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May 28, 2014

5 Reasons Why Summer is the Perfect Time to Have Your Kitchen Renovated

After a seemingly endless winter spent indoors, there’s a good chance you’re ready to say goodbye to your drab, outdated kitchen and excited to embrace a brighter, more efficient living space.

But no matter how well you plan for the disruption of a major kitchen renovation, there's nothing that quite prepares you for the daily 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 place for most families.

When’s the best time to renovate? For many homeowners, the sunny days of summer make the most sense.

Renovating your kitchen during the summer months has its advantages:

Weather can eat in your outdoor kitchen!

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 barbecue more and eat take-out less.

Eating at restaurants and bringing take-out food home is as expensive as it is tiresome. Fortunately, the internet offers endless creative ways to use your barbecue to grill meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables.

You can go on vacation.

If you have young children, it's often easier to leave for a week at the cottage or an extended road trip once they are out of school. 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.

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.

You can clean less -- nice weather 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. When renovating during the summer months, you reduce the amount of dirt tracked through your house. And with any major renovation, a table saw is often a contractor’s best friend. During the warmer months, the saw won’t need to be set up in your garage, porch or basement. That means less dust floating around your home.

Are you considering a kitchen renovation? Monarch has been making homeowner's kitchen renovation dreams a reality for over 30 years. Drop by our showroom or call us at 905-686-2001 to book a consultation with one of our kitchen designers. But hurry, Monarch’s summer schedule is booking up!

May 21, 2014

Pizza on the Grill? Author, Chef and Food Network Star Bob Blumer Shows Us How It's Done

Bob Blumer was on Toronto's Breakfast Television this morning with tips on how to make your homemade pizza on the grill!

Blistered corn, asparagus, and pesto pizza

2 ears corn, husks removed
12 asparagus spears, woody bottoms discarded
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt to taste
¼ cup uncooked grits or polenta, for rolling the dough
1 ball prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
1 cup Basil Pesto or store-bought
12 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 4 strips each
6 ounces Brie, rind removed if preferred, cut into ¼-inch-thick strips, then cut into 1-inch squares
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Preheat the grill.
  • Brush the corn and asparagus with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt, then place them on the cooking grate directly over the heat and grill, turning occasionally, until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Let cool. To remove the kernels, stand the corn upright. Grip the top of the cob and slide your sharpest knife straight down between the cob and kernels. Cut the asparagus tips off, then cut the remaining stalks into 1⁄4-inch pieces. Reserve both for topping.
  • Roll out and shape the dough, then grill the first side of the crust per the master instructions. Use tongs to transfer it from the grill to a peel or rimless baking sheet. Flip the crust to reveal the grilled side.
  • Spread the entire surface with the pesto. Sprinkle with the corn, asparagus, and tomatoes. Top with the cheese.
  • Finish grilling the pizza per the master instructions.
  • Remove from the grill, sprinkle with the red pepper, and season with salt and black pepper. Slice and serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Bob Blumer,

May 14, 2014

White Kitchen Cabintery Provides Light, Airy Feel in this Design by Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre

In this stunning transitional kitchen design by Marion Cuddie, white kitchen cabinetry is accentuated by exotic granite on the island and back splash. Under-cabinet lighting helps highlight the stone.
New pot lights and decorative pendants add to the natural light in this white kitchen design. Over-sized drawers provide a practical and easy-to-use storage solution. A custom table adds polish to this light and airy space.

The buffet area features matching white cabinetry and offers storage for items not used everyday. It also provides an additional serving area for hosting large family events.

This "extra special place for him" has matching white cabinetry, a TV, fridge, beer fridge and freezer drawers.

May 7, 2014

Renovate to Adapt Part Two: Preparing Your Home For Family Life

Last week, we discussed the pros and cons of moving vs. renovating your current home to meet your needs. It’s no secret that the time and effort spent preparing your home for sale combined with the costs of involved with moving is staggering.

Is now the right time for you to move? Ultimately, it comes down to how you want to spend your money.

This week, we’ll discuss ways to help those hoping to adapt their home from one that was perfect for two to one that can handle the demands of a busy family.

Moving Forward: From being a couple to having a couple of kids

Congratulations, your family has expanded and life as you knew it has changed! Before, it was just the two of you: taking your time to cook meals; eating out at a moment’s notice; hanging out with friends and spending a great deal of time away from home. 

Although children enrich our lives in so many ways, they also change the way we do things. Bottles and sippy cups now compete for space in your cupboard with the stylish glassware and plates you once used regularly for dinner parties. Baby food and boxed cereal have now become staples in your pantry. What you need is more storage space – it’s time for a more functional and fabulous kitchen!

Open-concept kitchen design by Monarch Kitchen & Bath Design
As the heart of the home, a kitchen with young kids running around becomes the hub for the entire family. With multiple meals being cooked there daily, your kitchen is now the centre for communication, learning, play – and oh yes, eating and storage too!

This space has never needed to be more functional than it does today. So why move? By renovating your space, you are able to work with a designer who is an expert at incorporating all of your hopes, dreams and storage needs into your home, and within your allotted budget.

Open-concept kitchen design by Monarch Kitchen & Bath Design

Consider the advantage of having a large island, where the kids can colour, craft and do homework while you prepare dinner. Tupperware and plastic containers have now infiltrated your kitchen, along with all the cool kid’s cooking tools – new deep drawers are going to be such a help!

Pantry storage doesn’t have to be just for food, it can also be a place to store kids’ things, as can the additional storage space available with in an island.

At Monarch, we can change your space to do all of these things. We can even add electrical outlets and charging stations, up and out of reach of little hands. 

Open-concept kitchen design by Monarch Kitchen & Bath Design
While storage is a priority at this stage, it’s not the only reason for wanting to focus on the kitchen when renovating. Your closed-in kitchen – although still a functional cooking area – is no longer an efficient use of space since you are constantly having to run around the wall to see if the kids in the main room are out of harm’s way. 

Opening up the space and removing a wall not only helps ensure the safety of your family while preparing a meal or unloading groceries, it enhances the overall look of your home.
Now more than ever, our customers are opting to open their homes and remove the barriers that separate them from interacting efficiently with their families. Opening up your living space and creating a great room allows you to live and function more harmoniously.

The staff and designers at Monarch Kitchen & Bath Centre are ready to help you address the changing needs for your home.