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March 27, 2013

Benjamin Moore Makes Painting Your Bathroom Easier

When it comes to choosing the right paint for your bathroom, colour is not the only consideration that counts.

While attending the Interior Design Show in Toronto recently, Monarch designer Sarah Holmstrom stopped by the Benjamin Moore booth and learned more about their Aura line of paints. Her interest was piqued by the benefits of Aura Bath & Spa.

Specifically designed for use in bathrooms and spas, Aura Bath & Spa Waterborne Interior Paint combines a paint and primer in one. Its easy-to-apply finish is mildew resistant and never requires more than two coats in any colour. Benjamin Moore’s trademark Colour Lock technology guarantees exceptional colour that won’t rub off but allows for stains to wash off easily.

Aura Bath & Spa, Matte Finish is a premium-quality interior paint for humid areas such as bathrooms and spas. With the added benefits of Colour Lock™ technology and mildew resistance, it delivers remarkable durability and exceptional colour.

Aura is quite simply the finest paint we've ever made, offering the most advanced way to bring colour to life. Using our exclusive Colour Lock™ technology, Aura paint brings you discernibly richer, truer colour. Aura paint covers like no other—even the deepest shades never require more than two coats.

In addition, Aura Paints carry Benjamin Moore’s “Green Promise.”

Green Promise® Paints are some of the finest paints you can find on the market today. But how did they get to be so green? The reason is the combination of both the base paint and the colorant.

The Green Promise® designation is Benjamin Moore's assurance that its eco-friendly paint and environmentally friendly coatings meet and exceed the strictest industry standards, while also delivering the premium levels of performance you expect from Benjamin Moore.

Are you considering a bathroom renovation this spring? Drop by the Monarch showroom and speak with a member of our design team. We'd be happy to help.

March 21, 2013

Will You Turn Off Your Lights for Earth Hour?

An annual event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour encourages individuals worldwide to show their support for the fight against climate change.

Last year, 1.8 billion people in 152 countries and almost 7,000 cities participated. Thirty-nine per cent of Canadians -- or 13 million people in 511 cities nationwide -- joined in. 

This year, Earth Hour begins at 8:30 p.m on Saturday, March 23rd. Millions of Canadians are expected to turn off their lights...will you be one of them?

During last year's Earth Hour, power use in Toronto dropped almost 7 per cent.

In support of Earth Hour, Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre will be holding an EARTH WEEKEND at their head office in Pickering. At 5 p.m. tomorrow, Monarch will turn off their lights until 9 a.m. on Monday, March 25th. Only essential lighting will be turned on during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m) on Saturday, March 23rd.

 You CAN make a difference.

To learn more, visit

March 19, 2013

EARTH HOUR COUNTDOWN: One Planet Living's 10 Top Tips for Changing How We Travel to Help the Earth

As we continue our countdown to Earth Hour on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 at 8:30 p.m., here are some tips for reducing your ecological footprint while traveling.

One Planet Living’s 10 Top Tips for Changing How We Travel to Help the Earth
  1. save money by reducing car use, especially for short journeys (eg less than 3 km)
  2. walk and cycle more - it’s free!
  3. avoid unnecessary travel - is that meeting really necessary, or can it be done over the phone/internet?
  4. use public transport instead of the car - keeping a car is a huge drain on the household budget even before you start the engine
  5. car share if driving is unavoidable - it will halve costs, as well as halving your carbon footprint
  6. buy the smallest car that fits your needs - It will be cheaper to run, cheaper to tax, cheaper to insure as well as being more environmentally friendly
  7. switch off your engine while stationary - you will save on fuel costs as well as CO2 emissions
  8.  take holidays closer to home - a local holiday could be a lot cheaper and less stressful, and avoids lengthy waits at airport check-in and security
  9.  fly less, avoiding short haul flights (less than 500km) wherever possible
  10. offset your flight emissions if air travel is unavoidable
Are you interested in doing more to help? Click here to take the One Planet Challenge! Their calculator will measure your ecological footprint and carbon emissions and provide you with a personalized action plan packed with practical things you can do to achieve One Planet Living and make it easier for you to shrink your footprint.

March 15, 2013

EARTH HOUR COUNTDOWN: Take the One Planet Challenge!

Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre is counting down to Earth Hour – Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – with tips on how you can make small changes that have a huge impact on the future of our planet.

Did you know…
  • lighting accounts for up to 15% of your electricity bill?
  • that by replacing normal bulbs with energy efficient ones can save you up to 70% on the cost of lighting?
  • up to a third of your household heat will escape through an uninsulated loft?
  • double-glazing can save you money by reducing heat lost through your windows by half?
Today’s tips (courtesy of One Planet Living) involve changing your habits in the home.

One Planet Living’s 10 Top Tips for Changing What We Do In the Home to Help the Earth
  1. Turn off lights and appliances when not in use
  2. Invest in cavity wall and loft insulation can lower your bills
  3. Use energy efficient lights and appliances – they make a huge difference to your electricity bill
  4. Switching to a green tariff is now easier than ever
  5. Insulating the hot water tank and lagging hot water pipes will cut down on wasted energy and save you money
  6. Turning down the thermostat by just one degree will still leave you feeling warm and comfortable, but could cut your energy bills by as much as 10%
  7. Draught-proofing your home and drawing your curtains at night is a simple yet effective way to cut costs
  8. Fit a water meter and a flush saver and see the difference it makes to your water bill
  9. Collect rainwater in a barrel and use it to water the lawn
  10. Encourage wildlife by leaving a wild area in your garden
Interested in doing more to help? Click here to take the OnePlanet Challenge!

Take the One Planet Challenge

Their calculator will measure your ecological footprint and carbon emissions and provide you with a personalized action plan packed with practical things you can do to achieve One Planet Living and make it easier for you to shrink your footprint.

March 13, 2013

EARTH HOUR COUNTDOWN: One Planet Living's 10 Top Tips for Changing What We Eat to Help the Earth

At Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre, we believe companies must conduct sustainable business practices and be responsible stewards of the environment.

Professionally and personally, our team members are committed to reducing their ecological footprint. As we count down to Earth Hour on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013, we will be reviewing ways we can be kinder our planet with tips from One Planet Living, a division of World Wildlife Fund.

According to One Planet Living, if we carry on living the way we are now, by 2035, we will need to find second planet – identical to Earth – to meet our growing demands for energy and resources.
From One Planet Living: 
We need to change the way we live, work and play. Today. We each have an average ecological footprint of 2.7 hectares – which means that everyone on the planet uses on average 2.7 hectares of the world’s surface to supply us with food, fuel, and materials to clothe and shelt us. But the planet has just 2.1 hectares of land and sea to go around… 
In other words, we are living in serious ecological debt. And it is a debt which is growing EVERY DAY. 
As the world’s climate heats up, fish stocks disappear, forests are destroyed and biodiversity declines, one thing is clear: we face a massive global ecological credit crunch. But our debt to the earth is one that no-one can afford.” 
One Planet Living is about enjoying a high quality of life within our fair share of the earth’s resources. One Planet Living is a model based on ten simple principles which provide a framework to make sustainable living easy and affordable for all:
  • Zero carbon 
  • Zero waste
  • Sustainable transport
  • Sustainable materials
  • Local and sustainable food
  • Sustainable water
  • Land use and wildlife
  • Culture and community
  • Equity and local economy
  • Health and happiness
What can you do? WWF has researched a set of Ten Top Tips that offer suggestions about small changes we can make to the way we live, work and play.

One Planet Living’s 10 Top Tips for Changing What We Eat to Help the Earth
  1. food that is in season is tastier - and costs less to process and package
  2. cut down on meat and dairy produce - the rising cost of grain production is making prices soar
  3. waste less food - the US Department of Agriculture says Americans throw out 11 million pounds of fruit and vegetables every year. Only buy what you will actually eat
  4. compost organic waste - create free, fertile soil to grow your own food in.
  5. buy fairly traded goods - and help over 7 million farmers, rural workers and their families in 58 developing countries
  6. buy local food - it costs less to transport
  7. try growing your own fruit and vegetables - for the same price as your weekly shopping bill you could buy enough seeds to supply you with your own fresh, organic vegetables all-year round
  8. avoid heavily processed products - fresh food costs less to produce, and therefore costs you less
  9. drink tap water, not bottled water - its free!
  10. buy MSC certified fish and fish products - the MSC label guarantees they have been fished sustainably

March 7, 2013

DuPont Zodiaq Introduces 3 New Quartz Countertop Colours -- Just in Time for Your Spring Kitchen or Bath Remodel

In our last post, Monarch designer Marion Cuddie discussed Dupont™ Corian’s release of nine new colour surfaces as part of their 2013 Corian collection. In addition to the nine Corian® colors, three new colors of DuPont™ Zodiaq® Quartz Surfaces have been introduced, as well.

Zodiaq® is a solid surface quartz product used for counter tops, backsplashes and vertical surfaces. Inspired by nature, the new colours celebrate the beauty of the organic world, delivering a more natural pattern within the surface.

“The current and ongoing trend in kitchen and bathroom design has been the movement to more natural-looking surfaces and colours, bringing outdoors in to the home,” says Monarch designer Kevin Samson. “Softer earth tones and natural colours relax and calm the senses, while the bolder natural colours elicit a more energetic response from our senses.”

From Dupont:

The new colors Coarse Marfil, Coarse Carrara and Snow Flurry further reinforce the 2013+ aesthetic trends and will help create subtle, yet luxurious environments for both commercial and residential settings.

Sourced from abundantly available quartz, the colors of Zodiaq® surfaces achieve an improbable harmony between the durability of rock and the subtle interplay of light and natural crystal. Stain-resistant and nonporous, Zodiaq® quartz surface is ideal for kitchens and baths because, when properly cleaned, it does not support the growth of mold or mildew. Because DuPont™ Zodiaq® is made with quartz crystals, it's also extremely scratch-resistant. And, unlike other materials, you never have to seal, polish or recondition the surface to maintain its luster. Zodiaq® quartz surface is easily cleaned with soap and water, and does not require sealants or waxes. Timeless beauty. Magical science. That's why homeowners, designers and architects choose DuPont™ Zodiaq® quartz surface.

To view samples of Zodiaq’s 2013 colour collection, drop by the Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre showroom today -- 1020 Brock Rd., Unit 6, Pickering. To speak with a member of our design team, call 905-686-2001.

March 6, 2013

Reassurance, Honesty and Authenticity: Dupont Corian's Inspiration for their 2013 New Colour Countertops

In January, Dupont Corian® introduced nine new colour surfaces as part of their 2013 Corian collection. The new colours fall into three main colour trends: Raw, Interference, and Solidify.

“Corian is upping their game in the countertop market with the introduction of nine new colours that are inspired by today’s elemental trends, says Monarch designer Marion Cuddie. “My favourite in this new collection is Seafoam. With its barely there hint of azure under a detail of a frothy wave top, it would be a perfect compliment in a soothing spa en suite.”

From Dupont:

The Corian® Trends: RAW
Raw represents honest luxury, and the fresh hues that follow this trend embody comfort in a down-to-earth aesthetic that offers a respite from daily realities.  Here, organic, yet polished effects are blended to celebrate the natural world and emulate plant materials and other natural fibers that are encased in transparency. 

In the Corian® colors Whipped Cream and Seafoam, soft wheat, butters, lush and heritage greens are highlighted with optic tinted whites, metallic and pearl effects that echo natural surroundings. Colors work together in gradients, reflecting nature’s variation, offering a retreat into the woods, an escape into the environment.

The Corian® Trends: INTERFERENCE
Interference explores the lure of semi-precious stones, with a feeling of sparkle and glamour, yet with an understated opulence that conveys mystical and organic luxury.  Bronze is a key metallic shade and when juxtaposed with subtle finishes and earthy textures, reflects the warm tints of raw sienna and terra cotta. 

In the Corian® colors Pebble and Desert, rich warm browns that lend an aura of comfort to our surroundings are given a subtle shimmer and color variation. Rose marbles, granites with mica, copper and gold flakes are suspended in a semi-transparent focus. 

The Corian® Trends: SOLIDIFY
Solidify was inspired by global climatic changes and how our high-tension atmosphere can create crystallized and frosted solids.  The cool tones of this trend are misted and sensorial, as melded metal and mirrored flecks are set within frosted solids for depth and dimension.  The surfaces are fractured and scattered fragments are fused, creating delicate and ethereal patterns that bring a softly opulent edge to these hard surfaces.   

In the Corian® colors Deep Sea and Luna WhiteStardust and Mineral, the smokiest of lilacs and blues allow space to focus after the dust has settled, bringing sophisticated aesthetics to the forefront.  Shadowy ripples with subtle movement enrich the inherent authenticity of Corian®.

To view samples of Corian’s 2013 colour collection, drop by the Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre showroom today -- 1020 Brock Rd., Unit 6, Pickering.  To speak with a member of our design team, call 905-686-2001.

March 1, 2013

Melissa Foley's NKBA Award-Winning "Medium Kitchen" Design

On Saturday, February 23rd, the NKBA awarded Monarch designer Melissa Foley with an honourable mention in the category of Medium Kitchen. Here are the details of what went into her winning design.

"As recent empty-nesters, our clients were ready to reclaim their living space and make it their own," says Melissa.

Located in the downtown core, their condominium already had a contemporary feel. But since they entertained frequently, they wanted a design that was a true celebration of this new phase in their lives – meeting their needs for increased traffic flow throughout their living space while updating to a more sophisticated design.

"The couple had differing opinions when it came to the overall style of the space: one wanted a more modern feel that featured off-whites, while the other was hoping for a more traditional design which would include warm wood tones," says Melissa.

"They also wanted to incorporate additional lighting and appliances into their new design. To create more living and entertaining space, a spare bedroom adjacent to the kitchen would be converted into a dining room, ensuring that its design flowed effortlessly with the rest of the living space."

Crown molding was installed throughout the condominium, and wiring was run through the crown to allow for additional appliances, electrical outlets and under-cabinet lighting.

Custom ceiling boxes were added and provide an added design element while allowing lighting fixtures to be centred in both the new kitchen and dining room spaces. 

Marital design harmony was achieved through the use of two tones: cream on the work side of the kitchen and a medium brown on the breakfast side and hutch.

 The cabinetry also represents an effective design compromise with a more modern look on the cream side blending effortlessly into more traditional cabinetry in medium brown.  To accommodate the flow of the crown molding, the breakfast nook and hutch were kept at a different installation height.

Rich granite counter tops and backsplash tie in both tones nicely, as does the new hardwood flooring installed throughout. Matching the crown molding, archway, baseboard and trim colour to the cream cabinetry allowed for all aspects of the living space to flow effortlessly.

“We created a pass-through from the kitchen to the dining room,” adds Melissa. “It’s not only functional but also adds an open, airy feel. The archway opening from the living room into the dining room provides an elegant but not-too-formal touch.”