2014 KW Home & Garden Show

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth this past weekend. We hope you’re just as excited for Spring as we are!

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Monarch’s week according to our phone…

Monarch’s week according to our phone… was still a busy one, even with the typically wet and cold weather that Fall so generously brings us. The weather aside, we’re continuing to move along with a number of residential construction projects in Kitchener and Waterloo as well as new designs taking shape and new furniture delivered to the Studio.



We’re ever hopeful that mother nature will be kind and allow us to continue on late into the Fall with our schedule as we still have more projects on the horizon that we’re excited to tackle! Until next week …


A Pool of Pools

Do you ever find that sometimes the weekend activities of summer can leave you even more stressed when Monday comes back around? If your only chance for summer relaxation is during the week, then what could be better than an oasis in your own backyard. There are a variety of different pool styles, to suit almost anyone’s tastes and size requirements. This is just a sampling of some pools to whet your appetite:

Lagoon Pool by Marquise Pools via Houzz.com

A Free-Form Pool is designed in a naturalistic style with curves and flowing lines, tailored to fit each space. They’re also known as natural lagoons or oasis pools, and can become quite whimsical in design. Contemporary versions feature rock outcroppings and waterfalls, and may allow for the design of elevated living areas and built-in elements such as spas, fireplaces, and outdoor kitchens.

Lap Pool by C.O.S. Design via Houzz.com

Lap Pools are installed for the purpose of swimming laps for health and fitness benefits. Up to 50 feet long, but as narrow as six feet wide, these pools are a good choice for smaller backyards. Not exclusive to fitness purposes, their shallow depth allows for lounging and cooling off with friends on a hot day, similar to a plunge pool.

Infinity Pool by Downunda Aquatic Environments via Houzz.com

Infinity Pools are probably the most stunning of pool styles, with at least one edge where water is allowed to spill out of the pool, being caught in a basin below. The illusion that the pool runs off into “infinity” is most striking when installed beside a body of water and the edge of the pool blends in with the distant view. This type of pool is a popular choice for hotels, resorts and luxury homes.

Geometric Pool by Liquidscapes via Houzz.com

The Geometric Pool is what most of us are familiar with, and as the name suggests, composed of straight lines and basic curves. Most other pool styles are variations on the geometric style, but this traditional swimming pool still holds a strong place as being the most elegant and versatile of pools.

Half-Moon Pool by Lewis Aquatech via Houzz.com

Plunge Pool is a cross between a traditional pool and a spa, some would even call it a “spool”. These pools are too small to really swim in, anywhere from 18’x10′ to 10’x6′, and are kept shallow for the purpose of wading, relaxing and cooling off. Some pools are also built with jets and heaters, quickly turning your pool into an over-sized spa. This versatility and decreasing house/lot sizes are making the plunge pool a popular choice for urban and suburban homes. The smaller size makes them much easier to maintain than a traditional sized pool, with reduced water requirements and costs.

Perimeter Overflow Pool by Rosebrook Pools via Houzz.com

A Perimeter Overflow Pool features a slim notched or grated perimeter around the pool’s edge, allowing the water level to be even with the surrounding area – similar to an infinity pool, but allowing water to run-off all four sides instead of one. Without walls for the water to bounce off of, the still water takes on a calm glass-like appearance. These pools are exceptionally beautiful but can be expensive, requiring special equipment and the need to hire someone with experience installing the underground system.

Diving Pool by Vermont Vernacular Designs via Houzz.com

Diving Pools are deeper than most pools, typically 8 to 9 feet deep, and have to be quite long to accommodate a safe diving area and shallower play area. While these pools were a popular choice over 15 years ago, concerns with safety and high maintenance requirements have caused these childhood favourites to fall out of favour.

Endless Pool by Jetton Construction via Houzz.com

Swimming Machines are an interesting option, as they only take up the footprint of a plunge pool, but offer the exercise options of a lap pool. A recirculating current of water provides resistance to swim against, with just enough space for one person to move around comfortably. When not being used for exercise, it can be used exactly as a plunge pool.

Images: Houzz.com

The American Craftsman House

The American Craftsman house is considered to be the quintessential American Home. As the first type of house to cater to the burgeoning American middle-class, open floorplans, quality of work and simplicity were valued over the ornamentation of Victorian period houses.

Abernathy-Shaw House via Wikipedia.com


  • Low-pitched roof lines, gabled or hipped roof
  • Deeply overhanging eaves with exposed rafters or decorative brackets under eaves
  • Front porch beneath extension of main roof with tapered, square columns
  • Hand-crafted stone or woodwork
  • Mixed materials throughout structure
  • 4-over-1 or 6-over-1 double-hung windows

American Craftsman House via Varley.net

The craftsman style began in England with the Arts and Crafts movement. William Morris, among other philosophers, craftsmen and artists, denounced the mass-produced style of the industrial revolution, fearing the use of machinery would not only lead to bad design but a reduction in the worker’s satisfaction at his job. The saying that we know so well from Morris “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” was about Morris’s desire for art and beautifully crafted work to be a part of everyone’s life. The problem with this ideal of craftsmanship was the expense. Handmade furniture, fabrics, tiles and other building materials could only be afforded by the wealthy.

Craftsman House - Bungalow, Columbus, OH via Flickr

A group of architects and designers in Boston drew on these British ideals, but opened the way for industrial construction methods to make the craftsman style goods more affordable. Gustav Stickley, a mission-style furniture maker, created a magazine called The Craftsman that celebrated the philosophies of the Arts & Crafts movement. Soon after, Craftsman homes would be bought throughout the United States and Canada as kits from mail-order companies like Sears, Montgomery Wards and Aladdin.

Interior of Craftsman Home via LaurelHurstCraftsman.com

American Craftsman homes are a popular choice today for restoration projects. Their emphasis on solid construction and design using quality, natural materials, means that these homes are still standing and have the “good bones” that most home renovators look for. The Craftsman style is even undergoing something of a revival today, counter to the mass production of suburban cookie-cutter houses.

For more information about the Arts and Crafts movement and American Craftsman Houses, I found a few sites to be quite interesting:

Craftsman Style by AntiqueHomeStyle.com
The Arts & Crafts Movement in America by SanDiegoHistory.org
The Arts And Crafts Society

Images: Wikipedia.comVarley.net; Flickr.com; LaurelHurstCraftsman.com