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April 25, 2013

Hot New Trends in Bath Design from KBIS 2013: Kohler's Awaken Showerhead

The 2013 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) took place in New Orleans this past weekend.

As always, Kohler took part in this inspiring, interactive showcase. Here, master plumber Ed Del Grande introduces onlookers to Kohler's Awaken showerhead.

Here, product designer Gregory de Swarte discusses what sets the Awaken line of showering products apart.

April 22, 2013

Be Patient, Flexible and Prioritize When Renovating, says Bryan Baeulmer

In the article below, reprinted with permission from Baeumler Approved, Bryan Baeumler discusses the importance of prioritizing during the renovation process. His secret to sticking to your budget -- and renovation success -- is keeping your long-term goals in mind.

As a Baeumler approved contractor, we take great pride in helping our clients develop a realistic budget for their kitchen and bath renovations," says Monarch designer Janet Dawson.

"When working with a client on a large renovation, the first thing we focus on is a comprehensive budget that identifies potential 'hidden problems' that may impact the overall cost of the job," explains Janet. "From conception to completion, our goal is to anticipate areas that may be more challenging to renovate and ensure there are no surprises."

Contemplating a renovation in 2013? Call Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre today at 905-686-2001 or drop by our showroom and speak with one of our designers.

April 16, 2013

Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre is Now RenoMark™ Approved!

Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre is pleased to announce we are now among a limited number of renovation contractors in the Greater Toronto Area who are RenoMark™ Approved.

RenoMark™ raises the bar and identifies renovation contractors, who have agreed to the Canadian Home Builders' Association's Code of Ethics and a renovation-specific Code of Conduct. RenoMark™ renovators understand the value of customer service, provide warranties and continually educate themselves on trends, materials and new regulations.
As an approved RenoMark contractor, Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre can assure their clients they meet the following criteria for membership:
  • RenoMark™ renovator members believe in professionalism. They are committed to their industry and to their businesses and are willing to pay annual dues to keep informed and to help educate consumers.
  • RenoMark™ members have legitimate business licences. They do not support the underground economy of renovators who avoid paying taxes and operate "fly-by-night" and "cash only" businesses.
  • RenoMark™ members are informed. Information and education are important benefits of membership. Our member contractors are the first to know about changes in building codes, municipal requirements, health and safety regulations and more through our courses, information sessions, and communications program. Local Renovator Councils meet regularly for industry updates and information exchange sessions.
  • RenoMark™ members are "in-the-loop." It makes sense to hire a renovator that is part of an extensive home building and renovating industry network. Our members are in touch with manufacturers, suppliers, and experienced trade contractors. They know what's new and where to get it.
  • RenoMark™ members offer peace-of-mind. Joining this association program is your sign that a renovator is concerned about fair and honest quotes and reliable start and finish dates. They understand that keeping the lines of communication wide open is the key to a successful job.
  • RenoMark™ members subscribe to the association’s general Code of Ethics applicable to all members plus a renovation-specific Code of Conduct. It's all about integrity. Our members believe in treating not only their clients appropriately, but also deal fairly with trade contractors and employees.
  • RenoMark™ members offer a wealth of advice. Put them to work for you in the planning stages of your renovation. Our members can offer design and technical advice to achieve designs you may not have thought possible. They are a call or email away.
  • RenoMark™ contractors take care of the details. Hiring a professional means that the details like ensuring all necessary approvals and permits are in place, all employees and sub-contractors have the provincial workers’ compensation coverage, and obtaining the appropriate insurance are not only taken care of, they are readily available to you for your assurance.
  • RenoMark™ members offer a warranty and after sales service. A contractor committed to professionalism will offer you the coverage you need. Under the table deals leave you no recourse - so make sure your renovator spells it out on paper. Our members will also provide you with a written list of referrals so you can check on their performance and expertise.
  • RenoMark™ renovators are members of the local home builders association. A crucial first step in knowing that you’ve hired a professional.
As an approved Renomark contractor, Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre must adhere to Renomark's Strict Code of Conduct:
  • Be a member in good standing of the local Canadian Home Builders’ Association.
  • Abide by the Association’s Code of Ethics.
  • Provide a detailed, written contract (including scope of work) for all jobs.
  • Offer a minimum two year warranty on all work (excludes minor home repair).
  • Carry a minimum of $2 million liability insurance.
  • Have coverage for workplace safety and employers' liability and/or work only with subcontractors who carry such coverage.
  • Carry applicable licenses and permits.
  • Have access to information, education, training and professional development through membership in the Association.
  • Maintain a safe and organized worksite.
  • Return phone calls within two business days.
Are you planning a kitchen or bath redesign this spring? Call Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre today at 905-686-2001 or drop by our showroom. You can trust us to make your renovation dreams a reality.

April 12, 2013

One More Reason to Trust Monarch with Your Kitchen or Bath Renovation: We're BILD Approved!

Building Industry and Land Development Association
Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre is pleased to announce we are now among a limited number of home improvement specialists in the Greater Toronto Area who are BILD Approved.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) encourages innovations and excellence in the planning and building of sustainable communities and in the redevelopment and renovation of existing communities. As the voice of the land development, home building and professional renovation industry in the greater GTA, BILD's goals include improving the communication between the industry and government and protecting the interests of consumers.

Members of BILD must abide by a strict code of ethics and shall:
  1. comply with applicable building codes of Canada as a minimum standard for construction and shall work toward its improvement in the interests of structural sufficiency, safety, and health.
  2. plan their projects to conform to the principles of good community planning and support for the environment.
  3. deal justly with their employees, subcontractors, and suppliers of all goods and services.
  4. deal honestly and fairly with their customers and stand behind the quality of their work and service commitments.
  5. exchange information and experience, and encourage research on materials, technical advancements and building techniques in order to provide the best value for their customers.
  6. avoid all conduct or practice detrimental to the land development and building industry, to the Association, to the good name or reputation of any of its members, or its customers.
  7. commit to continuing learning through human resource policies and practices, including employment practices which treat employees as assets.
  8. actively promote health and safety principles.
  9. treat their competitors, including their property and ideas, with respect.
Are you planning a kitchen or bath redesign this spring? Call Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre today at 905-686-2001 or drop by our showroom. We'd love to help make your renovation dreams a reality.

April 5, 2013

Looking for a contractor in Cottage Country? Integrity Construction and Monarch team up with spectacular results!

It's that time of year again. The birds are chirping, the air is warming and the cottage has started calling your name.

While it may be a bit too soon to open your cottage, you can get ready for the warmer months at The Spring Cottage Life Show, on this weekend (April 5th to 7th) at Toronto's International Centre (Airport Rd. & Derry Rd.).

Enjoy a day of free seminars, presentations and cooking demos; discover new products and services from industry professionals; even rub elbows with HGTV personalities Colin and Justin. Hosts of Colin & Justin's Home Heist, this popular design duo have recently purchased a cottage in Muskoka, Ontario, and are ready to share their cottage design and renovation plans.

While you are at the show gaining inspiration and dreaming about all the things you'd like to change at your own cottage, you may wonder how to go about finding a qualified contractor you can trust so far from home.

Look no further than Integrity Construction Services out of Lindsay, Ontario. An industry leader, Integrity is a full-service company that specializes in the custom designs and builds of both homes and cottages. Recently, Integrity sought out the services of Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre to design and install the kitchen and bath at a whole-cottage renovation they performed for Moira and Roger Ashby.

The Ashby’s 100-year-old cottage is located in beautiful Bobcaygeon, Ontario. Integrity Construction transformed what was once a small, outdated cottage into a stunning home-away-from-home the Ashbys can now welcome friends and family over the warmer months. It was our pleasure to consult and coordinate with the Ashbys on the selection of such key design elements as their kitchen cabinetry, countertop, backsplash and tile.

Here is the cottage BEFORE the contractors at Integrity Construction began work:
Ashby cottage BEFORE

Ashby cottage BEFORE

Here are some photos of the Ashby’s kitchen during renovation.

Ashby cottage RENO IN PROGRESS by Integrity Construction

Ashby cottage RENO IN PROGRESS by Integrity Construction

Please stay tuned for pictures of the final unveiling in coming weeks.

Is this the year you update your cottage? Call Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre today at 905-686-2001. Our designers and contractors will go wherever you need us to be.

April 3, 2013

7 Tips for Keeping Your Marriage Together While Tearing Your House Apart

Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring professionals, renovating can be a major cause of relationship stress.

From the overwhelming number of decisions that have to made, to the high – and sometimes unpredictable—cost of many reno projects, couples undertaking a major renovation together have their work cut out for them.

As we head into the height of renovation season, here are 7 Tips for Keeping Your Marriage Together While Tearing Your House Apart:

1. Be very clear with each other about what you expect.
As is the case with most aspects in life, effective communication is the key to happiness. From the overall scope of the project and the amount of money you’re willing to spend, to specific design details and your living arrangements during the renovation, communication is critical to a successful project you can both relax and enjoy once the work is done.

2. Set a realistic budget.
Make sure your renovation is within your financial means. If you can’t afford your “dream” reno, then be prepared to make compromises in the quality of the materials you choose (ie. laminate instead of hardwood flooring, for example). If you are not willing to compromise, then keep saving and plan to renovate at a later date. If you decide to go ahead with your project, be sure to build in a 20 per cent contingency for “surprises” along the way.

3. Avoid decision fatigue.
Although you’re probably excited by the thought of choosing all the design elements that will make up your new space, there may come a time when making even one more decision is one decision too many. Do yourself and your partner a favour and make the majority of the decisions (tile, flooring, finishes) before the renovation begins.

4. Don’t renovate on a tight deadline.
Perhaps you’re sprucing up your home for a major holiday, a big family function or as you prepare to sell. A tight deadline is a recipe for disaster and just adds stress to an already stressful situation.

5. Hire a full-service company.
Not only is it crucial to keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner, it’s makes sense if the company you hire is a full-service company that provides complete project management. That way, you deal with one person, and the company deals with all of the contractors required for your project. When you coordinate the various contractors yourself, you may receive inconsistent or conflicting messages. If your contractors are receiving conflicting messages, your frustration and stress will multiply as the job gets delayed or executed incorrectly.

6. Keep one room as a sanctuary.
No matter how hard you try to keep your house free of dust and dirt, it’s going to get messy. And the bigger the renovation, the longer you’ll have to live with the inconvenience. Having one clean, organized room in your home to escape to will help maintain your sanity and make a huge difference in your family’s ability to cope with the chaos that surrounds you.

7. Maintain some form of normalcy.
Don’t play down the importance of taking an occasional break. If possible, plan a night away at a hotel or an evening out with friends. The endless cycle of decision-making, cleaning and running around can put an incredible strain on your relationship. Avoid letting your renovation define your whole life.