Design to make Visual

Ideas on home improvement, renos to be got at Home+Reno Show

If you’re planning to renovate your place, indoors or out, a visit to The Home + Reno Show may help.

This is the place to get information and ideas for renos, says Sharon Donaldson, director of the show, which runs from Feb. 3 to 5 at the International Centre at 6900 Airport Road in Mississauga, Ont.

“It is about preparing for the year ahead, how to get the most of your investment and determining what you can do yourself,” said Donaldson of the event, which includes backyard living and features more than 150 suppliers.

“If we know anything about the supply chain (these days), it makes sense to get your orders in now.”

In the “Ask-the-Expert” corner, visitors can get a 15-minute consultation with renovation and decorating celebrities. Also on offer: a Do-It-Your Yourself area, where you can pick up some handy skills; lectures by experts in various home decor and renovation fields; and a Makeful Market featuring handcrafted items to put the finishing touches in your renovated home.

Features include:

  • Speaker’s lounge: Frankie Flowers. Flowers, the gardening expert for Breakfast Television and Cityline, comes by his gardening expertise honestly; he grew up in a home adjacent to a greenhouse. His family produces potted plants for major grocery chains and big-box realtors. He’ll be discussing How to Bring Greenery Indoors Year Round on Sat., Feb. 4 at 1 p.m.

Indoor plants are back in vogue, says Flowers. Among his indoor favourites: Zamophilia, a perennial, native to Africa; monstera, a split-leaf philodendron known as “the Swiss cheese plant”; the hardy peace lily; and orchids, which have a long blooming period and will flower again after dormancy.

Flowers advises homeowners to “pick the right plant for the right place. It’s like matchmaking. All of us have killed a plant before; it takes a while to find your groove.” Kindness, as in overwatering, is the number one indoor plant-killer; he suggests giving plants “space and time, like a good relationship.”

  • Speaker’s lounge: Grilling guru: Thomas Armstrong, an experienced chef. “I’m pretty big on barbecuing,” says Armstrong, director of culinary experience for Dyment’s Glen Drummond Farm in Dundas, Ont.

He loves the flavour that’s “hard to mimic.”

Armstrong grills year round and will encourage others to do the same as he demonstrates grilled flank steak with chimichurri (Fri., Feb. 3, noon; Sat., Feb. 4, 5 p.m.) and smashburgers (Fri., Feb. 3, 2 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 5, 11 a.m.). Both recipes can also be done indoors with a cast-iron skillet.

For Armstrong, grilling is a great excuse to be outdoors, whatever the temperature, although this can be a challenge. He recalls grilling ribs during the recent Christmas storm, running out of propane and going door-to-door in the neighbourhood to see if anyone had a spare tank. A neighbour lent a hand, and, were rewarded by the chef with beautifully grilled ribs.

  • DIY Centre: Creating a Gallery Wall: Desta Ostapyk, owner of Design by Desta, will be demonstrating how you can create a gallery wall, a popular decor element in many homes. Ostapyk, who previously appeared on HGTV’s “Love It or List It,” will also have a gallery wall assembled so you can practise hanging it on drywall. She and her fellow DIY-ers will answer design and renovation questions and help you try out tools you may not be familiar with.

Says Ostapyk: “My personal esthetic is eclectic, so I think it’s nice to incorporate elements besides framed pictures and add different shapes that create balance and interest and make the eyes dance.”

  • Speaker’s lounge: Renovation tips: Stephanie Rota, of Carmelin Design Build, is familiar with custom renovations and the many questions that people have. She, and Brendan Charters of Eurodale Design & Build, will offer their top five renovation tips on Friday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m.

Rota’s biggest tip? Use a professional builder; involve them from the beginning to streamline decision-making and keep the project on budget.

“I like the creative aspect of renovations most and being part of someone’s massive life upgrade (such as adding a kitchen island),” Rota says. “I love being able to bring dreams alive for people.”

  • Makeful Market: dees.diy.deco: Diana Gunaratnam uses resin to make attractive, yet sturdy, household accessories such as serving trays, coasters and cutting boards, as well as made-to-order items. She began working with resin about three years ago and found an audience eager for her work. As a mother to four children, she understands the importance of durability, and she likes resin’s colour and sheen. “I’m very much into sparkle and shine,” Gunaratnam says.

Tickets for the show are $15; $13 for seniors (65+) and youth 13-17; children under 12 get in free, and parking is also free.


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