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At J.C. Design Group Inc., we are committed to integrating environmental sustainability into our designs, planning and construction practice methods. Our process incorporates objectives to optimize building performance, minimize resource consumption and promotes good health for the building inhabitants. With extensive education on the subject, as well as constant research for innovative methods, materials and design, we at JCDG can help determine what is feasible for each and every project and how to achieve the greatest impact.

With construction being a leading contributor for our growing landfills, our goal at JCDG is to limit our impact on the environment in our designs and specifications. We aim to make the best use of the resources and materials we use in our designs. This outlook drives us to develop innovative solutions to the social, economic and ecological sustainability issues.

As designers we aim to use less of the world's limited resources, and have an ethical responsibility to do everything in our power to play a significant role in creating sustainable projects. Sustainable design leads to new and creative designs for our clients that will not only help the environment but will assist in the operation of the structure.



At J.C. Design Group, we work to give back to the communities we work and live in. We believe it is important to give back to others wherever possible. Below are the great groups we at JCDG work with to try and make our communities a better place to live and work.

Sick Kids


SickKids is a health-care system dedicated to assisting and improving the health of children. It provides a family-centered care system to lead in scientific and clinical advancements to better prepare and assist the children of today and future generations.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital 

Holland Bloorview is a publicly funded institution who cares for kids with disabilities, kids who are need of rehabilitation from an illness or trauma and kids with a complex medical history that cannot be cared for correctly at other locations. 

Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation

Founded in 1982, this foundation is dedicated to provide funding to improve patient care at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie. It assists in the purchase of medical equipment, technology, operating programs and capital research projects.



Thoughts, Ideas and Community Updates

The Guide for Backsplashes

17 April 2018

Making a statement in a kitchen can be done in many ways. Adding a new fancy appliance or custom cabinetry may be the trick. But when it comes to making a big statement without potentially breaking the bank, a beautiful backsplash is the way to go. Check out the guide below to help determine which material and design is right for you.

Ceramic Subway Tile

Pros: This has grown in popularity in recent years. It is a classic look that can stand the test of time and fit into a multitude of styles.

Cons: The tile is very strong and durable and will generally outlast the materials used when installing [if properly maintained]. Re-grouting or re-caulking may be necessary.

Approx. Cost: The price can vary due to having many styles, sizes and colours. $2 - $50 per/sq.ft.

Natural Stone

Pros: There are many different stones that one can pick for their backsplash. Marble, granite, limestone and even synthetic stone can be used from traditional to modern design.

Cons: Stone can be rough and/or uneven in thickness. This depth and uncertainty can bother some homeowners. Also, depending on the material, style and colour the price can vary significantly.

Approx. Cost: $8 – $65 per/sq.ft.

Concrete or Cement tile

Pros: You may have seen this on type of tile and material on fireplaces and other areas of the home. But this tile will definitely make a statement.

Cons: These tiles are heavy and expensive. They are also porous which can be an issue if you allow moisture to penetrate which means they need to be maintained.

Approx. Cost: $30 - $40 per/sq.ft.

Glass [Tempered] Tile

Pros: Glass tiles give off a modern look to any kitchen. They look amazing when accent lighting under the cabinetry is used. And a major perk is that they are easy to clean and don’t stain easily.

Cons: These tiles are panels are no different than any piece of glass. They can break easily and if screws are too tight during installation, can break and make a mess. Being a more expensive option it’s something to leave to professionals.

Approx. Cost: $20 - $50 per/sq.ft.

Mosaic Tile

Pros: Mosaic tiles are never-ending with the materials and styles. They vary from stone to glass to stainless steel and sometimes even combining all three. The mesh-backed squares are extremely easy to install and are a favorite for DIYers.

Cons: The mosaic tile squares are all designed and limit customization in the pattern.

Approx. Cost: $14 - $20 per/sq.ft.

Tin Ceiling Tile

Pros: Tin tiles are typically used [or seen] in ceiling applications, but can look great as a backsplash as well. They give a vintage look and can take a beating. They do need to be properly maintained with soap and water regularly, and if done so will last a very long time.

Cons: These tiles will most likely need to be cut due to their size and in doing so can alter the pattern and in turn alter the overall look of the tile. This will need to be considered when purchasing these tiles.

Approx. Cost: $5 - $20 per/sq.ft.

Hex Tile

Pros: Becoming more popular recently, the hex tile stands up to any kitchen design. They have a Victorian flair, but also bring in a modern element to the design.

Cons: These tiles will need regular cleaning and sealing.

Approx. Cost: $7.50 to $30 per/sq.ft.

Sheet Metal

Pros: There are different metals that can be used to fit into the design of the space in sheet form. Stainless steel being the most common, but nickel, zinc and copper are also go-to’s. They are very durable to everyday kitchen use. Hey, restaurants and commercial kitchens for a reason.

Cons: It’s an expensive material to work with. The sheets will need to be cut to allow for outlets, cabinetry and any other obstacle which can lead to more labour cost.

Approx. Cost: $25 - $150 per/sq.ft.


Pros: Installation is a breeze as it’s done with a paintbrush. It can be used as a note pad, recipe book and message center in the heart of the home.

Cons: Doing a chalkboard backsplash can get old quick. It’s a trend that may be gone in the fut​ure. It also can look somewhat messy with chalk marks and wipes.

Approx. Cost: $5 – 10 per/sq.ft.

Laminate or Wood Planks

Pros: It can be relatively cost affective. The installation is not overly complicated with cutting and gluing and the surface can be cleaned easily. With so many different colours, widths and sizes it can give a modern and rustic look to the kitchen.

Cons: These are porous materials and over time dirt, food, water and mold may derive in the seams. Sealing is a must and maintenance is a must. Going with wood planks may look odd in some kitchen designs and will need to be worked out with the cabinetry colour and material for a great look.

Approx. Cost: $5 - $25 per/sq.ft.

If you have a kitchen or bathroom and need assistance in the design or backsplash selection of the space, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

The Top Ways to Make Your Remodel Last

6 February 2018

Remodels can be an extremely intimidating and costly project. In today’s growing market, there are tons of styles, products and materials to select from, which can make it that much more difficult for the design and execution to suit your style for the long term. Committing to the design scheme often is a major issue for clients, as renovation projects involve and significant investment of both time and money, and people are scared of getting things wrong. Tastes and styles may change as time goes on, but there are some tips that we’ll get more in depth which can assist in making the renovation be enjoyed for a long period of time.

1. Durability is Key – Using finishes that will hold up well against everyday life in the home will allow you to not only enjoy the space for years, but it’ll also help to save money long term. The initial cost may be a little higher for high-quality materials/products and labour, but the ability to handle the wear and tear generally means lower repair costs or even replacement(s). Sometimes it’s tough to sell clients on spending more money initially; though it is well worth it to have well-made, beautiful products that don’t need work later.

2. Calming Colours – Tastes and styles tend to change or adapt to new things as the years go on. That is no different with our colour preferences. If you look for calming colours, you are more likely to enjoy them for a longer period of time. Going bold with bright and/or unique colours can look great, but people tire of them quickly as trends change.

3. Don’t Forget About the Natural Light – One thing that is never a bad idea is adding more windows or enlarge windows to bring in more natural light. A concern to be aware of is to take measures to control temperatures that come along with large windows. Select the appropriate window coverings for the heat-transfer for both summer and winter months. Adding adequate ventilation near windows will also better the climate control within the home.

4. Novelty Items Aren’t so Novel – Designing a room full of novelty items can grow tiresome quickly. Ensuring you don’t go overboard with trend items, pick one or two standout items. These items will be statement pieces in the room if not cluttered with others.

5. Be Bold With Accessories – Keeping things in a neutral scheme for the bigger design items of the home is the best bet. Clients are often more willing to go with bold pieces for their accessories and art/décor. Having the contrast between neutral and bold pieces with make the bolder hues or patterns pop. Altering the accessories is also a much cheaper option than reworking the walls, adding or replacing materials or repainting every year.

6. Classics Don’t Go Out of Style – If it’s selecting materials, fixtures or furniture, going with a classic design, as opposed to a trendy one, as they are called classics for a reason. These items are less likely to make your space feel dated over time. The aesthetic look of the classics last generations where trends will fall to the wayside.

7. Formulate Function into Design – When working with a designer; make sure you have adequate storage. Clients and homeowners can never have too much. Circulation and clearance for pathways need to be kept open and large enough to not feel crowded, especially when furniture and millwork will be located nearby. Cluttering things and making it difficult to work and flow will slowly irritate you and can cause you to fall out of love with the space.

8. Don’t be Scared – This is the hardest point to follow. You want to have a design that lasts, but also one that excites you. Clients generally turn to the ‘safer’ design choices at the last minute which can affect the overall design. The adage is true, it’s important to trust your gut. You know what you like and don’t like and that generally doesn’t change all of sudden. You can be reassured with the interior not being permanent and can be renovated if desired.

How to Plan a Kitchen Pantry

20 July 2017

Planning a pantry you make think is no big deal. You may think it’s no problem in the design phase, but quickly realize there’s something wrong. Door swing or sliders, poorly designed racks and compartments, not enough space, bad lighting are just some of the mistakes that are easily avoided. Here are some things to think about when designing your pantry to make it perfect for your needs.

1. What type of door and which way will it open?

A major issue that comes up with planning a pantry is the door/access point. Any time there’s an option to save space for the door, I recommend doing so. Using a sliding barn door or pocket door gives more room to your pantry with less obstruction in your kitchen.

2. How will you access your storage/shelving?

Everybody thinks about maximizing the storage in the pantry. Having storage built from floor-to-ceiling. But if you don’t think about you’re going to get at the items on the top shelves, what good is it. If your pantry is large enough, have ladder on a sliding rail to access the items that are on the top shelves that you rarely use. You want to make sure to keep your everyday items easily accessible. If the pantry is smaller or you don’t like the concept of the ‘library ladder’, have a step ladder tucked away in the pantry for when you need it, but would want be considered for storage purposes when designing things.

3. Will the location of the pantry assist or obstruct traffic and cooking in the kitchen?

The pantry needs to be situated in a location that allows for easy access without obstructing the cooking process. If you have the pantry is positioned in a way that hinders flow in the kitchen, you could be walking farther to grab items or ingredients than you have to, which could hurt the meal you’re preparing. For that reason, the best location for the pantry is near the area where you’ll be preparing food the most.

Another thing to consider is the process of how you stock your pantry. A kitchen counter or island in proximity to the pantry will allow you to put your grocery or Costco bags down to organize the pantry accordingly.

4. How will the shelves be arranged?

As commenced in the 2nd question, you need to need to think about how you will be organizing the pantry in the design process. You want to have the most used items and ingredients easily accessible, generally at waist to shoulder height. You will want to ensure the shelves are not too deep and you view everything on them by organizing the larger items at the rear and smaller items at the front of the shelves. For the heavier, larger items, they can be stored on the bottom where the shelves or cubbies are typically larger and deeper.

5. What are your lighting requirements?

Lighting is more important in the pantry then people realize. Depending on the design of the home, your pantry may not have any natural light come in. The best way to ensure you have adequate lighting is to have efficient LED lighting. This can be done in the ceiling or for an aesthetic look strip lighting under shelves. The one thing to make sure is to have the light switch should be in an accessible spot from the doorway.

6. Is there any special features or design concepts that need to be implemented?

Special features of a pantry are very difficult to implement after the planning/design phase. You will want to think about anything and everything that you may want to use and/or store in there. Special features to consider are laundry and/or sink, pullout baskets for fruit and vegetables, tall and narrow cubbies for large serving ware, spice racks, wine rack/storage, beverage center, and small appliances.

7. Do you want any free wall space?

In a pantry, every square foot of real estate is critical to solve any storage concerns you may have. A pantry wall that has no shelves doesn’t mean is dead space. Whatever you do decide to do with the free space, the best rule of thumb is to keep it simple and tight to the wall. This could include hooks for utensils and aprons, calendars, artwork, cleaning supplies to be hung, grocery list area to just name a few.

8. Are there any larger items that will be in or stored in the pantry?

Are you thinking about putting appliances or laundry in your pantry? These types of appliances and cookware are best kept in the pantry instead of the kitchen mainly due to their size and ease of access to get them as they are not always used every day. Think about large uniformed cubbies or deeper shelves to accommodate the bigger items.

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