This story category covers home decor, home maintenance, garden design and garden maintenance.

Ikea Hacking 017

Hack Jobs

The real beauty of IKEA products is that they aren’t precious, which makes them ripe for reinvention.

Ikea Hacking 017


MAKEOVER  MATERIAL I used to think there would come a time when I would live an IKEA-free lifestyle, when every room in my house would contain only  “Grownup Furniture” —you know, just antique or artisan made pieces mixed in with factory efforts from glamorous Italian manufacturers. And I do have a few of these items in my life. But I also continue to have some IKEA because, let’s face it, the pieces are well enough made and their design is considered, sometimes even by the boldface names (in downmarket mode) whose work I see in fancy furniture shops. Read more

Sunchokes in a colander

Try These Easy-Grow Perennial Vegetables

It’s crazy not to cultivate tasty sunchokes—and these other easy-grow perennial vegetables.

Sunchokes in a colanderGROW YOUR OWN | Anyone who has tended a vegetable garden knows it can be hard work. That said, are there easy-grow edible crops that offer an exceptional return for a minimum amount of labour? That’s the question I put to my good friend and neighbour Mark Johnston, an amazing gardener dedicated to growing as much of his family’s food supply as he can on the large, attractive and highly productive organic farm-style plot he tends in the wilds of West Vancouver. Read more

How To Combat Teenage Towel Waste

Here’s a surefire way to combat teenager towel waste.

MOM LOGIC  | Have you ever experi- enced Dis- appearing Towel Phenom- enon? This occurrence is not to be confused with Disappearing Object Phenomenon, a docu- mented paranormal event where random objects mysteriously disappear and then inexplicably turn up later. In the case of Disappearing Towel Phenomenon, the objects are neither random nor their whereabouts unknown. Parents of teenagers know precisely where to look for their vanished bath towels: in multiple soggy piles on the floor in their offspring’s bedrooms. Read more

The Mother Of All Heritage House Tours

Old houses cost less than new ones even if you renovate—and the heritage house tour can show you how.

MONEY WELL SPENT | What’s the first thing that comes to mind when making an old house more energy efficient? Changing all the windows maybe? Well, relax. A CMHC case study on renovating for energy savings reveals that replacing the windows and doors of a pre-Second World War house reduces just 11 percent of energy loss compared to 34 percent for insulating and draftproofing of walls, ceiling and foundation; 34 percent for upgrading the furnace; and 18 percent for adding exterior insulation beneath the siding.

This is just one of the helpful tips to be gleaned from the 30-page guidebook for this year’s Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s heritage self-guided house tour on Sunday, June 6. Another is that retrofitting an old structure can be less expensive than demolishing and rebuilding—like the $89 million to be saved by the UBC Renews rehabilitation of 10 buildings on the university’s campus. Read more

IKEA Praktfull Pro range

One Hot Cooker

The inexpensive Praktfull commercial-style range does everything the high-end ones do.

BEST BUY | Terri Brandmueller is a fierce recreational cook who entertains with complete confidence. Never one to shy away from a complex dish or a complicated technique, she once hauled home an entire suckling pig to roast in her scrappy old oven just because it was one of the cooking items on her bucket list. For most of her life, she has managed to “be a good cook on some pretty marginal stoves,” she says, “but I’ve aspired to having a nice one.”

Brandmueller got the chance to install a dream range last fall when she renovated her Vancouver kitchen, but she suffered sticker shock when she saw the prices. The freestanding Wolf 36-inch duel fuel range was nudging $12,000; Kenmore’s version was $6,000. Even her least favourite range, a G.E. Profile, was around $2,500 at The Home Depot. Read more

Front-Load Washing Machine

Here Is what is Killing Front Loading Washing Machines

How bad things happen to good {front-loading} washing machines—and what can be done about it.

Front-Load Washing MachineLESS IS BEST | While overdosing on detergent is probably not going to destroy your dishwasher, using too much or the wrong kind of laundry soap will eventually damage and could actually kill your high-efficiency front-load washing machine. Here’s why.

How Laundry Detergents Work Read more
Red Roses - iStock

Where To Buy Red Roses Right Now

When it’s buying long stem roses for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, it’s more like how deep are your pockets.

Red Roses - iStock


SHOPPING AROUND | A rose is a rose is a rose except the week before Valentine’s Day when it turns into 18 karat gold. At least that’s what it feels like as we watch long stem red ones everywhere jump in price. It’s not uncommon to find red roses that were $50 a dozen last week costing $75 this week. So are there bargains out there? We found a few. Read more