Real Wood shingles and trim boards in custom Benjamin Moore colour.

Windows

  • Bigfoot 16’ x 14’ curved window in black.
  • Ostaco Enersense windows in black for the remainder of the home.

Entry Doors

  • One-of-a-kind Bigfoot front entry door with thumbprint sign-in.
  • Ostaco black painted doors around the rest of the home— many of which are outfitted with built-in Phantom screens.

Patio Door

  • Ostaco sliding door in black.

Decking

  • AZEK Vintage Collection decking in Mahogany.

Railings and Columns

  • Van Dolder’s complete aluminum railing system. All glass, no posts.

Soffit, Fascia and Eaves

  • Front porch used Maibec Muskoka Brown soffit and black fascia boards.
  • The rest of the house used Gentek’s vented soffit and smooth fascia in black aluminum.

There are many decisions to be made when it comes to deciding a home’s exterior. Not only colours but the material and features too. For most people, it can be an extremely intimidating and stressful task, but with the help of the Home Team and our 50+ years of experience crafting custom home exteriors, we can help make that task a lot easier.

We want to extend a special thanks to Interior Designer, Wendy Bye, for her influence throughout this project as well as to all the men and women who helped in bringing this family’s coastal retreat to life. If you have any questions regarding any of the products in this article or are ready to get started on your home improvement project, don’t forget to Ask The Home Team. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Alu-Rex T-Rex Continuous Hanger Gutters

Alu-Rex Eaves

Everyone knows that eaves are essential to any home’s exterior, but many people don’t really understand their purpose, or why they’re so important! It’s key to know what role your eaves and eaves trough systems play, because they could be the difference between a rainy day and true disaster!

Put simply, eaves protect your home from water damage. When rain falls on your roof, it’s your eaves that safely funnel the water away from the home. Without them, that rainwater would pool on your roof or around your foundation and seep into your home. Depending on where the water seeps in, you may not even notice a problem until wood rots and mould forms. Needless to say, your eaves play an important role in saving a lot of money on maintenance; especially with the wild weather we experience in Ontario! That’s why it’s important to make sure your eaves are made of the right materials, installed properly, and well-maintained.

So what are the signs that your eaves troughs needs changing? If you see water collecting in areas of your gutters, it’s a strong indication that your eaves aren’t flowing properly, which could mean seepage. A lot of rust collecting on the gutter edges or near the bolts is also a bad sign. Not only does this mean the water isn’t flowing out properly, but it could mean that enough rain, wind or snow could pull them right off the side of your home! Even worse, you could see water flowing in the wrong direction if your troughs can’t handle the volume! If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to make a change before things take a turn for the wetter.

We didn’t mean to scare you; water damage can be a very scary subject for any home owner, especially if you don’t know what to do to prevent it! We always recommend Alu-Rex Pro Series gutters. These eaves troughs are truly top-of-the-line technology. Alu-Rex gutters are covered with a fine mesh, which keeps leaves and debris from collecting! That means no more scooping out gunk and leaves, or risking of an overflow due to blockage. Alu-Rex makes their eaves out of high-grade aluminum for maximum strength and durability. Combine all of that with quality installation work, and you’ve got visually-appealing, maintenance-free eaves to enjoy all year!

Eaves trough maintenance is important, but we understand it’s no one’s favourite activity. So if you want to have strong eaves that need very little maintenance, just call in the Home Team! We handle quality eavestroughing installations regularly, which is why we guarantee our work 100 percent. Make things easy on yourself, and give us a call before any problems arise. When the rains start falling hard, or the snow is melting off your roof, you won’t have to give your eaves a second thought. That kind of peace of mind is always worthwhile!

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Longboard Siding

Longboard® Aluminum Siding and Soffit

The siding and soffit of your home play an integral role in protecting it from the elements and improving the look and beauty of your home. Siding comes in a variety of styles and substrates such as solid wood, wood composite, vinyl, fibre cement, and aluminum. In this blog, we’re going to talk about the benefits and advantages of using aluminum siding and soffits, specifically Longboard® Cladding.

If it’s time to replace or re-do the siding of your home or business, and you’re looking for the richness of natural wood without the burden of regular maintenance, then take a look at Longboard® Cladding. Longboard® is manufactured with architectural grade, anodized aluminum that has a high performance powder coat finish; making it one of most durable exterior siding products on the market.  Homeowners, builders and commercial contractors are now using Longboard® on a wide variety of projects. The great thing about Longboard is it can be used as a siding application, a soffit system, or a privacy fence.  Besides being durable and maintenance free, another advantage of Longboard® Cladding is the lengths the siding planks come in. You can cover an entire wall, up to 24 feet in length, without having any joins or transition trims. Plus, you can have the natural looking beauty of over 20 wood grain species and more than 60 solid colour options. It not only looks amazing, is durable and maintenance free, but Longboard® Cladding will help in safeguarding your house from rodents and pests. All and all if you’re looking for an everlasting, maintenance free wood siding product Longboard®  is the only choice on the market. To better understand the beauty and quality of Longboard® Cladding, visit one of our village-style showrooms and inspect the siding close-up. Touch it, see it installed and let one of our Home Team experts help you make the choice of siding that is best for your needs.

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Hunter Douglas Blinds and Shutters

Shutters and Blinds: Dressing Your Windows

Window dressing is a tricky thing to get right. Before you begin it’s wise to seek professional advice. If you’re planning to make an investment in dressing or re-dressing your windows, it’s worth spending some time with someone who does this sort of thing on a regular basis.

Windows come in all different shapes, sizes and finishes so it’s important to pick a window dressing style and design to suit both your window and your decor. The right window treatments can also contribute to reducing energy costs and help significantly improve insulation in your house. As much as 25% of your home’s heating or cooling energy can be lost through the windows, which is why it is important to make sure they are energy efficient. While all window treatments will offer insulation, some types are more effective than others. Here’s a brief walk through some of the most up-to-date options:

Shutter Style and Sophistication

Considered one of the largest investments in window treatments, shutters can be customized to your needs and taste, thus be the most desirable option for some homeowners.  Shutter slats can be adjusted to let in the amount of light you want, or made of solid panels that will offer ultimate privacy. Shutters are constructed so that they can be either open or closed. Shutters can also be painted in many different colors that will make them either a stand-out décor accent or blend them perfectly in to your room décor. These are very durable window treatments, and very easy to clean and maintain.

Shades of Today

The two most popular styles of shades are cellular shades and roller shades.  Cellular shades are hard window treatments with a honeycomb design to keep the heat in, cold out and are considered to be the best aid in saving on heating and cooling expenses. Cellular shades work amazingly. They are constructed so that you can move the top down and bottom up, offering a high level of privacy while giving light a way in. With their rise in popularity, cellular shades are now offered in a large variety of colours, designs and finishes.

Roller shades can be a good choice for those bathrooms where the windows are situated behind the tub. They are easy to install and easy to manipulate. Perforated roller shades will allow enough light in while offering privacy at the same time. Perforated roller shades are popular choices for living rooms, dining rooms, and sunrooms as they protect furnishings and artwork while illuminating your living space.

Blinds: Darkness or Diffused Light

Blinds come in many different shapes and styles. Wider slats and vanes are most popular today. Natural wood blinds are very appealing to the eye. They are offered in different shades of natural wood, which is perfect for complementing interior window trim or furniture. You can also find blinds made of more sustainable materials like bamboo.

If you chose blinds for your windows, consider the level of privacy they offer and how much light you want in your room. Not all blinds will completely block out light. In your bedroom, for example, room darkening may be more important but in the kitchen you may only want to decrease the sun’s heat yet enjoy more natural light.

Today’s window coverings offer the perfect match for every treatment need, from casement to double hung, bay and bow windows and there are even coverings made specifically for door sidelights and patio and garden doors.

So get started on the right foot – get some advice from a professional to make sure the treatments you want to add will blend in smoothly and flawlessly into your home’s decor, fit your windows and doors correctly and have the desired aesthetic effect.

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Sunrooms

10 “Beauty” Thoughts on Sunrooms

Whether you’ve created your own backyard oasis of beauty or you simply want to better enjoy the spectacular beauty of your natural surroundings, finding a way to comfortably enjoy the outdoors, no matter what the weather is doing, only makes perfect sense. One of the best ways to bring nature into daily focus is to add a sunroom to your home. Here are 10 “Beauty” reasons why a sunroom has added value and appeal:

  • Sunrooms allow you to enjoy the serenity, energy, and beauty of nature 365 days a year no matter what climate you live in.
  • Sunrooms bring in a pleasing outdoor living space, all year round, while keeping the icy blasts, pouring rain, blistering heat and bugs, outside.
  • Sunrooms fill your home with natural light, which enhances the physical and emotional well-being of people. Through long, grey winters, four-season sunrooms can effectively offset several symptoms of SAD. Increasing our exposure to light during the colder months can help stabilize our moods and increase energy.
  • Sunrooms act as a veil between the outdoors and indoors, making them perfect hosts to all sorts of greenery and foliage. The natural sunlight filtering through the windows coupled with access to your home’s heating and air conditioning creates optimal growing conditions for most plants year-round.
  • Sunroom additions draw a crowd: folks are naturally drawn to the open, airiness and light of a sunroom whether it’s to read, drink morning coffee, chat with friends, or even star gaze at night. Sunrooms often replace the kitchen, as the most popular space in the house.
  • Sunrooms make the best home-offices. A desk, chair, and a Wi-Fi connection and you’re telecommuting in a truly motivational space. Imagine how much more productive your work day could be, surrounded by the beauty and richness of nature. More awe and wonder and way less stress.
  • Sunrooms can easily become a relaxing spa retreat. Many folks add hot or cool water massage tubs to their four-season rooms. Often you’ll find sauna rooms and massage chairs. These rooms offer excellent ambience for meditation and yoga and have even been described as the “spiritual centre” of the home.
  • Sunrooms with glass-encased ceilings provide an endless source of entertainment with an extraordinary view of the starry night sky. Budding astronomer or sleep-over party, a star filled sky time beats screen-time hands down and offers a chance for the family to reconnect.
  • Sunrooms can be installed for you, or customized and purchased in a kit for the experienced DIYer. So, whether you choose to have it installed by the pros or make it a summer project, your renovation experience will give you lots to think about.
  • Sunrooms are much more energy efficient now. Using ENERGY STAR qualified windows, retractable external awnings, tinting the glass, connecting to your home’s HVAC system, adding a ceiling fan, and ensuring all covered areas of the room are well insulated, you truly can control heat and cold in your new room.

Whatever your reason, adding a sunroom to your home will not only increase your living space, it will also increase the appeal and value of your home.

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Commercial Awning

Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Frying: Awning Up!

Does the hot sun keep you from enjoying your favourite summer spot around the house? Are you tired of drying the patio furniture on your deck after a passing shower?  The solution maybe to install a retractable awning.

Retractable awnings are basically a metal framework covered with shade fabric. The framework can be installed directly on the side of your house, inside of a sunroom, and some of the new free-standing retractable awning systems work very well inside existing pergola structures. Some models have diagonal support arms, others have hidden “lateral” arms and more modern styles offer vertical and horizontal tracking systems. You can open and retract the awning either manually with a hand crank, with a motorized system or choose an automated system that opens and closes when stimulated by wind, rain or sun.

Retractable awnings can provide instant shade when you want it or quickly roll away when you don’t need them. You don’t have to take them apart or remove them in the winter months; just cover them and wait until spring. Many models offer vertical screens that you can attach to the extended awning to block the sun when it’s low in the sky, while others have insect screening you can attach to keep out unwanted pests.

More elaborate retractable awnings offer wind sensors that automatically retract your awnings so strong winds do not damage the awning framework. And nearly all motorized retractable awning manufacturers now offer remote controls so extending and retracting your awning is a one click process.

Simple, outdoor retractable awnings can be installed on any type of siding. The brackets must be mounted to framing members to support the weight of the awning. You’ll need to make certain you have the appropriate clearance between your deck or patio and the eave, gutter or overhang (usually a minimum of about 7 ft.).  And be sure to consider the clearance you’ll need from light fixtures and electrical outlets. More elaborate indoor and free-standing awnings systems are best installed by your contractor. In fact, we don’t recommend installation as a do-it-yourself project, as the awnings are too heavy to set in place by yourself and correct installation is critical for hassle-free usage.

Awnings can be custom made to match any indoor or outdoor decor. If you can imagine a colour or pattern, it can be created in an awning. Popular choices are primary colours with contrasting stripes (think 1970s beach umbrella). More modern looks are offered in subtle earth tones and, most recently, sheer materials are being used to diffuse the sun’s harsh rays while allowing the light in.

When you open up to retractable awnings in your living space, you’ll find yourself spending more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about the weather.

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