Welcome to Gentek Canada’s MyDesign Home Studio, our home exterior improvement blog

Get tips and colour choices from our designers and learn about our latest windows, siding and home exterior products.

Not-So-Boring Bookshelves: Bookshelf Styling Tips

Bookshelves have come a long way in the world of decor. While they were once primarily used to hold books (hence, the name), there are plenty of ways to style bookshelves and make them look anything but boring. Bookshelf styling allows you to add a touch of your own personality to whatever room you place the shelves in. Here are 7 tips to make your bookshelf look like it’s right out of a magazine. 

1. Start with Larger, Statement Items

When it comes to styling your bookshelf, start with larger items first. Trying to squish them in among smaller items can lead to your shelves looking cluttered and disorganized. Fill your shelves with larger items like woven baskets and planters to help you find the right balance for the rest of the items and your shelving unit as a whole. 

2. Mix In Metallics

Metallics are having a well-deserved moment in the home decor world. They play with light, and will add a beautiful sheen to your bookshelf, especially among books and more natural elements. Brass, gold, pewter and nickel are popular metallics that are sure to add a touch of glimmer to your shelves. 

3. Bring in Decorative Items

Decorative items such as coral, healing crystals and terrariums are sure to take your bookshelf up a notch. You can decorate with pieces you’ve collected along your travels, that you’ve found at antique shops, or at your favourite homewares store. Your shelves will look best if all the decorative pieces work well together.

4. Add Greenery

Add some life to your shelves with greenery. Opt for low-maintenance plants in stylish pots and containers. They’ll add material and dimension to your shelving, and real plants have health benefits, such as improving air quality, boosting your mood and reducing stress. However, if you’d rather not have to care for real plants, opt for artificial plants you can use for visual impact.

5. Use Odd Numbers

When styling your shelves, always arrange items in odd numbers. This creates a more balanced look and will help you figure out which items to place where. Play around with items of different heights and sizes. When everything is too much the same, it tends to look forced, and when you mix items with too much of a size difference, this can also look off. A good balance is key to shelf styling!

6. Don’t Forget Artwork

Artwork isn’t only meant for your walls. Bring in cool pieces of art for some visual stimulation. Try placing artwork towards the back of the shelf with smaller, decorative pieces in front of it to give your shelf some dimension.

7. Integrate Stylish Storage Options

The best storage is both stylish and practical. Fill some of your shelves with chic storage options such as rattan or welded steel baskets. They’ll add texture to your shelves and give you a space to keep papers and other knick knacks organized.

Bookshelves don’t have to be boring! Use our shelf styling tips to create a gorgeously styled bookshelf that adds personality to your home!

Make a Feature Wall of Versetta Stone

Looking to make a statement in your home? A feature wall is the perfect way to do it. Feature walls, also known as accent walls, are one of the best ways to liven up your space, adding colour, pattern or texture to one wall in any room. They draw in the eye, becoming the centrepiece of the room, and can either be bold or subtle, depending on the look you want to achieve. One of the most gorgeous options is a stone feature wall, and you can get the look by using one of Gentek’s most loved specialty products: Versetta Stone

All About Versetta Stone

Versetta Stone is manufactured stone veneer that offers the authentic look of traditional stone masonry. You get the beauty of real stone without the high cost and installation time. Versetta Stone is mortarless and cement-based and its panelized design is installed with mechanical fasteners so your contractor can simply recreate the craftsmanship of stone masonry using nails or screws. 

While it’s often used on the exterior of homes to create a beautiful stone look, you can also use Versetta Stone inside to create a stunning feature wall. Inspired by countries around the world, it’s available in an array of colours and textures unique to each place. Versetta stone precisely replicates natural stone through its patterns and stone shapes. It’s cast in molds and hand coloured with iron oxidized pigments to create the subtleties found in nature. The rugged texture and purposeful irregularities offer a well-worn look that gives it even more authenticity. 

How to use Versetta Stone for an Indoor Feature Wall
There are plenty of ways to create a feature wall with Versetta Stone. Here are our top 5 favourite feature wall ideas!

1. Around Your Fireplace

Your fireplace is a visual statement piece on its own, so why not highlight it even more by surrounding it with a stone feature wall? Bring the Versetta Stone all the way up to the ceiling for ultimate aesthetic appeal. 

2. Behind Your Bed

The wall behind your bed is one of the most beautiful places for a feature wall. While bedrooms can sometimes go neglected since they’re not seen by every guest that comes over, it’s nice to do something special to enjoy for yourself. A stone feature wall is extremely elegant, bringing in some country charm. 

3. Kitchen Eat-In Area

A stone wall is one of the best ways to create a seamless look between the indoors and outdoors, and what better place to do this than in the kitchen. Give your kitchen eat-in area the look and feel of a gorgeous outdoor space that you can enjoy all year round.

4. Going Up Your Staircase

Your staircase is an area of the home that can easily go ignored, but consider making it a statement piece for your home. A feature wall going up your staircase is sure to draw the eye of even the most aloof guests.

5. Your Living Room

Your living room should be one of the coziest spots in your home, and a feature wall made of Versetta Stone will add the charm and personality you’re looking for. Add in oversized, comfy furniture, a rug, rustic coffee table and lots of candles for a homey living room that you and your family will love spending time in.

Versetta Stone is one of our most popular products for a reason! Get your hands on it and create a gorgeous feature wall today! 

DIY Secret Garden Ideas for Your Backyard

Sometimes you need a cozy, secluded space to relax and hide away from the outside world. Go a step further in your backyard by creating a secret garden. A secret garden is a small area in your yard where you can relax and enjoy calmness and serenity. Take a step away from the hustle and bustle of your busy life, and enter a soothing oasis where you can let go of stress and completely unwind. Whether you want to relax on your own, with a loved one, or entertain a small group of friends, a secret garden is the perfect spot. Here are 5 DIY secret garden ideas for your backyard. 

1. A Whimsical, Illuminated Garden

There’s something that feels so magical about a secret garden. Play this up by creating an illuminated space with a sense of whimsy. Set up a charming seating area underneath a big tree and hang string lights and lanterns from above. Place large candles throughout your seating area, and you have a wonderful place to relax on your own or to entertain your closest friends. 

2. Create a Lounge with a Roof

You don’t have to have a huge backyard to create a secret garden. Use your porch to set up a cozy lounge area and cover it with a pergola that has a solid roof. This will allow you to enjoy the space in all types of weather- you can sip on a lemonade on a sunny day, or read wrapped up in a blanket when the rain is coming down. Add string lights so you can enjoy the space into the night, as well as cozy lounge pieces, plants and candles to create a soothing atmosphere. 

3. A Bamboo Garden 

If you’re a fan of bamboo, use the gorgeous plant to create a wall for your secret garden. It grows quickly and tall, providing you with good coverage and offering the privacy you need. Take inspiration from the bamboo plant and create a Zen oasis for your secret garden, with elements like lanterns, big comfy floor pillows, and perhaps even a small fountain. Does it get any more relaxing than that? 

4. Use Flowering Vines

If you want to create an extra secluded space in your backyard, use flowering vines to enhance the privacy. This is ideal if you love to entertain as it will create extra seclusion for you and your guests. Place an arbour over your dining area, and once the flowering plants start to grow along it, your guests will feel sheltered from the outside world, as well as be protected from the sun and light showers. 

5. Hang a Bed Swing From a Tree

Have a secluded area in your backyard that’s also home to a strong tree? Hang a bed swing from the tree and create the perfect reading nook. Fill the swing with pillows and blankets and plant beautiful flowers and plants around it to foster privacy and seclusion. 

If you need a relaxing spot in your backyard to get away when you need to, use one of these secret garden ideas to create a space to unwind!

Bring the Warmth of Wood Inside This Winter with ChamClad 

If you haven’t heard of ChamClad yet, allow us to introduce you. One of our specialty siding products at Gentek, ChamClad is modern and stylish, and comes in a variety of high-end woodgrain metallic, solid and anodized finishes. It provides the gorgeous look of real wood, without the pesky maintenance, and is available in exterior siding and soffit, as well as interior walls and ceilings. Whether you want to add charm to your city home, warmth to your family abode, or are designing a commercial space, ChamClad has you covered. Take a look at why we’re head over heels for ChamClad. 

About ChamClad and Its Benefits 

ChamClad is made in Canada and manufactured with 100% recycled PVC. Its panels are LEED compliant, and are celebrated for both their style and durability. Available in both interior and exterior applications, you can use ChamClad to outfit the inside or outside of your home, or both. ChamClad is wrapped in a UV protectant coat, so you don’t have to worry about fading, bubbling or delamination, and it’s overall very low maintenance, so it’s ideal for today’s busy lifestyle. It’s impenetrable to water absorption, bacteria and mold, and has high impact resistance. It pretty much has everything you could want in a cladding product. 

Exterior ChamClad

ChamClad exterior siding and soffit is impact-resistant, non-fading, and available for all types of building material applications, from family homes to large commercial structures. It comes in a wide array of colours to complement your design choices, and is the stylish cladding you’ve been searching for. It’s durable and warp resistant, with lightweight panels that offer incredible resistance and strength. The panels provide minimal contraction and expansion in all climates, so are suitable for wherever you may live. 

Interior ChamClad

If you’re looking to bring warmth to the interior of your home, ChamClad is also available in interior walls and ceiling panels. If you’re looking for a product that’s low to no maintenance, impervious to moisture and bacterial growth, and just plain beautiful, ChamClad is the way to go. With a wide range of colour options from Beach Wood Grey to Natural Oak to Black Cherry, Brushed Metallic and so many more, you’re sure to find the perfect shade for your interior design. 

If you’re looking to warm up your home this winter, look no further than ChamClad. Find it at your nearest Gentek retailer and start outfitting your home to be incredibly modern and stylish! 

Ideas to Create Your Own Home Gym

As we head deeper into the winter season, the thought of putting on our boots and coats and trudging through the snow to get to the gym becomes less and less appealing. But don’t let the snowy season prevent you from staying on track with your health and fitness goals. Create your own home gym and throw the excuses out the door. This way, even when spring hits, you have no excuse not to get in a workout, because the gym is right inside your home! Plus, you can save a significant amount of money on a gym membership simply by doing effective online at-home workouts. Here are 4 awesome ideas to create your own home gym! 

1. The Basement 

The basement is one of the most common areas to create a home gym, because most basements have plenty of space. Bring in a treadmill and exercise mat, and mount a TV on the wall so you can follow along with at-home workouts. Mirrors are also great to hang up in an at-home gym. Not only will you be able to watch your form, it will also make the space seem bigger. Bring in weights, exercise balls and any other equipment you need for your at-home gym!

2. The Attic

If you have an attic space that’s not being used, transform into your very own gym! Bring in a home gym or weight bench, treadmill, stationary bike, or whatever equipment you love to use most. Make sure there’s a window so you can get good air and ventilation, and hang some motivational posters on the wall! 

3. The Corner of a Room

If you don’t have a basement or attic, consider adding a treadmill or stationary bike and some weights to the corner of a room, such as your bedroom. If you have the space for it, there’s no reason why it can’t be done! Plus, being right in front of your face when you wake up every morning, it will remind you to get your workout in!

4. Outdoor Shed 

There are plenty of different ways to use your outdoor shed, and a home gym is one of the best. It provides you with your very own space outside of your home, but is still close enough to eliminate any excuses. Hang a punching bag, place down an exercise mat, and add some weights for a home gym that will keep you healthy and fit all through the year. 

Ready to create your very own home gym? Pick one of these spaces and put together a workout space that motivates and inspires you with your favourite equipment! 

Creative Coffee Tables That Really Showcase Your Personality 

Coffee tables are more than just a surface to place your coffee cup. They’re functional decor pieces and if you get creative with them, coffee tables can be an extension of your style and personality. Every piece in your home should be a reflection of you, and your coffee table can really make a statement. Whether you want to go with a retro, vintage vibe, a rustic vibe, or are into modern functionality, here are 7 creative coffee tables to consider for your living space. 

1. Wooden Coffee Table with Hairpin Legs

A coffee table with hairpin legs is perfect for any room with a mid-century modern or farmhouse vibe. Hairpin legs look especially great when topped with a slice of wood. It’s a fun DIY project, but if you’re not very crafty, you can find hairpin leg coffee tables at many home decor stores. If it suits your style, opt for hairpin legs in a vibrant shade for a gorgeous pop of colour. 

2. Window Coffee Table

Transform an old window into a gorgeous coffee table. Use a wooden window as the tabletop, giving you extra storage and a unique and beautiful look for your living room coffee table. Leave the wood raw for a homey, rustic vibe. 

3. Wooden Crates

Another awesome DIY window project, use old wooden wine crates to make a coffee table for your family room. Place the crates so that the open sides face outward, to give you extra storage space. Fill the open spaces with books, coasters, decor, and anything else that needs a place. 

4. Suitcase Coffee Table 

Whether you have an old suitcase lying around or find a vintage suitcase at an antique shop, using it as the top of a coffee table will give your living room a retro vibe. Stack it on mid-century modern table legs for a look that compliments and contrasts.

5. Driftwood Coffee Table

If you want to make a statement with your coffee table, a piece of driftwood is a beautiful way to do it. You can use driftwood for the base of your coffee table and top it with a piece of glass, or use it for the top of your coffee table with your choice of table legs. 

6. Coffee Dining Table

Multifunctional furniture pieces are all the rage right now, especially for small spaces. A coffee table with a dining table built in, or an adjustable height coffee table that can be lifted when you want to eat dinner is extremely practical for a wide array of lifestyles.

7. Tree Stump Coffee Table

Whether you have tree stumps in your backyard or you can visit some lumber yards, making a coffee table out of tree stumps offers natural beauty and is ideal if you’re looking to enhance the gorgeous rustic look of your room. Use two or three tree stumps of varying heights to create a coffee table in the middle of your seating area. Top it with books and coasters or make it even cozier with a faux fur throw laid over top.

Your coffee table can be a statement piece in your living or family room. Use one of these creative coffee table ideas to showcase your personality!

Fences Can Be Beautiful: 8 Stunning Designs for Your Backyard

Fences are often times an afterthought when it comes to the design of a home, but when given the proper attention, a fence can create a beautiful statement, providing privacy, boundaries and protection for your backyard. You want a backyard fence that serves both function and style, complementing your yard and your personal design aesthetic. Fences don’t have to be boring- check out 8 stunning fence designs or your backyard! 

1. Uneven Wood Boards

If you love the look of a wooden fence, but want something a little more unique, create a wooden fence with uneven board lengths, giving it a staggered look. It’s unique and classic at the same time, and since you can lay the boards so they overlap, it creates lots of privacy for your yard.

2. Black Horizontal Slats

If you’re going for a modern look, black horizontal slats are right up your alley. The perfect combination of minimal and elegant, divide the black steel fencing with white concrete for a sleek, sophisticated look. 

3. Low Vinyl Fence 

If you prefer a shorter fence, a low vinyl fence could be the ideal option for you. It will still provide you with a good amount of privacy, while allowing you to see more of the nature beyond your fence. 

4. Wrought Iron Fence

Wrought iron fencing will give your yard a beautiful, sophisticated feel, plus it’s extremely durable. Whether you’re going for traditional, modern or rustic, a wrought iron fence can work for you. They allow ventilation, while also protecting your property, and are ideal if you don’t have neighbours directly beside you.

5. Classic White Fence 

There’s nothing more classic than a white fence, especially paired with a more traditional home. White fences come in vinyl and wood, depending on your budget and material preference. A classic white fence looks clean and timeless, popping out against the greenery in your yard. It’s simple and elegant and can make the most gorgeous backyard statement. 

6. Bamboo Fence

If you want something truly unique, a bamboo fence is the way to go. Beautiful, light weight and natural, bamboo fences are environmentally friendly and can be stained whatever colour suits your yard. Bamboo is incredibly resistant, and can withstand extreme temperatures and weather, such as excessive heat, rain and snow. If you want a tropical look for your yard, consider a bamboo fence!

7. Solid Concrete

This look isn’t for everyone, but if you want your yard to have a truly modern feel, solid concrete backyard walls can be sophisticated and stylish. Add geometric lines to give the walls a personal touch and a sleek finish.

8. Frosted Glass with Wood 

Frosted glass fencing offers amazing privacy, and is complemented perfectly by wood frames and posts. It’s a cool and distinctive look that can work for various backyard styles. 

It’s time to give your backyard fence the upgrade it deserves. Use one of these stunning design ideas and transform your backyard with a gorgeous fence.

Top Tips to Create the Perfect Gallery Wall

Hanging a gallery wall in your home is one of the best ways to make a visual statement. A gallery wall can transform any room, giving it interest, depth and personality. Hang it above your couch, a mounted TV, your bedroom headboard, or anywhere you feel there’s empty wall space that needs to be filled in. If you’re someone who loves to change up your decor, a gallery wall gives you the opportunity to switch things up as your taste changes, or as you add new pieces to your art collection. Whether you have a large home or a small apartment, a gallery wall is a simple way to add visual interest to your space. Here are our top tips for creating the perfect gallery wall.

1. Plan Out Your Gallery Wall On The Floor

Before you begin to hang your pieces of art on the wall, it’s a good idea to plan out your gallery wall on the floor. Arrange the pieces until you’re happy with the layout, changing things up that don’t work. It’s much easier to do this before they’re nailed on the wall. Use painters tape and a level to help transfer your layout from the ground to the wall. 

2. Use Varying Frame Sizes 

Gallery walls look best with varying frame sizes. Choose one or two larger frames as your starting point, and fill in the gap with smaller frames. Try not to put two frames of the same size right beside each other, and make sure to hang frames both vertically and horizontally for ultimate aesthetic appeal. Also, make sure to hang your frames at least one inch apart. Everything should look evenly arranged and you don’t want it to look overcrowded. 

3. Choose a Colour Scheme

Your gallery wall should have a colour scheme and it should also follow the colour scheme of whatever room you hang it in. Choose prints, pictures, and art pieces with a common colour to give your wall a more cohesive look. Pull colours from your room and complement them with your pieces. Or, opt for an all black and white gallery wall, which goes with any colour scheme. 

4. Frames Matter

Gallery wall frames aren’t just there to hold your art pieces, they’re part of the art itself. Depending on the feel of the wall and the room, choose between simple, sleek frames, ornate frames, chunky frames, or bright coloured frames that pop. Don’t forget you can always paint frames with spray paint or regular paint to get the look you want. 

5. Add in Personal Touches

The great thing about a gallery wall is that not one is the same as another. It allows you to bring your personality into the space and decorate with pieces that mean something to you. Mix in your favourite pieces with special artwork or features that reflect you and your family. It could be pieces from your travels, letters of the alphabet for people’s names, or family photos from special occasions. 

Creating a beautiful gallery wall is a great way to bring visual interest to your home. Use our tips to get started and create a gallery wall today!

5 Ways to Keep Your Siding Mold Free

Dealing with pesky mold? While many siding options today are able to fight against mold, if your home is covered in older siding, you may be struggling with mold and mildew. The exterior aesthetic of your home affects its curb appeal, and its first impression. It’s important to keep it clean and mold free to ensure your exterior looks great and lasts longer. Here are the 5 ways to keep your siding mold free! 

1. Regular Checks and Cleaning 

To keep your siding as mold-free as possible, it’s important to conduct consistent checks of your exterior and clean it regularly. Take a look around the exterior of your home from time to time, and if you notice any mold growth, act quickly. Use a diluted solution of bleach and water to get rid of the mold and stop future growth. Even if you don’t see any mold, regularly cleaning your siding will prevent build up and keep your siding looking brand new. If you have older siding, use your garden hose and a soft bristle brush to clean your siding every few months, and make sure to spray in a downward direction to prevent moisture buildup in the siding panels.

2. As Much Direct Sunlight As Possible

Mold typically grows in spots that are dark and damp. Allow as much direct sunlight as possible to hit your home. Trim your trees, maintain your shrubs and make sure as much natural light is reaching your exterior. This will keep mold away from your siding, keeping your exterior fresh and beautiful! 

3. Get Rid of Climbing Vines

Climbing vines can give your home a charming, artistic appeal, but they can also lead to mold growth. Since the vines cover so much of the surface, they make it difficult for your siding to dry out, and also block direct sunlight from reaching your siding. This makes it easy for mold and mildew to grow. If you have climbing vines and are having issues with mold and mildew, it’s time to cut them back and get rid of them.

4. Maintain Your Gutters

Another way to keep your siding mold free is to maintain your gutters and make sure they’re leading water away from your home. If your gutters become clogged and water ends up spilling over, it will create a moist environment on your siding. This will foster the growth of mold. Do whatever you can to keep your exterior siding dry to ensure mold doesn’t grow and thrive. 

5. Watch Your Lawn Sprinklers 

If you use lawn sprinklers to water your lawn and garden, make sure they don’t reach your siding. Especially if your sprinklers are located close to the foundation of your home, you’re going to want to move them away to ensure they don’t reach your siding. Moisture on your siding creates an ideal environment for mold growth, and it’s up to you to hinder that environment as much as possible.

Keep your siding free of mold with these 5 tips! Your home will maintain its beauty and look good as new.

Pantone’s 2020 Colour Palette is SERIOUSLY Colourful 

Pantone released its spring/summer 2020 trend report on September 6th- a guide to the season’s most important colour trends, based on New York Fashion Week. The palette features the 12 top colours and four classic neutrals that are bound to be a hit in 2020, from pale pastels to aqua blues and greens to bright and bold shades, plus neutral classics that will stand the test of time. If you’re wondering what colours to decorate your home with in 2020, we’re letting you in on 7 of our favourite colours from the 2020 colour palette.

1. Coral Pink

Muted pinks have almost become neutral in the world of home decor. From couches to throw pillows, dinnerware, and table lamps, any item in a soft muted pink can work with your decor. Coral pink is subtle and warm, making it easy to incorporate into a wide range of aesthetics. 

2. Faded Denim

Another soft and subtle colour, faded denim is a comforting blue-grey that’s sure to become a classic. Pair it with creams and soft yellows to warm it up, or create a sunning contrast with a bright citrus shade. Since blue is a neutral, you can’t go wrong pairing it with any colour or material. 

3. Cinnamon Stick

Cinnamon stick is earthy and warm, creating a welcoming atmosphere wherever it’s placed. It would be a gorgeous colour for a front door, couch or accent wall. You can also add pops of cinnamon stick with pieces like ottomans, side tables and throws. 

4. Navy Blazer

One of the palette’s neutral classics, navy blazer is sophisticated and stylish. It’s versatile enough to use in any room of the house, and can serve as a statement colour, or a foundation for you to bring in other pops of colour. Use it for your kitchen cupboards and contrast it with gorgeous marble countertops, or add pops of navy to your living room with a rug, throw pillows and lamp shades. 

5. Chive

Chive is a savoury, herbal green that evokes the feeling of calmness and harmony. A chive green couch would make a for a gorgeous piece, and a powder room with green walls is sure to make a statement no one is expecting. Pair the walls with gold and marble accents to elevate the sophistication of the room. Other ideas are a chive-painted kitchen island, headboard or window trim in a sunroom with a relaxed vibe.

6. Sunlight

Sunlight is a soft, muted yellow that evokes happiness and cheer. It’s a gorgeous colour for the walls of a bedroom, family room or kitchen, creating a warm and welcoming vibe. Almost everything goes well with yellow, whether you use it as a main colour or subtly throughout your home with accent pieces and statement-making decor.

7. Ash

Another one of Pantone’s spring/summer 2020 classics, ash is a medium grey that’s sophisticated and timeless. Use it on your interior or exterior for a stylish home that will stand the test of time. From accent chairs to kitchen cabinetry, your exterior siding, or bathroom tile, ash is one of the strongest neutrals to decorate with this coming year.

If you’re wondering what colours to decorate with in 2020, use the Pantone colour palette to direct your aesthetic choices and make your guests swoon!