What to do with those hard-to-donate items

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With the arrival of Spring comes the feeling that you need to de-clutter. As you begin tearing the house apart and sorting through all the cabinets and drawers, there always seem to be items that you come across that you don’t know quite what to do with. What do you do with extra pens, pencils, paper and office supplies? Donate them to schools who can really use them. Clothes that are stained or have holes no longer need to be wasted, instead they can be donated to a trade association where they will actually be recycled into new products. Often times items like old towels or sheets can be donated to local animal shelters where they use them as bedding for the animals. Sometimes you have to think outside of the box and Houzz has great suggestions as to where to donate unwanted household items that you may not have thought of, to read the article visit this link.

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Trail clearing with the Ridge Meadows Outdoors Club

Trail Clearing

With Spring now here, the hiking season is just around the corner which means overgrown trails will need to be cleared and prepped for the upcoming activity. If you have been thinking of ways to give back to the community, here’s a great opportunity! Join the Ridge Meadows Outdoors club and celebrate Earth Day by helping to clear trails in Golden Ears Park for the upcoming hiking season. On March 25th from 10am to 12:30pm, the Ridge Meadows Outdoors club and volunteers will clear the first half kilometre of the East Canyon Trail and is open to adults and families with youth as young as 13. Registration is required, so if you would like more information as to how you can participate visit their website.

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Surrey…our homecoming

Even though homecoming is typically celebrated in the U.S. sometime around late September, we couldn’t help feel like it was our own homecoming as we return to the wonderful City of Surrey to build our next community.

After years of creating award winning residential developments north of the Fraser, where we believe we have perfected the recipe for building truly unique and special communities. We are best known for building neighborhoods that bring people together and that inspire a healthy lifestyle. We create communities that are designed around the natural landscape and most importantly, we build quality homes that are built to last a lifetime.  When we first visited the Viridian site, we were immediately drawn to the whole picture: Crystal clear views of the mountains, beautiful farmland stretching for miles and the Nicomekyl River – all within eyesight. Like many of our previous communities our goal is to preserve as much of the natural environment as we can. Surrey’s retired tagline “City of Parks” gave way to “The Future Lives Here” and Viridian will be a representation of both old and new. What’s so special about this community is that we have designated over 70% to the City as parkland that will be protected in perpetuity. When homeowners return home after a long day, we want them to truly feel like they are escaping the hustle and bustle of daily life and returning to a peaceful, private neighborhood tucked away amidst the forest.

We are incredibly excited to begin this project which will be launching in the fall. This year has been record breaking in terms of the amount of snow and cold weather that we have had and it has slowed construction down quite a bit, however we are now starting the civil work at Viridian which means we will be preparing the site for sanitary sewers, water, electrical, telephone, cable and gas. Once that’s complete we will begin the next steps which will be starting the construction of our show homes!

If you haven’t already, make sure to register so that we can keep you up to date with the progress of this exciting new community.

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Taking a closer look at the ingredients in your household cleaners

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When you buy a new home, a lot of effort goes into making sure that everything stays nice and clean. Especially if you have small children with sticky fingers or if you’re preparing for guests to come over. We often turn to chemical based products when cleaning windows, or counters or washing floors but as our knowledge grows of how chemicals can affect our bodies, it’s important that we take a look at what we’re using in our daily routine to ensure that we are not exposing ourselves to risks that we don’t have to. One of those risks can be the harmful ingredients of household cleaners which can be particularly unhealthy for children and can cause allergies or more severe reactions.

Some of the ingredients that are best to avoid include:

  1. Formaldehyde: Which can irritate the eyes, ears, nose and throat when inhaled.
  2. Ammonia: Excessive exposure can lead to blindness, lung damage or death. Mild exposure can also irritate the nose and throat.
  3. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS): This chemical has the potential to damage the skin, eyes and hair.

If you happen to be more sensitive to chemicals and would like more information about which cleaning products to avoid, check out this article.

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Build your very own backyard escape

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When we think of the word shed, the first things that come to mind are cob webs, old gardening tools and a lot of dust. But now all of that’s changed, sheds are being re-purposed to serve as multi-functional outdoor spaces. Houzz showed some examples of a few re-vamped sheds and we were super impressed with the creativity involved. What’s great is that doing something like this doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you are careful about where you are sourcing your materials and by using salvaged windows or re-used wood you can give your outdoor space more character while saving yourself money. To check out some examples check out the article here.

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Pour & Paint event in Maple Ridge

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If you enjoy fine arts and wine, don’t miss out on the Pour and Paint event with Lisa Lake on February 14th starting at 7pm at the ACT Arts Centre. Led by professional artists, all supplies are included as well as a complimentary glass of wine! For more information on how to attend this fun evening, visit their website for more information.

 

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The appeal of an open floor plan – is it here to stay?

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As open concept plans began to gain popularity in new home builds, separated kitchens and living rooms became a thing of the past, but will it stay that way? There are so many advantages to open plan living when you have families cohabitating with each other. Formal dining spaces tend to collect dust, and those fancy living rooms that were once only meant for guests seem to have disappeared. Open concept plans are much more suitable for apartment living where it wouldn’t make sense to have a separate kitchen and living in 600 sqft. of space. Though there are still some drawbacks to having this style of plan. If you happen to have dishes in the sink, or a messy kitchen well there’s really no hiding that from your guests. However, we completely agree with Houzz in that “open-plan design encourages sociable living allowing occupants of a space to become more open and engaged in dialogue” But the question remains, will this concept remain popular? An Australian Houzzer suggests “the ideal solution is the ability to open or close off spaces as required and it seems flexibility of living spaces is key for many modern-day homeowners”. Personally, we think that the open concept plan is here to stay, if you’d like to tell us what you think visit our facebook page and click here to view the article.

 

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Our first resident of Viridian

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Before we even purchased the land for our newest community Viridian, we were informed that there were two permanent, long term residents that we would need to accommodate if we decided to build a community in this area of South Surrey. Those residents were two majestic bald eagles that had nested in this particular area for a number of years. We knew that we would have to be very careful with our timing as to not interrupt the eagles while they were nesting or raising their young. So while they were down south on vacation, and on the advice of our consultant, we built them an additional nesting area should our construction activities disturb them. We were amazed at the amount of detail and expertise that our consultants have in taking on this task. We are very excited for their return and plan on tracking their progress in the years to come with a video camera that we hope to place near their nesting area.

 

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Merry Christmas, from everyone at Portrait Homes

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This time of year take time to truly appreciate the meaning of the holiday season. Surrounded by friends and family, honour the love in your life and the many blessings you have. Focus on the spirit of giving rather than receiving, sometimes the best gifts are found in sharing time together over things that can be bought.  Our wish for you from Portrait Homes is that you carry the spirit of this holiday forward with you throughout the year to come.

Merry Christmas, may the season fill your home with joy, your heart with love and your life with laughter.

 

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Creating multi-functional rooms

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Having a limited amount of space to create a functional room for you and your family can be challenging. Creating a space that serves many purposes can be even trickier. This interesting article from Houzz is a reminder to make efficient use of every nook and cranny. Using custom bookshelves, hidden storage and optimizing both vertical and horizontal will have your multifunctional rooms serving your family’s needs in no time. To see a few examples of multi functional rooms, click here to view the article.

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Kids sharing bedrooms and how to make it awesome

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Sometimes it’s simply unavoidable that children will need to share rooms. Even if it’s just a temporary situation there are a lot of creative ways to make sharing a room more fun. Houzz came up with some great solutions that will make kids feel excited to share a space with their sibling including bunk beds with chalk board walls and even simple ideas such as a trundle bed, deep drawers and built in shelves. Check out the article here for some inspiration!

 

 

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Christmas haven

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Looking for something fun to do on Christmas eve? Well stop by the ACT in downtown Maple Ridge for “Christmas Haven”. Starting at 6pm, bring your family and enjoy a festive evening filled with a turkey dinner, local entertainment, activities for the kids and a guest appearance from Santa himself! For more information visit their website here.

 

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Winners of the Peter Simpson Award

When the President and CEO of GVHBA Peter Simpson decided to retire after 19 years, GVHBA decided to honor his years of hard work by creating the Peter Simpson award. Awarded annually, this award is presented to the GVHBA member who demonstrates a high-level of integrity, promotes homebuilding ideals and has a positive attitude. This year, Harry and Rob Grimm were honoured to receive the Peter Simpson award highlighting Portrait Homes’ membership with GVHBA for the past 20 years.

As Bob Dewit, the CEO of GVHBA presented Harry and Rob with the award he quoted some nice sentiments that Peter Simpson had expressed about the Grimm brothers which we will share with you:

“During my 19 years at the helm of GVHBA I occupied a front-row seat from which to observe closely how Rob and Harry built — with a high degree of integrity, professionalism and exceptional customer care — one of Canada’s premier homebuilding and development companies.

It has been said that success consists in the climb. Rob and Harry have already achieved successes most builders can only dream of attaining. Keep climbing, my friends. I am very proud of you both.”

Thank you to GVHBA for presenting Portrait with this award.

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Youth-led support group in Maple Ridge

4311775_origEverybody struggles at some point in their lives, and being a youth can be a really difficult time for most and it’s always important to make sure that your loved ones have resources in case they are struggling with anxiety or depression. Maple Ridge has a youth-led support group for teens 13-18 and young adults 19-24 that are suffering from anxiety or depression. Meeting twice a week starting on November 2nd from 7 to 9pm, this group offers mindfulness exercises, discusses different topics and also takes part in fun group activities. If you know of a youth who might benefit from a support group like this there is more information on their website.

 

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Decorate for Fall!

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With the dramatic weather change that accompanies fall, it’s natural to feel a bit under the weather as your body adjusts to the snap in the air and let’s face it- the lack of sun. However, instead of being sad that summer is gone we can welcome fall with open arms and Houzz can tell us how. One of our favorite suggestions by Houzz was to decorate with nature. The arrival of fall brings out the most beautiful colors in the trees and why not add some of those colors to your home by bringing in branches and creating fall themed arrangements from your very own backyard. Also, buying yourselves new slippers or winter socks makes a pleasant difference when your home has wood floors making you feel more cozy. Organizing your home for winter jackets, mucky boots and umbrellas can also help to keep your home nice and tidy during rainy or snowy weather. Looking after your other senses, cooking foods that warm you from the inside out like soups, casseroles and baked goods can make the cold weather outside seem welcoming. For other ideas check out the article here.

 

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How to create the perfect photo wall

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Having photos of your loved ones on the wall can really warm up a space while creating a pleasant atmosphere of fond memories. Sometimes it can be tricky to get started and overwhelming to make sure you get the pictures in the right spots. Houzz suggests hiring a professional if you feel like you may not be up to this task or you can choose to take on this DIY project yourself. Also recommended is carefully deciding where you want your photo collage to go in your home. Because collages can tend to look a bit busy, choosing hallways or bedrooms can be better suited for this kind of display. Other things to consider are size and shape of the frames, whether your photos are color or black and white and what photos you would like to see on your wall. What we love about photo collages is that you can ultimately decide exactly the kind of look that you would like to achieve. To check out the article click here.

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Working together to make a difference

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The best part about the holidays is giving back to those in need, which is why we are so excited to be participating in the GVHBA 21st annual Coats for Kids campaign again.

Last year we were truly inspired by a group of kids from the RPC daycare. Together they had worked so hard to collect as many coats as possible and visited our head office to drop them off. This year we are dedicated in helping to provide a brighter Christmas for families in need and we are hoping to collect even more coats than last year! If you have coats for donation they can be dropped off at the Portrait Homes head office located at 1100-21320 Westminster Hwy in Richmond, our office hours are from 8am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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Pairing natural light with whites and pastels

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Everyone has a different style when it comes to decorating their home and if bursts of color or funky patterns don’t suit your taste then we have some great suggestions on how to utilize natural light to accent pastel paint colors. Houzz advises that when looking to select a wall color to make sure that you take into consideration your rooms natural light. Houzz also offers some great examples of different colors to use depending on which direction the sun is coming from. If you’re planning on painting, have a look at this article for some inspiration!

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