Celeb home tour: Jensen Ackles's Malibu home
Surrounded by luscious trees, pillars and a stone stairway, the outdoor hall to this Malibu home creates a grand welcome into the home.
The couple's idea of a contemporary classic style, starts from the foyer and flows through the entire home.
The living room is lined with large windows, allowing natural light to come through. A design scheme of light colours and textures were added to further brighten up the room.
From the bold colour palette to rich fabrics, this home has plenty of 2014 design trends.
The family-friendly living room has built-in shelves around the fireplace, making for a great focal point.
A view from the traditional and contemporary-styled living room into the kitchen. The room is designed with open seating and patterened rugs for a cozy feel.
The counter-height table set makes for additional seating in this open-concept kitchen.
With custom kitchen cabinetry, hand painted tiles, marble countertops, and walnut plank flooring, the couple has pulled out all stops for their gourmet kitchen.
This master suite, with a peaked ceiling and exposed beam, definitely gives a luxurious feel with a view to the ocean, balcony and an attached spare room.
A custom designed master bathroom is a serene retreat thanks to a neutral colour palette, extended vanity and oversized walk-in shower.
The couple installed a sleek white freestanding tub, giving the bathroom a more modern look, unique from the rest of the house.
Along with a pool and greenery as far as the eye can see, the house has rights to access Riviera 3 Beach.
Placing the outdoor kitchen and bar-height table in the corner, creates more room for guests and entertaining.
Adding to this massive backyard design, are three grassy areas and an option for a tennis court.
Learn how to properly prepare your home for an emergency.
Follow these simple, proactive measures to ensure your home is prepared for anything Mother Nature can throw your way.
No one wants to find themselves in an emergency situation, so it’s important to prepare your home as best as possible. Since there’s nothing you can do to stop Mother Nature, here are a few small, proactive measures you can take to help keep damages at bay.
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
1 Clean the gutters
Overflowing gutters are one of the major causes of water finding its way into homes. If your downspouts are leaky, in disrepair or nonexistent, heavy snow and rain will go right into your foundation. Cleaning your gutters and repairing your downspouts should be on your annual maintenance list, and consider investing in gutter covers or screens to keep leaves out.
2 Fire-rate your home
Proper fire separation between floors will help contain smoke and flames, as will fire-rated doors. Roxul Safe‘n’Sound insulation is a product I use in all my renovations because it resists temperatures up to approximately 1,177°C, helping to prevent a fire from spreading and providing you valuable time to escape.
3 Seal the cracks
Everyone thinks foundation cracks are scary – and sometimes they are – but they’re usually just signs of an aging home and not indicative of structural issues. However, those cracks could compromise the dryness of your basement in a storm, so have them sealed with epoxy injections. They cost about $500 per crack, which is a lot cheaper than gutting your basement because of a flood!
Money tight? These inexpensive items will help keep you and your home protected.
Backup sump pump
If your home loses power due to flooding, a battery powered backup sump pump will help keep the water out of your basement. This is ideal if it’s a finished basement.
This is a great backup source to have on hand in case of a blackout. A generator is especially useful for long power outages in the winter.
Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
COST: from $50
Severe storms can result in secondary emergencies like fires and gas leaks, so outfitting your home with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor will help ensure maximum safety at home.
Enjoy this sweet treat perfect for an afternoon tea party.
Learn to make these light and airy swirled strawberry meringues.
Take advantage of the season’s fresh berry bounty with these delicate confections that put a new spin on the everyday fruit bowl topped with a dollop of cream. Light, airy and easier than pie, they’re sure to become a family-favourite summertime staple.
1 To make the sauce, puree the strawberries, sugar, 1 tablespoon water and lemon juice in a blender.
2 Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stir over medium heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
3 Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with the remaining tablespoon water until smooth; stir into the strawberry mixture.
4 Bring the strawberry mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl; let cool completely.
5 To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the sugar onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet; bake just until the sugar begins to turn golden, but not hard or melted, about 8 minutes. Reduce the oven to 200°F.
6 Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer on high speed, gradually beat in the hot sugar; continue beating on high until the mixture has cooled and is stiff, glossy and very thick, about 10 minutes.
7 Beat in the vanilla. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of the strawberry sauce in a steady stream. Stop beating and gently fold the mixture two or three times to create a swirled effect.
8 Drop the meringue mixture by generous 1/2 cup measures onto a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, to form 8 meringues. Top each meringue with 1/2 teaspoon of the strawberry sauce and, with a toothpick, swirl the tops to distribute the sauce.
9 Sprinkle with the freeze-dried strawberries (if using). Bake until the meringues are crisp and no longer shiny, about 3 hours.
10 Without removing the baking sheet, turn off the heat and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Serve with the remaining strawberry sauce. Store the leftover meringues in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes: 8 meringues
Tour this lovely cottage on Lake Simcoe!
A designer lends her expertise to help a couple resolve a colourful debate over the scheme for their family cottage.
"He wanted dark tones and a woodsy Aspen vibe. I wanted everything white with clean lines." The “he” referred to is the husband, the “I” speaking is the wife, and in terms of their decor preferences for this new-build 4,900-square-foot cottage overlooking Lake Simcoe in Innisfil, Ont., they were clearly at odds. But the Toronto-based couple, who has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son and a Samoyed puppy, did agree on one thing: The design had to be practical. And after many reassurances on the wife’s part that her vision could be inviting and relaxing, she says, “My husband eventually gave me free rein. I wanted a gorgeous unfussy space that was easy to maintain.”
To get the look, she turned to Lidia van Zyl, a designer based in Barrie, Ont., who’s well known for decorating waterfront properties in the area. “When I was hired in 2014, the cottage was in its planning stage,” says Lidia. “This allowed us to pore over the plans and confirm almost every detail before the walls went up.” The walls themselves played a crucial role in setting the tone for the space. “Honouring the husband’s preference for a traditional look, I incorporated shiplap into the mix,” says Lidia. The wooden boards, which were most often used in the construction of homes, were applied horizontally in the kitchen, powder room, foyer and master bedroom. “Shiplap, even when painted white, provides a rustic contrast to drywall and has an informal feel that really adds to the casual cottage vibe,” says the designer.
While the scheme may be all white, it’s anything but stark. “The key to decorating with white is to use different shades of it,” says Lidia. “If you look closely, you’ll see the walls are a crisp white, while the beams are coated with a warmer shade.” Wide-plank pale hickory flooring completes the airy backdrop, which Lidia chose to punctuate with bold hits of black. “I love contrast, so I added black accessories to almost every room,” she says. Lidia extended this theme to the furniture as well and, with the kids and puppy in mind, paid specific attention to practicality. “The grey sofas in the living room are covered with indoor-outdoor fabric, so they’re stain resistant and easy to clean,” she says. “And some of the pieces, such as the living room coffee table and foyer console, are crafted from steel, so they’re pretty much damage-proof.” She also introduced a few well-placed antiques throughout the cottage to create interesting tension between old and new.
The 18-month process of building and decorating netted a year-round family retreat that Lidia describes as “refined but rustic.” And even though the wife had total control, she did make an effort to include her husband – sort of. She says: “He really wanted dark floors, but even he conceded the light ones looked better. So I let him think he helped with that decision in a roundabout way. Now we’re all happy!”
Accessories like the rope-hung mirrors and the lantern-style pendant lights make this practical space feel decorated. “I don’t like to take risks when decorating,” says one of the homeowners, “but I did want to mix things up in the kitchen so it didn’t read as plain.”
Designer Lidia van Zyl played the natural tones of wood and stone against sleek black accents to create character in the living room. The tall armoire holds things like games, books and blankets, while the bare floor, a practical option, is easy to clean. A trio of metal sculptures above the reclaimed wood mantel is a departure from the expected mirror or artwork.
In the foyer, the staircase’s natural wood handrail and treads were a purposeful choice. “If we had painted them black, it would have drawn the eye up the stairs as opposed to straight through the cottage to the lake,” says Lidia.
A mix of neutral tones creates subtle depth in the dining area. “The table and chairs appear white at first glance, but they’re actually a soft shade of grey,” says Lidia. the chandelier, painted white to downplay its ornate shape, illuminates everything from meals to crafts.
“This cottage always makes me smile,” says one of the homeowners. “It’s an amazing feeling to open the front door to beautiful surroundings.” the stone skirting – a concession to the aspen look the husband wanted – ties in nicely with the herringbone brick walkway.
The artful arrangement of dark-hued antiques in an all-white area of the living room makes a graphic statement. the antlers are a family heirloom.
“I love a white kitchen because I don’t like distractions when I’m cooking,” says one of the homeowners, “and I can also see what needs to be cleaned.” low-maintenance Caesarstone countertops and a glossy tiled backsplash on the range wall make cleanup even easier. the massive island is outfitted with cupboards that hold cottage necessities, such as candles, batteries and a tool kit.
While the silhouette of the chandelier in the master bedroom is traditional, its wooden beads give it an earthy appeal that suits a cottage. the wicker basket, sisal rug and rustic artwork (it’s made of wood and says “I Love Us”) echo that earthiness, which is tempered by the black furniture.
Hooks and baskets are enough to keep the mud room in order since the basement has ample storage. The built-in bench always comes in handy.
Like the rest of the cottage, the powder room is energized with hits of black. “I love the graphic mosaic-look floor here,” says Lidia. “It’s actually 24-by-24-inch tiles, and they have just the right amount of pattern for a small space.” Vintage racquets used as informal artwork perfectly fit the laid- back vibe of this family retreat.