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New coworking spaces let you take your kid to work, every day

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After having kids, Amanda Munday realized that child care was often inaccessible and unaffordable. That’s why she opened The Workaround, a parent-friendly coworking space housed in a converted bank featuring a play area for children supervised by an early childhood educator.

“[The vault] is where we relax,” said Munday. “It can be a nursing suite. It’s also, surprisingly, the place where the most babies have slept.”

The vault is the former bank safe and regular customer Jen Allison says her son Jack loves it.

Jen Allison, pictured here with her son Jack, says a coworking space that offers childcare relieves a lot of anxiety and enables her to run her photography business. (Jason Osler/CBC)

“I come about three times a week [for] between four to six hours,” said Allison, a self-employed family photographer. “That includes maybe napping in the vault with Jack, some lunches and getting some work done or collaborating with other people in the space.”

For Allison, being able to get some work done while staying near Jack is a relief. She doesn’t want to be too far from him because he’s still young and he has congenital heart disease.

“I can be on site with him and it relieves a lot of the anxiety of taking him to daycare, especially as an entrepreneur and a business owner,” said Allison. “It’s just such a fantastic space for that. Already the benefits I’ve had from coming here, to me, are going to be long term.”

More coworking spaces opening with child care

The Workaround is one of several coworking spaces opening with child care. And the timing couldn’t be better.

Close to half of Canadians live in areas with very few available daycare spaces, according to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, so there is an unmet need for this type of business model.

Entrepreneur Madeleine Shaw is working on a project called Nestworks, which partners a shared office space with a licensed daycare provider to allow entrepreneurs to bring their children to work with them. Shaw hopes to open the ten thousand square foot Vancouver space in 2019.

Meanwhile, other smaller ventures are emerging such as the Coworking Parents Studio in Guelph, which exists in multiple rooms on the main floor of a house.

‘This isn’t an experiment,’ says coworking expert

Ashley Proctor says we can expect more of this type of business model.

She’s a coworking pioneer who has opened spaces or consulted for others since 2003. She’s also the executive producer of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference, billed as “the largest coworking conference series in the world.”

She says adding child care services to coworking spaces makes sense.

Ashley Proctor is a coworking consultant and the executive producer of the Global Coworking Unconference Conference. (Creative Blueprint)

“This isn’t an experiment, this is a fully formed business idea and I think we’re going to see more of it because of these incredible operators who are coming on,” said Proctor. “They’re gonna really lead by example and show many other operators that it can be successfully done. It can be an added amenity to a traditional space.”

Proctor says the space itself, which could include the practical needs of child care, is only a small part of the coworking community.

“A real coworking space is more about the movement, so it’s more about the people,” said Proctor. “It’s about dismantling loneliness. It’s about economic development and increasing productivity and supporting social enterprise and small business.”

She says as more people learn about and utilize the coworking model, customers will expect child care options at their coworking space. And businesses that already offer that service will likely see the benefits.

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Real Estate

Do you know what kind of condo you’re buying?

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(NC) Condominiums can come in all shapes and sizes. But it’s important to know that not all condos are created equal when it comes to warranty coverage.

Whether you’re buying a condominium townhouse, loft-style two-bedroom or a high-rise studio, they are all classified as condominiums if you own your unit while at the same time share access (and the associated fees) for facilities ranging from pools and parking garages to elevators and driveways, otherwise known as common elements.

The most common types of condos are standard condominiums and common elements condominiums. The determination of how a condominium project is designated happens during the planning stage when the builder proposes the project and the municipality approves it.

When you’re in the market to buy, you need to know how your chosen condo is classified because it affects the warranty coverage under the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. Standard condominiums have warranty coverage for units and common elements, but common elements condominiums only have unit coverage.

How could this affect you as the owner? If your condo complex has underground parking and, for example, there are problems with leaks or a faulty door, the condo designation will determine whether there’s warranty coverage.

If your unit is a standard condominium development, then the common elements warranty may cover the repairs. If it’s a common element condominium development, then repairs might have to be covered by the condo corporation’s insurance, which could impact your condo fees or require a special assessment on all the owners.

To avoid surprises, you should have a real estate lawyer review the Declaration and Description attached to your purchase agreement to be sure that you know the designation and boundaries of the unit you’re looking to purchase. Find more information on the types of condos and their coverage at tarion.com.

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5 savvy renovations to make your kitchen look like new

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(NC) The kitchen is the heart and focal point of any home. But if yours is looking a little tired, a few simple renovations can change the feel of the entire space.

Whether you’ve just moved in, have been meaning to update for years or are experiencing life changes, remember that a kitchen uplift doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag. These small-scale projects could be the change your kitchen needs:

  1. Brighten it up.Adding LED lights below your cabinets will brighten your backsplash and counter and provide a warm glow. Place your favourite containers below to act as focal points – those copper canisters that are hiding under the island and the marble coasters you couldn’t resist can now all be on display.
  2. Swap the old with the new.The backsplash is the first thing you see, so replacing it can be enough to give the space a whole new look. Try a unique shape or colour to change things up, like turquoise or patterned tiles, hexagon-shaped tiles or even a full slab of stainless steel.
  3. Rework what you have.People often think new cabinets are necessary for a kitchen reno, but a lot can be done with what you’ve got. Repainting the cabinets and switching out the knobs to chic new handles will do wonders for a makeover.
  4. Don’t hide away.Try adding some open shelving in an unused spot, such as above the sink or window, or next to the cabinets. Display your most beautiful dishes and add some decorative pieces to give the space a modern, airy feel.
  5. Add new materials into the mix.Changing the island to a butcher-block counter adds warmth and practicality.

Taking on a renovation can often feel overwhelming. But if you talk to your contractor about budgeting and spreading out payments through services like The Home Depot Project Loan, it can be easier than you think. The service allows you to finance any home projects, big or small and is available at locations across Canada.

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Real Estate

How to afford a home renovation that fits your life

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(NC) Changing seasons always bring about the desire to update our living spaces. But your life stage and budget can influence what kind of upgrades you can make. Here are some tips to get you started.

Assess the investment. The first step is to gauge how much value your investment will bring, whether you’re looking to sell or grow into a family home. A common misconception among home owners is that all renovations will increase a home’s value; unfortunately, this is not always the case. It’s always a good idea to strategically renovate the space to fit your life plan and goals.

Plan for both long- and short-term value. As a homeowner, it is important to assess what kind of value items can contribute to your life plan. Searching for products that are energy efficient, like an eco-friendly washing machine or water filtration system, can help you save on your monthly bills. A long-term investment, such as hardwood floors or bathroom tiles, can spruce up a living space for years to come. While sometimes this require a larger budget, the project can be both appealing to future buyers and stand the test of time in a family home.

Create a renovation budget. Once you have a clear plan, you’ll need to create a budget to align with your financial goals. Always ensure your budget includes any interest you’ll be paying. Ask multiple sources for competitive quotes.

Use a payment plan. For those high-ticket investment items, consider using a payment plan. Payment solutions such as The Home Depot Project Loan can help with bigger renovations. This allows you to stick to your budgeting goals while using a flexible payment plan to make larger purchases more accessible.

Use DIY to offset costs. In addition to using a payment plan, taking on a few safe and simple renovation projects yourself is an easy way to offset renovation costs. Your local hardware store can help source materials and provide helpful tips to make those do-it-yourself projects, such as refinishing cabinets or sanding old hardwood floors, a breeze.

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