Hygge: The Cozy Lifestyle Trend That’s Here to Stay

If you’re wondering why this would be important to you (unless you’re about to relocate or take a vacation to the Nordic country), consider this: Hygge came in with its cozy outlook in 2016 and, despite multiple efforts among lifestyle experts, editors, and even other countries to dethrone it, hygge remains the predominant lifestyle trend of the day. Is it a coincidence that it hails from Denmark? We think not.

VOLA faucet collection from Hastings Tile & Bath

So ingrained is hygge in popular culture around the world that it has spawned countless books and interior design collections, and its usage even prompted inclusion in Collins Dictionary “along with Brexit and Trumpism,” said the New Yorker. “Collins describes it as: the practice of creating cozy, congenial environments that promote emotional well-being.”

So, if you haven’t yet learned how to pronounce it (hoo-ga), or integrate the concept into your home, it might just be time for both.

The Next Big Thing?

The Scandinavians don’t have a monopoly on lifestyle trends. Many think that the pervasive popularity of hygge was an overcorrection to the much stricter practice of KonMari, the Japanese concept of hyper-organization and minimalism.

Open collection from Hastings Tile & Bath

Vogue all but proclaimed 2017 the year that lagom, “the Swedish concept of ‘not too much, not too little,’ would overtake hygge as the predominant lifestyle trend. “Unlike hygge, which aims to capture a feeling, lagom is an ethos of moderation,” they said. “If you need proof that lagom’s moment is imminent, look no further than England. The epicenter of the hygge trend is turning its attention to this Swedish way of living.”

Scotland rode into 2018 with what they claim is the new Hygge: Còsagach, which, honestly, sounds awfully similar to hygge. “It means ‘snug, sheltered or cozy,’” said The Guardian.

Principles of Hygge

According to Amara, hygge was “originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing. Developed into a concept and way of living by the Danish in the 18th century when it first appeared in writings of the time, the country hasn’t looked back since.”

A by Amara

It is best expressed with the following:


The colors of the year are bold and bright (Hello, Pantone’s deep purple Ultra Violet and Benjamin Moore’s fiery red Caliente). But, hygge calls for softer neutrals. “Paint walls a soft shade of grey, white or cream and keep colors throughout the house earthy to create a sense of calm,” said Huffington Post.

Form + Function

The entire VOLA line from Hastings Tile & Bath is hygge-friendly, but we especially love the towel warmer. After all, the only thing that could be cozier than having a toasty towel ready when you step out of the shower is having it hang on a warmer that is actually beautifully designed, “replacing the more common radiator-style warmers with a built-in unit hiding all technical elements behind the wall,” they said.

VOLA from Hastings Tile & Bath

Hastings Tile & Bath has several other minimal, welcoming products for the home — including the compact vanities of Zen and Derby.

Zen vanity by Hastings Tile & Bath

Ginger’s Surface bath accessory collection has all of the hallmarks of minimalism – but not at the expense of comfort.

Surface accessory collection by Ginger


Less is more when it comes to the overall feel of hygge, and that goes for your furniture pieces, too. Keep your lines clean or gently curved and your cushions plush to achieve the right look.

Pelican Chair by Finn Juhl

In describing hygge, Christopher Mount, Scandinavian Design expert, told Pamono: “The best description I can think of is the warm and cozy feeling you would have while lounging on a comfortable couch, reading a good book, and drinking a hot beverage, snuggled with a loved one on a wet, cold day. It means to be contentedly cozy, in a kind of simple and romantic way. All of the classic, midcentury Danish furniture—by Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen, Arne Jacobsen, and Nanna Ditzel—has a kind of warm, soft, and ‘hyggely’ quality.”


We’re talking rugs, blankets and pillows—both in and out of the bedroom—and lots of them, at that. Anything that can make a space feel more cozy is hygge-approved, so look for textiles that are soft and soothing.

“One of the easiest ways to make any space feel instantly cozy? Plenty of soft blankets and rugs to add a layer of physical warmth,” said Graham & Brown. “To create a look that’ll appeal to all your senses, try mixing different fabrics and textures to give your space a unique style that’s all its own.”

The U.K-based wallpaper and home decor brand has an entire collection devoted to the Danish concept, complete with wallpaper depicting overlapping slats of distressed wood and a comforting grey and neutral taupe color palette touched with glimmers of warm metallic.  Their cozy hygge faux fur throw, for instance, “will bring a sumptuous touch to your home,” they said. “Created with a thick soft faux fur and lined in luxurious silky satin, this piece is perfect for snuggling into on those dark evenings.”

Another option is this one-of-a-kind handprinted linen throw by Nordic Kind, which is hand-dyed, printed and sewn in a pattern — “the result of a choreographed dance and movement experiment.”


The right lighting is key to achieving hygge, which makes sense considering Denmark has such limited sunlight. You don’t want anything harsh; instead, go for a soft, warm glow. Lumens recommends “warm-white LED and incandescent lights,” which can “create a soft look when installed with a dimmer.”

Mitzi by Hudson Valley Lighting

Mitzi, a newly introduced offshoot brand of Hudson Valley Lighting®, designs products “with thoughtful simplicity,” they said, which is “precisely why they work well in any minimalist design scheme. Marnie casts just the right amount of light from underneath its metal shade and is “a delightful example of how simple shapes can produce interesting results.”

Cool Reception to Spring Market

The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) confirmed that both the number of home sales and the prices of sold homes plunged in March, as compared to results from one year earlier.

The average home price dropped from $915,126 in March 2017 to $784,558 this past March, while the number of sales dropped to 7,228, a 39.5 percent year-over-year decline from the March 2017 record of 11,954 residential transactions. Detached home sales, which generally represent the highest price points in a given area, declined much more than other home types.

TREB President Tim Syrianos explains, “The effects of the Fair Housing Plan, the new OSFI-mandated stress test and generally higher borrowing costs have prompted some buyers to put their purchasing decision on hold.”

Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis, adds, “Right now, when we are comparing home prices, we are comparing two starkly different periods of time: last year, when we had less than a month of inventory versus this year with inventory levels ranging between two and three months. It makes sense that we haven’t seen prices climb back to last year’s peak. However, in the second half of the year, expect to see the annual rate of price growth improve compared to Q1, as sales increase relative to the below-average level of listings.”

Is it the right time for you to buy or sell? Please call today for the latest market activity in your specific area of interest.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken


  • 2 lbs. (1 kg.) chicken thighs, bone in, skin removed
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. each ground cumin, ground paprika
  • 1 tsp. each cinnamon, ground ginger, turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. harissa
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 (19 oz./ 561 mL) can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 carrots, chopped in 2-inch pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 1 c. dried apricots
  • 1 (28 oz./ 825 mL) can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 3 slices preserved lemon (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • Grated zest of half a lemon

1. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and brown chicken thighs for 2 minutes on each side.
2. Place browned chicken into slow cooker, and stir in all remaining ingredients.
3. Heat in slow cooker for 8 hours on low setting, or 4 hours on high.
4. Remove from slow cooker, sprinkle with toppings, and serve with couscous, rice or flatbread.


April Showers Bring May … Weeds?

Whether your garden covers an expanse of flowers, bushes and other greenery around your house, or whether you just have visions of tending a small vegetable patch in the backyard, you’ll want to focus on what you actually want to grow and not what tends to sprout out of nowhere — that would be those pesky weeds!

Fight back against weeds this gardening season by employing these strategies:

  • Weed when wet. Damp soil allows you to pull out the full weed, including the roots, much easier. Keep a small hoe on hand to help loosen the soil and get as much of the weed out as possible. Weed thoroughly before you start planting, then maintain the weeding often as the season goes on.
  • Be a bad weed host. Discourage the growth of new weeds by holding back on what helps them flourish, namely light and water. After clearing the weeds, plant your flowers and vegetables close together so they form a natural light barrier as they mature, and in the meantime fill in the space between the plants and mulch.
  • Choose the right mulch, and the right amount of it. Mulch helps to prevent weeds by blocking out the light, but you need to choose the right mulch. First of all, ensure you choose a high quality, finely shredded, weed-free mmulch. If you like the look of the chunkier mulch, keep in mind that it can let light in so consider putting down two to three inches of the finely-shredded mulch first, to smother the weeds, then topping it with the chunkier mulch to create the esthetic you prefer.


Welcome to 128 Allworth Cres in Bowmanville.  Bright, open-concept 4 Bedroom Family home with stylish curb appeal, just minutes from the 401/407 in the historic town of Bowmanville. Ideal for  commuting and enjoying small-town living.  Home Features:  Crown Moulding , 9′ Ceilings and Hardwood flooring on the Main floor.  Family room with gas fireplace that will not cramp your style. Family sized Open Concept Eat-in Kitchen with Breakfast Bar, Built-in Dishwasher, upgraded cabinets and walk-out to yard. Spacious dining/living room with Gleaming hardwood floors.  Large master bedroom with 4pc ensuite including Glass Shower and Soaker Tub plus W/I closet. Secure family neighborhood that is walking distance to newer schools, parks, shopping and public transit. Just Listed for $550,000. #cbrmr

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Selling? Low-Cost Home Improvement Fixes that Make Your Home Shine

When selling a home, even tiny fixes can have a big impact. Fortunately many fixes can be done quickly and with a small budget.

Here are 10 of the best low- (or no-) cost home improvement fixes to make your house stand above the competition:

1. Address the Heart of the Home
In real estate, the kitchen is a main selling feature and can be a make or break deal for potential home buyers. If a new kitchen just isn’t in the cards, consider replacing smaller ticket items and de-cluttering. Low- and no-cost fixes for the kitchen include:

New cabinet hardware
New faucets
Installing a new backsplash
Storing countertop appliances to create more work space
Replacing dark valances with lighter fabric or removing them altogether

2. Update Switch Plate Covers
Switch plate and outlet covers are brittle, and can crack and yellow over time, resulting in a home that, no matter how well updated, still looks dated. New outlets and covers can be replaced in a snap for generally under five dollars, making it one of the lowest cost updates available. Consider flat switches that create a modern, streamlined silhouette and stick to white for a timeless look.

3. Beautify the Bathroom
An updated bathroom comes only second to kitchens in a buyer’s list of must-haves, so showing them a clean and uncluttered bathroom will score points with any potential buyer.

New flooring can give an otherwise tired bathroom a much needed facelift and create a newer looking bathroom overall. Coordinating linens, a new shower curtain, and thoroughly cleaned grout can top off this easy home improvement investment.

4. Address Storage
Storage is always a concern for buyers. Installing low-cost closet organizers to your existing space will increase storage and organization in your home. Add storage baskets to hide clutter and you will have beautiful storage spaces that will make any buyer envious.

5. Deep Clean for a Good Return
If your home contains wall to wall carpeting, clean carpets can make a world of difference to a buyer. Cleaning carpets can easily be completed in a weekend with a rental cleaning machine, and it creates a noticeably clean, odor free environment for buyers to tour.

6. Boost Curb Appeal
Nothing boosts curb appeal like a tidy yard. Trim and edge walkways, weed gardens, and trim shrubs for maximum impact. If you have a porch, consider potted, seasonal plants to bring the look together.

7. Improve the First Impression
As buyers approach your home, first impressions matter. Ensuring your entryway is clean and inviting with something as simple as a new mailbox or updated house numbers will make buyers feel welcome. Clean windows and doors for extra impact.

8. Add a Coat of Paint
Freshening up your living space with neutral colors will invite buyers to imagine their belongings in your home and will cover up any nicks, scratches, or dents your wall incurred over years of daily living.

9. Update Lighting
While not the lowest cost solution on our list, you will find that a new light fixture or two really breathes new life into key living spaces. If your budget is tight, look to kitchen, dining, and living rooms for the most bang for your buck.

10. Add Some Decor Pizzazz
Finally, a fresh look can be completed with nothing more than some colorful fabric. Inexpensive pillows and throws in a coordinating palette through your home will create a unified look that will have buyers hooked. #cbrmr

Container Gardening Upgrades for a Fresh Spring

While prepping for gardening this spring, go through some of your old pots and containers. #cbrmr

If you’re a gardener, you most likely have some old pots and containers in your garden shed or even your garage. And you probably didn’t get rid of them because you figured you might have a use for them eventually. While prepping for this spring, instead of buying replacements pots and containers, go through the ones you already have stored. With a little imagination and some supplies, your pots will look better than new in no time!

Clay Pots

A good clay pot can be expensive and if dropped, the fall can put a decent size crack in it. If it’s chipped or broken but is still durable, here’s what you can do to fix it:

  • You’ll need all-purpose joint compound, spray paint or textured spray paint in a desired color, and fine-grained sandpaper. Clean off the damaged area with the sandpaper. Remove any loose clay as you’re sanding and carefully blow on it to remove the dust. This will let you get a good bond when filling it in.
  • Next, using the joint compound, fill in the cracks using a popsicle stick, spreading both inside and outside the pot. Make sure the cracks are well-covered. It dries relatively fast, so spread and smooth it out as you go. It can also be sanded down later if it’s not super smooth. If needed, add more layers until it’s filled. Let it dry for 24 hours and run the sandpaper over it to smooth it out one last time.
  • Seal the pot with the spray paint or textured spray paint, let dry, and it’s good to go.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots are another type of container commonly used for gardening. The problem with these containers is that the weather can cause them to weaken, discolor, and sometimes crack. Have no fear, these containers can easily be fixed and your favorite plastic container can be used time and time again.

  • For this you’ll need clear gorilla tape, spray paint, textured stone paint, and fine-grain sandpaper. First, lightly sand all the areas which you’re planning to tape, so the tape has a good grip when applied. Be sure to remove all the dust from the surface of the pot. If you don’t, when you use the gorilla tape, it will form bubbles because it won’t seal. If you apply some rubbing alcohol before applying the tape, the surface will be clean.
  • Next, tape both sides of the crack with strips of gorilla tape. Rub it firmly to get a good seal but don’t use more tape than you need. For edges or curves, use small pieces, that can overlap about a ¼ inch. Try to avoid forming air bubbles.
  • Finally, spray the pot with the base paint and then spray it in thin layers with stone texture paint. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly. If the paint bubbles, let the paint cure for 24 hours. Spray it with the textured paint if desired for a different look.

Repurpose With a New Design

You can also repurpose an old pot with designs, like adding a mosaic design. You’ll need a terracotta pot, some broken tile pieces, pot shards or vase filler chips, spray paint and glue. Paint the pot with the spray paint and let dry, then gently glue the tile, shards or chips on one by one in the design of your choice.

You can also add a new design by using lace on a pot or container. All you’ll need is lace of the color of your choice and transparent adhesive. Varnish the pot with the adhesive and paste the lace over it. Let dry and use as desired.

As you can see, upgrading your container and pots for spring can be both fun and easy. What ways have you revamped old containers?

Effective Improvements for a Faster Sale

You have decided to sell your home, and you are eager to sell it ASAP!   Here are some of the best ways to efficiently and effectively improve your home for a speedy sale.

First, curbside appeal.  This is the first thing every potential buyer sees so make it stand out!  Some suggestions:

  • Hire a gardener to clean and spruce up the front entrance
  • Remove superfluous items from the front of your home, i.e. garbage cans, strollers, etc.
  • Put a fresh coat of paint on your home’s front door.

Second, this is the time to clean and eliminate all clutter inside your home.  Here’s how:

  • Give away or store extra toys, clothes, and anything else that makes it look crowded or disorganized
  • Organize the kitchen countertops and closets
  • Place bulky items in storage

Third, landscaping matters.  A large yard cannot shine if the plants, grass and trees are in bad shape.  Try the following ideas:

  • Make sure the grass is mowed and driveway and walkway clear of snow
  • Plant or hang fresh flowers if its summer

Fourth, look under the hood.  Make the inside of your home look as good as possible.

  •  This is the time to do some of the minor repairs you have been putting off.  This will make your home look better and may eliminate certain issues during the Inspection Period.
  •  Yes, it seems expensive or time-consuming.  However, if you hire a handy person, this can truly make the difference and get you more money in less time.

Finally, hire a professional, licensed  full time realtor like “The Mash Team”.  We are realtor’s with experience and expertise that can help sell your home quickly for the best price. #cbrmr

Best of luck!

Ambient Lighting Tricks to Warm Up the Whole House

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura

They say setting the mood is like flipping a switch and we couldn’t agree more. Lighting plays a lead role in making your house feel like home. Here are 10 lighting tricks to enhance your home’s aura.

1. Control natural lighting. If you thought only stormy weather could make a breezy beach house look dark and moody, take a second look at the photo above. The lucky homeowner can draw the sheer curtains closed without completely blocking out the sun. They also get a postcard-worthy view of sunrise and sunset every day from their glass doors. The dimmed fixture above casts a warm light in an all-white room while the cloudy landscape photo tones down the views of the beach.

2. Be picky about your paint. Ask a professional about a paint’s light reflectance value (LRV) before you commit to a color. Lighter colors tend to be more reflective than dark shades. Pay attention to sheen level too since glossy finishes are more reflective than matte finishes.

3. Experiment with materials and finishes. When mixed and matched strategically, these seemingly small details can determine the mood of a whole room. This white and grey bathroom would look stark and cold without the brass fixture above. The candles around the tub help warm the room up too.

4. Install a dimmer switch. There’s nothing relaxing about straining your eyes in a room that is too bright or too dark. Use a dimmer in addition to layering your light sources for ultimate light control. Believe it or not, installing a dimmer switch can be a DIY project.

5. Recess your lights. Even if the bulb is not that bright, a central fixture with multiple bulbs and a shiny finish can be overpowering. Recessed lighting conceals the bulbs and therefore can lights feel softer. You could also hide strip lighting underneath cabinets for a nice nightlight on your way to the kitchen or bathroom. Check out this ultra contemporary island that appears to be floating mid-air.

6. Go a different direction. Uplights, like sconces and track lighting, create a soft glow. On the other hand, downlights cast ominous shadows that can really add mystery to a romantic room. Get creative by backlighting wall decor for a play on color and shapes.

7. Take a refresher course in lightbulb basics. The type of bulb is equally important as its fixture. Halogen, fluorescent and LED bulbs have a range of temperatures from warm (or yellow) to cool (or blue) hues. This is a matter of personal preference, but typically yellowish bulbs warm up cool-colored rooms nicely and vice versa. Bluer bulbs also help brighten darker spaces, like basements and windowless bathrooms.

8. Find your favorite shade. Bright colors, playful patterns and funky shapes can bring personality into a stale space. Smoky glass chandeliers intensify intimate vibes in a dining room while big paper lanterns enliven sophisticated home offices. The teal shades on this fixture match the pillows and put an icy sheen on the large dark walnut bookcase.

Note: This ceiling light is reflected in the whimsically shaped mirror that will help spread light further into the room.

9. Try twinkle lights. Not limited to holiday decor, you can use twinkle lights all year round. Drape them over windows for some extra sparkle or fill jars or empty wine bottles with a bundle of battery-operated fairy lights for an illuminated vignette.

10. Open flame. It’s no secret that candles are customary to ambience, but they’re often reserved for after dark. Next time, try starting a fire first thing in the morning and you’ll find that candles are as effective for waking up as they are for winding down. The heat will naturally draw you out of bed and the rising sun will energize you. We’re channeling all the feels from this rustic bedroom. The corner fireplace and candle chandelier are nothing short of mesmerizing.


59 Aspen Park Way. Whitby



Open house March 24  & 25. 2 pm – 4 pm

Upgraded home from top to bottom. Nothing to do, but move on in. Stylish kitchen with gas stove, hardwood floors, backsplash, and breakfast bar. Bright and Spacious Open concept living and Dining room, each with Gleaming Hardwood Floors, designer paint colors and Pot lights. Master Suite has walk-in closet and Updated Ensuite. Large and bright finished basement that walks-out to your private yard that perfect for entertaining. Located Conveniently for commuting. $475,000.


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With You Every Step Of The Way

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