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5 EASY FIXES Add to ...

FIXTURES

You don't have to do everything on this page to utterly transform a room. Case in point: Kohlers new articulating Karbon faucet, a sexy, triple-jointed fixture that will instantly glam up any kitchen. At $1,749 and up - visit http://www.kohler.ca for details - the faucet alone meets the minimum expenditure requirement for the tax credit, which tops out at $1,350 on reno costs from $1,000 to $10,000. (For full details, visit http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca.)

BREATHING SPACE

If you're feeling a little cramped when you make dinner every night, why not make this the year that you finally open up that tiny galley kitchen. That's what Yanic Simard of the Toronto Interior Design Group ( http://www.tidg.ca) did in this 511-square-foot condo, where existing kitchen cabinets were replaced by a brezzy overhan. My own contractor assures me that such a project should only cost a couple of thou. I'm holding you to that, dude.

WALLPAPER

From England's Farrow & Ball to Italy's Jannelli & Volpi, a global array of renowned wallpaper firms has just released new lines in Canada, making this fall a prime time to re-paper the den. Shown here (and on the cover) are patterns by Finland's Marimekko, famous for its bold prints and vivid colours. The whole Marimekko collection retails for $149 a roll, each of which is about 10 metres in length. Visit http://www.newwall.ca, the exclusive Canadian importer, for retailers across the country.

COUNTERTOPS

You might think that replacing kitchen countertops would be a hassle, but I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be. In May, I swapped a pair of old stainless-steel surfaces for chic grey Silestone versions through the Home Depot. The total cost was $4,500, but it was the HD's first-rate installers that truly impressed. Within weeks of the initial consultation, the new ones were in place. The Silestone shade above is called Kona Beige, but it's one of many. Visit http://www.homedepot.ca for details.

WINDOWS

Okay, you've been in your new home for at least a year now, so when are you going to address those naked bay windows? You could, of course, go with drapes, but have you considered blinds? Unlike filmy curtains, blinds provide greater energy efficiency, resulting in lower utility bills. Companies like Hunter Douglas, meanwhile, offer scores of design options, from its thin Silhouette shadings to honeycomb versions. Prices vary by project so visit http://www.hunterdouglas.ca for help.

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