Author Archives: Scott Kasprick

  1. Wine Cocktails

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    You enjoy wine. You enjoy cocktails. Combine them and celebrate the pleasures of summer. Simple to make, a delight to serve, these refreshing, thirst-quenching wine cocktails are sure to delight.

    Wine cocktails serve a dual purpose by stretching your wine budget and adding a touch of flair to entertaining. An inventive way to experience the flavour and aromas of wine. Elevate wine cocktails to a level of sophistication by adding a simple garnish-a sprig of rosemary, citrus, apple or pear slice, seasonal fruit and/or a rimmed glass.

    The following simple, basic recipes may be created with wine and kitchen staples. A commonly used component of cocktail recipe is simple syrup. As promised, easy and quick to prepare, made from only two ingredients, both kitchen staples. Heat equal parts sugar and water at medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Seal tightly in a glass jar and refrigerate for up to a month.


    Simple delightful Kalimotxo (pronounced cal-ee-MO-cho) comes from the Basque-country of Northern Spain where it is locally known as Rioja Libre or Jote. This sangria-esque beverage was created to make lesser quality red wine palatable.

    • 2 cups (500 ml) inexpensive red wine (Rioja or Cabernet Sauvignon)
    • 2 cups (500 ml) chilled Coca-Cola
    • Ice
    • Fill cocktail glass with ice. Add equal parts red wine and cola: Stir. Garnish with lemon. Serve.

    Rosé Negroni Sbagliato

    A classic Italian cocktail with a twist, Rose Negroni Sbagliato requires only three ingredients to create this delightful fruity, floral, and herbal cocktail.

    • Campari 2 tbsp (30 ml)
    • Sweet Vermouth or Lillet rose 2 tbsp (30 ml)
    • Chilled dry sparkling rosé wine 2 tbsp (30 ml)

    Pour Campari and Lillet into lowball cocktail glass filled with ice. Top with chilled sparkling wine. Stir gently. Serve. Add colour with a Garnish of lemon or orange peel. If you prefer a bitter cocktail use more Campari than sweet vermouth, should you prefer sweeter, use more sweet vermouth.


    Popular rosé wine morphed into adult slush.

    • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) simple sugar
    • 2 ½ ounces (75 ml) fresh lemon juice
    • 1 750 ml bottle of dry rosé wine (preferable dark-coloured and boldly flavoured)

    Pour rosé into a 13×9 inch pan or large zip-lock freezer bag. Freeze for a minimum of six hours or until firm (it will not completely freeze due to alcohol content).

    Place the frozen rose into a large plastic container, add lemon juice, up to 4 tablespoons (60 ml), to taste, simple syrup. Return to the freezer until ready to serve. Garnish with a strawberry.

    Watermelon Rosé Paloma

    Tajin, a condiment company in Mexico, makes a blend of chili pepper, lime, and salt. Purchase this or make your own chili lime salt with ¼ cup (60 ml) flaky sea salt, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) chili powder, pinch of granulated sugar and lime zest. A delicious combination of spicy, salty, sweet.

    • 2 cups (500 ml) watermelon – blend in blender and strain (refrigerate up to 5 days). Cool. No watermelon? No worries, substitute fresh ruby grapefruit juice.
    • 1 ½ ounces (45 ml) silver tequila
    • 1 tsp (5 ml) fresh squeezed Lime juice (1/2 of a lime)
    • 4 ounces (120 ml) sparkling or still chilled dry rosé wine
    • ¼ cup (60 ml) chilled sparkling water

    Individual serving: rim a cocktail glass with chili lime salt, add ¼ cup (60 ml) watermelon juice, tequila, lime juice, and rosé. Stir gently, add ice and a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with watermelon and /or thyme.

    Grapefruit Wine

    Refreshing mix of tangy grapefruit and dry rose

    • 1/3 cup (80 ml) granulated sugar and 1/3 cup (80 ml) water or substitute pre-made simple syrup
    • Boil sugar and water, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool.
    • 1 750 ml bottle dry rose
    • 1 ½ cup (375 ml) grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed is best
    • Ice
    • Grapefruit for garnish

    Combine chilled rose and grapefruit juice. Add sugar/water mix or pre-made simple syrup. Fill glass with ice, pour in juice wine mix, garnish with grapefruit.

    Wine Spritzer

    Classic and refreshing. Chose the flavours you wish through your wine selection. Desire a hint of sweetness? Purchase Torrontes, Moscato or off-dry rose and use sweet fruit for garnish. Prefer dry? Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc with a tangy citrus garnish.

    • 4 oz (120 ml) chilled wine
    • 2 oz (60 ml) club soda
    • Chilled glass with ice
    • Pour wine and club soda over ice, garnish with fruit and serve.

    Hibiscus Cocktail

    Want to make an impression? Serve this gorgeous cocktail at a reception or wedding shower.

    • Hibiscus flowers in syrup (available from specialty grocers)
    • 1 750 ml bottle well chilled Prosecco Superior DOCG

    Place a whole hibiscus flower in the base of clear cocktail glass. Fill with chilled prosecco. Spoon 2 tsp (10 ml)  hibiscus syrup down the side of the glass. Serve.


    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)

    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  2. 5 Kitchen Trends

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    Kitchens have come a long way in design and functionality.  They will always be at the top of the list for most popular renovation projects, and it’s no wonder, kitchen innovation is one of the fastest growing areas of the home.  Here are a few innovative ways to change up your kitchen in 2022.

    Large Windows

    Having a large window in your kitchen will create a spacious and fresh feel by enhancing the natural light and brightening the space. 

    Minimize Upper Cabinets

    Invest in a large walk-in pantry to accommodate a variety of kitchen appliances and dishware. This will minimize the number of upper cabinets you require, contributing to a more streamlined appearance and flow.

    Pantry Plug-In

    Add a dedicated area in your pantry for small appliances that can be plugged in.  Moving items such as your coffee maker or toaster will contribute to minimal counter clutter and enhance your workspace.  Make sure to work with a certified electrician when considering this addition, as there are special code requirements for electrical outlets in enclosed spaces.   

    Dish Drawer

    Look to incorporate lower drawers for your dishes, as they are more versatile.  Using a Peg Organizer can prevent dishes from moving around and keep them organized. 

    Hanging Shelf

    Integrate a hanging shelf over your island for everyday dishware.  They will always be available and minimize cupboard space, keeping an open feel to your kitchen. 

    A kitchen is often the heart of your home, so consider these unique design ideas to make your space as versatile as possible!

  3. A Stone Above the Rest

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    Your landscape not only gives your home curb appeal, but it can also be designed to give you an outdoor living space for you and your family. 

    In recent years, people realize that their outdoor space is very valuable and functional. More time is being spent outdoors in their yards, and people are making the most of their space. No longer are backyards just grass and trees, they now include stone patios, built-in outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, along with pergolas and outdoor areas separated by stone retaining walls. Outdoor kitchens now have the options to include a mini fridge, sink and side burners. A task like this may seem overwhelming, so talk to the professionals at Alternative Landscaping Ltd. to help get you started on your vision. 

    To create the ideal outdoor living space for your family, you have to work with your landscape. The size, slope and shape of your yard will help dictate what your options are. This is where the professionals will be able to give you the best advice from their years of knowledge, experience and up to date software.  You can receive 3D images of your yard before a stone is even turned, giving you the confidence in your project. 

    There are many styles of stone when it comes to outdoor projects that can really change the look. The Belvedere stone by Barkman is a popular stone to give you that aged, more natural look. This stone can be used for pillars, firepits and retaining walls. For a more modern look with clean lines, the Zenwall by Belgard is a great option for a retaining wall. Both are available at Alternative Landscaping, along side a large selection of stone for any outdoor project. 

    While focussing on the function and structure of your outdoor living space, don’t forget about the softscape. This includes all living elements of your space and can really tie everything together.  Shrubs and perennials help soften up your space and add some colour, while trees can help create more zones, as well as privacy. These elements are not to be overlooked when building a cohesive outdoor living space. -DYH

  4. Emjay Homes

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    When you think of a Ready to Move (RTM) builder, you most likely think of a home built on their work site, and then their job is done. That is not always the case. James and Michelle at Emjay Homes will work with their clients up to any stage of the project. You could consider their current build, the complete package!

    At 1450 square feet, this spacious, open concept bungalow has features that are to be desired. The main living area showcases hickory beams and 9-foot ceilings throughout. Continuing with the colour tone, the kitchen is finished in custom hickory cabinetry, with a stained coloured island. No detail was overlooked in this kitchen and would please any cook!

    This home stands out in a rich black siding from Canexel and a beautiful Fusion Stone veneer chimney accent in Raven. Large windows provide the owners with plenty of natural light for the perfect front and back views of the property. The owners will enjoy those views, while relaxing in front of their gas fireplace in the family room. The home consists of 3 large bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, perfect for any family. 

    This custom RTM home was built on the Emjay Homes job site, in Austin, Manitoba. By doing so, they were able to keep quality high and extra travel expenses down. Once the structure was complete, it was moved by CNC Building Movers to the owner’s property. Awaiting here, Emjay Homes has constructed the foundation with a crawl space, that the home will be moved onto. It will have a two-car attached garage once the home has been moved onto the foundation. Emjay Homes is currently working with trades to connect the home to water, sewer, gas and electrical.

    When having an RTM home built by Emjay Homes, you can work with them to construct your home to your specifications or have them take care of the entire project for you. RTM homes can come with all the luxuries of a home built on site, and with over 18 years experience in building RTMs, it might be time to give James and Michelle a call today.

    At Emjay Homes, they pride themselves on high quality construction, excellence in service and value-added affordability, and it shows!

  5. Decked Out for Summer

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    When it comes to building a deck, there are many options to consider.  Composited decking, vinyl decking, western red cedar, and treated wood to name a few. Weighing the benefits of each style, as well as your budget, can help you decide which deck material is right for you.

    Available at Windsor Plywood, Moisture Shield composite decking is a low maintenance, high performance, long-lasting decking option.  They have 12 colour options, sure to match your exterior, from solid one-tone to two-tone colours ranging from grey to brown. Moisture Shield resists rotting, swelling and splitting unlike other composite options on the market. It is mold and mildew resistant, which makes it great in humid or wet locations, and can even be submerged in water. Composite decking can last 25-30 years with warranty varying in length. For those with sensitive feet, Moisture Shield offers Cool Dek, a line that is cooler on paws and feet, compared to other composite decking on the market. Check out the in-store display at Windsor Plywood, and compare the difference between regular composite and Cool Dek.

    Western Red Cedar has always been known for beautiful decks that are made to last. Cedar decking is rot resistant and will not warp in high humilities. This deck choice is a great alternative for docks on the water. Cedar requires less maintenance compared to other wood on the market and will naturally age to shades of grey, so staining is not required. 

    Global Dec-k-ing offers a vinyl product perfect for decks, balconies, walkways, flat roofs, and a great option for boat floors. It is a PVC membrane, glued to a surface to create a 100% waterproof finish.  This product comes in a variety of colour and pattern options.  Global Dec-k-ing is maintenance free, ensures durability in any climate, and is backed up by a 20-year warranty.

    Treated Wood is a more traditional style deck with a natural look.  They are very durable, can stand wear and tear from the elements, and with proper maintenance can last 10-20 years.  You have many stain options that can enhance the look of your deck, creating more time and maintenance, but saving you more money upfront. 

    To finish your deck, be sure to check out the railing systems at Windsor Plywood.  Pro-Built railing is constructed from aluminum alloy and has a high-quality exterior metal coating.  It is corrosion-resistant, which means no rusting, no spotting, or need for repainting.  Pro-Built aluminum rails are a low maintenance system that offers you a variety of styles, including narrow and wide pickets, glass inserts, and a wind wall.  You will find white and black in stock at Windsor Plywood in Brandon, with many other colour options available.

    Be sure to stop by Windsor Plywood on 18th Street North in Brandon to check out their deck options.  With experienced staff to quote your deck project and help with which deck option is best for your environment. They carry a wide range of selection, sure to help you complete your summer decking project this year.  -DYH

  6. In The Market for a New Home?

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    Have you decided to take the plunge into home ownership, or have you outgrown your current home?  There are many options available for you, and a professional real estate agent can help walk you through them. 

    The price for a home in Brandon has been growing, on average $10,000 a year for the past several years according to Brandon Real Estate Board. The average price topped out at $303,431 in 2021.  If that growing number scares you, just remember, there are always plenty of homes available in a variety of price brackets in many communities. Not only did the average cost of a home rise in 2021, but the number of units sold was up 13.5% from previous year. No matter if you were looking at a house or vacant property in 2021, it was definitely a seller’s market. 

    When getting ready to sell your home, a professional real estate agent will help give you a fair evaluation of your home, negotiate on your behalf and complete the necessary paperwork.  A realtor brings experience and knowledge in order to price your home in this competitive marketplace to help maximize your potential profits. They will explain any conditions within an offer and help you make a decision on how to proceed or not proceed.  Using a realtor can help alleviate many stresses of the transaction like negotiating and paperwork, in order to make the transaction as stress-free as possible.   

    When it’s time to look for a new home, you have some options to consider; buy an already built home or build a custom home. Did you know that a real estate agent can help you, not only view and purchase a house on the market, but they can also show you vacant properties for sale and connect you with a builder. Discussing with your agent what you want in a home or location can help them show you what would work best for you and your family. 

    Buying an established home has many benefits. You will be able to visualize yourself in the property, having an established yard can save you years of work and you can obtain a shorter possession date.  But, if you can’t seem to find what really works for you or your family, building is a great option. You can design the ideal floor plan, literally from the ground up. Working with a builder to create a floor plan for your family, can give you a home you will enjoy for years to come. 

    Brian Baker at Royal LePage/Martin-Liberty in Brandon is very knowledgeable in both selling homes and property. He not only has houses for sale across Westman in a variety of price ranges, but he has a wide array of vacant properties as well.  From acreages to in town lots, there will sure be one to suit your needs. You may be surprised to learn that empty lots are not only available in new developments, but can be found in established neighbourhoods throughout the city. 

    Talking to professionals like Brian Baker at Royal LePage/Martin-Liberty can help put you in the right direction for your new home. -DYH

  7. Use Your Imagination

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    Coming off of a whirlwind year in 2021, Budget Blinds was pedal to the metal in January 2022.

    They have been so grateful to continue to serve Manitobans and continuously grow their business with customers wanting to update their spaces, renovating, and ‘working from home’ challenges. Sue and Gord Swarbrick, and the local team at Budget Blinds had no shortage of consultations with clients and that is still true today. Add in, them renovating their showroom located at 381 Park Avenue East in Brandon, and you would wonder how they have time to sleep! 

    As with anything, you are bound to run into a few hiccups from time to time and that is what happened with the recent changes to the blind industry by the Corded Window Covering Regulations (CWCR). Created last year, but going into effect May 1, 2022, new regulations will omit any window covering with a cord that is exposed. This not only includes pull cords that are secured, but it also comprises of cords on the backside or between slats of blinds. Some of the most popular selections in the market will be affected, as vendors create modifications to existing products that will need to pass the CWCR testing for child safety. 

    Over the course of recent months, Sue and Gord have been working tirelessly on renovating their showroom. The restructure that the blind industry will see has been felt here as well. While working on bringing in new products to showcase for clients, they have been hitting a few walls due to the elimination of product lines affected. But don’t fret, there are still plenty of options to choose from! 

    The show stopper in their space is a large floating island used to store their samples. It features a Stone Coat resin countertop created by Gord and is the perfect place to get inspired. Their “blind wall” is always a favourite, as it showcases a large variety of options from pull-down to motorized blinds. Sue is currently working on fabricating their drapery wall, which will see completion in the coming months. A wonderful new addition to the showroom is their pillow wall! 

    Pillow Talk by Budget Blinds will feature hundreds of pillow covering options, currently in the most common 18” and 20” size. The wall will consist of 40 sets of pillows that will be in stock and available to take home that day.  You can choose to purchase them with a polyester form fill or without, which will work perfectly with the pillow subscription they are currently developing. This gives customers the benefit of choosing pillow coverings they can change throughout the year with season or trend. All pillow coverings are made in Manitoba by Deasil Custom Sewing. More future plans will include the option of adding embellishments to your pillow or using a luxurious down filling. You will be able to browse from hundreds of fabric samples in order to create your perfect custom pillow. 

    Sue is excited to announce that ‘The Warehouse Workshop’ is open and running events, held by local artisans. The workshops consist of mosaics, painting, resin, and more.  This creative space is available to be used for fundraisers or by groups; you can find them on Instagram @ware.houseworkshop and FB at The Warehouse Workshop for upcoming events.  -DYH

  8. Year of the Garden

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    2022 has been proclaimed Year of the Garden. You will find communities, retailers, and garden centres from coast to coast participating in activities promoting gardening and educating those willing to get their hands a little dirty. 

    Many gardeners have moved to container gardening in the recent years.  It’s perfect if you have a unique or minimal space, and an all-inclusive way to garden for those with disabilities or movement restrictions. A great product I found at Alternative Choice Garden Centre located at 34th and Patricia Ave in Brandon, was the VegTrug. The VegTrug is a durable raised garden bed offered in a variety of sizes and designs. It is sourced from sustainable plantation grown fir and comes with fitted membrane liners; ideal for growing a variety of herbs and vegetables like lettuce, onions, carrots, peppers and strawberries.

    While tomatoes may overtake your raised garden, you can look at dwarf varieties such as the Micro Tom Tomato which only grows 12-18” high.  A pepper variety to try would be the Cosmo Edible Potted Pepper.  It grows 8-10” high and produces red to purple hot peppers.  For vining vegetables, you may want to try growing them up a trellis, while staying away from heavier produce like squash.  You can also include flowers like marigolds, which help keep pests away, at the same time attracting bees and other important pollinators.   

    Keep in mind you should have the proper soil mix when putting together your container or raised bed garden. Top soil is heavy and not ideal for growing. Ask one of the many experts at Alternative Choice Garden Centre for their recommendations on which soil mix to use for your garden. While there, pick up your seeds or starter plants when it is time to plant your garden. 

    What to watch out for!

    New this Spring, look for the Hummingbird Falls Salvia. Perfect for hanging baskets or container gardens, this cascading blue flower is a natural feeder for hummingbirds. Ditch your traditional hummingbird feeder for this beautiful feature plant in your yard. 

    The Supertunia Vista Jazzberry is a hybrid of the petunia. If you want a bold, colourful plant in your container, this is it!  It is a continuous bloomer, as well as heat and drought tolerant. 

  9. Predictive Watering

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    With over 40 years of service in the Westman area, D & B Sprinklers is the one to call for all your irrigation needs.  They provide system installation and service for residential, commercial, sports fields and golf courses.  Their impeccable customer service is what puts them as a leader in their industry, right along side offering up to date, high quality systems. 

    The most innovative product on the market for your irrigation needs is Hydrawise.  It is an industry leading irrigation system with WIFI control.  The benefits of Hydrawise are that it automatically adjusts watering based on highly accurate, internet-sourced local weather data. Based on the local forecast and past history, this system can save you up to 50% of water consumption a year by accurately watering your lawn.    Your system will adjust based on the local forecast, rain probability, wind and humidity to supply your lawn with the precise amount of water.   

    Hydrawise has created an easy-to-use app that gives you the ability to monitor your irrigation system from anywhere in the world.  If you have a smart home set up and want to go hands free, you can add it to your smart home device and operate your system with voice control. 

    If Hydrawise detects an issue with your system, it will notify you with an alert.  Feel at ease knowing that if you have a broken pipe or faulty wire, your system will notify you before it becomes a problem. 

    Technology is expanding every day, why not use it to your advantage and have a system that benefits you.   

  10. Elite Sunrooms

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    Many of us love summer and all Mother Nature has to offer, but when the elements and bugs ruin your precious summer days and nights, wouldn’t it be nice to be sitting in the “outdoors” and still be sheltered from the elements? Or would you rather have some additional space to entertain in or a guest room? A Sunspace sunroom by Elite can give you all of that and more. 

    Elite Sunrooms is owned and operated by Keith Bourgeois, a Red Seal carpenter for 35 years, boasting over 20 years in the sunroom industry. Aiming to provide their customers with a superior product, Elite has chosen Sunspace, a Canadian owned manufacturer. Their rooms never fail to impress customers. From the durability to the aesthetics, you will not find a comparable product. The rooms are engineered for Canadian winters and are customized for each customer. With a wide range of colour options and style of rooms, your dream project can be a reality. Consultation and estimates are free and there are never any hidden costs. 

    Don’t know where to start? Keith has worked on hundreds of projects and can advise you on everything from location of the sunroom to the decor. Elite will take care of everything from obtaining the building permits to hanging the blinds. All you have to do is share your vision for the project and they do the rest. 

    Their team is professional every step of the way and the workmanship and attention to detail is reflected in every room they build. Most projects are completed in a week or less, so you will be able to start enjoying it right away.

    Whether you are interested in extending the space in your home or cottage, or looking for a comfortable way to beat the heat, the rain, or the bugs…. Elite Sunrooms will show you how a sunroom can enhance your life today.

  11. Room for Change – Refreshed + Refurbished

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    Painting isn’t new to Kailan Dreolini of Refreshed + Refurbished.  “Growing up, I enjoyed painting my room with my mom, sometimes every year even,” Kailan tells me.  “I’ve been painting projects for clients for around 4 years now, but my experience goes well beyond that.”

    Kailan is often called upon to re-paint interiors for customers.  She loves the whole design process, doing a walk-thru with the home owners, choosing colours and transforming a space.  But she has really found her niche in refinishing cabinetry.  A job, not to be taken lightly due to the prep work and process it takes to create a beautiful finish, she is always up to the challenge.  According to Kailan, refinished kitchen cabinetry is her favourite project to work on.  It’s a big job, taking up to 2 weeks to complete, but the impact it makes in a home is priceless. 

    Though white is a timeless and the most requested colour when refinishing kitchen cabinetry, Kailan is seeing a trend in two-toned kitchens that is not leaving anytime soon.  This is when clients request a different colour for their upper or lower cabinets, or a different colour for their island.  It creates a unique statement in a kitchen and can really bring out the personality of the home owner. 

    The majority of Kailan’s inquiries are for cabinetry, but you can’t forget about interior walls.  She loves the transformation a new colour can make in someone’s home.  Either a fresh touch up or whole a new look, she can walk her client through colour options and give recommendations if needed.  Her main focus is residential, but will not shy away from smaller commercial jobs. She also fields many calls from property managers and landlords looking for touch ups and minor wall repair. 

    With an entrepreneurial spirit, Kailan Dreolini of Refreshed + Refurbished has created a name for herself.  Her experience, design and passion are really coming through in her projects and creating a lasting impression with her clients.

  12. Smart Homes

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    Smart homes are no longer a wave of the future and are becoming more popular in the everyday home. 69% of homes in North America have at least one smart home device. It is shown that once a homeowner has one smart device, the chances of them owning a second or third device goes up significantly. The most common smart devices are security systems, doorbells, home hubs, thermostats, televisions, lights, speakers, plugs, and appliances. 

    While some smart devices help with the home’s efficiency, the majority of owners want them for the convenience. Once you connect your smart device to your network, either wirelessly or hard-wired, you can control your device from any smartphone, computer, tablet, or gaming console. Homeowners are drawn to the security smart devices can offer through smart doorbells and whole home security systems. These systems give them the ability to watch their home and receive notifications from anywhere in the world.

    If you are new to the smart home world, start with a device that will benefit your household. This could be a smart thermostat, lighting or plugs. Plugs are very simple and can make a big impact. You simply plug them into your outlet to connect them to your smart device such as your phone. Anything you plug into your smart plug can now be turned on by that device. This is helpful with hard to reach lamps, once plugged in, you can turn them off and on from anywhere without bending and reaching.

    Pairing your smart device with the right internet provider is ideal. You want to make sure you have a strong, reliable connection in order to run your smart home smoothly.

  13. Catering Up A Storm

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    There is nothing like the perfect food to complete the perfect event.

    Think of the last event you went to, was it a wedding, work luncheon, anniversary party? I bet you can tell me what was served and if you liked it. The food you choose is very important to any occasion, and that is why you need to talk to Ben Hernandez before planning your next event.

    Ben is the owner of Benny’s Restaurant and Catering Services, located downtown in Brandon.  You may have eaten at his restaurant, but did you know he can cater your event or special family occasion for 5 to 200 people? Getting food catered isn’t just for large groups at rented halls, but can be used for intimate family and friend gatherings in your home.  Food options are not just limited to his menu but can be flexible and tailored to your needs. Popular menu items are the Chicken Montebello, the Turkey Dinner, and Prime Rib for supper. Don’t forget to ask him about their amazing selection of appetizers.  The shrimp will be talked about for years to come, trust me!

    When preparing for corporate or team events, they can prepare pre-made meals to be handed out or offer an assortment of wraps, pasta, roasted chicken dinners, and soup and salad. A variety of hot and cold options is sure to be perfect for your needs.

    When it comes to larger events, the staff at Benny’s are pros!  Ben says that the excitement of hosting events and bringing people together is back. He has been booking several Corporate Events and Graduations lately and hears the enthusiasm in people’s voices again.  When it comes to booking events, Ben takes care of all the food and drink options you require. They offer bar services, take care of the license, as well as offer many non-alcohol options. Their staff can even walk around and service the guests at your event, no detail is missed.

    Larger catering jobs require more staff to have it run smoothly.  It is a testimony to the relationships Ben has created over the years, that he can reach out to and count on relatives, friends, and past employees to help out when asked. This goes to show you the type of person he is to work with, and if you have ever met or worked with him as an employee or a customer, you know! Ben will go above and beyond to make sure your event is everything you hoped for.  When everyone remembers the food, he has done his job.

  14. Home Design by Heritage Co-op

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Renderings Submitted

    Heritage Co-op is your complete home package provider. From the first detail put down on paper to your finished home, they are with you every step of the way. Offering customers high-quality home designs, paired with Heritage Co-op’s exceptional material selection gives their customers the ease and convenience they deserve.

    Co-op has a wide variety of home plans on their website at You are able to view them in 2D, as well as 3D format. 3D computer-aided design allows customers the option to virtually walk through their home, giving them the ability to visualize the scale and layout of each room. Concise drawings can reduce costly errors during your build and are a smart investment. Heritage Co-op also offers customers a 3D Virtual Home Tour. Click on the QR code on this page to experience a Virtual home tour today.

    Mohammed Kehinde, also known as Kenny, is the Architectural Designer for Heritage Co-op Home Centre based in Minnedosa, Manitoba. With a degree in Architectural Design and a Master’s in Project Management from the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, UK, he is the liaison with customers and contractors. Kenny works with customers at the Home Centre or he can provide in-home consultations in order to suit their needs. He offers drafting, computer-aided designs, modeling, 3D renderings, animation, and virtual home tours to his customers. Having over 10 years of experience in Home Design and Building Construction Management, he has proven to offer superior knowledge and results to his customers. Kenny isn’t afraid of a challenge, from a whole home concept to kitchens and small renovations, he puts in the effort to satisfy his customers.

    Heritage Co-op has a catalog of home, cabin, and barndominum designs for you to look through. Barndominum you ask?  Yes! This is a country-style home design with strong influences of barn styling; offering open-concept floor plans with rustic aesthetics. They can build your dream home on a rural or urban footprint, providing you with the ideal layout. If you can not find plans to suit your family’s needs, Kenny will work with you to create the designs of your dreams.

    When building your next project, Heritage Co-op is the one-stop destination for you. Let Kenny and the staff help you create your vision today!

  15. Cabin Getaway

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    With Summer upon us, there is no better time than now, to start thinking about a cabin.

    When looking for your “home away from home”, finding that perfect fit for your family can be tedious and may require renovations and long wait periods. That is why building a custom RTM is a great choice. Emjay Homes has a wide selection of cabin and home designs for you to choose from.

    This feature cabin boasts 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, with 1432 sq ft, you are bound to have all the luxuries of home. The primary bedroom has a walk-in closet, a 4-piece bath, and views to the front of the cabin. The primary bedroom is located on the opposite side of the cabin as the other two bedrooms, making it convenient and private when hosting guests. The open living area showcases a fireplace and large windows, front and back, to let natural light in. The solid oak cabinets in the kitchen are stained in Gray Whale and are complemented by quartz countertops. Durable vinyl plant flooring is perfect for this cabin and is easy to clean. The back entrance is spacious with full laundry and a half bath, ideal for families or when you come in from exploring the great outdoors.

    The layout for this cabin can be set up for a crawlspace or basement, tailoring it to your needs. If you are in the market for a cabin this Summer, make sure you talk to James at Emjay Homes to go over your options. Creating a space customized to your family’s needs will get you enjoying and living in your cabin sooner.

  16. Westman Environmental Services

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck

    Westman Environmental Services (WES) specializes in Hazardous Building Material Assessments, Asbestos Assessments/Inventory’s and indoor air quality. In addition, they also conduct inspections and air monitoring following mould remediations and asbestos abatements.

    Owned and operated by Travis Dominey, they service Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Travis’s 9 years of experience in the industry, led him to open Westman Environmental Services last Spring.

    They work in residential, commercial, government, and with school divisions. Residential customers call when they have inquiries regarding indoor air quality and mould issues. A customer may complain of breathing and respiratory issues and will rely on them to test the home for mould and overall air quality. This can be a common test run in large offices and buildings as well. If issues are found, Travis will give recommendations on how to remedy the issue. Once the work is complete, Travis will come back to test the air quality again for peace of mind that an improvement has been made.

    Travis works closely with contractors to give them reports detailing his findings. When a home is to be demolished or renovated, they will have Travis in to do an Asbestos Assessment. They test materials in the home such as drywall joint compound, pipe insulation, flooring, plaster, and vermiculite insulation, to name a few. From there, the contractor or homeowner will connect with a company that specializes in the removal of hazardous materials.

    If you have concerns within your home or office, reach out to Westman Environmental Services to see if they can help.

  17. Bold + the Beautiful

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck

    If you are going to change up your cabinets, why not make a statement! This homeowner went bold and chose Behr Mountain Olive when refinishing her kitchen cabinets.

    Don’t be afraid of colour when looking to update your home. Choose a colour that you love and goes with your style. Kailan Dreolini of Refreshed + Refurbished worked with this homeowner on picking the perfect shade of green while balancing the room with Behr Ginger Sugar on the wall. The champagne-coloured hardware and fixtures really bring an elegant look and pull everything together. The trend of full-colour kitchen cabinets is on the rise again and is a show stopper in this home.

    Refreshed + Refurbished has been running strong for over a year now. This past fall Kailan added 2 more to the team to keep up with the demand. Since Rhonda and Melissa joined the team, Kailan has been able to take on more interior wall projects. “I’m used to working alone, so having a bigger crew gives me the confidence to take on bigger/more projects knowing we will be able to get them done faster while keeping pace with our cabinet jobs, which is definitely our niche”, says Kailan.  Now adding a third team member, Amber, helps with keeping up with the demand while travelling to smaller communities around Westman.  Kailan says her new team has a passion for painting and projects just like herself. She was looking for individuals who have an interest in home design and weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. The team has bonded quickly and work well together, which has taken some of the load off Kailan and given her the time to work with homeowners on quotes.

    Kailan works closely with homeowners to help them pick the perfect colours for their home and style. For this project, the client was a first-time homeowner, and completely made her home her own. As much as people think about resale, it is just as important to love your home while you’re in it. Be bold and make it your own!

  18. Automated Window Coverings

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck

    The window coverings in Patti and Franklin’s home were meticulously selected with the help of the Budget Blinds team. Each room was carefully considered for what the needs would be; privacy, light reduction, room darkening.

    The sunroom off the lower walk-out is a show-stopper. The team installed 3 large automated Solar Roller Shades on the West wall to offer a bit of reprieve from the sun’s intensity, while still enjoying the view. Having them automated on a remote gives the homeowner the ability to adjust their height from anywhere in the room.

    The Deep Charcoal Roller Shades in the living space on the lower level are all automated with rechargeable motors for ease of use. You can add some privacy, as well as a bit of softness to your space by pairing your Roller Shade with Grommet Sheer Drapes. The homeowner wanted to have some privacy in their spare bedroom without always lowering the shade, the Sheer Drape is a perfect answer for that.

    A Solar Roller Shade is very popular for the kitchen and is a great addition to this home. Solar Shades cut the glare while doing dishes or working on the island, while still offering a view. This is a great product that can be used in many rooms throughout the home.

    The Horizontal Shade (Zebra Blind) in the dining room is mounted under a Palladian Shelf allowing them to leave the transom (small detail window above the window or door) open to natural light.  Pairing the Palladian Shelf with the Horizontal Shade is perfect for this room. Horizontal Shades are also available in room-darkening fabrics. The homeowner chose these for their bedroom so they could control the amount of light coming in.

    As you can see, using different window coverings throughout your home makes perfect sense. Book a home consultation with Budget Blinds today to find which products will work best in your home.

  19. 56th Annual Brandon Home & Leisure Show

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Photos by Sandy Black

    Alternative Group is proud to present the 56th Annual Brandon Home & Leisure Show, one of the longest running shows in Western Canada. The show this year will run April 7th to 9th at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba. After being off for a couple of years due to restrictions, the show was able to return last year with minimal limitations. This year, the show continues on an upward swing and looks forward to seeing everyone back.

    The show will boast an array of indoor and outdoor themed booths for you to peruse. For outdoor enthusiasts, you can find everything you can imagine for your yard, from stone patios and sheds to hot tubs and planters.  But don’t forget about electric bikes and outdoor living. You will be able to test-ride electric bikes right at the show this year! Camping gear and outdoor kitchens will be on display as well. If it’s renovations or home building you are looking for, look no further! Check out the displays of window coverings, outdoor lighting, and sunrooms. Many local contractors will also be available to answer any questions you may have about building a home. If you are hoping to pick something up from the show this year, we have plenty of booths offering original artwork, cleaning products, straightening irons, beverages, and food. Try some samples and test try products before you buy!

    Efficiency Manitoba is a new Platinum Sponsor of the show this year. Stop by their booth to learn about programs they offer to make your home, business, or community more energy efficient. They will show you how you can save money, energy, and the environment through energy-saving upgrades.

    If you needed another reason to stop by the show this year, it would be for the prizes! Not only do many vendors showcase great prizes to be won in their booths, but Waves Leisure is once again proud to sponsor the Home Show prize. This year, by attending the show, you can be entered to win a beautiful outdoor canopy daybed. For the kids, find the Easter basket and enter them a chance to win a great Easter prize as well.

    Bring the whole family out to take in the Brandon Home & Leisure Show this year. Offering you a one-stop shopping experience under one roof, we hope to see you at the show this year!

    With over 20 years of experience in the business, Sunspace by Elite Sunrooms is locally owned and operated by Keith Bourgeois. They work with quality sunrooms manufactured in Canada and built for our climate. They offer a wide variety of Sunrooms, Screen Rooms, Patio Covers, Decks, and Railings. You can custom design your project with Keith and his team and they will execute it from start to finish. Then sit back and enjoy your increased living space which includes a 15 year warranty. Talk to Keith today!

    Habitat for Humanity – Brandon Chapter, offers families a dream home of their very own. Habitat partners with families who are ready for the responsibility of homeownership, but would not qualify for a traditional mortgage.  The selection of families is based on three principles: need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner. Qualifying families purchase an affordable home from Habitat with no down payment, no interest, and a renewable 15-year mortgage.  The families are also required to contribute 500 hours of “sweat equity” which can be done by helping build homes, working at the ReStore, or volunteering at Habitat fundraisers.

    How can you help out?  Volunteer your time, give money, or donate items to the ReStore. Every year Habitat has Team Build and Women Build days.  On these build days, you work with a foreman and other members of the community to build Habitat homes. It can be a great team-building day for your office, or a day to help out your community. 

    Contact Habit for Humanity – Brandon Chapter today!

  20. Heart of the Home

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    The kitchen is definitely the heart of the home in this beautiful new build by R&M Homes. The kitchen was designed by Scott Gurr of BdnLux Kitchen & Design. Scott has 26 years in the cabinet business and is a great new addition to the BdnLux family.

    The smooth, sleek lines of the kitchen stand out with the wall-to-wall flat slab maple cabinets. The Millstone finish keeps the space bright but also adds some visual texture. The large, one-level island is a perfect working station and is consistent with the cabinet finishings to maintain continuity.

    Quartz countertops are the perfect choice for busy families as they are durable and resistant to scratches, chips, and stains. An under-mount sink keeps with the smooth lines of this kitchen and makes clean-up easy. The design is finished with a timeless white subway tile backsplash.

    Soft-close drawers and doors are another family-friendly component in this kitchen. They prevent little fingers from being pinched, and the soft-close mechanism will prevent wear and tear on your cabinets, extending their life. The pantry has rollout shelving making all items very accessible.

    Scott really enjoyed designing this kitchen with the new owners. The workstation was a great addition to this space. It boasts ample desktop space, with cabinets flanking the bottom on each side, perfect for file storage. Floating shelves above lighten the space and are perfect to display personal items.

    Scott has experience in all aspects of the cabinet business from designing, colour matching, building, and installing. He enjoys working with clients and making their ideas come to life. Scott brings with him a wealth of knowledge from the industry and is looking forward to learning new things. If you are in the market for a new kitchen, make sure you stop by BdnLux Kitchen & Design and talk to Scott.

  21. Hidden Gem

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Photos Submitted

    Windsor Plywood in Brandon has a hidden gem many are not aware of. Located in the back of the store is a unique wood shop that is truly a class on its own. No job is too big or too small for this space, just let your imagination take over!

    Doors, doors, and more doors. From Barn doors to machining a new slab. If there is a barn door design you have seen or that you can picture bring this design to the store and Windsor’s shop can make it happen! If you have purchased a new door and nothing is wrong with your existing jamb, they can even machine a door to fit. Windsor has even been known to do several knock-down units, so everything is ready to install when you get home.

    Cutting boards, wood countertops, and dining room tables are very popular right now. Windsor Plywood offers a wide variety of exotic and quality wood, as well as live edge when creating a project for your home. All their wood has gone through the kiln and dry process, so they can guarantee no bugs in their product. Bring in your measurements and they can do up a quote for you.

    Custom hot and cold registers are always in steady production in this shop. From wood to vinyl, they can make one to match almost any flooring. Bring in your flooring material and they will create a custom register to match. No more going store to store trying to match one to your floor.

    Spring brings an increase in the production of stairs. From new builds, or renovations, to decks and even landings, they have even been known to do a few spiral staircases!  Windsor will cut your stair stringers or build you the whole unit. Choose from an open or closed rise to even having mortised sides.  This shop will ensure your stairs are up to code.

    As you can see, Windsor Plywood is not your average lumber store, for this is why they are called a finishing store!  If you have a project in mind, bring in your plans and measurements and talk it over with them. From custom woodwork and matching vintage trims, to building toy chests and wine racks, they are always one project away from another happy customer!

  22. Celebrating 25 Years

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    Written By Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Photos Submitted

    Celebrating 25 years in business, Chris and Karin Griffin have a great deal to be proud of.

    They started as a landscaping company in 1998, located on Maryland Ave in Brandon. As their business continued to flourish, they realized they would need to expand their business to keep up with the demand. In 2013 they opened their doors at Patricia Ave and 34th Street. This was the beginning of the Alternative Choice Garden Centre, a staple in the south end of Brandon today. Located on 40 acres, this location is the home to their 4 departments; Alternative Landscaping, Alternative Yard Care, Alternative Choice Garden Centre, and Alternative Excavation.

    The Garden Centre is a tropical paradise with indoor and outdoor plants. It has everything you need for your planting needs, as well as amazing patio, bbq, fashion, and décor items. For the do-it-yourselfer, pick up bulk materials including Barkman and Belgard brick products, wood mulches, crushed rock, river stone, soil, and more.

    The Yard Care department offers a 4-season package, taking care of their customer’s needs in any season. Lawn maintenance, fall clean-up, and snow clearing. From a simple mow and weed to being there all winter long to ensure your driveway and sidewalks are cleared, Alternative Yard Care will be there for you.

    Alternative Landscaping is a family business employing over 100 people. Chris and Karin now work side by side with their children, Spencer and Emma. As their kids grew up in the business, they began to love it just as their parents do. Emma is the Office Manager and Spencer is Operations Manager.

    Alternative is a complete residential and commercial landscaping company. From creating planters and designing patios to excavating city streets, they are there to help. They will be celebrating 25 years with special contests, events, and activities all year long, watch their social media pages for details.

  23. Letter From The Editor

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    As spring is upon us, we say goodbye to the cold temps of the winter and hello to chirping birds, flowers sprouting, and longer days. In our home, we put away the hockey skates and pull out the soccer cleats. It is almost like a changing of the guard. Nothing slows down, it just changes to something different.

    The first few months of the year are always busy for us as we create our Spring Issue, work on the Home Show, and the hustle and bustle of school and sports. We wouldn’t change it for the world, but a weekend with nothing planned is always a welcome treat!

    As many have done, we hope to have travel plans this summer. With our passion for new adventures, historical sites, and national parks, our plans are set toward a lengthy road trip to explore new States. But that won’t hold us back from working on projects around the house and yard. Last fall we completed a large patio and I’m looking forward to adding some soft landscape to the edge this year. Watch for the story in our Fall Issue!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck

  24. Mortgage Planning

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    Buying a new home is a very exciting time in someone’s life. Here are some tips when looking at buying your first home.

    You should be thinking about your credit rating years before it’s time to take out your first mortgage. Take out a credit card and pay it off each month. Make sure you pay your bills on time as well. By taking out small debt and paying it off, you are building your credit score for when you need to take out larger debt, like your mortgage, in the future.

    Save for your down payment and extra closing costs. In order to purchase a home, you need to have a down payment. That amount will depend on how much you are spending on the home. You will also need to have funds set aside for closing costs like inspections, property surveys, insurance, land transfer tax, condo fees, and lawyer’s fees.

    Sit down with your Mortgage Advisor and get pre-approved. This step is very important! It will give you an indication of how much you can spend on a home based on your credit score, debt, and the down payment you have saved. Being pre-approved will temporarily lock you into an interest rate, which helps if the rates increase during that period. You are more appealing to a Realtor if you are pre-approved and some may require it. 

  25. Wine Advice: Selecting from a Wine List

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    A celebration or simply an evening out. You arrive, are seated, handed the menu and wine list. Panic prevails. Far too often diners find wine selection and ordering intimidating. Armed with the following tips it will not be and fellow diners will sing your praises.

    Some wine lists are brief and simple. Red or white, perhaps rosé. Less selection, less stress. Wine selection simplified. Other lists are far more comprehensive, some a single page, others multiple, worse yet, a weighty binder. The number of selections overwhelming, perusing them time-consuming and stress-provoking. So extensive you may wish to abandon wine and order cocktails. But remember, perseverance pays.

    Waiters often request drink orders before guests have an opportunity to peruse the food or wine menu. Take time to determine your meal selection and optimal food and wine pairing while your companions do the same.

    Should you choose to order wine while settling in, consider kicking off the evening with sparkling wine. Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco are cool, refreshing, and excellent palate cleansers. In addition, sparkling wine adds a sense of elegance and celebration to an evening.

    Narrow wine selection by the style of wine (red, white, rosé, sparkling) and weight (light, medium, or full-bodied), grape varietal, and place of origin. Consider your budget. If sharing a bottle, discuss what meals the group will be consuming and fellow diner’s wine preferences. If diversity reigns, ordering by the glass may be preferable. If so, options are generally more limited, the wine costlier. House wine is often bulk-produced and of lesser quality than bottled selections.

    I have found the most wallet-friendly wine selections hail from less familiar wine-producing areas and wineries and those made from less recognizable grape varieties. Such are the bargain wines, the gems, carefully chosen for quality and price. If not, they would not make the list. Order a Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, expect to pay more.

    Some menus offer pairing suggestions alongside entrees simplifying selection. A sommelier or server are valuable resources, especially those at finer restaurants where staff receive additional wine education, often focused on menu selections featured at the establishment. Share your or the groups wine preferences, food selections, budget, and request suggestions. If you would rather not openly declare the budget, point to a menu price, and ask for options in that range.

    Bottled wine is presented for approval to the individual who ordered it. Check the label to ensure the wine is indeed what was ordered, and if indicated on the menu, verify vintage date. Once accepted the wine is opened and a tasting sample poured. Sniff, swirl, and taste to assess for faults, if no faults are evident approve the wine. Fellow diners will be served prior to the tasting glass being topped up. In higher-end establishments, women are served prior to men. At times diner age is considered, serving the eldest female to youngest female, eldest male to youngest, finishing with the person ordering. I find this manner of service infrequent.

    Regarding cost, many establishments use a sliding scale to determine menu price. Lower priced menu options have the largest mark-up, the costliest wine the lowest mark-up.

    To get maximum enjoyment wine should be enjoyed at optimal temperature. Do not hesitate to request a chiller for red wine reducing the temperature, in the case of full-bodied wine, to the ideal service temperature of 18 – 20 degrees C., medium- bodied reds to 16-18 degrees C. White wine should be served cool, not ice-cold, and kept cool in an ice bucket. For white wine as with red wine, the lighter the body the cooler the service temperature.

    Kate Wagner Zeke, Sommelier(ISG)
    Certified Specialist of Wine, Certified Wine Educator(SWE)

  26. Getting Ready FOR WINTER

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    There are many benefits to having a fall clean-up.  Removing the leaves from the lawn helps to keep lawn fungus at bay; like gray and pink snow mold. 

    Snow mold is caused when there is an extended period of snow cover on the ground that is not completely frozen. It can also occur under leaves that have not been cleaned up or amongst long grass that could have been mowed once more before winter set in. Additionally, leaves can smother the lawn and kill it off, which becomes frustrating in spring when your investment won’t grow evenly. Last but not least, wet matted leaves are harder to clean up in the spring, which takes more time, and thus your cost increases. Alternative Landscaping Ltd offers a complete fall cleanup of all turf on the property. This includes the removal of fallen leaves and debris, followed by a final mow and trim of the season.

    During fall aeration, small plugs of thatch and soil are mechanically removed, improving natural soil aeration. It’s commonly called “core aeration”. Turf is then seeded to maintain a thick and healthy lawn. A thick lawn provides less room for weeds to grow.

    Additional benefits of aeration include:

    • Improved air exchange between soil and atmosphere
    • Enhanced soil water uptake
    • Improved fertilizer uptake and use
    • Reduced water runoff and puddling
    • Stronger grassroots
    • Reduced soil compaction
    • Enhanced heat and drought stress tolerance
    • Improved resiliency and cushioning
    • Enhanced thatch breakdown

    Alternative Landscaping recommends aerating in the fall as the cores will stay on the lawn over the winter months and slowly give high nutrients when the snow starts to melt in the spring.

    Residential and Commercial Snow Clearing:

    Alternative Landscaping Ltd will remove snow from your driveway, walkways, entrance, and city sidewalk.  For commercial businesses, they will remove snow from all sidewalks, entrances, and exits, as well as, any city sidewalk bordering the commercial building.  They also offer clearing, hauling of stockpiles, and sanding of all parking lots; including businesses, apartment buildings, and condos. After removing ice from sidewalks, they apply an organic (Eco-Friendly) de-icer comprised of beet juice to the walk surfaces to ensure proper traction and to assist in the maintenance.

    Think Ahead for Spring with the Healthy Lawn Improvement Program

    The best and most sustainable way to prevent weeds from invading your lawn is to maintain it by keeping it properly fed, cut weekly, and watered on a regular basis.  Thick healthy lawns are less likely to have weed infestations as weeds most often pop up where turf is thin and damaged. Alternative Landscaping has put together a program of products and services to increase the overall health of your lawn.  They use an organic weed maintenance product known as Fiesta.  This product must be used in conjunction with other services and products to increase the overall health of the lawn.  They are excited to introduce their new Healthy Lawn Improvement Program to combat the war on weeds invading your turf.

    The program starts in the springtime with 2 applications of Fiesta (21-27 days apart) first with a Spring Jumpstart fertilizer, followed by a slow-release granular fertilizer application that will last 12 weeks.   The third application of Fiesta will commence in the fall with a custom fall fertilizer.  The fall application is a very important part of the Fiesta’s success following the spring/summer applications.  Aeration is also recommended for success the following season.

  27. Building Off The Beaten Path

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    When deciding to build a cabin, selecting an RTM is a popular choice, especially if your lot is located a fair distance away. Being able to build your cabin in one location before it is moved minimizes traveling costs for the crew saving you time and money.

    If you can access your cabin year-round, it is best to build a 4-season cabin. You may not always use it year-round, but having the option as your needs change will be beneficial for you and your family in the long run. Many cabins now have all the luxuries of home. When building a cabin and looking at layouts, keep in mind what you and your family’s “must haves” are. 

    As much as the kitchen is the heart of the home, it is also the heart of the cabin as well. Many cabin owners will have a fully functioning kitchen with many upgrades and full-sized appliances. In the latest cabin built by Emjay Homes, the owners upgraded the cabinetry to solid maple, added tall uppers to maximize storage space, and finished with beautiful quartz countertops throughout. A corner, walk-in pantry is ideal for food and extra storage at the lake.

    This custom cabin is 1392 sq feet has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and is built in a shed roof style design.  Inside you will find 13-foot ceilings sloping down to 8 feet, bringing in light and nature through the large windows. 4” baseboards and 3” casings add a modern finish to the space and are standard on Emjay homes. While the cabinetry throughout is in a grey-brown tone, the cabin is painted in shades of grey. Emjay Homes uses a high-quality paint, Benjamin Moore in all their builds. In this cabin, they used a trending shade of grey, Balboa Mist in the main area and Grey Owl in the bedrooms. The primary bedroom has a large walk-in closet along with an ensuite for all the conveniences of home. 

    The exterior is finished in a grey, wood board siding by Canexcel, a product Emjay Homes has been using for over 20 years. It is a superior product to vinyl siding in the elements and customers tend to lean towards shades of grey or brown as it is suitable for many different styles. 

    When considering building an RTM for your cabin, keep in mind it will take 4-5 months to build, depending on product delays at the moment. Emjay Homes works closely with their homeowners on the interior finishes. This can be very individual to each person and the amount of time spent will depend on how customized they want it. Once your RTM is complete the next step is moving it into place. Emjay Homes works closely with the movers to ensure a smooth and seamless delivery of your cabin.

    Craig at CnC Building Movers has been moving buildings for 14 years. His experience and skill are important to builders and homeowners alike. Using top of the line equipment with air ride suspension, they ensure the safe delivery of your cabin or any building you need moved. Using experienced builders and movers will make the process easier and less stressful for you. They will walk you through the process from beginning to end and arrange everything you will need to have a completely finished cabin you can enjoy for years to come. -DYH

  28. Windsor Plywood

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    Take a walk through our woods” is the slogan at Windsor Plywood, Brandon Manitoba.  Located at 1840-18th Street North, Windsor Plywood offers many eccentric items for ALL YOUR FINISHING NEEDS!

    Windsor Plywood Brandon stocks a variety of moldings to help with finishing any room in the house, or to finish something smaller like a picture frame. They offer a wide selection of oak, maple, hemlock, primed pine, and even MDF moldings. There is so many options to choose from such as angle molds, baseboards, burlaps, cabinet molds, casing, cornice, coves, crowns, half rounds, quarter rounds, and many more. They can also help find a match for any old profile used in any house.

    Doors, doors, and more doors! Both exterior and a HUGE selection of high-quality interior doors. Knotty Pine Rio Plank and Knotty Pine 2-panel Square top are huge sellers at this location.  There are also two doors offered that are exclusive to only Windsor Plywood. These are prefinished slabs, with a very unique design on the skins of the doors called Marcia and Laguna.

    Brandon’s, Windsor Plywood has an outstanding amount of exotic woods. Woods from all over the world. Many hobbyists shop here to get something a bit different for that custom one-of-a-kind project they are working on.  Some of the many exotic woods throughout the store are aromatic cedar, bloodwood, lacewood, purpleheart, tigerwood, yellowheart, and zebrawood to name a few. If you are a wood carver you can take advantage of some of their carving woods as well such as basswood, butternut, tupelo, padauk, and even one a bit more well-known, walnut.

    Here you can find a good assortment of plywood. Baltic birch, birch, maple, walnut, mahogany, bending plywoods, marine, and more. There are many options from cabinet building, boat building, furniture building, and yes even a good selection of construction-grade plywood too.

    What truly does make Windsor Plywood Brandon so much different than other finishing stores?

    Their customer service is excellent, they help their customer from start to finish of their projects, and they even enjoy seeing the end results of projects.

    They offer a wood shop in the back. Anything that your mind can imagine, they can help you complete. A lot of stairs are built there, doors are machined, butcher blocks are made, and so much more. The staff even finished a huge 20’ spalted maple live edge front counter there for the store.  You can see it as soon as you enter the store, right up front.

    They host events for the local community to partake in. Here you get the chance to BOTH enter or see projects done by locals!  Once participants are fully entered and projects are on display, go give the store a visit to vote for your favourite project! These events include things like wood carving, scroll saw, wood turning, and more.  Watch their social media pages for when these events take place. (Facebook Windsor Plywood, Brandon)

    They have even been known to host after-hour events for customers who want to work with ecopoxy, but are a little hesitant to do a project their first time.  The staff at Windsor Plywood are very knowledgeable and can walk you through every step. 

    Old 1949 Ford Truck Peter Behrens, Store Manager finished for Windsor’s
    50th Anniversary.

  29. Custom Garage Storage – My Idiah!

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    Having a garage is truly an asset, but it can become a dumping ground pretty fast. To keep your garage clean and functional, you must evaluate what you want to use your garage for.

    For some, it’s just for storing their vehicles, but for many, it is a space that holds tools, equipment, bicycles, and even Christmas décor. 

    This past year we were finally able to check another project off our list, garage storage! By no means did we cover the whole garage, but we had a unique space I knew would be great for shelving, storage, winter gear, and hockey equipment. Yes, all of that! I’m pretty lucky when it comes to projects I dream up in my head. After putting it down on paper, my husband works with me to make it a reality. For this project, we were able to use some 2x4s, scrap wood, old wire shelving, and rods we had laying around. I even had some left-over mud, tape, and paint to make the project look more finished. In the end, we did need to buy some additional 2x4s, as leftover cut pieces won’t always work. 

    We built the storage unit on the top of our 6’ x 3’ landing and continued it down the wall to the floor of the garage. Previously, in this space, we had hooks on the wall to hold our extra winter gear. We were missing out on a large blank wall that had useful vertical space. We incorporated shelving to hold spare boots and potting items I use throughout the year. Next to that, we put up a rod to hold the extra winter gear that we don’t want to store inside the house. It was great usage of this space, as it is located over the stairs and we can hang different length items across the rod. 

    At the end of the unit, we created an area for storing equipment. It will predominately get used for hockey equipment, but we have used it for summer sports as well. We used a wire shelf across the top, as it allows airflow when drying out equipment. You can also use hangers on the wire shelf if needed.  We installed a boot dryer in this area for use on skates, boots, or anything else needing to dry out.  Under the bench is a great spot to store your hockey bag or other larger items.

    To fully take advantage of the vertical space in this area, we put a plywood shelf across the top of the whole unit. This gives us space to store items we can reach while standing on the landing or storing items we don’t use often, further down.

    Evaluate what needs you have for your garage and you too can create a more functional space for you and your family.   

  30. Budget Blinds So much more than just a Blind

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    When you are thinking about purchasing window coverings, your first thought may be of blinds or curtains, but truth be told, there are so many options available to you. Booking a consultation to go over all the incredible options out there, is the best idea, and Budget Blinds brings the showroom to you!!

    The top 3 window coverings in rural Manitoba are the Honeycomb Cellular, the Roller Shade, and the Zebra Blind. We can surely see why they are so popular; they are versatile and offer an array of product options. But, if you are wanting something a bit more unique for your space, you can go through all the product offerings with the team at Budget Blinds. Check out these products you may not have considered before!

    Dual Roller Shades

    Most fabricators offer a “Dual” Roller Shade. The essence is to have two shades functioning in one window. One shade provides privacy or blackout, while the other is sheer or light filtering. It’s the best of both worlds! They are perfect for rooms where you want to control the light like bedrooms, nurseries, home theatres, and living rooms.  They are also a great option for businesses and commercial spaces.  The BB team looks to Norman Window Fashions first, as their cordless mechanism for Roller Shades is possibly the best in the industry.

    Enclosed Door Glass Blinds

    Budget Blinds has been installing these inserts weekly, as they are so popular.  Blinds enclosed between glass gives you privacy and light control without dangling cords and endless dusting, and it’s so slick; one lever handle controls both the lift and the tilt of the blind inside. Gord and Laurie professionally remove the old, tired glass from a customer’s full door, half door, or sidelight and install a new unit. Gord even spends the time removing the glue from the sticker! The customers rave that these inserts are “definitely worth every penny”!

    Fabric Wrapped Cornice

    Such a simple and effective way to add a finishing touch…without a lot of fuss. These cornices are available in hundreds of fabric selections and made locally. Sleek and snazzy or subtle and contemporary, they stylize this top treatment to suit your décor.


    The BB team has noticed an increased demand for Shutters in this market. Shutters come in many paint and stain colour options including custom colours, and suit any décor style. The Shutters used in the side-lights have a split tilt, wherein the bottom opens separately from the top. This application was all about the family dog and having some natural light up top while stopping the bark below. Shutters look amazing in specialty-shaped windows. The Café Shutter in an angle-toped window provides privacy and functionality while maintaining architectural interest. 

  31. 10 Tips for Your Garden This Fall

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    Did you have a great gardening season this year?  A challenging one?  No matter the case, follow these tips for your garden this fall to give yourself a head start in the spring!

    1. Plant spring blooming bulbs like tulips, allium, and crocus. Be sure to plant bulbs at the proper depths and water well. This is also the best time to plant your garlic for the summer 2023 harvest.
    2. Did you have problems with pests and diseases on your shade trees, fruit trees, or shrubs this season? Once your tree or shrub has gone dormant apply a dormant kit so it will leaf out to a happy, healthy atmosphere in the spring. This is a 2-part kit including horticultural oil (kills a number of residing insects and eggs) and lime sulphur (kills residing fungal spores causing diseases). 
    3. Plant trees and shrubs. This is a great time to plant as the temperatures are cooler making it easier for establishing new plantings. Soil temperatures are still warm to produce good roots to anchor in for winter; your plants then wake up to spring warmth from winter moisture. 
    4. Water, water, water! Water your new plants and evergreens right until freeze up. Once your deciduous trees & shrubs have dropped their leaves, they no longer require watering. One exception to fall watering is sugar maples, it is proven that they shut down for winter better with an ease off watering in the fall. 
    5. Extend your container season with grasses and chrysanthemums. They are easily available this time of year and are cold tolerant. Marigolds, ornamental cabbage, dusty miller, petunias, and pansies are also great options for cool weather planters.
    6. Add sea soil compost to your perennial beds for a spring feeding when your plants wake up. Who doesn’t like breakfast! 
    7. Make notes on your garden harvest while it’s fresh on your mind. What worked? What didn’t? What do you want more or less of? 
    8. Split any perennials and move any plants that require moving once dormancy has set in. Add a little seas soil when transplanting to help promote good root growth in spring. 
    9. Cut back and add mulch to those plants that require a little more TLC like some varieties of roses and hydrangeas. Peat moss makes a great insulating mulch and makes for easy spring clean-up as you can work it into your flower bed in the spring. 
    10. Apply your fall sprays like Wilt Pruf on your evergreens to help your evergreens from browning. Wilt pruf is an anti-transparent spray that locks in moisture during the cold winter months. Apply Bobbex to help ward off those hungry deer that like to eat things like your lush green cedars.
  32. R&M HOMES Connecting with Your Home

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    A world of emotion”, is how Jennifer would describe the first time she and her family stepped into their new home.  This would be the first time they were seeing it, with the moving truck parked on the street behind them.

    As a military family, they are used to moving, but what makes this move unique is that they worked with a local builder from start to finish, virtually. 

    Lois Ruston, General Manager for R&M Homes, says this isn’t the first time they helped a client build their home from across the country but it is the first time that the entire process was completed virtually, without the clients ever having the ability to see their space before taking possession.  With today’s technology, FaceTime, Google Duo, and Zoom, they can walk a client through the steps of building their home and picking finishings from start to finish.  The pandemic forced many businesses to turn to these new technologies, but they are definitely here to stay.  Brenda Barnes-Kilmury is the designer for R&M Homes, and she worked closely with the family in selecting cabinetry, flooring, lighting, and finishes. 

    The home is a 5-bedroom, 3 full bathroom bi-level located in Brandon.  The interior walls are finished in soft shades of yellow and green; Honey Mist and Morning Tea.  This creates a warm and bright feeling throughout the entire space.  The cabinetry, by BDN LUX Kitchen & Design, is an alabaster design in Chantilly Lace, again keeping with the bright feel of the home.  Jennifer fell in love with the countertops but was sold on the name; River Gold.  It takes many things to make a house feel like a home and that can include your connection to your selections and their names.  The countertops are a premium laminate, which is very durable, and used throughout the home in the kitchen and bathrooms.  Jennifer and Sean’s wish was to have an earthy, cozy, grounded home and she says that R&M delivered.  They wanted their home to feel a connection to the earth by using more soft, natural tones and finishes, and you can certainly feel that connection when you spend time in their family’s warm and welcoming space.

    The primary bedroom boasts a custom walk-in closet and beautiful ensuite.  The warm tones continue into the bathroom and the custom tile shower.  The pebble stone tile base was a must for Jennifer and completes the space perfectly.  The cabinetry and countertop continue on in this space creating plenty of storage.

    Finding the right pieces for your home can be a labour of love, but Brenda and Jennifer worked closely together to find unique pieces that suit the décor of the home and the essence of the family that lives there.  You will find colour-changing LED lights in the bedrooms throughout the home.  The center is standard light, while the ring around the top shines a (changing) colour onto the ceiling.  This is a fun and unique option, especially loved by the kids!  The beautiful copper-finished arabesque globe chandelier in the entryway creates a warm centerpiece in the space. 

    You can’t help but feel warm and secure in this beautiful space.  Jennifer notes that was very important to her in designing her home with Brenda and the R&M team.  With the uncertainty of the pandemic and a family who is used to moving regularly, it was important that their new home embody comfort, security, and familiarity.  Jennifer and her family feel that they have achieved this, with their oldest child noting that this is her favourite house of the many they have lived in across the country. You can tell that each detail was picked methodically and is a perfect blend with Jennifer and Sean’s style and décor.  This continues into the fully finished basement, complete with 8-foot high ceilings, creating a bright and open space that doesn’t even feel like you are in a basement. 

    Jennifer said they didn’t fully grasp the perspective and ample space that the home provided until they were in it for the first time.  Going through the build with R&M Homes was not your typical process for most clients, but Jennifer, Sean, and their children couldn’t be happier and settled into their beautiful new home. -DYH

  33. Room With A View

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    Having your sunroom come together is like piecing together a puzzle and who better to do that than the experts at Elite Sunrooms by Sunspace. 

    Keith and his crew recently completed this project for a customer.  They start by putting in screw piles that will support the foundation of the sunroom and covered deck.  They use a rubber track hoe that leaves no indents in the lawn, always thinking of the customer first.  Once the beam is installed, they can move on to building the floor.  The Therm-Deck insulated 6 ½ inch floor is rated R26 and the 8 ¼ inch floor is rated R35.  This engineered floor system is used on the 3-season and Model 400 Insulted Rooms.  After installing the floor system, the perimeter flashing is installed as well as the starter tracks to get ready for the walls. 

    Everything really starts to come together once the 2-inch wall system starts being put in place.  Each section typically has a window with the top and bottom panels attached by extrusions to create a seamless structural wall.  After all panels are put in place, they can work on the roof.  The insulated roof gets attached to the wall top tracks.  Once that is all installed, they add flashing to the existing roof and seal it to ensure there are no leaks. 

    This customer wanted a covered deck edition to go with their sunroom.  After all pieces are in place for the sunroom, they move to completing the roof over the deck and adding a support to ensure stability.  Gutters and fascia are installed once the roofing system is finished.  To complete the project, they will use Sunspace AlumaDeck and railings on the covered deck and finish with stairs.

    Watching a project come together is not only satisfying for the owners but for Keith and the staff at Elite Sunrooms as well.  Each project is unique and tailored to their customer’s needs.

  34. A Classic Update Refreshed + Refurbished

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    If you are looking for a little update in your home, paint is a great place to start. Paint can transform a room from walls and trim to cabinetry. Kailan Dreolini at Refreshed + Refurbished has been transforming rooms for years! 

    In her latest project, she worked with the homeowner to update their original kitchen. The owners have lived in the home for 25 years and got a fresh new look at a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen. They still loved their kitchen and it was functional for them, so they turned to Kailan for help. 

    Kailan painted the walls in the kitchen a classic colour of Downtown Grey by Behr. It freshened up the room and was a perfect tone next to the cabinetry. With the cabinets, Kailan took the time to properly prep them for paint. The colour chosen was Silver City by Behr, really brightening up the space. New modern door hinges and handles were also added. The homeowners ordered custom countertops and Kailan helped them install a new backsplash to complete the look. 

    Kailan tells us that homeowners change out their countertops about 50% of the time, as it is not always necessary. When looking to update your space, Kailan can paint walls, doors, and trim, as well as cabinetry. She helps homeowners pick out new hinges and handles for their cabinetry and can also replace glass door inserts with a variety of options.  -DYH

  35. Design Your Home – Celebrating 10 Years

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    They say time flies when you are having fun and they are right! 10 years after our first issue came to life, we thought we would tell you, our story.

    Our first home, a small one-story starter, located in the south end of Brandon was our first place to renovate, paint and make our own. That started our appetite for renovation. Our careers soon took us to Winnipeg and Regina, but as luck would have it, it landed us right back in Brandon in 2011. Throughout these moves, we finished a complete basement, ripped out bathrooms, and used paint by the gallons, not to mention landscaping and decks!

    During this time, we loved going through the local design magazine we would find around the city in Winnipeg and Regina. It gave us inspiration and introduced us to local businesses. When our jobs brought us back to Brandon, we opted for a new build in the south end of Brandon, but that didn’t stop us from putting our own special touch on it. Though we had lived in the area previously, we found it difficult at times to find specific options or have people share with us where to go. This gave us the idea to bring a local home design magazine to Brandon, similar to what we have been picking up in other cities.  Stewart spent months researching printing, design, and distribution options and we decided to take the plunge with our first issue in December 2012.

    Our second issue, Spring of 2013, started our relationship with the Brandon Home and Leisure Show. At the time Dave Melcosky was the manager running it, and we worked closely with him to promote the show in our Spring Issue each year. We understood each other’s business, which made it a great partnership.

    As with any business, you need to grow and change along the way. We initially started with 4 issues a year, but 5 years ago we moved to 2 issues to adjust to changing times. We also went through the change of transitioning from Stewart to Jaime-Lynn. Stewart started the magazine and ran it full-time for the first few years building business relationships in the community. Soon after he was offered a business opportunity and the magazine became our passion project but not our full-time job. Jaime-Lynn started to take on more of the operations until she took it over fully 6 years ago. Each issue still goes through both of them before hitting the printing press.

    One thing we strive for is the relationships we have built with our partners over the years. Since day one, we have used the Leech Group for our printing needs. As much as we have grown and changed over the years, so have they and it’s amazing to work alongside a company while you both go through positive change. Leech Printing has been part of the community for 95 years and it’s incredible to watch a 4th generation growing the business. They recently re-branded their company Leech Group to encompass all the aspects of their business from digital and offset printing to graphic design, digital media, and wide format printing.

    Another integral part of our magazine is Scott Kasprick at Reaxion Graphics. Stewart met Scott early on and liked his style and his experience with magazines. Reaxion Graphics will be celebrating its 15th Anniversary this Fall and Scott brings in over 25 years of experience to his business. Scott works hand in hand with us, each issue to create the beautifully laid out content.

    Our magazine wouldn’t be getting out across Western Manitoba if it wasn’t for the Brandon Sun. Another local business celebrating 140 years in the community; we have worked with them since our first issue to deliver our magazines to the doors of our readers. Our remaining magazines are located on racks across Western Manitoba in high-traffic areas.

    The relationships we have built with many businesses across Westman helped us design and build our current home 5 years ago. Design Your Home has been a big part of our life in many ways and we hope it has helped you in some way as well. Hearing from our readers and partners warms our hearts and brings a smile to our faces every time.

    I remember clearly the day Jaime-Lynn came into our wee showroom on 10th street to offer up a space in her new magazine. We had much in common, as we were both new business owners and both a keen interest all things home and décor.

    We have collaborated on every issue since the magazine began. The Design Your Home team has been professional to work with, and truly invested in our success as a business partner.

    We look forward to every issue and enjoy the process of both creating the content, through to the visit with Jaime-Lynn when she delivers the mag itself to our showspace.

    Congrats on 10 Years Design Your Home….we appreciate you!!!

    Sue Swarbrick,
    Budget Blinds of Southwest and Southeast Manitoba

  36. Letter from the Editor

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    We have finally got back to traveling!

    This summer we explored the province of Nova Scotia on a family trip and one of the most amazing parts was the house we stayed in. Not even the part that the exterior and property are used in a Stephan King series…but the historic pieces fully functioning inside!

    The historic home was built in 1910 and still shines in all its glory. I studied the architecture of the home trying to figure out what each room would have been used for in the early days. Each room had its own story from original fireplaces, wood paneling, and delicate paintings of flowers adorning the ceiling with plaster embellishments; nothing you would find in homes built today. The grand staircase in the center of the house led to the spacious bedrooms on the second floor. A unique original feature on the second floor was the knob and tube electrical panel on display in a beautiful wood and glass case. Not only that, but the house had many original push button light switches throughout, all operational.

    Though the plumbing was all up to date, many sinks in the home were also original and kept with the heritage feel throughout the home. A feature I liked was the butler’s pantry off the kitchen, a practical space for storing extra kitchen items or possibly used as a prep kitchen in the past. A second (narrow) staircase located near the back of the home is useful in a home of this size. Probably used by the staff originally, it made it more efficient to get around the home depending on where you were.

    Exploring a new location is what our family loves to do. Being able to stay in such a unique home full of history was truly the icing on the cake for this trip!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck
    Design Your Home

  37. Welcome Back! – Letter from the Editor

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    It’s been two, might I add long, years in the making, but the Brandon Home & Leisure Show will be back at the Keystone Centre April 8th-10th, 2022. 

    With having to the cancel the 54th Annual Show in 2020, just 3 weeks before opening day, new tentative dates had been tossed around for the past two years, looking for the right time to come back.  Everyone is very excited for the opportunity to interact with the public at the show again and take them through what has come out in the past few years.  As we know, building and renovating has not slowed down, so vendors are pumped to get out there! 

    The show will look a little different this year, being set up in the Canada Room, Exhibition Hall and City Square of the Keystone Centre.  You will enter from the East Side at Entrance D where there is assessable parking and easy access from 18th Street.  Be sure to check out the Presentation Stage located in the Canada Room where local businesses will give demonstrations and talk about what to watch out for. 

    We are very excited for the Brandon Home & Leisure Show to open their doors on April 8th.  Looking forward to it and maybe we’ll see you there!

    Jaime-Lynn Dyck


  38. R & M Homes – Building for the Future

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    Much like a home, when you outgrow your space, it’s time to find another one.  Mark Bailey and the R&M Homes team have been working tirelessly to design and create their new location that will open later this summer at 1810 14th Street East. 

    As business is growing, they found their current space located at Park Ave East, no longer a fit for administrative and operational needs.  The push for a new facility also presented the opportunity to incorporate a spacious showroom that will provide their clients with a hands-on experience as they make the selections that will flow together to create their new home.  The location will boast a large 1,600 square foot showroom, administrative and operational areas, and a state-of-the-art boardroom for project meetings. 

    “The spacious and bright showroom will be a welcoming space that will showcase all elements that go into building your dream project, presenting clients with top-quality materials and selections for their building project”, says Lois Ruston, General Manager of R&M Homes.  Promoting unique and fresh design ideas while showcasing an array of sample displays such as exterior selections, cabinetry, countertops, and finishes will lead clients through their build experience and simplify the process of making the many selections involved in creating their dream home.  “We can’t wait for our clients to come and experience our new hands-on space”, says Lois. 

    Creating a cohesive space will enable their team to work together in a creative and productive environment as they develop each project.  Using technology, they can incorporate past projects and current design trends to help clients imagine their project as a reality. 

    R&M Homes is pleased to welcome two tenants into their new, spacious facility.  BDN Lux Kitchen and Design offers kitchen and design services, providing quality cabinetry, countertops, and fresh design ideas that will enhance your space. The second tenant, MNK Mechanical Services, is a mechanical and plumbing contractor that services institutional, commercial and residential needs.  Both companies look forward to serving clients from a professional and spacious new facility, starting in the Summer of 2022

    As Brandon’s most trusted builder for more than a decade, R&M Homes offers a variety of vacant lots around Brandon, that are ready for you to start working on the home of your dreams.  From Brookwood in the south end of Brandon, to Outback in the north end, you are sure to find a neighbourhood that will be a perfect fit for your family. But don’t think you need to be building a new home to access their services, as R&M also works with clients on renovations and additions to their current home. Committed to building a beautiful space that your family can call home, R&M is working on creating their own new home for their staff and tenants to enjoy in the years ahead.