How to: Renovate your laundry room
Doing laundry isn’t a fun activity for most, but that doesn’t mean the laundry room should be ignored when renovating your home. If it’s well designed, it can be so convenient and efficient, you’ll be wishing you had more dirty clothes!
Photography courtesy of istockphoto.com
Planning your layout
Everyone meticulously plans their kitchen and bathroom layouts, and it’s just as important to do so in a laundry room. It requires plumbing, venting and electrical, so taking the time to create a floor plan is crucial. Make sure you know where your vents and valves need to go. And remember, front-loading machines are designed to have the washer on the left and the dryer on the right. Place them the other way and you’ll be reaching awkwardly.
If you’re short on space, have your laundry room double as a storage area or mud room, based on its location and your needs. it may be as easy as adding more cabinets and counter space or installing an extra-large sink. the laundry room is built for function above all else, so think about multi-tasking when planning your layout.
Roasted parsnip and pear soup
Embrace the last days of winter with this hearty parsnip and pear soup.
Thyme delivers a subtle, earthy flavour that’s a perfect accompaniment to the heartier ingredients in this soup.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the parsnips, pear, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large roasting pan and toss until well combined. Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast the mixture for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the parsnips are tender and caramelized.
2 Remove the pan from the oven and pour cup of the broth over the roasted vegetable mixture; stir, scraping up any caramelized bits that have stuck to the bottom.
3 Purée the roasted mixture in small batches in a blender or food processor along with the remaining 3 cups vegetable broth and the vinegar. Strain the mixture into a large pot and heat thoroughly over medium-high heat. Transfer the soup to bowls and garnish with the whole wheat croutons and thyme, drizzling with additional olive oil if desired. Serve the soup immediately.
Prep and cook time: 1 1/4 hours
Serves: 4 to 6
Take your bathroom from drab to fab with these easy decorating ideas!
Bathroom and kitchen renovations are known to give homeowners the biggest returns on their investment when they sell. But whether you’re doing a big renovation or just looking for ways to update your current bathroom and whether you intend to sell or not, these ideas for beautifying your bathroom will pay big returns in your overall satisfaction with your home. And you don’t have to have a $50,000 budget to do it. These affordable upgrades will add some serious style to your home without breaking the bank!
Renewal Divinity Small Mirror
What a difference something as simple as a mirror can make. The right one can transform the look of your bathroom and give it an updated, more stylish feel in an instant. The frame is made from hammered aluminum combined with beveled glass and can be hung vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference and the shape of the space you’re working in. Renewal Divinity Small Mirror, Wayfair, $380.46.
Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture
When renovating, it’s important to consider your lighting options for the type of space you have. So before you head to the lighting store, figure out whether it’d be best to go with flush mount, track lighting or sconces. No matter what you choose, illuminate your bathroom with a stunning light fixture that ties your bathroom’s whole look together and adds an appealing amount of sparkle and shine! Boasting a shiny chrome finish and a laser-cut inspired design on the lamp shade, this flush mounted lighting fixture will bring effortless elegance to your bathroom and is a simple way to take the look of the entire space from drab to fab! Flush Mount Bathroom Lighting Fixture, Multi Luminaire, $349.
Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper
If you’ve always loved the look of wallpaper but have shied away from using it in the bathroom, it’s time to reconsider. Wallpaper has come a long way and today, there are lots of options on the market, many of which are suitable for moisture-rich environments. This gorgeous wallpaper has a mosaic pattern that mimics the look of tile and has a washable finish for easy clean-up. Aroura Tile White and Gold Wallpaper, Graham & Brown, $50/roll.
Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Flip through the pages of your favourite design magazine and you’re sure to see plenty of bathrooms boasting this contrasting basket weave tile to dramatic effect. Get the look for yourself with these tiles – but may we suggest opting for the white and cobalt colour combo as a subtle alternative to black and white? The rich cobalt will add a decidedly chic and unexpected look to your bathroom. Metro Basket Weave White and Cobalt Porcelain Mosaic Tile, Home Depot, $7.98 each.
Gleaming Brass Bath Collection
Upping the style quotient in your bathroom doesn’t get any easier than this! Swap out your existing vanity vessels for these truly chic options. The full set includes a soap dispenser, tumbler and tray, all in a beautiful brass finish. Gleaming Brass Bath Collection, Anthropologie, $22-$36.
Dot Medallion Shower Curtain
Looking for a quick and easy bathroom update that won’t break the bank? How about a new shower curtain? This 100% cotton curtain is made in India and features a modern medallion motif in a soothing colour palette of watercolour inspired shades of blue and grey. With this one simple addition to your bathroom, you’ll add an air of tranquility that will turn your bathroom into the oasis you always dreamed of. Dot Medallion Shower Curtain, West Elm, $29.99.
Recipe: Cream of tomato soup with roasted Italian chickpea croutons
This is a classic cream-based tomato soup, revamped to be good for you and free of animal products. Blending a small amount of soaked cashews into the soup transforms the tomato base into a luxurious, creamy soup, and the sun-dried tomatoes add depth of flavor to the tomato base. And with the crunchy Italian chickpea "croutons," there are no traditional bread croutons required. Be sure to soak the raw cashews in water the night before (or for at least three to four hours) so they are ready when you plan to make the soup.
For the chickpea croutons
For the tomato soup
1 Make the chickpea croutons: Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Place the chickpeas on the paper towels and place a couple paper towels on top. Roll them around until any liquid on them has been absorbed. Discard paper towels.
2 Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl and stir in the grapeseed oil, oregano, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and then spread the chickpeas in an even layer on the baking sheet.
3 Bake for 15 minutes. Give the pan a shake from side to side and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, watching closely, until the chickpeas are lightly charred and golden.
4 Let cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. They will crisp up as they cool.
5 Make the tomato soup: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
6 In a blender, combine the soaked cashews and the broth and blend on high speed until creamy and smooth. Add the garlic-onion mixture, the tomatoes and their juices, sun-dried tomatoes, and tomato paste and blend on high until smooth.
7 Pour the tomato mixture into the saucepan in which you cooked the onions and set the pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the oregano, salt, pepper to taste, and thyme.
8 Gently simmer over medium heat, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors have developed.
9 Ladle the soup into bowls and top with 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup (75 to 125 mL) of the chickpea croutons. Garnish with minced fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper.
Tip: The chickpeas will lose their crispness in the soup, so be sure to add them just before you sit down to eat-or you can even add the chickpeas as you eat the soup.
Makes 8 cups.