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April 27, 2012

Monarch Kitchen Honoured by Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade

Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre is pleased to announce that we have once again been recognized for our sustainable business practices. On Monday, April 23, 2012, Monarch designer Sarah Overholt visited the office of Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade and accepted the Eco-Business Level III award on Monarch's behalf.

Sarah Overholt, Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre (centre, left) and Don Terry, OPG (centre, right)
are presented with an Eco-Business Level III certificate from the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade.

"The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade (APBOT) officially launched Level III of their Eco Business Program at the APBOT Offices today. The release of the Level III Checklist marks the third and final step in the Board's Award Winning Eco Business Program. Companies that have completed Levels I and II of the program are eligible to submit their Level III checklist and certificates are granted to companies that achieve compliance with 80% or higher on the checklist

"It is fitting to launch this third and final Level of our Eco Business Program here on April 23rd, the work day closest to Earth Day which was celebrated around the Globe yesterday," said 2012 Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade President Gary Strange of First Durham Insurance and Financial. "As a long standing member and former chair of the Eco Business Advisory Committee, it is with no small degree of pride that we take this next step." 

The special launch event was attended by many local dignitaries including Mayor Steve Parish and Councillor Joanne Dies of Ajax, Mayor Dave Ryan of Pickering and Peter Bashaw representing the office of Corneliu Chisu, MP for Pickering Scarborough East. Mayors Parish and Ryan brought greetings and words of congratulations to the Board of Trade. 

Level III certificates were presented to Don Terry representing Ontario Power Generation and Sarah Overholt representing Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre."

April 25, 2012

Should You Have Your Heating Ducts Cleaned After a Kitchen Renovation?

The heating ducts in your home: to clean or not to clean?

It's a controversial topic with air duct cleaning companies boasting huge benefits on one side of the argument and disbelieving home owners questioning the value of the service on the other side.

First, let's turn to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for some information:
A hot air furnace heats and distributes air through its ducting system. The ducts are usually made of sheet metal and are most obvious in your basement, where they hang from the floor joists. The return, or cold air, ducts bring air to the furnace, usually collecting it centrally in the house. The return air trunk duct is the big rectangular duct along the basement ceiling that enters the bottom of the furnace. The supply, or warm air, ducting usually exits from the top of the furnace. It starts with a trunk duct on the basement ceiling. The individual supply ducts, in round or smaller rectangular sheet metal, branch off the trunk duct and go to each room, where they terminate in a floor or wall register. Over time, dust and debris will collect in these ducts, particularly in the return air ducts.
What we found inside a cold
air return duct after a renovation.
While CMHC questions the reasoning behind having your ducts cleaned on a regular basis to improve your  indoor air quality, remove house dust and improve your energy costs, they do agree that duct cleaning after a major renovation--or upon moving into a newly built home--is a good idea.
"If you are moving into a newly constructed house, and have doubts about the diligence of the construction crew, duct cleaning can be useful. Drywall dust, fibreglass pieces, and sawdust have no place in ducts. Duct cleaning will also catch the odd occurrence where lunch bags or soft drink cans have fallen or been swept into ducting. For similar reasons, duct cleaning may be advisable for older houses following major renovations." 

Debris found inside a cold air
return duct after a renovation.
Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre president Neil Samson couldn't agree more.

"It's always a good idea to have your ducts cleaned after a major renovation," says Neil. "Ripping down cabinets, tearing up flooring, installing new electrical and all creates a lot of dust and debris. Even when you cover the vents, bits and pieces of material can make their way into the ducts. These pictures are just one example of the what we find in the ducts during a kitchen or bath renovation."

Are you considering a kitchen or bath renovation? We'd be happy to help. Drop into our Pickering showroom and speak with one of our designers or call us at 905-686-2001.

April 20, 2012

NKBA's 2011 Best Kitchen Design Winner Used Nature as Her Muse

Next week, the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) will announce the winners of the 2012 NKBA design competition at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Chicago.

We thought it would be fun to look back at last year's award-winning design for Best Kitchen by Chris Novak Berry of St. Louis, Michigan. In this video, Chris explains how she used the home's surrounding woods and nature as her primary design inspiration.

Are you considering a kitchen renovation? Your kitchen doesn't have to be as spacious as the one in this video to include the elements and features you love.

Drop by Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre today and chat with one of our designers about what inspires you. We'd love to help you make your kitchen design dreams a reality.

April 18, 2012

Dream Kitchen Design Ideas for Your Cottage

Alison Thomas from Coastal Living magazine explains the inspiration behind her design of this "cottage coastal kitchen" in Kohler's Idea home in South Carolina. Watch the video below to discover how she used simple, common sense design elements to make a small space more functional and appear larger.


April 13, 2012

Unwanted Visitors: The Dangers of Having a Mouse in Your House

“Sometimes when we do a home renovation, we come across some unexpected visitors during the tear down process,” says Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre president Neil Samson.

On this renovation site (see below), it appears this little guy wasn’t the only one making the house their home,” explains Neil. “There appears to have been quite the party happening in the ceiling for quite some time.”

Mouse droppings discovered during the tear down process of a Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre renovation.

At Monarch, we pride ourselves in putting our client’s needs first, and this includes being mindful about any possible health hazards. After making this discovery, we decided to do an investigation into the implications of mice infestation and how if impacts our health.

What we found shocked us.

Aside from the obvious nuisance of having mice in your home, there are also serious health risks involved. Mice and their droppings can cause many health problems for humans. The most serious is Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a rare yet severe lung infection spread by contaminated dust from mice droppings, urine and saliva. HPS symptoms (fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting) can take up to five weeks to appear and are often mistaken for the flu. Early detection and early medical attention are the key to avoiding respiratory failure and saving your life.

In less extreme cases, prolonged exposure to mouse urine and their dander can cause asthma, asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

You don’t have to wait for a major renovation to find out if you have any unwanted visitors. Be on the lookout for mouse droppings in your garage, basement and shed. And if you find some, follow the clean-up tips in this video by the Government of Alberta ― they offer a rather humorous take on a serious subject.

April 11, 2012

How To Adjust Your Kitchen Cabinet Door Hinges

No matter how fabulous your kitchen cabinetry, daily use can result in doors that become out of alignment over time. If some of your kitchen cabinet doors are hanging incorrectly, fixing them is easier than you may think.

In this video, Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre president Neil Samson explains how simple it is to adjust your cabinet door hinges using only a screwdriver. 

If your cabinet door hinges aren't similar to the ones shown in this video, email us at for assistance or drop by our Pickering showroom.

April 5, 2012

5 Reasons Why Summer is the Best Time to Renovate Your Kitchen

Chances are you're planning on spending a little extra time in your kitchen over the long Easter weekend. If your kitchen is well-designed and meets your family's needs, you're probably comfortable with this idea. Perhaps you're even looking forward to the opportunity to cook for family and friends.

If, however, your kitchen is a constant source of frustration, this weekend just might be your tipping point―the point at which you realize something really needs to be done to improve the beauty and functionality of this pivotal room in your home.

At Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre, our designers are familiar with the onset of "spring fever" that seems to come over homeowners at this time of year. After a winter spent indoors, many of you are ready to say goodbye to your drab, outdated kitchen and ready to embrace a brighter, more efficient living space.

If spring is a great time to plan, then summer is an even better time to renovate! No matter how well you plan for the disruption of a major kitchen renovation, there's nothing that quite prepares you for the inconvenience of preparing meals and doing dishes in a temporary kitchen. As the heart of the home, your kitchen is more than a place prepare and eat meals, it's the central gathering point for most families.

Renovating your kitchen during the summer months has its advantages. Here are Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre's top five:
You can go on vacation.
With the kids out of school, it's often easier to leave for a week at the cottage or an extended road trip. You may not be able to avoid living at home during the entire period of upheaval, but you can reduce the amount of stress your family feels by planning to be away during some of the "messier" periods of your renovation.

Weather can eat outside!
Polish up the patio set, turn on the portable CD player, set the table and VOILA! You've got yourself a temporary kitchen away from the dust and mess of your kitchen renovation.

You can spend more time barbecuing and less time in the drive-thru line.
Eating at restaurants and bringing take-out food home is not only expensive, it can be tiresome as well. With the Internet at your disposal, you can discover numerous creative ways to use your barbecue to grill meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables.

You can breathe easier!
With any renovation, there will be dust. Sure, you can close off rooms, shut all the doors...but the dust will follow you everywhere―except outside. Grab a book, your laptop or a deck of cards and head outside for a breath of fresh air.

No sleet and snow means less mess!
From the time tear down begins to the moment you sit back and enjoy your new kitchen, there is an enormous amount of traffic in and out of your home. It only makes sense that by renovating during the summer months, you reduce the amount of dirt tracked through your house.
Are you considering a kitchen renovation? Monarch has been making homeowner's kitchen renovation dreams become a reality for over 30 years. Drop by our Pickering showroom or call us at 905-686-2001 to book a consultation with one of our kitchen designers.

April 2, 2012

Walk-in Showers: Sarah's Favourite 2012 Bath Design Trend

Sleek and elegant, the walk-in shower is designer Sarah Overholt’s favourite bath design trend.

Often home to an elaborate, spa-like shower system, today’s walk-in showers can give an airy open feel to a large bathroom or keep a small bathroom from looking cramped.

“The walk-in shower is becoming a very important design feature in bathrooms where homeowners are searching for a 'spa-like' feel," says Sarah. "Where all aspects of the bathroom are open and flowing."

Walk-in shower -- Bath design by Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre
“There are many reasons why homeowners choose walk-in showers when redesigning their bathroom. For example, when you are looking to have open access to your shower, you can create a shower designs to incorporate many modern conveniences and contemporary looks suitable for a variety of bathroom d├ęcor,” explains Sarah. “And because walk-in showers are generally larger, you can also have a dry zone near your walk-out area. This is a great spot for adding teak benches and towel hooks.”

In this video, the designer of the 2011 NKBA Best Bathroom showcases an extravagant example of how seamlessly walk-in showers can be incorporated into a bathroom.