Archive for February, 2013

Pocket Offices: Family Central 2.0

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A few weeks ago I posted a blog article called “Family Central” about carving out a family organization center somewhere in the family home to round up all the paper and paraphernalia associated with day to day family life.  Our lives in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region just keep getting busier, don’t they?  And it seems to get harder all the time to keep track of schedules and corral all the clutter. 

A great article in the February 23, 2013 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “Tiny, perfect pocket officesconfirms the need for such a space in a family home and contains lots of valuable information and good tips about how to create and use these small but mighty work spaces.   Check it out! 

Looking for a home with something special?  Maybe I can help.  Call or text me 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

The Sky is Falling: Meteors and Your Home Insurance

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The Sky is Falling: Meteors and Your Home Insurance | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAt first, when I heard about the meteor that hit the Urals region of western Siberia in Russia a couple weeks ago, I thought it had to be a mistake.  That is, until I heard the news reports of the hundreds of people injured and the massive amounts of property damage.  And then I got to feeling pretty relieved that it hadn’t landed here, and wondering if that kind of destruction would hit people in their wallets.

An article in the Edmonton Journal reported that the meteor, which was the size of a bus and weighed about 7000 tons, exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs.  Russia seems to be a bit of a magnet for massive meteorite strikes.  The last big one, in fact the largest impact of its type in recorded history, hit Siberia in 1908, wiping out an estimated 80 million trees with a blast greater than 1000 times that of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima.  

The Journal article quotes Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science: “These fireballs happen about once a day or so, but we just don’t see them because many of them fall over the ocean or in remote areas.”  Good to know for those of us who live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region! 

So, what happens if your home is hit by falling space debris?  Or, for that matter, items falling from airplanes, such as chunks of frozen sewage known as “blue ice”, tree limbs broken off in a wind storm, and the like?  Happily for homeowners, this is one less thing to worry about because insurance policies generally do cover such events. 

According to Angeni Jaipaul at Allstate Insurance in west Edmonton, a meteor event of this type would be part of the “Falling Objects” clause of Allstate’s VIP Homeowner Policy which states “This peril means a falling object which strikes the exterior of a building but not objects which strike the building due to earth movement”If your home is damaged in any way by junk falling out of the sky, your insurance will pay for repairs.

5 things to know about home insurance, an article published on the Toronto Star website,  offers a few more bits of insurance wisdom:

  • Be aware of your responsibilities as a home owner.  Insurance will usually cover you for events that you could not have foreseen or prevented (stuff dropping from the sky that wrecks your roof), but you won’t be covered if damage is the result of your lack of maintenance.
  • Read your policy carefully and be sure to ask questions of your agent.  Do you have a comprehensive all-perils policy, or a basic named-perils policy?  All-perils policies will protect you against most risks; a named-perils policy will cover specific risks, such as fire, lightning, wind.  (But be careful:  the term all-perils might be misleading because most of these policies don’t cover damage from floods or earthquakes unless you have specifically purchased that type of coverage.)
  • Update your policy.  Let your insurance company know when you renovate your property or make substantial changes to the contents.  Keep an inventory of what you own.  One suggestion is to use your phone to make a video of the rooms and their contents.  

See also my other blog articles on the topic of home insurance:

 “Property Insurance: Are You Covered?

Home Inventory: Do You Have One?

Comments or questions about this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here


Family Central

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFamily CentralDoes your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton-area home have a special dedicated room or home office that functions as the “business hub” of your family’s activities?  Where the kids do their homework, mom and dad pay the bills, family members update schedules, store keys, phones, laptops and other important items that need to be grabbed before leaving the house?  No?  Well, you’re not alone in wishing for a magic solution to the problem of keeping everybody organized and the house clutter-free!  With today’s busy lifestyles, it’s no wonder that many people can’t find their dining room tables and kitchen counters under the daily avalanche of school papers, mail, newspapers and magazines, electronic devices and much more.

An article in the January 26, 2013 edition of the Edmonton Journal entitled “Building the perfect family hub” addresses the questions of what is needed to create a family organization center, how to find the space, and how to make it all work in even the smallest of homes. 

According to the article, the most important items needed in the center are a calendar for keeping track of everybody’s schedules, a message board (dry erase or corkboard) for posting and sharing information, a bin or section of corkboard for each family member’s own current information needs (such as school permission slips), and a power strip and shelf for charging electronic devices.  A work surface for homework and the like is also ideal, as well as a laptop or computer for checking email, doing research, etc. 

But where to put this?  A room such as the bonus room found in many of today’s newer homes or a mudroom would be great, but not necessary according to the authors of the article.  Instead, there are numerous other options, such as converting a pantry cupboard or small closet into a desktop with storage above, seating below.  Even a single kitchen cabinet can serve when space is really tight.  For some excellent visuals, take a look at my Pinterest board “Great Little SpacesThe key is defining the purpose for the space chosen as the family hub. 

If you are lucky enough to have a room-size space available, you can furnish it lavishly with a built-in desk and storage, or more economically with items from around the house or from garage sales – whatever will fit the budget and the needs of your family.   

This leads to the final aspect of such a center, making it work.  Again, let your own family’s needs be your guide.  Bright colors and an attractive space along with a firm commitment to use this area as THE spot for family business go a long way to keeping the rest of the house tidy and organized!  Check out the article for more details and ideas. 

Looking for just the right home to meet your family’s needs?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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