Kim Talks to Sarah Richardson

By | Calgary, Design, Entrepreneur, Home, Kim Hayden | No Comments

*Due to technical issues, footage of the most amazing interview with Sarah Richardson was lost.*

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Sarah Richardson, acclaimed Interior Designer and host of Sarah Off The Grid on HGTV. I must admit I was pretty nervous and a bit star struck heading into the interview. Here was someone that I had seen on TV multiple times and admired. But Sarah quickly put me at ease with her down-to-earth, relaxed and friendly attitude.

We chatted briefly about the amazing career she has enjoyed (and rightly earned), starting back in the 1990s when interior design was not recognized and respected the way it is today. People told her, or rather expected her, to be a doctor or a lawyer. Interior design was a ‘fluff’ job, a dead-end, and not worth pursuing, but Sarah forged ahead, having always been interested in the creative arts. She also had an opportunity to work on a TV show for a year right after university, planting the seed for her future work on HGTV.

With an amazing and full career, that now adds Australia to her fan base, why does Sarah still participate in home shows and expos?  It comes down to people – shows like the Calgary Home Renovation Show provide her with the opportunity engage and interact directly with people – something she can’t do on her shows. She’s been attending these shows for so long now that she recognizes a number of the faces. She loves seeing the nods of recognition from people in the crowd as she tells a story because they “get it” – they understand. But it’s still surreal when she meets people and they feel like they know her.

I asked Sarah what’s her favorite space to renovate? Of course, the big impact rooms like the kitchen and baths are a focus for many people, she simply enjoys creating comfortable and unique spaces that reflect the homeowner.

We also talked about trends for 2018. Sarah likes the trend toward the use of woods, more natural products, the incorporation of recycled materials as reusing and re-purposing items, which fits in with her approach to design. She did find it kind of funny that natural woods are being described as a ‘trend’ – it’s just good design.

The big question that our viewers wanted to ask was, how does she do it? How do Sarah manage her time and make her work-life balance seem so effortless? Sarah attributes this to her husband and to strict time management. When she first started her career, she often had meetings in the evenings and the weekends to accommodate her clients, but one day her then boyfriend (now husband) said, “what about you and your time?” She started setting boundaries, letting the clients know that she was only available between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. When something came up, particularly with her family, she didn’t say, “I have to pick up my kids,” or give an excuse, but rather simply stated that she wasn’t available and tried to find another time. After much practice, she is very focused structuring her work time as work time and family or rest time as just that. Sometimes friends ask to go for lunch, but she says no because it would just mean that she has to stay longer at the end of the day. She eats lunch, usually at her desk. Of course, she still does these kinds of things – visiting Calgary for the shows – but that’s rare.

By the time the interview was over, I felt like I had been sitting with an old girlfriend, chatting about our lives and catching up. I gave her a copy of a recipe card book I had put together for Kim’s Kitchen and chatted about our favorite recipes, her latest find was a 45 minute cinnamon roll tested with her daughter Fiona. Mine of course is my stand by Pumpkin Pie Spiced Bread:

All in all, I can say that without a doubt, Sarah is all that you see on TV and MORE!!! Thank you for your time Sarah, it was lovely to meet you.

20 Ways to Go GREEN at Home

By | Calgary, Community, Green Home, Home | No Comments

Take action! Use this list to accelerate your journey to green!

  1. Start composting! Reduce landfill waste, return nutrients to the soil and avoid using chemical fertilizers in your yard and garden.
  2. Lug a mug and drag a bag. Be conscious of reducing and reusing when possible, such as bringing your own bags to the store and your own mug to the coffee shop.
  3. Go beyond recycling. Focus first on reducing and reusing, and then recycle what you can and try to purchase items made from recycled products.
  4. Shop locally. Support green businesses and shop fair trade.
  5. Buy less stuff. Borrow from friends, rent or look for second hand items.
  6. Rid your home of toxic cleaning products. Replace them with green alternatives or make your own.
  7. Choose natural personal care products. Read the labels on products and avoid ingredients that are known to be harmful, such as artificial fragrance and Triclosan (“anti-bacterial”).
  8. Go pesticide free. Weeds are not dangerous, but pesticides are.
  9. Start grasscycling. Leave your lawn clippings on the lawn instead of bagging them.
  10. Install and use a rain barrel. Capture rain water to use in your yard and garden instead of using municipal tap water.
  11. Go low flow. Replace your toilets, showerheads, and taps with low flow models (<1.5gpm or 5.7Lpm).
  12. Test your toilets for leaks. A leaky toilet can add up to 28 bath tubs of wasted water per month.
  13. Hang your clothes to dry. Save energy by avoiding the clothing dryer, which is the second biggest consumer of electricity in your home.
  14. Support renewable energy. Choose an energy provider that generates electricity from wind and solar power instead of coal.
  15. Cut your phantom loads. Make sure to unplug electronics when they are not in use or put them on a power bar and turn the bar off when you’re not using them.
  16. Change your light bulbs. CFLs and LEDs are 75-95% more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
  17. Travel lightly. Plan your vehicle trips so you can run multiple errands on the same trip. Consider biking, walking or taking transit whenever possible.
  18. Go idle free. Idling wastes fuel, produces more harmful emissions, and contributes to climate change.
  19. Eat consciously. Eat less meat, choose local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible and consider going organic if you can.
  20. Grow your own food. Plant a garden or join a community garden.

Thanks to Green Calgary for the tips! Share any suggestions you have in the comments below.

East Village – Creating a Community

By | Calgary, Clare LePan, Community | No Comments

Since 2007, master developer Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) has been imagining how life in East Village will take shape, and turning that vision into a reality. Early on, CMLC recognized the importance of building a neighbourhood that prioritizes the residents who would call it home. CMLC aspired to develop the 49-acre area into a dense, mixed-use, urban village that would support community, in the truest sense of the word. They envisioned a liveable, walkable neighbourhood that facilitates connections; a place where residents would meet their neighbours by bumping into them on the street, in a public plaza, or at a community event.

CMLC is now well on their way to realizing their vision for East Village, and the key to their success is in their adoption of a placemaking strategy. This approach is rooted in community participation, and is designed to strengthen the connections between places, experiences and people.  CMLC has strengthened such connections through their investment in events – the ‘experience’ – and their investment in public spaces – the ‘place’. As a result, people have been drawn to visit and live in East Village, and a sense of community has been fostered.

Over the past four years, East Village’s population has grown dramatically with over 1000 new residents now living in the community. With this type of rapid growth, a critical part of creating a strong sense of community is providing opportunities for residents, new and old, to meet each other. Since the day new residents started moving into the community, CMLC has stewarded the delivery of ‘meet your neighbor’ events. Hosted community gatherings in outdoor public spaces as a means for new residents to get to know other members of the community and worked with community groups and service providers to understand the needs of a growing community.

With every residential project that is completed, more and more residents call themselves an East Village neighbour. And at community build-out in 2020, 11,500 residents will call East Village home.

Welcome home to East Village!

How to Create a Productive Work Space at Home

By | Ana Cummings, Calgary, Design, Home | No Comments

Looking to make the most out of your work space at home? Here are my top 10 tips on how to create a productive space:

  1. Have a place for everything and make sure it always stays there: pens, paper, calculator, etc.
  2. Proper height desk and comfortable/ergonomic chair to sit in
  3. Remove distractions, i.e., turn television off
  4. Put a timer on your desk. i.e. start your task and give yourself a solid 15 minutes of uninterrupted time, work until the timer goes off
  5. Clean it regularly, from dust to dishes, anything that clutters your desk will clutter your mind
  6. Add some artwork or images on a corkboard that motivate you
  7. Create adequate task lighting. Our eyes get weaker with age, the older we get the more light we need to see
  8. Storage or filing cabinets for finished projects. Shelves for textbooks and other items
  9. All electronic equipment should be in an area where they can be easily and readily charged, phones/laptops/tablets/etc.
  10. The room should be set to a comfortable temperature. (not too hot, not too cold…like Goldilocks, it should be just right!!!)

For more advice, check out our website.

Navigating Neighbours – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

By | Calgary, Home | No Comments

This week, Kim sits down with the experts – Jeff Kahane from Kahane Law Offices, Kimberly Nelson from Flourish Psychological Services, and Clare LePan from Calgary Municipal Land Corporation – to talk all about neighbours. What does it take to be a good neighbour? How can you deal with a bad not so good neighbour? Tune in this week to learn your rights and discover how to be a more empathetic neighbour. Sometimes all it takes is a little understanding.

We’re on CTV2 Wednesday at 8:30am and CTV Calgary Saturday at 10:30am.

Home Fire Safety in Winter

By | Calgary, Carol Henke, Safety, The Calgary Fire Department | No Comments

The Calgary Fire Department is a busy emergency service, responding to approximately 57,000 incidents per year. Part of our business is also to educate citizens to try and prevent emergencies such as fires from happening in the first place. One of the most common types of fires CFD responds to is cooking fires. Often, it is due to cooking left unattended. Sometimes it is a result of cooking with oil which catches fire once it reaches its ignition temperature. Other common causes of indoor fires are electrical issues, candles left unattended, clothes dryers and chimneys. The most common cause of outdoor fires regardless of the season is the improper disposal of smoking materials. Other causes are BBQs and non-compliant fire pits.

As firefighters, our first message is always to try and prevent these fires from happening, however, the next line of defense is to make sure that you have working smoke alarms in your home which are located on every level. In every bedroom would also be ideal. Smoke alarms (both battery and hard wired) have a 10-year lifespan and should be replaced when they reach the 10-year mark. Maintenance of alarms includes testing your alarms every month by pushing the test button. Batteries should be changed annually, even on hard wired alarms that have a battery back-up.

Don’t forget about carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless, tasteless and non-irritating so you will not know it is there. It can come from any gas burning appliance in your home. Other sources of CO are improper ventilation for wood burning fireplaces and running your car in an attached garage.

Here are the recommendations for all the safety risks above:

  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking with the stovetop
  • Never leave candles unattended
  • Keep matches and lighters up and out of reach of children
  • Always have a sturdy non-combustible container for smoking materials
  • Never put cigarettes in planter pots, flower beds, soil or mulch
  • Keep BBQs a safe distance away from combustibles, decking and siding
  • Comply with the fire pit bylaw
  • Test and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with all members of the family including pets
  • Visit for more fire safety and prevention information

On behalf of the Calgary Fire Department, have a safe and happy winter season!

Winter Safety

By | Calgary, Safety | No Comments

Although we’ve had an unseasonably warm November, we still have lots of winter left! Now that we’re moving into December (and crossing our fingers for a snowy Christmas), it’s good to be reminded of winter health and home safety. This week on Homes & Lifestyles, we are thrilled to be joined by Adam Loria of EMS and Carol Henke of the Calgary Fire Department.

Adam and Carol sit down with Kim to share their best advice for staying safe and healthy this winter. Adam shared some great tips on how to safely clear snow and on how to prevent falls on ice. You can catch the full episode (and watch Adam demonstrate his penguin walk) this Wednesday, December 6 at 8:30 a.m. on CTV2 or Saturday, December 9 at 10:30 a.m. on CTV Calgary.

For now, we leave you with a breakdown of Adam’s tips:

Snow clearing:

  • Light stretching, before and after, is beneficial
  • Hydrate before, during and after, preferably with water
  • Lift with your knees, not your back and avoid twisting with weight
  • Keep the snow in front of you when pushing it
  • Choose the right shovel for the job; a smaller shovel will require you to lift less snow and reduce the strain on your body
  • If you feel pain, of any sort, stop, reassess, and seek medical assistance if required
  • Pace yourself and take a break as needed

Slips & falls (on ice)/cold weather:

  • Dress in layers so when your body warms up, you can remove layers. A waterproof and windproof outer layer can help keep you warm and dry.
  • Cover as much skin as possible to combat frostbite & hypothermia.
  • Wear warm, durable, rugged boots, or shoes that have slip resistant tread.
  • Ever see a penguin slip on ice? We haven’t. So walk like one:
    • Bend knees slightly and walk flat footed
    • Point your feet out slightly
    • Keep your centre of gravity over your feet as much as possible
    • Take shorter, shuffle-like steps
    • Keep your arms at your sides (not in your pockets)
    • Concentrate on keeping your balance

Home Staging

By | Calgary, Design, Home Staging, Real Estate | No Comments

On this week’s episode, we bring in the home staging experts! Ana Cummings of ANA Interiors and Natasha Borosh of Dezin Group sit down with Kim to talk all about home staging. But what exactly is home staging? Here are a few quick facts on home staging and why it’s important:

Home staging is all of the prep work done in order to get a home ready to go on the market. When you hire a professional, they analyze your space and decide how to bring everything together. They work with you to determine your needs. If your house is vacant, furniture can be rented to fill the space. They decide what your décor style is (modern, classic, country, etc.) and how to best work with this throughout the space.

Home staging is what gets potential buyers through the door. People spend an average of seven seconds analyzing a home online before deciding to check it out in person. You want to make sure your home photographs well and the best place to start is with a well arranged space. You want a space that flows and that gives the next home owner the ability to visualize their life there. Remember, as soon as your home goes up on the market, it is no longer your home.

For the full discussion, tune in this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. on CTV2 or this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on CTV. Our experts break down what you can expect for costs and how much home staging can save you overall. They’ll also tell you the three most important spaces to think about and the importance of leaving buyers visual cues.

What Makes a Community Great?

By | Calgary, Real Estate | No Comments

On this week’s episode, Kim sits down with Shane Keating, Councilor Ward 12, and Lesley Evens, Executive Director of Federation of Calgary Communities, to talk about what makes a community great. With so many great communities to choose from in Calgary, how do you pick the right one for you? Our experts recommend three things when it comes to selecting your neighbourhood.

  1. Understand your needs. What stage are you at in life? Pick a community that suits your current stage, while accommodating the stages you’ll move into.
  2. Home type and community. Are you a fan of bungalows or two stories? Attached, detached? Figure out what type of home you are looking for and find a community that accommodates this.
  3. Check out local community associations. Every community has a community association and they act as a voice for community life. Once you’ve selected your community, try your hand at volunteering with your association. Volunteering is a great way to give back and a chance to have your voice heard. See what you can offer. Everyone is a neighbor and everyone has a special skill.

Remember, whichever neighbourhood you choose, it’s up to you to get out and be neighbourly. Make efforts to get to know your neighbours and ingrain yourself in the community. For more ideas on how to be neighbourly, tune into tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. on CTV2 or on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on CTV.

Thank you to Shane and Lesley for joining us!