Team Forster Real Estate Blog

April 8, 2023

How to Make a Kitchen Cabinet DIY

Kitchen Cabinets DIY

According to a recent study, homeowners spend an average of $15,000 on a kitchen remodel, with cabinets being one of the biggest expenses. Just imagine what you could’ve done with that money instead; you could’ve bought a turtle, cosplayed as your mom, or published a book of bad avocado puns entitled “Guac ‘N Roll”: the opportunities would’ve been limitless!


Don’t worry, it’s not too late to be weird with your money. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you build your dream kitchen cabinet.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Kitchen Cabinet DIY

1. Choose a DesignChoose a Design

The design sets the tone for the entire room. So when choosing a design idea, consider your personal style and the overall aesthetic of your home. Do you prefer a traditional look or something more contemporary? Minimalistic or rustic? Once you have a sense of the style you want, research different cabinet designs and layouts to find inspiration. 

Another crucial factor to consider is the functionality of your cabinets. Think about your kitchen use and what storage solutions would work best for you. Do you need deep drawers for pots and pans or open shelves for frequently used items? Take the time to consider your storage needs and find a design that can accommodate them.


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2. Measure Your Space and Gather the Required Materials

Measure Your Space

This includes the length, width, and height of the area. Make sure to account for any obstacles or uneven surfaces that may affect the cabinet installation. After measuring your space, it's time to gather the necessary materials and tools for the project.  

This can include the following:


  • Wood boards: Choose a type of wood that fits your design and budget. You'll need enough boards to create the cabinet frames, shelves, and doors.
  • Screws and nails: These will be used to secure the cabinets together.
  • Cabinet hardware: This includes hinges, knobs, and drawer slides.
  • Power tools: A table saw, circular saw, drill, and jigsaw are essential for cutting and shaping the wood.
  • Measuring tools: A tape measure, level, and speed square will help you ensure accurate cuts and installation.
  • Safety gear: Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a mask to protect yourself during construction.


Once you have all of those checked, you can move on to the nitty-gritty part.


3. Cut and Construct Your Base Cabinets  

Cut and Construct Your Base Cabinets

Here are some tips to help you get started:


  • Cut the materials to size: Use a circular saw, or table saw to cut the plywood or MDF sheets to the required dimensions for the cabinet sides, back, and bottom. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as goggles and ear protection.
  • Construct the cabinet frame: Begin by constructing the cabinet frame using pocket hole joinery. This involves drilling angled holes into the edges of the cabinet sides and using screws to connect them to the bottom and back. Use clamps to hold the pieces in place while you work.
  • Install the shelves and drawers: Once the frame is constructed, install the shelves and drawers. Measure and cut the plywood or MDF for the shelves and install them using shelf pins or cleats. For the drawers, use a dovetail jig or drawer slide kit to create the drawer box and install the drawer slides. Be sure to leave enough space for the drawer fronts to fit correctly.
  • Install the cabinet doors: Once the base cabinets are constructed, it's time to install the cabinet doors. Use a jig to drill the hinge holes in the cabinet and door, then attach the hinges and mount the doors onto the cabinet. Be sure to adjust the hinges for proper alignment and smooth operation.


4. Assemble Doors, Drawers, and Shelves for Cabinets

Assemble Doors, Drawers, and Shelves for Cabinets


Here are some key points to consider:

  • Begin by constructing the doors and drawers according to your design plan. For doors, you can use a router to create decorative edges or keep it simple with a square design. For drawers, ensure they fit snugly and operate smoothly in their tracks.
  • Next, assemble the shelves that fit inside your base and wall cabinets. Measure the height and width of the cabinet, and cut your shelves to size accordingly. Sand the edges and corners to remove any roughness or splinters.
  • Attach the doors and drawers to their corresponding cabinets using appropriate hinges, screws, and drawer slides. Ensure that they are level and properly aligned. Install the shelves inside the cabinets, making any necessary adjustments to their height to accommodate your storage needs.

5. Install Hinges and Door Pulls on the Doors

Install Hinges and Door Pulls on the Doors


Here are the steps you need to follow:


  • First, determine the placement of your hinges. This will depend on the size and weight of your doors and the type of hinge you are using. Measure and mark where the hinges will go on both the door and the cabinet.
  • Next, attach the hinges to the door. Use a drill to make pilot holes for the screws, then secure the hinges.
  • Once the hinges are attached to the door, hold the door up to the cabinet and attach the hinges to the cabinet frame. Make adjustments to ensure the door hangs straight and opens and closes smoothly.
  • After the doors are in place, it's time to install the door pulls. Measure and mark where you want the pulls to go on the doors, then use a drill to make pilot holes for the screws. Attach the pulls to the doors using screws.
  • Finally, test the doors to ensure they open and close smoothly and make any necessary adjustments to the hinges or pulls as needed.


 6. Secure the Cabinets in Place

Secure the Cabinets in Place


Here’s what you need to do:


  • Start by positioning the base cabinets against the wall where they will be installed. Use shims to level the cabinets and adjust their position until perfectly aligned.
  • Once the base cabinets are in place, drill pilot holes through the back of the cabinets and into the wall studs. Then, secure the cabinets to the wall using screws.
  • For upper cabinets, the process is similar. Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs where the cabinets will be installed. Then, attach a ledger board to the wall, ensuring it is level. The ledger board will support the cabinets while they are being installed.
  • Next, lift the upper cabinets onto the ledger board and align them with the lower cabinets. Use clamps to hold the cabinets together while you drill pilot holes and secure the cabinets to the wall.
  • Finally, install filler strips or moldings to cover gaps between the cabinets and the walls. Use wood glue or nails to attach them securely.


 7. Varnish or Stain Your Completed Kitchen Cabinets

Varnish or Stain Your Completed Kitchen Cabinets


The final step in making your DIY kitchen cabinets is to apply a protective finish to the wood. Not only does it add a professional-looking touch, but it also helps protect the wood from moisture, and other hazards.


Here's how to do this:


  • First, prepare the surface of the cabinets by lightly sanding them with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth surface for the varnish or stain to adhere to and remove rough spots.
  • Apply a pre-stain conditioner to the cabinets to ensure the stain penetrates the wood evenly. This will also help to prevent blotchiness in the final finish.
  • Apply your chosen varnish or stain using a brush or cloth, following the manufacturer's instructions. Apply the finish in a well-ventilated area and wear appropriate protective gear.
  • Allow the varnish or stain to dry completely before applying a second coat. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired level of color and protection.
  • After the final coat has dried, apply a top coat of clear varnish or polyurethane to seal and protect the cabinets from further damage.



That’s all! Simple, isn’t it? Well, if it didn’t feel like that for you then you can check out more of our DIY guides and find a kitchen makeover that piques your interest. If you have any questions or need additional guidance, feel free to seek advice from professionals or online communities.


View Homes for Sale in London, Ontario >>

Posted in Home Improvement
Jan. 11, 2023

11 Best Dog Parks in London, Ontario

(Off-Leash Areas + Leashed Parks)

By Erie of Everywhere Ontario

Best Dog Parks in London, Ontario

All dog owners agree that there's nothing quite as exciting for their pup as a good run in a dog park. Finding the right dog park for your dog is key, and London, Ontario, has some great options.

London has 5 designated off-leash dog parks and various other parks and trails that welcome leashed dogs. We'll highlight the amenities of each of the city's off-leash areas, and give you our recommendations for which parks to check out if you're looking to bring your dog for a leashed walk.

Off-Leash Dog Parks in London, Ontario

Off-leash dog parks are highly coveted by all dogs who know the freedom of being off-leash.

Knowing what to expect at London's off-leash dog parks is crucial so that your outing remains safe and pleasant for you, your dog, and everyone else.

We've also included some suggestions for what to do near each off-leash area, so that your dog isn't the only one having fun on your outing!

1.Pottersburg-FIDO Off-Leash Dog Area

Location: Pottersburg Park, at the intersection of Hamilton Rd and Gore Rd, London


London's largest off-leash dog park is the Pottersburg-FIDO Off-Leash Dog Area. Located in Pottersburg Park south of the intersection of Hamilton Rd and Gore Rd, this off-leash area includes both a fenced section and a non-fenced section, with cleared trails in both parts of the park. 

The double gated entrance ensures that dogs can't escape and keeps other animals out. There is also a completely fenced section for small dogs. Site amenities include benches and picnic tables, garbage cans, and even a portable toilet.

After spending time in the off-leash area, consider taking the Meadowlily Woods Trail to check out the nearby Meadowlily Woods Environmentally Significant Area. The expansive multi-pathway system of the Thames Valley Parkway (TVP) runs through Meadowlily Woods and connects all corners of the city. A walk on the TVP is one of the best things to do in London, Ontario.


Medowlily Woods Trail London, Ontario

2.Stoney Creek Off-Leash Area 

Location: Stoney Creek Meadows, on Adelaide Street north of Windermere Rd


London's second largest off-leash dog park is the Stoney Creek Off-Leash Area. This fenced park, located on Adelaide Street North, includes both trails and a large, open grass area. There is also a separate area for small dogs, double gated entrances, garbage cans, benches, and a portable toilet.

While you're in this area, consider crossing Adelaide and walking to the far east end of Windermere Road where you can enter the Kilally Meadows trail. This trail meanders along the Thames River and through beautifully forested parks in the northeast end of the city.

3.Greenway Off-Leash Area

Location: Greenway Park, 399 Wonderland Rd S, London


West London's off-leash dog park is the Greenway Off-Leash Area, located in Greenway Park. This park runs along the Thames River, and is accessed from Greenside Ave off of Springbank Drive. While the city park itself spans a fair distance along Thames River, the off-leash dog park is located just east of the Greenway Park playground and Terry Fox Memorial.

Greenway Off-Leash Area is completely fenced and includes trails through a shady wooded area, benches for resting, and a separate small dog area. There is also a double gated entrance as well as a portable toilet.

After spending time in the off-leash area, consider leashing your pup up and following the trail under Wonderland Road and into Springbank Park, where you'll popular busy paved trails along the river. Springbank is truly beautiful in every season!


Sprinkbank Park London, Ontario

4.Caesars Off-Leash Area

Location: 941 Commissioners Road East


Caesar's Off-Leash Dog Park is located on the southside of Commissioners Road, just east of Adelaide Road South. This fenced, open area is a mix of grass and wood-chipped ground, and includes an area for large dogs and a separate smaller dog area. 

There's a double gated entrance and garbage containers for convenience. Benches are also located throughout the park for resting while your pup plays.

Caesar's dog park is located close to the trailhead for Westminster Ponds/Pond Mills Conservation Area. If you're looking for a walk through beautifully forested trails after your outing to the off-leash park, consider adding this hike to your trip.

5.Campbell Memorial Park Dog Off-Leash Area

Location: Campbell Memorial Park, 380 Dundas Street East, London


Tucked in between downtown London's city buildings, Campbell Memorial Park Dog Off-Leash Area is the closest off-leash dog park for downtown residents. This fenced off-leash dog park is entirely covered in wood chips, providing a soft and quiet area for your dog to explore. The double gate entrance ensures that dogs can't escape to the busy roads, and garbage containers are provided for convenience.

While this off-leash dog park isn't as expansive or as ideal for exploring nature as the others in the city, it does provide a convenient option for those living downtown who don't want to drive to one of the larger off-leash areas.

It's also worth noting that the location downtown means it can be prone to more human use as simply a park when it's not busy with dogs. Unfortunately, some patrons say there can be litter on the ground and report that it's not always in great shape.

Popular Parks for Dogs in London, Ontario

More Popular Parks for Dogs in London, Ontario

Now that we've covered London's five off-leash dog parks, here are some of the best parks, environmentally significant areas and trails that leashed dogs love to explore.

6.Kains Woods

Location: Intersection of Westdel Bourne Road and Kains Road

Located in the residential area of River Bend in London's west end, the Kains Woods hiking trail runs for 7.5 km along the Thames River, through a beautiful, mature forest.

The trail feels remote, rural and is incredibly peaceful and is walkable in every season.

Leashed dogs are welcome on this trail! Be mindful of the possibility of encountering wildlife on this nature trail.

7.Euston Park

Location: Various access points (Main entry point: 90 MacKay Ave, London)

Euston Park lies within the Coves Environmentally Significant Area in the Southcrest neighbourhood of London. This park is great for dogs because it's a mix of wide-open grassy meadows and forested area, and the park isn't usually busy. The perimeter trail in Euston Park is approximately 2 km, and there are interconnecting trails that can extend the length of your hike through the park.

Leashed dogs will love the trails in Euston Park! Remember to be mindful of ticks in the grassy meadows.


Euston Park London, Ontario

8.Kiwanis Park

Location: Various access points (Main entry point: Kiwanis Park Drive)

Located north of Pottersburg Off-Leash Dog Park, the Kiwanis Park Trail provides a beautiful and peaceful walk through green spaces in the Fairmont and Hamilton Road neighbourhoods. This paved, multi-use trail runs for over 3 km north-south, running along Pottersburg Creek past playgrounds, open grassy areas and even forested areas.

Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail, and it's a great place to bring along your pup for a peaceful and scenic walk in London's east end.

9.Medway Valley Forest Trails

Location: Various access points (Main entry point: Intersection of Gainsborough Rd and Whiteacres Dr)


The Medway Valley Forest Trails Environmentally Significant Area offers 11 km of beautiful trails that will make you - and your dog - forget you're in the city. This park encompasses swamps, marshland and various kinds of forest - making it a great spot for exploring nature with your pup. Dogs must be on their leash in the Medway Valley Forest, but the sheer size of the park means you'll rarely come across others. On a hot day, your dog will also love to cool off in the Medway Creek.


Medway Valley London, Ontario

10.Fanshawe Conservation Area

Location: Fanshawe Conservation Area, 1424 Clarke Road

This conservation area provides plenty of paths and trails for you and your pup to explore. While dogs must be on-leash in the Fanshawe Conservation Area, the trail system here is expansive and much less busy than most of the smaller, free parks in the city.

Remember that you must pay admission to enter the conservation area between May-October, but it's free during the off-season. Fanshawe Conservation Area also makes for a great day trip from London for families looking for something close by that feels like you’re really getting out of the city!

11. Westminster Ponds

Location: Various access points (Main entry point: 696 Wellington Road)

Westminster Ponds is a lovely natural area in the Southdale and Pond Mills neighbourhoods of London, and a perfect place for your pup to go for a long walk. The ponds and surrounding forest are beautiful in every season and while these trails are popular, the park is large enough that your hike will still feel fairly secluded.

There are multiple access points to Westminster Ponds through the surrounding developments, but the main entry is at the Tourism London building on Wellington Road. Remember that dogs must be on-leash in Westminster Ponds.


Westminster Ponds London, Ontario


What are some of the rules for off-leash dog parks in London?

Most of the city off-leash dog parks will have rules signs posted at the park. It's important to follow the rules posted for everyone's safety. Here are some of the rules for off-leash dog parks:

  • hours are set by the city and are currently from 6am-10pm (or dusk)
  • dogs must be current with vaccinations
  • license tags must be worn
  • dogs must be on leash when entering, exiting and outside of the off-leash areas
  • you must keep your dog within sight and under verbal control
  • dogs that are sick, aggressive, in heat or under 4 months of age cannot use the dog parks
  • dogs requiring a leash or muzzle by law must continue to do so while in the off-leash area

What is proper dog park etiquette?

Dog park etiquette is important for everyone's safety and enjoyment. Here are some tips:

  • clean up after your dog and dispose of garbage in the bins
  • avoid playing too rough with other dogs or people
  • bring appropriate toys and treats to the park but not food intended for humans or glass containers that could break
  • make sure your dog has been properly socialized before visiting a busy off-leash dog park
  • don't let your dog chase wild animals
  • try to avoid bringing children to the dog park and keep them in sight at all times

Which off-leash dog parks have a separate area for small dogs?

The following parks have a separate area for small dogs:

  • Caesars Off-Leash Dog Park
  • Greenway Off-Leash Dog Park
  • Pottersburg FIDO-Off-Leash Dog Park
  • Stoney Creek Off-Leash Dog Park

What is the best off-leash dog park in London, Ontario?

Pottersburg FIDO Off Leash Dog Park is London's largest dog park, and is arguably the best in the city. This park is usually very well maintained and has a beautiful setting by the forest and Pottersburg Creek. There are plenty of reasons why this is the most highly-rated off-leash dog park in London, Ontario!

Wrap Up: 11 Best Dog Parks in London, Ontario


When it comes to finding the best dog parks in London, Ontario, there are plenty of great options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a large enclosed off-leash area or a more natural setting for a leashed walk, each park offers something unique for you and your pup to explore.


Posted in London
April 11, 2021

The 10 Best Things to do in Stratford, Ontario

The 10 Best Things to do in Stratford, Ontario

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Don’t let size fool you - there is so much to see and do in this little city, it packs a powerful punch! With all that Stratford has to offer, it is virtually impossible for anyone to ever be bored. Whether you enjoy exercising outdoors along the Avon Trail, sitting in the park with a picnic lunch and a good book, revel in the unique boutiques, dining, and galleries down town, take a tour of the city with your ‘chocolate passport’ on the ‘Chocolate Trail,’ or entertain a play at the Festival Theatre, there is something to tickle everyone’s fancy! Let’s peruse just ten of the myriad of events, venues, and adventures that await in little Stratford, Ontario.


Stratford Festival Theatre
When we’re talking about things to do in Stratford, the list would not be complete if it did not include theatre! The world renowned Stratford Festival hosts a variety of plays and performances from May to October in all four of its theatre venues: the main Festival Theatre seating 1800, located in Upper Queen’s Park; the remarkable, newly built, $68 million dollar Tom Patterson theatre overlooking the river on Lakeside Drive; the regal Avon Theatre in the heart of down town on Downie Street; and the most recent addition, The Studio Theatre annexed behind the Avon on George Street. As a local, you can easily opt for an impromptu night out by chancing ‘rush tickets’ for up to half price, two hours before show time on shows that are not sold out. It pays to be a Stratfordite!


Stratford’s Shakespearean Gardens, created in 1936, have been an attraction all their own, located next to the Perth County Courthouse and adjacent to the Avon River. The beautifully manicured English gardens bespeak of Shakespeare’s day with such a wide array of colour and variety. Further in, a gazebo often plays host to summertime weddings. Trails twist in and around the myriad of vegetation. A wooden footbridge to a small island on the river offers serenity and solitude.

Up river in the wooded area of Upper Queen’s Park, the Confederation Park hosts a perfect place to picnic, surrounded by pines and a rock waterfall. This is another hot spot for weddings and family portraits.

But more than just these, Stratford is home to 5 prize winning gardens. In fact, every garden and flowerbed throughout the city are eye catching and thoroughly enjoyable. Which is no doubt one of the reasons why Stratford was named the “Prettiest City in the World” by Nations in Bloom in 1997.


The Avon River in Stratford, Ontario
The Avon River is central to Stratford’s highlights. Boasting two dozen mute swans dotting the river, the striking Tom Patterson Island connected by a photogenic arched wooden footbridge, paddle boating, miles of trails, picnic tables and parkland, the Stratford River is a destination all in itself. With 115 acres of maintained parkland, Stratford is a nature lover’s paradise. A 2.6 km trail encircling the River is the perfect place to get your daily exercise, with a 360° stunning vista, year round. The Avon River is one of those ‘only in Stratford’ delights that cannot be found anywhere else on earth.


Your experience at the Avon River would not be complete without renting a paddleboat from the Boathouse and floating along the River with a trail of swans and ducks behind you. Waterfowl-friendly food is available for purchase at the Boathouse to take along so you can practically feed the birds by hand. If paddleboating is not your style, canoes and kayaks are also available to rent. Once back onshore, enjoy a delicious salad or sandwich at the Boathouse, or grab one of their $1 cones to enjoy while strolling along the River.


With multiple unique shops ranging from Totally Spoke’d for all your cycling needs, to MacLeods Scottish Shop offering a wide assortment of imported clothing, tartans, and giftware from across the United Kingdom, to world class confectioners like Rheo Thompson Candies for their famous mint smoothies since 1969, to healthy-style options at the unique Little Green Grocery and The Gentle Rain, to Olive Your Favourites tasting bar with an astounding assortment of olive oils and balsamics… the list of ‘only in Stratford’ shopping venues is simply amazing and practically endless. And with well over a hundred restaurants, one does not have to look very far to find a savoury bite to fit any taste after a day of shopping adventure.


The Stratford Perth Museum
The Stratford Perth Museum, located on 7 acres at the western edge of town, exhibits thousands of artifacts and particulars concerning Perth County; some of which include the history of  the railway, the Perth Regiment, the Stratford Festival, and of course, Stratford’s son: Justin Bieber. The Museum is well worth a visit at any time of the year.


Yes, Stratford is Justin Bieber’s hometown. He was discovered by his YouTube home videos showcasing his singing in a local talent show and busking on the steps of the Avon Theatre. The rest is pop star history! Guide maps are available at Tourism Stratford for ‘beliebers’ to visit Justin’s favourite hangouts from when he was growing up as well as his frequent visits back home. With his new home just an hour away, Justin frequently visits his old hometown, so Bieber-sightings are highly possible for all his star-struck fans.


The Stratford Farmer’s Market, established in 1855, is one of the oldest in the province. Located inside the Stratford Agriplex at the Stratford Rotary Complex, the Market is open year round, offering meats, cheese, baked goods, honey, maple syrup, farm fresh eggs and produce, take home meals, coffee, handmade crafts, birdseed, fresh cut flowers, and more. From May until October the Market overflows into the parking lot with many in season offerings of fruit and veggies from local farms. Stay for lunch with the savoury bacon on a bun or a sausage on site.


Get off the beaten path with Puck’s Plenty, a highly acclaimed forager that has been featured in national papers such as The Globe and Mail and The National Post, and television on The Oprah Network and Global TV. This unique experience will take you into nature’s garden with a new set of eyes and garner you invaluable knowledge of healthful and tasty local plants and mushrooms. Since 2010, naturalist Peter Blush has been educating people through Puck’s Plenty excursions on the countless varieties of edible vegetation as wells as sensible harvesting techniques. Sharpen your survival skills and find out more by booking your own foraging trek into the lush nature around Stratford at


Stratford’s festivals and events are many and varied. The following is just a small sampling of how Stratford entertains visitors and locals alike.
The Stratford Summer Music Festival is a month long array of dozens of concerts, both indoors and out, by numerous international, Canadian, world renown and up and coming performers. Many performances are free or pay by donation. And then there’s everyone’s favourite, the music barge, providing diverse styles and genres to an audience seated on the sloping banks to the River.    

Stratford Ontario Summer Music Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival, held every September and drawing from all over the province, spectators have been watching and cheering dragon boat races on the Avon River for 25 years.

The Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival is now 14 years strong, holding the annual event at the Stratford Rotary Complex grounds. Offering a myriad of garlic products, from sauces to lotions to even ice cream, along with cooking demonstrations and info seminars, this potent festival is sure to make a strong impression. Spotlighting 26 varieties of garlic, this is one event that totally stinks—but in a completely delicious way!