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January 28, 2011

Cast Iron Sinks: The Beautiful Alternative

Although the kitchen sink is probably one of the most functional elements in your home, it is often one of the last products homeowners decide upon when designing their new kitchen.

Next to choosing the colour and material of your counter tops, deciding on a style and wood colour for your cabinets and picking out shiny new appliances, shopping for a kitchen sink can't really compare, can it?

After all, how do you excited about a sink?

Well, for starters, you might want step away from the stainless steel aisle and consider the beauty and durability of a Kohler cast iron sink.

Available in over 20 colours, Kohler's extensive line of cast iron sinks will quickly have you pondering how to incorporate their beauty and functionality into your kitchen redesign. And because beauty isn't everything, Kohler's cast iron sinks have an easy-to-clean, durable enamel finish and are guaranteed not to chip, crack or burn. 

Video courtesy of Kohler.

January 24, 2011

What is Sarah Overholt's Favourite Design Trend for 2011?

White and Grey are Back

"Although white and grey are not defined as colours, they are the new staple finishes of 2011," says Monarch designer Sarah Overholt. "Whether you're looking to do a modern, traditional or transitional kitchen design, these tones are a beautiful way to give dark colours life with white or light tints to accent...or conversely, punch up lightly tinted expanses with darker accents.
"The combination of these tones--or used separately as creative accents--gives the look of luxurious elegance that is soft and clean," explains Sarah. "Miralis, one of our manufacturing facilities, specializes in custom paint colours and has collaborated with Benjamin Moore so our clients can get the exact white or grey of their choosing.

"Be open to combine the white and grey tones with earth tones or bold colour. When working with a designer, they will help you determine what colour combinations work best together and in your new kitchen design."

January 21, 2011

Duravit Delivers a Sleek Modern Design For Your Bathroom

photo courtesy of
During a recent product knowledge meeting, Monarch designers were reacquainted with Duravit's sleek line of bathroom products and accessories. And it's not only the lines of the design that are clean: "Duravit glazes all parts of every product, making them easier to clean and more hygienic," says designer Sarah Overholt.

For more Duravit product videos, click here.

January 19, 2011

What is Kevin Samson's Favourite Design Trend for 2011?

Quartz Countertops

"Today, more homeowners are choosing quartz products over natural stone for their kitchen and bathroom countertops," says designer Kevin Samson. 
photo courtesy of
"Homeowners are selecting quartz products four-to-one over natural stones such as granite or marble. The choice is obvious," Kevin explains. "Quartz is a better material than natural stone. Quartz surfaces are very easy to maintain because they are durable, non-porous and will resist stains from common food items such as wine, coffee and tea. They require no sealants or waxes to retain their lustrous gloss and ultra-smooth surface. Routine cleaning may be done with a damp cloth or paper towel and, if necessary, a small amount of non-bleach, nonabrasive cleanser.
photo courtesy of
"Quartz products are also an approved material for the food service industry because, as a non-porous material, it cannot absorb bacteria.
"At Monarch, we have over 250 colours available in our showroom to choose from," says Kevin. "Having such a large colour palette available ensures our clients will find a texture or colour that is right for their home."

January 17, 2011

Monarch Designers Visit Cuisines Laurier in Quebec City

Last fall, Monarch Kitchen and Bath designers went to Quebec City to learn first hand what makes Cuisines Laurier one of the finest custom cabinetry manufacturers in North America.

"As the person in charge of ordering, It was great to finally put faces to the names I've been dealing with every day over the phone," says designer Melissa Foley. "And after seeing the way their facility is run, I have no doubt that the secret to their exceptional cabinetry is the craftspeople."

"I really enjoyed seeing the entire fabricating process from start to finish," adds Melissa."I had a pretty clear understanding of what was involved, but seeing it for myself made it easier to understand why their cabinets take the time they do...there is an incredible amount of detail work involved and their entire team takes such great care with each and every project."

What was the most interesting part of the trip? "I learned that there are sections in the cabinetry finishing process that only women work on because they are more detail-oriented."

Let a Monarch designer show you why Cuisines Laurier's diversified selection of door styles, wood species, colors and specialty finishes has made them a favourite among designers across North America. To learn more about their products call Monarch today at 905-686-2001, visit Cuisines Laurier online or view their video below.

January 12, 2011

Surviving a Kitchen Renovation: 5 Things to Include in Your Temporary Kitchen

Although most major home renovations create some form of family upheaval, nothing quite compares to the drama and trauma of ripping apart the very heart of your home: the kitchen. And while you've probably spent countless hours making decisions about how your new kitchen will look, it's just as important to plan for how your family will cope in a temporary kitchen during the weeks (and often months) your dream kitchen is becoming a reality.

To maintain your family's sanity and keep frustration to a minimum, you'll want your temporary kitchen to include:

A Refrigerator
Whether it's big or small, a refrigerator is an absolute must. Even if it's just for a few staples like milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables.

A Toaster Oven and/or Hot Plate
While a microwave will suffice for cooking and reheating some items, you'll need a hot plate--or if you have room, your own full-sized oven--to fry eggs or whip up a batch of pancakes. At the very least, a toaster oven will help you brown meats and, well...make toast. If your temporary kitchen isn't big enough to house your regular oven (or your new one!), a hot plate doesn't take up much room and will give you some added options when you can't face another night of take-out.

A Sink
Don't fool yourself into believing you can wash your dishes in the powder room sink or clean them in the laundry basin. Space in those areas is probably tight as it is and carrying dishes to and from your food prep area will get old very fast. If at all possible, try to set up a sink in your temporary kitchen. You won't realize how much you use it until it's not there!

A Microwave
If you only use your microwave to make popcorn and reheat your morning coffee, now's the time to explore what it can do! For some culinary inspiration, click here, here or here.

The Essentials
Utensils, glasses, cups, plates, bowls, serviettes...being able to find the basics will keep you sane on the craziest days. Don't forget to keep a corkscrew (or a bottle of Tylenol or Advil) on hand, too. Sometimes a glass of wine goes a long way...

January 4, 2011

Remodelling Your Bathroom? Discover Spa-Like Bath Options from Kohler (Part Two)

Redesigning your bathroom is the perfect time to explore what's new in bath and whirlpool products. Why settle for a simple soak in the tub when you can relax and rejuvenate both body and soul without leaving home?

Video courtesy of Kohler.