How to Master A Sweet Cottage Reno

If you’re one of the lucky ones who owns a cottage and a home, you have two places you need to think about for renovations. Unless you have a newly built retreat, your cottage may be in need of some love and updates. Many cottages are passed down through families, which makes them cherished treasures, but it also means they’ve seen better days. If your cottage is in need of some TLC, follow these steps to master a sweet cottage reno!

Decide on a New Colour Scheme

Updating the colours of your cottage can make a huge difference! Decide on a colour scheme by figuring out what feel and vibe you want your cottage to have. Would you love to have a seaside-inspired cottage? Opt for white siding with light blue accents and a medium wood door. Is the rustic vibe more your thing? Go for navy blue siding and a dark wood door with white accents.

Update Your Siding

One of the biggest cottage updates you can make is changing your siding. If your current siding is falling apart or is in poor condition, it’s time to upgrade! Siding has the power to totally transform your cottage and ensure whatever design you’re dreaming of comes to life!

From vinyl board and batten siding to distinction steel siding (which offers the look of read wood, without the maintenance!), to fiber cement siding there are plenty of siding options for your cottage retreat.

Upgrade Your Door

Your cottage may also benefit from a new door, especially if the one it has now is decades old! If you’re going to put a new door on your cottage, make sure it has lots of charm. You can ensure charm through the colour and design you choose for the door. Creams, soft blues and woods often work best for cottage doors, depending on your design style, of course!

Add Window Shutters and Trim

Window shutters and trim are two the of the best ways to add charm and personality to your new and improved cottage. Choose colours that will compliment the shade of your siding and door, as well as the all around vibe of your cottage. Will you be planting or potting flowers? Can you see water in the horizon? Take your surroundings into consideration when choosing your accent colours!

Exterior Accessories

Another way to elevate your cottage reno is by adding exterior accessories. Everything from outdoor lantern lighting to a porch bench with throws and pillows to a charming doormat and large potted flowers can give you cottage exterior so much personality!

Just like your home, the curb appeal of your cottage is the first thing people see when they walk by. Make it a stunning stand out by mastering these cottage reno upgrades!

10 Pergola Ideas for Shade (And Flowery Beauty)

Love the idea of a pergola but stuck on how to incorporate one in your yard? Don’t fret! We’ve compiled ten pergola ideas to add shade, character and beauty to your backyard space! Whether you love to entertain, relax or cook in your yard, here’s how to add the perfect pergola for your lifestyle and home design!

1. The Sitting Area Pergola

Having an outdoor sitting area is the dream, but when the sun is beaming down it can be hard to sit outside for too long. Combat the sun’s harsh rays with a gorgeous pergola that will make spending times outdoors much more enjoyable.

2. The Garden Pergola

If you love gardening and want to show off your green thumb, a garden pergola is a gorgeous way to do it. Whether it’s a walk-through garden or a garden with a seating area around it, a pergola is a great way to compliment it.

3. The Pergola Bench Swing

A bench swing is a charming addition to any yard. Up the charm even more by installing a stand-alone pergola bench swing to shield you from the sun on bright summer days. It will be the perfect spot to relax and read or catch up with a friend.

4. The Kitchen Pergola

Whether you have an outdoor kitchen or have always wanted one, a pergola is a great way to provide shade while you’re cooking. If you love to entertain and have room on your backyard patio, an outdoor kitchen island with a pergola attachment is perfect for you!

5. The Mini Pergola

Not all pergolas have to take up a ton of space. If you like the idea of a pergola for shade, but don’t want such a big structure on your patio, a little pergola above your patio doors offers shade for your windows and doorway. Plus, it adds personality and charm!

6. The Relaxation Pergola

If you’re craving a shaded area to relax in after a hard day’s work, and want to make sure it’s as stylish as it is functional, create a relaxation space with a pergola in your yard. Add in some chairs and deck out the pergola with beautiful flowers and vines for the ultimate shaded space.

7. The Classic Pergola

Another option is a pergola that stands right up against your house to not only provide shade for your patio, but also block the sun from shining in your windows. This pergola design doesn’t have to be permanently attached to your home, but it’s a classic look that offers style and function.

8. The Entertaining Pergola

For those with a large backyard, you may want to add an entertaining area to your vast space.  A large pergola is ideal if you’re planning on hosting parties and family events. Whether it’s a barbeque or cocktail party, your backyard will be everyone’s favourite summer hangout!

9. The Firepit Pergola

Put up a pergola around your firepit to enhance the charm of your outdoor retreat. Add big comfortable chairs with throws, and string lights around the perimeter of the pergola to make the space even cozier.

10. The Garage Pergola

If you don’t have room for a pergola in your backyard or on your patio, but still love the look, consider installing a small pergola over your garage. This will add character to your home and allows you to add even more flowery beauty to your exterior.

A pergola is one of the best ways to add personality, shade and style to your home. Use one of these ten ideas if you love pergolas as much as we do!

Before and After: How to Transform Your Curb Appeal

If your curb appeal has you feeling uninspired, it could be time for a transformation. Your home exterior should be inviting, gorgeous and have personality. It’s the first impression guests and passersby get of your home, and if you’re looking to put your house on the market, a good-looking facade should be top of mind!

Depending on the current state of your exterior, you could simply need a few quick fixes, or a massive overhaul. Your curb appeal is a snapshot of what’s to come inside, so make sure it’s something you’re proud of. Here are 5 ways to transform your curb appeal!

If Your Home is Dark and Dreary: Go White and Light

If your exterior is in the realm of monotone brown or dated brick, your curb appeal is likely in need of a transformation. For a stunning turn-around, consider going white and light. A bright white coat of paint with a contrasting trim in gray or black will make your exterior look clean and crisp. Going white and light will highlight your home’s features rather than hiding them.

If Your Home is Plain: Go Colourful

Are you bored of your plain jane home? If you feel like you’re exterior is lacklustre, try doing the opposite and going completely colourful. If you’re daring, opt for a colour like coastal blue for your siding and bright yellow for your front door. If you want to keep it a little more tame, consider slate grey for your siding and a soft blue for your door. Both options are strikingly colourful in their own way.

If Your Home is an Old School Barn: Create a Beautiful Farmhouse

Love the farmhouse look, but currently have an old school barn that lacks colour, windows and character? You’re halfway there, you just need a few updates to take your curb appeal from drab to jaw-dropping. Consider adding large black-framed windows and changing the exterior colour to something beautiful and timeless like soft white or a grey blue. Finish off the look with outdoor barn lights and wooden accents for beams and the front door.

If Your Home is Grey and Faded: Make It Warm and Welcoming

Grey can be a gorgeous shade for your home exterior, but if it’s faded and weathered, it’s time for an update! Sure, it was probably gorgeous at one point, but if it’s now lacklustre, it’s not setting the tone for your beautiful interior. You don’t have to change the colour altogether. Opt for a fresh coat of paint in a warm and welcoming shade of grey, add a contrasting trim and either a pop of colour for the front door.

If Your Home is Overgrown with Greenery: Let it Be the Star

Is your home currently hiding behind trees and overgrown hedges? Your landscape should enhance your facade, not overshadow it. Clear the overgrowth and instead add tasteful flower boxes and trees that add to the overall look of your home.

Transforming your curb appeal can take your home from drab to fab. Use these ideas to create your dream home exterior.

Bold Statement or “No Way!”? Navy and Pink as Exterior Combinations

Have you ever considered navy blue and millennial pink for your exterior colour palette? If you’re looking to make a bold and trendy statement with your home, this colour combination may just be your best bet.

Millennial pink hit the design world by storm in 2016 (although shades of pale pink have been popular for decades) and now you can find everything from sofas to rugs to kitchenware in the stylish colour. If having a bold home exterior intrigues you, here’s how to make navy blue and millennial pink work for your home.

Neutral Reigns Supreme

If you’re designing the exterior of your home with navy and pink, it’s important you use the colour combination in the most appealing way. Since navy is the neutral colour in this duo, you’ll want to use it for the main colour of your exterior. This means using it for your siding.

Pink, on the other hand is a stronger shade. Use this as your accent colour, for example, on your front door. A millennial pink door is unique and gives your home a warm and welcoming feel, especially when paired with a deep colour like navy. Stick with white trim around the door and windows so the other colours really pop.

Bring In Additional Accents

Enhance the pop of millennial pink in your door with other pink decor and accessories. Everything from bright pink flowers to rose pink pillows on a front porch bench will bring your space together seamlessly. Keep in mind, the pinks don’t have to be all the same colour. Opt for softer pinks if you incorporate pillows to make your porch feel even cozier.

Add Stylish Fixtures

You should also consider the fixtures you’ll use (outdoor wall sconces, door hardware, etc.) to pair with the navy and pink colour combination. Since navy and pink are both bold colours, it’s ideal to stick to more subtle colours for your fixtures, such as antique bronze or a light black. Don’t skimp on design, though. Opt for stylish fixtures that add to the character and charm of your home.

Keep Your Landscaping Simple Yet Fresh

With eye-catching colours like navy and pink, keep your landscaping subtle, yet fresh. Pull in colours that compliment your exterior, incorporating shades of pink to emphasize your door. Make sure any trees, bushes or hedges are pruned and shaped so they fit uniformly with your exterior and don’t distract from your colourful facade.

A navy and pink exterior may seem out of your comfort zone at first, but done in the right way, you’ll have the most gorgeous home on your block. Implement these ideas for a colourful exterior that pops in the best way!

Gray: The Colour of the Year

Benjamin Moore recently announced the colour of the year for 2019, and it’s a sophisticated, beautiful soft gray. It’s no surprise that a gorgeous shade of grey has taken the coveted spot. Grays are welcoming and eye-catching, and they work harmoniously with so many other colours.

Here at Gentek, we’re launching a number of new colours in 2019, and two of these are in the gray family. Available on January 15, “Chesapeake Gray” and “Hudson Slate” will be yours to use to upgrade the exterior of your home.


Here are 6 ways to use gray, the colour of the year, to elevate the interior and exterior of your home in 2019.

Exterior Siding

Gray is a beautiful colour for exterior siding. It’s classic and timeless, while also completely on trend. It’s neutral enough that you don’t have to worry about it going out of style, and in the right shade it’s a colour you’ll love for years to come.

Chesapeake Gray and Hudson Slate would both make for gorgeous siding colours. While Chesapeake Gray is slightly softer and warmer, Hudson Slate is deeper and more striking.

Depending on the look you want to achieve, you can use either of these for a trendy exterior upgrade.

Your Front Door

Gray is also a striking shade for your front door. A darker gray like Hudson Slate pops beautifully against lighter siding colours, and a soft gray such as Chesapeake Gray offers a gorgeous contrast to white, black or navy shades. Any shade of gray is welcoming, which makes it ideal for an entry door.

Trim and Shutters

If you want to go more subtle with the colour gray, consider adding accents in the form of trim or shutters. It’s important that both your shutters and trim complement your siding seamlessly. They all work together to elevate your curb appeal, so choosing colours that work together is key.

Interior Walls

Of course, gray isn’t only suitable for your home exterior, it’s perfect for interior walls as well. Gray can be used whether you want your room to be cheerful or bold, or whether you have a contemporary or farmhouse style. It’s extremely versatile since there are so many different shades of gray, all you have to do is nail down your style.


Gray couches, consoles and accent chairs are also a trendy way to incorporate the colour of the year into your space. Gray furniture is warm and inviting and will also make a modern statement in your home. Another excellent option is bringing in gray with accessories like rugs and window coverings.


Finishings such as your kitchen backsplash and countertops would do well with a pop of gray. You can choose to go all-gray with a subway tile backsplash, or opt for something more subtle like a mostly-white backsplash with specks of gray.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate the colour of the year into both the interior and exterior of your home! Choose one or a few of these ideas and you’re sure to have a trendy yet timeless house.


Indoor/Outdoor Living Spaces to Dream Of For The Summer

When the chilly winter hits, it’s nice to daydream of summer and everything warm and sunny that comes with it. One of the best ways to enjoy the summer season in your home is embracing your outdoor area and blending it with your indoor space.

Creating a seamless transition between your home’s interior and exterior spaces increases your living space and brings tons of natural light into your home. Indoor/outdoor living spaces make for the perfect summer entertainment areas and ensure your family and guests can enjoy your home to the fullest. It’s never too early to start planning for summer! Use these tips to create the perfect indoor/outdoor living space for your home.

Decide How You’ll Use The Combined Space

There are plenty of ways you can use your combined indoor/outdoor space. Perhaps you want to go all out and create an outdoor kitchen area. Or maybe you want to be able to walk out to a gorgeous outdoor dining space. You can also consider using your outdoor space as a cozy relaxation area, and add an outdoor fireplace. Deciding how you’ll use the area is the first step to creating your dream indoor/outdoor space.

Choose Connecting Materials

You want your indoor/outdoor living spaces to flow seamlessly, giving the illusion of one big space. One of the best ways to do this is choosing connecting materials. Flooring is the most essential design element that can link your two spaces. A wooden kitchen floor leading out to a matching decked area creates unison and flow. You may also extend a wood planked ceiling from your indoor to outdoor space to connect them.

Connect Your Space with the Right Opening

Another important aspect to consider is how you’ll connect your indoor/outdoor space. Large patio doors or movable walls are key to creating an indoor/outdoor entertaining space. A folding window wall, bi-fold doors or accordion doors are all great options. They allow for a smooth transition with few or no barriers between the spaces.

Keep Consistency in Your Decor

To ensure unison and flow, you should also decorate your indoor/outdoor living space with a similar vibe and design elements. Keep consistency between the two spaces; use similar colours and furniture styles so everything works together.

Cover Your Outdoor area

If you want your outdoor area to function properly as indoor/outdoor space, covering it will likely be your best bet. You don’t want the blazing hot sun beaming down on your guests and you want to be able to enjoy your outdoor space even if it’s drizzling rain outside. Make sure your patio is at least partially covered with either a solid roof structure, a pergola, or a canopy.

If an indoor/outdoor living space is right up your alley, start planning now for the summer! Use these steps to create a space that flows seamlessly from your interior to exterior!

Bring the Outdoors In With a Living Wall

Living walls, or vertical gardens, are an excellent way to make a statement in any one of your home’s interior rooms. You may have seen them in beautiful hotel lobbies or lining the wall of your favourite shopping malls, but did you know you can get the look in your home, too?

The lush, vertical installations create a refreshing atmosphere, bringing the benefits of nature inside your home, while also creating a piece of art. They improve your indoor air quality, promote a healthy indoor climate and are striking to look at.  If you have a small yard or live in an urban center that’s lacking greenery, a living wall may be just what you need to enhance your space!

What is a Living Wall?

A living wall is a collection of wall mounted plants. It’s a living installation used to bring the outdoors in, and elevate your indoor space with gorgeous foliage. But creating a vertical garden is more than simply throwing a bunch of plants together into a wall system. Wondering how to design the perfect living wall for your space? Let’s dive in!

Choosing the Perfect Location

Depending on your design style, a living wall can typically work in most rooms of the house, but it’s important to choose the perfect location for your house design and for the plants themselves. Your living wall will need lots of natural sunlight to thrive and grow beautifully. The more light there is, the more options you’ll have for the plants you use in your installation.

Whether you choose to put a vertical garden in your kitchen, living room, or even up the wall of your staircase, it will create a beautiful statement in your home.

Choosing Your Plants

With a living wall, it’s very important to choose plants that require the same requirements for sun and water. This ensures everything gets watered at the right time and can thrive together, rather than you having to worry about over-watering some plants and others not getting enough of what they need. If you want a low maintenance wall, succulents, ferns and low ground covers are a good choice!

You have a number of possibilities when it comes to the colour palette of your wall. You may decide a single species and shade is more in line with your decor, or perhaps you’ll add oranges, reds, and yellows to enhance the contrast and energy of your living wall.

You’ll also have to consider the texture of the plants you choose. Contrasting textures can be extremely eye-catching, especially if you choose to go with plants in all one colour.

Living Wall Maintenance

There are a few different options when it comes to maintaining your living wall. The first is a self-watering system, which is preferable for low-maintenance home owners. If you plan to manually water your vertical garden, be careful not to over water it, and again, to make this easier, stick to plants that require the same amount of water and sun.

You should clean your plants as well, since bugs can be a problem. Wipe the plants with regular soap and water to keep them clean, and you may need to trim or prune them if they begin to grow out of control.

A living wall is the perfect way to bring the outdoors in! Enhance your living space by creating a gorgeous vertical garden with our tips!

Black Window Frames: Yay or Nay?

Black window frames can be a true statement piece for both the interior and exterior of your home. Although black window frames are industrial-inspired, they work for home styles ranging from contemporary to modern, country/farmhouse, and even century-old homes. Your window style and colour choices greatly impact every aspect of your home design, so it’s important to be sure of what you want before making the investment!

Wondering if black window frames are for you? Let’s weigh some pros and cons.

They’re on Trend and Timeless

It’s no secret that black window frames are on trend right now, and sometimes with home trends you have to wonder if you’re going to get tired of the design elements you choose. One of the best thing about black window frames is that they’re not just on trend, they’re also timeless.

Black has always been linked to elegance, and it’s truly a colour that goes with everything. No matter how your home may change in the future, black window frames are sure to look good.

They Enhance your Outdoor View From the Inside

Black window frames better fuse your indoor and outdoor spaces in comparison to white ones. White windows tend to blend into your view outside, while black frames draw your eye to your outdoor space. They create a stronger connection to the outdoors, allowing you to enjoy and appreciate your view more fully.

They Add Exterior elegance

If you’re looking to upgrade your exterior, black window frames are the way to go. It’s one of the best ways to add instant elegance and make your home look more high end.

They Offer Gorgeous Contrast

Black framed windows are also the perfect way to create contrast in the interior and exterior of your home. They work really well with white or light colours, which are typically more popular than dark colours for home walls and exteriors.

However, keep in mind that if your interior is primarily white and airy, black may be a tad too harsh. White windows tend to look better in spaces where white is the predominant colour (on your walls, your countertop, the furniture, etc.).

Consider Interior Colouring

If you have materials like brick in your home, look to it for inspiration for your window frames. Some brick has hints of grey in it. In this case, it may make more sense to go with slate grey window frames instead of black to pull out the grey in the brick.

When to Stick to White Frames

White windows will always be a safe choice. They’re forever classic and will undoubtedly blend seamlessly into your house design. If you’re looking for a beautiful timeless look and aren’t looking to make a statement with your windows, stick to white frames.

As with every element of home design, you should always choose the look you love most, regardless of whether it’s on trend. If you’re ready to make a statement with your home, black windows are for you!

How to Add the Cottage Feel to a Cookie-Cutter House

Cottages are the ultimate relaxation spaces. So it’s no wonder so many homeowners want to add the cottage feel to their city home. Cottage style offers comfort, simple living and allows you to get crafty with your decorating options both inside and out. If you’re wondering how to add the cottage feel to your cookie-cutter house, read on!

Board and Batten Siding

If you want to bring the cottage feel to your exterior, Board and Batten siding is the way to go. Beautifully crafted and perfectly detailed, Board and Batten siding is extremely elegant and gives off the country feel. With simple upkeep and a low maintenance finish, Gentek’s Board and Batten siding will give you the curb appeal and functionality you’re looking for.

Charming Windows

The right windows can completely transform your cookie-cutter home into a cottage-style oasis. Vinyl windows such as Gentek’s 80 Series windows and Regency windows come in an array of styles to suit your interior and exterior needs. Consider going black when choosing a paint colour for the exterior of your windows. It will definitely give off the cottage feel up against Board and Batten siding.

Wood Beams

Moving on to the inside of your home, exposed wood beams are one of the best ways to add the cottage feel to your house. Add them to your kitchen, dining room, living room, or all of the above to add some serious charm.

Paint and Add Cottage-Style Hardware to Your Cabinets

You can completely transform your kitchen with the colour and hardware you choose for your cabinets. Colours like cream, black and pale blue with cup pull drawer pulls and wooden accents will take your kitchen far!

Beadboard Wallpaper

Just like Board and Batten siding will transform your exterior, beadboard wallpaper will turn your interior in a cottagey dream. Beadboard is a classic design element of old cottages, and you can get the look without the price tag by using beadboard wallpaper. Apply it to your walls, hallway, ceilings, bookshelves, or wherever else you feel needs some extra cottage-style love.

Rustic Lighting

Lighting also plays a major role in the style of your home. Add rustic, cottage-style lighting fixtures to each room in your home to help create the country vibe. Fixtures like lantern pendants and black metal chandeliers will capture the cottage feel.

Barn Beam Mantel

If you have a fireplace, add a barn beam mantel above it. It’s the perfect way to add country charm to a city home and is a beautiful statement piece for your living room. Wood always gives off the feel of a ski-chalet and a barn beam mantel is one of the best ways to incorporate it.

Your home should be as cozy and relaxing as possible. Use these ideas to add the cottage feel to your cookie-cutter house!

8 Ways to Increase the Charm of Your Home’s Exterior

There’s nothing better than when your home exterior makes a picture-perfect first impression. Charming curb appeal enhances the visual interest of your home, and makes everyone – including potential buyers- want to take a look inside. If you’re looking to increase the charm of your home’s exterior, take a look at these 8 amazing tips!

1. Bring the Charm with Siding

The siding type and colour you choose for your exterior can definitely bring the charm. Think Board and Batten siding for a cottage feel, or Grayne siding for the authentic charm of natural cedar. As for colours, anything from navy blue to rich gray to white with black accents is a win.

2. Install Classic Windows

The right windows can also add serious charm to your abode. Gentek’s selection of vinyl replacement windows offer classic beauty and freedom from maintenance. Choose from charming styles like double hung windows and bay and bow styles to enhance your home’s curb appeal.

3. Add Window Box Planters

On the topic of windows, window box planters are a gorgeous addition to any home, offering a burst of colour and character. They’re sure to enhance your curb appeal, and with an array of options to choose from, you can pick the perfect ones for your exterior design. Opt for painted wooden window boxes for a cottage feel, or ones made from copper for a more traditional look.

4. Upgrade Your Door

Add charm to your entryway by choosing a door with character. If you’re not in the market for a new door, you can add a touch of charm by painting it a different colour. Shades like black, soft blue and bold red are great ways to increase the charm.

If you do need a new door, customizing one may be the perfect solution. Gentek’s First Impressions’ customized doors are beautifully crafted to suit your home’s aesthetic and will seamlessly elevate your exterior.

5. Add Shutters and Trim

There’s no denying that shutters and trim are two of the best ways to add character and charm to your curb appeal. With vinyl or aluminum shutters available in an array of styles, and detailed trim that offers a perfect accent to your home, these are two musts if you want to increase the charm of your home.

6. Build a Walkway

A well-designed walkway that leads from your driveway to the front door is a great way to make your home feel warm and inviting. Create a walkway made of stone or brick in a design that suits your house.

7. Install Outdoor Lighting

Landscape lighting in the form of walkway light fixtures or lanterns on your porch can do a great deal to enhance your curb appeal. Not only will it make your exterior more inviting, landscape lighting also increases the safety and security of your home!

8. Add a Doormat and Outdoor Accessories to Your Entryway

A doormat is the perfect way to add warmth to your entryway. If you have the space, you can also consider adding a bench or arm chairs with blankets and throw pillows to really increase the charm.

If you’re looking to bring more charm to your home exterior, use these 8 tips to enhance your curb appeal in the most gorgeous way!