DIY home office ideas for small spaces


Whether you’re a telecommuter, freelancer, student, or simply need a spot to sit down and pay the bills, you need a dedicated space in your home in order to be productive. Using the kitchen or dining room table can work for a little while, but it becomes cumbersome and cluttered if you’re working during meal times. Trying to be productive while sitting on the couch, crouched over the coffee table, or with your laptop balanced on your lap is no better (laptop is a bit of a misnomer). A dedicated workspace helps you to cut down on distractions and get down to business. Even in small spaces, there is usually a creative way to use the space more efficiently. If you need to carve out a corner, or find a bit of wall space to work at, we’re here to help optimize your options.


Designed carpet and grey pouf on glossy white floor. Home office design concept


Rethink and Rearrange


You may think that the placement of your furniture is just perfect. You may be right, or you may be depriving yourself of some prime, yet hidden, home office space. If you move the couch more toward the centre of the room, rather than against the wall, you can take advantage of the new found wall space. Place a small desk or narrow table there, and presto! You’re in business! The desk could face the wall for a distraction-free workspace, or face the back of the sofa. If the sofa is facing the TV, you can enjoy some entertainment while you work.


Cozy up to corners


A chair and small desk, table or shelving unit, tucked into a corner, can create a cozy spot to get productive in. Look for a small desk with built in storage, so you don’t have to have any extra shelves that could make the corner feel cramped. Separate the space with simple design tricks. A framed piece of art or even a motivational poster, or a change in tone or colour can make a big difference. The desk itself could provide the colour shift — paint it any colour you choose.


Up against the wall!


A section of wall in a hall, kitchen, next to furniture or between bookcases or shelving units, can be optimized for your workspace. To avoid having your creative centre clash with its surroundings, keep the colours uniform or complimentary for a continuous flow.


Fold it and forget it


If you’re really tight for space, and don’t require your workspace to take up any when you aren’t working, a wall mounted drop leaf table can work well. It folds almost flat when not in use, and you can use a kitchen chair, folding chair, or even your yoga ball to sit on. If you’d rather not mount anything to the wall, a folding TV tray can do the trick. When you’re not in work mode anymore, fold it up, put it in the closet and enjoy your free time!


Refashion your closet


If you’d rather not keep your office folded up in the closet as we suggested above, what about foregoing the fashions in your closet and fashioning an office space in the closet? If you can consolidate your clothes, you can create a spare space. All you need is a small desk, lamp  and chair. When you’re done with work, simply close the door. It’s a great way to keep your work life and home life separate, all in the same space.


With a little creativity, you can create a home workspace in any small space. Look around, use your imagination, and then get down to work!


For information on Greenrock Communities in Toronto, including Greenrock at Davisville Village (77 Davisville Avenue, 45 Balliol Street and 225 Davisville Avenue) and Village Green (50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street and 55 Maitland Street), please visit our website.

Take a class at The Chef Upstairs


The Chef Upstairs is more than just a restaurant. It’s a private dining venue. Good there is kind of having a great restaurant all to yourself. You choose the chef, menu, wine and even the decor for your group of 10 to 25 people. It’s perfect for families, team building and larger get togethers.


Credit: The Chef Upstairs


But it’s even more than that. It’s also a top notch cooking school that offers interactive cooking classes. A group of 6 to 8 people work together, within a larger group of up to 14 people. A professional chef leads the class and provides all the guidance and instruction you will require. The classes focus on all aspects of cooking — from knife skills, to food preparation and seasoning — and of course, eating. At the end of the class, the group sits down together and enjoys the meal they have prepared. Classes typically include 3 recipes and provide a full meal. Best of all, you will take these new skills (and any leftovers) home with you.


Classes are offered at their Mount Pleasant Road location ((516 Mt Pleasant Road) on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm and Fridays at 6:45 pm. Each class is approximately 3 hours long and costs $99 for a single class, or $175 for two classes (or one couple in one class).

Check out their winter schedule. The Chef Upstairs is allergy aware and always 100% peanut and nut free.

Credit: The Chef Upstairs




Winter may be coming to a close for this year, but anytime is a good time for comfort food. Especially Italian comfort food! Start with a classic winter soup, Ribollita –  a Tuscan white bean soup with simple Crostini. Next, make pasta from scratch and create butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli with a brown butter and sage sauce. Finish things off with a deconstructed take on Cannoli.




In this class you will pick up some basic knife skills, and learn how to layer flavourings like a pro to create your own North African meal. The lesson will begin with a mixed green salad with figs, apricots, olives and feta, served with a sensational sherry honey vinaigrette. The main course consists of a chicken breast stuffed with more apricots, figs, dates and raisins, topped with a dried fruit compote and served with a root vegetable tagine with couscous. A delicious Meskouta lemon cake completes the meal.




This is always a popular class. Classic Tapas recipes are simple enough to prepare but most boast a complex flavour profile. These dishes are relatively easy to recreate at home, so you’ll be able to show off what you learned with ease. Tapas is a shareable meal, composed of several “small plates”. In this course you will make delicious bites including Tomato Bread and Olives, Patatas Bravas with Chorizo, Berenjenas Parrillas (Grilled Eggplant with Melted Manchego, Capers, and Saffron Honey), Grilled calamari stuffed with ratatouille and Catalan Crema for dessert.




Get a real hands on experience in this super-popular class. Make rice paper rolls and vegetarian dumplings from scratch! Then move on to Pho Bo — a perfectly satisfying soup for chilly evenings that is a meal in itself. For dessert, you will prepare an avocado ice cream parfait called Kem Bo.




In addition to their regular classes, The Chef Upstairs offers classes for special occasions. Their March Break Cooking Camps are full day (9am to 4pm) group sessions for kids ages 7 to 16. They are designed to bring out the inner chef in your child, while improving self-confidence and encouraging them to work with others to achieve a delicious goal. They’ll start the day by making their own breakfast. They’ll spend the rest of the day cooking, baking, taking supervised breaks in the local park, or walking to the Mount Pleasant library to browse cookbooks, or go shopping together for fresh and local ingredients.


PD Day Cooking Camps at The Chef Upstairs teach children, ages 6 to 13, the basics of food prep, cooking techniques and healthy eating. The next one takes place on Easter Monday (April 2nd).


Make this the year you learn to cook, meet some new people, or plan a fun couples night out. When you go out for dinner, you feed yourself for the night. When you learn to cook with the Chef Upstairs, you feed your mind and body for a lifetime!

Greenrock Property Management Limited loves to help you cook up some fun and connect you with all that your neighbourhood and community have to offer. For information on Greenrock Communities in Toronto, including Greenrock at Davisville Village (77 Davisville Avenue, 45 Balliol Street and 225 Davisville Avenue), please visit our website.


Learn and Create at Maker Festival

Take part in a month of making, from July 6th to August 6th, at Maker Festival! This incredible festival brings together Toronto’s most creative people and projects to celebrate creativity and inspire people to help shape our world. It features over 100 events across Toronto run by creative organizations, maker spaces and studios! We spoke with Ceda Verbakel, Creative Director of Maker Festival to find out more.


Ceda, we’re really excited for this festival. Please tell us why Maker Festival was established.


Maker Festival, was established due to the growing interest around DIY, especially in the tech world. 3D printers generated a lot of that buzz because they are now  less expensive for people to buy and use, and also some electronics have become more affordable and acceptable for people as well. There’s a trend in that direction in the tech world, as well as a greater uptake of people diverting back to sort of ‘old school’ ways of making too — for example, people who are interested in woodworking and artisan crafts. Things like knitting and crochet, origami – all those kinds of things that we don’t do a lot of these days despite being activities that bring people real joy.


Who do you expect to attend the festival? Is Maker Festival only for adults?


Actually, we usually get a lot of kids. Kids are at the age where lots of making and creativity happens. We do our best to attract adults as well and there is a lot of stuff for adults, the festival is tech focused after all. There are a lot of things there that are interesting to look at and interact with as an adult. Even the drop in workshops or the other kind of things that look like they’re for kids – adults are more than welcome to participate and we encourage them to do so!


Photo credit: Maker Festival

Photo credit: Maker Festival


Sounds like a family friendly experience then! What’s the best thing about Maker Festival?


Our whole event is based around this idea of it being interactive and participatory. We ask that all our exhibitors and makers have some kind of interactive or participatory element to their booth. So it’s not just a market where people are selling, and it’s also not just somewhere where people passively look on at what other people are making or doing. We like people to feel like they too have agency and the ability to be creative — even if it’s in a tech sense. Because even though technology sort of feels a little bit — what’s the word? — intimidating, sometimes, everyone is really capable of taking part and shaking it up.


So you’re all about making connections. That’s great! Are there any must-see projects at Maker Festival this year?


There are a bunch of robot makers who make robots as a hobby. They’re going to be coming and building robots and battling them all weekend! So they’ll have tables where they’re making them but then they will also have a round robin battle in a kind of, robot arena. And then we’ve also got some really beautiful and awesome installations and pop-ups. We have a local Toronto artist who’s bringing her giant cardboard whale. It’s kinetic and moves like a whale! There will also be lots of great drop-in workshops that anyone can participate in. You can knit a neuron, you can solder a little raccoon pendant so it lights up with LEDs, or you can take part in a lockpicking workshop!


Thank you for speaking with us Ceda. We can’t wait to attend Maker Festival this month!


Greenrock Property Management is proud to connect you with your community. For more information about our rental communities in Toronto, please visit our website.

Great DIY tax tools

Great DIY tax tools

Great DIY tax tools


It’s tax season. For many people, tax time can be a stressful and confusing ordeal. Accountants are expensive to hire, and digging your way through an old fashioned paper return can be cumbersome. Since the tax-man isn’t going away, the best thing you can do is simplify the process of filing your taxes. There are several options for Canadian tax software programs to choose from. All of the programs listed below are approved by the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Get your receipts ready, it’s time to dive in.



Intuit TurboTax (Formerly QuickTax)


You may know Intuit TurboTax by it’s former name, QuickTax. The name say is all. This user-friendly tax software program takes a lot of the time and stress out of doing your own taxes. Users simply complete the EasyStep Interview. The questions are asked in simple English. You don’t need to be familiar with the tax code and information can be imported from UFile, QuickBooks and Quicken. Tax planning is made simple due to the ability of users to run multiple tax scenarios. There are multiple online editions, beginning with a free version for very simple and basic returns all the way up to TurboTax Home & Business which is best suited to contractors, freelancers and small business owners, including sole proprietorships and partnerships. The online editions are not suitable for incorporated businesses. For that, you’ll require the tax software specific to the T2 tax return. That is available only in their desktop, store bought software which is called TurboTax Business Incorporated (corporate T2 returns) and retails for $229.99.

Photo credit: @taxtron

Photo credit: @taxtron




TaxTron, formerly known as GriffTax, is a full service, user-friendly option for preparing and filing your return. It is available in a T2 version for incorporated business as well as the standard (T1) for individuals, families and small business. All versions are fully bilingual and make taxes as quick and easy as can be. A step-by-step system guides you through the preparations and filing process.




The major benefit of using GenuTax to prepare your return is it’s free! Even the annual updates are free, though the website does ask users to pay a donation. Another benefit is that you can prepare and file up to 20 returns for either the current or previous tax year. The program asks you a series of interview questions to complete your return. It’s has a less user-friendly feel than TurboTax, but it get’s the job done. Did we mention it’s free?


UFile for Windows


Ufile tax software is for personal (T1) use but can handle self-employment income and capital gains income. Like most tax preparation software, users enter their information using an interview interface. It’s free and it’s relatively easy to use. It also includes free telephone, email and community support.


Tax time need not be stressful. Choose the software that is right for you and your needs and let it walk you through the process. And think of how good it will feel once it’s over for another year!


For information on Greenrock Property Management and our Village Green Community, at 50 Alexander Street, 40 Alexander Street and 55 Maitland Street – please visit our website.

DIY Christmas ornaments kids can make

DIY Christmas ornaments kids can make

Christmas is coming! This may be the most fun and exciting time of year for your kids. If your children just can’t get enough Christmas, they will absolutely love making their very own Christmas tree decorations. It’s a great indoor project for cold, pre-Christmas days to make in the comfort of home, at your Davisville Village apartment. TheGreenrock Property Management blog team is here to offer a few ideas for DIY Christmas ornaments kids can make!


Melted Crayon Glass Ball Ornaments


It’s time to make something with all those broken crayons! Using clear glass ornaments, crayons and a hairdryer you and your kids can create colourful, swirled, Melted Crayon Ornaments. You’ll want to put down a drop cloth of some kind before you begin — to avoid dripping melted crayon on your floor or furniture. Select a few colours of crayon, break or cut them into pieces and place inside the glass ball. Your kids can blast the hair dryer on it as you slowly twirl and spin the ball to create unique abstract designs. There is no ‘wrong way’ to go.


Popsicle Stick Ornaments


A great way to spend a cold day before Christmas is to set up a craft table for your kids and create some Popsicle Stick Ornaments. This tutorial will show you exactly what you will need, what you can prepare in advance and exactly how to create popsicle stick reindeer, Xmas trees and stars. You’ll be able to cover your tree in no time and the kids will really feel like they contributed — because they did!


Salt Dough Ornaments


Your kids will love making these Salt Dough Ornaments. Everything about this project is fun, from mixing and kneading the dough, cutting out shapes, making hand prints, baking the ornaments, and painting them once they cool. It’s a great project to make with the kids this year and to put up every year after, to look back with joy on how tiny their little hands used to be.


Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes


These Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes are so simple to make, even very young children can try and tackle this one. All you need are some pipe cleaners, some red beads and some white beads. That’s it! Slide the beads on, alternating red and white. Bend ends of the pipe cleaner to keep the beads in place and shape it into a candy cane hook to place on the tree.

Happy holidays from the Greenrock blog team! For more information on Greenrock Rental Communities, including the convenient, comfortable and centrally located Greenrock at Davisville Village (77 Davisville Ave, 225 Davisville Ave and 45 Balliol Street)- please visit our website.

Save big with DIY café drinks

Save big with DIY café drinks

Now and then, splurging on a café drink is totally worth it, especially with so many great cafés located near ourToronto apartments. For those of us who crave lattes and mochaccinos daily, homemade café style drinks are a great option. Today’s post from the blog team at Greenrock Property Management features four awesome DIY café drink hacks that will satisfy your craving and help you save a lot of money long term.


Chai Tea


Chai tea and lattes may be the easiest café style drinks to recreate at home. All you have to do is add a chai blend plus warm milk. For the cost of three of these drinks at a café, you can buy nearly two pounds of spiced chai mix online. Better yet, you can make your own inexpensive Chai Tea Concentrate and tweak the ingredients to bring out whichever spice you love most in this beloved fall beverage.


Pumpkin Spice Latte


Fall is Pumpkin Spice Latte season. It’s easy to fall into a $5 a day habit at Starbucks or your local coffee shop. Did you know that you could save hundreds of dollars by making this autumn staple yourself? Pick up canned pumpkin at your local grocery store and try this homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe today.


Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino


Peppermint season is just around the corner. This homemade Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino is super affordable and easy to make at home. To save big, buy brown sugar, cocoa powder and peppermint extract in bulk. You likely already have the final ingredients, coffee and milk, in your kitchen in our Toronto apartments. Here’s another fun option: Make your own peppermint simple syrup and add a touch of the holidays to whatever café drink you choose.


Hot Chocolate


Skip overpriced café hot chocolate and make your own this fall and winter. It only takes four basic ingredients to make this Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix. Looking for a fun and tasty gift? Pour this mix into a mason jar, add a few broken peppermint sticks on top, seal and adorn with a festive ribbon.

Do your budget and your tastebuds a favour. The Greenrock Property Management blog team hopes you give one of these delicious DIY café drinks a try and save big. For more information about our Toronto apartments, please visit our website.

Easy kids costumes for Halloween

Easy kids costumes for Halloween

Suddenly it’s October 30th, and your little one needs a Halloween costume, fast. How can you throw together a great outfit at Davisville Village Apartments (77 Davisville Avenue, 45 Balliol Street, 225 Davisville Avenue) in little-to-no-time, on a low budget? Find a few creative ideas in today’s blog post from Greenrock Property Management.


Bubble Bath


Leftover balloons from your child’s last birthday party will come in handy for this adorable Bubble Bath Halloween Costume. A simple white shirt, pants and headband help tie the costume together. Replace a t-shirt with a long sleeve shirt as the weather dictates. Grab a rubber ducky from your bathtub, and this DIY costume is good to go!


Mad Scientist


Nurture your little one’s love for science with this wacky Mad Scientist Costume, appropriate for any gender. Use accessories you have at home, such as glasses, goggles and a bow tie.  The one piece you may have to do some searching for is a lab coat. Theatrics Plus (658 Yonge Street), located in the Downtown Core, is a good place to start. To get here, plan on a 10 minute drive or 15-minute trip using public transportation from Davisville Village Apartments.


Watercolor Paint Box


A step-by-step photo tutorial makes this Watercolor Paint Box Costume easy to make. Basic sewing skills are needed. This cute costume certainly is an awesome option for originality, and despite being low-cost and easy to make in one sitting, the finished product looks like a machine-made masterpiece.


Halloween is just around the corner. Use today’s post from the blog team at Greenrock Property Management to start crafting your little one’s holiday apparel. For more information about family-friendly Davisville Village Apartments, please visit our website.

Your Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Your Thanksgiving Meal Plan

We’re thankful for Thanksgiving! Whether you are hosting friends and family at your Greenrock apartment or packing up food to bring to the feast, the blog team at Greenrock Property Managementknows that you have enough on your plate without having to plan a big meal. We can’t help you cook, but we can help you plan the menu!


Easy Turkey


What would Thanksgiving be without the bird? Whether you are new to the art of cooking a turkey, or a seasoned pro, this Easy Beginner’s Turkey recipe is a winner. The stuffing is included in the recipe. Make sure you adjust cooking times for different sized birds.


Cranberry Sauce


The details matter when you’re preparing a Thanksgiving feast. Don’t overlook the Cranberry Sauce. It only takes a few minutes to prepare but tastes the best when stored in the fridge for 8 hours – so plan ahead.


Roasted Baby Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic


The right choice of side dishes can make or break the Thanksgiving meal. You really can’t go wrong withRoasted Baby Potatoes. This hearty side dish is savoury and substantial. You may want to make some extra so you don’t run out, this one will be a crowd favourite.


Carrots with Vadouvan Spice and Yogurt


Not familiar with vadouvan? Get acquainted this Thanksgiving. Everyone will be grateful that you did. It’s an exotic French-Indian spice blend using onion, shallots and garlic in a curry-like mix. Get ready for carrots to be you favourite part of Thanksgiving.


Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake


If you’re only going to make one dessert this year, make it the best combination of all traditional Thanksgiving desserts. This Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake combines the flavours of pecan pie and pumpkin pie in a winning cheesecake.


The Greenrock blog team wishes you a fun a delicious Thanksgiving. For more information on Greenrock rental communities in Toronto, please visit our website.


Thanksgiving entrees for turkey haters

Thanksgiving entrees for turkey haters


Thanksgiving is just around the corner and offers a chance to gather with friends and family and focus on what you are truly thankful for. For many, traditional turkey can be a bit dry and uninspiring. If you are hosting a feast at your Greenrock at Davisville Village home, be thankful that there are many more options for mains than just a stuffy old bird. The blog team at Greenrock Property Management has a few suggestions for a tasty Thanksgiving for turkey haters.


Pork with Persimmons and Mustard Greens


The colourful persimmons add a bit of fall flare to this Pork with Persimmons and Mustard Greens. This pork tenderloin takes only 15 minutes of prep time and an hour in the oven. If you’re looking to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family this holiday, put some pork on your Thanksgiving fork.


Zinfandel Risotto with Roasted Beets and Walnuts


The vegetarians at your table with be thankful for this Zinfandel Risotto with Roasted Beets and Walnuts. The fruity wine and colourful beets tint the risotto a festive, fall red. You’ll never miss the meat when you serve this Thanksgiving treat!


Whole Fish Baked in Sea Salt


If you’re avoiding the turkey this year, but you still want to make a splash with your main course, consider a Whole Fish Baked in Sea Salt. It bakes in only 25 minutes, saving you heaps of time compared to baking a big bird and the herb-infused crust of sea salt makes for moist and savoury fish in a dramatically presented dish.


Classic Lasagna


One of the benefits of breaking with tradition, is that you get to make up your own rules. A Classic Lasagna is a hearty, shareable dish that is adored by almost everyone. This year, be thankful that you can think outside the box!


No matter what you bring to the table this Thanksgiving, the Greenrock blog team wishes you a delicious holiday weekend. For more information on Greenrock rental communities in Toronto, including the centrally located suites at Greenrock at Davisville Village, please visit our website.

Frosty treats for hot summer days

Frosty treats for hot summer days

Summer is in full force. The sun has been blazingly hot and there is hardly any relief in sight — but there is something you can do. The Greenrock Property Management blog team has some fun ideas for frozen treats that are easy to make at home in Wingreen Court (2 – 11 Wingreen Court, Toronto).


Frozen Banana Bites


A winning combination of simple, fun, and delicious — these frozen banana bites are the best.  A snack that combines peanut butter, bananas and chocolate — what could be better? You can substitute the toffee topping for anything you like — cookie crumbs, sprinkles, more chocolate, whatever!


Strawberry-Margarita Sorbet


Light, sweet and perfectly refreshing — this strawberry-margarita sorbet is the perfect summer treat. Skip the alcohol to make this recipe family-friendly. The best part about it is that It involves just a few simple ingredients — it’s also vegan and gluten-free.


Frozen Key Lime Pie


The subtle, sweet and tart taste of a key lime pie is unmistakable. It’s the perfect indulgent summer treat and is easier to make than it looks.  With only about 20 minutes of prep time and 5 minutes of cook time, followed by a few hours in the freezer, this is one simple recipe that we can’t get enough of.


One ingredient “ice cream”


Did you know you can make refreshing, vegan, gluten-free, no-sugar-added ice cream with only one ingredient?! It’s not fairy dust, it’s bananas! Frozen bananas to be exact. Some time in the freezer transforms the consistency and flavour of bananas so that when you whip them up in a food processor (or powerful blender) they become a creamy, gooey, custardy frozen treat. Play around with flavours by adding whatever else you like to the mix — from frozen raspberries to chopped chocolate and peanut butter.

The Greenrock blog team hopes these recipes for frosty treats provide some sweet relief from the summer heat. For information on Greenrock rental properties, please click here.