At the home show, looking at renos for aging family members

MARCH 10, 2023


Where else, but the National Home Show, can you go to learn about accessible living, designing with colour, laneway suites and outdoor kitchens, in one place?

The annual show is back at the Enercare Centre on the Exhibition grounds in Toronto from March 10-19 and boasts 600 or so vendors, as well as special features and speakers.

Addressing the needs of aging baby boomers, designer Linda Kafka and her colleagues have created the LivABLE Pavilion at the show, designed to spark conversations about designing or renovating homes so the renos meet your needs, no matter your age or ability.



The pavilion showcases products and features, such as wheelchair-friendly pavement and zero-threshold showers, that make a home livable for the long-term, without giving it an institutional feel.

“Ageless design takes everyone into consideration,” says Kafka, founder of Livable Canada. “We need to really start thinking about designing spaces for the lifespan. More than 80 per cent of houses in Canada will need modifications to allow for our changing physical needs.”

For those who are looking to redecorate and paint their place, designer Janice Fedak wants to “debunk a fear of colour so people go home and inject at least one new colour into their space.”

As board member for the Colour Marketing Group, an association for colour design professionals, Fedak is very aware of the colours that are trendy each year. She will talk about colour and design trends Saturday, March 11 at 3:15 p.m. and Sunday, March 12 at 1 p.m.

“Colour is what makes my heart beat faster and adds life to the spaces I design,” she says. “There will be something that speaks to any person. Why not throw that colour up on a wall or a cabinet in a hue that makes you feel good?”

Laneway homes and garden suites are cropping up across Toronto. Architect Craig Race, co-founder of Lanescape, is busy designing them. He anticipates the city will soon approve more than 200 permits for these homes annually.



Homeowners are using the residences as rental properties, to house family, or for personal space, such as an office or a hobby area, he says. Race, who worked with the City of Toronto to create the bylaw governing the dwellings, will be discussing laneway suites at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 16.

Eight-to-10 years ago, outdoor kitchens appeared on the scene and gained momentum during the pandemic, and they show no sign of slowing down, says Jeremy Lerner, co-founder of Land-Con Ltd., which handles the process of what Lerner describes as “making people’s backyards into resorts.”

“People are realizing that the costs of a cottage add up, but that, by investing a smaller amount, they can create something at home that they can use daily with no travel required,” he says.

On site, is the Entertainer’s Paradise Feature Backyard, a Land-Con design. Lerner will talk about “pools, pergolas and pavers: everything you need for backyard fun,” on Friday, March 17 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, March 18 at 5 p.m.

Also at the show, visitors can see: a home and garden suite, created by Bonneville Homes; the Skills Ontario Trades & Tech Truck, where youth can explore skilled trades and technologies; a hands-on DIY centre; and a consultation area, where visitors can ask professionals for advice.

Tickets to the show are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors 65 and older, and $16 for youth 13 to 16. There is both paid parking available and GO Transit and TTC service to the Exhibition grounds.



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