Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Doll House or Bawdy House? What Kind of Women is Society turning Little Girls into these days?

Collage: What Kind of Women is Society turning Little Girls into these days?
Images Credit: Microsoft Office Clipart:
Girl painting toy house + MS 00018269

"Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk - real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious."
- Jack Kerouac, American Poet and Novelist. Source:

Today, I brought my childhood doll-house furniture collection into the office. Everyone eagerly crowded around, carefully emptied out the box of tiny little chairs, tables, wardrobes, kitchen cupboards and appliances, bathroom fixtures, even little books, magazines (all legible), and every conceivable household necessity in miniature. Many made from real wood.

Everyone was excited and we spent a good deal of time reminiscing and feeling like kids again. It almost brought a tear to my eye. I wish I could say it was a tear of happiness and joy, but I can’t. Here’s why…

Last week I watched a documentary entitled “Sext Up Kids” on CBC’s Doc Zone. Here’s a preview: CBC Doc Zone: Sex't Up Kids- Preview
Uploaded by
CBCtv on Feb 15, 2012

Watch the full documentary online here: CBC: Sext Up Kids

I know there’s a large contingent of women out there who are adamant that little girls shouldn’t be forced to play with doll houses and other gender-specific toys that impose old-fashioned ideas about gender roles in society and might skew impressionable young girls’ ideas about their future adult roles.

Fair enough, but what about “Bratz Big Babyz” or “Monster High” dolls’ thongs? Or “Struts,” the sexed-up pony featuring high-heels and handbags?

Collage: What “positive gender roles” are such toys encouraging little girls to embrace, exactly?
Images Credits: Bratz Big Babyz + Monster High Dolls + New Struts dolls

What "positive gender roles" are such toys encouraging little girls to embrace, exactly? What about lines of lingerie being marketed to ever-younger audiences, as young as 7-12 years of age? What ever happened to letting children be children and not rushing them into a life they cannot begin to understand, let alone cope with: mentally, emotionally, and/or physically?

Many women find coping with issues around self-image, healthy sexuality, gender roles and men’s expectations, relationships, and all the messy stuff around sex challenging. Even as adults we find it difficult to handle the onslaught of ever-more risqué ads depicting grown women as sex objects.

Wo-Built is a woman-owned contractor in the Greater Toronto Area. We started this company with a social mission which included encouraging and supporting women in the trades. We know the issues around gender roles, self-image, what is “sexy” and what makes “a real woman.”

I grew up playing with my doll house and have fond, loving memories of my childhood years playing house. Now, I run a construction company that is innovating a revolutionary new way to live off-grid in the 21st Century. We will be launching this innovation at the National Home Show. No “booth babes.”

But then, I had a proper childhood. I never had to contend with marketers apparently hell-bent on rushing me into a thong and onto the couch of some pimply-faced boy playing “monkey see, monkey do.” Not having any idea what they are doing. No notion how much their actions will come back to haunt them as an adult. A pop culture seemingly indifferent … a “porn culture,” indeed.

In fact, we created Wobinna as a direct answer to the “oversexed teens and tweens” phenomenon. Here’s what Wobinna did when she needed “a doll house” as a little girl …

Comic Strip: Wobinna and Friends: Wobinna Built a Fabulous Doll's House, Illustrations by Dawn Palfreyman, Wo-Built Inc.Comic Strip: Wobinna & Friends: Wobinna Built a Fabulous Doll House
Illustrations and story by Dawn Palfreyman
Copyright 2012 © Wo-Built Inc.

And here’s what Wobinna and Friends “do” with “empty apartments and spaces” as teens …

Comic Strip: WoBinna and Friends: A Home Reno: The Final Reveal Panorama
Illustrations and story by Dawn Palfreyman
Copyright 2012 © Wo-Built Inc.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Plants, Water, Microwaves, and Wo-Built: Quality of Space = Better Quality of Life

Microwaved Water and Plants, Science Project, by Arielle ReynoldsImage: Grade 6 Science Project: Microwaved water kills plants.
Image Credit: Arielle Reynolds

"I put instant coffee in a microwave oven and almost went back in time."

- Steven Wright, American comedian, actor and writer
Source: BrainyQuote

Microwaves. They are ubiquitous, indispensable tools in our busy lifestyles. How could we ever live without them? Well, I for one have lived quite comfortably without one since 2008, as have my retired parents, and numerous friends and acquaintances. Why? What’s the big deal with microwaved food?

Do a Google search for “microwaved water” and see for yourself. It seems to “kill” some unknown quality of water that seems to be essential to life (plants anyway).

Now certainly, microwaving water doesn’t change the fact that it’s water — H2O. But scientists are discovering that there’s more to water than just its fundamental molecular structure. Water, it seems, has structure. What’s more, its structure appears capable of storing information … “memory.” Water has Memory
Uploaded by oasishdchannel on Feb 3, 2011

It appears what water is exposed to affects its structure; and, microwaving water appears to have adverse effects on plants which consume it.

Is it possible that there’s more to the question of water quality than “purity?” Now, we know that traditionally, water quality is affected by the physical environment: impurities that are absorbed in the water. But what about the energetic qualities of the environment; the “space” water occupies? Human Emotions Alter Water Molecules!
Uploaded by LotusLinkIntl on Nov 16, 2009

All of this is purely observational at this point, since serious scientific investigations have yet to be conducted to determine what, if anything, is going on in the above uncontrolled experiments.

But it begs the question: what are the effects of microwaving food? Or holding a cellphone against one’s head? Or walking around harboring negative emotions all day? People have observed plants growing better when they talk nicely to them. What is going on here?

Wo-Built knows that space has a quality to it that cannot be measured scientifically yet, but can be directly experienced. This “intangible quality” affects (and is affected by) everything: water, plants, people, lighting, decor—energy.

That’s why Wo-Built “feels” our designs as much as think them through. It’s why we are the Vision Builder: we help you envision what the look n’ feel of the design will be. And you can always see and feel the results. This whole other dimension of quality is another way Wo-Built builds your life better.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Here is more links to helpful information: Quality of life Quality of space – quality of life
AESOP European Urban Summer School 2011 The Conference "Designing the Future: The Market and Quality of Life"
The Architects’ Council of Europe (ACE) Conference 10th April 2008 at Flagey - Brussels, Belgium Adding Value to Your House – How About Adding Value to Your Life?!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Kitchen Renovations: if parties always end up in the kitchen, will a new kitchen mean better parties!?

“Get people back into the kitchen and combat the trend toward processed food and fast food.”
- Andrew Weil
Source: Brainy Quote

The word “kitchen” comes from the Old English, cycene, which in turn was derived from the Latin coquīna, equivalent to coqu ( ere ) “to cook” (Source:

In today’s world of food of questionable quality and integrity, the kitchen is still one place we have the ability to take control over our health in a meaningful way (and have lots of fun… remember, the famous book entitled “The Joy of Cooking?” They didn’t call it “the chore of cooking.”)

But kitchens are much more than that. We eat in our kitchens. We sit at kitchen tables, stand at counters, hover around islands engaging with family and friends in all sorts of activities (just think of the wide array from your own experience… it’s more than just about cooking or eating).

How many parties have you hosted or attended that ended up in the kitchen? If you went to a potluck over the holidays, did you spend time in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on your dish? How about the end of the night when leftovers were divvied-up amongst the stragglers and “clean-up crew?”

Have you ever tried cooking in someone else’s kitchen? How does it make you feel when you can’t find this or that ingredient or utensil? How about when you are trying to cook something in your own kitchen and there are “too many cooks” hovering about? What’s it like then?

And what’s better, really, than sneaking down into the kitchen late at night to grab that last slice of pizza, or cake—or whatever?

There is something magical about kitchens. They can be deeply personal and private; totally open and inviting; utterly foreign and awkward; or completely comfortable and at home. There are few spaces in a home as important as the kitchen.

Wo-Built believes a kitchen can make or break a home design. When it comes to kitchen renovations, integrating the space into the overall flow of the home is critical.

Asking the right questions, exploring alternatives, and envisioning multi-use scenarios all enter into Wo-Built’s total design approach. Then there’s materials and layouts, cupboard orientation (vertical or horizontal), under-counter corner space, pantry options, appliance location, and much more.

If you’re after a kitchen design that is high on functionality and “cool factor,” you deserves a serious look at the latest “servo drive” technology for the latest in kitchen automation. Blum Servo-Drive Kitchen System
Uploaded by brianwong73 on Jun 23, 2008

As you can see, when it comes to renovating the most important, versatile, practical, inviting and yet deeply personal space in your home, Wo-Built knows how to design and build the high-end kitchen of your dreams. It’s just another way that Wo-Built builds your life better.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Wo-Built Builds Your Life Better at the 60th Annual National Home Show 2012 National Home Show
Highlights from the National Home Show
Produced by Shaun Mitchcell Photography
Uploaded by MarketplaceEvents on Nov 15, 2011

"The National Home Show & Canada Blooms bring you the largest North American display of innovative products & new ideas for all things home & garden"
National Home Show

To kick off this year’s building and renovation season, Wo-Built will be exhibiting at the National Home Show for the first time since its founding five years ago.

Now in its 60th year, the National Home Show & Canada Blooms is being held at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place in Toronto, from March 16th to the 25th.

The show will feature a wide array of home and garden improvement products and services, and is the ideal venue to showcase Wo-Built’s "Build Your Life Better" campaign. It’s your best opportunity to come meet Wo-Built’s team and find out all the ways Wo-Built builds your life better.

Wo-Built will be highlighting past projects and sharing the benefits of design and build and client advocacy. Imagine home renovations, additions, kitchens, and new home constructions in less time, with less stress, fewer risks and lower costs than traditional design and tender approaches.

Bring photos of your home or office and visions of your dream space! Wo-Built will be happy to discuss possibilities with you right in our booth, located at E154.

Wo-Built will also be introducing and taking orders on a first-come, first-served basis for Peapod. Come see the world’s first fully contained urban and suburban sustainable lifestyle module! Peapod bundles energy and food security literally under one roof, in a bright livable space that attaches to your home.

And there’s so much more for you to discover ...

Meet Wobinna, Wo-Built’s loveable comic character. Learn about our work in the community and how we assist women in the trades. See our concept for resolving the GTA’s transit woes, and sign a petition to make our vision for 21st Century transit a reality in Toronto! Don’t miss your chance to be heard.

Visit Wo-Built in booth E154 at the National Home Show between March 16th and 25th, Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

Come see how Wo-Built Builds Your Life Bigger, Smarter, Greener ... Better.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Screenshot: Wo-Built's profile at the Exhibitor List
of the National Home Show 2012
Construction & Renovation, Remodeling,
Flooring, Contractors Booth: #E154

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Build Your Life…Better

Smiling family lying on grass with their dog, build your life better, bigger, smarterSmiling family lying on grass with their dog
Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clipart: 00408954.jpg

“What do we live for; if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
- Mary Ann Evans [George Eliot] Novelist

Your life … better. Bigger. Smarter. Freer. This is what Wo-Built is about.

Whether we’re completely renovating your home or building a high-tech addition onto your house which gives your family greater freedom in terms of off-grid living, Wo-Built champions your cause.

A better life. So what does that mean?

It means common-sense approaches to being a “green” builder. We believe in natural light, flow-through spaces, renovating (reusing) old buildings, traditional approaches to solving problems that minimize power-sucking technology.

It means embracing those technologies that reduce power consumption, or better yet, generate power. We believe in smart approaches to the challenges facing households today. Some of these will be high-tech, others low-tech, still others age-old.

It means not being so cut-and-dry all the time. There are plenty of compromise solutions that meet halfway between “this or that.” In fact, more often than not, combining multiple technologies and approaches—old with new—often produce the most innovate solutions and amazing results.

Look what we can do with an old bungalow? With modern approaches and good design, everything old can be transformed into cutting-edge 21st Century spaces. We love that space between old and new; between “this or that,” the space that requires real vision to see and to create in.

That’s why Wo-Built is the Vision Builder: we envision a better life for you…and then we build it for you.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Off-Grid Living doesn't have to be a Shock

Solar over-powers Grid, collage by wobuilt.comImage Collage: Solar over-powers Grid
2012 @
Image Credits: Microsoft Office Clipart:
smiling sun and smokestacks; powers

“We are now comfortable with it and we’ve had to make some adjustments to our lifestyle, but after last winter we all said ‘yes, this is do-able.’”

-- Derek Zoldy, in the February 9th edition of
the Toronto Star, Shocking: Living without hydro
Embrace solar power: achieve off-grid freedom and save money.

In the above quoted Toronto Star article, the Zoldy’s tell their story about embracing off-grid living. Building in Haliburton, they chose a combination of modern technology (like solar power, LED lighting and efficient appliances) and contemporary sustainable updates to old-world technologies (like sustainable timber construction, tankless water heater, efficient wood burning stoves, and propane).

Thanks to their efforts, they have a beautiful chalet in ski country, and have embraced the freedom and personal satisfaction that comes with living off-grid.

We can learn a few things from the Zoldy’s experience.

First, they spent years researching the possibilities before making a commitment to build.

Too often, people rush construction projects, believing that builders are all the same and that the lowest price is the best option. The Zoldy’s scrutinized their green builder carefully, making sure they would work with them to deliver a finished product suited to their needs. They did the smart thing.

Second, they made a concerted effort as a household to adapt their lifestyle to fit with the off-grid approach, but this didn’t mean compromising on amenities. It simply meant making sensible choices and being more mindful about how they use (and misuse) energy.

Many people are afraid of going solar or severing their connection to the grid, likely because we’ve been conditioned to feel reliance and fear independence. Change can be scary, especially if you believe you must sacrifice comfort on one hand to embrace a better way of living on the other.

Wo-Built believes the better way of living — with greater independence and confidence — is worth making some minor lifestyle adjustments for. The key is to work with a green design and build contractor who will work with you to envision a better life and be your advocate as you make the shift.

This way, you can embrace the new dawn without feeling the shock.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: Shocking! Living without hydro
by Tracy Hanes The future of off grid homes in Toronto
by Collin Dunn Off-the-grid Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself CMHC Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: Energy Use Patterns in Off-Grid Houses: Research Highlights

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Eglinton Light Rail could Spell Disaster for Toronto Businesses

Streetcar versus Subway, image mosaic by wobuilt.comImage Mosaic: "Streetcar versus Subway"
2012 @
Image Credits: Microsoft Office Clipart:
streetcar lane; transportation; subway

"Many Councillors are looking to disband my rapid transit plan in favour of a Light Rail Vehicle network that would put more tracks on the roads, create traffic chaos and result in years of needless, messy and inconvenient construction."
Mayor Rob Ford

…and what about about how it could devastate local businesses!?

The battle over light rail “rapid transit” versus subways is heating up in Toronto, Scarborough, and beyond. It’s time for the businesses and residents of St. Clair West to make their voices heard!

As a member of the business community on St. Clair West, an active member of the Corso Italia BIA, Wo-Built knows all too well the utter devastation the St. Clair Street car has had on the business community in the area.

Members of the BIA have accumulated real-time street-level pedestrian traffic data from before, during, and after completion of the ‘light rail rapid transit’ system along St. Clair West all the way to Keele Street. The numbers show significant decreases in walk-in business.

A sign in one shop reads: “closed, business too slow.”

With months of obstruction during the length construction of the line, people simply stopped coming to Corso Italia. And we have been struggling as a BIA to get them back. Streetcar or no streetcar, people are not getting the message that we are open for business. We have fallen off their radar.

We offer this as a cautionary notice to businesses and BIAs anywhere surface light rail is being proposed: learn from our experience. What might seem like a good idea is a terrible compromise.

The GTA is not just about getting people from the outskirts to the downtown core and back again during rush hour…its is countless local communities, neighborhoods, BIAs, etc. The lifeblood of Toronto is its local businesses serving local communities.

There is one more option. It is an outside-the-box option…an Attlas Project of incredible possibility and opportunity. What is it? Wo-Built, the Vision Builder, in association with Attlas invite the two sides of this fight to give us 30 minutes of their time to see and hear the 21st Century win-win-win solution to this problem!

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Accelerate Women’s Employment in Non-Traditional Trades

Success Strategies for Women & Trades Forum, Toronto, March 6, 2012, flyer credit: Women’s Access to Trades Network
Flyer: Success Strategies for Women & Trades
An event to accelerate women’s employment in non-traditional trades
Hosted by Centennial College, Toronto, March 6, 2012
Credit: Women’s Access to Trades Network

Women’s Access to Trades Network

Invites you to join us to celebrate and identify

Success Strategies for Women & Trades


An event to accelerate women’s employment in non-traditional trades

  • Launch of Provincial Women’s Access To Trades Network
  • Success strategies in recruiting, training and employment
  • Conditions for success - what we need to do more of
  • Opportunity- envision what needs to change for change to occur
  • Update on status of College of Trades
Who Should Attend?
All those who want to see more women succeed in non-traditional trades

Date: Tuesday March 6, 2012 - 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

RSVP: By February 24, 2012 with Rebecca Anderson
Phone: (416) 247-7181 ext. 2328 or email

Location: Centennial College, Ashtonbee Campus
75 Ashtonbee Road Toronto, Ontario M1L 4N4

Public Transit Directions: From Warden Station, take the 68 Warden bus north to the campus. From Kennedy station take the 34 or 34C Eglinton bus westbound to Warden. Walk one block north on Warden to Ashtonbee Rd.

Funded by:
The Government of Ontario
The Canadian Women’s Foundation

Follow on Twitter with the hashtag #womenintrades

Success Strategies for Women and Trades: Forum Description
Showcasing and enhancing best practices and illuminating ideas to accelerate change

Success Strategies for Women & Trades: Follow-up
Thank you MicroSkills and Centennial College for hosting a fantastic forum on women in trades!

links: Provincial Women’s Access to Trades Network – Halton Information Evening
Join us for the Provincial Women’s Access to Trades Network – Halton Information Evening on February 28, 2012, 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Location: The Centre for Skills Development & Training, Burlington Site – Georgetown Room
RSVP by February 21, 2012, to
Posted on January 27, 2012 by scottd Success Strategies for Women & Trades [PDF]
Success Strategies for Women & Trades. AN EVENT TO ACCELERATE WOMEN'S EMPLOYMENT IN NON-TRADITIONAL TRADES. Save the date: March 6, 2012
Success Strategies for Women and Trades: Women Trade Forum