Tag Archives: material


Peace on a patio

Patio is a Spanish word that means inner courtyard. Anyone who travels in the Caribbean, Spain or South America has already encountered these outdoor spaces, often covered, which run the length of house or direct people to the centre of the property.

In Quebec, patio means most outdoor structures: large gallery, big balcony, deck. In general, a patio is on the ground while a deck is raised above the ground.

To get a taste of the great outdoors, the patio is a great choice if you have a small budget or if the space is too narrow. Sometimes it’s just a simple set of steps or a staircase leading to the yard. You can place plants, flowers and decorative pots there.


The great thing about patios is that you can set them up any way you want, thus the importance of determining its use before you start the work. Do you extend it to the bedroom so you can have your morning coffee or a candlelit breakfast? Do you extend it to the living room for the pleasure of a cocktail in the fresh air? Do you extend it to the kitchen to benefit from outdoor meals or to organize receptions?   Continue reading


Durable and strong

The expression “invest in stone” used to mean to invest in construction and real estate. Why? Because real estate is a strong and durable sector. Like stone.

Is there a more natural, more resistant, more sustainable and stronger material than stone? It’s practically eternal. Not surprising that it is among the materials of choice in this era of green living.

Stone is abundant in nature. It is recyclable, waterproof, porous and requires little maintenance, which keeps it far away from numerous chemical products. It filters pollution by absorbing carbon dioxide, the main gas behind the greenhouse effect. Another important asset: it’s fire-resistant.

Stone reduces energy consumption in a house by storing the heat for redistribution as needed. It is a natural heat regulator, since it combats temperature variations. In Quebec, however, this ecological advantage is lesser because insulation separates the exterior stone wall from the interior. But lesser does not mean nil. A stone floor exposed to the rays of the sun in winter will slow this ecological loss.


Elsewhere in the world, in certain mountainous regions, crushed stone is piled around foundations of homes to deal with the violent winds and extreme winter temperatures. These crushed stones heat the inside in winter and cool it off in summer.

Stone is not perfect. Its mining, at times its transformation and shipping result in a considerable energy expense, given the weight and mass of the material. These operations release a good dose of carbon dioxide into the air. Therefore, it’s preferable that the stone be mined in the region itself. The shorter the journey, the more the material becomes ecological. Fortunately, Quebec has numerous quarries, including the granite and marble quarries in the Mégantic region, and slate in Saint-Marc-du-Long, the largest quarry in North America according to Wikipedia.



French Wikipedia article on slate
Habitat sain et écologique, Ginette Dupuy, Les éditions Quebecor, 2011, 295 pages

Guide de la maison verte, Michel Durand, Les éditions La Presse, 2008, 339 pages


Photos: iStock.com

Let’s build a deck!

Used on a regular basis in summer, the deck has practically become a room on the same level as the living room or gaming room. It is widely considered to be a living space, even in the spring and fall when the temperature is nice and mild.

If you plan to add or transform a deck on your property, the Association des professionnels de la construction et de l’habitation du Québec (APCHQ) provides advice before you start on the layout and construction:

If the deck can be located in different places, its location initially depends on municipal regulations. Most cities only authorize the construction of a balcony or deck in the side yard or back of the house. The authorized height and surface could also be the subject of a municipal regulation.

It is suggested that you determine the desired amount of sunshine. The orientation, neighbouring constructions and high trees are factors to consider to obtain a sunny deck or one that has more shade.


There are many styles of deck, including rectangular, multiple level or “L” shaped. A series of levels allows for more effective integration of a deck to a property’s landscaping, while eliminating the need for railings, under the condition of course that these levels are less than 0.6 metres (2 feet) from the ground.

Several materials can be used as flooring for a deck. If the owner wants to avoid regular upkeep, a recycled plastic surface can be a good option. However, keep in mind that if the deck has strong exposure to the sun, recycled plastic becomes hotter than wood. Continue reading

Ideas for your melamine cabinets

iStockphoto LP

Do you want to update your melamine kitchen or bathroom cabinets? The most economical way is to repaint them or apply a faux finish to the cabinets and doors. Let your imagination run wild! However, if you can invest a bit of time and money, here are a few ideas that require a bit of patience and dexterity.

These ideas involve covering your cupboard cabinets and doors with materials you can find in big-box stores.

Continue reading

The pouf with a thousand faces

Footstool. Source : iStockPhoto

The first picture that comes to mind is the Moroccan pouf. Stars, colours, leather—Moroccan poufs add an exotic touch to your decor.

A bit of history.

According to the Grand Robert, the word pouf first appeared in 1458. The word is an onomatopoeia that evokes a fall. The modern definition of pouf is “A large firm cushion used as a low seat or footstool” (Canadian Oxford Dictionary). The ones with legs are generally called ottomans or footstools. The definition dating from 1829 might be more appropriate for today: “A large, low stool, generally cylindrical, and covered with thick upholstery.” Continue reading