Awesome Interior Designs

Decorating the Non-Pinterest Way

Awesome Interior Designs

Flickr User: byLorena

We have all seen Pinterest posts. Immaculate houses sporting intricate handmade goodies requiring impossible skill levels. Intricate, hand painted murals, driftwood everything, elaborate sewing projects. Most of us don’t have that sort of time (or skill level), but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a house into your home with just a few simple changes. For example:

1) Keep it simple, and easy to clean!

It is amazing what slipcovers can do. Couches, chairs and pillows can be given new life almost instantly. Covers can be either purchased (Ikea is always a good place to start) or made. And the best part? If you have a spill (or a pet that sheds) you can easily clean your slip cover in the washing machine. Also, if you want to change your colour scheme you don’t need to replace all your furniture.

2) Paint your rooms so they are timeless

Stay neutral when it comes to picking paint colours. This way when your son decides that dinosaurs aren’t cool anymore you aren’t stuck with T-Rex wallpaper. Plain walks can be accented with bright accessories (like slipcovers) that are easier and less expensive to change.

3) Energizing or Relaxing?

When it comes to choosing colours, remember the function of each room. Bedrooms should be decked out in calming colours (pastels, neutrals, earthy tones, beachy tones) to help you relax after a long day. Social areas like kitchens and living rooms should be full of bold, energizing colours to inspire conversation and fun.

4) Avoid clutter

Clutter makes even the largest and most put- together room look cramped and disorganized. This doesn’t mean you need to be the next Martha Stewart, but find creative ways to incorporate storage space into every room. Children’s rooms can include a toy chest in fun colours, the ottoman in the living room can hide extra blankets, and the guest room window seat can hold your seasonal clothes. When it comes to decorating, less is more.

Flickr User:ExcuseNight-059

Parks In Calgary

Flickr User:ExcuseNight-059

Calgary is home to lots of wonderful green spaces, and a variety of public parks. From the urban oasis of Prince’s Island in the heart of Calgary to the untamed wilderness of Fish Creek Provincial Park, Calgary offers a large variety of places to engage in year round outdoor activities.

 

Fish Creek Provincial Park

Fish Creek Provincial Park is a sprawling 13.48 km squared, and hosts a variety of wildlife from ducks to deer. It also boasts lots of picnic and fire pit areas, making it a popular spot during the summer. However, these spots tend to fill up quick, so it is better to get there in the morning, especially on a warm summer day. Fish Creek is also home to the Bow Valley Ranch Restaurant and Annie’s Bakery, which are open seasonally for the summer (full hours available here: http://www.bvrrestaurant.com/content/13-annies-bakery) The Bow Valley Ranch is also home to the beatiful Artisan Gardens (http://www.bowvalleyranche.com/artisan-gardens.html). Hours of operation vary depending on the season. For more information, and to keep abreast with wildlife and weather warnings issued for the park, please visit http://www.albertaparks.ca/fish-creek.aspx

 

Prince’s Island Park

Prince’s Island Park is a lush oasis amidst the glass and concrete of downtown Calgary. Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Eau Claire, this 20 hectare park hosts a large variety of summer activities and festivals, including Canada Day celebrations and the Calgary Folk Festival. It also boasts a wading pool, a playground, and picnic areas. During the winter it also boasts outdoor skating and cross country skiing. Feeling hungry? Check out the River Cafe, a full service restaurant (closed each January). Prince’s Island park is an excellent place to feed the ducks and geese (though it is recommended you bring bird seed, not bread). Also, be careful! Geese in particular can be grumpy, especially during the nesting season. For more information on the park, please visit http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Parks/Pages/Locations/Downtown-parks/Princes-Island-Park.aspx.

 

Riley Park

Located at 800, 12th Street NW,the 9 hectare Riley Park is truly beautiful park. Home to a wading pool,  a playground and a rock garden,  it is also home to Calgary’s famous Riley Park Cricket Pitch, home of the Calgary Cricket League. The rock garden is named in memory of Senator Patrick Burns, and is made with more than 20,000 pieces of flagstone from his demolished mansion. The park is open daily from 5 am to 11 pm, and makes an excellent picnic spot. The wading pool and playground make this the perfect family spot for a hot summer’s day. For more information, please visit http://www.calgary.ca/CSPS/Parks/Pages/Locations/NW-parks/Riley-Park.aspx

Lake Bonavista Businesses

Businesses in the Lake Bonavista area

Lake Bonavista is a well established and family friendly neighbourhood in South East Calgary. To help you settle into your new neighbourhood, here is a list of local businesses that will help you meet your needs.
Lake Bonavista Businesses

Lake Bonavista Businesses – Gordon McDowell

Supermarkets
This area boasts a wide variety of supermarket choices, including Safeway, Calgary Co-op and Sobey’s.
1) South Center Safeway is located at 11011 Bonaventure Drive SE, and is open daily from 8am to 11pm. It also has an in-house pharmacy open Monday to Friday 9:00 am  to 9:00 pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
2) Lake Bonavista Safeway is located in the Lake Bonavista Promenade at 755 Lake Bonavista Drive SE. It is open 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, but does not have a pharmacy.
3) Deer Ridge Co-op is located at 95 1221 Canyon Meadows Drive SE in the Deer Ridge Shopping Center. It is open from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, and does not have a pharmacy.
4) For late night milk-and-bread runs, try the Mac’s Convenience Store, located in the Lake Bonavista Promenade, at 755 Lake Bonavista Drive. It is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Salons and Barber Shops
1) Diva Salon and Spa in South Center Mall is open daily from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm.
2) The high end Salon Evaline Charles, located in South Center Mall, is open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
3) Studio Hair Design, located in the Lake Bonavista Promenade is open Tuesdays to Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Saturdays 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and is closed Sundays and Mondays.
4) For no frills, men’s hair cutting try Bonavista Barbers in the Lake Bonavista Promenade. they are open Monday’s to Saturdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Department Stores
The Lake Bonavista area boasts two main department stores: The Bay and Sears. Both are located in South Center Mall, found at 100 Anderson Road SE.
Gas Stations
1) The Lake Bonavista Promenade plays host to an Esso station, located at 759 Lake Bonavista Drive SE. It is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.
2) If you need a car wash to go with your gas visit the Esso at 31615 Bonaventure Drive SE. This station is open from 5:00 am to midnight daily.
3) Lake Bonavista also hosts a Shell station, located at 700 12445 Lake Fraser Drive.
4) Deer Valley Co-op also boasts a gas station and car wash, and is located at  95 1221 Canyon Meadows Drive SE. It is open daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Drugstores
1) The Lake Bonavista Promenade is home to a Shoppers Drug Mart. It is open from8:00 am to 10:00 pm daily.
2) South Center Mall also hosts a Shoppers Drug mart, which is open from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm daily, and is located at 100 Anderson Road SE.
3) The South Center Safeway also has a pharmacy, which is open Monday to Friday 9:00 am  to 9:00 pm, Saturday 9:00am to 6:00 pm, and Sunday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Local Library
For all your reading needs visit the Fish Creek Public Library and pick up your free Library Card! It is located at 11161 Bonaventure Drive SE, and is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday’s from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Growing Pains: Calgary and Illegal Secondary Suites

ForRent

Calgary is a very large city. As of 2014 over 1.2 million people now call our city home. Unfortunately, this means housing prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. This means finding a place to call home is becoming harder, with Calgary having only a 1.4% rental vacancy rate, one of the toughest in North America.

 

To help meet this growing need, many Calgarians have taken single family dwellings and partitioned them into multiple family homes, and often not legally. This allows many homeowners to help offset the cost of their mortgage, and helps to address the lack of affordable housing in Calgary. It is estimated that 16, 000 of these illegal Secondary Suites exist. These Secondary Suites, often located in basements, are grossly unregulated. A growing number of affordable housing advocates, including Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi, in the city are lobbying City Council to come up with a plan to regulate Secondary Suites. City council is looking at launching a campaign about Secondary Suites, and aims to create a plan in order to bring all illegal Secondary Suites into compliance with the law. The current plan is to start with door-to-door canvassing in select neighbourhoods in order to educate Calgarians about rules for legalizing Secondary Suites. City Council also hopes to create an online registry of legal suites, and issue stickers so that prospective tenants can know which suites are safe and legal.

 

This issue affects many Calgarians, particularly post secondary students. Calgary is home to many post secondary institutions including the University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and the Alberta College of Art and Design. With expensive on-campus living options being scarce, many students have turned to basement suites to fulfill their housing needs.This has student groups concerned, as many of students are exposed to potentially unsafe situations because of a lack of regulation. One group of students at Mount Royal University conducted an indepth investigation into the issue, and posted their results here: http://calgarysecondarysuites.ca/

 

For more information on Secondary Suite regulation (including times and locations for Open House Information Sessions in your area), please visit http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Pages/Home-building-and-renovations/Secondary-suites/Secondary-Suites.aspx?redirect=/suites

 

Shopping in Calgary: Chinook Centre

Shopping in Calgary: Chinook Centre

Chinook Centre

Chinook Centre is definitely the go-to shopping mall in Calgary. This vast complex is home to over 250 shops, two full department stores (the Hudson’s Bay and Nordstroms), a professional tower, a full food court, and a cinema. Chinook Centre is able to meet everyone’s shopping needs, offering a range of stores for all budgets.

 

Chinook Centre is located at 6455 Macleod Trail South West, at the intersection of Macleod Trail and Glenmore Trail. Its hours of operation are Monday to Saturday from 9:30 am to 9:00 pm, and Sundays and Holidays from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.


chinookcentremap

Chinook Centre also now boasts a Weekend Valet Service. Available Fridays and Saturdays between 11am and 10pm (last car accepted at 8pm) and Sundays and Holidays between 12pm and 7pm (last car accepted at 5pm). The main drop off is located near the centre of the mall in the West Parkade (P3) by Build-a-Bear. Chinook Center also offers a complimentary shuttle service between Chinook Center and the Chinook LRT Station.

chinookparking

 

To help you find what you are looking for, Chinook Centre is now equipped with an interactive directory system, allowing you to search for a specific shop or browse by category.

 

Since Chinook Center is always busy, it definitely pays to come early on the weekends and holidays in order to find parking quickly. In the evenings in particular, the South Parkade is particularly busy as it is located closest to Chapters and the Scotiabank Theater Chinook Cinema (both of which are open later than the rest of the mall). The quietest parkade is typically the West Parkade, making it a good place to try and find parking on a busy day.

 

For a complete list of all shops available (and their phone numbers), please visit http://www.chinookcentre.com/en/directory/Pages/StoresByCategory.aspx . Also, please not that while Target is still listed, Target Canada declared bankruptcy in February of 2015. They are currently undergoing the liquidation process, but may only be open for a few more weeks. As of right now it is not known what will be done with the space they are vacating.

 

Images courtesty of chinookcentre.com

 

 

Calgary synagogues and other places of worship.

Religion

Synagogues in Calgary

 

Welcome! We are so glad you have chosen to make Calgary your new home! To help you settle in, here is a list of the synagogues in Calgary.

 

  • Beth Tzedec Congregation

Beth Tzedec is a vibrant and welcoming Conservative congregation, lead by Rabbi Shaul Osadchey. It is located at 1325 Glenmore Trail SW, and offers a variety of programs, including those aimed at youth and families. For more information, please visit http://www.bethtzedec.ca/

 

  • Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta

Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta is a vibrant and engaging Orthodox synagogue, led by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Offering a variety of community oriented programs, this synagogue is located at 523 Woodpark Boulevard SW. For more information, please visit  http://www.chabadalberta.org/

 

  • Congregation of House of Jacob Mikveh Israel

House of Jacob Mikveh Israel is a warm and welcoming Orthodox synagogue, led by Rabbi Yisrol. This synagogue offers a variety of family friendly activities, and is located at 1613 92nd Ave SW. For more information, please visit http://www.hojmi.org/

 

  • Temple B’nai Tikvah

Temple B’nai Tikvah is a warm and engaging Reform synagogue, led by Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman. This synagogue offers a variety of faith based programs aimed and individuals, youth and families. It is located at 900 47th Avenue SW. For more information, please visit

http://templebnaitikvah.org/

 

Additional Places of Interest

 

Calgary is also home to the Calgary Jewish Community Centre. This very welcoming non profit organization offers a variety of educational, social, cultural and recreational programs geared at both individuals and families of all ages and backgrounds. For more information, please visit http://www.calgaryjcc.com/

Churches in Calgary

Freedom house is located at 4510 Macleod Trail S. around back behind the Calgary Dream Centre.  It is a very open and welcoming church that is a satellite church of First Assembly.  Pastoral Staff are Jeff and Angie Fry and they are the cousins of Robb too!

Mosques in Calgary

 

  • Baitunnur Mosque

Baitunnur Mosque is a friendly and welcoming mosque located at 4353 54th Avenue NE. The largest mosque in Canada, Baitunnur offers a variety of religious and community events under the leadership of Imam Umair Khan. For more information, please visit http://www.baitunnur.org/

 

– Calgary Islamic Centre

 

The Calgary Islamic centre occupies two facilities, one in the South West and one in the North West. The North West mosque is located at 7750 Ranchview Drive NW, and the South West mosque is located at 5615 14th Avenue SW. This community orientated mosque offers a variety of events and services, including community and business services. As a newcomer to Calgary, this facility and its accompanying website are an excellent resource. For more information, please visit http://www.muslimsofcalgary.ca/

 

Hindu Temples in Calgary

 

  • Hindu Society of Calgary

The Hindu Society of Calgary acts as a both a temple , and a community centre for many members of Calgary’s Hindu community. This friendly and welcoming temple is open seven days a week from 9 am to 1 pm and from 5 pm to 9pm. The Hindu Society of Calgary offers a variety of religious and community events, and is located at 2225 24th Avenue NE. For more information, please visit http://www.calgarymandir.ca/

 

  • Iskon Calgary

 

Iskon Calgary is a vibrant and welcoming Hare Krishna temple located at 313 4th Street NE. Acting as both a place of spiritual worship and a community centre, this temple offers a variety of events aimed at both individuals and families and has a standing open invitation to their Sunday Feast, held every sunday at 4pm, that includes vegetarian dishes, plays, films and talks. For more information, please visit http://calgary.iskcon.ca/

 

Buddhist Temples in Calgary

 

  • Calgary Buddhist Temple

The Calgary Buddhist Temple is a warm and welcoming temple that offers a variety of community events in addition to religious services. While the permanent site is under renovations, religious services are being held in a variety of temporary locations with more information located in the Important Dates section of the website’s homepage.. For more information please visit http://calgary-buddhist.ab.ca/

 

  • Akshobya Kadampa Buddhist Centre

The Akshobya Kadampa Buddhist Centre is a vibrant and welcoming temple that offers a variety of services including weekly classes, events and study programs. This temple is located at 208 – 2120 Kensington Road NW (on the second floor). For more information, please visit http://www.meditationalberta.org/

Curb Appeal – Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Home Staging

Curb appeal is very important, especially when you are looking to sell your home. Curb appeal, how your home looks from the road, is vital when it comes to potential buyers forming their first impressions. A house with excellent curb appeal is more likely to entice potential buyers inside to see the rest of the house. However, a house with poor curb appeal is likely to deter potential buyers. Here are some basic tips to increase your curb appeal and help you sell your home

1. Keep your exterior clean and tidy

Make sure any clutter (children’s toys, the lawnmower, the snow shovel) is hidden away. If it is summer time, make sure your lawn is freshly mowed. If it is winter time, make sure your sidewalk and driveway are shoveled. This not only makes the house look tidier, but will also help potential buyers get to the door without slipping. The last thing you want is for your buyers to be focusing on how much shoveling they will need to do instead of how lovely your home is.

 

2) Add a splash of colour

If you are starting your pre-selling prep in the spring, consider planting a small garden. If you thumb isn’t quite that green, a couple of potted plants with bright flowers can do the trick as well. If crafty is more your style, consider making a seasonally themed wreath (pastel flowers for spring, bold flowers for summer, rich orange and red leaves for autumn or frosted pine cones for winter). The key is to make your house feel like a home. Putting a little extra effort into the exterior shows potential buyers that you really care about your house, and have taken excellent care of it.

 

3) Consider a fresh coat of paint.

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a tired looking house. If repainting the whole house is out of your budget, consider repainting something smaller like the front deck or the front door. A house with old, worn looking paint is harder to spruce up then a freshly painted gem. By painting the exterior you are showing that you are willing to go the extra mile to care for your house. Faded paint may not be a major home flaw, but keeping your house’s exterior well maintained shows that you are proud of your home and keep it maintained. The idea of fixing up an old house may be romantic, but most buyers want something they can step right into.

 

4) Wash your windows

Your windows offer potential buyers a sneak peak into your home. Keeping your windows clean helps make your house look clean, tidy and well maintained. If possible, hire someone to clean the outside of your upstairs windows (safety first!). If you are in a bit of a rush, make sure your downstairs windows are clean, as this is what potential buyers will see first. However, try and make sure you get rid of any really noticeable smudges or fingerprints.

Travel tips for visiting Calgary

Calgary Skyline

Welcome to Calgary! We are so glad you have come to visit our beautiful city! While you are here, we have a few tips to help make your stay more enjoyable.

 

1)Pack for all types of weather.

The joke in Calgary is that if you don’t like the weather just wait 10 minutes for it to change. The weather here is truly unpredictable, so it pays to pack for all weather. Make sure you bring a warm coat (especially if you are are here in fall, winter or spring), but also make sure to pack some lighter clothes as well. Because of where we are situated in relation to the rocky mountains, we are often subject to “Chinooks” in the winter. A Chinook is when warm air comes over the mountains from the coast, and gives us a temporary reprieve from winter. This often means sunny, spring like conditions, but only for a day or two!

 

2) Learn to love public transit

Especially if you are staying downtown, or simply visiting the sites, public transit is your friend. Parking downtown is often a test of patience and endurance, and parking prices can be very steep. The main line of the LRT (Light Rapid Transit) runs along seventh avenue. Tourist destinations such as the Calgary Zoo, the Calgary Tower and the Glenbow Museum are all easily accessible using the LRT. Locals also refer to the LRT as the “C Train”, but will recognize both terms. If you are truly stuck, most people are willing to point you in the right direction.

 

3) Hockey is HUGE

If Calgary’s home team, the Calgary Flames, are playing, expect to encounter crowds. From bars to trains expect crowds. This is particularly true if it is a home game, and you are anywhere near 17th Avenue. 17th Avenue is a well known restaurant district, and is only minutes away from their home arena, the Saddledome. If you know a home game is going to be played while you are visiting, we recommend scheduling your sightseeing accordingly. If you love crowds and hockey then 17th avenue is the place to be. If you are looking for something a little quieter, adjust your itinerary accordingly.

 

4) If you are downtown, opt for an early or late lunch.

Most retail businesses downtown are relatively quiet during the week. However, if you are downtown on a weekday, plan your lunch stop early or late. Between about 11 am and 1 pm most downtown restaurants are packed with hurried and hungry office workers. To avoid the crush it is best to plan accordingly.

Historical Buildings in Calgary

Welcome to Calgary! We are so glad you decided to make our beautiful city your home. Calgary has many things to offer, including a wide variety of historical buildings. This post includes a quick guide to help you get started. Have fun exploring!

 

1) Heritage Park Historical Village

Heritage Park Waterfront

Heritage Park is a well known Calgary landmark, and Canada’s largest living history museum. Take a trip back in time to see how the West once was. This park includes five sections, organized by time period. 1860s Fur Trading Fort and First Nations Encampment; 1880s Pre-railway Settlement; C.1910 Prairie Railway Town; and 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Gasoline Alley Museum and Heritage Town Square. The park also includes a midway fair ground full of rides and games, and an authentic and fully functioning steamboat the S. S. Moyie that departs several times daily from the dock for trips around the Glenmore Reservoir. For hours and rates, please visit http://www.heritagepark.ca/

 

2)  Mewata Armory

Mewata Armoury

 

The Mewata Armory is located in Downtown Calgary at 801 11th Street SW and was built between 1915 and 1918 and is home to The King’s Own Calgary Regiment and The Calgary Highlanders. Built in the Tudor/Gothic revival style, this grand brick building is reminiscent of a medieval fort or castle complete with buttresses and and a crenelated roofline.

 

3) Lougheed House

Lougheed House

 

The Lougheed House is a sandstone mansion set on an impressive 2.8 acres of ground. Built in 1891, it was home to Senator James Alexander Lougheed, his wife Lady Isabella Hardisty Lougheed, their six children and a full staff. It is open Wednesday to Friday from 11 am till 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Feeling peckish? Visit Isabella’s Cafe for lunch or afternoon tea. For more information, please visit http://www.lougheedhouse.com/

 

4) Fort Calgary

Fort Calgary

This National Historic Site is the birthplace of Calgary, where the North West Mounted Police first laid the roots for this historic city. This impressive 40 acre site is located at the conflux of the Bow and Elbow Rivers and includes a museum as well as an interactive interpretive centre. Fort Calgary is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (closed some holidays). For more information please visit http://www.fortcalgary.com/

Three of Calgary’s Must Visit Cafés

HigherGroundCafe

Welcome to Calgary! I am so glad you have chosen to make this wonderful and vibrant city your home fellow coffee lover. To help you get acquainted with your new home I have compiled a list of Calgary’s must visit cafés. Enjoy!

1) Fratello Analog Coffee – 740 17th Ave Southwest

Analog provides top notch coffee in a bustling and friendly atmosphere. This always busy coffee shop is the chosen meeting place for business professionals and students alike. One of their unique features (aside from their decor) is their music choice. Analog, true to its name, only plays vinyl records. Their extensive collection holds genres for all music lovers. While getting a table can be challenging, the delicious coffee and food more than makes up for it. Daily vegetarian sandwich option available, as well as assorted pastries and sandwiches. An added bonus for Car2Go members: 10% off your purchase on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I recommend the Americano Misto (made with their Single Origin Bean roast) or classic Vanilla Latte paired with their sun dried tomato and grilled cheese sandwich. Craving something sweet? Check out their sister restaurant the Corbaux Bakehouse ( just down the block) for exquisite French pastries. Only drawback: finding a table can be tricky. However, during warmer weather they offer some patio tables and the park across the street is an excellent place to sit, offering plenty of benches and even a gazebo.

2)- 1126 Kensington Rd Northwest

Higher Ground’s cosy atmosphere and comfy arm chairs make it ideal for the quiet coffee lover. Even when the place is packed the noise level remains relatively muted. The perfect spot for a rainy day and a good book. I recommend their London Fog paired with their mouth watering banana bread. Only drawback is the lack of bussing – you may have to clear a table before you sit down at it. This shop is typically busy during the day, but quiets down after six when the other Kensington shops close for the day. Wednesday’s are Global Vegan Night, offering a three course meal for $19 per person, with a new menu each month. Reservations are required for the Vegan Night meal, and can be made here: http://www.highergroundcafe.ca/veggie.html

3) Café Beano – 1613 9 St SW

Located just around the corner from busy 17th Ave, this coffee shop is seems to be hit and miss as far as crowds go. However, even if it is busy the coffee is worth it. Top of my list is the delectable espresso chocolate milk shake, Vietnamese coffee and the fresh squeezed lemonade! The coffee serving sizes are HUGE, which is both a blessing and a curse. Great for those who can handle it, but if you are sensitive to caffeine you may want to order a decaf. The benches outside make this a great place to sit and people watch in warm weather, but this also means you may have to wait longer to find a seat if the weather is dreary.