Integrated into the 2011 Federal Budget, the government announced yesterday a one-year extension to the Eco-Energy Retrofit program for home owners. If you live in a drafty old house and feel like you are paying too much for your heating and cooling, the program can help offset the costs of upgrading building insulation, weather stopping, doors and windows. However before any of the renovations start, make sure that a qualified engineer of energy auditor tests your home in its current state to create a benchmark reading for comparison. If the drywall is already ripped off, you will not be able to conduct the test, and thereby become ineligible for the program. For additional information, refer to Natural Resources Canada's website. For information and suggestions on how to improve the energy performance of your home, contact KHA Design.
Aging-in-place is a hot topic these days. As baby boomers enter retirement, the government is bracing itself for the impending “gray wave” of elderly adults who will need access to specialized health care services and accommodation at the same time. Ideally, an individual will stay in their own house or condo as long as possible. There are many modifications – both permanent and temporary – that can be made to a home to achieve this. As there are many different considerations, this topic will be broken down into different parts, the first being dedicated to bathrooms.
Despite everyone's best attempts to age gracefully, the process is often accompanied by slowly diminishing capacities such as vision, hearing, balance, flexibility and strength. Washrooms that were once considered luxurious can become hazardous, but with simple modifications can be made safer and easier to use. A person can spend thousands of dollars retrofitting a washroom with permanent components. However; if on a budget, many temporary items can be rented, or found on Craigslist, Kijiji or other classified ad websites. Below is a list of considerations that incorporates both permanent and temporary measures that can make a bathroom more accommodating.
For those who sorely miss the venerable Ballenford Books, Swipe Books has stepped forward to create a store-within-a-store to fill the void left after the former landmark institution closed it doors. Currently, Built Books offers Toronto's best selection of Architecture and Urban Design publications. It can be found at 401 Richmond Street West, just east of Spadina Avenue. Their website features a blog that discusses new acquisitions as well as architectural issues in Toronto.
The Masonry heater goes by many different names; Finnish Fireplace, Wood Heater, Kachelofen, Grundofen, Varaava Takka, Tile Stove and Ceramic Stove among others. All of these names refer to a large, specially-constructed fireplace that uses small amounts of fuel and is capable of heating an average family home. Although not always appropriate in a retrofit application, in the cold Canadian climate they are a sustainable home heating alternative in new home construction.
Masonry heaters first appeared in Northern Europe in the early 16th century. Historically, they were used in the kitchen, combining a stove, oven and seating areas. Located in the center of the home, they were fired twice daily for the preparation of meals and heating. The heaters were in all homes regardless of social status; however they varied aesthetically from white wash clay to ornate masterpieces.
In celebration of its new issue covering how Toronto "embraces, endures and ignores the coldest days of the year," the venerable Spacing Magazine will host a release party for its Winter 2011 edition on Monday, February 21, 2011. The event will be held at the El Mocambo (264 Spadina Avenue - the corner of Spadina and College) starting at 7:30pm. Existing magazine subscribers pay $5 at the door; $10 for others (however this gets you a copy of the new issue too). The event promises games and prizes for attendees.
Kate Harrison is a licensed architect and is the principal of KHA.