Friday, March 29, 2013

10 Amenities to Make Your Bathroom Even Better

1. Thermostatic Valve
A thermostatic valve controls the temperature and volume, giving you the opportunity to have a trickle of hot water or a full shower of cold. If you want to get particular about the amount and temperature of the water coming out of your showerhead, a thermostatic valve is the way to go.

2. Electric floor heat
Tile is a cool surface — literally! If your toes shrink at the thought of crossing your frigid tile floor, make sure your tile setter installs an electric heat mat before putting in the tile. The mats come as custom self-contained mats or as wire strung between plastic pegs (known as an RPM system). 
Conscientious tile setters will attach a “loudmouth” to their heating system while installing tile, so that if the electrical connection is broken, the loudmouth makes noise. Installing two sensors to the thermostat is a good idea too, so if one breaks, the other still functions. When you program the thermostat to go on at 5 a.m., you will be rewarded with warm toes at 6, and that’s worth every penny of the cost.

3. Hidden outlets
The scourge of bathrooms is the clambering masses of electronic devices that demand an outlet and adjacent counter space: hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, electric razors and curling irons.Don’t you wish they would all vamoose to where you can’t see them? That could be a real possibility if you install outlets inside medicine cabinets and drawers.Out of sight, out of mind until you need them.

4. Humidistat fan
It used to be that exhaust fans in baths had two options for controls — the on-off switch and the timer.Now the options have multiplied, with motion detector and humidistat fans. My favorite is the humidistat — you set it to a humidity level you deem reasonable, and it will run if the humidity goes over that level, and keep running until the humidity decreases to below your set level.It doesn’t address all of the reasons you might run a fan in a bath, but it does handle the one that can make a mess of paint and other finishes: moisture.

5. Hard-wired makeup mirror
Once only for movie stars, the lighted makeup mirror made its way into luxury hotel rooms over the past decade. It is actually a surprisingly affordable fixture to install. The only thing you’ll have trouble with is deciding how high to hang it and who will get to use it.

6. Dimmer switches
A dimmer is the best friend of kitchens and baths alike. When you need good light, you need it. And when you don’t want it, the dimmer is there to help. Basic dimmers add around $25 to the cost of a switch, though some of the nicer switching systems can cost quite a bit more. Having the ability to control the amount of light in the bathroom, though, is priceless.

7. Shower niche as footrest
Shaving legs in the shower is an ongoing conundrum for women. The water cascading down washes away the soap before you can get the razor there, and there’s nowhere to position your leg out of the water’s way. An elegant and low-key solution is the shower niche — not for shampoos and soaps, but as a footrest about 18 inches off the shower floor. Another solution is corner shelves inset into the tile — a few for shampoo and one as a footrest. They can be made from the remnants of your counter stone to tie the shower in visually to your vanity. Simple and functional.

8. Fancy commodes
There’s a growing market for bidet-style toilets and urinals in residential bathrooms. Toilets arrive with accoutrements like heated seats (don’t forget you’ll need power for this), multiple settings for water (including the option for warm water) and seats that open and close for you. If you are seriously considering a urinal, look carefully at the water supply requirements and local plumbing codes. It may require a larger supply line than is currently in your bathroom.

9. Handheld showerhead
If you are still mulling over your showerhead options, don’t leave out the handheld ones. While they can be a bit unwieldy with their hoses and pivoting heads, they have a distinct advantage over their fixed-in-place cousins: They make it easy to clean the shower stall. The showerhead that comes from the ceiling? Supercool, but good luck washing the walls of your shower with it. Same thing with showerheads on the wall. A nice compromise between the two, if you can afford it, is to get one of each with a diverter. That will allow you to use the main showerhead most of the time, the handheld one for cleaning and both at the same time if you want a spa experience.

10. Epoxy grout
It is more expensive, unwieldy to work with and stinks. But epoxy grout has a big benefit over its sanded and nonsanded cousins: It makes it difficult for mildew to grow, and liquids have a hard time penetrating it. We have been installing it frequently in master showers and at kitchen backsplashes (where food and grease can splatter) with great results.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dress Up Your Room With a Beautiful Accent Chair

Chairs used to be something used for the upper class in the medieval times. Since then they have developed into a form of art. So why not spruce up your room with something as simple as a chair?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Popular Ceiling Styles

Conventional Ceiling
This is the ceiling so commonly seen in the vast majority of homes. Typically 8 feet high to conform to standard construction material sizes, conventional ceilings have a simple flat surface and accessible height, making them easy to decorate.

Suspended Ceiling
This is a secondary ceiling that hangs below an existing flat ceiling. It's made up of lightweight, acoustic ceiling panels laid into a metal grid that is suspended from the ceiling by hangers or wires. Suspended ceilings stylishly hide wiring, plumbing, mechanical fixtures and the original old ceiling. 

Coffered Ceiling
This is a dramatic ceiling style has a gird of sunken panels divided an accented by molding. The effect creates a waffle-like pattern that takes a commanding role in a room. Coffered ceiling of the past were works of art made with carved stone or prized wood species. 

Cove Ceiling
This style is characterized by curved molding that joins the wall and ceiling in a smooth tradition, creating a hollow recess or cove overhead. With no sharp corners or lines to define the edges of he room, the look is soft and graceful. Cove ceilings are often the crowning glory of a well-appointed, formal room.

Tray Ceiling
These ceilings are flat with a rectangular center that is either "popped out" or inverted to add architectural interest. Recessed lighting is commonly featured in this exiling style. Tray ceilings are often seen in kitchens and dining rooms. Because of the two levels of ceiling height, tray ceilings can make a small room look taller.

Cathedral Ceiling
Visually impressive cathedral ceilings have high, equally sloping sides that join like an upside down V a the highest point possible, usually the peak of the roof. Cathedral ceilings soar to 15 feet or higher, creating a dramatic design element, as well as an open, spacious feel to a room or entryway. 

Vaulted Ceiling
This ceiling has unequal sloping sides that meet at a high point in a room. The asymmetry is the result of one wall being higher than its opposing wall. Like its cathedral ceiling counterpart, a vaulted ceiling adds volume, giving the illusion of a much larger room. 

Shed Ceiling
This ceiling has a flat surface, like a conventional ceiling, that slants upward to one side. These ceilings are typically seen in homes with dormers or are built to accommodate an attic space above. The uneven wall height created by the rise of the filing gives the room a refreshing charm. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Increase Your Home's Curb Appeal

1. Add big, bold house numbers. It's so easy to swap out house numbers, and this one thing can make a huge impact. Echo your house style in the numbers you choose — a clean sans serif font for a modern house, hand-painted tiles for a cottage, aged copper for a Prairie-style home etc.

2. Paint the front door. A front door that pops can be hugely cheering.

3. Add fresh porch furniture. A pair of matching rockers, Adirondack chairs or a cozy glider is a must when you have a front porch that is visible from the street.

4. Swap out porch lighting. Try replacing tiny sconces with a big, statement-making pendent light, add recessed lighting beneath the eaves or install solar lights along the front walk.

5. Add a hot-red accent. Red has such vibrancy; a little goes a very long way. Try a bright red bench, planter or mailbox to add zing that can be seen from across the street.

6. Do some hardscaping. Built-in concrete planters, a low stone wall or new paths are all great ways to add structure to your front yard that will last for many years to come.

7. Replace a lawn with flowers. Dig up part or all of your front lawn and plant perennials instead for a lush landscape that sets your house apart.

8. Repair the driveway and paths. Cement, stone and pavement all can split and crack over time. Repairing or replacing damaged areas can do wonders to freshen up your home's street view.

9. Paint the garage door. The garage takes up a lot of visual space, so it pays to make sure it looks its best.

10. Refinish the porch floor. If your porch floor has seen better days, renew it by stripping off old layers of paint and finish, and brushing on stain or paint.

11. Add a shiny new door knocker. Gorgeous hardware (plus a glossy paint job) can make even the plainest door look very classy.

12. Try a unique front door. A really eye-catching front door can be just the thing to give a plain exterior a big dose of personality.

13. Match plantings to your house style. Let the plants and pots you choose reflect the style of your house for a cohesive look.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bring in the Stripes

Stripes are going to be huge this Spring and Summer season. I love stripes and they look so great inside the home. It adds a lot more character and design. How have you used stripes to decorate your home?