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Investing in What Matters

If you’re like me, there’s a good chance you have one eyeball pointing toward your day to day challenges during this health crisis, while the other eye keeps  darting  surreptitiously to the investments page of your online banking app.

There’s no question that watching the up and down, and down of the stock market these days can be disheartening.  It’s one more straw on the back of an already beleaguered camel.  There are so many other concerns plaguing our daily lives – like keeping our children occupied, educated and healthy, running errands and caring for those who need our help, and crossing our fingers that all of us will be fully occupied with work sooner than later.

One of the things that has struck me the most over the last weeks and now months, is the way this crisis has become the catalyst for changing human behaviours.  Fewer cars on the road and planes in the sky has resulted in dramatic reductions of air pollution.  People in cities everywhere are posting images of wild animals at large — wandering the quiet, eerily empty streets.  In my beloved Beach neighbourhood in Toronto, a family of foxes have made the boardwalk their home and stunning images of mom and pups are peppered all over social media.

Drastically fewer planes or cars also means almost no extensive travel and will redefine vacations for the foreseeable future.  As families and friends are finding renewed appreciation for each others’ company, so too are they investing in their dream “staycation destination”.  This type of investment not only makes your living space bigger and better, it will add value when you eventually decide to sell your home. With that in mind, here are some top trends that will hopefully give you  great ideas on how to plan your summer vacation at home:

Outdoor Kitchens go Beyond the Grill

At one time, the only way outdoor cooking happened was on the bbq (something I mastered out of necessity since my hubby, who was once patiently educated by my brother on the art form,  couldn’t seem to recall anything after “So, first you open a beer”.  From gas ranges and pizza ovens to aerated wine pourers and warming drawers, today’s outdoor kitchens are robust enough to deliver vacation-worthy meals.

Celebrate the Outdoors with Colour

Colour is the new backyard black. It’s coming to life through amazing outdoor accents such as pillows, rugs, planters and impactful artwork.  An infusion of colour will make your backyard an inviting and vibrant holiday destination.

Replicate to Elevate

The typical, boring afterthought of a patio or deck is a thing of the past.  Homeowners are now putting as much effort into the look and feel of their outdoor spaces by using quality materials and finishes.  They are defining living spaces, and adding to the square footage of their homes by employing interior design principles on the exterior.


I know we are all feeling challenged by the current global situation.  I often have to remind myself of how incredibly lucky I am to have a roof over my head, a loving partner and great family.  This year, I plan to invest in what matters.  I will honour the many blessings that have come my way by pausing to enjoy what I have instead of what I thought was missing.  Truth is, I’m not missing anything at all. 

Lisa Hartley

CEO and Founder

Off the Wall On the Fence