Elegance + Comfort – What’s next for interior design

Interior design is a dynamic and ever-evolving field, with trends constantly shifting to reflect the changing tastes and needs of today’s homeowners. As we wind down the year and set our sights on 2024, a new set of interior design trends has emerged, blending timeless elegance with modern comfort and functionality. Whether you’re in the market for a new or custom home or are simply looking to refresh your existing living spaces, we’ll guide you through the latest trends that are reshaping the world of interior design. From sustainable choices to bold colour palettes, let’s explore how you can transform your home into a sanctuary of style and functionality.


In an era where environmental consciousness is at the forefront, sustainable interior design has gained immense popularity. Eco-friendly materials, such as reclaimed wood, recycled metals, and natural fabrics, are becoming staples in interior design. These materials not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also add a warm and authentic touch to your home.

When it comes to sustainable chic, minimalist design principles play a significant role. Simplified spaces, clean lines, and a focus on quality over quantity are key elements of this trend. Opt for furniture and décor made from recycled or up-cycled materials, and consider energy-efficient lighting and appliances to complete the eco-conscious look.


The desire to connect with nature has led to the rise of Biophilic design. This trend aims to bring the outdoors inside, creating a harmonious and calming atmosphere within your home. Incorporating elements such as indoor plants, natural textures, and large windows that draw in plenty of natural light can transform your space into a serene oasis.

Biophilic design isn’t limited to aesthetics; it also emphasizes the psychological benefits of being in touch with nature. Studies have shown that incorporating natural elements into your interior can reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and enhance overall well-being.


This is the year of bold and moody colour palettes. While neutrals have long been a safe, classic choice, homeowners are now embracing rich, dark hues like deep greens, navy blues, and charcoal greys. These colours create a sense of drama and sophistication in any room and can be paired with metallic accents, such as gold or brass, for a touch of glamour.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with these deep colours on walls, upholstery, or even kitchen cabinets. When balanced with lighter shades or natural materials, they can create a striking contrast and add depth to your interior.


Gone are the days of rigid, boxy furniture. The resurgence of curved and organic shapes in furniture design is one of the most impactful trends to look out for. Curved sofas, rounded coffee tables, and circular mirrors are taking centre stage. These soft, more organic shapes provide a sense of comfort and relaxation, making your living spaces feel more welcoming.

Curved furniture not only adds visual interest, but also contributes to better flow and movement within a room. It’s a trend that’s blurring the line between art and functionality, and it’s here to stay.


In today’s world, our homes have become multifunctional spaces, serving as offices, gyms, and places of zen. As a result, personalization has become a dominant trend in interior design. People are creating spaces that not only reflect their unique personalities, but hobbies, and lifestyles.

Consider incorporating personal touches like custom-made furniture, family heirlooms, or artwork that speaks to your individual style. Flexibility is also crucial, so modular furniture and adaptable layouts are becoming increasingly popular to cater to changing needs.

The interior design landscape of tomorrow is a fusion of sustainability, natural beauty, bold colours, soft curves, and personalization. It’s a celebration of creating spaces that not only look beautiful, but also promote well-being and comfort. Whether you choose to embrace eco-friendly materials, invite nature inside, experiment with moody colour palettes, invest in curved furniture, or infuse your personality into your spaces, the key is to make your home a reflection of who you are.

Ultimately, these trends serve as inspiration, and you should always prioritize what makes you feel at ease and content within your own space. Interior design is an ever-evolving art that’s all about blending elegance and comfort to create spaces that nurture both body and spirit.

Why You Should Consider A Custom Builder In Toronto For Insurance Claims

When it comes to rebuilding your home after an insurance claim, there are plenty of options out there. But have you ever considered using a custom homebuilder? If not, then you might be missing out on some serious benefits and advantages. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at why using a custom homebuilder in Toronto can be the right choice for you.

What is a custom homebuilder?

First off, let’s talk about what a custom homebuilder is. Essentially, a custom homebuilder is a professional team who specializes in designing and building unique, one-of-a-kind homes that are tailored to a homeowners exact needs and specifications. So, when it comes to rebuilding your home after an insurance claim, you can expect the same level of attention and customization.

A custom builder will maximize your living space, both indoors and out.

Why use one for an insurance claim rebuild?

So, why use a custom homebuilder for your insurance claim rebuild? Here are some important benefits to consider:

Get personalized attention

One of the biggest benefits of working with a custom homebuilder is the personalized attention you’ll receive. Unlike a large construction company with multiple divisions and projects on the go, a custom homebuilder will work closely with you to understand your unique needs and preferences, then design your home to match. This means that your home will be built exactly the way you want it, with no compromises or shortcuts.

This custom ensuite was designed to be a private oasis for busy parents of four kids.

Expect high quality work

Another advantage of working with a custom homebuilder is the quality of work you can expect. Custom builders are specialized craftsmen who take pride in their work and are committed to delivering the highest quality product. This means that you can trust that your home will be built to the highest standards, using only the best materials, techniques and technologies.

Personalized design

When you work with a custom homebuilder, you have the flexibility to make changes and adjustments along the way. This is especially important when it comes to insurance claim rebuilds, where unexpected issues can arise. With a custom homebuilder, you can work together to find creative solutions and personalize your new home to suit your family’s needs, like adding an independent suite for aging parents or in-laws.

In-law suites are becoming increasingly popular in renovations and insurance rebuilds.

Save time and money

It might seem counterintuitive, but using a custom homebuilder can actually save you time and money. Because custom homebuilders are experts in their field, they work more efficiently than a less experienced construction company or one that is spread too thin with multiple projects. Typically, a custom built home will take just eight months to complete, from start to finish. Some custom builders will also guarantee their price, meaning once it’s locked in, you won’t get charged for any extras, even if materials prices increase. Additionally, because your home is built to the design you approved, there’s less chance of timely mistakes or changes down the line. Using a TARION-approved builder also ensures your new home will have a full 7-year structural warranty, giving you complete peace-of-mind on your investment.

When you’re rebuilding, consider adding an outdoor living space.

Increase your property value

Finally, working with a custom homebuilder can actually increase the value of your property. Custom homes are highly desirable, and they tend to have higher resale values than cookie-cutter homes. So, by working with a custom builder for your insurance claim, you could actually be increasing the long-term value of your property.

So let’s recap. Using a custom homebuilder in Toronto for your insurance claim rebuild can be a smart choice for a variety of reasons. With personalized attention, high-quality work, flexibility, time and cost savings, and increased property value, a custom homebuilder can provide a personalized and stress-free experience. So, if you’re in need of an home rebuild due to fire, floor or other damage, consider working with a trusted, custom homebuilder, like Marshall Homes, to get the best possible results.

The Marshall Difference — Our Amazing Team & Partners

Achieving amazing things in this world isn’t possible without amazing people, and Marshall Homes is fortunate enough to have them in spades.

Marshall Homes is well known for being a family business, as Craig Marshall, Marshall Homes CEO, and his kids play integral roles on the team. However, the company is so much more than that. It’s a close-knit team of employees, trades, consultants, and partners who all work fluidly together and are full of friendship and camaraderie.

“Our goal is to create an environment where people love to come to work,” said Craig Marshall. “We do lots of things together as a team and we support each other. This can be referred to as family values, but we think of them more as human values.”

Fostering an open and inclusive work environment where people feel free to express their opinions is an important part of the company’s culture, as is celebrating their victories together.

“When we get a chance, we like to party,” said Craig Marshall with a chuckle. “It brings us all a little closer and there is usually plenty to laugh about the next day. The people that work at Marshall Homes share the same values and take pride in what we do, so celebrating together is always important.”

Marshall’s employees are selfless and according to Craig, they are what makes the company tick.

“These are the people we owe our livelihood to and we respect them and they respect each other. It makes for a fabulous atmosphere,” said Craig. “These are the heroes of Marshall Homes. We have a tremendous amount of respect for our teammates, consultants, partners, and that’s evident in how well we work together and the quality in our builds.”

Loyalty, friendship, and a hive mentality excited about surmounting any challenge that comes their way. This team is why Marshall Homes is one of the top home builders in Durham.

Celebrating 30 Years of Marshall Homes

The story began in Tall Trees, our company’s very first community built in Pickering in 1992.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but that community laid the foundations for Marshall Homes – the thriving company that is still building stunning communities across Durham and the GTA today.

However, President of Marshall Homes Craig Marshall was issued a warning by one of his neighbours when he first started the company.

“When I started out, people told me not to use my family name. Too much risk, they said, in case a project didn’t sell or customers were unhappy,” said Craig. “But I’m not one to hide behind a corporate shield and I wasn’t going to fail.”

Quality over Quantity – The Marshall Way

From the very start, Marshall’s philosophy was “Quality over Quantity”. The teamfocused on developing smaller communities around the Durham region, where Craig’s family put down its roots. In other words, he was developing his backyard and community, and he wanted to do it right.

“I was committed to building homes that I’d be proud to put my family’s name on, so that’s exactly what we did,” said Craig.

Now, 30 years later, Marshall Homes is broadening its scope. Larger communities and more game-changing innovations lie ahead as the company looks to improve the lives of families across the GTA and beyond.

But no matter how much the company grows, Craig plans to keep a level head and always remember where he began.

“I’m so proud of how much we’ve grown and matured,” he said. “Building a better home will always be part of our DNA, but we’re so excited about raising our game and reaching that next level.”

Marshall’s Home Building Innovations

Innovation. The heartbeat of technological progress and one of Marshall Homes’ core values. Being one of the first builders in Canada to introduce the popular open-concept design is certainly something to be proud of, and Craig Marshall and his team have continued to up the ante.

“We were also a leader in bringing geothermal heating and cooling, grey water recycling, and green-grass driveways to the market,” Craig said when discussing the open-concept design. “As well as the construction of Canada’s first LEED-certified home, an accolade we’re very proud of.”

Considering humanity’s changing energy needs, Marshall Homes has also been hard at work designing homes fit for the future. Thus, the Altona Towns microgrid community, powered by Tesla, was born.

Built in Pickering, Altona Towns will help homeowners reduce their energy bills thanks to the community’s superior energy efficiency and the cooperation established between Marshall Homes and the local hydro companies.

“The Altona Towns in Pickering offer homeowners reduced utility bills, backup power, and will help the local utility company generate and store clean energy,” Craig explains. “This new initiative will also contribute to the research and design of future, autonomously-powered communities, a model that we hope will be adopted by other builders in the GTA and beyond.”

Marshall is dedicated to consistently learning and staying ahead of the curve. It’s a special company, and the team couldn’t be happier to celebrate a successful 30 years in the industry. Follow us on social media to stay tuned for more 30th Anniversary videos!

The future of multi-generational living

Lack of affordability in Canadian real estate and pandemic-fueled attitudes on multi-generational living have combined to create a hole in the housing market — a hole Marshall Homes is determined to fill with its unique Flexhouz™ Series.

Designed for two families to call home at once, Flexhouz™ is the ideal solution for families who want to merge their generations under one roof.

The impact grandparents can make in helping raise the younger generation is profound. From mentoring their grandchildren to taking care of them when the parents are busy, grandparents often strive to help in any way they can.

After quality time with their grandchildren, grandparents who live in one of our Flexhouz™ designs can retreat to their own homes just a few metres away. Everyone deserves their own space to call home, and that is where our Flexhouz™ Series excels.

Marshall Flexhouz’s™ are large homes featuring a smaller, independent suite inside of it. Complete with its own entrance, garage, kitchen, beautiful living space, and a lockable door connecting the two homes, a large family can live as one while still having time and space to themselves.

Shifting Attitudes on Multi-Generational Living

Multi-gen and multi-family living is common in many cultures outside North America, and it looks like we are starting to take notes. Stats Canada reported that roughly 6 percent of Canadians were living in multi-generational households as of 2016, their most recent data, but experts believe this could be changing.

On top of the familial reasons for living in a multi-family home, such as childcare or looking after an elderly family member, families are beginning to move in together to offset the rising costs of housing and living.

Toronto’s average home price hit a record $1.3 million in January 2022, with similar highs reached in Durham, $1.05 million, and York, $1.41 million.

Flexhouz™ combats this affordability crisis many young families and first-time buyers are facing. Multiple incomes can be leveraged when applying for a mortgage and going the Flexhouz™ route can cost less than buying your parents a condo or paying to house them in retirement communities.

A Prudent Financial Decision

Besides combatting affordability and keeping the family close, building your own Flexhouz™ is a great step towards building equity within the family. Having home equity gives you an asset that you can use when you need it.

Further, having your grandparents live next door can help significantly with childcare costs. We know how quickly they can add up, and this unique take on the future of Canadian housing is prepared to meet those costs head-on.

A Home Fit for Your Needs

Flexhouz’s™ are completely customizable, giving you the ability to build a house perfect for your family. Maybe you have some very specific requirements for your lifestyle, and you’re having a hard time finding one that suits your family. Building a Flexhouz™ from the ground up ensures your home is up to your family’s standards.

A lot of people spend their first few months in their new home reconfiguring and replacing things they don’t like.

When you build your own custom home, you will get to make all these decisions from the very beginning. Design the home of your dreams and don’t worry about the hassle of living on a construction site when you build your Flexhouz™ with Marshall Homes.

Rising affordability issues and the multiple benefits of having family close at hand makes our Flexhouz™ Series of homes a clear choice for the future of Canadian living.

Put the custom in custom homes: 7 customizations you can’t live without

Putting the custom in a custom home is the best part of building your dream home.

Custom homes are often fraught with things that go sideways — you know like budgets and timelines.

It’s okay – we don’t do custom that way.

If you know anything about our take on custom, you know our approach removes the uncertainties that lead to ballooning budgets and keeps your project humming along.

We start with our collection of Signature Series plans (including our new groundbreaking Flex Houz plan) and work with you to customize them. We also guarantee your price. (Yes, you read that right.)

This lets you focus on the fun/important/meaningful things you want for your new home. It can mean moving some walls or adding custom finishes and features that are all you. It’s really the best of both worlds — your dream home and peace of mind!

Let’s dive in and get inspired.

Here are seven of the most popular, must-have customizations so you can start creating your own must-have list.

And the winner is … The Custom Kitchen!

When it comes to custom, this is the Big Kahuna. Who doesn’t want a custom kitchen? Because the kitchen is where so much life happens—your life—personalizing your kitchen to fit your lifestyle and family only make sense.

You can customize your kitchen to your heart’s content – from finishes to the layout itself. Our “no-limits-kitchens” means you can work directly with our kitchen company to design exactly what suits your tastes and needs (and budget).

Guided by the experts, you’ll have the opportunity to design the kitchen of your dreams – modern, transitional, traditional — a reflection of your style and your needs.

Select everything from the finishes of your countertops, floors and cabinets to your drawer pulls and add smart storage solutions that work for you. It’s a recipe for a kitchen you’ll love!

Having a kitchen that is as good-looking as it is hard-working can make the not so fun tasks, not so bad (clean-up duty, we’re looking at you!) and the happy moments even better.

2. At long last: The Servery or Pantry

Yes, you can.

As in, yes you can buy that professional size mixer. Yes, you can buy the caterer-sized box of wine glasses for your next party. Yes, you can buy Thanksgiving-themed dishes. Yes. You. Can.

Why? Because you’ve got a pantry. It’s the walk-in closet of the kitchen.

So when that custom kitchen is ready to roll, it will continue to look gorgeous with clutter-free countertops.

Similarly, the servery is that essential space between the kitchen and dining room acting like a little prep space for extra serving dishes or bar glasses. It’s a separate counter that gets the overflow out of your kitchen and lets you entertain like a boss.

3. Flexibility: The Home Office

Whether part-time or full-time, more of us are working from home these days. But swapping the traditional office environment for your kitchen table isn’t going to help you work at peak efficiency. And it probably isn’t the most professional backdrop for those video conference calls.

A well-designed home office space can minimize distractions and put you in a professional mindset from the moment you walk through the door so your productivity stays at its peak.

We can help you consider everything from floor plan placement (no need for business visitors to traipse through your home), to adding special touches like built-in bookcases. Our goal is to create a space that will spark your passion and productivity. No commute required.

4. Ceiling Treatments

Adding artwork to your walls and rugs to your floors is an obvious way to add style to a space, but why should the floors and the walls get all the love?

Ceiling treatments add that ‘X-factor’ to your home. In fact, as you study our signature series plans you’ll note our homes are chock full of ceilings that kick your room designs up a notch with tray, vaulted and coffered ceilings — standard. Waffle ceilings have become hugely popular and are also an option. The sky (or in this case, the ceiling) is the limit.

5. Smart Storage

Stuff. We’ve all got it, and we need a place to put it somewhere —preferably a spot that’s out-of-sight but still easy-to-access. Maybe more than any other other space, entry points into your home are a magnet for clutter, from dropped bags, keys, to hockey equipment that can make your entry feel anything but warm and welcoming.

Restore order back to your entryway with custom storage solutions that work for you — whether that’s a simple built-in bench with a few hooks or an extra-deep coat closet with cubbies and shelves for stashing shoes and sports equipment.

6. Finished Basement

When it comes to creating additional living space and boosting your home’s value, focusing on your basement will give you the most bang for your buck. This ultra-versatile space can be anything you need it to be.

Have a need for extra bedrooms? Look to the basement. Want a killer media space or a recreational area where the kids can hang out? Basement again. How about a gym, wine room, or workshop? You guessed it. A finished basement fits the bill every time.

When we help you finish out your space with smart living space and a dose of style, it will almost feel unfair to call it a basement.

7. Custom Closets

Move over master bath, once-utilitarian closets are becoming the new luxury space in a master suite. Is it even fair to call them “closets” anymore? Sure, they’re still a spot for storing clothes, shoes, bags and jewelry, but, when done right, they’re anything but basic.

Amp up the design quotient of your closets with custom storage solutions (think: built-ins with shoe shelving, compartmentalized drawers and hanging racks), dressing areas with seating and full-length mirrors, and luxe design details, like custom lighting and wall or ceiling treatments.


At this point, it’s probably a good idea to download our Signature Series plans. Which plan most closely matches must-haves? Don’t forget to take a look at the ceiling treatments!

Have a question? Ask away! Talk to one of our custom home specialists at 905-683-0050 or 1-888-983-0050.

“Cottage Addiction” is a thing … here’s how to prepare for it and embrace it

I think new cottages should come with a warning.

It’s like an itch that starts around noon on Thursday and turns into a full-on nervous tick come Friday.

You’ve gotta get out of these work clothes, out of the city and up to the cottage.

It doesn’t end once you get there. In fact, the addiction is just starting. Those lazy days in the sun, swimming off the back of the boat and having dinner on the deck with your family and some friends as the sun goes down … a couple of measly days at the end of every week just don’t cut it.

Next, you’re figuring out how you might be able to stretch your summer vacation into working from the cottage for a few days (or weeks if you’re lucky).

You don’t want to go back. You dread late Sunday.

And before long, you’re dreaming about never going back.

As in “every day is Saturday”.

And then a new countdown begins. The countdown to making the cottage your home.

We’ve seen this story play out over and over again. And because we’ve also spent decades building gorgeous homes for active retirees choosing to live in cottage country, we know a thing or two about great floor plans for that stage of your life.

So as we sit down to help our clients create their dream cottage, we help them look a little further down the road because done right and with the right floor plan, today’s cottage just might be home when you retire.

5 Ways to build a cottage you could call home one day:

The Cottage Office

Depending on your work and the flexiblity you have, the cottage office might help you transition from working from the cottage to full retirement. And for some, full retirement may never come. So why not have the best of both worlds and plan a room with a view that inspires? You really can have it all.

Embrace Single-Level Living

When it comes to designing a cottage you could retire to, first-floor living a must. Placing all of the essentials – like the master suite and laundry room – on the main floor means you’ll be able to skip the stairs and enjoy a cottage that carries you through your senior years with ease.

Of course, before you choose a floor plan that accommodates single-level living, you’ll want to ensure your property is accessible year round.

If your cottage will be situated at the end of a twisty, barely-there path, you’ll want to address access issues before building a cottage that’s designed for year-round use.

Look to a Loft or a Basement

Having all of your necessities on a single floor doesn’t mean friends and family have to crowd into a single level. If your site allows for it (and we find the best cottage sites along the water often do), a walk-out basement can give you the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to adding extra space to your single-level floor pan.

Extra bedrooms for guests, a recreational room and utility and storage spaces are all popular uses for walk-out basements in our cottages.

Another one of our clients’ favorite ways to add extra space to a home designed for single-level living is to add a loft into their vaulted ceiling. A loft space can double as a recreation room, media space or office and provide extra sleeping quarters. Plus, it will allow you and your guests to take advantage of gorgeous lake views.

Opt for an Open Floor Plan

Today’s open floor plans readily lend themselves to retirement living. Closed-off rooms that are difficult to access through narrow hallways and twisty turns have given way to wide-open floor plans that combine main gathering areas into a single, large space.

While modern, open plans have eliminated unnecessary hallways and doorways, if you would like to ensure wheelchair accessibility, we can expand walkways from their traditional 36 inches to 42 to 48 inches and boost doorway clearance to 36 inches.

Create a Custom Kitchen

Ask anyone where the busiest spot in their cottage is, and you’re probably going to hear “kitchen” in response. It’s the heart of the home. And, when a space gets that much use, you want to be doubly sure its designed right for ease of use and safety.

We’ll give you the opportunity to customize your kitchen from the top down. And, as you do, we’ll make suggestions that will help make your kitchen retirement ready.

Possible suggestions include multi-level countertops and custom features like pull-out steps and shelves, which can make a significant difference when you get a little older (and we all do).

Focus on the Details

Even if retirement seems like a long way off, it’s a smart move to go ahead and incorporate small touches that can enhance your cottage’s functionality in the future. We look at things like:

  • Installing adequate and uniform lighting. Having sufficient ambient lights, focused task lights and night lights becomes especially important as you age
  • Swapping out traditional door knobs for lever handles, which offer easier in-and-out access
  • Opting for a walk-in shower, low-rise tub, and taller toilets

The takeaway? Prepare for the addiction.

There’s a good chance today’s cottage will be tomorrow’s dream retirement. With a little foresight, you’ll be enjoying the Sunday sunset as everyone else races back to the city!

Cheers to that!

Flex Houz: Housing that makes sense for today’s families

With two homes in one, our new Flex Houz is making it easier for multi-generational families to live together and enjoy it.

Can a house solve some of life’s more pressing problems? We think so.

Times change and for the first time since Canada recorded such things, there are more seniors aged 65+ than there are children.

On the other end of the spectrum it’s never been so difficult for young people to own their own home.

And in the middle? Working moms and dads are taking care of their parents and trying to help their kids make their way in the world.

Not surprisingly, multi-generational households (defined as having two or more adult generations living under one roof) are on the rise. But traditional floor plans meant for parents and minor-age children haven’t kept up with your lifestyle. You need an alternative that works.

Enter Flex Houz

Unlike anything we’ve ever created, Flex Houz is a home inspired by and for multi-generational living. When it comes to creating floor plans and communities, we believe our best source of inspiration is you.

Let’s give it some context.

Scenario 1:

We know that caring for an aging parent comes with a whole host of emotions and demands. Your options are limited: assisted living or leaving parents in their own home and hoping they’ll be alright.

Flex Houz means independent living for a parent and peace of mind for you.

Scenario 2:

Or maybe it’s an adult child saving for a home of their own. Flex Houz may be the one way to ensure harmony and keep the peace allowing for privacy and the freedom to come and go. (And maybe the added bonus of a home cooked meal every now and then.)

Regardless of which end of the spectrum you’re accommodating, the financial and practical benefits are game changers. But before we look at those, let’s take a look at how Flex Houz works.

Two Homes in One

From the outside, it looks like a traditional house. Created for standard 50’ foot lots, these home have the appearance of a normal single-family residence. But walk through the spacious interiors, and you’ll quickly discover the difference.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill single family home. It’s a home within a home. That’s right — two complete homes under one roof. Instead of one front door, you’ll find two. Same goes for the living areas, kitchen, garage, laundry room and mudroom. Both the primary house and the self-contained suite—located on the main floor (no stairs!)—have all the features you’d expect to find in a complete home.

Separating the two spaces is an interior door. Leave it open to bring everyone together. Or close it off when you need privacy. (Because we get it. You love your family, but sometimes a little separation is a good thing.) This perfect balance between proximity and privacy is the genius behind Flex Houz. This “home within a home” design keeps everyone together, creating the opportunity for memorable moments, but it also gives each family member a sense of independence and a place to call their own. Flex Houz will help make the transition and daily reality of life together as a multigenerational family the best it can be.

Housing that makes sense today

Besides the benefits to your relationships and family—and the fact that you’re getting two homes for the price of one—there are a number of additional perks that come from having two complete living spaces under one roof. Here are a few of the benefits from choosing Flex Houz.

1. Create equity while caring for your family. Beyond our vision of making it easier for multigenerational families to live together and enjoy it, we see Flex Houz as a solid solution to the financial dilemma of assisting aging parents or millennial-aged children with their living arrangements. Rather than pouring your hard-earned finances into a senior community or assisted living facility or having to funnel it into a deposit on your children’s first apartment, Flex Houz allows you to channel those funds into your own mortgage. Creating equity while caring for your family—it’s a win-win. And, it’s the reason Flex Houz is a smart economic solution to the increasingly high cost of housing.

2. Lighten your load. Besides the benefit of a single mortgage or housing cost, Flex Houz also creates the opportunity to share in home-based tasks and costs. With two generations under one roof, both parties can chip in with lawn care, monthly utilities, child care, etc.

3. Make it custom. Like every home we build at Marshall Homes, this one is customizable to meet your needs and tastes. Really, we should say they both are because we know that just because you are family doesn’t mean you agree on everything. Let’s say you prefer a white kitchen with subway tiles and driftwood-style floors, but your mom wants espresso cabinets with a granite backsplash and tile floors. We’ve got you covered. The primary house and the multigen suite both include luxe modern finishes and amenities that can be tailored separately to individual preferences.

4. Flex your floor plan. Flex Houz is poised to help you live your best life now as a multi-generational family. But, it’s also designed to give you options for the future. We’ve kept versatility at the forefront of the design because we know that nothing stays the same forever. As your seasons and life situations change, Flex Houz adapts. Maybe for now it makes sense to invite an aging family member into the multigen space. Down the road, you may need the space for an adult child. Or, maybe you don’t need a full-time space for family now but could benefit from a home office or a suite for visiting relatives. Life changes, your house should be able to change with it, and Flex Houz does just that.

Your property or ours?

And, to make things that much sweeter, we’re offering Flex Houz in two ways: 1) as a floor plan that can be built as a custom home on your own lot or 2) as an option at our new community, Frontier Court. (But here’s a tip: there are only 7 lots and at 50-feet each, they are a rare find today so be sure to register.)

10 Things We Love About Pickering

The search for a new home is so much more than just the actual house … or townhome … or condo. The location and its proximity to work, schools and the community are all super important too.

We’re pretty bullish on Pickering. We’re not just building communities like The Altona Towns in Pickering … it’s our home too.

So who better to share the love, than us?

If you ask us, Pickering has it all – the laid-back charm of a small waterfront town with the amenities of city life. Read on to discover a few of our favorite things about Pickering and the surrounding area.

Altona Forest

Some of the best natural beauty that the GTA has to offer is only steps from your doorstep thanks to Altona Town’s proximity to Altona Forest. Nature trails wind through the conservation area, inviting you to explore streams, ponds, forests and an abundance of native trees, plants and flowers. It’s a great place to head out for a hike after work or on the weekend.

Pickering Casino & Waterpark

Big things are happening in Pickering. Over 200 acres of previously untouched land next to Highway 401 is the soon-to-be-home of an impressive entertainment complex called Durham Live. The development will be home to a host of attractions including a casino, an indoor water park, a 15-screen theater and an array of restaurants and shops.

Beachfront Park and Millennium Square

With sweeping views of Lake Ontario and lush wetlands, Beachfront Park is a great place to birdwatch, picnic or just enjoy the sights and sounds of Lake Ontario from a shaded bench while the kids play in the splash pad or on one of the two playgrounds. Walk next door to Millennium Square to browse boutiques or have a bite to eat. During the summer months, can’t-miss entertainment includes carnivals and evening concerts.

Altona Forest Public School and University of Toronto (Scarborough Campus)

No matter where your children are in their educational careers—elementary, secondary or post-secondary—the Pickering area offers ample learning opportunities thanks to the proximity of Altona Forest Public Schools and the University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus.

The former received solid marks in the Fraser Institute’s annual ranking of public schools, while the University of Toronto is renowned world-wide. The vibrant Scarborough campus is home to Canada’s largest investment in amateur sport infrastructure – the new Aquatics Centre and Field House.

The Rouge National Urban Park

The country’s first urban national park, Rouge Park is a gateway to nature for residents of Pickering and beyond. Resplendent with natural beauty, the park features over 1,700 species of plants and animals, beckoning visitors to explore meadows, wetlands, sandy beaches, historic farms and waterways. Favorite family-friendly activities include kayaking or paddle boarding, hiking, riverside camping and beach volleyball. All this a quick 10-minutes from your door.

Farmer’s Market

Experience Pickering at its best at the seasonal Farmer’s Market every Tuesday from June to October.

Spend a relaxing morning meeting friendly locals and discovering fresh produce and artisanal goods. Enjoy a snack or samples from food vendors, take in the sounds of local bands and participate in family-friendly activities. Each week revolves around a different theme and corresponding activities, including Food Truck Day, Pickering Blooms Day and Art & Music Day, to name a few.

Pickering Town Centre

Whether you consider shopping a sport or you just love to browse, the Pickering Town Centre mall – with over 200 restaurants and retailers – has got you covered. Amenities include a toddler play park – a spot for the kiddos to run off some energy while you take a break from shopping.

Restaurants include everything from gourmet fare to quick-bite selections, and a Cineplex VIP Cinemas features 12 screens and four auditoriums with food service and luxury loungers.

Pickering GO Stations

Regional transit is convenient in Pickering thanks to the Pickering GO station. Adjacent to Highway 401, the station has more parking spaces than other station in the system—3,600 in total.

The station has undergone a number of improvements in the past five years, including a new parking garage, a covered walkway to the station building and a multi-million dollar fully enclosed pedestrian bridge that connects the station to the Pickering Town Centre. And did we mention a 28-minute express train to Union Station?

Toronto Zoo

Just 10 minutes from Pickering, Canada’s largest zoo is home to over 5,000 animals. Six miles of paved walking trails wind through award-winning indoor and outdoor exhibits separated into geographical regions, such as the African Rainforest and Savanna and Eurasia.

The Discovery Zone, sure to be a hit with the kids, encompasses a children’s wildlife experience area, a two-acre water play area and a theatre featuring animal-themed shows.

Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre

The legacy of the recent PanAm Games, this state of the art sports centre is a quick 10-minutes from The Altona Towns. It’s a great opportunity to stay active and healthy thanks to a range of recreational and sports activities.

The Sports Centre houses a 200-meter indoor track, fitness centre with separate cardio and strength studio, climbing wall and two pools used for classes and leisure swim. After you’ve worked up a healthy appetite, pop into the Food Court for a healthy lunch or fresh juice or smoothie.

Thinking about calling The Altona Towns home? Get our plans package complete with prices and room dimensions and love your life in Pickering!


From “oh no!” to “oh wow!”: How the Woods dream home became a reality.

For four decades, Steve and Donna Woods spent lazy summer days at their family’s cottage in the Haliburton Highlands. They came for the lakes, trails, shops and welcoming culture, but most of all, they loved the laid-back vibe.

When it came time for the couple to retire, they knew there was nowhere else they’d rather be. But their cottage wasn’t suited to year-round living or aging in place, so they began looking into a custom build. They purchased a piece of property on 12 Mile Lake in Minden and designed their dream house.

Their must-have list:

  • amply-sized rooms,
  • an outdoor living area,
  • a walkout basement and
  • a master on the main floor

When they reached out to builders to price it out, their hearts sank.

“The numbers were astronomical,” Steve says. Donna adds: “There was no question that building was out of reach for us.”

Then, they visited our Port 32 community in Bobcaygeon, and everything changed.

“We stopped by the model home and immediately felt at home,” Steve says. “We walked around, got a feel of the floor plan and realized it was very similar to what we had designed. We were ready to just move to Port 32; then we discovered they had a custom-home building service.”

When it was time to talk numbers, Steve and Donna braced themselves for another letdown. But this time their surprise was a good one. “It was half of what we were quoted for the custom build from the other builders,” Steve says. “As soon as we heard the price, we got excited.”

Once they sat down with our design team, Steve and Donna’s enthusiasm continued. They chose The Bobcaygeon – a four bedroom, three-bath 1960 floor plan used in the model that included all of their “must-haves” and modified it to suit their lifestyle and tastes even more closely. (The original design called for brick, but the Woods wanted more of a cottage feel and craftsman style.)

We were a match. Quickly, the couple realized we cared as much as they did about getting things right. “Three days. That’s how long we spent going over all the details with Marshall Homes,” laughs Steve.

That’s not uncommon. That’s what our stress-free custom cottages and custom homes approach is all about: starting with a great plan and customizing it. It’s how we get to your ideal and avoid those jaw-dropping budgets.

A few feet here, a window there and a great big fridge…

During those three days refining the Woods’ home, much of the discussion centered around customizing the design. The couple loved the open concept in the original model but wanted to adjust a few areas in the main living area.

For starters, they wanted a larger dining room to accommodate an antique table. We bumped the house out an additional four feet in the front, and also shifted a pair of windows to frame the matching sideboard.

In the kitchen, the couple relocated the wall oven to the opposite side of the room and requested a side-by-side refrigerator freezer. We removed a small pantry to make room for the the larger appliance.

“With the addition of the refrigerator, the island had to be shifted down to accommodate the doors opening,” Steven explains. “It was the Sales & Decor Manager at Port 32, Georgina, who alerted us to that. Marshall Homes really nailed out the details.”

After removing the pantry, the couple knew they needed additional storage and serving space, so they removed a bathtub from a main floor bathroom to create room for a spacious butler’s pantry.

The couple made a few changes outside, as well. They planned to convert the screened-in porch portion of the home overlooking the lake into a sunroom but wanted to finish the project themselves. They also hoped to take on finishing lower level bedroom and adding granite to the fireplace surround.

“Marshall Homes is very flexible on a custom build,” Steve explains. “They’ll let you do as much or as little as you want.”

If you ask us, that flexibility is one of the things that sets us apart in the world of custom home builders. None of our clients are exactly the same, and we don’t think their houses should be either. That’s why we are committed to helping our clients fully customize their finishes.

“Georgina took time to source things out and get us pricing,” Steve says. “We looked at tons of samples, but there was no rushing at all on Marshall Homes’ end.” The couple says the crew who worked on their home was equally attentive and patient. “You could see they really took pride in their work.”

Now, with all of the design details and construction decisions behind them, the couple agree the experience was even better than they expected. “It was actually a ton of fun. There were a few bumps along the way, but Marshall Homes helped us through it all. Building a home should be an enjoyable experience, and it really was,” Steve says.

Donna agrees that building with Marshall Homes was fun, but living in a Marshall Homes house has been even better: “It’s a wonderful, relaxed and informal lifestyle. We sit out at night and have bonfires and enjoy the beautiful views of the forest, lake and wildlife. It’s everything we hoped for.”