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(BPT) - Custom cabinetry, granite countertops, reclaimed wood flooring and accents, and top-of-the-line, high-tech appliances - what more do you need to make your kitchen renovation perfect? How about adding an island? Designers and builders across the country are pointing to the addition of an island as the must-have upgrade for kitchen renovations this year.

Homeowners are embracing the island, and what's not to love about it? Adding an island can dramatically alter a kitchen's appearance, provide additional storage space and work area, and create a fresh focal point for family meals. What's more, common challenges that have historically held homeowners back from adding islands - such as the difficulty and high costs associated with adding plumbing drainage in the center of the room - are easier to solve than ever.

Plumbing problem solved

While you could add an island without plumbing, having a sink in an island can improve the workflow in a kitchen and open up counter space elsewhere. Plumbing an island can be problematic, however, if your home is built on a slab or a crawl space. The cost of cutting through concrete and adding piping can be prohibitive.

Above-floor plumbing can solve the problem. Manufacturers make a variety of pumping systems that can eliminate the need to cut concrete and reduce the cost of installing plumbing in a new island. 

"Cutting through concrete to install plumbing can easily account for 50 percent of a renovation budget," says Chris Peterson of Saniflo. "Homeowners may decide to abandon the idea of an island altogether when they face that kind of cost. Above-floor plumbing allows them to add an island, hide a single drain pipe in a decorative column, and achieve the kitchen of their dreams at a fraction of the cost of traditional plumbing options."

Top island trends

Islands are increasingly becoming the focal point of kitchen renovations, serving both practical purposes and as design statements.

More homeowners are replacing traditional dining tables and breakfast nooks with spacious islands that feature seating. "Islands are replacing tables," said Audrey Macdonald of Creative Interiors By Audrey in Mississauga, Ontario, in the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2015 Kitchen & Bath Style Report.

In addition to seating, homeowners are incorporating restaurant-quality fittings into islands, adding charging stations for the family's personal digital devices. They're also choosing architectural and design touches such as decorative legs, and countertops and cabinetry that contrast with those around the perimeter of the kitchen.

Kitchen renovations continue to be among the most popular home improvement projects and can offer homeowners a high return on their investments. A major kitchen remodel costing about $56,000 can recoup nearly 68 percent of its cost when you sell your home, while a minor remodel in the range of $19,000 can yield a 79 percent ROI upon resale, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report.
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I have sold a property at 114 33 ARBOUR GROVE CL NW in Calgary.
This 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo is a must-see. It has had thousands of dollars in upgrades including hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, A/C through out the unit, granite counters, undermount sinks, fully tiled ensuite shower with a glass enclosure, upgraded blinds, front load LG washer and dryer, pot lighting in the living room and under cabinet lighting. Other features include 1 underground TITLED parking stall, extra parking stalls can be rented, plenty of insuite storage, a private patio facing a greenbelt and visitor parking stalls. Within walking distance to the LRT station, plenty of shops, grocery stores, YMCA and many more amenities.
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I have listed a new property at 371 DISCOVERY PL SW in Calgary.
Open House Sat June 27: 1-4pm. Truly an exceptional executive style bungalow in the serene and picturesque community of Discovery Ridge! On arrival you will know that you are in for a treat. This extremely private home has been landscaped with trees, bushes and shrubs that create your own private oasis. You will have plenty of sun from the south and west on the 2 tier deck. You will also have a gas firepit area and gas bbq line. When you enter the home you will be greeted by soaring vaulted ceilings that span your living room, kitchen and nook area. This space is perfect for large gatherings or your more quaint intimate gatherings. Your kitchen space has great counter space complete with large island and raised eating bar. The master suite features a great ensuite with corner soaker tub and walk-in closet. Also on the main you will have a study and laundry. The finished lower level has in floor heating and has a media room, family room and 2 more bedrooms. Privacy and serenity make this one a must see!
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Please visit our Open House at 371 DISCOVERY PL SW in Calgary.
Open House on Saturday, June 27, 2015 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Open House Sat June 27: 1-4pm. Truly an exceptional executive style bungalow in the serene and picturesque community of Discovery Ridge! On arrival you will know that you are in for a treat. This extremely private home has been landscaped with trees, bushes and shrubs that create your own private oasis. You will have plenty of sun from the south and west on the 2 tier deck. You will also have a gas firepit area and gas bbq line. When you enter the home you will be greeted by soaring vaulted ceilings that span your living room, kitchen and nook area. This space is perfect for large gatherings or your more quaint intimate gatherings. Your kitchen space has great counter space complete with large island and raised eating bar. The master suite features a great ensuite with corner soaker tub and walk-in closet. Also on the main you will have a study and laundry. The finished lower level has in floor heating and has a media room, family room and 2 more bedrooms. Privacy and serenity make this one a must see!
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Please visit our Open House at 23 CRANLEIGH GD SE in Calgary.
Open House on Sunday, June 28, 2015 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
OPEN HOUSE! SUN June 28 2-4PM Are you an empty nester? Do you have teenagers or adult children? Do you LOVE to ENTERTAIN? If you answer yes to any of these questions then this is the HOME for YOU! This is truly an EXCEPTIONAL LIFESTYLE HOME in the Estates of Cranston! Your main floor is extremely versatile with soaring vaulted ceiling and has a front flex room/dining room, study and the perfect kitchen and living room space for entertaining. The kitchen features an island that is over 11' long and all the cabinet and counter space you could possibly want. The open concept main floor is perfect for everyday living and when your day is done you can retreat to your elevated master suite! The master retreat is a true place of serenity after a long day with vaulted ceilings and 5 piece ensuite. The lower level features a theatre room complete with wet bar and 3 more bedrooms. Then there is your private oasis in the backyard! This is a true place of zen. This former show home is only steps to the walking paths!
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Please visit our Open House at 211 EDGEDALE DR NW in Calgary.
Open House on Saturday, June 27, 2015 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
OPEN HOUSE! SAT JUNE 27th at 3-5PM! One of a Kind! Custom built by Swedish Homes this home has character everywhere you look. On your arrival you will know that you are in for a treat. Out front you have a private patio to sit and enjoy your morning coffee. Stepping into the home you are greeted by soaring vaulted ceiling over the living room, dining room and into the kitchen and breakfast nook. The main floor also features a bedroom and family room complete with wood burning fireplace and hidden prohibition wet bar. Upstairs you will find 3 huge bedrooms. Your master suite has a private patio that overlooks your amazing yard. The lower level is the perfect entertaining area that can be your own private pub. This space has 10' ceiling and features a wet bar, billiards area, card area and theatre space. Moving outside to the west backyard you have the perfect summer space with a huge deck, complete with built-in BBQ area and lots of trees and backing onto green space. This is a special home and a must see!
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While success is often measured simply on income or career status, taking a leap of faith to follow your dreams and realize your potential can lead to greater gains.

Canadian couple Deb Corbeil and Dave Bouskill were not focusing on the financial outcome when they left their jobs in the film industry to pursue their passion for travel.

"We had always dreamed of being professional travelers, but this path was so unexpected, so against the norm. For years we were too scared to put the dream into action," says Bouskill, who worked in the film industry. "We were working 14 to 16 hour days when we finally had enough. In 2009, we got up the nerve to quit our jobs and we've been traveling ever since."

Their adventure travel blog, ThePlanetD.com, is now ranked as one of Canada's most popular travel blogs and receives sponsorship from tourism boards across the world and some of the country's largest brands. The couple are living proof that following your dreams can lead to gains beyond money or heightened career status.

Deb Corbeil added, "In the beginning, we thought it was crazy to give up our jobs and make travelling a full time career. We took the leap of faith, realized our potential, and are now travelling the world full time and getting paid for it!"

According to a survey conducted on behalf of American Express Canada, many more Canadians are already moving towards following their dreams and realizing their full potential. The survey looked at how adults feel about work, life and following your dreams, revealing a sense of fulfilment is a top priority for Canadians in 2013.

Of those surveyed, nine in 10 (87%) stated it's important to follow your dreams in life, despite other commitments getting in the way. What's more, over eight in 10 (83%) stated they are striving to learn new things because they are on a quest for more meaning in their lives.

Deb and Dave agree that following your dreams isn't as hard as it looks, suggesting more Canadians should take the leap of faith and realize their full potential. Their advice? "You really can dream your way to anywhere."

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Springbank Hill, Calgary is a southwest Calgary neighbourhood that’s recognized throughout the city for being an upscale community. There are several factors that play a part in earning it this reputation—but, the particular factor that I’ll be focusing on are the private schools that make their home in Springbank Hill. They are: Rundle College, Ambrose University College, and the Webber Academy.

 

In my latest article, Select Properties and Schools in Springbank Hill, Calgary, Alberta, I’m going to give you a closer at what makes each of these prestigious educational institutions unique and how they help provide families living in Springbank Hill with one of the best settings in which to raise their children.

 

Rundle College

 

Located at 7375 17 Avenue Southwest, Calgary, and on the border between Springbank Hill and Aspen Woods, Rundle College is a private school that seeks to provide students with a higher standard for education. The school is divided in to two separate campuses: Rundle Academy and Rundle College Jr. Sr. High. The latter is located in Springbank Hill, Calgary.

 

One of Rundle College’s central tenets is that they provide students with small class sizes where they can receive the individual attention needed foster personal and academic growth. A fine balance between academia, athletics, and creativity are central to the school’s beliefs and is one of their key differentiators.

 

Find out why Rundle College has consistent ranked highly in the Fraser Report with the video below: 

 

 

Ambrose University College



Since 1921, the Ambrose University has been providing post-secondary students with a means of obtaining a faith-based liberal arts education. The school cycled through several names and locations; however, in 2007, Ambrose University settled at 150 Ambrose Cir SW in southwest Calgary where many of Springbank Hill’s residents have opted to further their education.

 

As mentioned, Ambrose University is a faith-based private school. The faculty provides programs that offer select liberal arts and science undergraduate degrees. Ambrose University is also home to a seminary school where students can gain the knowledge and credentials necessary to take on leadership roles in the greater Christian community. 

 

Webber Academy Calgary



Webber Academy Calgary is a private school located just a few minutes north of Springbank Hill at 1515 93 St SW. This school provides classes for students from kindergarten all the way up to senior high school. Many Springbank Hill families who aren’t particularly fond of the public school system have enrolled their children in this school with the hopes of preparing them to thrive in university and beyond.

 

This private school prides itself in their Performing Arts Centre. This well kept venue has also hosted many professional musical and theatrical acts. The Webber Academy website describes it as a “two multi-purpose studios for drama and dance instruction, as well as dedicated classrooms for choir, band, and music instruction.”

 

Opportunities to live in Springbank Hill

 

As a real estate agent whose main focus is the southwest Calgary area and the neighbourhoods within it, I strive to connect the right families with the right home. If your family is considering moving to southwest Calgary, and you’re keen on providing your children with the absolute highest degree of education, I’d like to encourage you to consider this stunning Springbank Hill home. Living here means that you’ll be within minutes of the exceptional schools mentioned above. Check out the listing below: 

 

 

For more information about this Springbank Hill home for sale, click here.

 

To learn more about the private schools in Springbank Hill, or to take a closer look at the above property, I can be reached at:

 

Website: http://totalhomemarketing.ca/
Email: 
georgebyma@shaw.ca
Direct: 
(403) 690-2020

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I have sold a property at 384 TUSCANY ESTATES RI NW in Calgary.
MUST SEE Fantastic 4 bedroom family home on a very quiet child friendly street. Upon entering you will instantly know that you are in for a treat. When you are greeted by a large front entry with soaring ceilings that stretch to the 2nd level. On the main you will find a home office, formal dining room, huge living room complete with gas fireplace and the perfect kitchen for entertaining. Your new kitchen has all the counter space and cabinet storage one could want, large island, high end appliance package and a huge walk through pantry. Upstairs features 4 large bedrooms, laundry room and bonus room perfect for family movie nights. Your master suite is extremely spacious and features a large walk-in closet and awesome 5 piece ensuite. The lower level has 9' ceiling and offers a tremendous amount of potential for future development. Outside the backyard has been fully landscaped with a huge full width deck and a custom pergola. Perfect for the growing family!
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I have sold a property at 258 HILLCREST CI SW in Airdrie.
Awesome family home that is even better then new! This home is in excellent condition and has been fully landscaped complete with a huge maintenance free back deck and features air-conditioning and heated garage. The main floor has a great entry with a huge walk-in front door closet. Your living area on the main is the perfect wide open plan for entertaining with a great kitchen including granite countertops, large eating area and huge living room complete with a corner gas fireplace. Upstairs you will have your laundry room, bonus room complete with built-ins and vaulted ceilings and 3 bedrooms. Your master suite features a 5 piece ensuite with large soaker tub and a great walk-in closet. Outside the south facing backyard is the perfect area to enjoy those hot summer days and soak up all the sun. There is also a dog run and underground sprinklers. This is great home is truly a must see!
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I have listed a new property at 206 CRANFIELD GD SE in Calgary.
Open House Sun June 21: 1-4pm. Are you looking for the perfect family location? Then look no further! This fantastic family home is situated on a very quiet cul-de-sac with a playground directly across the street. With over 2200sq' it allows plenty of space for the growing family. The main floor has a front flex room perfect for a den, dining room or kids play room. Moving past the flex room you enter the heart of the the home which is the perfect entertainment area. The flow between kitchen, living room and nook is perfect. Your kitchen has plenty of space and features a built-in wine rack, large pantry and island with raised eating bar. The living room is massive with tons of space for all your furniture and your nook leads out to the south facing backyard. Upstairs you will have 3 large bedrooms and huge bonus room. The master suite is a great size and features an awesome 4 piece ensuite complete with soaker tub and walk-in closet. Lots of space and great location make this a must see!
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Please visit our Open House at 23 CRANLEIGH GD SE in Calgary.
Open House on Sunday, June 21, 2015 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
OPEN HOUSE SUN June 21 1-4PM! Are you an empty nester? Do you have teenagers or adult children? Do you LOVE to ENTERTAIN? If you answer yes to any of these questions then this is the HOME for YOU! This is truly an EXCEPTIONAL LIFESTYLE HOME in the Estates of Cranston! Your main floor is extremely versatile with soaring vaulted ceiling and has a front flex room/dining room, study and the perfect kitchen and living room space for entertaining. The kitchen features an island that is over 11' long and all the cabinet and counter space you could possibly want. The open concept main floor is perfect for everyday living and when your day is done you can retreat to your elevated master suite! The master retreat is a true place of serenity after a long day with vaulted ceilings and 5 piece ensuite. The lower level features a theatre room complete with wet bar and 3 more bedrooms. Then there is your private oasis in the backyard! This is a true place of zen. This former show home is only steps to the walking paths!
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