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5 Reasons You Should Tackle Remodeling Projects in the Winter

A home remodeling project is always full of excitement mixed with some trepidation.

You’re looking forward to the final result, though getting there is more than a little nerve-wracking.

Many people assume that winter is the worst possible time to take on such a project, but hold on a second before you set your sights for spring – winter just may be the best time!

Here are the five reasons you should plan on taking on your projects this winter.

1. Contractors have more availability.

It’s no fun to be excited about a home remodeling project only to be told that you’ll have to endure a long wait before your contractor can even begin because he’s so swamped with business.

It’s great for him – not as much for you!

So, why not be strategic in your planning?

Contractors are busiest in the spring. You’ll find that it’s much easier to schedule consultations and the work during their slower season.

Not only will he have more time to complete your project, he’ll be able to give it more attention, really listen to what you want and not rush through to get onto the next waiting job.

2. Manufacturers jack up prices in spring.

Of course, it makes sense that prices would go up during the busiest season for home remodeling projects, right?

But, you don’t have to be a victim of those price hikes if you play your cards right.

In winter, you’ll have a good chance of finding reduced and clearance prices on appliances and other materials – especially those of which suppliers have an overabundance.

There’s also the fact that manufacturers are often trying to diminish their inventory before new products come out and can offer deeper discounts than at other times of the year.

3. Permits are granted more quickly.

You could be in hot water if you start a project without the proper permits.

But, it’s frustrating to have a highly-anticipated upgrade for your home dragging out due to red tape.

Government offices are typically not as busy in the winter and you can use that lull to your advantage and get the required paperwork for your projects moving through the system more quickly.

4. Find a better stock of popular items.

Another plus to doing your remodeling project in the winter months is that the hottest items aren’t flying off the shelves at as quick a rate as they would during other seasons.

You’ll have more time to shop around and you’re more likely to find that the stores are stocked with just what you’re looking for.

That’s a whole lot better than having to wait for something that’s back ordered for your project to be completed.

5. Consider more projects.

Once you’ve got a contractor working with you, the opportunity is there for you to bring up other remodeling jobs you may be looking to tackle in anticipation of spring.

Maybe you’d like to extend your deck or you’ve always wanted to add a sunroom.

Of course, outdoor work can’t be done in the middle of a blizzard, but your contractor can be ready to begin those projects as soon as the weather cooperates and you will have missed the rush.

Take advantage of the season

It’s not such a bad idea to plan for your remodeling project in the winter.

You’ll have easier access to your contractor, the supplies you need will likely be in stock, you’ll get the best prices, and any required building permits should move through the system quickly.

Get in contact with your contractor now to get your projects scheduled.

For help remodeling your home, contact your local experts VKB Kitchen and Bath.

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Fall is the Best Time to Pull the Trigger on Your Basement Redo

As the lazy days of summer come to a close, your life probably starts to get back to a routine.

A couple different things can happen.

You either have a little extra time on your hands to make some plans for home improvements or you realize how crazy life is that you need more living space!

Finishing your basement is a great way to add value to your home and to give everyone in the family some extra breathing room.

Here are some ideas for your basement redo.

A place for family time

The busier your family gets, the more you recognize the value of quality time together as a family.

Creating a space where you can all spread out and enjoy each other is priceless.

Take your cues from the personality of your family and what activities you enjoy, but here are some options you may want to consider:

  • Home theater. If movies are your thing, creating a special place to view the may be perfect. Taking care of this during the fall ensures that it will be ready to go for those cozy winter days and nights.
  • Game room. The family that plays together, stays together! You can go big with a ping-pong or air hockey table for serious competition. If board games are more your speed, arrange some fluffy furniture around a table that can be used for game play. A snack bar goes really well with a game room, too!
  • Workout room. If your family likes to exercise and stay active together, create a space where you can run on a treadmill, do some yoga, hop on the elliptical, or lift weights.

Homework station

It’s great for kids to have a designated area in which to do their homework.

As they get older, their workload will probably grow and they need a place to do their work that’s not just lying on their bed or lounging on the couch.

A basement is a great place to set up an organized, quiet spot for your little geniuses to get smarter!

Playroom

If you have little ones, you know how your whole house can become a playroom very quickly.

Making your basement an area in which kids can play and keep all their toys may be a sanity saver.

Bright colors, plenty of shelving, cozy furniture for story time, and plenty of room to run will be a dream come true for your children!

Getting the playroom done during the fall ensures that there’s a lot to do and space to burn off energy during the winter months.

An extra bedroom

If you frequently host guests, utilizing your basement for an additional bedroom is a great idea.

If you’re able to add a bathroom to go with your new guest room, you’ll be adding a great deal of value to your home – and to your visitors’ experiences!

Your holiday guests will thank you if you have a space ready just for them this year!

Endless opportunities

There are so many wonderful ways that you can use your basement space that it may be hard to choose the one that fits best with your needs.

Fall is an opportune time to get things ready before the holidays and winter arrive.

Consult VKB Kitchen and Bath a trusted contractor and shop Labor Day sales for the best deals!

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Summertime is Home Improvement Time! 10 Projects to Tackle

Summer is a great time to tackle some of the projects you’ve been wanting to take on.

It’s the perfect season for remodeling and household maintenance tasks.

The weather is generally agreeable and you don’t have to worry about work being put on hold for snow, ice, or freezing temperatures.

What are the 10 best projects to take care of in the summer?

Take a look!

1. Power wash your siding and walkways.

Fall and winter weather can cause a buildup of grime on your outdoor surfaces. Give them a nice shower! You may be amazed at the difference!

If you’re a DIYer, be sure to carefully read all the instructions before you begin to prevent damaging your home or yourself.

2. Give your porch and deck a little TLC.

Wood can warp and begin to breakdown over time. It’s a good idea to have any wood structures, like your porch or deck, inspected and have any issues fixed. Give them a new coat of paint or stain, too!

3. Remodel your kitchen.

Did you know the ROI for a kitchen redo is between 74 and 83 percent, depending on how in-depth your remodel is?

It’s easier to endure a kitchen remodel in the summer when you can grill and eat outside while your appliances are out of commission.

It’s much easier if you’ve already heeded #4 on our list!

Talk to your contractor about your options.

4. Install an outdoor kitchen.

Outdoor living spaces give you a chance to entertain family and friends in an area with ample seating and maybe even some bonus stargazing.

An outdoor kitchen can really give your home a more spacious, spread-out feel.

Plus, cooking in your inside kitchen in the hot summer can be brutal!

5. Replace your windows.

Air conditioning is a summertime necessity.

Getting rid of your old windows can result in a significant drop in your energy costs for every season, not just summer.

6. Have your roof inspected

Summer is the best time to replace your roof if you find that it’s in poor condition. It’s important that you have any issues taken care of before they become bigger, costlier problems.

7. Check out the gutters.

It’s a good idea to check out your gutters in the summer. If you notice any leaks or standing water, there’s a good chance that they need to be repaired or replaced.

8. Work on the landscaping.

Of course, landscaping in the summertime is a no-brainer but think ahead.

For example, plant some quick-growing shade plants that’ll be ready to provide some real protection from the sun within the next couple years.

9. Take care of your concrete.

Repair any cracks in your driveway or walkways that have been brewing over the cooler months.
Buckling concrete is not only unsightly, but it’s also a safety hazard.

If you have an asphalt driveway, now’s the time to take on that repaving project, as well.

10. Have your siding inspected.

Have a professional check things out and evaluate your need for repairs or replacement.

If your siding does need to be replaced, take the time to look into all of your options.

Where to begin?

You’ve got a lot to think about now, don’t you?

If you’re overwhelmed and not sure what to do first, pick your area of greatest need and start there!

It’s not realistic to accomplish everything on the list in one summer.

Choose one task at a time as your budget allows and be satisfied with what you do get done!

For help remodeling your home, contact your local experts VKB Kitchen and Bath.

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Upgrading Your Bathroom? What’s Worth Your Time and Money

The reason that you’ve decided to upgrade can make a difference in which changes are worth the effort and which aren’t.

One purpose for upgrading is because your style has changed and you want an updated look or you’d like your bathroom to be more functional.

Many people choose to spruce up some areas of their home because they are preparing to put it on the market.

We’ll take a look at some of the most common upgrades people make to their bathrooms and discuss if they’re worth the investment, for yourself or for a possible sale.

Add a sink or counter space

Multiple sinks pull double-duty, no pun intended.

They appeal to potential home-buyers and they massively up the functionality of the bathroom.

The flip-side of this type of change is to forego the second sink and add more counter space.

Some would find the extra place to put necessities more of a need than an additional sink.

Shower seating

While shower seats were traditionally only seen in the homes of the elderly or handicapped, they have turned into a luxury addition for any home.

Glass showers

For a contemporary upgrade, go with glass.

Not only do they add a modern look, they also serve to give the impression of openness, making a small space seem larger.

Lighting

New light fixtures may seem like a small change but have a big impact.

The best way to light your bathroom is by layering. An overhead light is good for general purposes, but you’ll want lights above your vanity mirror for putting on makeup or another close-up task.

Depending on the size of the bathroom, you may want to give the shower or tub area and the toilet area their own lights, as well.

More storage

You don’t often hear people complain about having too much storage in their bathroom.

After all, it’s home to a lot of items!

Whatever construction you need to have done in order to expand your storage space will be worth it, whether you’re selling your home or just seeking to make it more user-friendly.

Paint

Color makes a big splash without a big price tag.

It’s the perfect way to quickly create a fresh feel.

This is one of those tricky times when your reason for updating the bathroom counts.

If you’re painting because you want to enjoy a new look, feel free to play with colors and be as bold as you want to be.

Color creativity isn’t the best idea, however, if you’re painting with selling in mind.

Neutral colors will allow a potential buyer to envision themselves in the space, with their own style on display.

Hide the commode

Building a half wall to add privacy to the toilet area is rarely a bad idea.

If the look you’re going for in your upgraded bathroom is one of luxury, hiding the toilet makes sense.

Talk to your contractor about the possibility. He may have an idea you haven’t considered.

If you find that building a wall isn’t going to be an option for you, a decorative screen can create a nice partition.

Super-size the shower  

If the tub isn’t used very often, removing it and expanding the shower may be a good option for you.

The extra space can allow for a larger, more extravagant shower head and more room to move around.

One important thing to note is that you shouldn’t remove your tub if it’s the only one in the house.

If you only have the budget for one or two items on this list, pick the ones that seem the most important to you and best suits your needs, whether it’s  for your enjoyment or for a possible sale.

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Bethesda MD Bathroom Remodeling

Renovating Your Bathroom in 5 Steps

Is your bathroom outdated? Is it too small for your growing family? Are you getting ready to put your home up for sale?

Any of these reasons and more can warrant a bathroom remodel.

While the process may not be without occasional hiccups, there are some tips that can make your renovation as smooth as possible.

One of the most important aspects of remodeling your bathroom is to know where you should start.

Let’s take a look at the steps that will take your bathroom from blah to beautiful.

Step 1: Get inspired.

Your journey to a new bathroom begins with your vision. What do you want your new space to look and feel like?

There are a multitude of places from which you can get ideas.

Look at home improvement magazines, study design books, browse online, and draw inspiration from your friends who have bathrooms you love.

It’s a good idea to create a list and gather photos of what you’d like your new bathroom to look like in order to go over it when you’re talking with potential contractors.

Once you have your vision in mind, you’re ready for the next step.

Step 2: Make a plan

This phase of the project is where your inspiration and ideas turn into an actual plan.

The factors that need to be a part of your strategy are:

  • Budget. Have a handle on how much money you can spend on the renovation before you start shopping! Don’t be disappointed by having your heart set on a giant tub that you can’t afford.
  • Style. What kind of a feel do you want your new bathroom design to give off? Do you love color? Is your style modern or traditional? Nail down the answers to these questions in order to keep consistency throughout the process.
  • Layout. Think about any element that would necessitate a change in the structure of the room. The addition of small children or an elderly parent to your home can require special consideration. Are your changes going to be structural or mostly cosmetic?

You should have answers for all these layout questions because your next step is to decide on a company to help you turn your vision into reality.

Step 3: Find a contractor

Don’t underestimate the power of utilizing professionals. They’re experts at what they do and will be a key part of how your remodel turns out.

You’ll want a contractor who is licensed to work in your area and who is willing to listen to your ideas while guiding you through the process.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references and to read online reviews of the company you choose to work with.

Step 4: The fun stuff

It’s time for the best part! The shopping!

Your contractor will help you as you made decisions about:

  • Toilets.
  • Sinks, vanities, and mirrors.
  • Bathtubs and/or showers.
  • Countertops.
  • Flooring.
  • Lighting.

Your budget may not allow for you to replace each of these items but this gives you a good idea of what you may be shopping for.

Step 5: Let’s do this!

You’ve done your part and now it’s time to pass the reins to your qualified contractor.

If you don’t have another bathroom to use while one is being remodeled, you may want to make other arrangements.

Your contractor will give you an estimate of how long the project will take, but keep in mind that delays could come that are out of anyone’s control.

They won’t be so upsetting if you know that they’re a possibility!

Your first relaxing bath in your cozy new bathroom will make any of the problems along the way well worth it.

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Designing the Most Kid-Friendly Bathroom Around

The bathroom is a tricky room for kids.

Everything seems too tall or too big for tiny hands and short legs.

Plus, the dangers like water that’s too hot and toilet lids that pinch.

A locking toilet lid and a child-safe faucet cover aren’t enough to make your bathroom kid-friendly.

Buying a step stool and calling it a day won’t do the trick, either.

Those are helpful and definitely have a place, but there’s a lot more that can be done to make your bathroom appropriate for the little ones in your home.

Built-in step stool

Kids grow quickly which means it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a permanently-shorter vanity.

They do need to be able to reach the sink to wash their hands and brush their teeth, though!

A better choice is to keep your standard height vanity and talk to a contractor about installing a built-in step stool that can be folded into a bottom drawer when it’s not in use.

Toddlers and young children like to do things themselves and this gives them a bit of the autonomy they crave.

Hands-free faucet

Younger children can have a hard time turning the faucet off and on.

The best solution is to install a hands-free faucet that comes on when a child puts their hands underneath it.

It’ll stay on for a predetermined amount of time, 30-seconds is usually a perfect length, before automatically shutting off.

Another perk of this faucet is the temperature control that prevents a child from getting scalded by water that’s too hot.

This faucet is appropriate to continue using even after the kids have grown up because the set-time saves water and the hands-free feature lessens the transfer of germs.

Soft-closing toilet seat

Everyone has cringed at the sudden crash of a toilet seat.

It doesn’t just make a loud noise, it can also pinch little fingers.

A soft-closing toilet seat works on hydraulics and closes gently, preventing slamming, crashing, or pinching.

Maximize storage space

Kids require a lot of supplies. A lot.

An important part of a kid-friendly bathroom is having somewhere to store their necessities.

They have bath toys and towels, diapers, creams, and a whole lot of random gadgets.

It’s worth consulting a contractor to see if some built-in shelving or an expanded linen closet is a possibility to stow away all of the kids’ things.

The tub zone

It’s important to mention that babies and toddlers should never be left unattended in the bathroom and any harmful cleaning supplies or other toxic chemicals should be kept well out of reach of kids.

The bathtub area is one that requires some thought to prepare.

  • A removable, hand-held shower head can help with bathing the children, as well as cleaning the tub after bath time.
  • Bathtubs are slippery. If your tub doesn’t have a built-in textured bottom, you’ll definitely need to invest in some non-slip grips.
  • An air-filled faucet cover will protect little heads from bumps and are available in fun shapes and characters.
  • Anti-scald valves keep the water from getting too hot, even if the knob is bumped in the wrong direction.

Decor

Decorating a bathroom for children is where you can really have some fun!

You can choose a fun theme or just go with a bright color scheme.

If your child’s old enough, they’ll probably enjoy picking out the paint color and wall decorations with you.

Creating a bathroom that’s fit for your children isn’t too difficult or time-consuming, but it will go a long way in giving them the confidence they need to begin doing things on their own.

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Kitchen Style Trends for 2017

A new year can inspire change.

The feeling of starting off with a clean slate can motivate all sorts of adjustments in life.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Is your kitchen ready for a change? Is it time to retire the avocado green refrigerator and opt for something a little more modern?

Do your cabinets need a fresh coat of paint? Or maybe they need to be replaced altogether!

It’s always exciting to see what styles and trends will hit it big in the new year.

Sit back and draw some inspiration from this sneak peek of what’s happening in kitchens in 2017.

The trend list

An up-to-date kitchen can change the atmosphere of your whole home. Here are a few changes that’ll make your kitchen the place to be.

  • Go two-toned in the cabinet department. Also referred to as Tuxedo cabinets, you don’t have to stick with black and white. You can choose any two colors that complement each other. Keep in mind that if painting cabinets isn’t your thing, there are always plenty of options for installing new ones. Your contractor will be able to give you a heads-up on the latest styles.
  • Get funky with finishes. Feel free to change out your hardware with a mixture of finishes. It’s a new year and your drawer pulls don’t have to match your cabinet knobs! Don’t be afraid to stray from the norm.
  • Get your kitchen in ship-shape with shiplap. Shiplap is basically wood paneling and it’s making a comeback in 2017. You’ll love the texture it adds to the space. Choose a white finish for a cool modern touch.
  • Camouflage the appliances. Appliances that blend in provide a sleek seamless look to the kitchen. One of the latest innovations on the market is a dishwasher that looks like a drawer. Appliances that don’t stand out in such stark contrast to the rest of the kitchen design also add an air of calm and coziness.
  • Easy-care countertops. The new year will see many people forgoing granite and choosing marble, quartz, or even butcher block instead. These options are stylish, yet easier to maintain. Some of them are a little easier on your budget too.
  • Let there be light. 2017 is all about light and bright. Go for bright colors on walls and accent pieces and lighter stained woods. Think tawny! Or, if that’s not up your alley, lighter grays and white are shades that stand the test of time.
  • Go green. Live plants will set off the look of your new kitchen remodeling. Scatter some pots of various sizes around the room. You’ll have the added advantage of the positive health benefits that live plants provide. Potted herbs are pleasing to the eye and useful too!
  • Install some decorative tile. Go for geometric shapes or funky bright colors. Use them on the floor or as a backsplash. A word of caution: Use them sparingly. Don’t overwhelm your space. Especially if your choice is a bold color or busy pattern.
  • Breakfast is served. Built-ins are all the rage and what better choice than a sweet little breakfast nook? With built-in bench seating and a little table, you’ll be all ready to start each day off right.

Keep these trends in mind as you plan for some kitchen updates in 2017. Keep in mind that they’re suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing. You spend a lot of time there so make it pleasant for you!

Contact a contractor to see all the ways they can help you with your kitchen design for the new year.

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Drawer Pulls and Cabinet Handles: Small Changes with Big Visual Impact

Ready for a new view in your kitchen?

Looking for something you can do that packs a visual punch but doesn’t take weeks to complete?

There is an answer and it may be simpler than you think.

Whether you are remodeling the whole kitchen or you simply want an updated look, drawer pulls, knobs, and handles play a big role.

In fact, hardware can actually make or break the style you are trying to attain.

It probably doesn’t seem like it would make that much of a difference, but it does!

Changing out your kitchen cabinet and drawer hardware can really make a noticeable impact on the look of your kitchen.

Think of your drawer pulls and cabinet handles as statement pieces.

They complement your style and help you achieve the look and feel you want.

Let’s talk specifics. Here are some examples that may give you some inspiration.

  • If your cabinets are deep, rich tones, crystal knobs serve to enhance the luxuriance.
  • Rounded, horizontal drawer pulls are appropriate for an ultramodern look, especially if the finish is shiny.
  • Wondering what you can do with white cabinets to change it up? Consider a vintage look with copper hardware.
  • Maybe you’re going for a more rustic feel? Hammered iron knobs will give you that primitive look you want.

These are just a few of the many, many styles and options available.

Now that your creative juices are flowing, there are some things to think about when choosing new drawer pulls or knobs for your cabinets.

Cost

Pulls and handles can range anywhere from $0.99 to hundreds of dollars for custom, handmade pieces.

It’s important to keep that in mind if you have a large number of pulls and knobs to replace, the cost can add up quickly!

If you only have a few cupboards and/or drawers to change out, you can probably go a little more expensive to achieve your look.

Either way, you’ll be able to find something that suits your style desire!

Durability

Kitchen cupboards and drawers get a lot of of action. Make sure that you choose hardware that can stand up to constant use.

Make sure you’re able to actually get your hands on the knobs and pulls you choose before you buy!

You’ll be able to get a good impression for how well they will hold up, plus you can be confident that you like the way they feel.

Remember, you can have functionality without sacrificing style.

Think ahead

When you make your final choice on what kind of knobs and pulls you want, buy a few extra.

It’s best to be prepared in case something breaks, beside the fact that the market is constantly changing and your style may be discontinued.

You’ll be glad to have some back-ups!

Dimensions

While this is specific to pulls, it’s important to know about the “CC” dimensions.

This is the center-to-center dimension, or the distance between the two attaching points. This will be designated on the hardware listing as “c to c,” “drill centers,” or just “cc.”

Usually, your new handles will match up with the existing holes, but if not, you have a couple options.

  • You can drill new holes and fill in the old ones. Not ideal for a change that is “quick and easy”!
  • The second option is a backplate. Some pulls and handles come with them already attached, or you can purchase them separately.

The beauty of backplates is that they cover existing holes so you don’t have to bother with filling them in.

Don’t underestimate the visual impact of small changes!

You’ll be amazed how new hardware can totally transform the look of your kitchen.

If you’d like help selecting hardware or revamping your entire kitchen’s look, contact us today!

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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Kitchen Flooring

It’s the place where you spend a lot of time, gathering with family, preparing meals and entertaining.

So when it comes to choosing flooring, you can’t afford to make any mistakes.

Besides, you’re going to spend a good portion of your remodeling budget on kitchen flooring.

To maximize your investment and ensure you choose a material that matches your lifestyle, make sure to consult the pros.

When you meet with your kitchen expert, talk about these factors.

  • Your lifestyle. How will you be using the room? Even if you only use it to cook occasionally, the room is going to be used a lot to prepare lunches, gulp down breakfast on the way out the door, and to host family gatherings. If you have young kids, you’ll want to choose non-slip floors. If you host clients or family reunions, a showstopping floor may be in order.
  • Your style. One of the most important factors when choosing flooring is the overall design aesthetic. If your kitchen style is country, you won’t want to use a sleek, modern flooring. Work with a kitchen designer to choose flooring material that will complement your kitchen’s contemporary, rustic or traditional design. The pattern and texture of the floor, as well as the color, will need to complement the kitchen’s size, too. For example, a small kitchen will need a simple, clean floor, while a larger kitchen can accommodate a more complicated, textured pattern.
  • Your comfort. Die-hard or busy chefs will want to choose a flooring that promotes comfortability. Standing on a floor for hours while slaving away in the kitchen can wreak havoc on your feet, legs and back. If this is the case, choose a flooring that’s resilient and soft. For example, tile tends to be harder and more uncomfortable than wood.
  • Your investment. A durable floor is ideal, no matter how you use the space or your design style. Considering the spills that take place in the kitchen and the foot traffic that goes on, a durable floor is key. The flooring should resist staining, moisture problems and be easy to clean.
  • Your cost. When you meet with your kitchen designer, talk about all of the factors listed above, and then whittle down your choices based on cost. For a kitchen remodeling project, you’ll need to set aside funds for cabinetry, countertops, lighting fixtures, flooring and more. You may not be able to afford the floor of your dreams if you want to upgrade cabinets, for example. But you can usually negotiate its cost by navigating options like underlayment, installation, floor disposal and removal and delivery.

Here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of popular flooring options:

  • Ceramic accommodates almost any budget and style, with a wide variety of sizes, colors and patterns. While it wears well and is easy to clean, if it’s not installed well, it can crack. In addition, the tiles can be slippery and cold.
  • Natural stone offers a unique look, as granite, slate and travertine are extremely varied. The stones create an elegant, classic look; however, the materials require careful installation in order to last.
  • Wood floors are charming, warm and durable. The classic floors come in a variety of widths and it’s sure to never go out of style. However, hardwood scratches and dents easily, requires refinishing as it wears and liquids can be a problem if you don’t quickly clean up spills.

Here’s to your new kitchen floor! With a floor that matches your lifestyle, design style, comfort and budget, you’ll be able to confidently select a kitchen flooring material that will drive ROI.

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2 Innovative Ways to Spruce Up Your Kitchen

Upgrading kitchen cabinets, refinishing hardwood flooring, replacing hardware — these are just a few of the ways that you can give your kitchen a makeover.

However, it’s possible to make a big statement in your kitchen, just by using color and texture in innovative ways.

Here’s a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. Go with neutral colors. If your home is surrounded by lots of beautiful landscaping, large trees or a wooded area, bring the outdoors in with neutral wood colors. Try a light pecan wood for the cabinets to warm up the space without making it too dark. Contrast the wood color with bright white walls. A textured stone backsplash will accent the space, too.
  2. Brighten up a windowless room. Using all wood cabinets in the kitchen — especially if it’s a darker tone — may not seem like an option in your kitchen if you don’t have windows. Instead of natural light to break up the space and lighten up the room, use stainless steel appliances instead, and opt to replace a few cabinet doors with stainless steel ones.
  3. Offset a bright kitchen. While a white kitchen is striking, be sure to add some texture to break up the look. Brushed nickel or black cabinet pulls will pop against white cabinets. Or add some texture with colored glass tiles.
  4. Play with color — on the countertops. Don’t be afraid to mix countertop colors. Cherry cabinets offer intimacy and warmth, while a black countertop on the island provides contrast. Lighter-colored countertops on the kitchen’s perimeter will strike a nice balance. Don’t be afraid to use pops of bright colors in a neutral kitchen on island stools or an accent wall.
  5. Mix textures. An ivory kitchen is very bright, but you can warm it up by mixing textures throughout the room. Try adding a coffered ceiling. Use artisan tiles on the backsplash, glaze the cabinets for extra warmth, and add warmth and color with a marble countertop.
  6. Mix white and wood. Upper cabinets in white complement the texture of neutral wood cabinets below — creating a bright, clutter-free look that’s modern and, at the same time, timeless.
  7. Choose romance. Combine whimsical, romantic bricks with a French flare for the flooring, a texture that will really speak to natural elements. Painted cabinets that reflect an antiqued ivory look will complement their color.

Here are some guidelines to follow when mixing color and texture:

  • Solid surface and laminate countertops provide a smooth texture. If you’re using a decorative pattern elsewhere in the kitchen, these counters will provide a point for visual interest.
  • Choose a smooth stone surface to break up the look other textures in the room provide.
  • When using wood grains, choose other finishes with a smooth surface. If you want less dramatic wood, choose maple: It’ll offer a clean look. Cherry wood delivers a bit more punch, with more grain, while pine and oak offer the most texture.
  • If you’re working with a tile floor, an unglazed finish provides a rough texture. Glazed tile is a bit smoother; its cuts and patterns will offer visual interest.
  • Going with concrete? Its colorations and pits will provide the texture, but its surface will still be smooth.
  • Stainless steel appliances and features counteract complicated textures.
  • To offset decorative patterns in the kitchen, go with linoleum and vinyl floors, two smooth surfaces.
  • Add texture to the kitchen with architectural details, like exposed brick and beams, plaster and concrete and offset with a few smooth, sleek finishes.

For an innovative way to make your kitchen pop, use a clever mix of texture and color.

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3 Must-Have Kitchen Remodeling Tips

The most important part of your kitchen remodeling project is setting a realistic budget. You can dream about antique lighting and hand-scraped hardwood flooring — but if your budget won’t allow for these coveted features, you’ll be hard pressed to create a functional, beautiful kitchen.

Start with some essential questions to uncover your biggest needs and desires, and then work backwards from there.

1-Start with the plan

Before you can pull together your dream kitchen, you’ll need to envision the final plan. Follow these steps:

  1. Assess the room. How much space do you have? If you clear out all of the cabinets, could you maximize the space with a new layout? Or could you simply add a new island to increase counter space?
  2. Take stock. Consider the features of your existing kitchen and the ones you’ve always dreamed about. Are the appliances out of date? Is the layout awkward? Start with the biggest needs that will drive function and beauty at the same time.
  3. Make goals. If you’re tackling an all-over remodeling project, list your top goals (functionality, lighting, storage space, etc.). If you’re taking on a minor project, for instance, giving the space a facelift, consider the most important tasks, like replacing the countertops and adding new lighting.
  4. Run the numbers. Now, work within the confines of your budget and see what you can realistically do. If money is no object, and you’re creating the kitchen of your wildest dreams, then go for broke. Install top-dollar flooring and splurge on fancy appliances. Install granite countertops and a backsplash and replace the cabinets, too. But if you’re on a tight budget, consider your top priorities, such as resale value, reworking an awkward layout or giving a smaller kitchen more space.

2-Plan for the cost

Once you’ve established your set budget for the project, you can break down the remodel by task. Keep these factors in mind:

  • If you’re on a budget, it’s ok: You don’t have to go full throttle on the remodel to improve the room. The home’s overall value should dictate the budget. As a rule of thumb, keep the cost under 20 percent of the home’s market value. This will keep you in the safe zone and you won’t end up overspending on the project.
  • Save for a rainy day. As with most remodeling projects, with a kitchen remodel, you can expect surprises. So your budget should allow for these expenses. For example, you may pull up flooring only to discover a mold problem underneath, which will require the additional costs of hiring remediation services or replacing the subflooring.
  • Plan the budget so that the most important projects come first, for example, revamping the layout. Then, account for other expenses, like replacing the appliances and swapping out the countertops. You may be able to put less money toward middle-of-the-road appliances (rather than top of the line) so you can afford to invest in a show-stopping backsplash, for instance.

3-Select features

Here’s where it pays to spend your remodeling budget:

  • Cabinets
  • Countertops
  • Sinks
  • Faucets
  • Flooring
  • Lighting
  • Backsplash
  • Appliances
  • Cabinet hardware

Knowing where and how to spend your money is the first step in the project. Hiring an expert to complete the remodeling project on task and on time is the next. We’re happy to help homeowners with their kitchen remodeling projects. Feel free to give us a call. We’ll walk you through the entire remodeling process, from start to finish, and answer all your questions.

 

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Design Your Bathroom with Mosaic Tile

Liven up your bathroom with mosaic tile patterns. Standard tile arrangements on the wall, bath or shower may lend itself to a traditional look, but you can really get creative with mosaic tile designs that complement any design style. Learn the rules to follow, the materials to use and tips to consider before starting the project.

Design rules

You can change the look of your bathroom instantly by brightening up the space with mosaic tile. You need to start with a primary color that will ground the space. You can choose to put that color on the walls and then match or complement tile colors from there.

Here are a few more rules to live by:

  • Place darker colors in the lower half of the bathroom.
  • Choose lighter tones that are at eye level.
  • Brighter colors should go at the top of the room.

You can also break these design “rules” and let your creativity fly:

  • Choose a dominant color to root the mosaic tile pattern.
  • Identify a secondary color that will complement the first but will be used less often.
  • Finally, choose a third tile color that will only dot the mosaic landscape.

To sum it up, use the dominant color the most in the mosaic, the secondary color a bit less, and the third color even less.

Mosaic tile materials

Natural and man-made tile options exist when creating a mosaic. Here are some of the more popular options:

  • Ceramic. This type of tile is readily available and looks very much like natural stone, although it’s man-made. While the tiles are fairly weak and are ideal for decorative use such as a mosaic tile, you can find them in a wide variety of colors.
  • Glass. Vitreous glass is an inexpensive, common type of tile. The opaque tiles are easy to cut and ideally suited for tile work on walls but not floors. Smalti glass tile is handmade and very expensive. Used over many centuries, this tile is meant to last. They reflect light brilliantly, and the special Gold and Silver tiles are pressed with gold or silver, offering a luxurious look.
  • Organic. Natural tiles include limestone, granite, marble or basalt. You can find them sold in large sheets or individual squares of tile.
  • Others. The types of tile you can use in a mosaic is really limited only by your imagination and application. Some materials for use include stones, broken china, marbles, glass, broken bottles or jewelry.

Design tips to follow

Before you choose a tile, consider these design tips:

  • If you’re working with a curved element, choose smaller tiles.
  • Consider the feel of the tile, too. If you’re sitting on a mosaic tile bench in the shower, will it be smooth?
  • Choose a tile that offers a high level of contact. The tile should adhere strongly to the backer board for a seamless installation. Choose a tile that offers 95 percent contact or higher.
  • Working with glass tile is tricky. Choose smaller tiles to get the look you’re after.

Try using mosaic tile in your bathroom to give it an elegant touch and also feature a work of art at the same time. With tile, you can create interesting patterns or an image, allowing it to be the focal point of the room. Try using small pieces of glass, stone, or ceramic tiles in the pattern. With a little bit of creativity and trial and error, you can create a timeless masterpiece in your bathroom’s design.

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Kitchen Backsplash Project: A 4-Step Guide

The backsplash for your kitchen remodel can make or break the project. Install a material that doesn’t mesh with the flooring, cabinets and counters in the space or work with a poor color choice and you’ll regret the investment.

On the other hand, finding inspirational ideas and carefully selecting materials will result in a backsplash that makes a statement and unifies the kitchen.

Here’s how to approach a kitchen backsplash project with confidence:

  • Step 1: Consider the design. Work with your countertop to choose the best backsplash design. Granite and quartz are just two of the more popular counter choices that bring a high-end finish to the space. You’ll want to choose a backsplash material, pattern, color and texture that brings out the best in the countertop, as well as the room’s cabinetry and flooring.
  • Step 2: Establish the scope. Not all backsplashes are the same – in size, that is. Consider the scope of the project first, determining how much backsplash is necessary to complement the counter and the room in general. Will the backsplash be just a few inches tall, essentially acting as a moisture guard? Will it rise to the upper cabinets? Is there a place in the kitchen where a counter to ceiling backsplash will really make a statement? Once you know the surface area to cover, you can measure and calculate how much material to purchase.
  • Step 3: Choose the material. Now that you have an amount to work with, you can choose the backsplash material for the project. This selection will be in part based on your budget, too. Survey many options, such as glass, stainless steel or tile and try some samples on for size. Ceramic tile is generally the cheapest option, while higher-end options like stone will require a sizeable investment. Also consider the texture of the tile, which can either enhance the room’s design or detract from it.
  • Step 4: Find a supplier and installer. You’ll want to work with an experienced supplier when sourcing quality tile. The contractor you use will also affect the end result. Poor-quality tile and shoddy installation will result in a bad job. Even a high-quality tile can end up looking cheap if the installation isn’t up to par. Make sure you work with the supplier to source the highest-quality tile and ensure it arrives all at once so you have all of the tile your contractor needs to start the project.

The backsplash is just one key component that can liven up your living space. When you’re considering a kitchen remodel or giving your kitchen a facelift, a new backsplash can make all of the difference. Ensure that the backsplash complements the kitchen’s existing or new design, such as the counter, cabinets, fixtures and flooring. Then, decide upon the scope of the project. A statement piece that spans the wall can be a work of art on its own; however, smaller backsplashes can still have an impact. Consider several types of materials along with texture and pattern. Then, work with a proven supplier and installer to ensure a job well done.

If you have questions about how to tackle this kind of project or you need help working on the design, don’t hesitate to contact your local kitchen remodeling specialist. We’re here to help homeowners get the kitchen of the dreams – and nothing less.

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6 Easy Steps to a Successful Bathroom Remodel

Are you ready to start your bathroom remodel? If this is your first experience remodeling a bathroom or working with a design firm or contractor, pull up on the reigns for a moment. You don’t want to dive into a remodeling project, head first, without doing some due diligence. Even if you’ve been around the block before, don’t assume you already know everything.

A successful bathroom remodel takes knowledge and a team. You need to educate yourself on advancements in bathroom technologies and carefully select your design team and contractor.

Here’s a bathroom remodeling guide to help you get started so that you leave no stone unturned.

1. Set Goals

The goals you have for the space will dictate the scope of the project. If you just want to give the bathroom a fresh look, perhaps a new vanity countertop and paint on the walls will do the trick. If the bathroom doesn’t meet your needs, you may be looking for a complete remodel.

Ask yourself some questions first, such as:

  • Is the bathroom out of date?
  • Does the space meet my family’s needs?
  • How many people use the bathroom?
  • Do I plan on selling the home soon?
  • What’s my budget?

Your answers to these questions will help guide the scope of the job.

2. Avoid the DIY route

For many homeowners, a DIY bathroom remodel is out of the question. Unless you’re an experienced plumber or contractor, you won’t have the skills to do the job properly. A lack of experience can lead to lots of headaches and higher project costs.

3. Get ahead of the game

Work with your team to properly plan the project and prevent costly mistakes. Some of the factors you should evaluate include:

  • Costs. Have you underestimated finances at all? Will you be able to finish the project if unexpected expenses pop up?
  • Limitations. Are there walls, windows or wiring in the way? Is there space in walls and floors to reposition bathroom components?
  • Capacity. If you want to move the vanity and toilet, for example, will you also need to upgrade the plumbing and electricity? Have you considered the extra costs it will require?
  • Details. Don’t be tempted to forego the little things, like installing new shut-off valves or updating troublesome drains. If you don’t take care of these details during the remodel, you could put your new bathroom at risk if it later floods due to a broken shut-off valve.
  • Ventilation. An often-forgot about component of a healthy bathroom, your home’s indoor air quality depends on a hearty ventilation system in the bathroom. The exhaust fan should usher moisture and heat out of the space so it doesn’t wreak havoc on the bathroom in the form of mildew and mold.

4. Choose the tub

Evaluate the space in the bathroom to accommodate the tub and shower; this will help determine your choice. Keep in mind that every family member will need to use the shower, so it should be high enough to accommodate the tallest person – or even tall guests. The showerhead will need to be installed at the appropriate height, too. The ideal tub should have considerable depth, with a decent slope at the end opposite the faucet to accommodate reclining.

5. Fill out the room

With the tub and shower in place, you can choose the rest of the elements:

  • Do you prefer shower doors or a curved curtain rod?
  • Choose high-quality faucets and shower fixtures. Don’t use old fixtures in the new space; they’re likely already wearing out.
  • Install flooring that can withstand moisture – or better yet, that’s moisture-resistant. Slip resistance and low-maintenance flooring are other qualities to look for.
  • Consider a toilet that uses less water, to help conserve resources and save on water bills.
  • The cabinetry and sink are the final touches, as they’re prominently featured in most bathrooms. Also consider factors like counter space and durability.

6. Hire a pro

Remodeling a bathroom takes a lot of time and money, and it’s a complex project. Don’t trust the work to just anyone. Gather estimates from several reputable contractors and compare more than just cost. A new contractor with little experience may charge less just to get a job. But he won’t have the know-how to overcome the problems that a more experienced contractor will have encountered many a time.

With this guide, you can confidently tackle your bathroom remodeling project, and end up with a bathroom that’s a smashing success!

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The Latest Trends in Bathroom Design

The bathroom is still a place for function and utility, but gone are the days where the room’s design is an afterthought. Today, convenience and luxury must go hand in hand with functionality. All in all, bathroom design is continually advancing, and these latest trends should guide your bathroom remodel.

  • A double sink. Don’t limit the bathroom’s functionality by choosing a single-sink vanity. Homebuyers want a bathroom with a double sink to make it more convenient to use. If your bathroom has the space for it, choose a vanity with two sinks and sufficient counter space, too.
  • A walk-in shower. With many of us opting to shower on a regular basis, as opposed to bathing, the walk-in shower is becoming a hot commodity. People want ease of use, so think about an edgeless model that allows you to easily walk into and out of the shower, without having to step over a large boundary. The shower stall itself should feature glass walls to make the room look large and prevent it from obstructing the openness of the room. For glass showers, you can really go to town with the tiles, making a statement in the shower that’s visible from every aspect of the bathroom.
  • A large tub. Just because you prefer showers doesn’t mean you should forego the tub. Choose a large soaker tub to get the most out of your investment. When you’re ready to unwind and relax after a long day, you’ll be glad you have the option of destressing in a hot, bubble bath.
  • Storage. Throughout the bathroom, you’ll need thoughtful storage to keep things like extra towels and beauty products. Open shelving, drawers and cabinetry or a closet for storage allow for enough areas to hide unsightly products while prominently featuring others.
  • Greenery. Bringing the outdoors in is another trend sweeping bathroom design. Go big with a living wall of plants, or pepper the bathroom with smaller pots of greenery that enhance oxygen in the room and bring a vibrant color to the space, too.
  • The basics. In the bathroom, the trends are moving more towards a natural effect. As such, lots of natural light is vital, as is using natural stone – like granite or marble – and wood.
  • Control. Don’t fall into standard choices in the showerhead. Instead, opt for technology that gives you control over water flow and temperature. If your shower has two showerheads, technology that controls them is critical, as you’ll be able to set your own setting on one showerhead, while choosing differing settings for the other.
  • The vanity. Unique, custom vanities are preferred over standard, mass-produced options. The custom vanity gives the space a unique touch that can’t be reproduced across your town. Repurposing items is even better. Scour flea markets for suitable items, like a shaving cupboard, and then transform the piece into a vanity.
  • Sustainability. Recycling, reclaiming and upcycling are all the rage in bathroom design trends. Don’t just limit your options to the vanity, however. Good, sustainable bathroom design can feature repurposed picture frames, mirrors, flooring and more.

Bathrooms are fast becoming a featured room in the home. Instead of a room relegated to secret goings-ons, it’s a room in which you can express your personal style, using freestanding vanities and soaker tubs, unique cabinet fixtures and repurposed gems you find at your neighbor’s garage sale. So go to town with these trending bathroom designs now that you’re tackling the bathroom remodeling project you’ve always wanted to do.

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What is Banquette-Style Seating

Banquette seating was a mainstay in your grandmother’s kitchen, and it can be a focal point of your modern kitchen today. Banquettes bring a sense of nostalgia with them, as they can conjure memories of spending time at your favorite college hangout or talking with your grandparents as a small child. This style of seating offers a cozy intimate atmosphere, and designing your kitchen to feature banquette-style seating offers several distinct advantages.

  • It’s an efficient use of space. There’s almost no better way to streamline the flow of traffic and use of space in your kitchen. With tables and chairs, your kitchen needs clearances between chairs, walls and cabinets, allowing enough space for people to walk by. With a banquette, however, you can easily give guests and family members sufficient room around the table, while allowing for an expansive space for traffic flow.
  • It’s a casual, intimate seating arrangement. Guests spaced out around a table can sometimes mean that people are quite far away from each other. But with a banquette, family members are close enough to have an intimate discussion, yet have enough space in which to eat.
  • Banquettes fit in out-of-the-way spaces. If you have a bay window or cozy corner that isn’t large enough for cabinets or workspaces, it could be an ideal location for a banquette. By tucking a banquette in these types of spaces, you can give your kitchen the eat-in area that it needs, while dedicating prime real estate to cabinets, counters and pantries.
  • It maximizes square footage. Because a banquette can run the expanse of an entire wall, the U-shaped table truly takes advantage of every available square inch. With a long bench on the opposing side of the table, you can tuck the bench under the table when it’s not in use, and get more space in the kitchen. Go a step further and use the permanent bench seating for storage, and design it so that you can lift the seat up and store away linens, large serving dishes and so forth.
  • You can dress it up. Banquette seating looks great with customized cushions and pillows. Go bold with colors and patterns, choosing complementary colors and designs. This laid-back seating is an ideal place to pack a punch with color, while making the space more inviting to family and guests.
  • Mix charm and modern notes. While a wooden banquette table and bench creates a sense of charm and character, don’t be afraid to complement the style with modern elements. Instead of a movable bench on the open side of the banquette, consider pairing it with contemporary-style chairs and a playful chandelier or light fixture.
  • It’s multipurpose. You can use an inviting eat-in space in the kitchen for more than just eating. The cozy, relaxing space serves children and teens well for homework activities, crafts, and more. Adults can gather around the table for home budget meetings and casual gatherings over wine and cheese.
  • It’s flexible. Don’t limit the design to the standard rectangular table and bench of yesteryear. Today’s banquettes are much more flexible than that. Consider a semicircular table with benches to match, and use a couple of chairs on the outer edge for extra seating. You can always store the chairs out of the way when they’re not in use.

Banquette-style seating is ultra-flexible, stylish and oh-so-inviting in your kitchen. If you’re ready to give the space an overhaul and you want a space-saving yet functional solution, banquettes are the way to go.

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Ways to Increase ROI in a Kitchen Remodel

Want to increase the return on investment in a costly kitchen remodel? It’s worth taking the time to make sure you’re investing in the right room – and the best upgrades – before you get started. According to Remodeling, kitchen projects that cost below $20,000 get an 83 percent return on investment. In fact, the kitchen scored better than remodeling the basement, bathroom, and home office, and adding on a garage, family room or bathroom. If you’re moving ahead with a kitchen remodel, here’s what you should know.

Value is king

The most important rule in a kitchen remodel is not to invest more money in the project than the home is worth. For example, putting up $35,000 for a remodeling project when your home is worth $175,000 won’t get you the ROI you’re looking for. A diminishing return on investment in the remodel will only leave you with a home that’s worth more than you can sell it. Be careful of the scope of the project. Consider if a minor facelift boosts your home’s value and maintains your competitive edge in the market, before proceeding with a complete kitchen overhaul.

Know what people want

Yes, you should invest in kitchen features that you like, but if you feature your favorite color – orange – in the counters, it’ll prove hard to sell and recoup its value. Savvy homeowners invest in neutral tones and put their money into features that home buyers want to maximize value. It’s best to balance popular features with your own preferences, perhaps bringing in the color orange through accessories that you can put away when you’re showing the home, or swap them out later without spending a fortune.

Investing your money

Here are some of the popular feature people tend to look for in a new home:

  • New cabinets. If yours are in good condition, give tired cabinets a fresh look by refacing them. Refacing contractors will leave the cabinets in place, but cover the front door panels, drawers and spacers with a fresh, permanent front.
  • Hardware. Swap out the old hardware for new, with brushed nickel or bronze knobs and pulls. Or go for a sleek, modern look with silver. New hardware instantly brightens up your existing cabinets and transforms the look of the room.
  • Paint. Get rid of bright wall color and bring in a neutral, soothing tone. Beige, light browns, shades of white – these are all colors that will play a secondary role to more prominent features – like striking new countertops or a backsplash.
  • Counters. In the average kitchen, the counters take up a lot of space. As a result, installing new counters can quickly shift the feel of the room. Choose a natural stone for durability and longevity and to make it the centerpiece of the room.
  • Backsplash. Does your kitchen have a backsplash at all? This is one feature homebuyers are looking for, so consider freshening up the kitchen with a bright, new backsplash. This feature keeps the kitchen clean and it’s a lasting material that will preserve the walls.
  • Lighting. Have you given the lighting in your kitchen much thought? The right lighting for task areas as well as mood lighting can transform the kitchen. Use a layered approach, installing lights in work spaces, gathering areas and to add shadow and dimension to the space, too.

Your kitchen remodel should provide a refreshing and investing space to gather with family and friends, but it should also pay off financially. Work with a kitchen designer before you start the project, and discuss the best ways to increase the return on investment in your kitchen remodel.

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What Makes a Kitchen Luxurious

Who wouldn’t want the space where family and friends gather to be luxurious? An extravagant kitchen is possible, if you swap out a few components like the counters, lighting, flooring and backsplash. You can achieve an elegant, expensive look by focusing on these elements and paying extraordinary attention to using rich materials. With the right materials in place, your kitchen will exude elegance. Besides, a luxury kitchen will add tremendous value to the home – and it will hold that value for a long time.

Counters

Go for broke with the countertop when creating an opulent kitchen. The counters make a big first impression, and installing a natural stone like granite countertops will cover lots of surface space – setting the stage for a sumptuous look. Use it on the island only, or try complementing granite on a large expanse of the counters, while choosing a warm wood for the island.

Marble and quartz counters offer the same luxurious feeling as granite. All three natural stones are durable and strong, able to resist heat damage, scratches and dents. Choose a slab that enhances the materials you select for the flooring, cabinets and wall color.

Lighting

Fluorescent lighting is a no-no in a luxury kitchen. Instead, go for pendant lights over an island workspace and choose classic, timeless pieces. These lights add a wow factor that adds drama and appeal to the kitchen.

Layer the lighting, too, a design tip that hasn’t always been used in kitchen but is a go-to option for living and dining rooms. In an extravagant kitchen, layered lighting provides ambience, as well as functionality for working. Consider a chandelier as the statement piece, layered with task lighting and recessed lighting. The lighting you choose should also add dimension to the space, creating shadows and direct light as needed.

Flooring

The flooring you choose should offer durability but also set a luxurious mood. Natural stone like marble requires a high-end investment, but the material pays off in terms of its ability to withstand the test of time. Alternatively, you can express an opulent style and bring a sophisticated look to the space with a mosaic tile design at the center of the floor, or choose an exotic hardwood, such as bamboo. Hand scraped hardwood flooring is gaining in popularity, with its natural, rich look and durability.

Backsplash

Think of the backsplash of your kitchen like fine jewelry. It makes a statement like no other and really draws the eye. This focal point should enhance the overall look and feel of the kitchen. Backsplash materials range from tile to stone to brick to glass – and more. Make a big statement with a reflective glass backsplash that runs the span of a statement wall – from counter to ceiling around the stove. Marble subway backsplash in white tones offer a modern, elegant appeal, while clean gray ceramic tiles the cover an entire wall make dramatic shelving the centerpiece of the room.

Worried about making a mistake? Creating a luxury kitchen is not a time for austerity — or novices. Turn to a kitchen design professional to help you map out your design plan and choose the materials. Consider adding appliances that complement the space, such as a custom-designed hood that acts as the statement piece and a kitchen sink that’s worthy of inclusion. Stalk the internet for design ideas and make a digital scrapbook of the looks and materials that you’re drawn to. Then, use them as a springboard to discuss the plan with your designer. Soon, your luxury kitchen will play the central role in all of the gatherings with your family and friends.

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Eco-Friendly Bathroom Ideas

Excessive use of water. Wasting paper. These are not phrases we usually associate with the bathroom. But in truth, the bathroom tends to be one of the least eco-friendly spaces in the home. Where water runs freely and cleaning products are abundant, your bathroom is a prime candidate for greener options. Consider these eco-friendly bathroom ideas to help you save water and energy.

Get a low-flow toilet

Toilets use about a quarter of the water in your home. They’re water hogs and they need to be stopped. If your toilet is very old, it’s probably a huge water-waster. Some of these culprits can use as much as 7 gallons per flush! The good news is, manufacturers are now making very efficiency toilets that still provide all of the features you need while limiting water usage. It’s possible to get a toilet that uses less than a gallon, sometimes more.

In fact, a dual-flush toilet is quickly becoming all the rage. It employs two levers for flushing. One lever uses less than a gallon and is only designed to flush liquids. When there’s liquid and solid matter to flush, you use the other lever, which uses a bit more water to adequately remove the waste. Over time, the money you save on flushes will add up.

Install a more efficient showerhead

Sure, you can take a shorter shower, but there’s a better way to manage water usage in the shower. It’s by installing a showerhead that limits water flow. That way, you can take a longer shower when you need to, without the guilt.

A low-flow showerhead helps you save in more ways than one. You won’t just cut down on the amount of water used during showers, but the device also limits the amount of water your heater will have to warm up.

Use low-flow faucets

Washing your hands, cleaning your face, shaving – these are just a few of the activities families routinely perform in front of the sink, while letting the water run. It’s easy to manage these wasteful activities by installing a low-flow faucet. The device attaches to your faucet and prevents the full flow of water from being released. Instead, you’ll still get enough water to perform hygiene activities, without paying through the nose for it.

Another option is to install a motion sensor faucet, similar to the ones installed in many commercial settings like in malls or restaurants. This way, when you wave your hands in front of the faucet, the water will turn on. If you’re shaving and don’t need the water running, it’ll shut off.

Install an instant heater

It’s possible to install a point-of-application water heater underneath the sink cabinet or in the bathroom closet that supplies water to the bathroom’s shower and sink and delivers huge savings. This nifty device heats water on demand. Instead of holding a body of water at a certain temperature like a standard water heater does — and results in lots of waste — an instantaneous unit heats the water only when you turn on the hot water faucet. As a result, you’ll save a lot of money on water-heating bills, without sacrificing any comfort.

There are other ways you can green the bathroom. In addition to installing water-saving showerheads and faucets, using an instant heater or dual-flush toilet, consider swapping out inefficient lightbulbs for high-performance ones and installing an energy-efficiency ventilation system. You’ll see the payoff on your water and energy bills and be able to use your bathroom without any guilt.

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Maximizing Your Kitchen Storage Space

Don’t waste the opportunity to maximize the storage space in the kitchen when you’re remodeling. Kitchen designers have come up with ingenious ways to get more bang for your buck while expanding  the square footage of the room. With these nifty ideas in hand, use your next meeting with your kitchen designer to ensure you get as much storage space as possible.

  • Consider clever moving shelves. Corner cabinets are usually wasted space. But not anymore! Engineering marvels now allow cabinet doors to pull out, featuring a row of useful shelves. At the same time, a second pull-out shelf appears behind it, a unit that’s normally lodged deep within the corner.
  • Use the height. Don’t waste the space that sits above the upper row of cabinets. Sure, this space may be too high to accommodate dishes and pantry items used on a daily basis. But you can get a lot of mileage out of cabinets that extend to the ceiling by filling them with less-used items. These extended cabinets will hide items that would otherwise litter the surfaces of the kitchen, making it look clean and fresh.
  • Put it under the sink. The space under kitchen sinks is often no-man’s land, a messy array of cleaners, sponges and questionable items. Get more from this convenient space by installing narrow shelves on cabinet doors, stacking shelves inside the cabinets and plastic buckets designed to hold cleaning tools.
  • Install shelves. Feature special dishes and glassware on open shelving as way to increase the style of the room, while also serving functional. You can also install shelving in small spaces that would otherwise lie dormant, and increase the square footage in the room for storage.
  • Use in-drawer ideas. Don’t waste space inside of drawers. Install wooden pegs extending from the bottom of the drawer, which allows you to stack dishes or serving bowls without fear of them toppling over every time you open or close the drawer.
  • Organize it. Pull-out drawers are a great way to keep handy tools at-the-ready. But they can also become a tangled mess and make finding utensils a nightmare. Purchase silverware and spice organizers for each drawer to maintain order and get better use of your limited drawer space. It’s also possible to purchase customized organizers or install plastic ones that you can cut to size.
  • Tie in another drawer. Clever kitchen cabinet manufacturers are making great use of wasted space in drawers. Now, one drawer can sit on top of another, sliding in and out, essentially doubling the amount of space you get out of each drawer.
  • Store knives wisely. Don’t let a knife block take up valuable counter real estate. Instead, install a knife storage rack on the underside of an upper cabinet. The unit pulls down, so that knives become easily accessible but out of the way of young kids.
  • Unique solutions for narrow spaces. Got a small space between two cabinets? Use it to store narrow items like cutting boards or cookie sheets, or turn it into a space for recycling.
  • Opt for a pull-out pantry. Most people know how valuable a pantry can be to even standard cooks. However, pantries often become a wasteland for forgotten food – mostly because you can’t see what lies behind the first row of canned or boxed goods. A pull-out pantry, however, makes it easy to see every item you’ve tossed into the space, maximizing every square inch of the pantry.

No longer must you mourn over wasted or wanted space. With these space-saving ideas, you can turn your kitchen into a wonderland of well-used square footage.

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Spa-Like Bathroom Is a Must-Have

Stop spending a fortune on visiting your local spa or having to schedule spa appointments at inconvenient times. You can turn your bathroom into the spa of your dreams, and use it anytime. When you’re remodeling the bathroom, consider how valuable the spa will be when you come home after a long day and work and want to unwind and relax. The move will also create a special space where you and your loved one can spend time together. Here’s how to turn your bathroom into a sanctuary.

  • Install heated floors. Nothing says spa like stepping out of the shower or tub onto a warmed floor – especially during those cold winter days. These floors are not only a luxury, but they’re economical too. They warm humans by conduction, warming the flooring itself and any item – or person – that comes into contact with them.
  • Turn to steam. Your standard shower area can become steam central with a steam shower. Combine the steam shower with aromatherapy and you’ve got a recipe for relaxation. What many will think of as a luxury, the steam shower can become the one constant in your life that truly helps you relax from the stress of the day.
  • install a bidet. Perhaps a rather uncommon feature in most American bathrooms, the bidet is commonplace in many other countries. Try it once, however, and you’ll be hooked. The warm, aerated spray of water that sprouts up to do the work that toilet tissue does, gets a cleaner, fresher result.
  • Use chromotherapy. These are essentially the lighting that spas use to infuse a feel-good atmosphere. You can install these in your bathroom, in the tub or shower, to boost the therapeutic value of the room. As the water sprays down, accompanying light brings instant health benefits.
  • Use dimmers. Another essential lighting component involves installing task lighting over sinks and by cabinets, as well as mood lighting. Being able to dim the lights will bring an instant spa feel while offering a low-cost way to drive the bathroom’s value.
  • Paint it with purpose. Some colors say “spa,” while others definitely don’t. Refreshing, soothing colors lend a spa-like feel. Go with soft hues of white, grey or blue for a fresh look. Complement the walls with a bright, white toilet, tub and sink to lighten the bathroom’s look and make it feel very clean.
  • Add a towel warmer. Nothing says luxury like a warm towel. Whether you’re stepping out of the shower and need to wrap up in a towel, drying your hands or washing your face, with a towel warmer, you can keep all of these essential warm to the touch at all times.
  • Bring on the mood. Fill the space with essential spa must-haves. Dot the area around the tub with scented candles. But make sure they’re safe. You don’t want to easily knock the candles over when you’re getting into the tub. Put them on window ledges, shelving and counters to enhance the mood. Stock the bathroom with fresh, clean, white robes and other spa luxuries, like mud masks, lotions and soft towels.
  • Add the final touch. For the final spa enhancement, install a stereo system, or at least one speaker to which you can attach your ipod, to fill the room with soothing, spa-like music.

Make your spa-like bathroom the retreat you need to destress and get away from it all – without having to leave your home. A heated floor, steam shower, chromotherapy and bidet give it the feel you’re going for. Install the right lighting with dimmers, a towel warmer and final mood enhancements to ensure your bathroom is the spa of your dreams.

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Create the Perfect Vanity Centerpiece for Your Bathroom

Let’s face it: The dizzying array of bathroom vanity options can put even the most experienced remodeler to the test. There are a huge vanity shapes, sizes and designs from which to choose. If you enter your supplier’s warehouse to choose a vanity centerpiece without being prepared, the sheer volume of options will bring you to your knees.

This buyer’s guide to bathroom vanities will help you evaluate the style and design options. Let’s get started.

Know thy space

Before you look at designs and styles, you first need to know how much space the bathroom will allow for the vanity. Measure the room before hitting the store so you know how much storage and counter space you’ll be allowed. Specifically, you’ll need to know the maximum and minimum width, height and depth for the vanity.

Sink in

If yours is a busy bathroom, consider choosing a vanity with a double sink. It’s ideal for a family or Jack and Jill bathroom. To accommodate this type of vanity, your bathroom will need to allow for a width of 48 inches, possibly more. Go with a single vanity if the bathroom’s space is limited or you’d like to maximize counter space.

Mount it up

There are three general types of vanity mountings from which to choose:

  1. Corner mounted. If you need a space-saving option, go with the corner-mounted vanity. The name implies where the vanity goes: in a corner. The back of the vanity has a 90-degree angle to fit snugly into the corner.
  2. Free standing. This type of vanity is similar to a clothing dresser. It has four legs and offers the most space for storage. As such, it can be installed nearly anywhere, since it’s not dependent on a corner for installation or wall studs.
  3. Wall mounted. This bathroom vanity doesn’t have legs, so it must be secured to the wall. Many homeowners turn to this vanity when they want an open, modern style.

Sink options

Now that you know the amount of space the bathroom has, how many sinks you need and the type of vanity mounting, it’s time to choose the type of sink to use. An undermount sink is installed underneath the counter, offering a smooth, clean look. It’s also easy to clean this kind of vanity, because it lacks edges. A self-rimming vanity is also called a drop-in or top-mount design. The sink is mounted right into the countertop’s opening, and it sits on the edges. A vessel sink sits directly on top of the counter, kind of like a bowl on a table. This type of sink is fast becoming the go-to option for a modern bathroom.

Style and design

The last factor to consider when choosing a bathroom vanity involves your style, as the design of your home should mesh with the bathroom. In addition, if you’re only swapping out the vanity and leaving the flooring, wall color and tub, the new vanity should be streamlined with the existing design. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when considering style:

  • A contemporary bathroom will have clean lines and a non-fussy look.
  • Modern designs will feature bold shapes, sharp angles and clean lines.
  • Traditional bathrooms have lots of detail, such as ornate wood carvings, rich wood elements and paneled doors.
  • A rustic bathroom is casual. The relaxed space should feature lots of raw, natural materials, like a granite or wood countertop.

Armed with this bathroom vanity guide, your next stop at the vanity supplier’s warehouse will be a breeze. Just remember that you need to know the square footage for the vanity, the type of sink and mount, as well as your design aesthetic.

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Bathroom Vanities Come in Different Shapes and Sizes

Bathroom vanities have come a long way. They are not your grandmother’s vanities, with choice limited to a single sink over a pedestal vanity. Today, homeowners can choose from see-through glass sinks, wide basin sinks and bamboo vanities. The choices are endless. Here’s a primer on the available options.

  • The washstand vanity. This IS your grandmother’s vanity, but revamped. The timeless, elegant style offers little by way of storage. However, it’s big on character. A washstand typically has a smaller sink undermounted on a small slab of fancy countertop. The vanity base is commonly made up of copper or gold-plated pipes, which act as a towel rack. This is perfect for a powder room or in a bathroom that has alternate storage.
  • The single sink vanity. This type of vanity can be both large or small. A single sink is a necessity when the vanity must fit into a smaller guest bath. However, some homeowners opt for a single sink with a large vanity, so that there’s ample counter space upon which to work and house decorative items. No matter the size of the vanity, a single sink allows for some storage space underneath, at least for a few items.
  • A freestanding vanity. A vanity built with legs is called freestanding. It can house a single or double sink, and range in style from modern or contemporary to traditional and ornate. Decorative millwork on the vanity makes for an elaborate, elegant look.
  • A perch sink vanity. Much like the name implies, a perch sink is similar to what you’d think of a bird sitting on a branch. In this vanity’s case, the sink sits “perched” on a slab of counter that juts out from the wall. This style does naturally lend itself to a contemporary, clean feel. There may be a slab of wood close to the floor that acts as a shelf for storage; however, don’t choose this type of vanity if the bathroom depends on the vanity for more storage.
  • The petite vanity. Similar to the washstand vanity, this unit offers a cozy feel with a smaller sink. It’s tiny in size but rich in style, often featuring a smooth granite counter, a small cabinet underneath and a display shelf on the bottom. It’s perfect for a guest bath, where space is tight but style is in high demand.
  • The wall-mounted vanity. Sometimes referred to as the floating vanity, this one comes without legs and must be attached to the wall. As a result, it appears to float, because you won’t see anything holding it up from the ground. To use this vanity, your bathroom will need a lot of wall space. Give underlighting a try, too, which will highlight the open space beneath the vanity.
  • The custom vanity. The sky’s the limit if you’re willing to invest in a custom piece for the bathroom – or if you can’t find the perfect vanity to fit in the space. Work with a designer to come up with a piece that suits your style and preferences. But the best thing about a custom vanity is you can get a just-right fit in your space, instead of making a pre-fabricated piece work. Some interesting ideas to try include constructing a double sink unit, with the sinks facing each other (instead of the usual side-by-side design) or custom-making a vanity with elaborately ornate woodwork.

There’s no shortage of various vanity styles. Whether you lean towards modern, contemporary, traditional or natural, there’s a vanity that will fit your design preferences.

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8 Ways to Spice up Your Kitchen With Elegant Lighting

Your kitchen’s design is more than backsplash, paint colors, a nice granite counter and rich cabinets. The lighting you install in the space will add a dramatic flair to its aesthetic. The good news is, kitchen lighting today is more than just simple canned lights and task lighting. There’s lots from which to choose. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

1. Start with a plan

Keep in mind that you’ll need multiple types of lighting. Task lighting will make it easier to do jobs like prepare food and clean up; however, mood lighting is also critical. Work with a lighting professional to design a plan to cast bright lights in key spaces, layer lighting to add a dynamic feel, and also accent lighting for an extra special touch.

2. Look to your square footage

Larger kitchens will, of course, require more lights, while smaller spaces can get away with fewer fixtures. However, keep in mind that if your kitchen is heavy on dark finishes, you’ll also need more light. In addition, if you’re dealing with high ceilings and little natural light, you’ll want to increase the number of lighting fixtures in the space.

3. Consider color

Square footage dictates the amount of lighting you’ll use, but so does color. If your kitchen is very bright and uses lots of white, you may be able to get away with a little less lighting and lower wattage lightbulbs. That’s because white reflects the light, enabling your kitchen to harness the power of the lighting. As such, the lighting will bounce off the ceiling, walls and counters, directing the light into other spaces of the room and creating a bright, airy feel.

4. Start with the basics

Task lighting is oh-so-important in any kitchen, so be sure to take to plan this aspect. Design the lighting plan to accommodate work spaces like the kitchen sink, stove and oven, counters and other critical zones. As a rule, maintain a 30-inch distance between the fixture and counter or island. Over areas like the stove or sink, go a little higher.

5. Recess it

Achieve ambient lighting with recessed lights – also known as can lights. For this type of lighting, don’t restrict it solely to work areas. Spread recessed lights over the entire kitchen to ensure a positive vibe. Measure at least 24 inches between can lights and a maximum of 42 inches.

6. Layered lighting

This type of lighting is where it’s at in kitchens today. Be bold and go with a variety of types of lighting. Simply put, this means layering your lighting using recessed can lights on the ceiling to illuminate the entire room. Then, choose decorative lighting over key spaces light the island. Along the cabinets, install undercabinet lights to support visibility when working.

7. Under the cabinets

A simple way to ensure a brightly lit work space involves installing lighting underneath the cabinets. These lights don’t necessarily have to be the brightest bulbs in the space, but they provide pointed task lighting that will enable you to easily perform meal preparations, cleanup and other jobs.

8. Go big

Don’t be afraid to add color and texture with the lighting. Use red lights, for example, to add a dramatic flair to and make a statement in the kitchen. Want to upgrade the kitchen without getting into a big construction project? Swap out the lighting and consider brushed nickel, for example. Use the lights to add color to the kitchen and enhance its ambiance.

It’s easy to spice up the kitchen with new and elegant lighting. Start out with a plan and consider how much lighting you’ll need. Then, layer the lighting options under the cabinets, in can lights, at work areas and for setting the mood. You can dramatically change the kitchen’s dynamic with these lighting tips.

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Avoid Costly Mistakes In Bathroom Remodeling

Bathroom remodeling can often be a stressful process that reaps great rewards – once the project is over. If you’re careful in planning and execution, your bathroom remodeling project will result in a high return on investment, boost the value of your home and give you an enjoyable space.

It’s also possible, however, for the project to go completely awry –especially if it’s your first remodeling project or the first bathroom you’re tackling.

Here are some tips to avoiding costly bathroom remodeling mistakes.

Moving too quickly

Don’t rush the remodeling process, even though it’s easy to want to move quickly so that you can get into your new bathroom – tomorrow. Rushing the project can lead to poor planning, which often drives the project’s costs up. Sometimes, because of the desire to quickly plan and then remodel the space, your contractor will end up having to move plumbing after that fact, for example, which increases the cost of the remodel.

Hiring cheap labor

This is one of those areas where homeowners start to see an opportunity to save. In the effort to keep costs low, they think skimping on labor costs will net them an overall lower-cost project.

This type of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. And it will cost you big-time.

You see, inexperienced labor is cheap, but pros with the expertise to get the job done right the first time around cost a little more.

But it’s a cost that’s well worth it in the end.

Look at it this way: A bad tile setter will make even expensive tile look horrible. On the other hand, a talented tile layer will work wonders, even if you’ve chosen less expensive tiles. This is one area where you don’t want to skimp. Use highly skilled professionals who know their way around a bathroom remodel.

Using cheap materials

There’s nothing like squashing a bathroom remodel than using low quality materials in the space. This is especially true for items in the bathroom that are used regularly. The toilet, tub, tile, sink and fixtures will take a beating. Work with your contractor to choose durable, quality materials, without breaking the bank.

Being shortsighted

Even if you don’t plan on staying in your home for decades, investing in a universal design for the bathroom will increase its value. Larger showers, bench seating, comfort-height toilets and grab bars can increase convenience for the young and old alike.

Bypassing ventilation needs

A poorly ventilated bathroom can leave the space hot and humid after you take a shower. Worse, when a bathroom isn’t ventilated, it often leads to mildew and mold problems. If you’ve had some of these trouble with your bathroom, now’s the time to address it. Include installing a ventilation system in the remodeling project.

Ignoring capacity

If you’re swapping out your tub for a new one or including additional fixtures, you’ll need to take plumbing needs into consideration, as many of these components require specialized adaptations. If you install a brand new tub with a rainfall shower but you haven’t also accommodated drainage or capacity, you won’t be happy with the end results.

You may want to also consider upgrading the electrical system if you’re tearing down walls. At the same time, think about the value of replacing old plumbing pipes. It doesn’t make sense to rip out walls and floors and not take the opportunity to replace outdated materials.

Make your bathroom remodel as valuable as possible. Avoid these costly mistakes when remodeling the space, and drive your investment in the project at the same time.

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Three Bathroom Design Trends That Should Last for Years to Come

If you are planning a bathroom remodel, you want to make sure that you are putting features into the bathroom that will last for many years to come. A bathroom remodel is an investment, and if you are putting features in there that will stop being trendy in the next decade or so, you may be wasting your time and money. Fortunately, there are many trends for the bathroom that can stand the test of time, and the following three trends are examples:

Medicine Cabinets

Many people will install a medicine cabinet into their bathroom, but for others, these bathroom features seem dated and something they might find in their grandma’s bathroom. Instead, people want “sexier” features in their bathroom such as granite vanity tops and imported tile.

One of the biggest issues in a bathroom is storage space, but when you choose to add a medicine cabinet, you can have more space for small things, such as sunscreen tubes and aspirin bottles, and free up some of that precious vanity or hall storage closet space. A medicine cabinet puts these features within arm’s reach, and when organized correctly, can add a lot of convenience to the room.

Medicine cabinets have greatly evolved over the past few years, and the old creaky and rusty metal boxes are a thing of the past. These days, medicine cabinets are smart, organized and well-designed. For instance, one of Kohler’s medicine cabinet options, the Verdera series, features an optional magnifying makeup mirror and slow-closing hinges. You can choose to recess the medicine cabinet into the wall, or surface mount most models for a different look. Some of the luxurious features of modern medicine cabinets include:

  •    Top lights offering subtle, ambient light
  •    Side mirrors to help a surface-mount cabinet fade into the wall
  •    Many style choices including contemporary, deco, glamor and classic

Dual-Flush Toilets

Though toilets are practical appliances, they make little sense when it comes to the amount of water and space they take up in a bathroom. Though some homeowners have adopted practices where they only flush intermittently, or when necessary, to save water, there is a better solution on the market – the dual flush toilet.

These toilets feature two buttons on the lid instead of one lever. The first button is for liquid waste, and only about a gallon of water is used in this case. The second button, for solid waste, uses anywhere from 1.6 to 1.8 gallons of water per flush. Older toilets can use up to three times more than that per flush, which just wastes water.

Dual flush toilets install the same way regular toilets do, and when you look at the future, these toilets could make a positive impact on our environment, especially for those who live in drought-prone areas, such as California.

Touchless or One-Tap Faucets, Lights and More

If you think about it, when was the last time you had to turn on a faucet in a public bathroom by hand? Most faucets in public are touchless, and they are so common, in fact, that we barely notice them anymore. Though touchless features tend to be found more in modern and contemporary styles, if you have a traditional or country style bathroom, you can still incorporate these features into your bathroom with ease, as long as you are working with the right designer.

Touchless or one-tap faucets are becoming more popular in residential bathrooms. Though they are a bit more expensive than a typical faucet, they make sense for many homeowners. For instance, these faucets have a fixed temperature setting, so they are ideal for a bathroom that children use. If interested in even more technology, there are faucets on the market that are large sensors, such as the Delta Touch20.xt faucets. With these faucets, there is no familiar small window with a sensor, the entire faucet serves as the sensor.

Light switches have also gone to the tech side, and many homeowners are opting to install touchless light switches into the bathroom during their remodels. One option is the Wave touchless switch from Legrand. To use this switch, you simply have to wave an arm, hand, foot or any body part at all in front of the switch to turn it on and off.

Soap dispensers are also available with touchless or one-tap features, and you do not even have to technically install these. You can buy battery operated versions of these at your favorite department stores for an affordable price.  

These are just a couple of the latest bathroom trends that you may want to consider when remodeling the bathroom. There are many others, of course, some of which could last for decades, others that will fall out of trend rather quickly. Talk to your bathroom designer about what trends will work in your bathroom based on your needs and tastes.

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A Focus on Cambria: What You Should Know if Considering Engineered Stone Countertops

There are several engineered stone countertop brands on the market, and one of them, Cambria, is a popular choice among homeowners. Cambria countertops are found in both the kitchen and the bathroom, and many homeowners fall in love with its beauty. If you are someone who is curious about Cambria and wishing to understand more about this brand, the following information may help:

What is Cambria?

Cambria is one of the brands of quartz countertops, and it is a high-end option for those interested in quartz. Most quartz countertops are high-end, but Cambria is one of the luxury brands, and people choose Cambria for its performance and attractiveness, not because it is a cheap option. Most quartz, on average, is similarly priced with countertop materials such as granite, in fact. Quartz countertops, including those from the Cambria brand, is more than 90 percent aggregate, which includes ground quartz, and the rest is composed of pigments and resins.

How Does Cambria Compare With Other Countertop Surfaces?

When many homeowners start considering Cambria, they think about how it compares with other countertop surfaces on the market.

Comparing Cambria With Granite

One of the most common countertop materials that homeowners compare Cambria to is granite. Though granite and Cambria are strong competitors, there are a few features that Cambria has that stand above granite. For instance, there are more design options when Cambria is chosen, as granite is limited by nature. You will also find that Cambria has a more consistent design than granite since Cambria is made by man. Granite, which is formed in the earth, may have a gorgeous design on one part of the slab, but on another, it may have very little veining.

Comparing Cambria With Solid Surface

Another option that many homeowners consider when considering a new countertop is solid surface. The most well known solid surface brand is Corian, but there are others out there. A solid surface countertop does have benefits, but when compared to Cambria, there is no comparison. Solid surface countertops feel like plastic, they scratch easier, and they do not look natural or luxurious by any means.  

Comparing Cambria With Laminate

Finally, when comparing Cambria with laminate countertops, you will find that there is no comparison at all, even when comparing the quartz with premium laminate. Cambria is both solid and dense, whereas laminate is simply a paper veneer that has been glued onto a particleboard. Laminate is hollow, less sturdy and it provides a much lower resale value.

Comparing Cambria With Other Engineered Quartz Brands

Cambria is only one of the engineered quartz countertop brands. Though all of them are the same on a basic level, there are a few differences that you should be aware of.

Zodiaq by DuPont

One of the biggest competitors to Cambria is Zodiaq, which is made by the DuPont company. DuPont has been well known for years for their polymers, and these same polymers are found in their Zodiaq countertops. However, Zodiaq is a bit limited when it comes to color options, and the material is newer, so it is impossible to know how long it can last, as it was just brought onto the market in 2000. The main difference between Cambria and Zodiaq is that Cambria is made in the United States, Zodiaq, is not. So, for those seeking out an American made countertop, Cambria is the best option.

Silestone

Like Zodiaq, there is very little difference in the material and makeup between Silestone and Cambria. In fact, all engineered quartz countertops are manufactured with the same patent, which means they are all the same. The difference comes in the color and design options, as well as the warranty. Cambria has a better warranty than Silestone in the opinion of many homeowners, as it comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Silestone, however, has a 15-year limited warranty, and a 10-year warranty on its antimicrobial properties.

Caesarstone

You will also likely come across Caesarstone, another engineered quartz brand when looking for quartz countertops, and though both are manufactured in a similar way, Caesarstone has more actual solid material in its makeup. Though all engineered quartz slabs have quartz in it, most, such as Cambria, is made up of about 90 percent solid material and 10 percent resins and colors. Caesarstone, however, is made up of 93 percent solid material and 7 percent resins and colors. Both have a limited lifetime warranty, and both are considered a high-end quartz option.

The best way to determine if Cambria is the right option for you, it is best to talk to a supplier who can show you samples and give you more examples of how Cambria compares to other materials on the market. You will likely find that Cambria is a wonderful option for you, and one that will enhance the look of your home for decades to come.

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Top Mistakes People Make When Remodeling The Bathroom

If you are planning on a bathroom remodel,  you must make sure that you are not committing any remodeling sins. To make sure that you have the best plan in place, make sure you are not making the following mistakes:

Starting a Remodel Without a Plan

Many people will start their remodel without a plan simply because they believe that they do not need one due to a small space. Even though a bathroom tends to be small, you do not want to do anything halfhearted or impromptu. It is best to have an idea of what you want and take a roughly drawn plan to your contractor.

Getting Too Fancy

Another mistake that people make when remodeling the bathroom is assuming that an expensive option will take care of your issues. Many people fall into the trap of purchasing features for their bathroom that are more expensive than they can afford. Remember, just because you like the look of a frameless glass shower, it does not mean that it is the right shower stall for you. Aiming too high when it comes to the fancy features of your bathroom could get you in trouble, so look for alternatives. For instance, if you want a granite vanity top, consider granite tile or a color that is widely available.

Replacing Features That Do Not Need Replaced

Another mistake that people make when it comes to a bathroom remodel is to replace features that do not need to be replaced. For instance, if you have a tile floor that will look just fine with the new features you are planning on, you probably don’t need to replace it. If it needs an improvement, regrout it, instead. Keep in mind, however, that in some cases, you must replace these features because they will not work with your bathroom’s new decor.

Ignoring the Addition of Ventilation

People who are remodeling their bathroom often forget to add enough ventilation. Most people do not think about ventilation when updating the bathroom, but you definitely should. If you do not have enough ventilation, it can cause mildew and mold growth, ruining all of the investment you have put into the bathroom. The ventilation fans available today are quiet, powerful and effective. Adding a heat lamp may also help to reduce the moisture in the bathroom.

Choosing Flooring That is Not Bathroom Material

It is important to remember that not all flooring material will work well in the bathroom, and you may need to make a sacrifice the aesthetics you want for a practical choice. For instance, many people assume that they can choose cheap laminate for the bathroom, but it doesn’t hold up well with the moisture in the room. High-end flooring options are much better for a bathroom, especially stone tiles such as granite. The stone for flooring usually has a rougher surface, which gives a good grip when walking over it with wet feet, and since you can get this tile pre-sealed, you will not have to worry about any water absorption after installation.

Turning a Bathroom Remodel Into a DIY Job

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when considering a bathroom remodel is that they try to do it all themselves.  Sure, painting a wall or two is not difficult, but when it comes to installing flooring, laying down tile, installing cabinetry, plumbing and lighting, you are looking at an entirely different type of project. A contractor is necessary if you want to get the most out of your investment, and you will not have to worry about learning how to install a new shower stall. Instead, you can sit back and watch the transformation without frustration. You will also find that getting a contractor to do your bathroom will add more value to your home.

Focusing on the Wrong Bathroom

Finally, people often make the mistake of focusing on the wrong bathroom. Many people start with the master bathroom, for instance, but other bathrooms in the home may need a renovation sooner. Since most people have several bathrooms in their home, it is a good idea to talk to a contractor about which bathroom needs a renovation before the others unless it is in your budget to improve the look of all your bathrooms.

Taking on a bathroom renovation is something that every homeowner will have to take on at some point in their lives, and it is not a small undertaking by any means. This is an investment into your home, and it is important that you take it seriously to get the most out of it. The best way for you to ensure that you get the best bathroom renovation possible is to work with a good contractor. They will be able to take your ideas for a new bathroom and turn it into a reality.

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Consider the Latest Sink and Faucet Trends in Your Kitchen Remodel

If you are considering a kitchen remodel, one of the things you will have to focus on is the sink. Changing up your sink and faucet can be an easy way to add some trendy design into your kitchen, and you will likely be surprised by how much a change like this can impact the overall look of the room. Before choosing a new sink or faucet, take a look at some of the popular trends now on the market.

Apron Sinks

An apron sink is generally used in a kitchen to bring about a traditional or vintage look, but these days, the sink design looks just as good in homes that have a modern or contemporary settings. These sinks are available in many colors and made of different materials, but the most popular is white fireclay. Fireclay is a good option for kitchens because it is a beautiful material and resilient. Additionally, white sinks are a perfect complement to many kitchen countertop colors including black or gray.

Accent Sinks

You also may want to consider using your kitchen sink as an accent piece in your kitchen. Instead of a typical chrome sink, an eye-catching accent sink may make a huge difference in the look of your room. One of the most popular ways to employ an accent sink in the kitchen is to choose a brightly colored sink that complements cabinet or countertop color. Another option is to choose a sink that is a shape that is noticeably different, for instance, a round sink. You may also want to consider a pedestal sink in the kitchen, just keep in mind that these sinks are usually not as large or as deep as a typical kitchen sink, so you may have to change your dishwashing habits.

Pull-Down Kitchen Faucets

When most people think of the pull-down kitchen faucet, they think of commercial kitchen faucets, often found in busy restaurants and used by the dishwashers to rinse the dishes before sanitizing them. However, these faucets are being found more and more in homes and are even replacing the old, dated pull out sprayers. A pull-down kitchen faucet is likely best for those who like to cook and entertain, as it makes it easier to clean large pots and pans.  These faucets have a spout that creates a high arc and a spray head that pulls down. Many also have a feature that allows for auto retraction of the sprayer when you are finished using it. It also creates a sophisticated, modern look.

Touchless Faucets

Another trend when it comes to faucets is a touchless faucet. This is not only becoming popular in the kitchen, but it is also popular in the bathroom. In the kitchen, this is not only more convenient, but it is also more sanitary. Germs are commonly found in the kitchen, and the fewer germs that get out your hands from touching objects in the kitchen, then better. These faucets work by utilizing a sensor when the hands are placed underneath the spout. Though commonly found in public restrooms, many manufacturers have them for the home in a variety of styles and colors.

Faucets With a Satin Nickel Finish

The look of a faucet is also important to most homeowners, and one of the most popular finishes for faucets is satin nickel. In fact, it was the most popular finish according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Design Trends Survey in 2014. Even today, it is extremely popular, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon. This finish even looks good when matched with other metals and finishes, too, especially when used with metal lighting fixtures and cabinet pulls.

Nature-Inspired Faucets

People also tend to look to nature when choosing a new faucet, and manufacturers have heeded the call. There are a number of nature-inspired kitchen faucets on the market including those that look like small waterfalls, those that look like branches from trees, or even those in the shape of animals or flowers. When choosing a nature-inspired faucet, however, you must make sure that you are choosing a design that fits with the rest of your decor. For example, a faucet in the shape of a tree branch may look gorgeous in a log home, but it will likely not match with a contemporary or modern design.

These are only a few trendy design ideas that may work for your kitchen remodel. Though these trends look amazing in most kitchens, it is important to keep a few things in mind. For instance, if you are planning on selling your home in the next five years or less, you likely want to choose a kitchen design that is more traditional or classic, as you taste for the exotic, such as a nature-inspired faucet, may not impress all buyers.

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Scaling it Down: Space-Saving Design For Your Bathroom

If you have a small bathroom, you probably have challenges that most people don’t understand. You might not have room to walk around in the room, you may not be able to turn, or even find a lot of comfort. However, while you might never have a space that will rival an over-the-top bathroom featured in a home improvement magazine, it is still possible to achieve a luxurious and comfortable effect in a small room. By working with a professional bathroom renovation expert, you can find the perfect design for your small bathroom.

Getting Started With Your Bathroom Remodel

Before you begin your remodel, it is important to think about a plan. You will first need to consider building codes and limitations on size. Your bathroom remodeling contractor should have this information available before they start working on your bathroom. You can also take a look at the information in the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Guidelines of Bathroom Planning. This resource gives guidelines on size limitations and building codes, as well as information on managing in a smaller space.  Once that information is considered, you and your contractor can move ahead with your plan.

Focusing on the Toilet

Something that many homeowners do not realize is that there are different sizes of toilets on the market. The smaller a toilet is, the more legroom it has, and it likely has a 10-inch rough-in. The rough-in is the measurement from the boltholes of the toilet to the finished wall. The standard is a 12-inch rough-in, but that can be uncomfortable in some bathrooms. Another standard, the elongated toilet, may also be too large for a small bathroom. Typically, these toilets measure as much as 32-inches, but if you choose a round style toilet instead, you can save 3 to 4 inches.  You can save even more space by choosing a wall-mounted tankless toilet, but installation can be complicated, and it can be difficult to clean.

Focusing on the Sink

When it comes to thinking about the sink in a small bathroom, you are best to choose a low, narrow projection sink or wall-mounted floating sink. Though pedestal sinks are also quite small, they don’t give a lot of storage options, but if this is OK with you, and you love the look, this is an acceptable option. The floating sink allows you to store items underneath it, but it will leave a large space that might be unsightly to some homeowners. This sink can further be beneficial as it will give you extra space around the toilet, which will make it more comfortable. If you choose a floating sink, you can add a sink skirt to hide the area underneath.

Focusing on the Bathtub and Shower

The typical bathtub is 5 feet in length, but if you are looking for something smaller, there are bathtubs that are as small as 4 feet in length. There are also benefits such as savings on water and heating when choosing a smaller bathtub. However, in most cases, the comfort level is diminished because you don’t have as much space. To find out if this smaller bathtub might be right for you, you can usually see one at a supplier’s showroom, and if you ask permission, they will probably let you sit in it to gauge the comfort level. A third option is to choose a step-in-tub that is 32 by 38 inches, which is an accessible option for the bathroom, typically used for the elderly or disabled. If a bathtub is not an option, consider a walk-in shower. The smallest allowable length for this type of shower is 32-inches, and if you install it into a corner, you can save even more room. Additionally, you can talk to your contractor about building shelves into the shower for storing things like shampoo and soap.

Focusing On the Storage

It is also important to focus on storage in a small bathroom. You can certainly still have medicine cabinets and storage areas, but make sure they have a slim-line profile. Another trick with storage in a small bathroom is to build storage space up instead of out. Niches are always a good idea, and they can be built into the wall or bung on the outside. It is also important to use spaces you might not typically use, such as the space above the toilet. There are a number of storage options that can be purchased, too, so this is also a possibility in a small bathroom.

As you can see, there are ways that you can turn a small bathroom into a beautiful, practical space where you can fit a toilet, sink and bathtub or shower. For more information about renovating a small bathroom and to explore other options, talk to a bathroom renovation expert.

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Top Questions to Ask Your Kitchen Renovation Contractor

Kitchen remodeling is an exciting task for any homeowner, but since it is an investment, it is important that you hire an experienced contractor who will do the best work possible. Depending on the extent of your kitchen remodel, you will have a lot of decisions to make including the cabinets, countertops, flooring, faucets and lighting, among other things. There are literally an unlimited number of options available, though many contractors offer packages where homeowners can choose from more limited options for a lower price.

Before you jump into hiring a contractor for your kitchen renovation, it is important that you make sure that you are hiring the right company for the job. Here are a number of questions that you should ask your kitchen contractor before hiring them for the job:

What Are Your Qualifications And Experience In Kitchen Renovations?

One of the first questions you should ask any kitchen renovation company is what their qualifications are. You will certainly see claims about their qualifications, but keep in mind, that these claims are only claims, and there is no real truth behind them. So, it is important that you ask to see the proof of these claims when it comes to kitchen renovations. Proof may include certifications, photos of their work, testimonials from former customers or examples of the work in the showroom.

Can You Work Within My Budget And Still Meet My Needs?

The perfect kitchen renovation is one that not only meets your needs, but also your budget. It is important to be extremely honest with your kitchen renovation expert, as they have to know what they have to work with when it comes to your design. Don’t be afraid to talk about alternatives for your kitchen renovation, either. For instance, if you really want granite countertops, but don’t have a granite countertop budget, your kitchen renovation contractor may suggest similar options such as granite tiles. Also, make sure that you don’t let a contractor talk to you into spending more than you can afford. Anything you add to your kitchen should have a functional use or add to the overall design. In other words, if you are not a trained chef who caters out of their home, you don’t need an oven designed for one.

May I See Examples Of Your Remodeling Work?

Many kitchen renovation experts are more than happy to show their clients examples of what they can do with their skills. This may be in the form of photographs, they may show you an in-store example, or even show videos of their work. In addition, they may have customers that have given testimony or reviews on their work. However, keep in mind that the testimonials and reviews you see from the company itself is likely biased, so look for information from other sources, too, such as local newspapers or Internet sites that feature consumer reviews. Additionally, you can look into the company through a source such as the Better Business Bureau.

Do You Use The Latest Technology And Design Ideas?

Keeping up with the trends is important in the kitchen renovation industry, so it is important that the company you choose can provide that. There are many different technologies a kitchen contractor can use to design a kitchen renovation, and they help you to get you more value for your money. Talk to the company about how they keep up with the current design trends. Most should be attending seminars and shows regularly, and they should subscribe to industry publications so they are up on the latest information.

Can You Accommodate Special Requests?

Since many kitchen renovation experts offer package deals instead of custom options, find out if they can handle a special request if you have one. For instance, the company may offer a package with four different cabinet options, but you like a different cabinet option. Find out if they will accommodate this request, and if they do, how much will it add to the final cost of the project.

How Will The Project Be Managed?

Finally, it is important that you ask about how the company will manage your kitchen remodel. Ask them to go through the process with you, talk about the timing and other things that may affect you or your family during the project. For instance, you should find out if you will still be able to use your kitchen during the renovation, and if not, how long will you be without kitchen access. Find out how long it will take to complete the design and if there are any alternatives when it comes to cost. Also find out if they hire subcontractors, and determine who is the point person for this project should something go wrong.   

These are just some of the many questions you should ask before hiring a kitchen contractor. Make sure that you are also writing down your own questions before meeting to discuss your renovation.

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Before Buying Your Bathroom Sink: What You Need to Know

Bathroom renovations are a fact of life, and there are a number of decisions that go into it. One of the choices you need to make is to pick out the bathroom sink. Most people are surprised by the vast number of options available when it comes to a sink, and there are many styles, shapes and materials. Here are some of the things you need to know about bathroom sinks before you start shopping:

The Installation Options of a Bathroom Sink

The first decision you have to make when you are ready to purchase a bathroom sink is the type of installation you want. This is called the mount of the sink. Here are your top options:

Countertop Installation

The countertop installation is the most common bathroom sink option, and as the name implies, these sinks sit on top of a countertop and usually is part of a vanity unit. Countertop sinks are popular because they offer good storage options on the surface and gives more elbow room. There are many sink styles you can put in a countertop mount including a self-rimming sink, a top-mount sink, undermount sink, vessel sink and integral sink.

Pedestal Installation

Another option for the bathroom sink installation is a pedestal sink. This sink style consists of a basin with a slender, tall base. This often gives a vintage look to the bathroom, but there are certainly contemporary versions of this sink, too. These are good choices for small bathrooms or powder rooms since they are smaller than other sink installations.

Wall-Mount Installation

A wall-mount installation is usually found in institutional and commercial settings, but they also work well in a home bathroom. These sinks are mounted to the wall, but they do not have a vanity or countertop. This, however, means the water supply and drainpipe is exposed. They are affordable, work well for small bathrooms, and help to create an open look.

Console Installation

A console installation is a popular option for those who also like a wall mount sink, but in this case, it is a wall mount sink with legs. Most of these have two legs, but they can also have four with some designs.

Sink Shape and Size

Once deciding about the installation, you then must choose the sink shape and size. There are no standards for size when it comes to a bathroom sink. There are very small basins that are only large enough for washing the hands, and then there are large sinks that are big enough for washing your hair or clothing.

Sink Faucets

It is also important to make sure that the faucet is compatible with the type of sink you choose. Most sinks have a hole drilled into them for a faucet, but others have three holes. In most cases, but not always, a faucet with one handle mounts into a single hole sink, but there are single-handle faucets that go into a sink with three holes.

A center set  faucet is one that pairs with a sink that has holes that are 4-inches apart, but those with a widespread faucet fits a sink with holes ranging from 8 to 16 inches apart. These are designed for a faucet that mounts over the sink or wall or for vessel sinks or those that are undermount styles.

Sink Materials

Finally, you will need to consider the material of the sink. There are some intriguing options available when it comes to sink materials including porcelain, china, fireclay and glass. Also, there are metals, solid- surface and natural stone sinks.

One extremely popular option is ceramic. This is a sink that is glossy, smooth and resistant to stains. Many people like ceramic as it is very durable and easy to clean. Glass is also a sink material option. Though it sounds like this would be a fragile choice, it is very strong as it is tempered glass, and it can hold up to normal bathroom activities. It can, however, chip or crack if a heavy object is dropped onto it.

Stone sinks are also gaining popularity, though these are high-end sinks. The sinks, which are made of granite, marble, onyx or travertine, are luxurious items to have in the bathroom. They have natural colors and veining, and no two sinks are exactly alike. These sinks offer undermount installation, but they are porous, so routine cleaning and care is a necessity.

Alternatively, you can get the look of natural stone by choosing a soli-surface sink. This is a man-made material designed to look like stone, but without the need for moderate maintenance. Metal sinks are also becoming popular, as they are unique and stand out. These can be finished to a gloss or have a textured finish thanks to hammering or brushing. Steel, cast iron, nickel and copper are all popular choices.

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Top 7 Things You Don’t Know About Quartz Countertops

If you are thinking about updating your kitchen countertops, you might be considering quartz. Quartz is a relative newcomer to the world of countertops, having only been around since the 1990s. However, in that short amount of time, it has become a competitor to some of the big hitters in the countertop world including granite and marble. Though you have probably found a lot of information in your research about quartz, there are likely some things that you don’t know. Here are a few of those things:

1 – Quartz Counters are Technically Not Quartz

When most people think of quartz countertops, they assume that the quartz is mined from an exotic locale, cut into a slab and installed on a countertop. This, however, is not the truth. Though there is a mineral called quartz, and it is certainly mined, that mined quartz is not quite what a quartz countertop is made of.

When looking at a quartz countertop, there is certainly quartz in there, but there are also other materials. For instance, about 10 percent of the material is a binder, which may be resin or cement-based. The rest of the 90 percent is made of many other materials including waste materials such as marble, granite, ceramic, glass and silica, in addition to ground quartz.

2 – All Quartz Brands Are Virtually The Same

If you have started looking for quartz, you will notice that there are several brands on the market such as Cambria, Silestone and Caesarstone. These brands, however, all share a basic plan, and though they all have their own flair, all work from the same patent.

This patent goes back to 1963 with the development of Bretonstone, a technology used to make engineered stone. This technology was patented by Breton, the company that developed it, and all of these other brands still work off this technology.

3 – Cambria Countertops Are Made By A Company That Also Makes Cheese

One of the most popular brands of quartz is Cambria, but if you know your food, you may also know that there is a Cambria cheese. The same family that makes the quartz countertops, also makes the cheese. In fact, the family company that owns the Cambria name supplies Kraft Foods with more than 300 million pounds of cheese each year. In addition, they also have more than 100 patterns available in their countertops.

4 – Quartz Countertops are Environmentally Friendly

Many homeowners are looking for an environmentally friendly option when it comes to their renovation options. Fortunately, if you are looking for a green option for your countertops, you are making a good choice with quartz. How is it environmentally friendly? The main reason is that it uses waste products from other materials. If these materials were not put into the quartz countertop, it would end up in the landfill.

5 – You Likely See Quartz Every Day, And You Don’t Know It

Most people who think of quartz often thinks of it as a countertop material. However, this is only a small part of what engineered quartz is used for. If you walk in places such as a shopping mall or airport, you are more than likely walking on quartz. In fact, the first uses of quartz slabs was for flooring tiles. It wasn’t until later that putting these on countertops became popular.

6 – Quartz Doesn’t Compete With Natural Stone

Many people believe that quartz is a direct competitor to natural stone, but in truth, it is very different and when you ask the quartz manufacturer, they will likely not think this at all. They have created a material that is durable, virtually stain resistant and easily fabricated. These manufacturers believe that their material is totally different than these natural stones, and tend to focus on color and design when promoting their wares.

With natural stone, color is stunning, of course, but it is not consistent throughout the slab in most cases, because Mother Nature doesn’t always supply perfectly veined rock. Since this is the case, a slab of granite, for instance, may have strong veining on one side, and virtually no veining on the other. Many people love this look, of course, but quartz manufacturers use it to their benefit.

Since these manufacturers can create certain looks and colors, there is no limit to what you will find, from the traditional, such as black or beige to the ultra-modern, such as Blizzard or Apple Martini.

7 – Quartz Doesn’t Need A Lot of Maintenance

Finally, you will find that quartz doesn’t need a lot of maintenance, if any. You can clean a quartz countertop as long as you have access to water and a soft cloth, in fact. However, if you want to wash it more deeply, simply use a mild detergent. Other cleansers, unless specifically made for quartz, should not be used.

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Tile Floors 101: What Choice is Right for Your Home?

Tile for floors are available in a number of forms, and some of the most common tile materials include porcelain, ceramic and vinyl. In addition to these, however, there are a number of other tile options out there, and only by learning a bit about these, you can better decide which is best for your home.

Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

People love porcelain and ceramic tile because of how they look. They often have eye-catching patterns and radiant colors, and this makes them perfect for the kitchen or bathroom. These tiles are easy to maintain, and when glazed, can resist scratches and wear. These tiles are also easy to replace if they ever get chipped. However, these tiles can be cold on bare feet, especially in the bathroom, so many contractors suggest heated floor tiles in these cases.

Vinyl Tiles

Vinyl is an extremely popular flooring material, since is it practical and affordable. These tiles are safe, durable and comfortable. For many years, however, vinyl was seen as an unappealing choice as they weren’t aesthetically pleasing. Fortunately, these days, vinyl manufacturers have come a long way in the design and color options available. Vinyl is fairly easy to install, but professional installation is recommended, as extreme precision is required.

Plastic Laminate Tiles

Plastic laminate is commonly found in planks, but they are also available in tile form. People are often familiar with laminate because of kitchen countertops, but you can also easily use it on the floors. The one caveat of laminate is that it is not good when dealing with water. This makes laminate tile a better option for the kitchen floor, as standing water in the bathroom can get into the core of the fiberboard, which causes it to buckle and expand. If using laminate tiles in the bathroom, it is necessary to caulk any spaces along the walls, structures or floors. This helps to keep water from seeping underneath.

Stone Tiles

In the past, stone tiles were found in the foyer, but these days, homeowners are putting them in other places throughout the home including in bathrooms and kitchens. These tiles come in a number of forms and are made of materials such as marble, limestone, slate and granite. These tiles are also available in a range of colors such as green, blue, red and gold. Of course, natural colors are also quite popular. These textures include etched, tumbled, cleft, sandblasted and flamed. The one thing that homeowners need to know about stone, however, is it requires more maintenance than other materials.

Wood Tiles

People have also started using wood tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. These tiles are gorgeous, of course, but since they are made of wood, there are a few things to keep in mind. For instance, these must be professionally installed, and a minimum of two coats of high-quality polyurethane is necessary for protection.

Linoleum Tiles

Linoleum is also a very popular choice when it comes to tiles. These are made of cork powder, linseed oil, ground limestone, wood flour and color pigments. Linoleum is usually found in retro or contemporary style bathrooms and kitchens. It is perfect in these rooms thanks to its natural resistance to bacteria, and it further repels dirt and dust. Linoleum has a huge number of followers, and it looks great, but this comes at a cost, as it is one of the more expensive material options.

Cork Tiles

Another unusual option for the kitchen or bathroom is cork. These tiles are nice to step on, have a great warmth that comes from them, and they are available in a number of colored tints. The tiles come in finished and unfinished versions, and those who buy the unfinished version must ensure that their contractor coats them with polyurethane. This ensures that water doesn’t settle into the cork.

Glass Tiles

People also love glass tiles in their bathroom and kitchen. Glass is an unusual choice, but when installed correctly, this tile will hold up extremely well, and when textured, is a very safe tile. This is especially the case when installed into the bathroom. Glass has a very interesting look, and using glass tiles helps to create depth in the room, and if tinted, it brings the effect of stained glass.

It doesn’t matter what tiles you choose, just make sure that they are rated to use on a floor. Since many of these materials also are used in other manners, such as in countertops. For floors, choose a ceramic tile, for instance, that has a grade of 1 or 2. In addition to the grade, when choosing ceramic tile it is important to choose one with a coefficient of friction of .50 or greater. People who choose porcelain should also take into account a rating system, and for floors, it should be rated with a III rating.

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Popular Bathroom Remodel Layouts

If you are thinking about remodeling your bathroom, one of the things that you will have to focus on is the layout. The design process that goes into this layout is both exciting and daunting, but by using some of the most popular remodel layouts, you can make this job much easier. These popular layouts make it easy to set up a strategy, and it is simple to set up a budget, find contractors and find finishes that fit when you use these layouts.

In addition to these, a functional floor plan is the key to remodeling and building success. To determine how much space you need, however, you will have to ask yourself a couple of questions. The answer to these questions will help you to determine your requirements, assess how your current layout works, and to think about how your dream space may function.

Questions to Ask Before Beginning Your Bathroom Remodel

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is who will use the bathroom. Is the bathroom going to be used as a second bathroom that doesn’t get a lot of traffic, or will it be the main bathroom in the home? Is the bathroom for adults who will be rushing around in the morning to get ready for work? Will children use the bathroom? Is this where you will bathe your dog? The answers to these questions are all important, as they can all affect the layout of the bathroom.

Another question you must ask yourself is what activities will be done in the bathroom. Though you will certainly use the toilet, sink and bathtub or shower, there are other things that are done in a bathroom, too. For instance, do you want an area where you or your spouse can apply makeup? Will the room double as a laundry room? Do you want a private area or in the bathroom for changing or perhaps a separate area for the toilet? Do you require a spa bathtub and a standing shower instead of one unit? Again, the answer to these questions will not only help you design your bathroom layout, but it will also help you to set your budget.

Storage is a huge part of any bathroom remodel, and there are also questions that you must ask about your storage requirements. For instance, what items do you want to store in your bathroom? Where should this storage area be located for the items to be accessible? How much storage space must you give up to add this storage? Will this storage affect the navigation around the room? Are you willing to give up built-in storage for items you buy separately, such as shelving?

With all of this information in mind, you can start planning on the layout of the key elements of your bathroom. If you need a place to start, take a look at some popular layouts for the bathroom.

Popular Bathroom Layouts

With so many ways to arrange a room, trying to plan a layout for the bathroom from scratch can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some professional layouts that can help you layout your bathroom no matter what the size.

Three-Quarter Bathroom Without a Tub

Some bathrooms are simply small, and in this case, there may not be room for a bathtub. With a sink, shower and toilet, this is a plan that works well for a second or guest bathroom. The best way to set this type of bathroom up is to put all of the plumbing against one wall, as this helps to save on labor and construction costs.

Full Bath

If you have a larger bathroom area, you should consider a full bath. This is certainly the case if you are using the bathroom as a main bath. A popular way to do this is to put the end wall of the bathtub the same way the door opens. This also helps to keep the toilet a bit separate from the rest of the room. It also may be a good idea to add a vanity to this bathroom layout, which will give you more storage and practical space for brushing your teeth or putting on your makeup.

Fancy Bath

If you have the space and budget, doing an upgraded layout is also very popular. In this case, there is a large tub that has an alcove frame over it. This gives added storage for things like towels. A double vanity is also a good idea, as is a walk-in shower.

Adding Walls?

Finally, you need to think about walls. The plumbing for the bathroom will be housed in these walls, but each wall that is built will add extra dollars to the budget. If a budget is not a total concern for you, you can add walls almost anywhere in the bathroom and choose an entire new layout. If you aren’t interested in a major construction project, make sure to keep your plumbing and electricity where they are, and make them even better with new fixtures.

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How to Achieve a Classic Bathroom Style

Trends in remodeling and decorating come and go. If you take a moment to remember metal awnings, denim furniture, and popcorn ceilings, you will probably realize that it is important to follow trends with caution. This is especially true when you are remodeling your bathroom. A bathroom remodel is not a small job, and it is important that you love your bathroom now and in the future. Here are five great tips for classic bathroom design that ages gracefully:

1) Create Style in Your Bathroom Through Décor

Installing trendy fixtures often means that you are stuck with them for the foreseeable future. This is why it is so important to create a classic look in your bathroom that you can accentuate with décor that is not nailed to the wall or attached to plumbing. By installing functional pieces that are also stylish, you can then indulge in the latest decorating trends through smaller, removable pieces. Doing this will allow you to keep your bathroom feeling updated and fresh and allows you to keep up with some trends. Changing up the style in your bathroom can be fun. With some inexpensive additions or changes, you can update the room and make it feel fresh as often as you want.

2) Black and White Never Go Out of Style

Fashion mavens around the world will proclaim their love for black from the rooftops. Black is a classic look that not only goes with almost everything but ages gracefully as well. Both black and white can be bold choices in both appliances and décor. They also leave you free to change up your bathroom as needed. Black and white colors also free you up to go wherever you want when you decorate. If the children decide they must have a Frozen bathroom, they can be accommodated when there are neutral tones. If it is time to change the style again, you will have infinitely more options when you choose to go with a black and white color scheme.

3) Timeless Surfaces

We can all admit that copper is having a moment. You can now buy copper pots and pans, jewelry, fixtures and even copper furniture. Similarly, stainless steel has moved from commercial kitchens and into residential homes. However, these styles are trends. Steel is easily scratched, and copper changes color over time. When you are installing expensive surfaces in your home, you want to make sure that they will be the right ones, not just the right one right now. While many of these trends provide quality, there are certain styles that you cannot go wrong with. For example, granite has been in regular use since the time of the Ancient Egyptians. Since then, the kings and queens of Europe have been installing it in their country homes and palatial residences. Granite is a classic example of a surface that truly does not go out of style. By installing granite, you can bring a little bit of grandeur and value into your bathroom that will not leave the room feeling dated in a few years.

4) Avoid Making the Bathroom Permanently Kid-Friendly

It may seem like a good idea to build in special adaptations for children but unfortunately, children do grow up. As they grow from childhood into adolescence, the child size vanity will lose its purpose and may even become an eyesore for kids straddling the line between childhood and adulthood. There are many different semi-permanent adaptations. For example, you could invest in a step stool for the vanity or a toilet seat adapter for a normal size toilet. This way, the bathroom is functional for the whole family.

5) Use Your Space Practically

Unless you are building an addition, your home remodel will be required to fit within the space you already have. It is important to ensure that you choose the style of your new bathroom practically. For example, even if you want a double sink vanity, if you have to sacrifice a significant amount of space to achieve this goal, it may not be worth it. Ultimately, the bathroom is a practical room. It can also be transformed into an oasis, but it loses both of these qualities if you have to perform a series of contortionist maneuvers to make it past the sink and into the shower.

Keeping your style classic has many benefits. The versatility of a classic bathroom makes it easier to decorate and even redecorate if you wish. If you do it correctly, a bathroom remodel can add significant value into your home. When you create a classic style with your remodel, and then update it with décor, you can finally have a modern, tasteful bathroom that will serve as your own personal oasis.

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The Foremost Reasons For Remodeling your Kitchen

The decision to remodel your kitchen is a significant one. Many homeowners are hesitant about this sort of project because they are not sure about where to begin. Perhaps an even larger impediment to the prospect of the kitchen remodel is not knowing whether a remodel is even necessary. If you are struggling to determine whether or not you should take the plunge, and move forward with remodeling of your own, you will want to consider some of the following factors. It is our hope that they will help guide you in your quest for renovation and renewal.

Wear and Tear

Every room in your house is subject to the wear and tear of daily life. If you are wondering about whether you should move forward with a kitchen remodel, it is important that you assess the level of wear and tear that has occurred in this space. Take the time to empty your cupboards and remove all of your furniture and accessories from the space. In so doing, you can better assess the bare bones of your space. Do you notice peeling tile? Or do your appliances seem much worse for the wear? If so, these areas are ones that you can start with during the remodel process. Keep in mind that a dilapidated kitchen is far from a space that inspires family gatherings or gourmet meals.

Increased Value

Another reason for pursuing a kitchen remodel is that of seeking increased value. Of course, all homeowners appreciate seeing the value of their homes increase. But, this is not a sufficient reason for remodeling your kitchen.

There are certain conditions under which increased home value proves especially advantageous. If you are hoping to sell your home within the next three years, it may be worth your while to remodel your kitchen. Alternatively, you may want to remodel your kitchen if this space is included within a rental apartment or income property. In both circumstances, potential homeowners and renters consider the kitchen as a major selling point. When remodelling this space, focus on the central elements of the space, such as appliances, flooring and countertops. By focusing mainly on these features, homeowners can envision how they might put their own stamp on the space.

Lifestyle Needs

You may have a kitchen that is aesthetically beautiful, but if this space does not meet your lifestyle needs, you will want to consider a remodel.

You may very well be thinking: ‘What kind of lifestyle needs might this be referring to?’ In the main, you will want to consider the kinds of activities you perform in the kitchen. Do you enjoy cooking elaborate meals in your kitchen, and then lingering over them? If so, your kitchen will require substantial countertop space. In addition, you will likely want to introduce a built-in seating area. This seating area might be created around your kitchen island; or, you might create a breakfast nook. The choice is up to you. Regardless, it is crucial that you question whether or not your current kitchen meets your lifestyle needs.

Datedness

Last but not least, you will want to thoroughly consider whether or not your kitchen is dated. Many homeowners get paralyzed at this stage in the planning process—feeling that they are not sufficiently knowledgeable about what it means to be dated.

Fortunately, there are a wide breadth of resources that can help you determine how current and relevant your kitchen is. Interior designers suggest perusing interior design blogs and magazines to help determine how your kitchen stands up against the competition. Ask yourself the following question: ‘Does my kitchen contain any of the recurring features contained in these images?’ If not, you will want to take pains to incorporate some of these relevant features in your own space. This does not mean introducing every modern feature on the market, however. Rather, choose finishes that you find beautiful and which work well together. For instance, perhaps you appreciate the strength and uniqueness of a granite countertop. If so, this is a great modern focal point worth introducing. Other modern finishes that pair well granite countertops are glass pendant lights, and metallic stove range hoods.

All in all, the decision to move forward with a kitchen remodel can prove problematic. If you are struggling with the decision to move forward with a kitchen remodel, it is important that you consider some of the aforementioned factors. Ask yourself whether your current kitchen meets your lifestyle needs. For example, do you love cooking but suffer from restricted counter space? If so, it is time to introduce some long overdue updates. You will also want to assess the level of wear and tear endured by your space. If the wear and tear in your kitchen surpasses what is normal, you will want to seriously consider a remodel.

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Rethinking Your Kitchen Island

When remodelling your kitchen, you must balance a complicated host of factors. In fact, homeowners must consider the following: resale value, aesthetics, and functionality. One feature that intersects all of these categories is the kitchen island. This is especially the case as many homeowners only opt for conventional models of this kitchen appliance. Because the island is a focal feature, you want to introduce a model that is unique, beautiful and consistent with the rest of your space. What follows are a number of suggestions on how to reconsider the kitchen island as you move forward with your kitchen remodel.

Kitchen Islands are not Purely Decorative

Many homeowners fall into the trap of believing that kitchen islands are mainly decorative. Homeowners often feel that because these features are ubiquitous, that they are structures we must mindlessly incorporate within our own spaces.

In rethinking your kitchen island, we recommend thinking about it as a highly functional feature. There are a wide variety of islands that will bolster this belief. You may want to invest in an island with stacked drawers bookending this feature, for instance. This sort of island works incredibly well in kitchens with minimal storage. In these drawers, you might store anything from linens to prized items from your pantry. Another way to rethink the functionality of the kitchen island is by using it as a type of message board. If your kitchen adopts a family-centered vibe, you might want to coat one side of your island with chalkboard detailing. As such, you can leave beautiful messages and reminders for friends and family alike.

Consider the Layout of Your Kitchen

This tip blends in with the former. With that said, it is quite important that you implement a kitchen island that considers the overall layout of your space. If your kitchen adopts an irregular shape, it is important that you select an island that mimics this irregularity. To provide an example, kitchen islands configured as composite shapes work beautifully in irregularly shaped rooms.

Conversely, open concept kitchens blend beautifully with long, rectangular islands. Of course, this is the conventional shape of a kitchen island. Just be sure that you recognize that this is not the only shape that this feature can adopt. Another aspect to consider is your lifestyle in the kitchen. It is worth asking yourself the following questions: Do I enjoy cooking, and do I do so regularly? Or, do I privilege the aesthetic composition of my space.

If you realize that cooking is an activity that you thoroughly appreciate, you may want to equip your kitchen island with a functional sink. Also, you should orient your island closer than normal to any other cooking surface that your kitchen might contain. This will contribute to a layout that is beneficial to your lifestyle, rather than a layout you simply feel to make sense.

Construct Your Island From Repurposed Objects

Another way of rethinking the kitchen island is to consider repurposed materials. Far too often, homeowners head straight to the hardware store when they move forward with a kitchen remodel. But, doing so tends to result in a large amount of overlap between the types of kitchen islands both seen and used. If you are hoping to use your kitchen island as a point of difference, using repurposed objects is an excellent approach to achieving this aim.

For example, you might be holding on to a special bookshelf that has long since abandoned its original purpose. If so, you can easily use this antiqued feature as a repurposed kitchen island. By laying and securing the bookcase on your floor, you can achieve an especially long and functional island. Indeed, the shelves on this bookcase can serve as open-concept shelving within your kitchen island. These shelves might host any produce you plan on using within the very near future, too. You can also store pots, pans and plates on these embedded shelves. An added bonus of this feature is that open-concept shelving has been dubbed thoroughly contemporary. So, by repurposing antiqued furniture to form your kitchen island, you can effectively modernize your space.

When remodelling your kitchen, there are a number of factors to both balance and consider. One of the central features that you will need to think about is the kitchen island. In many ways, the kitchen island serves as the central focal point of the space. To breathe new life into your kitchen island, you should introduce a style that is highly functional. Perhaps this takes the form of an island with tiered shelves, or chalkboard detailing. Finally, you need to match the design of your island to the overall layout of your space. This ensures that the entire kitchen looks cohesive.

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5 Ways to Save on Appliances

Appliances are a necessity for any home. Whether you are buying them as a gift for someone else or as an essential part of a home renovation, there are way to save money on your appliance budget. You can be a frugal shopper and save money on your appliance choices. Every little bit that is saved can be redirected toward other necessities to meet your family’s needs. Here are the top five ways you can save when purchasing appliances.

  1. Choose Energy Efficient Appliances: When it comes to keeping your costs low, you may have to become a bit more forward thinking. This can make a substantial difference in the impact on your budget. If you want save on operating costs, it is crucial that you purchase appliances that are energy star rated and the most energy efficient.
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Not all appliances carry an energy certification such as Energy Star. When it comes to energy efficiency, some appliances stand out over others. Make sure you compare the labels showing the energy guide and look for the best model in terms of efficiency.

When it comes to refrigerators, air conditioners, dishwashers, washers or dryers, the ones that have energy targets that are the most stringent will be certified CEE Tier for additional savings on energy. Even after you purchase them, there are several things you can do to help minimize the operating costs to save even more money. The majority of appliances today offer energy efficient rebate programs to help homeowners save additional money.

  1. Put Functionality First Over Frills: Some frills like having a coffee maker with programmable settings may be very essential to your lifestyle, or a washing machine with a delayed start may be useful if you are on energy rates that are calculated based on time-of-usage rates. There are appliances however, that have features that are not necessities to their operation that you may or may not use and could quite easily live without. It is best to avoid the glitz, and focus on the functionality.

Most of the time, the costs of the appliance is directly influenced by the bells and whistles that come installed on them. The best way to reduce purchase costs is to go for appliances that only have features you will actually use. This can save you quite a bit of cash up front. Another factor that sometimes affects cost is the color of the appliance. White appliances are generally cheaper than the colored models. Trendy colors will end up dating the appliance overtime. Remember in the 1960’s when everyone just had to purchase avocado green appliances? Same concept today.

  1. Avoid Maintenance Costs that Can Go Sky High: Humidifiers, purifiers, and air cleaners have operating and maintenance costs that can be very expensive. It is best to choose filters that are permanent or washable. Be careful here not to sacrifice efficiency because it can end up costing you more in the future. For the best allergen filtration a HEPA filter is a good option, but it will cost you more up front. It is best to seek out models with permanent HEPA filters built in.

The CADR rating is the efficiency certification for air purifiers. It should be labeled on the packaging. It offers buyers the confirmation that this appliance has been certified as more efficient than other models. Same thing for air conditioning units. They will have an Energy Efficient Ratio right on the label.

When purchasing a new vacuum it is best to find a bagless system for the most savings. The expense of buying vacuum bags can add up over time at $10 to $15 per package.

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When purchasing a new appliance, consider an extended service contract. There are pros and cons to purchasing them, but under the right conditions they can save you money when it comes to having your appliances repaired in the future.

  1. Negotiate Your Delivery or Shipping Fees: Many retailers will offer free shipping on some appliance models and that can save you quite a bit. When it comes to larger appliance purchases, some dealers may even offer free delivery for your new home. Check with the retail professional at the store you are buying from and ask if you can have free or reduced rate delivery.
  2. Buy the Right Sized Appliances to Accommodate your Family’s Needs: Stay away from oversized or larger capacity appliances. These types of appliances do better in a retail setting over a home setting. A giant freezer or refrigerator may end up sitting half empty. Their capacity alone will take over your kitchen and quite often homeowners never use the extra space. Remember the refrigerator is costing you money on your electric bill because it is constantly running. If you don’t use up the space on the interior entirely it ends up being a waste of energy.
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Covering Your Bases Before a Bathroom Remodel

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make when it comes to remodeling their bathrooms is taking on the job with minimal planning. Indeed, homeowners often get so enthused by the prospect of remodeling that they begin without fleshing the idea out in their minds. What follows is a brief guide on how to properly prepare for your bathroom remodel and to set yourself up for success. Get yourself acquainted with this guide, and you will crystallize some of the vague—yet beautiful—ideas you have floating around in your head.

Trusty Tiles

There are a plethora of options available to you when it comes to bathroom flooring. Above all else, you will want to make sure that your bathroom flooring meets your lifestyle needs. In addition, it is important that your flooring ties in with the overall aesthetic of your space.

In this vein, take the time to consider what your lifestyle needs are and how they pertain to your bathroom floors. Perhaps you want a bathroom floor that is easy to care for and clean. If so, porcelain is a material that is both classic and low maintenance. Porcelain comes in a wide range of different colors that will work well with different design elements. Alternatively, you may be concerned about introducing a nonslip floor. Perhaps you have mobility issues, or are especially concerned about making your space as accessible as possible. If so, you will want to invest in tiles with textured finishes. There are many different tiling options that are available with either matte or sand-like finishes. These tiles will work wonders in making your flooring as safe as possible.  Consider these options, and the many others that exist, before tearing up your current bathroom floor.

Sketch Out Accessory Placement

One risk you run with bathroom accessories is underestimating their significance in the space. Because of this, many homeowners go about attaching hooks, mirrors and prints at whatever height seems right at the time. But, altering these decisions is actually quite a bit more labor-intensive than they at first seem. While there are no strict rules for correct accessory placement, keep the following dimensions in mind as you move forward. Towel bars should hit somewhere around fifty inches off the floor. The toilet roll should be situated about six inches in front of your toilet, whereas a showerhead should be installed about 70 inches off the floor. Keep in mind that these dimensions are rough estimates, and can be adjusted according to your own specific needs. Take the time to mark the potential location of your bathroom accessories, and then check with your contractor. This will give you time to consider whether things ought to be shifted before the contractor gets started.

Create Space for Your Toiletries

One aspect that is too often neglected during bathroom remodels is storage for toiletries. While a bathroom vanity can certainly accommodate a breadth of toiletries, not every bathroom can afford to allocate this much space to storage. A great alternative to consider before your remodel is a small cubby space in the shower. This cubby is essentially a small recessed area carved out of the wall in your shower. This cubby may seem like a minor element, but it is one that will prove both intriguing and valuable to prospective homeowners.

Consider the Sink

There are a wide range of sinks for you to choose from when pursuing your bathroom remodel. For this reason, it is quite important that you select a sink that best meets your needs. To follow are but a few sinks that you might consider as you breathe new life into your bathroom.

A pedestal sink is classic in looks, and is often featured in smaller powder rooms and half baths. With that said, it does not offer a substantial amount of space. So, if you love housing a number of soaps directly by your sink, this slim and sleek option may not be for you. Vessel sinks are another lovely alternative for homeowners who seek a bit more storage in and around their sink. The vessel sits atop a storage unit, and it provides a deep sink with which to wash your hands and face. Vessel sinks are also fresh and contemporary in style.

In sum, bathroom remodels are exciting ventures that ought to be pursued with enthusiasm. Nonetheless, you will want to take the appropriate measures to plan for your remodel. This will involve choosing a flooring material that addresses your lifestyle needs. In addition, you will want to sketch out where you will install your accessories. This will help you avoid any undue stress in shifting elements around after their having been installed. Last but not least, choose a sink that matches the design principles of your space. By planning ahead, you stand a much better chance at success when it comes to remodeling your space.

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