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How would YOU spend $25,000 on your home? We want to know! Share your dream renovation ideas with us on Twitter on May 28 at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT. 

Tweet during the hour using #Ultimate25K and you could win 1 of 5 $100 Visa gift cards from RBC Insurance.

Here's how to join the conversation:

1. Follow @HouseandHome to participate.

2. Tweet @HouseandHome using the hashtag #Ultimate25K from noon to 1 p.m. EST / 9 to 10 a.m. PST on Thursday, May 28.

3. Follow along during that time at #Ultimate25K.

Until then, don't forget to enter The Ultimate $25,000 Home Makeover Contest! Plus, find out what H&H editors Margot Austin, Sarah Hartill, Morgan Michener and Joel Bray would do with $25,000 for their home.

Contest prize available to residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. See full rules and regulations.

Author: 

Seema Persaud

“Does it spark joy?” — This is what Japanese cleaning professional Marie Kondo says you have to ask yourself about everything you own. Everything. Right down to your socks. And if the answer is “yes,” you keep it. (Answer “no” and out-the-door it goes.) Forget room-by-room decluttering methods or asking yourself “Have I used this item in a year?” Kondo’s method to home organization first seems a little unusual, but dive deep into her cleaning handbook The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and you’ll realize this simple rule can truly help pare back your belongings. (This blog post is sponsored by Just Junk.)

Why should you discard objects in your home? In Kondo’s experience, she finds we surround ourselves with lots of things that go unused or don’t suit the life we actually live. We’re stuck with gifts we don’t want, more clothes than we remember we own and kitchen utensils we never use. Paring back means an organized home, and in Kondo’s experience, affects your life as a whole, too. Plus, it's perfect for small spaces and those who love the minimalist look.

So, how do you start? Here are some of Kondo’s top tips:

  1. Start immediately — there’s no need to wait for a new month, year or season.
  2. Before thinking about how to organize everything you own, focus on discarding.
  3. Commit to a tidying marathon. Instead of discarding a little bit every day, turn it into a special event. (Yes, if you’re busy you can try her method to tidying on weekends only.)
  4. Discard items one category at a time in this order: clothes, books and papers, miscellaneous items and then sentimental items.
  5. Don’t store your stuff at your parents’ home (or anywhere else), and don’t force your discarded items onto friends and family.

When discarding clothes, Kondo says it's not as easy as flipping through items hanging in your closet and choosing what to lose. Take all clothes — from your front hall closet to your bedroom — and dump it into one spot. Then hold each item and ask the question, "Does it spark joy?" to determine whether you keep the item. When it comes to storing clothes, Kondo says you can fold most clothes so each item can be seen upright in a drawer (instead of in a pile). For clothes that have to be hung, hang items from longest to shortest, darkest to lightest, left to right. 

For books, Kondo says to store them upright instead of in piles (sorry, I still love to style shelves!), keep them all in the same part of your home, and not to feel bad about letting go of unread books. Just be thankful for its purpose in your life and move on.

In the kitchen, the same rules apply whether you're tackling dishes, your pantry or items in your fridge. Want open shelves in the kitchen but worried about storage? Maybe you'll be able to get the look with the KonMari Method!

Think you’re finished discarding? Kondo says you’ll know when you’ve hit the point where you can discard no more. The result of this kind of home detox: Countless bags and boxes of items — from old dishes to dated technology to way-too-many free t-shirts — that need to be recyled, donated or thrown out. Professional junk removal companies like JUSTJUNK® can help you out. Just Junk’s team will come to your home and take away all your clutter, and recycle, donate and dispose everything from appliances to furniture. You simply pay based on how much you want to get rid of. Visit justjunk.com today to see how they can help you get a clean, organized home. Just Junk serves cities across Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta.  

Have you tried the #KonMari Method? Will you? Tell us what you think in the comments!

Photo credits:
1. Penguin Random House
2. House & Home March 2015 issue, photographer Janis Nicolay
3. House & Home March 2010 issue, photographer Donna Griffith
4. House & Home April 2012 issue, photographer Donna Griffith
5. House & Home June 2008 issue, photographer Andrew Grinton
6. House & Home September 2013 issue, photographer Virginia Macdonald

Author: 

Seema Persaud

Have a backyard in need of a makeover? We've got Before & After photos from Techo-Bloc to inspire your next patio design!

Techo-Bloc offers stones for everything from patios and driveaways to outdoor walls and the exterior of your home. Love the outdoor kitchen trend we featured in our May 2015 issue? Techo-Bloc also has outdoor pizza ovens, firepits and a grilling/barbecue island. (This blog post is sponsored by Techo-Bloc.)

THE BEFORE

In its previous state, this yard wasn’t very useful for the homeowners. The young couple wanted a bold, original space that would allow them to host large family gatherings, but would also be comfortable for a smaller group of friends. Do you #SeeThePotential?

THE AFTER

The spacious backyard now functions as an incredible extension to their home!

3 KEY DESIGN TIPS

1. Create Zones

By dividing the backyard into sections, they were able to create a clearly defined outdoor living room, dining room and lounge. When large groups visit, they can wander freely through the whole space, and smaller groups can stay in one area. The sunk-in design makes the firepit area feel cosy.

2. Choose Great Materials

Key to this look: The smart stone choices. Travertina slabs were used for the main pathways. The matte ivory-coloured limestone features subtle markings atop which add texture and character. To make the look less formal, they spaced out smaller slabs and filled the gaps with rocks.

Low walls — which double as benches — in the Manchester stone contrast with the lighter stone floors. In this sunk-in lounge and dining area, they went with complementary Blu polished slabs in Chestnut Brown and a band of the smaller Antika stone in Chocolate Brown to highlight the firepit. Speaking of firepits...

3. Consider An Outdoor Firepit

Stay warm by the fire on cooler nights — outdoors! The family chose a gas-burning Valencia firepit and surrounded it by Techo-Bloc stone benches. Here at H&H we've seen the firepit trend grow and featured it in our upcoming June issue.

See more inspiring photos and get ideas on ways to improve your backyard, front yard, driveway and more on techo-bloc.com, or call 1 877-832-4625 to find a retailer or Techo-Pro installer in your area.

Concept, GreenArt Landscape Design. Installation, Lakeridge Contracting.

Author: 

Seema Persaud

We're so excited to announce that the House & Home Television app is live on Samsung Smart TVs in Canada and the United States! Now you can watch the very best of H&H TV in HD quality.

Inside the Samsung Smart Hub, you can get the H&H TV app if your TV is connected to the internet. You'll find us in the Lifestyle category, or by searching for "House and Home".

Once inside the app, you'll see our latest videos on-screen first. New videos are added to the app Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can also browse by video type — Home Tours, DIY Projects, Makeovers, Decorating, Food, Seasonal, Artisans and Personalities — or, use "Search" to find exactly what you're looking for.

Within House Tours you'll find these sub-categories: Kitchens & Bathrooms, Family Homes, Small Spaces, Condos & Lofts, City Homes, Basements, Country & Cottage and Gardening & Outdoor Spaces.

Can't wait to binge-watch all my favourites in my living room!

Have a Samsung Smart TV? Try the app today and comment below with your thoughts! Or, tweet us @houseandhome with #HHStreamingTV.

Author: 

Seema Persaud

Photographer: 

Sheri Graham

Next Thursday, April 16, join @houseandhome and SICO on Twitter at noon EST as we talk about decorating with colour! We'll share paint colour ideas and interiors we're loving now, inspired by our latest special issue. Participants will have a chance to win 5 gallons of SICO Muse paint, too!

Here's how to join the conversation:

1. Follow @HouseandHome to participate.

2. Tweet @HouseandHome using the hashtag #HHdecorating.

3. Follow along at #HHdecorating on Thursday, April 16, from noon to 1 p.m. EST.

You can find Decorating With Colour on newsstands only, and on the App Store, Google Play and Nook.

 

Contest prize available to residents of Canada only, excluding Quebec. See full rules and regulations.

Author: 

Seema Persaud

Just in time for Spring, Hudson's Bay has released a Home Look Book featuring 56 pages of the latest finds for your home. Inside you'll find inspiring room shots, along with furniture, accessories, tabletop items, small appliances, bed and bath, lighting and more. (This blog post is brought to you by Hudson's Bay.)

Here's the bright, super-fun cover. So much eye-candy inside, too! (Click here to flip through the book online.) To celebrate the launch, Hudson's Bay is giving away one $3,500 design consultation with Brian Gluckstein. Enter for your chance to win here.

One of the key pictures you'll be seeing this Spring: The Room of the Season. Want to steal the look? Watch this video with Arren Williams, Creative Director of Home at Hudson's Bay, and learn more about the room.

As part of the launch, H&H editors Margot Austin, Sarah Hartill, Joel Bray and Meg Crossley have each selected their top 5 picks at Hudson's Bay Home this season. My personal pick: the charming Kate Spade Charlotte Street canisters and pitchers. It's blue-and-white dishes done in a fun, fresh way. In addition to seeing the editors' top finds online, Toronto fans will also be able to check them out next week in-store! See below for details.

Lynda Reeves and the H&H design editors, designer Brian Gluckstein and Arren Williams invite you to Celebrate Spring! Come out to the Queen St. flagship on Thursday, March 12, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. You'll have the chance to win prizes, see design demos and explore the new sixth floor. Click here to invite your friends on Facebook.

We look forward to seeing you there! Be sure to flip through the Spring Home Book, browse our editors' picks and Pin your favourite finds.

Photo credits:
Hudson's Bay

Author: 

Seema Persaud

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