Toronto Vs. Montreal

If you’re curious about the differences between Canada’s two largest cities, here’s a great video. There are some pronunciations that will make some of us Québecérs cringe. Yet worth the watch.

Music Notation Explained [Video]

Though for some, this might be simplistic, 12 Tone does an excellent job in this video explaining music notation.

10 Reasons to Consider 4-by-4-Inch Tile

Designers are embracing the once common but recently overlooked square tile in kitchens and bathrooms

The heyday of 4-by-4-inch tile lasted for decades. At one point, it seemed as if the modest square was the only widely available tile option, so it’s no surprise that many people tired of it. But 4-by-4-inch tile gets a bad rap. As Houzz has expanded to countries around the world, we’ve noticed that European designers never seemed to abandon it, using square tile beautifully in cozy English country cottages and Scandinavian modern apartments alike. And lately, savvy U.S. designers have rediscovered its potential as well. Here are 10 good reasons to consider 4-by-4-inch tile.

8 Elements of a Traditional-Style Bathroom

Evoke the past with furniture-like cabinetry, period-look lighting, ornate details and calming colors

Good things can last forever. That’s why traditional-style decor, some of which has its roots in 18th-century England, is one of the most popular styles found in homes today. But defining what constitutes it is somewhat tricky. For example, most people aren’t going to outfit their bathroom with furniture pieces built in the 1700s, or pay through the nose for antique French faucets. Instead, designers try to use pieces that are manufactured today but still pay homage to that particular time period, without crossing into the clean lines of contemporary bathroom style

“You try to get that feel,” says Jill Breed, a project coordinator at David Sharff Architect, a firm that’s spearheaded countless traditional projects in places like Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. “So we use painted, furniture-like cabinetry, traditional faucet styles with cross handles and avoid things like modern or sleek fixtures, rectangular sinks and contemporary materials like Caesarstone that would make more of a transitional style.”

Here are eight ways designers add traditional style to a bath.

Existing Home Sales Point Toward a Good Time to Sell

  • Existing Home Sales dropped 1.7% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in June.
  • Low inventory levels are still a factor in the market. The current supply of homes for sale is at 4.4 months, which is less than the optimal 6-month supply.
  • Median home prices were up 4.3% from June 2018, hitting $285,700. This marked the 88thconsecutive month with year-over-year price gains.

10 Quick Decluttering Tasks to Support a Restful Summer

Follow this easy checklist to keep your house tidy this vacation season and beyond

Summer is in full swing and it’s time to enjoy it. As a professional organizer, I’ve found that for my clients (as well as for myself), a clean, clutter-free, organized environment makes for a tranquil environment. One way to make your home a place where you can relax, rejuvenate and recharge is to stay on top of small cleaning and decluttering tasks. Here are the quick daily tasks I recommend to set the stage for easy summertime living.

8 Unusual Ways to Display Your Indoor Plants

Houseplants add color and personality to any room. If you want to make yours even more unique, check out these crafty ideas to showcase your plants in style.

Why Home Sales Are Falling Against a Strong Economy

Despite mortgage rates dipping below 4%, more jobs filled than ever before, and record-high consumer net worth, existing-home sales turned south in June, running at a pace similar to 2015 levels, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Tuesday. While economic indicators portend a strong housing market, low supply on the lower end—which leaves first-time homebuyers with few options—is helping to hold sales back, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says.

Total existing-home sales, comprising transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, dropped 1.7% month over month in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million, according to NAR. Sales are down 2.2% from a year ago. Two of the four major U.S. regions, the Northeast and Midwest, recorded minor sales increases last month, while the South and West posted larger declines. “Imbalance persists for mid- to lower-priced homes, with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices,” Yun says.

The median existing-home price for all housing types reached a record high of $285,700 in June, up 4.3% from a year ago.

Yun says other factors besides high home prices and inventory shortages may also make buyers skittish. “Either a strong pent-up demand will show in the upcoming months, or there is a lack of confidence that is keeping buyers from this major expenditure,” Yun says. “It’s too soon to know how much of a pullback is related to the reduction in the homeowner tax incentive.”

Here’s a closer look at more key indicators in the housing market in June from NAR’s latest report:

  • Inventory: Total housing inventory rose to 1.93 million in June, up from 1.91 million in May. But the June figure is unchanged from inventory levels a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.4-month supply at the current sales pace.
  • Days on the market: Fifty-six percent of homes sold in June were on the market for less than a month. Properties typically remained on the market for 27 days in June, up slightly from 26 days a year ago.
  • Mortgage rates: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 3.80% in June, down from 4.07% in May, according to Freddie Mac. “Historically, these rates are incredibly attractive,” says NAR President John Smaby. “Securing and locking in a mortgage now—given the current favorable conditions—is a decision that will pay off for years to come.”
  • First-time buyers: First-time buyers comprised 35% of sales in June, up from 31% a year ago.
  • All-cash sales: Sixteen percent of transactions in June were paid in cash, down from 22% a year ago. Individual investors, who account for the bulk of cash sales, purchased 10% of homes in June, down from 13% a year ago.

10 Essentials for a Gracious Guest Room

Stock the room with these basic items to make your overnight visitors comfortable

Getting ready to host overnight guests? Let’s assume you have a bed (or air mattress) and coverings on all the windows. That’s a great start! This list will help fill in all the little things your guests will want to have on hand for a comfortable night’s sleep. What you won’t find here: season-specific decor, extra charging cords, books and other optional extras that your guests might enjoy but can live without. Instead the focus is on versatile, key pieces to get your guest space up and running so you’re ready for visitors, no matter when they arrive.