The Ultimate Gift: Home improvement projects that get your home holiday-ready

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The gift of renovation involves thoughtful planning and careful execution.

When we ask some of our clients about their holiday wish lists, oftentimes we hear that the home renovation is their gift to one another. Imagine the gift of a new addition to the master bedroom you have been dreaming about for years. The open-concept living room, which boasts wall-to-wall windows, or the chef-inspired kitchen you’ve been fantasizing about sharing with your friends and family while serving that beautiful charcuterie board on your new oversized island. Instead of copious amounts of gifts that add up to thousands of dollars over the years, consider investing in a present the entire family will cherish and enjoy for years to come.

Photography: Courtesy of Interiors by Odette

Renovation spending in Toronto has been hitting record highs in the last few years, and it’s no wonder why. Our homes have become our safe haven in a chaotic world, the cocoon that embodies our sanctuary, but what is it about the holidays that make us want to have the house in tip-top shape? Is it the fact that we are getting ready to open our doors to entertain more than any other season, or could it be the sheer fact that we are nesting for what is to come our way for the next few months? Whatever the reason may be, the holidays are a perfect excuse to spruce up your home, not only esthetically but also by adding practical function.


The kitchen is always the hub of the holidays. It is where you bake batches of cookies with the kids while listening to carols, or entertain crowds over appetizers and cocktails. Designing a smart layout that will handle high traffic—especially around the holidays—is a crucial part of a kitchen renovation. This might mean knocking down walls or carving a unique space out of something that is currently not functioning properly. We recently designed a beverage station/bar area in our clients’ kitchen where the kids’ craft corner used to be. With the holidays in mind, our clients opted to create a space where they could serve buffet-style food and drinks without having to crowd the main island.

Photography: Rob Holowka


A few smaller projects to consider while tackling large renovations could be revamping the living room fireplace or replacing the old, inefficient front door. Both of these design elements are integral parts of holiday entertaining. Your front door sets the tone for the entire house. Adorned with a beautiful wreath, it can make quite the statement as to what lies within. A contemporary fireplace can also up the ante at your next holiday gathering. Whether you choose to go traditional or modern, holiday decor always looks enchanting with an updated fireplace as the backdrop and it is the cosiest spot to huddle around for great conversations while sipping on cocktails.


Unlike running out to the mall on Christmas Eve, the gift of renovation involves thoughtful planning and careful execution. It is a lengthy process that can feel gruelling at times, but the outcome is almost always gratifying. The anticipation of having that perfect holiday-ready space to welcome friends and family is well worth the wait. There is nothing more exciting than unwrapping a home renovation just in time for the holiday season and decorating it to the nines. Ever been invited to a holiday party where the construction crew has literally just moved out the day before and the scent of freshly coated paint is so prominent? I must confess I am one of those eager hosts that embark on a small home project every year at the eleventh hour. There is a sense of fulfillment that goes with tackling a project for the holidays—a sense of good housekeeping and pride of ownership.

Odette De Lucia
Odette De Lucia
"Odette De Lucia is a designer at Men At Work Design Build and founder of IBO Design Group. Odette is best known for creating polished spaces that are elegant yet highly functional. She believes in an approach that mixes modern with traditional for fresh timeless interiors."
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