Archive for March, 2011

March 31st, 2011
By Vivian Martin

Currently, although Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) does not offer incentives to new home buyers or new home builders, NRCan manages the EnerGuide Rating System, ENERGY STAR® for New Homes, and R-2000 Standard. These programs encourage new home builders and new home buyers to include energy efficiency upgrades in the construction of their new homes.

Natural Resources Canada’s strategy for the new housing sector is to support voluntary labelling programs such as the EnerGuide Rating System (for new homes under construction) and the R-2000 Standard, and to support industry training and inclusion of energy efficiency measures within the building codes.

NRCan-managed new housing initiatives, coupled with regional programs, form the basis for many provincial and utility incentives and grants that are available to encourage energy efficiency in new home construction throughout the country.

For new housing grants, please look for the house icon on the Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency Grants and Incentives page.

(Preceding information courtesy of the Natural Resources Canada Office of Energy Efficiency)

Each Thursday, we will feature a blog entry about energy efficient new homes, covering a range of topics from building innovations to ratings systems to “score” your home’s efficiency. Subscribe to the DrummondHousePlans blog to make sure you get the latest news on how to make your new or renovated home energy efficient.

March 29th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

How to create the perfect display – and how to do it safely

The joy of purchasing a new piece of art can quickly turn to stress when it comes time to hang it. How high should it be mounted on the wall? How can it be arranged with other pieces to create an inspired statement? And, crucially, how can you be sure it’s safe and secure and won’t end up crashing to the floor?

Photo courtesy of Elle Decor

Hanging Basics

First, Kassel discussed the nuts and bolts of hanging art securely. Contrary to popular belief, he says you needn’t hammer nails into studs, nor install hefty drywall anchors to support art. Here’s how he does it:

• Use picture-hanging hooks, rather than heavy nails or screws. Although they may seem dainty, they are very secure. “It’s all based on shear weight,” says Kassel. “The picture hooks go into the wall on an angle, like a cat’s claw—it’s a whole different set of physics.”

• Buy the right type of hook for your artwork’s weight. “There are basically three types,” says Kassel. “A one-nail picture hook holds things that are 30 pounds or lighter. A two-nail picture hook holds pieces that are about 50 pounds. A three-nail picture hook holds pieces that are about 75 to 100 pounds.

• Use two picture hooks per artwork. Not only does this provide added security but it helps art remain level over time, compared to items hung from a single point.

• When possible, install two D-rings, rather than a wire, on the backs of frames, to hang from the picture hooks. “Then it’s stationary, and not swinging on a wire,” says Kassel. “There’s no pendulum effect involved.”

• Use a level and ruler to ensure that both the picture hooks and D-rings are aligned when installed.

Stylish Arrangements 

When you’re ready to hang the art, the next step is choosing where each piece should reside. Again, Kassel has a few helpful rules of thumb:

• Recruit a helper who can hold pieces against the wall before you begin hammering in the picture hooks. “Then you can take a step back to see what the space is going to look like with the piece there,” says Kassel. “You get a sense of the proportions and colors, and see it against all the other design elements.”

• When hanging a single piece on a wall, the center of the picture should be about 60 inches off the ground, which places it at eye level.

• When hanging a pair of works, one above the other, treat them as one large picture (whether they’re the same or different sizes). Find the center point between them, and use the same 60-inch rule.

• For spacing between art on the same wall, “Generally, we’ll use two inches between larger pictures,” says Kassel. “If they’re all smaller family photos, we might use an inch and a half between them.” That goes for the spacing above, below, and on either side of each frame.

• When arranging multiple pieces, don’t just think in terms of a grid. “What’s really becoming popular are salon installations—a group of often disparate images or frames,” clustered together, says Kassel, who notes that such installations often stretch from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. “There’s no right or wrong way to do it,” he says. “We just start in the middle and work our way out. It’s something you feel proportionally, or you can decide based on whether Aunt Rose should be next to Uncle Jim.”

Kassel says the most important tip is to have fun when hanging art, and not to worry too much about getting things perfect. “You’re not doing anything structural to your walls, and your house isn’t going to fall down if you don’t hang the pictures right,” he says. “If you hang something up and want to move it, it’s really easy to fix the problem,” with a little spackle. In fact, Kassel suggests changing displays of art every once in a while: “I think a lot of people like moving pictures around, just like they move furniture around to freshen things up.”

(Article source: Elle Decor)

March 27th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

What are some ways to describe an Asian style interior? The words serene, peaceful, and Zen immediately come to mind. Although Asian design could be described as a fusion of styles, there are distinct recognizable elements which are associated with this type of decor. Let’s see how some talented Houzz designers created bathrooms inspired by the Far East.

View this idea book for inspiration…

March 26th, 2011
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 3914-V1 - Plan # 3914-V1

If you are looking for a home to capture a view, this model is sure to please. Simple and elegant lines, abundant windows, a screened veranda and wraparound deck… These are only the exterior allures of this model. A further benefit is a front façade just as attractive as the rear thus allowing great flexibility for a wide variety of lot styles.

Inside, a well-positioned staircase allows for panoramic views and casual access to the wraparound deck. The master bedroom is conveniently found on the main level adorned by a veranda access, a walk-in closet, master bathroom vaulted ceiling and a two-sided fireplace which is shared with the family room. A guest bathroom and laundry complete the main level comforts.

Upstairs, we find two bedrooms and a full bathroom as well as a computer or reading nook.

The lower level includes a two-car garage with workshop and undeveloped spaces for additional bedrooms, office or media area.

Related model, 3914 is a smaller version of this plan without an attached garage.

For more details on this plan, click here… 

Looking for other other panoramic view or narrow house plans? Check our Panoramic View CollectionNarrow Lot Houseplan Collection or Create  a “New House Plans – Latest Trends” Alert to receive all of the latest designs direct to you by email! 

Thanks for visiting the DrummondHousePlans Blog!

March 25th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

WWF-Canada Earth Hour

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change.

Earth Hour is now an annual global event hosted by the World Wildlife Fund. Since inception, the event has rapidly gained momentum. Earth Hour 2010 was the biggest Earth Hour ever reaching 1.3 billion people. On March 27, 2010, a record 128 countries and territories united across the globe making it the largest voluntary action ever witnessed. Iconic buildings and landmarks from the Asian Pacific to Europe and Africa to the Americas switched off. Over 10 million of Canadians took part in all provinces and territories, turning out the lights in over 300 cities and towns.

Can an hour of dousing the lights really make a difference? According to BC Hydro, During Earth Hour of 2010, British Columbians saved 64.6 megawatt hours of electricity – the equivalent of turning off about 1.4 million lights. Ontario saw a four per cent drop in electricity demand during Earth Hour 2010, enough to power a city the size of Brampton.

The event is not merely about saving power for a single hour. It is an awareness campaign to show just how much of an impact a small change can make. On Saturday March 26, from 8:30 to 9:30 pm, join in by simply powering down. You could make it fun by having a romantic candlelight dinner, dusting off the board games for a family night or find an Earth Hour event in your community. You may find yourself energized by being unplugged!

March 22nd, 2011
By Vivian Martin

Today is World Water Day and it just so happens that Jerry Yudelson, noted green building authority and author, has released a new conceptual tool to help people understand where water will come from in the future.  The tool mimics the popular Pyramid of Conservation used by Minnesota Power and explains water sourcing in ten increasingly expensive and complex steps.As shown at the base of the pyramid, it’s easy and relatively cheap to use less water.  It’s a lot more complicated and expensive to desalinate ocean water for human consumption. 

Here are the ten steps:

  • Behavior – education, audit, water pricing, conservation, construction codes
  • Low-cost/no-cost – leaks, aerators, low-flow showerheads, shower timers
  • Irrigation – native or adaptive landscape, drip systems, web-based irrigation, sub-metering
  • Hygiene – retrofits, low-flow toilets, water-free urinals, rebate programs
  • Appliances – dishwasher, clothes washer, water softener
  • Extreme Makeover – compost toilets, hardscape, no irrigation, on-site black water reuse
  • Water Heating – solar water heating, hot water loop, efficient water heater
  • On-site Reuse – rainwater collection, gray water, irrigation
  • Off-site Reuse – sewer mining, purple pipe systems
  • Desalination, New Water Sources

Of course, some of these can be done at home (i.e., retrofits, water-saving appliances, water heating), while require a larger effort (i.e., desalination, off-site reuse).

Water is a precious resource that must be protected, and this is a primer to get that started.  All in all, this is a straight-forward, dead-simple graphic that can help us evaluate how to do that.

(Article Source: Jetson Green an excellent source for energy and resource-saving ideas)

March 20th, 2011
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 3877 - Plan # 3877

This contemporary home with integrated garage is a mere 25 feet wide and therefore ideal for narrow lots. Still there is no need to sacrifice curb appeal!

Greet your guests in comfort in a good-sized foyer with generous closet. The powder room is located by the entrance for convenience of arriving guests or discretion when visiting the very open activity areas.

A contemporary kitchen features generous storage and 7’x3’ island for light meals or social mingling. The open kitchen flows to a wonderfully windowed dining room which then flows to the adjoining living room. All of the social areas benefit from backyard vistas allowing for a private social oasis.

The entrance from the garage allows 7’ of flexible wall space that could be used for a closet, laundry or occasional storage.

Upstairs, careful use of space allows a master bedroom with ample room for a queen sized bed and, adjoining walk-in closet and private bathroom complete with a contained tub/shower room. Two secondary bedrooms are generous enough to accommodate double beds. The family bathroom includes a laundry for easy access.

Related models, 3876 and 3876-V1 are other attractive options for narrow lots.

For more details on this plan, click here… 

Looking for other other contemporary or narrow lot house plans? Check our Modern and Contemporary CollectionNarrow Lot Houseplan Collection or Create  a “New House Plans – Latest Trends” Alert to receive all of the latest designs direct to you by email! 

Thanks for visiting the DrummondHousePlans Blog!

March 17th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

On St. Patrick’s Day, it truly is all about green! And what a great color when used in interiors, one that is equally at home in modern spaces as it is traditional rooms, with the ability to bring a space to life. Don’t be shy about bringing the freshness of green into your decor. Find some inspiration in this slideshow!

March 15th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

Have you ever noticed that when it comes to heating, ventilation and cooling discussions, you feel like there is another language being spoken? As with most areas of specialty, this is the case! The following list of terms is a primer on the common terms bantered about by HVAC specialists.

Programmable thermostat - image courtesy of PlanetForward

Glossary of HVAC Terms


ACH stands for Air Changes per Hour. It is the number of times in one hour that the air in a house is completely replaced with outside air.


The AFUE, or Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is the ratio of the total useful heat the gas furnace delivers to the house to the heat value of the fuel it consumes.


Btu, short for British Thermal Unit is a unit of heat energy. One Btu is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water 1°F. To get a rough idea of how much heat energy this is, the heat given off by burning one wooden kitchen match is approximately one Btu.


The transfer of heat through a solid material.


The transfer of heat by air flow.


Coefficient of Performance, COP, is the ratio of energy input to heating capacity. This is the instantaneous measurement of the heating performance of the heat pump. It is comparable to knowing how many miles per gallon of gasoline a car gets when it is going full speed. You can find the COP on the nameplate of the heat pump.


Energy Efficiency Ratio, EER, is the instantaneous measurement of the cooling efficiency of an air conditioner or heat pump. The higher the EER for an air conditioner or heat pump, the more efficient it is.

Heat Pump

A heat pump is basically an air conditioner with a reversible valve that allows it to operate in reverse, removing heat from the house and shunting it outdoors in the summer, and removing heat from outdoor air and shunting it into the house in the winter. Because heat pumps do not actually create heat—they just move it from one place to another—heat pumps are more efficient than other forms of heating.


The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, HSPF, is an efficiency rating for heat pumps. It is a measure of the average number of Btu of heat delivered for every Watt-hour of electricity used by the heat pump over the heating season. It takes into account variations due to weather conditions over a season. HSPF is comparable to knowing how many miles per gallon of gasoline a car got, averaged over the entire year.

Programmable Thermostat

A thermostat with the ability to record different temperature settings for different times for heating and/or cooling equipment. Programmable thermostats can be electronic, or mechanical.


The transfer of heat directly from one surface to another (whithout the intermediate air acting as a transfer mechanism).


The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, SEER, measures the average cooling efficiency, over the entire cooling season for an air conditioner or heat pump.

System Capacity

System capacity is a measurement of the total amount of heat or cooling the furnace, heat pump or air conditioner can produce in one hour. This amount is reported in Btu/hr on the nameplate of the equipment. 

(Source of Terminology: Home Energy Saver)

March 14th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

See What Designers Are Doing With This Versatile, Weatherproof Counter Alternative

Concrete may not be the first material you think of for your countertop, but take note: Designers are doing some amazing things with this readily available alternative to traditional granite or engineered stone. It may seem cold and industrial, but it can look warm or sleek depending on your tastes.

Enjoy the slideshow featuring concrete in various forms – natural, tintled, formed and more!


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