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February 28, 2013

Two Designer Kitchen Showrooms...Two Completely Different Looks

At Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre, we understand how difficult it can be to choose design features for your new kitchen without seeing them first.

When you visit our Pickering showroom, you’ll not only get to speak with a member of our design team, you’ll be able to walk through the variety of kitchens we have on display. Here are two of our favourite – and most popular -- showroom displays.

This exotic veneer kitchen features stainless and frosted glass doors, glass counter tops and backsplash, as well as Caesarstone quartz counter tops with waterfall sides. For a truly modern feel, it’s finished with a restaurant-style hood fan, and a custom glass elevated bar top on the island.

A perfect example of transitional design, this kitchen features traditional elements like crown molding while incorporating several modern elements. The modified shaker doors have a step-down design and are an inviting warm grey – the on-trend neutral colour for 2013. The counter tops quartz in a leather finish. The custom cooktop area has been dropped down for ease-of-use. The kitchen also features a gorgeous custom hood enclosure that keeps the traditional feel alive while remaining modern in its finish.

See these kitchen displays and more at the Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre showroom, 1020 Brock Rd., Unit 6, Pickering. Call 905-686-2001.

February 25, 2013

Monarch Designer Honoured at NKBA Gala and Design Awards

Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre president Neil Samson congratulates designer Melissa Foley on her win at the
NKBA Awards on Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Monarch designer Melissa Foley received an honourable mention in the "Medium Kitchen" category at Saturday's NKBA Awards at the Palais Royale in Toronto.

A celebration of kitchen and bath design excellence, the evening marked the 10th gala for NKBA's Ontario Chapter. The theme for the night was "50 Shades of Grey," with attendees being asked to wear formal attire in a shade of grey.

Watch for before and after pictures of Melissa's winning design later in the week.

Congratulations Melissa!

February 21, 2013

Monarch Works with Sage to Decontaminate a Deer Park Home

Recently, Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre president Neil Samson was asked to consult on a decontamination project in the Toronto neighbourhood of Deer Park. 

The project was run by Sage, a Toronto-based studio that specializes in helping homeowners and small businesses make informed and practical choices about incorporating sustainable architecture, interiors, products and services. They write about it on their site ( and have given us permission to share their blog post here:

Mommy it’s raining in my bedroom!
She awoke to her daughter’s soft voice “Mummy, it’s raining in my bedroom.” 

In fact it wasn’t rain, but an overflowing toilet from the third floor that had run all night and not only ‘rained’ into the little girl’s second floor bedroom, but all the way down to the first floor kitchen and even into the basement below.

This beautiful semi-detached 3-br home in the Deer Park neighbourhood had just recently been renovated, but the disaster recovery crew that came to ‘clean up’ after the leak, actually made things worse. In the end, the house had to be gutted in order to ensure there was no contamination. The family’s goal was to put the house back together again, but they also wanted to ensure that their home was as healthy as possible.

We started with the kitchen, a hub of this family’s daily activity. Neil Samson of Monarch Kitchen’s was brought in by the interior designer Cameron MacNeil. It was a pleasure working with both of these gentlemen on the project. 

Neil was immediately sensitive to the need to reduce the toxic load on the house and showed the client their line of NAUF (no added urea formaldehyde) cabinets. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen, yet it is still commonly used in building materials and press-wood products, such as kitchen cabinets. Formaldehyde can easily off gas into your home and is a major cause of poor indoor air quality. NAUF cabinets use phenol resins rather than urea resins, and therefore emit less formaldehyde. The doors and boxes were factory painted and sealed with low-VOC paints and sealants and installed with water based adhesives…oh and they’re beautiful and you’d never know they were “green” – just healthier!!

Cameron suggested using Caesarstone for the kitchen counters. Caesarstone is versatile and durable composite counter made from quartz. It is a low-VOC product, meaning it doesn’t off gas toxic chemicals. However, this and other countertops are often installed using epoxies that contain the endocrine disruptor bisphenol-A, so we suggested trying some alternatives recommended by healthy building material guru Kevin Royce of Eco Building Resource. He recommended LePage’s Greenseries 400 water based subfloor and deck adhesive (ultra low VOC and Greenguard certified) for the installation and LePage’s ultra clear acrylic sealant for the joints. Although Caesarstone is very tight with almost no porosity, it can be sealed with Metacreme. All of these products are available on Kevin’s website and he ships throughout Canada and the US.

The client decided to open up the space between her kitchen and dining room, but in the process exposed some damaged and unfinished portions of the homes original hardwood floor. Luckily, the contractor made quick and brilliant work of fitting new floor boards to the existing and we recommended refinishing the floor with water based stains (from Saman) and sealants (from Vermont Natural Coatings). The client was hesitant to use water based products for the wood floor in the kitchen, but just recently she told me it’s one of the products she is most happy about…especially since the family, that had been living in rented accommodation for months since the flood, didn’t have to move out of the house for a few days to “air out” the normally toxic fumes from traditional hardwood sealing.

When we think of Indoor Environmental Quality we often overlook two very important factors: visual quality and acoustic quality. Here we have a picture of the ceiling in the refurbished kitchen. With the renovation, the client removed a frame surround that separated her kitchen from the stairway upstairs. Although this added a feeling of openness, our concern was that noise would now travel more easily from the social areas downstairs up to the daughter’s bedroom on the second floor. That’s why we recommended adding recycled blue-jean batting between the kitchen ceiling and the upstairs floor. At the same time, the client opted for LED lighting throughout the kitchen. The pot lights above provide ambient lighting, and 12-volt LED strip lights under the upper cabinets provide strong and clear task lighting and use very little electricity.
Although I understand wanting the feeling of soft, cushy, plushness underfoot, I’m not a huge fan of wall to wall carpeting, mostly because I’ve seen it removed. You’d be amazed at the accumulation of dust and dirt that lurks beneath even the most meticulously cleaned carpet. It does, however, provide warmth and comfort and slip resistance to stairs, which can be an important safety precaution, especially with kids or elderly people in the house. If you opt for carpeting, go for the most natural fabric you can afford (to avoid offgassing) and for pete’s sake – make sure the pad underneath isn’t more toxic than the carpet above and have it tacked down instead of glued down with toxic glues.

Mattresses get me all hot and bothered…mostly because they can be full of toxic flame retardants and petrochemicals. A natural latex mattress with an organic cotton cover is a hefty (and weighty!) upfront investment, but if you consider the amount of time you spend sleeping in full contact with a mattress, in my mind there’s no better alternative. Tony at Soma Mattresses is very knowledgeable about his product and helped these clients choose a mattress that will leave them sleeping healthily for many years to come.

How can we help you make your home healthier?

February 15, 2013

Friday Fun: Benjamin Moore and Behr Weigh in on This Year's Hottest Paint Colours for Your Home

Earlier this year, Monarch designer Marion Cuddie spoke about her favourite 2013 design trend -- brighter and more energetic colours

In these videos, Behr and Benjamin Moore colour experts transform several rooms with just a few of their new colour combinations for 2013.

February 13, 2013

Using Pinterest as a Starting Point for Your Upcoming Kitchen or Bath Design Project

If you've never heard of or used Pinterest, you're missing out. 

Simply put, Pinterest is "a tool for discovering things you love and doing those things in real life." Since launching their site three years ago, Pinterest co-founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra have "helped millions of people pick up new hobbies, find their style and plan life's important projects."

Pinterest is fast becoming a designer's best friend.

"Many of our clients have spent months envisioning their dream space," says Monarch designer Amanda Willson-Suppa. "Pinterest is a convenient and easy way for them to assemble their favourite things over time and share their ideas with us."

Monarch designers encourage their clients to spend time on Pinterest, creating a Pinboard with all the key features they'd like in their kitchen or bath. "By using Pinterest, we're able to get a genuine feel for what they want to achieve in their new space and can truly share in their vision."

To learn the basics about using Pinterest, click here.

For kitchen and bath design inspiration, follow Monarch on Pinterest.

February 8, 2013

Ensuring Your Kitchen and Bath Renovations Run Smoothly From Start to Finish

Many thanks to our loyal clients who have recently posted their reviews of Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre on

Monarch designed our kitchen a few years ago and we couldn't be more pleased with the result. We were referred to Monarch through a close friend, and after meeting with president Neil Samson, we knew our search was over. Our kitchen renovation was quite extensive and everyone -- from the designers to the contractors to the office staff -- kept us well-informed. Except for a few blips along the way (due in large part to the poor construction of our home), the project ran according to schedule. My wife and I always knew what to expect and the contractors Monarch chose to come into our home were professional and respectful of our space and our time. ~ Nick from Pickering

I was extremely pleased with the kitchen reno performed by Monarch. Sarah was most helpful with her design suggestions and all staff and trades were professional and responded to questions in a timely manner. Neil attended regularly to ensure all work was satisfactory. Family and friends loved the reno and I have recommended the company to two other friends. I hope to do a washroom reno in the future and will definitely contact Monarch again. ~ Susan from Pickering

The excellent staff at Monarch gave us the best quality of service from the time we walked in the door to the time the job was finished. We received a great design, honest and frequent communication and great care to meet our needs in a timely manner. Kevin, Neil, Melissa, Kelly, Rick, Clint, and Roland were all friendly, informative, and efficient, leaving no detail too small. I would highly recommend Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre to anyone who wants a company with integrity, creativity and great customer service. Thank you for helping to make our home more beautiful. ~ Shawn from Toronto