Ceramic or porcelain tiles are a popular choice for kitchen splashbacks, and for good reason. They offer the beauty and durability that many homeowners seek in their kitchen surfaces. If, however, you are looking for something a little different and maybe want to add a little pop to your kitchen, think about using glass to cover the wall space between your countertop and cabinets. There are a number of different ways to create a glass splashback, some of which you may not know about. Here are seven things to know if you’re considering this alternative for your kitchen.

subway tile glass

1. Glass tiles come in many different forms

rectangular glass tileWhat comes to mind when you hear the words “glass splashback?” You may picture glass mosaic tile. You may picture mirrored glass or maybe something completely different. The fact is that the options are almost endless. From basic 25 cm x 25 cm mosaics to longer, slender, rectangular tiles of varying shapes to rounded and irregular shapes, the choices may amaze you if you have not researched them recently.



Green Round Glass TilesMosaics may be the most common, but glass tiles are also available as larger individual tiles, much the way ceramic and porcelain tiles are. Mosaics are a bit easier to install and do not require the same amount of cutting as other, larger shapes do, but it’s important to know that these options are out there when you are selecting materials.




2. Glass can be colourful

coloursYou may also be surprised at the sheer volume of colours in which glass tile is available. Variations in opacity add to the quantity. Create a monotone, consistent look, or mix it up to add interest to your splashback. Whatever colour or colours you choose, the reflective qualities of glass will help brighten up your kitchen and may make it feel larger.





3. Your glass splashback doesn’t have to be ALL glass.

glass and ceramicMixing materials is a great way to break up the wall space above your countertops. If you love glass, but you’re not ready to sheath your entire wall in it, use glass as a highlight within a ceramic background. Your options include running a horizontal band of glass mosaic across he splashback, inserting glass at regular intervals or coming up with your own design that includes a mix of materials.



4. Nor does it need to be tile

glass sheet splashbackNot all glass splashbacks are made of tile. In fact, an increasingly popular trend is the glass sheet splashback. For this installation, a single piece of glass is cut to the size and shape of your splashback, painted the colour of your choice and attached to the wall. The paint is applied to the back side of the glass to prevent it from chipping and pealing due to exposure over time. Better manufacturers take the extra step of baking the paint onto the glass for even better adhesion and durability. Glass sheet splashbacks tend to give your kitchen a sleek, modern look and are, therefore, a more common choice in contemporary homes.



5. Glass is easy to clean

cleaning glass tilesIf you’ve ever tried to scrub grime off of a glass table or other glass surface, you know that you may need to scrub hard, but glass will eventually come clean. That’s not always the case with ceramic and porcelain, however, which are more porous than glass and, hence, more prone to staining. If you choose glass tile, though, be aware that the grout between the tiles will not have the same properties as the glass. Grout, like ceramic, is porous. Select a darker grout if you’re concerned about stains showing. Or, go with a glass sheet and you won’t have any grout to worry about.



6. Glass CAN break

Broken_glassOf course, you know this but the fact is that almost any splashback material can be cracked, broken or dented. Glass, however, can actually shatter. This is something to be aware of. Although a vertical surface like a splashback does not typically receive the impacts that a horizontal surface like a countertop or floor does, it is possible to damage a glass splashback by, for example, sliding a heavy pot into it. If your kitchen only receives normal use, don’t be afraid to use glass in your backsplash, but if your family is a little more rough-and-tumble consider a more durable material.




7. Glass has environmental benefits

broken glass backsplashCreamic and porcelain tiles require a tremendous amount of energy to manufacture. The process requires extreme heat be applied to the material for an extended amount of time. Glass, on the other hand, is one of the few infinitely recyclable materials used in homes today. If environmental friendliness is a priority for you, consider glass for your kitchen splashback. Even in its broken form, glass can be fashioned into beautiful art.




Non-porous, easily cleaned and environmentally friendly, glass is nearly the perfect material for the kitchen. It can be a little fragile, but for many homeowners, its beauty outweights any possible downside to using it for their kitchen splashback.




Tile is a perfect choice for flooring. While ever popular wood floors are making their way into more and more spaces, including kitchens, the strength, durability and beauty of tile ensure that it will always have a place in the home. If you’re installing tile in your home, your choices in materials, colours, texture, size and shape are many. Follow these tips to find floor tiles that suit your tastes and lifestyle.

tile floor


1) Durability is key. Not every tile is suitable for use on the floor. Glass mosaics, for example, are very appealing for walls and backsplashes, but will not hold up on the floor in a high traffic area. Porcelain and ceramic, on the other hand, are well suited for floor applications, but it is important to know just how durable the tile you select is. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) rates the durability of all glazed porcelain and ceramic tile on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the most durable. For lightly trafficked areas in the home, such as a bathroom, a PEI rating of 2 or higher is acceptable. A rating of Stone tile floor3 or higher will work for moderately trafficked areas like hallways and living rooms, and a rating of 4 or higher is recommended for high traffic areas like kitchens and entryways.

Natural stone is your most durable option. Even if you do manage to chip or break it, it is typically a consistent colour throughout, so the blemish will barley be noticeable. Make sure you understand the maintenance recommendations of the stone you select, however. Some types of stone are naturally porous and, therefore, need to be sealed to prevent them from becoming stained or even from breaking down over time.


marble-floor2) Texture matters. Polished stone, marble and porcelain offer a high-sheen look that many homeowners findappealing. The downside, however, is that they can be very slippery, particularly when wet. If the look of these smooth, shiny tiles is something you simply can’t live without, go for it, but be aware of the slipping danger. If you’re installing them in a kitchen or bath that is frequently exposed to water, be especially careful. For a safer option, choose a tile that is textures or has a matte finish. Unlike many products for your home, tile is not necessarily something you want to buy online. It’s better to not only see, but to touch and feel the product before making a purchase.


large-bathroom-tiles-111216-1143-15-800x5603) Size has visual impact. The size of the tile you select becomes a feature of the design that can make your floor stand out or blend into the background. Tile size also plays trick on the eye, making rooms seem larger and more open, or smaller and cozier. Generally speaking, large tiles make a room appear larger, and by minimizing grout lines, they also make the room flow better and appear more open. If the room is too small, however, large tiles can seem overwhelming. Small tiles can work in small space too. By using a mosaic tile in a small bathroom, for example, you minimize the number of cuts required, which, not only makes the installation easier, it results in a more finished look.




4) Shape and layout can change your whole design. Square tiles can be laid side-by-side in a straight line, also known as a straight lay pattern to create a clean, simple look.

Tile floors and Inlays 2-9-2007 7-12-30 PM 720x1089They can also be placed in a staggered layout, also known as a running bond or brick pattern, to create more interest. There’s no rule, however, that floor tiles must be square. Rectangular, or plank tiles can be laid much the way hardwood floors are laid, in a staggered or variable pattern. You can also lay rectangular tiles in a herringbone pattern to really create something very dramatic.


There’s also no rule that every tile in a room must be the same size. Use smaller tiles or mosaics to create a border around a larger room and define the space, or create something totally unique with specialty tiles.


dark-floor-tiles-15) Colour does more than compliment your décor. You’re going to select a colour you like, one that compliments the other finishes in the room, like countertops and cabinetry, but it’s important to understand the overall affects that tile colour can have. Lighter colours tend to make a space feel larger and more open, while darker colours create warmth and coziness. Dark colours also minimize the appearance of dirt, making them a great choice for anyone who’s not a cleaning fanatic. Neutral colours are less likely to clash with furniture and more likely to appeal to homebuyers than bright colours, a consideration if you have resale in mind. Bright colours, however, can help you create a design that fits your personal style.


A floor tile worthy of your home is out there, but you’ll want to choose carefully because one of the features of tile that make it so desirable, durability, also makes it difficult to remove and replace. Combine these tips with your own specific needs and you’ll be pleased with the results every time you see, touch and feel your beautiful tile.


Want to read more?

Houzz: House Planning: How to Choose Tile

Many homeowners find that a renovation is an opportunity not only to update the finishes and  fixtures in their bathroom, it’s also an opportunity to get organized and add some stylish and functional accessories. Maybe you’ve just completed a full renovation of your bathroom and you want to get organized before you move back in. Or, maybe you’ve just had enough of the shampoo bottles strewn about your tub ledge, mismatched towels and ragged bath mat in your existing bath. Either way, make a plan to accessorize to make the room complete.


Start With a Clean Slate

clutterIf you’ve renovated, this won’t be difficult, but a large part of properly accessorizing a bathroom involves organization. Start by getting everything out of your bathroom. (Again, if you’ve completed a renovation, this took place before demolition). Keep only what you need. Many people find shampoos or lotions they forgot that had or haven’t used in months. Throw those out. You won’t miss them and it will make the rest of the process much easier.



Lose the Clutteruncluttered

It sounds repetitive, but now that you have your toiletries, products and necessities pared down to a minimum, if you simply move everything back into the bathroom, you’ll quickly end up with the same mess you had before.  The advantage to clearing everything out of the bathroom is now you can see exactly what needs to be stored away and you can create storage around your specific needs. This can involve larger solutions like adding shelving or a furniture piece, all the way down to jars specifically intended to hold cue tips.


Make Your Towels Part of the Décor

bathroom-towel-storage-ideas-basketsYou may not realize it, but bathroom towels already are part of your décor. Picture clean, plush towels neatly folded, sitting on a shelf or perfectly draped over a towel rack. Now picture drab, old towels in the same position. Which bathroom would you rather walk into? It’s a fact that the towels in a bathroom, from hand towels hung near the sink to extra bath towels hanging on a rack or folded on a shelf can make a bathroom feel like a luxurious spa or a dank, utilitarian space. Towels can be incorporated into your décor and, in some cases, displayed with creative storage solutions.




Choose Your Shower Curtaintraditional-two-tones-shower-curtain-blue-and-white

You probably spent a significant amount of time selecting your bathroom materials, from the size, colour and texture of the tile, to the finish on the fixtures. Now you are about to hang a piece of material approximately 2 meters by 2 meters in front of much of that tile and several of those fixtures. Take the time to find a shower curtain that matches your décor and fits your personal style. The good news is that they are relatively inexpensive and can be replaced on a whim.


Complete the Process

spa-bathroom-with-candles-and-flower-vasesNow you’ve got the necessities taken care of. Everything is neatly stored away or displayed appropriately. This is a good opportunity to look around the room for additional opportunities to accessorize. Be careful not to add clutter back into the space, but if you have some unoccupied counter space that you can add accessories to without them being in the way, go for it. Decorative (or functional) soaps can be arranged on a tray next to the sink. Flowers are a nice touch and they look and smell great. Candles are another good idea. Even if you rarely have the time to take a bath, just the thought of lighting a few candles and slipping into the tub gives your bathroom a spa-like feel.

While they may be the last things installed during a kitchen renovation, appliances should be among the first things you think about when designing your new culinary space. A little planning and foresight before you even begin demolition will go a long way towards delivering the kitchen that’s right for you in terms of both style and functionality. If you select your appliances early on, it will also reduce the chances of a delay near the end of your project caused by special order products not arriving on time.


  1. Have a Plan

Apartments Office Architecture The Kitchen Planner New Kitchens intended for Unique Online Kitchen Cabinet PlannerDon’t even begin your kitchen renovation without knowing some basic facts about your appliances. First is location. Your plumber and your electrician will both need to know where your appliances are going so they can install the proper connections. There’s also a cost-saving opportunity here. Planning around existing plumbing, gas and electrical work saves the labor required to relocate pipes and fixtures. Don’t forget to locate your microwave. A microwave that is built-in, either above the range, or elsewhere within the cabinetry has a much more finished look than one that has been haphazardly placed on the countertop.


Second is size. Appliances come in standard sizes, but you do have some options. You’ll need to know the size each appliance you plan to install before you plan the surrounding cabinetry and counter space. It’s important to note here that most manufacturers recommend that you leave 2.5 CM of space around a refrigerator to allow for ventilation and for the doors to swing open.


  1. Have a Budgetshopping

It’s easy to walk into an appliance store and get caught up in all of the fancy gadgetry that today’s manufacturers offer and wind up spending more than you need to on appliances. It’s also easy to envy your neighbor’s appliances and end up spending too much because you want your kitchen to be like yours. Instead, select the appliances that fit your needs. If you’re always buying fresh, not frozen, food, spend up on the refrigerator. Or, perhaps the microwave is more important to you. That professional quality range looks great, but ask yourself if you’ll really use it to its fullest before you make the purchase. If you have a big family that stacks up tons of dishes after every meal, maybe you want to make sure you have a durable dishwasher. Consider your own specific needs, set your budget early on in your renovation process and stick to it.


  1. Know Your Options

Research is key and knowing what’s available will give you a leg up when it comes to selecting the appliances that are right for you. You’ll want to take the time to explore the features that different brands offer, but let’s take a look at the basic options.

sidebysideRefrigerators come in a few different configurations. Top freezers are typically the least expensive alternative and are very common on homes today. Bottom freezers put the food in your refrigerator at eye level, so if you appreciate the ability to grab a midnight snack without bending over, this might be the option for you. Side-by-sides offer yet another option where storage in both the freezer and refrigerator is more vertical and narrow unless you purchase the widest available model. Ice and water dispensers are a convenience that many of us have come to rely on, but their downside is maintenance. Basically, they are one more thing that can break.





rangeRanges or cooktops are available in gas and electric models. Many people prefer one or the other, but your choice may depend upon what’s in your home currently. Installing new gas or electrical lines to make the switch may be an expense you don’t want to bear. Gas models are known to be more difficult to clean while electric stoves wipe down very easily but are more prone to damage.





stacked_ovenOvens offer a variety of features from the standard bake/roast/broil set up to convection, which circulates air inside the oven with a fan to cook food faster. If you’re a traditionalist who appreciates a slow-cooked roast or a steak seared in a broiler opt for the former, but if you crave convenience, the ladder is for you. If you want the best of both worlds, how about a convection oven stacked over a traditional one? Your oven does not need to live beneath your cooktop if you have the space.





dishwasherDishwashers all clean dishes, but some do so better than others. If you don’t want to pre-wash your dishes by hand, choose a dishwasher with a heavy duty or pot-scrubbing setting. The drying process is also important. A   heat dry setting to dry dishes uses more energy than an air dry setting. If saving on our utility bills is important, make sure your dishwasher offers an air dry option. As people spend more and more time in their kitchens and open layouts become more popular, the noise dishwashers makes has become increasingly important. If you’re apt to run your dishwasher while entertaining or just relaxing nearby, make sure it makes minimal noise.


built-in_microwaveMicrowaves have gone from newfangled kitchen gadget to mandatory equipment over the last 30 years. When selecting a microwave, consider its size, so that it fits into your kitchen design and so that it will accommodate the food you intend to cook in it and its wattage. Generally speaking the higher the wattage, the faster they cook food, but anything below 700 watts may also cook unevenly.



  1. Ventilateventhood

An often overlooked aspect of a itchen renovation, proper ventilation will carry the moisture, heat and odors generated by your culinary delights out of the space before that set in and cause any damage. A range hood is also a great opportunity to add style to your space. When it comes to functionality, you’ll need to choose between a vented and a recirculating hood. Vented hoods require a vent to the outside be installed during your renovation if one does not already exist. Recirculating hoods, on the other hand pull air through a filter before distributing it back out into the room. Vented is always preferable, but if you don’t generate steam, smoke and odors in your kitchen often, recirculating is a less expensive option.




  1. Select a Finish

rustic-kitchenWhen choosing a finish for your appliances, be wary of colours that may go out of style. Many homeowners in today’s market opt for stainless steel and, while it’s more expensive than other options it’s a safe bet when it comes to resale value as its popularity seems to have staying power. If you’re a stickler for consistency, you may want to make sure your stainless steel appliances are all the same brand so that their hue matches precisely. If you’re looking for something other than stainless steel, it’s best to stick with neutral colours, unless you’re absolutely sure that you’ll be happy with that red refrigerator 10 or 20 years from now. Anyone who’s removed 70s-era avocado green appliances from a kitchen can attest to that. Another option is to ignore finish altogether and panel your appliances so they blend seamlessly with your cabinetry.


  1. Be Energy Efficient

Don’t overlook energy efficiency ratings when choosing appliances. It may not be their most glamorous feature but kitchen appliances can either cost you or save you a bundle over the long term. If you want your kitchen to stand the test of time, find appliances that are highly rated and offer efficient features. You’ll be glad you did.

Window treatments are one of the finishing touches on a room that can have a dramatic impact on its final appearance. Not only are they an opportunity inject your own personal style into your home, they also serve several practical purposes. You’ll use them to control the natural light in the room, create privacy and they can even help insulate your home. But, what’s the best way to achieve the look and the function you want? Blinds? Curtains? Both? What’s the difference anyway? And what different types of each are out there?


Let’s start with the definitions:

are typically defined as window coverings that can be raised and lowered and have either vertical or horizontal slats that can be adjusted to allow varying amounts of light to enter through them.




shadesA variation on the blind is the shade, which can be raised or lowered, but not adjusted to change the light coming through.





curtainsCurtains, on the other hand, are fabric that is hemmed to hang from a rod above the window.  They are typically drawn, or closed, by pulling them across the front of the window.





Now let’s delve into the different types of each and how to select the best ones for you.

Vertical Blinds

vertical_blindsCommonly use to cover floor-to-ceiling windows or patio doors, vertical blinds can have a dramatic impact on a room when drawn across the window, yet they become relatively inconspicuous when you want to let the light stream in. Homeowners can control the amount of light that coms through them by opening and closing the slats to different degrees. Vertical blinds allow for complete control of privacy and light and can be made of a variety of materials, with vinyl, fabric-covered plastic and wood or faux wood being the most common.


Horizontal Blinds

venetian-blindsWith slats that run across the window, as opposed to up and down, horizontal blinds are commonly used on smaller windows than their vertical counterparts. Also, the width of the slat is typically less than that of vertical blinds. More commonly made from vinyl, wood, faux wood or aluminum than fabric, horizontal blinds tuck discretely out of place when open at the top of the window. With both vertical and horizontal blinds, take maintenance and durability into consideration. Known to collect dust, blinds must be cleaned. Wood, faux, wood, vinyl and aluminum can be wiped down, however, fabric should be vacuumed. In addition, the individual slats and the strings and hardware used to control them can be somewhat delicate.




Roller Shadesroller_blinds

As their name indicates, roller shades are made from a single piece of material, typically fabric or vinyl, that rolls out of the way at the top of the window when open. Roller blinds have come along way since the white vinyl versions in your grandmother’s house. Today, they are made in an array of colours and styles that can either completely block out the sun or let a little light thorough while providing privacy.




Roman Shades

roman_shadesAlso made from a single piece of fabric, Roman shades tuck out of the way by folding along a set of horizontal folds. This folding gives Roman shades a depth and dimension that other, more flat shades do not offer, without occupying the space surrounding the window like a curtain does.




Pleated Shades

pleated_shadesWith more folds than their Roman counterparts, pleated shades are also made of a single piece of fabric, but all the extra folds almost give them the look of slats when they are closed to cover the window. When they are open and tucked out of the way, they take up minimal space.




Cellular Shades

honeycomb_shades1Made from fabric formed into honeycomb-shaped compartments, cellular shades not only look good, but they act just like the insulation in your home, trapping air between the window and the shade. In winter, this keeps cold air from penetrating your home and in the summer, it helps retain cooler air.





lined_curtainsWhen it comes to style, there are, literally, hundreds of options in curtains. There’s not only colours, patterns and textures to consider, but what about length? Should my curtains touch the floor or stop at the window sill? Should my curtains cover the edges of my windows when they are open or should I extend the curtain rod past either side of the window so that they can be pushed completely aside? (This will make the window look bigger too!) Should I tie my curtains back or just move them to the side?

Only you can answer these questions, though you might want to enlist the help of designer with these issues. Let’s get you started down the road with a quick look at function though. Your first decision will be lined or unlined curtains.




Lined Curtainslined_curtains3

Only curtains made of a lined material will completely block out the sun and provide total privacy. A thick, lined fabric will also provide a level of insulation and warmth.





Unlined Curtains

sheer_curtainsIf however, your curtains are more for style, or simply to provide a level of light filtering rather than a black out or total privacy, then an unlined curtain will work perfectly. Perhaps, you’re planning to pair your curtains with blinds or shades that will provide privacy and light blocking you need. In that case, you can select an unlined or even sheer curtains.







Whether you opt for blinds, curtains or a combination of the two, your window treatments are an opportunity to control the natural light in your house, create the required privacy and personalize your space. Trust your own sense of style to narrow down the choices and come up with a solution that’s unique to your home.


Want to read more?

Real Simple: Your Guide to Curtains and Window Treatments


Your bathroom is wet. It’s the only place in your house where water flows freely. Yes, you have a sink in your kitchen, but unless you’re showering in the kitchen, the amount of steam, humidity and moisture produced there is miniscule compared to your bathroom. The bathroom is also one of, if not the smallest room in your house, so moisture can build up quickly. Lastly, let’s face it, odors can also build up in your bathroom.


White Bathroom, ContemporyAll this adds up to one thing: your bathroom requires ventilation. Moisture and odors need somewhere to go. Otherwise, mold and water damage will occur. Building codes, in fact, require that bathrooms have some form of ventilation. In older homes, this is accomplished simply by opening the bathroom window. That works, but it’s not the most comfortable solution when temperatures rise or fall. Modern homes have exhaust fans for this reason.

Exhaust fans work by pulling moist, odorous air to the outside of the home so that fresh air can enter the bathroom. This requires two things in addition to the fan itself: electrical power and ductwork.





exhaust timer

The wiring for your exhaust fan can either be connected directly to an existing light switch so that when the light is on, the fan is also on, or it can be connected to a separate switch so that the fan can be operated independently. The second option is preferable because it uses less electricity when you want just the light or just the fan to be on. You may also want to consider putting your exhaust fan on a timer so that, after a long shower, you can leave it on to clear out the moisture after you’ve left the bathroom.


5-DUCTWORK-RESIDENTIAL-bigThe ductwork attached to your fan delivers the moist foul air to the outdoors. As such, it needs to connect to the outside of the house and not another room or attic space. Otherwise, you are just moving moisture from one part of the house to another. Additionally, the ductwork should take the shortest route possible to the outdoors and have as few bends and turns as possible, so that the fan can perform with optimal efficiency.





When selecting the actual fan to install in your bathroom, the most important feature to look at is its power. Generally speaking, the larger your bathroom, the more power your fan will need to have. Measure the cubic area of your bathroom and check with the manufacturer to make sure the fan you select is rated for the amount of space you want to ventilate.


The type of fan you select will either be inline, ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted.


inlineInline fans are installed to the joists above the drywall of your bathroom ceiling. The only visible portion of the fan is a louvered vent that sits flush with the ceiling. Because the hardworking part of the fan resides in space above your ceiling, inline fans make very little noise and tend to be more powerful than other options.





Ceiling-mounted fans are attached directly to your ceiling rather than the joists above it. They function similarly to inline fans in terms of exporting air through adjacent ductwork. They are easier to install and replace, assuming the required ductwork is in place. They also offer a larger variety of options, including combination units with lighting in addition to ventilation.






wall mounted

Wall-mounted fans are installed and function just like ceiling-mounted fans, but, as the name implies, they are attached to a wall rather than the ceiling. These can be an option where logistics do not allow fan to be installed on the ceiling. Perhaps your bathroom has cathedral ceilings, no attic space above it or the ceilings are occupied by skylights or lighting. When installed on an exterior wall, these models nearly minimize the amount of ductwork required to vent the to the outside. If on an interior wall, however, more ductwork may be required to route the air up the wall, into the space above the bathroom and, ultimately, outside.




If your bathroom is undergoing a complete renovation, ventilation is not something that you want to overlook. Take the time to work an exhaust fan, along with the proper electrical and ductwork, into your renovation plan. If your bathroom does not have a window, it’s an absolute requirement, but even if it does have a window, you’ll be glad to have a fan when hot or cold weather strikes.


You’ve chosen cabinets for your kitchen. You’ve selected a tile for the floor and one for the backsplash. You’ve chosen a one-of-a-kind piece of granite to have your countertops carved from. Your kitchen is going to be gorgeous, but you haven’t made every important decision that you need to make. Or, you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add style to your kitchen without tearing anything down. The hardware for your kitchen cabinets is something that you see, touch and use, every day. It’s also an opportunity to add a complimentary touch of style to your kitchen. If you take your time, consider it carefully, and choose something you love, you’ll appreciate your kitchen even more.

Tubular Bar Pulls

tubularA very popular choice for modern, minimalist or contemporary kitchens, tubular bar pulls, as the name implies, consist of a simple bar secured horizontally to drawers and vertically to cabinets. Tubular bar pulls tend to stand out from the cabinets more than other styles and, essentially, become a feature of the kitchen. They are available in a variety of finishes from brass to black, but stainless steel is a very popular choice and many designers find them to be a great compliment to stainless steel appliances.

Tubular bar pulls are also a very functional choice. Opening a drawer or cabinet with a bar pull is much easier, for children or seniors, for example, than a small knob. When selecting and installing tubular bar pulls, however, be conscious of how prominent you want them to be. Typically, they run two-thirds to three-quarters the width of the drawer, but there’s no rule that says they can’t run the entire length of the drawer. Rely on you personal style to determine how much pull you want on each drawer or cabinet.



Curved Bar Pullscurved bar pulls

Taking their cue from the Streamline Moderne and Art Deco schools of architecture of the 1930s, curved bar pulls are slimmer and curvier than tubular bar pulls. They offer a sleek, modern look that is slightly more elegant and subtle than the more industrial straight bar pulls.





Flat Bar Pulls

flat-bar-pullsAnother more subtle alternative to tubular bar pulls are flat ones. These consist of a flat, rectangular bar that is secured to the cabinet. Flat bar pulls create a more squared off  look that compliments many of today’s modern styles, including shaker cabinets.




Bin PullsBP202-polishedchrome-binpull

Also known as cup pulls, bin pulls are, basically, an upside down cup that you pull from underneath to open the cabinet. These are typically used in more traditional or vintage kitchens, though, they are less ornate than some traditional options. Bin pulls are known to be stable, sturdy and functional while adding a subtle touch of style without dominating the kitchen.





Back Plates

back plateBack plate knobs and pulls include a metal piece that sits flat against the cabinet or drawer and a knob that extends out from the plate. It’s the plate that makes these handles fancy. The back plate can be a very simple design or it can be incredibly intricate and offer an opportunity to do something very unique in your kitchen.




Drop Handles

drop-handles-back-plate-bidpro.co_With this type of handle, a pull hangs down, or dangles from a piece mounted to the cabinet. Traditionally, the dangling piece is round, however, other shapes are available to compliment a variety of styles. They are, however, less functional than other types of pulls and handles as you basically have to lift the dangling piece every time you open the cabinet. You may also scratch or damage the cabinet door over time by lifting and dropping the dangling portion of the handle. The upside, however, is a style that gives cabinets the look of furniture and a cozy feel to your kitchen.


Recessed Pulls

recessedThe ultimate in streamlining, recessed pulls are built into the cabinet door itself. Ideal for a modern or minimalist kitchen, these handles do not break the visual plane of your cabinets. They also eliminate the possibility of snagging your clothes on a handle, a particularly useful feature in a high-traffic or smaller kitchen. Obviously, some advance planning is required here and you can only add recessed pulls if you are replacing your cabinets or at least the cabinet doors, but if streamlined and modern is what you’re looking for, there’s no better choice.


Novelty Handles

creative-idea-for-cozy-diy-handles-for-kitchen-cabinetsIf you’re looking for something unique, artsy or quirky, take a look at the variety of novelty handles that are available. Maybe you want something natural, like a tree branch-shaped pull for your cabin, a seashell-shaped pull for your beach house or fork and knife-shaped pulls to highlight your culinary skills. If you can imagine it, chances are an artisan somewhere has created it.




Whether you play it safe or go bold, don’t overlook your kitchen handles. Don’t get overwhelmed either. The choices are almost infinite, but trust your instincts and find something that fits your style and gives you the functionality you want.

Over the centuries, fireplaces have evolved from functional necessities, required to keep us warm during colder months, to highlights of our homes. We still enjoy cozying up next to a roaring fire, but today’s fireplaces are as much decorative and architectural focal points as they are heat providers. In many older homes, they’re also dated. If that’s the case for your fireplace, consider giving it an update. Many options for brining your fireplace into the 21st century exist. Pick the one that’s right for your budget and your style and customize it to make it all your own.



painted_fireplace_finished_3Colour can have a dramatic impact on every part of your home and the fireplace is no exception. First, determine what, exactly, needs a colour update. Is it actually the fireplace itself, or would painting the surrounding wall, trim, moulding and mantle do the trick? Painting most fireplace materials, like brick, is essentially an irreversible process. Taking brick back to its original colour will be an incredibly arduous task for you or any future owner of your home. If you decide to take the plunge, be sure to clean the brick thoroughly before painting. Start with a wire brush to remove any loose dirt or dust. Then, apply a heavy-duty cleaner and allow the brick to dry thoroughly. Apply a stain-blocking primer and, finally, your top coat.





WhitewashWhitewashed fireplace IMG_6254

Another option is to whitewash your brick fireplace. This creates a more natural look than pure paint by allowing some of the natural colour and variations of the brick to show through. There are a number of techniques for whitewashing brick. Most involve either diluting paint with water or brushing paint on, then wiping the brick down to remove most of the paint. If possible, experiment on extra bricks or an inconspicuous spot. This will allow you to experiment with the paint-to-water ratio, how to wipe the paint off and how many coats to apply.



68_fireplace-after-tintingBrick fireplace surrounds can also be stained. While paint coats the brick and changes its texture, stain soaks into the brick. As with painting or whitewashing, the brick needs to be thoroughly clean before you start. Brick stain is available in a variety of colours. Choose one you like or choose several and stain different bricks different colours for variety. You can choose whether or not you want to stain the mortar in between the bricks.






Stone VeneerLedgestone-Veneer-fireplace-West-Mtn

Slightly more expensive and complicated than a paint job, but still reasonable, stone veneer installed over an existing surround, completely changes the look and feel of a fireplace without having to demolish it. Stone veneer covers the existing surround with a thin layer of manufactured stone, which mimics the look of real stone. The process requires preparing the surface and cutting the veneer to fit, although, it’s much easier to cut than natural stone. Mortar holds the stone in place and, in some installations, grout is installed between the stones.



Blues__Fireplace__Offset__Tile_600_447_84_intTile is another great way to cover up an old, dated fireplace. Tile allows you to incorporate your own personal style, whether it be subway tiles, more natural-look tile, hand-painted terra cotta or any of the other options available in tile. If you’re tiling over brick or another uneven surface, you’ll want to create a consistent substrate by applying a layer of thinset mortar to the surface. Set the tiles in another layer of mortar and finish by grouting between the tiles.




MantelAuburn shelf

A fireplace’s mantel is its crown. It can add tremendously to the overall impact your fireplace has no your home. In terms of materials, profiles and styles, the options are many. Depending on your style, a rustic, single piece of timber secured to the wall above the fireplace may fit the bill. Then again, an ornately carved wooden mantel that surrounds the top and sides of the fireplace may be a better fit. Not into wood? Stone, concrete or steel may be options for you.




Wall Treatments

559b6408-5e27-4974-9515-c1163740a83f_1000The impact of a fireplace need not end at the surround and mantel. In many stylish homes, the entire wall becomes a focal point with the fireplace at its center. Adjacent built-in shelving or cabinetry can be a great compliment to a fireplace. Paneling, wainscoting and moulding can be carried out from the mantel to expand the focal point. Dimensional wall panels are a modern version of paneling that many designers have utilized in more modern applications. When you’re planning your fireplace redesign, you don’t have to stop where the surround ends.





If it’s not already, your fireplace has the potential to be a major focal point in your home. It may not currently fit your personal style, but there are many options for updating it. Take the time to pick the one that’s right for you and bring that fireplace from drab and dated to the epicenter of your home.


Want to read more?

HGTV: 15 Ways to Refresh Your Fireplace on Any Budget

Bob Vila: How to: Whitewash Brick

This Old House: How to Tile a Fireplace Surround


In today’s fast-paced world, many homeowners opt for a walk-in shower rather than a bathtub when renovating their bathroom. The fact is, most of us take a quick shower much more frequently than we take a bath. Some of us, however, simply must have the option of a long, luxurious soak, even if we don’t do it that often. Additionally, most real estate experts agree that, for resale purposes, a home should have at least one bathtub. If the plan for your bathroom includes a new bathtub, your options are many, ranging from the inexpensive and easily installed to tubs with special features that require special considerations when installing. Choosing one that fits your style, your budget and your bathing needs is an important step in your renovation.



Let’s start with the materials that our bathtub could be made of. How important is durability to your family? What about style and the feel of the material? And, of course, your budget will come into play.



fiberglass-bathtub-1Marketed as fiberglass, these tubs are actually made of a combination of fiberglass and plastic. Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) is the technical term. During the manufacturing process, layers of fiberglass are formed into the shape of the bathtub and then coated with plastic. The result is an inexpensive, lightweight material that is easy to carry, work with and install. The downside is that it’s not as durable as other materials. Because fiberglass is inherently flexible, it does not have the stable feel that some people prefer in a bathtub. The finish easily fades, cracks and scratches.





A step up from FRP, these tubs can either be solid acrylic or they can have a fiberglass core. In either case, the
acrylic makes them more durable than FRP. Solid acrylic is slightly more expensive, but more durable. Because the colour is the same all the way through the product, scratches are less noticeable. Solid acrylic can also be molded into unique shapes with soap dishes, arm rests or other detailing. Like fiberglass, it is lightweight and easy to install.


Enameled Steel

enameled_steelIn the manufacturing process for these tubs, a thin sheet of steel is stamped into the shape of the tub. The steel is then coated with a layer of porcelain, resulting in high-end, stone-like feel. Because porcelain is resistant to most chemicals, these tubs can be easily cleaned over and over again while retaining their sheen. Negatives include the fact that the thin, porcelain surface can chip or crack when impacted, they are available in fewer shapes than fiberglass or acrylic and they are heavier and somewhat harder to work with.





Cast Ironcast-iron-tub-with-shower-cast-iron-tubs-american-standard-19a4f1c747aa86e3

Many older homes have cast iron tubs and, in most cases, they have not chipped, cracked, dented or faded over the years. That’s what happens when you form molten iron into the shape of a tub, smooth it and coat it with a thick porcelain enamel. Not only are these tubs durable and resistant to most cleaning chemicals, they offer a solid, luxurious feel that can not be matched by other materials and they retain the heat in your bath water better than any other material. The only downsides to cast iron tubs are their relatively high cost when compared to other types of tubs and their extreme weight, which requires not only additional labour, but reinforcement in the bathroom floor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are the most common materials for bathtubs, but if you want to look beyond the traditional, you do have other options. Manufacturers have begun making tubs out of solid surface materials, which are commonly used in countertops. Cultured marble tubs are made from crushed limestone finished with a gelcoat, creating a durable finish that is less expensive than cast iron. If you want to get really creative, you can make your tub from ceramic tile, though you’ll need to maintain the grout, or you can custom order a tub made from natural stone or even certain woods like teak.





Now, the fun part. It’s time to think about what style of tub you want. Find one that suits your personal aesthetic and also fits the dimensions of your bathroom.


Standard Bathtubsstandard tub

Typically built into the bathroom itself with walls or cabinetry surrounding it, standard tubs are rectangular shaped and are available in standard sizes. The most common size is 1.5m x 0.75m, however, other standard sizes are available if your bathroom has special dimensions. When selecting a standard tub, be sure to purchase one that has the drain on the right side and finished face on the right side so that it faces out.





claw footA freestanding tub is not built into the wall or cabinetry. Instead, as he name indicates, it stands on its own and can be a glamorous focal point of any bathroom. These tubs can sit flush against the floor, be raised up on a platform or stand on feet. One popular form of freestanding tub is the claw-foot tub, which offers a traditional look that has been popular through the ages.




Soaking TubsSoaking

Longer, wider and deeper than most tubs, soaking tubs can be a luxurious addition to any bathroom if space allows. Available in most of the materials mentioned above, these huge tubs can hold 200-300 liters of water. All of that water, plus the tub itself, particularly if it’s cast iron can stress floor joist. Make sure they are properly reinforced. Heating all that water can be beyond the capacity of a typical water heater. Consider installing an on-demand water heater if you choose a soaking tub.


Whirlpool Tubs

whirlpoolA tub with jets that shoot either recirculated bath water or air to create bubbles takes bathing to another level. Not only are you getting clean, but you’re getting a relaxing massage. Typically, the jets are housed behind the walls next to your tub and special installation is, therefore, required. When selecting a whirlpool tub, look for one with a powerful, but quiet motor and when installing it, allow for access to the internal parts for maintenance purposes.






If you’ve made the decision to install a tub, you’ll want to make sure it is one that will meet your expectations for durability and comfort. Understanding your options in terms of materials and style will help you do that. If  you’re not sure what type of bathtub you want, take a trip to the home store to touch and feel different kinds and learn as much as you can about each option. Every time you decide to pamper yourself with a nice, long bath, you’ll be glad you did.

If your kitchen needs an update, but you’re not ready to tear it down to the studs and start over, painting your existing cabinets can be a great way to create that fresh new look you’re looking for. Gone are the days when kitchen cabinets had to be stained a natural wood colour. The movement towards white cabinets has, in fact, been prevalent, particularly in more modern designs. A modern, white look, however, is far from your only choice if you’ve decided to paint your cabinets. With the right design choices, you’ll find a colour that matches the rest of the décor in your home, and your personal style.

red cabinets

If you’re taking on the project yourself, knowing what you’re getting into and what pitfalls to avoid will help bring your results from average to awesome! Simply plan your project, set aside the appropriate amount of time (and then add a little extra for the unexpected) and bring your kitchen from lifeless to spectacular.


Set Expectations

wood grainYour existing cabinets have certain characteristics that paint alone can not change. If you’re unhappy with design of the doors, for example, including mouldings and/or engravings, you may want to consider other options. The grain of the wood is also something you’re going to have to address. If the wood had visible grain, it will most likely remain visible after the paint has been applied. Your options are to fill the grain with wood putty, which can be a time consuming, laborious process, or embrace the grain; make it part of the design. It won’t be as prominent as before you painted, but it can be toned down so that it adds character without being overpowering.





Remove and Label Doors, Drawers and Hardwareremoving doors

Your kitchen cabinetry includes a number of moving parts and trying to paint everything in place will almost certainly lead to  failure. Anything that moves will start to peel and chip within a short time of you completing the paint job. Instead, remove all the doors. A screwdriver or drill set to reverse are the only tools you will need. Then, remove all the hinges and handles from the doors. Likewise for the drawers, pull them out and remove the drawer pulls. Equally as important, label everything. You’ll have a much easier time reassembling your painted kitchen if you simply affix a piece of masking tape to the back of each piece, write a number on it and a corresponding number on the inside of the cabinet it belongs to.


Sand Every Surface

sanding doorsCarefully inspect your newly disassembled cabinets, including the pieces you removed and sand every surface that will be painted. This is a requirement even if your cabinets are in perfect condition. The purpose is to prep the surface so that the paint will adhere better. You do not need to expose bare wood across the entire surface. Simply use a 120 – 150 grit sandpaper and buff the surface. A hand-held power sander will save time and wear and tear on your arms, but it is not required.




Sanding, while a vital step, also generates a large amount of dust. Just a few dust particles can make an otherwise quality paint job look gritty and bumpy. Vacuum the surfaces to be painted and remove as much dusts as possible from the rest of the room as possible so that stray particles are not flying around while you paint.




Clean the Wood

cleaningYou may think you’re done prepping, but you’re not quite ready for paint yet. You’ll need to clean the wood with a quality degreaser. The point of this step is as much to neutralize the effects of any remaining stain, varnish or paint as it is to clean the surface. Without a degreaser, the new coat of paint will not adhere properly to the surface.




Don’t Skip the Primerprimer

Now that you’ve put so much work into your cabinets, it’s tempting to get your chosen colour on there and see how it looks. A primer coat, however, is vitally important, particularly when painting wood. Without it, your cabinets will look beautiful for a few months, but over time, the knots in the wood will show through and other stains, whether from the natural oils of the wood itself or from the prior coats of stain, varnish or paint, will make themselves known. A high quality stain-blocking primer is well worth the investment of time and money.


Pick the Right Colour

Colour2OK, we’re finally ready to get the colour on the cabinets. It’s an exciting moment. Caution, once again, however, will lead to better, longer-lasting results. Assuming you don’t want to redo this project in a few months, let’s make sure you’re happy with the colour. Purchase a sample of the paint you want to use (most paint stores make them available inexpensively). Side note: Choosing a quality paint is worth it. It will give you a smoother finish and the typical kitchen requires less than two gallons of paint, so the overall expense is not astronomical.

Purchase a sample of the paint you want to use (most paint stores make them available inexpensively). Paint a large piece of poster board.  Hold the poster board up against your countertops, backsplash, flooring and walls. Take a look at the light hits it at various times of day and with different lights in the kitchen turned on and off. Keep in mind that paints are available in different finishes from flat to high gloss. The peace-of-mind you get in taking this step will give you confidence as you apply the actual paint to the cabinets and a higher degree of certainty that you’ll be happy with the results.


Time to Paint!Colour

A paint brush and roller will produce high quality results. If you’re confident with a sprayer, that’s another option. Assuming you’re going with brushes and rollers, paint any recessed or raised areas, such as mouldings, first with a brush. Then, go back and paint the remaining surface with a roller. If you’re using a sprayer, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area, mask off any adjacent areas that you don’t want to paint and apply an even coat across all surfaces. Once all coats have fully cured, reassemble the cabinets, reinstall the knobs and pulls (new ones if you want to change the look even more) and you’ve successfully painted your cabinets!


Want to read more?

HGTV: Best Way to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Good Housekeeping: 11 Big Mistakes You Make Painting Kitchen Cabinets


Clutter. To some degree, we all have it around our house. Seasonal items, coats, extra pairs of shoes, toiletries and kitchenwares are all things that we want to store away, but also access at a moment’s notice. Your home, meanwhile, may not have been built to conveniently store all of that stuff, particularly if it is older. Assuming that moving to a large, newly constructed home with multiple walk-in closets and storage rooms on every floor is not a consideration, you’ll need to retrofit your home to maximise storage. Whether you are planning a major renovation or simply want to find space to stow away a few items, the opportunities to add storage are all around your home if you know where to look.


1. Look Under the Stairs

UnderStairYou’ve probably heard this before: the space under the stairs is an often overlooked storage opportunity. The fact is, however, that under-stair storage does not need to be a simple closet door that has been cut to mirror the angle of the stairs. Custom under-stair storage can be designed to meet your very specific needs. Pull-out storage bins, shoe-racks and drawers can all be incorporated into under-stair storage. Another option is to include a closet that, unlike the other closets in your house, can have an opening the full height of your ceiling, making it ideal for storing ladders or other tall items.  Cleverly designed under-stair storage does not need to be unattractive. It can, in fact, become part of the décor by looking like wainscoting or paneling when closed.





2. Check Under the Bedcarvel-oak-underbed-drawers

Many of us stash things under our beds. Whether or not we make the most of that storage space, however, and how well-organized that space is, is another question. Your organization effort may start with a few low-profile bins purchased from the local discount store. To take it to another level, though, build a bed that has compartmentalized storage built into it. Drawers that pull out from under the bed can store a vast amount of clothes, shoes or whatever items you see fit. If you have high ceilings, consider putting your bed up on a high platform, with built-in steps to access it if necessary, to allow for even more storage space.


3. Go Over and Around the Bed

AroundBed2Storage opportunities in the bedroom go far beyond the space under your bed. Building cabinetry around your headboard not only adds storage, it can add a cozy, comfortable feel to your bed. Moving out from there, you can place storage behind a bed or even on the ceiling above it. Children’s beds are particularly suited to these storage solutions.




4. Climb Under the Eavesunder_eave

The rooms on your top floor, and possibly other floors or your home, are likely to have slanted ceilings. The space under the eaves that is less than a meter high cannot be considered living space, but it can certainly be utilised for storage. As with other storage solutions, under-eave storage can be built to suit your needs. Stash things out of site by building doors that lead to a vast closet, be a little more compartmentalised with a set of built-in drawers, or put books or other items on display with open shelving.



5. Build Out

BuildOutWe tend to think of closets and storage spaces as needing to be tucked into the corners or recesses of our home. That doesn’t always need to be the case. In spacious rooms, stealing a few square feet of space can allow you to create all the storage you need. Full-height and full-width built-ins can be added to blank walls, or you can construct them around a fireplace or even windows. These can take the shape of shelves to house display items or cabinets to stash away items that you want to place out of site. You can even add a built-in desk, bench or reading nook in the space under a window that can function as both storage and work space.





6. Look Up above_door

The space above your head is not functional. Of course, that space is what allows light and airiness to enter any space and you therefore don’t want to fill it with stuff. In certain cases, however, it can accommodate storage without being in the way. Above doors and windows is one place to look. In bathrooms, for example, a shelf placed over the entry door can hold towels and toiletries. In a small bedroom, a similar shelf can hold books. Get creative in the dining room and put shelving over a window to display plates, decorative glasses or other display items.



7. Go Mobile

white-kitchen-with-dark-portable-kitchen-island-on-wheelsIf you’re challenged for space, you may not have room for a permanent, built-in storage structure. If that’s the case, you can, literally, put your storage on wheels. Simple casters mounted to a storage piece can do wonders. Kitchen islands are a desirable feature, for example, but if your kitchen can’t accommodate one, put an island on casters and you can enjoy the functionality of an island while you’re cooking and roll it out of the way when you’re done. In other rooms, a full-height closet can be mounted on casters and moved around in order to divide the space as needed. Mobile units provide not only storage, but flexibility.





Tucking away your clutter can be a challenge, but if you’re creative and resourceful, you can find solutions, even if you live in an older home that was not designed for maximum storage. If you’re considering renovating your home, take the time to design storage into your plan. If you’re working with a home renovation company, ask them to advise on how best to incorporate the storage that suits your needs.  If you need to find storage without undergoing a major renovation project, look around your home for opportunities to add storage. With a little bit of ingenuity, you may very well find that your storage need can be met without having to move or take on a large project.

The shower screen in your bathroom is something that you’re likely to look at, open and close every day. You, or somebody else, will also have to clean it from time to time. This means you should give both its appearance and functionality proper consideration before installing it. Knowing your options in advance, and how they fit your tastes and your lifestyle, will help narrow down your choices when selecting a shower screen.



What Shape is the Shower?

new-angleYour shower screen may be a simple square or rectangular shape. This configuration allows for the most bathing space. If, however, you are looking to save space, you may want to consider placing a neo-angle shower screen in the corner of your bathroom. Neo-angle showers typically contain a single door placed in the centre and installed to open to the left or right depending upon the layout of the bathroom. A curved screen can be installed in a corner in order to save space.







Frame or Frameless?Framed-shower-enclosure

A framed shower screen utilises a metal outer frame to hold up thin glass and secure it to the adjacent wall. The colour and finish of the metal frame can match the finish of the hardware in the rest of the bathroom. Where the frame meets the glass, however, can be a place for soap scum and hard water residue to collect, creating a cleaning concern.
Frameless-Pivot-Glass-Shower-DoorsFrameless shower screens do not require the support of a frame because they are made of thicker glass. They are secured to the wall by small but sturdy metal wall mounts. The resulting product offers a sleeker, more modern look than a framed enclosure, as well as a surface that is more easily cleaned. Additionally, frameless shower screens can be customized to meet specific dimensions or shapes. Frameless shower screens, however, are typically more expensive than framed versions.






What About the Doors?

curved shower doorYour shower screen door can open into your bathroom or into the shower area. If neither is an option, consider sliding doors, where two doors slide past each other on a track and require no additional space.

How do the doors open? If not sliding doors, you can use traditional hinges where the shower doors open like most of the other doors in your house.

The pivot hinge is a more modern option that, when mounted on the left- or right-hand side of the door allows it to pivot 180 degrees into the shower or out into the bathroom. A centre mounted pivot hinge enables the door to pivot 360 degrees.





What Type of Glass is Best?Glass-Shower-Enclosure-etched-glass-design

Depending on the level of privacy you are looking for in your shower and the style you are after, you can select
clear, etched or frosted glass. It can also be textured or patterned to add interest. You may not want glass at all. Acrylic shower screens are available in a variety of colours, including clear. These are not as durable as glass, however, and require special cleaners so that they don’t discolour.





etched_glass_shower_doors_bonita_springsWhether you have taken on a full gut renovation of your bathroom or are simply looking to quickly freshen up its look, the right shower screen will add style and functionality to the space. Take the time to find the one that fits your personal taste and your lifestyle requirements and you will be happy you did every time you shower.

You may think wallpaper is a dated concept. You may have spent hours and hours scraping it off the walls of your home. Before you jump to any conclusions, however, you may want to take a look at what manufacturers and designers are dong with wallpaper today. It’s being installed in homes that range from the most traditional to the ultramodern. It can be used not only to add colour and patterns to otherwise plain walls, but it can also bring texture into a home. You can even make it part of your lighting plan with wallpaper that has LED lights embedded into it!


The style of wallpaper you choose is only part of the story. How and where you use it will go a long way towards determining the impact wallpaper can have on your home design. The options go far beyond simply covering all four walls of a room in paper.

Accent Wall

bedroom-wallpaper-accent-wall-1-designsCreating an accent wall is a time-honored technique used by designers to draw the eye to a certain part of a room, highlight an architectural feature or add some drama to an otherwise drab space. Wallpaper opens up a world of options for accent walls that simply can not be achieved with paint alone. If you find a pattern that you love, but can’t picture it throughout the entire room, put it on only one wall. Still too much? Choose a wall that’s out-of-the-way or one that you don’t look at as often like the one behind your bed’s headboard.




Framed Wallpaperframeddining

The patterns on some wallpapers are so beautiful and intricate, they are, literally works of art. Why not treat them that way and frame out sections of wallpaper with moulding. Think outside the box here. You can use a beautifully patterned wallpaper, but maps of the places you’ve visited, whether historic or modern make very attractive wallpaper, as do the pages of your favorite book.




Faux-Wainscoting-WallpaperWallpaper installed on the bottom third of a wall can create a dramatic wainscoting. Patterned wallpaper can be especially useful here. You can choose to add colour as well as texture or texture alone with a white wallpaper and white walls. Run a strip of chair rail moulding along the top of the wallpaper an you’ll create a beautiful effect much more easily than you could by installing wood wainscoting.





Shelving Accentwpshelving

Adding a dramatic backdrop behind shelving, whether built-in or freestanding is a great way to draw attention the items stored on those shelves. You could opt to simply use a contrasting paint colour here, but wallpaper, once again, opens up a world of options. It’s a great opportunity to experiment with wallpaper without making the big commitment of covering an entire wall.



Transitional Spaces

modern-staircaseWallpaper can be particularly impactful in transitional spaces like stairwells and hallways. In many cases, the stairwell is the most vertically visible space in the home. This creates an opportunity to add drama with bold patterns and colours. In long hallways with vast, uninterrupted spaces, large, bold patterns add drama. In smaller hallways where the wall space is broken up by a series of close-together doors, a smaller, repeating pattern can add beauty and interest.





The ceilings in our homes are often overlooked, but they can be a great opportunity to add interest. Wallpaper on the ceiling can create a dramatic contrast with the adjacent walls. It can also help to highlight a beautiful chandelier or other lighting fixture. When done right, a wallpapered ceiling can draw the eye upward and make a room seem either larger or more cozy depending on your preference.


Walk-In Closets

pink-and-silver-damask-walk-in-closet-wallpaperYour walk-in closet is all yours. Your guests may see it when you give them a tour of your home, but for the most part, it’s your personal space. You start every day by going into it to get dressed. Why not dress it up with a patterned wallpaper that makes you happy? It’s a great opportunity to experiment with style. Who knows? You may discover that you want to add splashes of style elsewhere in your home using wallpaper.


Wallpaper can be bold, it can be intricate or it can be understated. When you’re designing your home, don’t be afraid to experiment with it. Wallpaper lets you create styles that can not be equaled by any painting technique. If you’re working with a designer, don’t be scared off if they want to use wallpaper in their design. If you’re creating your own design, keep wallpaper in mind when you want to add interest to a room or a specific spot within a room.



Want to read more?

Houzz: 13 Creative Ways with Patterned Wallpaper

Choosing custom cabinetry over stock cabinets gives homeowners the ability to create a kitchen uniquely suited to their style and the décor of their home. Custom cabinets can be made to blend with the millwork, furniture and other features of your home in a way that off-the-shelf cabinets simply cannot. In addition, custom cabinet makers are not limited by the standard sizes or materials that large-scale cabinet manufacturers offer. This lets them make full use of the storage space in your kitchen and create both an appearance and functionality that is truly one-of-a-kind. Building and installing custom cabinets, however, is a much more complicated process than selecting and installing stock cabinets. You will want to take extra care in selecting your cabinet maker. The task doesn’t end when you’ve made your choice either. You’ll also want to work closely with the contractor you select and clearly communicate what you are looking for so that you are both satisfied at the end of the project.


Start with Your Network

Custom-Kitchen-Cabinets-Cherry-Wood-IslandThere’s no better way to start your search for a custom cabinet maker than with your social network. Ask friends and family who have hired cabinet makers for references. If they had a stellar experience, they’ll be more than happy to refer you to their contractor. Don’t stop there. Ask them about their experience. Was there anything they didn’t like about the process or the end result? Is there anything they would have done differently? The answers to these questions will help in your selection process and beyond.




Check Work Samplescustom-kitchen-cabinets-2

As you begin your selection process, be sure to ask each cabinet maker for samples of their past work. Any quality cabinet contractor will be able to provide photos of their past work, either on their web site or in person. Inquire about work done several years ago. How well has it held up? Have the doors, literally, fallen off the hinges? The further back you can go into your cabinet maker’s past experience, the more comfortable you will be.


Check References

209178993fae09f188de3b0aa974bf49Ask your cabinet maker for at least three references from people they’ve built cabinets for. As with the work samples, if you can check references from projects done several years ago, that will speak to the durability of the work. If possible, make arrangements to go see some of the cabinet maker’s recent projects in person. There’s no match for seeing, touching and feeling actual cabinets. You can also research your cabinet maker online. What type of reviews and comments do you find? Keep in mind that unhappy customers are more likely to post negative comments than happy customers are to post positive ones, but poor reviews are certainly a warning sign.






Ask About Doorscustom-white-kitchen-cabinets-po8vowdow

Many cabinet professionals who label themselves “custom” use off-the-shelf cabinet doors. This reduces the overall quality of the product. The doors are the most functional part of any cabinet. While the rest of the cabinet certainly needs to be solid and stable, it’s the door that actually moves. Your doors, as well as hardware items like hinges, slides and locks, need to be high quality to ensure that your cabinets don’t break down over time. Confirm with your cabinet maker that they build their own doors and use quality hardware.


Be Upfront About Budget

custom-kitchen-cabinets-1You’ll want to know early on how your cabinet maker charges. Do they work on an hourly fee? Do they charge by the linear foot? Or by the project? What about materials? How much do exotic hardwoods cost compared to more common species? What type of construction do you prefer – frameless, inset or face frame – and how does that impact the price? A huge variety of things can impact the price of a custom cabinetry project. Don’t hesitate to ask your cabinet maker to walk you through all the alternatives. A good policy is to clearly communicate your maximum up front. A quality contractor will work within your budget and advise on the best ways to stay within it.



Communicate Often During the Design ProcessKitchen-wood-cabinets-design-rendering

The more you communicate with your cabinet maker during the design process, the happier you will be at the end of the project. Part of your selection process, in fact, should be to find out how much input your supplier is willing to take. Ideally, they’ll be very patient with you and carefully incorporate your input into their design. Ultimately, a picture is worth a thousand words, and many cabinet makers now use specialised software not only to plan and lay out your kitchen, but to create photorealistic renderings of what your kitchen will look like. To take it a step further, touching actual materials is even better than seeing a rendering. You should get samples of the wood as well as all the hardware. Keep in mind that cabinets are not the only element of your kitchen. They will need to tie in with flooring, countertops, backsplash and lighting, among other items. A quality cabinet maker will consider your entire kitchen – not just the cabinets.


Cabinets are, perhaps, the most functional part of a kitchen. They not only store your kitchen wares, they also provide access to them, meaning that they must open and close frequently. Building such important items from scratch is no small feat, but by carefully choosing a cabinet maker, and working with them throughout the design and construction process, you can build a kitchen that suits you perfectly and is, literally, unlike any other kitchen in the world.


If you’re renovating or redesigning your bathroom, the basin is very likely front and center in the layout. You want something that represents your style and fits the décor of the room. Basically, it has to look good.  Not only will it be highly visible, it will also be heavily used by everyone who enters the space, whether they be guests, family members, children or adults, so it has to be functional too. This presents yet another decision you need to make during the renovation process, and one that you will have to live with for the long term. A quality home renovation company will make recommendations for you and provide design services, but ultimately, the decision is yours. Fear not… simply keep the following considerations in mind to find the basin that works best for you.





Start with style. The number of basin designs that are available can be staggering. Narrow them down by looking only at basins that match the overall style of your bathroom. Are you going for a classic look with clean, straight lines or perhaps something more minimalist? Maybe you want something more organic with soft, rounded edges and lines. Knowing what style you are generally looking for in advance will cut down on the amount of time required to choose the perfect basin.





Don’t fall for the best looking basin you see without asking yourself a few questions first. Who’s going to be using the bathroom and how? Are children going to be splashing around and, if so, is the basin large enough and deep enough to keep water off the floor? Or maybe your basin is going into a guest bath that is only lightly used by adults. In that case, you might want to go all in on style and select a basin that is an absolute work of art, but may not have the capacity of a larger one. Can you picture yourself comfortably using the basin in your master bath multiple times per day? If so, it’s the right one for you.






Our bathrooms are, almost without exception, the smallest rooms in our homes and they need to hold anywhere between two and five sizeable fixtures – tub, shower, toilet and up to two basins. For that reason alone, size is an important consideration when selecting a basin. You want one that is large enough to perform, but not so large that it prohibits you from moving around the space.

It’s not just the size of the basin that counts either. It might be part of a vanity and not all vanities are created equal. Standard vanities are either 45cm deep or 53cm deep and in a small bathroom that can make a significant difference. In a spacious master bathroom, on the other hand, two basins mounted on one vanity are the norm. Or, there may be no vanity at all. The most space-saving basins are mounted directly to the wall or freestanding.





Speaking of mounting, how your basin is mounted is another important consideration. If it is mounted on a vanity, there are a few different variations. An above-the-counter basin, as the name suggests, sits entirely on top of the vanity and has sides that hold in the water. Taller peopletend to appreciate these as the overall height of the basin is higher. An under-mount basin is secured to the underside of the countertop with a hole cut into the countertop to match the shape of the basin. A self-rimming basin is similar to an under-mount, however, its rim extends to cover a portion of the countertop, which helps to control spills.




While vanities can add a tremendous amount of storage space to a bathroom, wall-mounted basins typically work better in more space-constrained bathrooms or in situations where storage is less of a concern. Wall-mounted basins can sit atop a pedestal, which partially supports the basin and also conceals the plumbing. Or the wall can completely support the basin and a shroud can be used to conceal the plumbing. Freestanding basins, perhaps the most elegant of all, can stand away from the wall with the plumbing coming up through the floor.






Without a tap, your basin simply isn’t functional, and when selecting a basin, you will need to know what type of tapware goes with it. Perhaps your tapware will be mounted to the wall (a great way to save a few cm’s of space) or to the vanity. If that’s the case, your basin won’t require any holes. If, however, the tapware is to be mounted to the sink, you will need one, two, or three holes. One hole will accommodate a basin mixer, which combines the faucet and the hot/cold controls into one fixture. This is a more modern option that allows for control of the water temperature with a single touch. Two holes will accommodate pillar taps, a more traditional option in which hot and cold water flows from separate taps. Three holes will accommodate three-piece tapware – a tap and separate hot and cold controls. Again, it is important to consider not only style here, but the type of tap you can picture yourself using numerous times per day.


Don’t let selecting a basin for your bathroom become yet another daunting decision in your remodel. Start with the basins in your style category and move from there to find the one that’s just right for you. Give the basin ample consideration and you’ll find one that you’re pleased to see and use day after day even years after your renovation is complete.

Lighting can have a dramatic impact on your home. The direction in which it is cast, the hue it gives off, its brightness and how it is controlled are all considerations that affect your life, in some small way, every single day. Your mood can be changed, completing tasks can be made simpler and your home can be made more efficient with the right lighting plan. A major home renovation is, among many other things, an opportunity to add lighting to your home that goes beyond being functional. It sets the right mood, highlights your home’s features and, ultimately, becomes part of its character. Today’s homes contain lighting options that we could not have dreamed of just a short time ago.



beautiful-t5-grow-light-fixtures-1-led-light-fixtures-550-x-360Improvements in LED (light-emitting diode) technology have opened up a world of opportunities to lighting designers. The relative small size of LEDs compared to traditional light bulbs have made it so that they can be incorporated into fixtures in more and more interesting ways. In addition, LEDs give off much less heat than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs and can, therefore, be put in places you may not have thought possible. From LED strips to cleverly shaped lamps, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what can be done. Perhaps, most importantly, the lifespan of LEDs is extremely long and they consume much less energy than traditional bulbs, making them environmentally friendly.






OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) take LED technology to an even higher level. Less bright than LEDs, OLEDs are made up of a thin, flexible film of carbon-based material that emits light when electricity is applied to it. Additionally, they do not require the reflectors and diffusers that LEDs do. This, combined with their flexibility, means they can be incorporated into an incredible array of fixtures. When it comes to setting the mood, the light emitted by OLEDs is very soft and diffused compared to most other light sources and is said to be the closest thing to natural light since old-fashioned incandescents.



greenLighting does not need just be white and bright anymore. LEDs and other light sources are now available from lighting manufacturers that give homeowners the ability to cast light in a myriad of different colours. Choose colours that fit your style or match your furnishings. Fixtures are even available that let you change the colour of light based on your mood. Go with simple white while cleaning or completing household tasks, then change to a warmer hue when it’s time to relax or add splashes of colour while you’re hosting a party.







Meet the light bulb speaker, lighting that’s about more than just light. These amazing LED bulbs have Bluetooth speakers built right into them. Control volume, brightness and colour from a smart phone app or a wireless remote. Now, when you’re setting the mood, you can play music that suits the moment from the same device that casts the mood lighting.



High Tech Systems

wink-relayOnce upon a time, lights offered two options; on and off. Then, dimmers were introduced and you could control the brightness of your light. Today’s modern homes are designed with complete lighting systems that adapt to suit the lifestyle of the homeowner. Press “cook” on your programmable wall panel to illuminate the task lighting in your kitchen. Press “bedtime” to have the light in your bedrooms slowly fade to black. Enter “vacation” mode to have lights randomly turn on and off at varying times of day. Want to control it all remotely? Install a smart phone app that syncs up with the system. Then, you can set the lights the way you want while you’re out and come home to a perfectly lit environment.






You may have thought planning the lighting for your home renovation would be a simple process, but spending a little extra time choosing the right fixtures and technology will dramatically improve the final results and increase your enjoyment of your home. The home lighting industry has evolved rapidly in recent years, creating some very exiting options for homeowners. Smart home renovators will choose the options that suit their lifestyle perfectly.


Want to read more?

House Logic: How to Enhance Your Life and Home with Lighting

OLED Lighting: Introduction and Market Status


You’ve decided to install timber flooring. Excellent choice. Nothing adds a touch of warmth quite like hardwood. It’s durable and even when it does become scratched or worn, many types of timber flooring can be refinished and restored to their original beauty. For those reasons, it has become the flooring of choice for homeowners all over the world.


Now it’s time to select a timber floor product. Flooring is milled from a wide variety of species, each of which look slightly different and offer varying degrees of hardness and durability. In addition, there are a variety of ways to manufacture timber flooring. Basically, they all fit into one of two categories; engineered or solid. Let’s start there and break down the differences between the engineered and solid timber flooring options that are out there.



engineered_profileEngineered flooring consists of multiple layers of wood adhered together. The interior layers are typically plywood and the top layer is a veneer that provides the desired appearance. Many people presume solid flooring is superior to engineered flooring, but it actually offers both advantages and disadvantages compared to solid flooring.

It’s more resistant to moisture. No wood floor will stand up to being completely soaked with water, but in damp or humid environments, engineered flooring is the best choice. It was, in fact, invented so that homeowners could install timber flooring over concrete slabs, which give off more moisture than other subfloors. Over the years, as manufacturers have created more and more varieties, engineered flooring has found its way into many parts of the home.

installIt’s often easier to install. Most solid flooring is installed with a tongue-and-groove process, which hides the nails and requires specialized equipment if not a professional installer. Some engineered floors, on the other hand, are glued down. Others utilize a “floating” system that enables them to be interlocked with each other with no gluing or nailing required. Additionally, because it is available in a variety of thicknesses, it is often easier to manage transitions with other flooring types in adjacent rooms.

It can be refinished (sometimes). The thickness of an engineered floor will determine whether or not it can be refinished. The veneer layer on better quality floors is typically between 2mm and 6mm. Those can be refinished at least once. Thinner veneers can not.

bolivian_rosewood_RSIt’s environmentally friendly. While the toxicity of the adhesives used to manufacture engineered flooring are something you should pay attention to when selecting a product, engineered floors typically have a smaller impact on the environment than solid timber flooring, particularly when it comes to exotic species. It takes fewer Bolivian Rosewood trees, for example, to make a 2mm veneer than it does a 2cm solid plank.

It’s less expensive. What ultimately becomes the bottom line for homeowners looking for the look and feel of wood, engineered flooring is almost always cheaper than solid alternatives.



solid_profileNo matter how far engineered timber flooring technology advances, some homeowners just have to have solid wood underfoot. If it’s a quality product and it’s installed correctly, you can’t go wrong. It can be refinished multiple times, if necessary, and it can last, literally, hundreds of years. There are a few things you should know, however.

It can warp. – Solid timber is more susceptible to the effects of moisture and contraction and expansion than engineered products. For that reason, most companies do not mill solid planks wider than 15cm. Additionally, professional installers will leave space for expansion underneath the baseboard moulding.

It can’t go everywhere. Most manufacturers recommend that the home’s relative humidity remain between 45% and 65% in order to prevent warping. Additionally, it should only be installed above grade and it requires a wood subfloor.

installation-hardwood-floorInstallation can be tricky. Solid timber flooring is attached to the subfloor with a tongue-and-groove system. The tongue of each board holds the nails, which are driven in at an angle, and the groove of the next board covers the tongue so that the nails are hidden. The process requires a specialized flooring nailer. A confident do-it-yourselfer can successfully complete an installation, however, make sure you have the right equipment and are ready for the job.





bamboo-flooring-cost1Bamboo flooring has become an increasingly popular choice in recent years. Flooring companies have manufactured beautiful flooring from this renewable resource and consumers have responded by adding it to their homes. The process consists of adhering strands of bamboo together under high pressure. The end result is a quality product, but as with other types of flooring, there are a few things to be aware of.


It’s more water resistant than solid timber. Bamboo does not warp as easily as solid hardwood, but it is not quite as stable as engineered flooring.

bamboo planksIt’s softer than hardwood. Bamboo is inherently softer than other flooring materials. Depending on the manufacturing process, however, it can be made more or less durable. Natural, uncarbonized bamboo is typically stronger than carbonized bamboo. The carbonization both makes the bamboo darker and weakens it structurally.

It can be refinished. Like solid timber, bamboo flooring can be sanded and refinished. The thicker the plank, the more times it can be refinished.

Environmentally friendly. As with engineered flooring, buyers should be aware of the adhesives used during the manufacturing process and their toxicity levels. In terms of carbon footprint, however, bamboo stands out because it is made from a raw material that has been known to group up to 10cm within 24 hours.

Whether you choose engineered flooring, solid timber or bamboo, you can have a beautiful floor that will stay that way for decades, if not longer. With all three product types, choose a quality product, install it properly and the results will thrill you.

Want to read more?

Houzz: When to use Engineered Flooring

About.com: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Bamboo Floors

When you’re renovating a kitchen, it can feel like the price tag creeps up with every decision you make.  From countertops to flooring to cabinets, it’s easy to fall in love with a style or material that doesn’t necessarily fit into your budget. In this article, we’ll take a look at one element in particular that’s often overlooked – cabinet doors and drawers.

Brown Kitchen Cabs


solid wood



How cabinet doors are made, and what they’re made of, impacts price. Solid wood is preferred by many homeowners, and for good reason. It’s durable and attractive. Before you spring for the solid wood doors, though, it’s important to know your options.





MDF, or medium density fibreboard, is considered by many to be even more durable than solid wood. It wears well and creates an alternative worth considering. You won’t get the wood grain that you get with solid wood or other products, but it’s less expensive and if you’re painting your cabinets white or another colour, MDF is a great solution.

plywoodPlywood doors provide great stability along with the wood grain sought after in more traditional kitchens. It can also be used in combination with solid wood to reduce costs while maintaining the durability and appearance of solid wood.






Veneer doors consist of a substrate made of plywood, particle board or another material with a thin layer of wood or other material pressure glued to its surface. Depending on what exactly that substrate is made of, veneer doors can be less stable and they are typically less durable because if the veneer is punctured, the substrate is exposed. The upside is reduced cost. Choose a wood veneer and you can often achieve a better, more consistent grain pattern than you can with solid wood. Veneer will also bring more species of wood into your budget range than solid wood. You can also choose a melamine veneer in either a smooth or textured finish.



Inset vs. Overlay

Remington-Inset-beauty-lgAn inset door fits within the cabinet box so that surface of the door is flush with the surface of the cabinet. When cabinets were handcrafted, this is how it was done. Today, in order to get that level of precision, you’re going to pay a little more. This type of door may not be what you want, however. The hinges are exposed when the door is closed, a downside for anyone looking for a cleaner look. Also, inset doors result in slightly less space inside the cabinet or drawer.




partial overlay

Overlay cabinet doors are mounted on the face of the cabinet box so that they completely cover the cabinet opening and overlap onto the face frame of the cabinet. This allows the hardware to be completely hidden when the doors are closed. Variations on overlay doors include partial overlays, which overlap the cabinet box, but leave part of it exposed. This can result in a less contiguous appearance than either inset doors or the other overlay option, the full overlay.



full-overlay-cabinet-doors-2565-custom-kitchen-cabinet-design-part-1-408-x-244With a full overlay, the cabinet doors and drawers completely overlap the face frame. This allows for the maximum amount of space inside the cabinet. Like the inset doors, however, a high degree of precision, and hence an increased cost, is required in both in the manufacturing and installation of this type of cabinet. The smallest miscalculation will cause the doors to collide with each other or not completely cover cabinet face.




Door Style

build-beadboard-kitchen-cabinet-doorsGenerally speaking, the more intricate style of door you choose, the more expensive it will be. If your style tends to be more modern, choose a flat panel door, which as the name suggests, consist of a single, flat panel. From there you can add whatever level of intricacy you see fit. Shaker style doors or mission style doors are very popular and can range from the more clean and modern when painted to slightly more traditional when stained. Moving toward the more traditional, beadboard patterns have been around for centuries. Raised panel doors feature slightly more dimension and detail and arched cathedral doors add yet another level of intricacy. This is by no means a complete list. Take the time to find the right cabinet doors that fit both your style and your budget.


Accessories and Hardware


From drawer organizers to wine racks to lazy Susans and beyond, there’s virtually no limit to the number of kitchen storage gadgets on the market. This is a place where you can really add efficiency and functionality to your kitchen, but it’s also a place where your budget can slip away from you. Carefully consider the accessories you’ll get the most use out of. You can also look at soft close hinges, which prevent doors from slamming and an incredibly wide variety of pulls, knobs and bars. The decisions can seem endless at time, but stay true to your style and take the time to carefully consider how everything fits together and these items will add character to your kitchen without breaking the budget.




Cabinet doors are important to any kitchen design. They’re, quite literally, the face of your cabinets and, in many ways, your kitchen. They also need to function properly over the lifespan of your kitchen. Understanding what goes into their construction will help guide you through this part of the decision making process during your kitchen renovation.


Want to read more?

Houzz: Learn the Lingo of Kitchen Cabinet Door Styles

Cabinets.com: Cabinet Door Styles

Bob Vila: Cabinet Door Styles: What’s Yours?


The toilet. It’s a necessary fixture in every bathroom, it’s functional, it’s utilitarian, and it’s often large and in your face as soon as you enter the bathroom. But it doesn’t have to be…not anymore. The fact is, the plumbing and inner workings that a toilet requires takes up a certain amount of space, but manufacturers have come up with ingenious ways of minimising that amount of space without sacrificing comfort or functionality. In the process, they’ve created toilets that look different from their predecessors and they’ve given designers an ever-widening array of options and allowed them to create comfort and style in smaller and smaller spaces. Let’s take a look at some of the solutions for space-saving toilets.


Compact Toilets

The first thing to do, in minimising the amount of space that a toilet requires, is to simply compress the dimensions of a traditional toilet. Creative manufacturers have had much success in creating toilets that fit all the elements of a regular commode into smaller and smaller packages. One place they frequently look is the tank. That big, boxy square on the back of many toilets does not necessarily need to be big, boxy or square. It can be rounded around the back of the toilet, thin and more vertical or a combination of both.







Corner ToiletsCorner Toilet

Another great solution for that big, bulky tank is to, literally, stick it in the corner. Designers often struggle with how to best utilise corner spaces in bathrooms and the corner toilet provides a great solution that both minimizes the amount of space that a tank takes up and makes great use of an otherwise under-utilised corner.







Wall-Mounted Toilets

If you still need to save some space in your bathroom layout, how about stashing the tank inside the wall? Wall mounted toilets are tremendous space savers and, as opposed to floor-mounted models, you can mount them at a height that is comfortable for you. While they utilise a similar gravity-fed system as traditional toilets, installation is slightly more complicated. The tank needs to be mounted on a frame inside the wall and requires a different type of sewer line than traditional toilets.




Tankless Toiletstankless

To take it step further, you even have the option of eliminating the tank altogether. Rather than using gravity, like toilets with tanks do, these models rely on an electric pump to initiate the flushing process. With the pump typically concealed inside the wall and a wall-mounted button to operate it, tankless toilets look very little like their traditional counterparts and fit particularly well in modern bathrooms. They are not without their downsides, however. They are far more expensive to purchase, and installation requires electricity to be run to the pump in the wall.  Repair and maintenance can also be more complicated than a standard toilet, and given their reliance on electricity, won’t function when the power is out.




Round Toilet Bowls

The tank is not the only part of a toilet that can be minimised. Round-shaped toilets take up less space – front-to-back – than the standard toilet, which has more of an oval or elongated shape. Round toilets may be less comfortable than elongated ones, however, for a powder room or other bathroom that is not going to see a large amount of consistent use, they offer an opportunity to save valuable space.







Macerating Toiletsfreestanding w macerator

This alternative not only eliminates the tank, it eliminates much of the plumbing required as well. Instead of holding water in a tank, macerating toilets use water from a regular water line for flushing. They also do not require a sewer drain because waste is shredded by an electric motor and liquidated before being pumped out through discharge pipes. While they do require electricity like tankless toilets, the plumbing required is relatively simple. Additionally, macerating toilets can be installed virtually anywhere in the home. They do not require plumbing in the floor, making them ideal for rooms with concrete floors. Downsides include the reliance on electricity and a higher maintenance requirement than most toilets.





Whether you are renovating an existing bathroom or adding a half or full bath where one did not previously exist, do not assume that you need to incorporate a large, traditional toilet into your layout. The options for space saving toilets are many. Taking the time to find the toilet that fits not only your space, but your style, will result in a more comfortable, spacious bathroom that you will enjoy for years and years.


Want to read more?

Toilet Found: Toilets for Small Bathrooms

This Old House: Big Help for Small Bathrooms




Your newly renovated space is nearly built out. You’re starting to picture how great your furniture is going to look in it and how wonderful it’s going to be to relax in it. But have you given enough consideration to how you’re going to get in and out of the space? Doors can have a huge impact on both the style and functionality of a newly renovated space. What about the closets? Have you thought about what kind of doors you’re going to put there? When you do your research, you may find that there are more options out there than you thought. Working with your contractor to include doors that fit the space as well as your personal preferences will lead to greater satisfaction.



 Sliding Doors

Long used as an entryway to porches, patios, decks and other outdoor spaces, the most basic sliders consist of two glass panels that slide past one another. A common variation consists of four panels with the two center panels sliding apart from each other over the outside panels. Sliders allow for plenty of natural light to enter the space and for people to easily access the outdoor space. Sliding glass doors are made in a variety of styles and fit well into the design of nearly every home, however, given their sliding functionality, they lean more towards the modern and less towards the more traditional designs.


French Doors

FrenchFor a more traditional aesthetic, French doors fit the bill. The French set-up consists of two adjacent hinged doors with the knobs in the middle and the hinges opposite one other. French doors can also be used as entryways to outdoor space, but are commonly used to separate one room from another. Space is an important consideration with French doors, however. If they open by swinging into the room, you will need to allow for that space in your furniture plan. You can choose to have them open outwards, but if you have them swinging out into outdoor space, be sure to equip them with special hardware that prevents the wind from slamming the doors shut.




Stacking DoorsStacking

If your tastes tend more towards the modern, stacking doors, also known as telescoping doors, are a cutting edge variation on the traditional slider that you should consider. Consisting of three or more panels that slide past each other (into a stack), stacking doors can be opened just a little to allow some fresh air in or they can really bring the outside in and nearly eliminate the barrier between the interior and exterior of your home when fully open.




Sliding Barn Doors

sliding-barn-doors-for-the-home-11The name implies a more rustic design, but sliding barn doors are being installed in homes that range from modern to traditional. Sliding barn doors rely on an exposed piece of hardware above the opening that they both hang from and slide along. This configuration allows for many options from doors that blend in with the surrounding walls to doors that truly become the highlight of the room whether they are opened or closed.




Pivot Doorspivot-door

An alternative to hinged and sliding doors, the pivot door, as the name suggests, pivots on a point well inside the edges of the door. This configuration allows the door to swing in, out or both. It also increases the maximum size that a single door can be, allowing designer and architects to create dramatic impact with a single, large panel.






Bifold Doors

stacking_sliding_bi-folding_doors_6You may think of bifold doors as being perfect for closets – and they are – but creative architects have specified them for use as entrances to exterior spaces and many other uses. Because they hinge in the middle and slide on a track much like sliding doors, bifold doors intrude less into the space when open, as compared with traditional French doors and many other door types. A bifold door can be opened just a little bit or opened fully and when placed side-by-side, a series of bifold doors can span a wide area and create an openable wall of glass.




Pocket Doorspocket

Yet another variation on the sliding door, the pocket door slides into a compartment – or pocket – on the adjacent wall when it is fully open. If you have a room that doubles as a common area and sleeping quarters for guests, for example, the pocket door is a perfect solution because when it’s fully open, you can hardly tell the door is there. Pocket doors are also perfect for small spaces because you do not need to accommodate for door swing into either room.





It’s easy to select basic, functional doors for your renovation, however, like many of the choices you will make, the doors are an opportunity to incorporate your own style and make sure that your home suits your lifestyle. Taking the time to fully consider the options will lead to an improved final product and increase your enjoyment of the space.

Want to read more?

Houzz: Find the Right Glass Door for Your Patio



Whether your kitchen is undergoing a gut renovation or you simply want to spruce it up without going through a complete overhaul, you can add lighting that will at once beautify the space and make it more functional from preparing food to eating in the kitchen to cleaning up afterwards. Some lighting improvements may require electrical work be completed, but others can easily be added to your existing space with minimal hassle. The fact is, we spend a lot of time in our kitchens. When guests come over, they often congregate there. The lighting should be adaptable to all of the kitchen’s uses and should fit your style and the style of your home. Consider these tips when designing the lighting for your kitchen.



Chandeliers Aren’t Just for the Dining Room Anymore

kitchen chandelierThe recent design trend to use chandeliers in the kitchen has resulted in a touch of elegance being added to kitchens all over the world. Designers have used them over large kitchen islands. After all, why shouldn’t we enjoy some of the same glamour as we do in our dining rooms while we’re eating in the kitchen? Mini chandeliers can be used in place of pendants to create task lighting. Many kitchens today trend towards the modern, minimalistic and utilitarian, but the use of chandeliers can provide a welcome contrast and soften the look, which is a great way for you to introduce your own personal style into the space. Adding a chandelier to your kitchen may be as simple as replacing an existing fixture, but you’ll want to make sure they are hung at a location and a height that won’t interfere with the kitchen’s functionality, and confirm that they cast the right amount of light onto the right surfaces.


Strings of LED Lights Can do Amazing ThingsLED_lighting_kitchen

LED strips are easy to install, come in a variety of colours and can be used in an amazing variety of ways. They’re an easy way to add low-profile, under-cabinet lighting, but that’s just the start. Place them under base cabinets at the toe-kick for a great accent that doubles as nighttime lighting and lets you walk to the fridge for a midnight snack without bumping into anything. Place them behind features like crown moulding or a tray ceiling to draw attention to architectural details. Put them inside your cabinets and drawers to create either task lighting at a detailed level or to highlight the contents of a clear-fronted cabinet. LED lighting can even be installed underneath glass countertops and behind glass backsplashes to create an incredible effect.

Pendant Lights Can Have an Impact

large-pendantsYou may think of pendant lights as sleek, minimalist fixtures that hang down over an island or peninsula. They’re much more than that though and, when done correctly, can have a major impact on the design of your kitchen. They can, indeed, be sleek and minimalist, but they can also be oversized or bold. They can hang in a straight row to create a strong demarcation or they can be hung at varying heights, or in a cluster to create more drama. A single, large pendant may be just the trick to light a specific area of your kitchen, or you might want to use many smaller ones. The opportunities to make an impact with pendants are nearly endless.




Recessed Lighting is for Function, But Not Necessarily Stylekitchen_recessed

Can lights, or recessed lights, have been a kitchen staple for decades. And for good reason. Sleek and functional, they literally tuck right out of the way and, when placed properly, provide just the right task lighting right where you need it. Let’s face it, though, they don’t add much character to the space. That’s not their job. You don’t need to completely eliminate can lights from your kitchen design, but do consider adding some interest by mixing them up with attention-grabbing pendant lights, sconces or other fixtures that fit your style and draw the eye away from more functional, if less interesting light sources. For another option build recessed lights into a soffit to create a unique kitchen feature.


Lighting Can Be Built into Functional Items

range hood lightingLooking for clever and functional? You might want consider a lighting fixture that doubles as a pot rack to not only light your work space but keep many of your tools within an arm’s reach. Depending on where how your cooktop is situated, you may want a range hood that provides ventilation as well as task lighting for the cook surface and surrounding areas. Today’s fixtures are designed to look good, serve a purpose and often to cast light in the right direction.




Non-Lighting Items Impact Lightingreflective

When designing your kitchen and the lighting for it, you need to consider the sheen and finish of cabinets, countertops and flooring. Are they highly reflective? Do they have a matte finish, semi-gloss or glossy? The answer should affect your lighting decisions. Keep in mind how light bounces off these items.




Lighting is an important element of any kitchen design, whether you are starting from scratch or looking to improve the lighting in an existing kitchen. Without it, you couldn’t cook, clean, eat or do any of the other things we do in our kitchens. It’s also an opportunity to add style, drama and a piece of your own personal style to your kitchen. Make sure you carefully consider lighting in your kitchen and dedicate the appropriate amount of time to selecting fixtures and directing light to the right places. You’ll be rewarded with a kitchen that is as beautiful as it is functional.


Want to read more?

Houzz: Kitchen Lighting


Shower heads have come a long way in recent years. If you haven’t shopped for shower fixtures recently, you’ll find a variety of options that you may not have known even existed when visit your favourite web site or home store. What was once a utilitarian fixture is now an opportunity to add a special custom tough your bathroom as well as spa-like features. Handheld shower heads, rain heads and wall-mounted shower panel systems are just a few of the options. Before you select the shower head for your bathroom renovation, make sure you consider all the options and have a conversation with your plumber about what you want. Read on for a breakdown of the options.


Single-Head Spray

Single Head SpraySingle-head shower heads have been common in bathrooms almost since the advent of indoor plumbing. Today’s models contain four or more individual nozzles within them. Many allow you to adjust them so that the water comes out in a pattern that suits your preferences. Gone are the days, however, when single-head shower heads need to be completely stationary. Many are connected to a flexible hose so they can be removed from the wall and held in your hand. Others are mounted to a vertical bar that lets you adjust the height – perfect for a couple or family of varying heights who shares a shower.




Multiple Shower Headsmultihead

A variation of the  single-head, multi-head units contain more than one head within a single fixture. A lever typically directs water from one head to the other or allows water to flow from multiple heads at the same time. Combine a handheld head with a wall-mounted one, place two heads side-by-side or mount one on the wall and one to an adjustable bar. You can even have water falling down on you from the ceiling and from the wall at the same time. The choices are many.



Rain Heads

rain headsRain shower heads are either mounted to the ceiling or attached to an extension arm that comes out from the wall, so that, as the name implies, the water falls from above, like rain. Typically, rain heads are wider than standard heads, creating a truly luxurious, rain-like environment.





Shower Panelsbody sprayers

Body sprays, or shower panels, consist of multiple heads installed on the walls of the shower that can be arranged to spray water exactly where you want it. Think of them as a car wash for your body, or, to put it in more luxurious terms, a Jacuzzi that you stand up in. Configure these units just how you like and adjust them so they hit just the right spot. Consult with your plumbing contractor early and often if you are considering this option as there are minimum water pressure requirements and the plumbing in the wall will need to match configured correctly.



steamIf you’re after a steam room instead of a Jacuzzi, you can have that too. These systems  include a small generator the creates heat to convert water to steam, along with special piping that pumps the steam into the shower. The most complete systems also include special doors to keep the steam contained inside the shower. This too, is a relatively complex installation requiring that the heating unit be housed in the wall or in a closet or cabinet nearby.




Green OptionsLow_flow_showerhead

All shower heads are built to control flow rate, the amount of water the flows out of them per minute. To step up your environmental conservation efforts, you can select a shower head that is low-flow. There are even units available that let you adjust the flow rate down and then back up again based on your needs. Aerated shower heads mix air with the water that they spray in order to create the sensation of more water pressure even though they actually use less water.


High Tech

shower controlThe wave of high-tech gadgetry that has swept the home construction business has not missed the shower head. You can add adjustable LED lights that illuminate the water and give your shower different mood every day. Everything, from the lighting to the temperature and pressure of the water can even be controlled from a digital control panel.





It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer variety of shower heads that are available. If you’re renovating your bathroom, though, this is your chance to create the shower of your dreams. Consider all the options carefully, consult who are doing the work early in the process, and you’ll end up with the shower you want, whether it be simple and utilitarian or luxurious and spa-like.

Want to read more?

Bob Vila: Shower Heads 101

HGTV: Shower Buying Guide

With the dizzying array of choices, selecting an overall style for your kitchen can become a daunting task. Do you prefer a modern esthetic or a classic country one? Do you and your spouse have same style or are you going to have to find ways to compromise? Are you designing with resale of the home in mind or are you creating a kitchen that you and your family will enjoy for generations? When embarking on a kitchen renovation, many homeowners feel they need to choose distinctly between a modern or a country kitchen. The fact is, however, contemporary design trends allow for elements of both styles to be included in the same kitchen and, for many kitchen renovators, this may be the best choice. Read on for tips on finding the style for your kitchen that works best for you.


The Fully Modern Kitchen


Warning: Contemporary kitchen styles continually change. If fact, every 15 years or so, they complexly evolve. If you opt for a completely modern kitchen, be ready for it to become dated while you still live in the home. That’s OK for some people who don’t mind redoing their kitchen every couple of years, but if you are looking for a kitchen that you can enjoy for decades, or if selling your home is on the horizon, consider tempering the modern esthetic in your kitchen with some more classic, timeless elements.


All in On Country

COUNTRY-hudson-valley-kitchen-island-0515Bead board paneling, a farmhouse sink, gingham curtains…for some people, these and other country elements create a welcoming feeling unlike anything else and are simply must-haves when renovating their kitchen. Today’s country kitchens are actually anything but old-fashioned. They include the same modern appliances and conveniences as any newly built kitchen. As with the modern esthetic, however, be careful about overdoing the country in your kitchen. If you overdo it, you may scare off potential buyers for the home or create a kitchen that you tire of quickly. Consider balancing the rustic feel with some modern elements.


Transitional Design


After a thorough design consultation, many homeowners realize that what they’re really after is a classic kitchen design that will stand the test of time a provide a lifetime of enjoyment to whoever is living in the house, be it the current residents, their children or a new buyer. Here are a couple of ways to create what many designers refer to as transitional style.




A White Colour Scheme

dayton-painted-white-shaker-cabinets-oa-5728-1750x7501-1024x439White really never goes out of style and can be applied to a modern design, a country design or something in between. White cabinetry is a very safe and appealing option and an overall white color scheme can provide the perfect backdrop for you, or the home’s next owner, to add as much or as little detail, in the form of accessories and accents, as you’d like. White does not have to be the only colour in your kitchen, but opting for a neutral color palate and keeping the scheme monochromatic will accomplish the desired effect.


Crisp Lines, But Not Completely Devoid of Detail

Cabinets in a modern kitchen may have completely flat front to create that clean, contemporary look. Cabinets in a country kitchen may have ornate detail and moulding on and around them. Compromise with something that is streamlined, but not completely sleek, like Shaker-style cabinets.





Natural Materials

NaturalWhen selecting materials, opting towards the natural, like wood cabinets and granite or marble countertops, allows you to satisfy the classic side of your design and because they are available in such a wide array of styles and colours, you’ll find something that also appeases the modern side. Here, again, avoid overly ornate details, like scalloped countertop edges and detailed moulding to balance the natural material with a modern design.


Contrast Natural Materials with Man-Made OContrastnes

Using man-made materials to contract with natural ones is a hallmark of any transitional kitchen design. Stainless steel appliances, when combined with wood cabinets and stone tile, make both materials stand out. Wrought iron lighting fixtures against the backdrop of stone, ceramics and wood can help create a kitchen that will appeal to both your modern and country sides.




Tile Layout

grid1A white subway tile backsplash is a can’t miss element that appeals to a broad range of styles. Consider your options though. You may want to select a more traditional or rustic, rough-hewn tile, but stack it in a grid rather than an offset pattern. This brings in a country element in the material while also creating a more streamlined, modern pattern.




Hardwood Flooringgird

Continuing the hardwood flooring from an adjacent room into the kitchen accomplishes two things. It brings a natural material into the kitchen and it ties multiple rooms together for a more open feel, a trademark of modern design. Additionally, modern hardwood flooring stands up well to the high traffic and punishment that most kitchens dish out.




Choosing between a modern and a country-style kitchen is not a cut-and-dry decision. Thankfully, you don’t have to select between fully sleek and modern and completely rustic and country. Combine elements of both to create a kitchen that you and your loved ones will be happy with for years and will make your house the envy of the neighborhood.

“Cozy” is probably not a word you would use to describe your ideal bathroom. “Spa-like” or “palatial” are probably more like it, but many bathrooms have a small footprint within your house and all bathrooms need to accommodate, at a minimum, a sink, toilet and shower or bath. Add in storage for all of your linens and toiletries and making a bathroom look and feel larger becomes a real challenge. There is hope though. Follow these design tips and you’ll be on your way to creating a bathroom with a spacious and comfortable feel.



Consider a Monochrome Colour Scheme

monochromeContrasting colours tend to visually break up your space, while consistent colours tie it all together. To make a bathroom look bigger, match light-coloured floor and shower tiles with light-coloured walls. To take it one step further, paint the ceiling the same colour as the walls. This will minimize any odd angles or shapes on the ceiling and also create a visual effect that makes the space feel large. If  you want some contrast in your design, start with one item, such as the vanity. Make it a darker colour and that will become a focal point without overwhelming the room.



Run the Shower Tile to the Ceilingshower tile

Transitions between materials are another instance that break up a room and make it feel smaller. Even if the walls and tile, for example, are the same colour, the transition between them creates a visual break. You can eliminate one such break by tiling your shower all the way up to the ceiling. This will make the space feel larger vertically and create a pleasing effect to the eye. To take this a step further, consider running the shower tile all the way around the room, minimizing transitions even further.


Select a Clear Glass Shower Door

bathroom design of the corner shower doors glass shower stallsTextured glass shower doors or shower curtains provide privacy, but they also break up the space so that the shower almost appears to be a separate room. Clear glass ties the shower into the room and if you’ve minimized your transitions, as mentioned above, will make the entire room feel like one large space.







Bring in the Natural LightSkylight-allows-you-to-use-color-in-the-small-bathroom-with-ease (1)

There’s no better type of light to make a bathroom look bigger than natural sun light. In the past, many designers have opted for smaller windows or windows that have been somehow blacked out to create privacy, but today’s designers tend towards solutions that welcome natural light while maintaining privacy like translucent shades or stained glass. If you can incorporate a skylight into your design, you will have an ideal way to bring in lots of natural light without sacrificing privacy. Even if your bathroom has crawl space above it, you can bring in natural light through a tubular skylight that uses mirrors to direct light through the crawl space into the bathroom.


Install a Large Mirror

largemirrorInstead of double mirrors over a double vanity, go with one large mirror that extends across the space and, ideally, all the way up to the ceiling. This will, again, minimize the number of transitions in the bathroom and tie the space above your sinks together. You should also carefully consider the positioning of mirrors in the bathroom. Installed with lighting above or in front of them, mirrors will double the effect of that lighting. Better yet, if they can be positioned to reflect natural light, mirrors will double the impact of the best kind of light…the kind that comes from the great outdoors.



Reconsider the Built-In Linen Closet 53818h9_8pbc 823

A closet built-in to your bathroom with framing and drywall creates a custom look, but it also takes up more space than a piece of furniture or cabinetry would. By installing a cabinet to store linens instead of a closet you save 20 – 25 cm of space that the framing and drywall would have occupied. This is also a great opportunity to add a focal point to the room.



Keep Storage Low

cabinetsYou certainly want to maximize storage in your bathroom, but where you position that storage can have a large impact on how large or small the space appears. Storage located below waist-level, in base cabinets or in the vanity tend to have less visual impact than wall cabinets or tall closets, which can make the walls feel like they’re closing in on you.





Pick the Right VanityKohler-Archer-Pedestal-Sink-KOH18125

Vanities are available in 45 and 53 cm depths. 8 cm may not sound like much, but in the bathroom, every centimeter counts. An extra 8 cm can expose an additional row of floor tile, which can have a significant effect on the openness of the room. If your storage needs are met without having to use the vanity, opt for a pedestal sink, which opens up the floor space even more.


The bathroom can be the most difficult room in the house in which to create an open, airy feel, but if you give careful consideration to your design, you can maximize even the smallest space. It certainly helps to plan ahead and have a precise idea, down to the centimeter, of where everything, from lighting to tiles to furniture pieces, are going to be placed.


Want to read more:

Carla Aston: 11 Simple Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Oprah: How to Make Any Bathroom Look Larger


Whether the paint on your home is peeling and cracking, or you simply want to spruce up or change its look, inside or out, knowing the benefits of a quality paint job will help you decide if and when you want to get it done. Some are obvious and well-known, but there might be some you haven’t considered, and many of them go well beyond the appearance of your home.

On the exterior of your home, the benefits of painting include:

Curb Appeal

Exterior-House-Painting-Services-10-Photo-GalleryPerhaps the number one reason people paint the outside of their house, curb appeal is something that will not only make coming home more pleasant, it will immediately increase the value of your home. Painting just the door is, in fact, one of the most cost effective improvements you can make. Go further, though, and you can change the entire colour palate of your home. Make the moldings and shudders around your windows and doors pop by painting them a contrasting colour to the siding. Make your home stand out in your neighborhood or make sure its appearance keeps up with that of your neighbours.



Extending the Life of Your Siding and Trim

Exterior paint protects building materials from weather and the damage that can be caused by Vancouver-Heritage-Painting-House-Exterior1moisture. Unprotected wood absorbs water and, ultimately, begins to rot. Mold and mildew can also form. Insects like termites are deterred by sealing wood siding with paint. The benefits of painting are not limited to wood, however. The life of vinyl and wood siding can be extended with a quality paint job, and you can change their colour in the process.



On the interior of your home, the benefits of painting include:


interior_houseAs with the outside of your home, painting the inside is one of the least expensive, but most valuable improvements you can make. A fresh coat of paint on walls, ceilings and trim, will erase any blemishes like stains or marks that your walls have endured over the years and bring your home up-to-date in terms of design quicker than any other project. It is also one of the easiest ways to incorporate touches of your own style into the design of your home. Make one wall of a room an accent wall by painting it a different colour than the other walls in the room or explore different techniques like adding stripes, stencils or texture to your walls. Compared to other renovations, painting will be very inexpensive no matter how technical you get.

Air Quality

Using an eco-friendly or low-VOC interior paint can actually improve the air quality inside your antonios-room-on-design-star-via-hgtvhome. This is particularly important if anyone in the home has allergies. Just like on the outside of your home, interior paint keeps moisture out of the walls and prevents mold and mildew.

Improve Your Mood

Science actually shows that mood can be significantly impacted to the colour of a room. Given that, there may be no better way to make yourself happy than by painting the interior of your home!

Posh-boys-bedroom-with-a-beautiful-blue-accent-wall-and-creative-ceilingBlue is calming and has actually been shown to reduce blood pressure. Red adds energy to a room and adds excitement. Yellow is a happy, cheery colour, but too much of it has been shown to create a feeling of anger. Green is known to be restful to the eyes. Keep the impact of colour on mood in mind when you are painting your home.




Make a Room Feel Lager (Or Smaller and More Intimate)

Generally speaking, dark walls make a room feel smaller or more intimate and lighter walls make it feel 2-lightmore spacious. Don’t forget the ceiling, it represents 1/6 of the space in your room. Paint it a light colour and the room will feel higher. Paint it a darker colour and it will feel lower.




Painting both the inside and outside of your home can have tremendous impact on everything from the life of your building materials to the mood of the home’s inhabitants. It’s also one of the easiest, least expensive ways to improve and add value to your home. If you’re looking to improve your home for resale, select neutral colours and painting techniques that will appeal to a broad range of buyers. If you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time, however, painting is one of the easiest ways to add your own unique touches. Use paint to incorporate your own personality into your home and help preserve and improve it in the process.

Want to read more?

Enlighten Me: Top Benefits of Painting Your Home

Angie’s List: 6 Unexpected Benefits of Exterior Painting and Staining

Fresh Home: Room Color and How it Affects Your Mood



Time to make another decision about your remodel. What kind of bathroom vanity do I want? Should it be freestanding or built-in? What kind of materials should I select? Should I forego the vanity altogether and go with a pedestal or wall-mounted sink? The choices may seem endless, but before you throw your hands up and let your contractor or designer decide, you may want to spend some time thinking about it because, unless you want to tear it out in a few months and start over again, you’re going to have to live with your choice for a long time.

Is storage a consideration?

storageIf your bathroom already has enough storage for all of your towels and toiletries, then feel free to pick a vanity based solely on style.  If, however, you need all the storage you can get, then select a vanity with storage built into it. Think about what you want to store and where. Would drawers at the top with cabinets underneath be best or would you be better off with just a large cabinet? Who’s using the bathroom most frequently? Powder rooms meant to serve guests obviously do not have a big storage need, but master bathrooms probably do. Will the kids be using the bathroom you are redesigning and, if so, can they reach the drawer where their toothpaste is stored? The more thought you put into it during your renovation, the more functional your bathroom will be for the long haul.


Or is space more of a concern?corner sink

If you’re looking to squeeze a powder room into a foyer or cram a bathroom into an attic space, you’re going to need to sacrifice some storage in exchange for space. Manufacturers and designers have come up with many space-saving creations like corner sinks and curved sinks that allow for maximum traffic flow. Pedestal and wall-mounted sinks are also good alternatives here.  If you have more room to work with, however, consider a larger, more luxurious vanity. Once again, think about who is going to be using the bathroom most. Do you and your spouse spend quality time brushing your teeth together? If so, go with a double sink for optimal convenience. If not, go with a single, larger sink.


Freestanding or built-in?

double vanity - freestandingFreestanding vanities typically work best in smaller spaces, though many do have built-in storage. They also offer slightly different style than built-in vanities, which are essentially constructed and installed the same way as kitchen cabinets. In larger bathrooms, freestanding vanities tend to get lost and built-ins might be a better choice depending on your overall plan. In the largest bathrooms, the cabinetry can extend beyond the vanity to include an entire bank of cabinets, drawers and closets.




What about Materials?wood_glass

Solid wood vanities offer the natural look and feel that many homeowners are after, however, they can be expensive. Plywood or particle board covered in laminate are less expensive, but also less durable. MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) is a good middle ground in that it is even more durable than solid wood and less expensive. It can be either covered in laminate or painted. Glass vanities are becoming increasingly popular in bathroom design and many homeowners choose them for their sleek, modern aesthetic. Glass vanities, however, tend to skew towards the smaller size as too much glass in a bathroom can be overwhelming.



And the vanity top?

custom-wood-top-vanityYou may have fallen in love with a vanity-and-top combination at your local home store or on your favorite web site. If so, go with it. If, however, you want something very specific to your style that you simply can’t buy off the shelf, purchase your vanity and top separately just as you would kitchen cabinets and benchtops. There are even more choices in vanity tops than there are in kitchen benchtops. Given that durability and ware is not as much of a concern in the bathroom as it is in the kitchen, your choices include everything from granite and marble to tile, laminate, solid surface, glass and even wood.

By the time you get to choosing a vanity for your bathroom, you have probably already made a tremendous number of decisions regarding your renovation, each of which has impacted your budget, timeline and design. It’s easy to get fatigued, but some careful consideration now will have positive impacts that affect your enjoyment of your home for as long as you’ll live in it. This is particularly true in the bathroom, a space that you use multiple times per day, and even more true of the bathroom vanity, the focal point of that space.

Want to read more:

Lowes: Bathroom Vanity Buying Guide

National Kitchen + Bath Association: Choosing a Bathroom Vanity Top

You’re updating your kitchen and it’s time to choose a material for the benchtop. You’ve wandered the aisles of home improvement stores and stone warehouses. The choices seem endless and the bottom line is that you want to choose something that will stand the test of time. Not only does it need to be durable in order to stand up to all the cooking, chopping and dicing that happens in your kitchen, it needs to have a timeless look that you won’t get tired of while you’re living in the house. Here’s an overview of all of the options out there.


Granite is popular for good reason. Of all the natural stone materials, it is the most durable, requires the least maintenance and it is usually less expensive than other stones. Because it is available in a wide variety of colours, from dark to light, and patterns, from thick veining to minimal veining, you are likely to find a granite that fits your kitchen’s design scheme.granite2

It CAN be expensive though. The cost of granite varies based on the granite you select – if you select a style that’s relatively easy to get, it will be less expensive, but if you fall in love with an exotic slab that needs to be imported, the price will soar. Budget conscious consumers should select a granite that either comes from their home country or is commonly imported.

Granite is not the only natural stone available for your benchtop. The alternatives can, in fact, be dizzying. Marble, soapstone, quartzite, limestone and slate are among the options and they each have their positives and negatives. This opens up an even wider range of design options, from the pure luxury of marble to the clean functionality of soapstone, which you may have seen during your school days on the table tops in your high school chemistry class.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut none of them are as durable as granite. All benchtops, including granite, require maintenance, including being sealed periodically. Many stones like marble, limestone and soapstone are softer than granite. Some stones scratch rather easily, though, in many cases, the scratches can be buffed out. Consider carefully how you will use your benchtop, how much ware they are going to see and how committed you are to maintenance before you select a stone for your kitchen benchtop.



Engineered stone, on the other hand, is virtually foolproof. The beautiful marble floor at your downtown
office building is likely not marble at all, but engineered stone. Many commercial designers select engineered stone for any situation where the stone is going to see heavy traffic and needs to stay looking good. The same technology can be applied to your kitchen benchtop.



engineered_quartz_stone_kitchen_coutertops007And engineered stone is looking better all the time. There was a time when designers shied away from engineered stone because its colour was too uniform and it did not have that natural look that many other benchtop materials do. Times are changing. Manufacturers are getting better and better and mimicking the colours, patterns and veining seen in natural stone. If you love the look of marble or other softer stones, or even something totally different, but you need durability, consider a manufactured stone that mimics the look you’re after.


Concrete is an option too. While you may think its best uses are outside your home as steps or sidewalks, concrete is increasingly finding is way into kitchens. In the past, many concrete benchtops were poured in place, manufacturers and installers are increasingly moving to a pre-cast process. This has enabled the manufacturers to address issues with cracking by forming the concrete in the controlled environment of the factory and using modern reinforcing technology.



Concrete-countertop-rough-edgeAnd it doesn’t have to be gray. Some of the same technologies that have enabled engineered stone manufacturers to mimic the look of natural stone have enabled concrete manufacturers to vary the appearance, finish, feel and edge finish of concrete benchtops. Concrete is, relatively high maintenance, however. It is inherently porous and many manufacturers recommend sealing four times per year.




Solid Surface materials, such as Corian, are not stone. They are actually a manufactured product made of acrylic, minerals resins and pigments. They are available in a virtually endless array of styles and colours. If stone is what you’re after, manufacturers have, again, done an incredible job of mimicking granite, marble and other natural materials.



But they do have advantages. Solid surface benchtops are completely nonporous and durable. If they do become scratched or marked, the marks can be buffed out because, as the name implies, solid surface materials are the some colour throughout. These features have made solid surface benchtops a popular choice for busy kitchens. They also offer the advantage of a seamless installation. Whereas stone and natural materials have their limits in this area, a solid surface benchtop can, essentially, be as long as you need it to be.

If you carefully consider your design aesthetic and the day-to-day requirements of your kitchen, along with budget, you’ll come up with a material that fits the bill for your benchtops. At the end of the day, it’s your kitchen and you should take this information and choose the stone benchtop that’s right for you.

Want to read more?

HGTV: Choosing the Right Kitchen Countertop

Five Star Stone & Cabinets: 11 Types of Stone Countertops


Let’s face it, renovating your home can be a headache, from staying under budget to meeting tight deadlines to the seemingly endless barrage of decisions to be made. For many homeowners, the biggest question comes very early on: should I stay in my home during the renovation?


Everyone’s circumstances are different. Variables include the size and scope of the renovation, the availability of kitchens and bathrooms, the amount of dust and debris expected to be generated by the work being done and your tolerance for inconvenience. The decision to stay or go should not be taken lightly. Talk to your contractor, make sure you have a clear understanding of what will be going on in your home and consider these insights.


Temporarily relocating obviously has costs associated with it, but may people don’t conWebb-front-4th-progress-sider the costs of staying in their home during a renovation. If your contractor has to spend time at the end of every work day giving the house a thorough cleaning, making sure the plumbing and electrical is fully functional, and generally making sure the house is liveable, the cost of that time can add up during the course of the renovation. The fact is that contractors can work faster and more efficiently when the homeowners are not present and many prefer it that way. Talk honestly with your contractor about this before you decide to stay or go.




Renovation is loud. It simply can’t be avoided. If you’re going to be home during the day while contractors are working, be prepared to endure high noise levels. Your contractor can tell you what tools they’ll be using when and just how noisy they are, so if you are staying at home, you can get out of the house, even if it’s just for a little while, for some peace and quiet.




Hazardous Materialstotal_mess_family_room

Ask your contractor what type of dust, debris and refuse will be created during the project. Generally speaking, most of the dangerous stuff gets kicked up during demolition, particularly if you live in an older home. Lead paint and asbestos are just two of the items homebuilders used to use that have since been shown to be dangerous. While intact, they are generally harmless, but when disturbed during demo, they become hazardous.
hardwood-floor-refinishing-mr-hardwood-atlanta-gaOther phases of construction can also involve hazardous situations. Many wood stains and varnishes used on wood floors, for example, generate dangerous fumes while curing. Joint compound used during the installation of drywall is not hazardous per se, but the process of sanding it generates large quantities of very fine dust. Careful contractors can take steps to minimize proliferation of these items through your house, but you need to understand that renovation is not a spotless process. Ask your contractor what precautions they plan to take and how they plan to contain dust.


Children and Pets

Are your children mature enough to stay away from the construction area or will their curiosity get the better of them? Will the disruption and noise bother them or prevent them from getting their homework done? What about the family pet? Will they be confused by all the new people in the house? Will the constant noise disturb them? These are all questions to carefully consider before your renovation begins.


According to your contractor’s schedule, how long will your kitchen be out of commission? Can they schedule the renovation so that one bathroom is always available? What about heat, cooling, electrical and plumbing? Will there be extended periods of time that the house’s systems will be turned off? These are all questions to ask your contractor before they start swinging a hammer.

296-1220103153r2OBYou may also want to consider moving out for only part of the renovation. If you’re willing to live with a small mess for a short time rather than a huge mess for a long time, you may be able to move back in once the drywall is installed and sanded. At this point, work on everything behind the walls like plumbing and electrical will have been completed, and your home won’t be move-in ready, but it will be fully functional and the messiest phase will be over.


Whether you decide to stay or go, understand that unexpected issues may arise. If you’ve moved out, your contractor’s ability to stick to their timeline will impact on whether or not you’ll need to stay out for longer than you thought. If you stay, be prepared for inconveniences like living without a kitchen and never-ceasing dust.  If the mess, noise and chaos simply become too much, it’s a great idea to have a plan B. At a minimum, you should have a place to go for a brief respite. A good contractor will be honest up front about what the living conditions will be during the renovation and they’ll make provisions for you whatever you decide.


Want to read more?

Houzz: Should I Stay or Should I go for a Remodel? 10 Points to Consider

Realtor.com: Home Renovation: Do You Stay or Do You Go?

With walk-in showers becoming more and more popular in bathroom design, choosing a shower tray is a task that many homeowners need to face during their renovation. Wet rooms, or showers with a floor area that is completely flush with the adjacent flooring, have become the darling of the design world, but they require special (and expensive) waterproofing. In many cases, a standard-sized shower tray is a more efficient and equally stylish option.


The shower tray exists to prevent shower water from spreading across the bathroom and point it towards the drain, but beyond this functional purpose, shower trays have become available in a wider range of colours and materials, creating  an opportunity to add a touch of style to your bathroom. This can, however, make the selection of a shower tray a somewhat daunting process. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before making a decision on your shower tray.

What should my shower tray be made of?


Acrylic shower trays have become increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason. They are inexpensive and the technology used to manufacture them has improved significantly. Acrylic is a completely sanitary material and unlike many other bathroom materials, is not cold to the touch. Home renovators should shop carefully, however. Be sure not to buy a hollow acrylic shower tray as they are known to crack and split. Solid acrylic shower trays are a far better choice, however, they tend to warp and flex during installation. Consider hiring a professional to handle installation if you choose to go in this direction.

Stone resin shower trays are the next most popular choice. Made from a mixture of crushed stone and polyurethane  prodotti-85218-relb86a6037d4eee4f0f6349c65fc5b219fresin, they are incredibly durable and available in a wide range of colours that closely mimic those of natural stone. While recent advances in technology have enabled manufacturers to reduce their weight, stone resin trays are much heavier than their acrylic counterparts. Many contractors advise installing stone resin on first floors or in bathrooms with a concrete subfloor, while opting for lighter materials such as acrylic for upper floors or in cases where the floor joists can bare less load.

Ceramic shower trays offer another design option that can create consistency in look and feel between the shower floor and the rest of the bathroom floor. Like stone resin, however, they are very durable and easy to clean, but also very heavy, creating some limitations on where they can be installed.


What size and shape should my shower tray be?

37-Bathrooms-With-Walk-In-Showers-2    contemporary-bathroom-doorless-shower-design

While choosing a shower tray over a wet room does limit the options you have in terms of the size and shape of yourV10121077KW+6_Series_Frameless_Pentagonal_Shower_Enclosure_800_x_800mm-bathrooms_com-crop7-rectangle-medium-grey shower, manufacturers offer enough options to fit nearly every renovation project. Most shower trays range in size from 70 x 70 cm to 170 x 170 cm. Readily available shapes include square, rectangular, pentagonal and quadrant. Pentagonal (5-sided for those non-geometry experts) and quadrant (two straight sides and a curved side) work perfectly for corner installations where space is limited. Another option in space-challenged bathrooms is the D-shaped shower, where the flat side sits against a wall. This minimizes the space that the shower occupies and maximizes flow around the shower while creating optimal area inside the shower enclosure.

Also, consider the height of the shower tray. Lower, sleeker shower trays create that wet room look without having toef558d81f6945a783543e8c74e2b80f9 waterproof the shower area, but watch out if the drain backs up. Water can spill out of it. Higher shower trays hold more water, but create a different type of line in your design and require a bit of a step-up when entering the shower. One option that some designers have gravitated towards is recessing the shower tray into the floor, creating that seamless appearance along with the capacity to hold water.

Can I install it myself?

Pre-made shower trays were designed to simplify the process of installing a walk-in shower. Setting a shower tray into place, however, is still a challenge that requires some knowledge of plumbing, waterproofing and general construction. Does the bathroom’s drain need to be moved to match up with the shower tray? Can I carry and position my selected shower tray without bending, warping or otherwise damaging it? Am I confident that I can create the necessary seals to prevent leaking and level the tray for proper drainage? The answer to these questions will tell you whether or not you should take the project on yourself. If you choose to call a contractor, select one who will consult with you on what you’re looking for in the design and functionality of your shower.

Want to read more?
bathstore: I Want to Know Everything About…Shower Trays

Heat & Plumb: Choosing the Right Shower Tray

Bathroom Envy: Help Choosing a Shower Tray

If you own an older home, there’s a good chance it contains at least one ceiling you’d like to replace with something more stylish. Drop ceilings, ceiling tiles, old fashioned plaster that’s falling apart with age, popcorn ceilings…they all need to be replaced with clean, new drywall if you want to bring your home up to date. Even if you’ve chosen a stylish finish like tin or tongue-and-groove paneling, you’ll need a backer or substrate to support it, and drywall fits the bill. Removing a ceiling can be a messy and even dangerous process and installing new drywall is particularly labor intensive. Ask these questions before you start prying off the old ceiling.



What are you replacing?

suspended-ceiling4How you begin the process of removing a ceiling will obviously depend on what, exactly, you are replacing. Ceiling tiles, for example, would either be attached to furring strip or glued directly to a substrate. If furring strips were used, you can cut each tile and then pry them off of the strips. Then, go back and pull down the furring strips. If the tiles were glued directly to the ceiling above, nothing but sheer will and a scraper will pull them down.

If you’re tearing down a drop ceiling, removing the tiles is the easy part, but you will then need to go back and remove the framing that held them up. The frame was likely screwed in place. Get your screw gun and start removing pieces.

popcornOld plaster is held in place by lathe. Both the plaster and the lathe will need to come down. There is nothing to do but pry it off the ceiling and get ready for a mess. Removing popcorn ceilings is equally messy. The sprayed on popcorn needs to be scraped off. Spray the ceiling with water to minimize dust before you start scraping. When that’s done, the remaining drywall may be in good enough condition where it only needs to be patched and painted.


What’s Behind It?

demo3In the best case, there will be nothing but level, plum framing left after you’ve removed the other ceiling materials, making for a great backing for the new ceiling. In the worst case, your ceiling is on the top floor of your house, meaning there’s insulation behind it. In an extreme situation, that insulation is the loose, blown-in kind. Be ready for light, fluffy, scratchy bits of insulation to billow down from above. In other cases, a past owner of your home installed tile or other ceiling materials to hide something. Unfortunately, you’ll only know once you start the demolition.


…And Is It Dangerous?

As with any demolition, particularly in an older home, there’s a good chance you will disturb hazardousMan wearing respirator materials. Our predecessors were not as sensitive to the environmental impact of building materials as we are today. Popcorn ceilings installed before 1979 may contain asbestos. Insulation, similarly, may contain asbestos. If you have any doubt whatsoever, get the room tested for asbestos and if it tests positive, have it properly remediated by a licensed professional.  Prior to 1970, most paints contained hazardous lead. Take proper precautions to control the dust created when demolishing a ceiling that may contain lead paint.


Ready to Install the New Ceiling?

Drywall InstallersAffixing drywall sheets to a ceiling is no easy feat. After cutting each sheet to size, two people need to lift the sheet and hold it against the ceiling while a third person screws it to the ceiling joists. Alternatively, rent a drywall lift to minimize the effort and number of people required for the job. Tape, plaster and sand the seams between drywall sheets and the screw holes, and you’re ready for paint and finish. The ceiling in a newly renovated room is an often overlooked opportunity to add style and character. Consider finishing your ceiling paneling or other materials, or painting it a bright color. For an even more sophisticated look (and more complicated project) frame out a coffered ceiling, a tray ceiling, a recessed ceiling or even a barreled or arched ceiling.


During a renovation, the ceiling is one of the places where the proverbial “can of worms” can be lurking. It’s best to know what you’re getting into before you start the process of replacing it. Even if you’ve asked and answered all of the questions above, you need to be ready for surprises. The last thing you want is to be forced to live with a half-demolished ceiling for any longer than you have to.

Want to read more?

This Old House: 6 Great Looks for Your Ceiling

White cabinets, safe wall colours, neutral tile backsplash and floors. That’s the safest formula for kitchen design. You see that combinkitchen-colorful-ideas-varied-paletteation on every home improvement show and, likely, in most of your neighbours’ kitchens. If you’re renovating your kitchen with plans to sell your home, you may keep it safe, but if you want to add a bit of your own personality to your kitchen, don’t be afraid to get a little bold with your colour selections. The kitchen, after all, is the heart of the home and it should reflect your own personal style. Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll create a colour palette that compliments your kitchen and matches your personality.




Build Your Palette Around the CabinetsPainted-Kitchen-Cabinets-Nice

If you’ve selected wood cabinets, or you have existing wood cabinets and simply intend to keep them, build your colour palette their shade. Wood shades range from yellow to orange to red to brown depending up on the species of wood and the stain and finish used on them. If you’re painting your cabinets, white is actually not a bad choice as it allows you to add colour in other parts of the room, but don’t be afraid to paint your cabinets a colour that suits your style. Yellow-based greens tend to add brightness to a room and are well complimented by white trim. Bold reds and bright browns are energetic while blues are softer and more subdued. Light blues trends towards the more comfortable and casual, while darker blues create a cooler, somewhat more formal feel.  Warmer colours like yellows and light brown can compliment wood floors and counteract the relative coolness of stainless steel with significant warmth.


orange-kitchen-counterMake a Statement With Countertops

The number of patterns, colours and materials in which countertops are available can be overwhelming. As in the rest of the kitchen, neutral colours and white are safe Given that countertops are a big ticket item, it makes sense not to follow trends, but there’s the number of options means that countertops are a tremendous opportunity to make a statement. If you are using three or more different colours in your kitchen, consider keeping the countertops simple. Select a marble or granite with minimal graining and colour variation. Otherwise, take the time to find the countertop that speaks to your style from the myriad of choices and you’ll be rewarded with a very special kitchen.


20kitchen-tile-backsplash-feb11Tie in the Backsplash

Your backsplash is literally and figuratively the connection between your cabinets and your countertops. It’s typically only 45 cm high, but for such a small area, adds a tremendous amount of style to the kitchen. Its colours should compliment those of the countertops. Here too, there are a myriad of choices in terms of materials, patterns and colours and it can be dangerous to loyally follow trends. Carefully consider the brightness and intensity of the pattern in your backsplash design. If you’re feeling brave, however, use the backsplash to add a punch of colour. There are a number of ways to do this, from a line of patterned tile that runs the length of the backsplash to evenly spaced bursts of colour within the tile pattern.


floor-squares-2-lDon’t Overlook Flooring Options

Traditional kitchen design calls for floor tiles to be consistent with the backsplash. If you take a traditional approach, though, be careful not to match them too closely. Your kitchen will be much more interesting if there is some variation, whether in pattern or colour. More modern kitchen designs feature a wider variety of flooring materials and colours. If your floors are wood, use a stain colour that ties in with the cabinets, or choose to paint them for a wider array of options. If you really want your floors to be a differentiator, consider options from concrete to vinyl to epoxy.





Kitchen Walls Are an AccentIA_int_red_kitchen_1200x880

Most of the wall space in a kitchen is covered by cabinets, backsplash and appliances. That makes the wall colour more of a compliment and less of a highlight than it is in other rooms.  Select wall colours like you would trim colours in other rooms. They can either compliment or contrast their surrounding materials. Don’t be afraid to select something that contrasts.





Traditionalists will tell you to design your kitchen with a minimum variety of colour. That is, in fact, a safe choice, but not necessarily one that will result in a kitchen that will fit your personal style. Don’t be afraid to spice up your kitchen design with up to three different colours and multiple hues of each.


Want to read more?

Better Homes and Gardens: Choosing Kitchen Paint Colors

This Old House: Five No-Fail Palettes for Colorful Kitchens

Whether you are renovating your house for the sole purpose of selling it or you plan on staying in your home long after the project is complete, the goal of any home improvement project is to add value to the property. When it does come time to sell, there are two places buyers look more than any other; the kitchen and the bathrooms. Living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms can be sufficiently spruced up with as little as some touch up paint, but kitchens and baths are opportunities to add that “wow” factor that will increase demand for your home. Follow these tips to make improvements that add maximum value.


Highlight the Kitchen

In most situations, the kitchen is going to be seen early the homebuyer’s tour oKitchen-7-f the house. That means it’s your first opportunity to make an impression. Likewise, if the buyer sees something they don’t like, their opinion will be negatively influenced for the rest of the tour. Do something in the kitchen that will enable the buyer to see themselves entertaining, cooking for the family or generally enjoying a beautifully functional space. A full renovation can accomplish this, but smaller touches, like task lighting under the wall cabinets, customized storage and new cabinet hardware are all things that can communicate this message.


Don’t Underestimate the Value of Bathrooms

Smart homebuyluxury-master-bathroom-ideas616-x-462-52-kb-jpeg-xers know that more work goes into a bathroom than any other room in the house and they will appreciate the value of a well-designed bathroom. A spa-like retreat in move-in condition can appeal to buyers as much as a beautiful kitchen. Master bathrooms, in particular, are something that can make a buyer fall in love with your house, but the other bathrooms in your house deserve attention too. The lack of a half bath on the main floor for guests to use, for example can be a major turn-off. If this is a shortcoming if your home, consider adding one.




Know your Neighborhood

If the homes in your neighborhood and target price range do not have granite countertops  and top-of-the-line appliances, you don’t necessarily need to have them either in order to get the right price for your home. In fact, if you overdo it, you can make your home harder to sell. In many cases, it’s  better to make the most out of what you have rather than gutting an entire room. In many cases, painting cabinets and replacing their hardware, for example, can create the same affect as replacing them at a fraction of the cost. White cabinets are, in fact, preferred by many of today’s buyers. If you feel you need to go a little further, update the lighting and plumbing fixtures in a kitchen or a bath.



Know Your Market

knowyourmarketHaving a sense of your potential buyers’ demographics can create an advantage. If you know your house caters to young professionals, empty-nesters or young families, cater your renovation to that group. Younger buyers, for example, tend to prefer large, open showers in the bathroom, often preferring them over tubs. A family with young children, however, is going to want at least one tub in the house somewhere. This carries through to design elements as well. Select either modern or traditional finishes based on your audience.





Talk With a Real Estate Professional

No one understands the market and the comparable homes in your town than a local real estate agent. They can give you a quick, but qualified assessment of whether or not a renovation will generate a return on investment. Their knowledge of the local market can be invaluable. Ask them what you need to be competitive and whether or not the investment is worthwhile before plunging into a project.




Appeal to the Masses

appealtothemassesAvoid taste-specific finishes like heavily speckled or veined granite, patterned wallpaper or a themed backsplash. While there’s a chance, you may find a buyer whose tastes match yours exactly, you’ll appeal to a broader range of buyers if you stick with simple, clean lines and err towards fewer color variations. Popular choices like white cabinets and stainless steel appliances will attract many more buyers than they will scare away.




If you do your research properly, select the right improvements and set and stick to a budget and a timeline, you can create a tremendous return on investment with a kitchen or bath renovation, whether you’re looking go sell immediately or enjoy the improvements yourself for several years. The next owner of your home will appreciate the fact that you kept them in mind when you planned they renovation and they’ll reward you for it handsomely.


Want to read more?

Trulia: These are the 2 Rooms That Really Sell Homes

Houzz: 7 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster to a Younger Buyer

Storage in the kitchen is both a practical matter and an esthetic issue. You need a place to put all of your pots, pans, cutlery, silverware, etc… And, the more items you can store away, off the countertops, the cleaner a look your kitchen will have. You also need to leave some room for windows, doors and traffic flow. Smart kitchen storage design is about more than just sheer volume. It’s about maximizing the space you have with intelligent planning. Follow these ideas to design a kitchen that both meets your practical needs and pleases your senses.




The Pantry: A Walk-In Closet For Your Kitchen

Just like in the bedroom, having a separate space to store items is a tremendous luxury. Imagine opening a set of doors and having all of your kitchen gadgets displayed before you. No need to go digging through drawers and cabinets to find things. If and when it becomes disorganized, you can always close the doors to conceal it from your guests. If your space allows, consider making a walk-in pantry part of your kitchen. When planning your pantry’s layout, think about what you’ll be storing in it and plan around it.




Deep CabinetsKitchen_Closet

Those of us who do not have the luxury of space adjacent to the kitchen that can be converted to a pantry, can plan a tall, deep, closet-like cabinet into our kitchen. One possible spot is next to a full-depth refrigerator. Organization is key here. Intelligently planed racks and shelving inside a large cabinet will ensure that you get the most out of the space, rather than just having a vast, cavernous cabinet filled with an unorganized mess.





Tall Wall CabinetsWall Cabs

When redesigning your kitchen, extend the wall cabinets to the ceiling for maximum storage. Yes, this will put some items out of reach for all but the tallest chefs, but the design community has addressed your issue with folding step stools that have been designed to hide away in the toe kick beneath base cabinets. Store your seldom-used items in the highest sections of the cabinets and you’ll rarely have to use it.



contemporary-kitchenCorner drawers

Corners where one set of base cabinets meet another at a 90-degree angle can represent a challenge in kitchen layout. The lazy Susan is one solution, however, ingenious designers have come up with drawers that slide out of the corner at an angle. This prevents items falling off of the lazy Susan and the need to rummage around in the back of a deep corner cabinet.


how-to-turn-a-deep-drawer-into-an-organized-utensil-drawer-Queen-Bee-of-Honey-Dos-on-@RemodelaholicCustomized Drawer Interiors

Specialized drawer interiors have been designed for everything from utensils to trash cans to cookie sheets. When designing a new kitchen, inventory your current kitchen and give serious thought to what you want to store and where. Consider how and where you use each item, and chances are, there’s a storage solution for it.




Appliance GarageHolbrook013

You may have a beautiful looking toaster, blender and mixer, but you don’t necessarily want to display them all the time. Tuck them into an appliance garage with either a roll-top, folding or lift-up door and they will be easily accessible but out of site. Most appliance garages are designed to fit snugly between the countertop and wall cabinet.




Display Items

Some of your kitchen wares can and should be on display. Platters, daily dishes and even some pots and pans can be stores on open shelving, wall racks or hung from hooks. This will prevent you from having to cover every wall surface with closed cabinets.






The more thought you put into your kitchen’s storage, the better. Think about what you use the most and where, in the kitchen, you use it. Then, create a plan to store it within easy reach. You’ll never say to yourself that you have too much storage in your kitchen. At the same time, by maximizing the store you do have, you’ll be able to leave room to allow your culinary center to be open and airy.


Want to read more?

Houzz: 15 Most Popular Kitchen Storage Ideas on Houzz

Youtube: Hiding a Step Stool – Gulfcoast Kitchen Design, Inc.

One place homeowners can save money on their renovation is in the demolition phase. Rather than paying a contractor to perform the relatively unskilled task of demolishing a kitchen, for example, many choose to strip out dated countertops, cabinets and appliances themselves. In addition to the savings, many homeowners experience a special kind of joy when they a take sledgehammer to an ugly kitchen that they’ve been wanting to replace since they moved in. Before you start swinging, though, it’s important to consider the logistics and, more importantly, the safety precautions.


ScheduleHave a Schedule (and Stick to It)

It sounds simple, but keeping to a schedule will minimize the amount of time your kitchen is out of commission. No matter how ugly your kitchen is now, it will be even uglier after you demo it and you won’t want to look at it for very long. Plus, you won’t be able to cook or store food until it’s put back together again.

If you’re using a contractor to install the new kitchen, it is important to know when they’ll begin work and to start the demolition far enough in advance of that date so that the work is done before that date, but not so far in advance that your kitchen is non-functional for weeks before the first trades shows up. Understand the contractor’s schedule and make sure they stick to it. If you’re DIY’ing the entire renovation, a schedule is just as important. Your time is the currency with which you will pay for much of the renovation. If you don’t stick to a schedule, you’ll spend more of your valuable time than you estimated and if the demolition doesn’t get done in a timely manner, every other step in the process backs up and the project could ultimately drag on for months.


Skip BinRent a Skin Bin

Don’t underestimate the amount of rubble you will generate. The demolition of the average-sized kitchen will create six cubic meters of debris. You’re going to need a skin bin. Make sure it is on site before you start. Yes, you can pile the garbage up outside and put it in a dumpster later, but that’s nearly double the work.



repaired-kitchen-cabinetsSave What You Can

Not every single thing in your kitchen necessarily needs to be discarded. In many cases, cabinets can be saved, reused and even improved. Painting or refinishing old but well constructed cabinets often represents a considerable savings with an equally attractive result to new cabinets. To take it an extra step, add molding to cabinet doors to dress them up and replace the hardware. If you choose this route, gently remove the cabinet doors by unscrewing the hinges. Label the back of the drawers to avoid confusion when you reinstall.

You also may or may not be replacing the floor as part of your project. If you’re not replacing it, make sure you cover it with a drop cloth. This will prevent scratches when you move large appliances in and out. Throughout the demolition, take care not to drop heavy objects on any surface you’d like to preserve.


tap-791172_1920Turn off the Water

The last thing you want is water spraying all over the place when you remove the sink. All water to the kitchen needs to by capped off by a licensed plumber. Make sure they are turned off before you do anything. If your freezer has an ice maker, that means there is a water supply line running to it. Make sure you shut that off too.




light-918450_1920Turn off The Electricity

Worse than a large water spill is shocking yourself with a bolt of electricity while you’re tearing down a wall. To prevent this, a licensed electrician needs to safely disconnect the electricity to the kitchen. Make sure it stays off during demolition. Cover the breaker that serves the kitchen with a piece of tape so that you, and any contractors coming in and out of your house, know not to turn it back on.




Turn off the Gas

A gas leak can be worse yet. If you have gas appliances, make absolutely sure that the gas to them is shut off. Gas valves are typically behind the appliance and the appliance is usually connected to the main gas line with a flexible hose. This will allow you to move the appliance away from the wall far enough so that you can access the valve. Exercise extreme caution when moving the appliance so you don’t damage or disconnect this hose. A licensed gasfitter should be consulted when disconnecting gas appliances.




A kitchen demolition is not a project to be taken lightly. While it’s true that a confident do-it-yourselfer can take it on and save some money in the process, it’s also true that jumping into it with no planning can cause delays and even be dangerous. Like any project, the more you know before you start, the better off you’ll be.


The modern kitchen serves many more functions than just cooking, but the concept of the kitchen work triangle, invented in the 1940s, endures for good reason.

Picture this: Your in-laws are on their way over see your newly completed kitchen renovation. You’ve stocked the cabinets with all of the necessary cutlery and gadgets. You’ve begun preparing the most delicious dinner ever. You’ve researched a spectacular recipe and gathered all of the finest and freshest ingredients.



Yet, somehow, you can’t get anything done! You have to walk 6 meters across your gorgeous travertine tile floor every time you want something from your top-of-the-line, stainless steel refrigerator. There’s not enough granite counter space to chop onions between your beautiful farmhouse sink and your double oven gas range.

To make matters worse, your young son keeps running through with his toy airplane!



Looks like you and your contractor have designed the Bermuda Triangle rather than a kitchen work triangle. Your kitchen is stunningly beautiful, but it’s far from functional.

The concept of the kitchen work triangle dates back to the 1940s, but there’s a reason it has lasted into the 21st century. The basic idea is that most of the work in a kitchen happens within a triangle formed by the range, sink and refrigerator. The space between these items should not be too large, which forces the chef to spend their time trekking back and forth, or too small, which does not allow for proper prep space.


The generally accepted rule among designers is that the total length of all three of the triangle’s sides should be between 3.5 and 8 meters with each side measuring between 1 and 2.75 meters. Ideally, this triangle will be located in a part of the kitchen that sees the least traffic in order to minimize disruptions. Other people besides the chef do need access to the kitchen, though, and their needs should be considered. Specifically, they should have relatively easy access to the refrigerator and sink without crossing through the triangle. The cooking surface can and, for safety reasons, should be less accessible. Additionally, kitchen tables, islands or peninsulas should not protrude into the triangle.

Your kitchen work triangle needs to fit your home. Depending on the parameters of your raw space, your kitchen triangle may be I-shaped or U-shaped. In an I-shaped kitchen, two of the three items are on one wall and the third is on another. In a U-shaped kitchen, all three items are on separate walls. In very tight kitchens, a triangle can’t be accommodated at all and all three items are placed galley style on the same wall.


Your kitchen work triangle needs to accommodate your lifestyle too. In some homes, two or more people work together to prepare meals. In this case, consider adding a second sink and creating two separate triangles. In other homes, families eat out more than they dine at home. Here, perhaps a galley kitchen is best option so that larger portions of the home can be dedicated to other activities. Consider exactly how the space will be used and prioritize activities when planning your kitchen layout.

The kitchen work triangle is a tried and true concept, but range, sink and refrigerator do not a kitchen make.  To design a truly practical kitchen, you’ll want to properly locate prep areas, storage space, dishwashers and microwaves, among other elements, in relation to the work triangle.

Locate prep areas adjacent or near to the sink and range. This will simplify both cooking and cleaning. For the sink, most designers suggest 90 centimeters on one side and 60 on the other. Proper prep space should also surround the range.

Maximize storage wherever you can. You’ll never say “my kitchen has too much storage space.” Consider cabinets that extend to the ceiling even if you’ll need a stool to reach seldom used items placed up high. Add cabinets above your refrigerator and range if possible.


Place the dishwasher adjacent to the sink to avoid carrying dirty dishes across the kitchen. Also, be sure to consider how the kitchen will function when the dishwasher’s door is open. Will your child cause a major disruption if they head to the fridge for a drink while you’re cleaning up?

Whether you build an appliance garage around your microwave or attach it on the wall, it’s going to occupy either cabinet space or counter space. Consider which you are willing to sacrifice when you locate it. The most space-saving method is to select a self-venting model to mount it above the range in place of a traditional hood vent.


Kitchens have come a long way since the 1940s when cooking was a kitchen’s sole purpose. Today, we use them to entertain, do homework, pay bills and eat our meals as well as cook them, but at the heart of the kitchen, the work triangle remains. You should design your kitchen around your needs, but start with a work triangle and your entire kitchen will always be functional and efficient.



Every homeowner craves that spa-like feel in his or her bathroom. Many take on a renovation with hopes of replacing a cramped, utilitarian space with a more stylish, comfortable room where they can relax and feel pampered. Some have the luxury of being able to expand the footprint of their bathroom into an adjacent cupboard or part of an adjoining room. If that’s not the case in your home, consider these pointers for making the most out of the space you have.


Maximize Space with Smartly Designed Fixtures and Finishes


Powder Room VanityA variety of stylish fixtures and finishes exist that can help improve the flow of your bathroom. Start with the sink. It does not need to protrude half way across the room and sit atop a gigantic vanity. A corner sink will tuck neatly out of the way and help create a more open layout.

Trough SinkA trough sink with a side-mounted tap takes up far less space than a traditional sink and vanity. A wall-mounted tapset can also save significant amounts of space by letting you tuck the sink right up against the wall. If you’re convinced you need the storage that a vanity provides, consider one with rounded edges. The difference is subtle, however, the traffic flow around a rounded countertop is much improved when compared to one with sharp corners.




Move on to the bath andSliding Shower Screen shower. Many homeowners prefer hinged shower doors, however, a sliding door is far less obtrusive because it does not swing into the open space of a bathroom. For an even cleaner, more modern look, consider a glass panel. It does not provide the privacy of a door, nor the water protection, but it has become a popular option for its stylish simplicity.






Find Storage for Everything

The more of your toiletries, towels and products you can store away, the larger your bathroom will feel. Most bathrooms contain a number of spots that are just right for housing these necessities.


Bathroom StorageThe space above the toilet is a good place to start. In many bathrooms the toilet is located next to the vanity, in which case an extension of the countertop to the space above the toilet makes perfect sense. In other cases, a cabinet, either mounted to the wall or freestanding and built around the toilet, fits perfectly in that space. Shelving can also be built in that area.



towelracksAnother common problem in space-challenged bathrooms is locating towel racks. Often, every bit of wall space is taken up by fixtures. If that’s the case in your bathroom, consider mounting them on a door – either the entry door or a shower door. If you’re mounting it on the entry door, you may also want to consider changing the swing of the door so that it swings into the hallway rather than into the room. This will help with traffic flow and also ensure that the towel racks do not damage the wall every time the door opens.



above_the_doorLook up! The space above your head in the bathroom is likely not used for much. Put it to use as storage for your less-than-frequently used items like guest towels or extra soap by mounting shelving. You don’t want to fill every centimeter of overhead space with storage because that will only make the space feel smaller, but pick and choose the right spots. The area above the door can be one location that’s perfect.








Give Careful Thought to Lighting

Bathroom lighting can make the difference between a room you want to luxuriate in and one that you want to get into and out of as quickly as possible.


Natural light can make a huge difference in the way a bathroom looks and feels. If you can add a skylight, by all means do, but even if you can’t there are other ways to maximize the effects of natural light. If you have an attic or crawl space above your bathroom, a sun lighting tube, lined with reflective material, can bring the natural light through that space and into your bathroom. Something as simple as a well-placed mirror can also maximize natural light. When placed across from a window, a mirror will reflect the light that enters through the window.

Your lighting fixtures are, of course, also an important consideration. The more adjustable they are the better. You may want an overhead light for general purposes, but should you also have a light above the vanity for when you are fixing your hair or putting on makeup? Do you need a fixture that casts light into the shower? These are all important considerations. Another tip: Use a dimmer switch to change the mood in your bathroom. You may want it at full brightness when you’re getting ready for work in the morning, but when it’s time for a relaxing bath, you may want to tone it down.


bathroom-ceiling-design-wooden-pyramid-recessed-luminairesKeep Décor Simple

The cleaner and more simple your design style, the larger a bathroom will feel. By limiting the number of colors you use, you will create a visual affect that convinces the eye that a space is larger than it actually is. Many bathroom designers, in fact, choose a monochromatic theme. This does not mean that the entire bathroom is the same exact color, but it does mean that all or most of the colors in the room are various hues of the same color.


When selecting tile, consider larger-sized tiles. This will, similarly, make the space appear larger. Also, don’t forget to look up! The ceiling is an often overlooked part of the room that can be used to make the space feel large, open and comfortable. Vaulted or tray ceilings may be the ultimate in bathroom design, but they are built-in architectural features that might be beyond your renovation budget. If you’re not going that route, consider simply painting the ceiling a lighter, complimentary color or get artistic by adding a mural to the ceiling.



By intelligently planning your bathroom renovation, you can create a room that you look forward to using every day, even in the smallest of spaces.

Want to read more?

Houzz: 12 Tips to Make a Small Bathroom Better

Freshome: 20 Ways to Get the Best Use of Space in Your Bathroom

Deciding whether to hire a contractor or take on a home improvement project yourself basically comes down to a time/money equation. While there are some other considerations, the pros of doing a renovation yourself largely relate to saving money and the cons mostly involve the amount of time you need to commit to the job. Following is a more specific description of the pros and cons of tackling a home renovation yourself.



Pro:  Savings – Labor is the biggest expense in most home renovations. By doing some or all of the work yourself, you will, almost certainly save money. You can decide whether to simply keep that money in your pocket or invest it in higher quality materials and finishes. A well-executed renovation will also add to the value of your home and, eventually, turn your sweat equity into dollars. If you’re working with a tight budget, consider DIY.






Expect-Delays-sign(1)Con:  Time – In choosing to do a home renovation yourself, you are committing a portion of your time to the project. This can be a slippery slope, particularly when taking on projects that you have no experience with. You will almost certainly make mistakes that will lead to delays and force you to spend more time than you anticipated. Even if you don’t make mistakes, you never know what unexpected obstacles are going to spring up like unforeseen plumbing, electrical or structural issues. If you have the time to commit to the job and are prepared for the project to drag on longer than you thought, consider DIY, but if you are on a tight timeline, or if work, family and life in general don’t leave you with any extra time, maybe DIY is not for you.


514154-renovatePro:  Satisfaction – For some people, the satisfaction of completing a project themselves is part of the reward for investing so much of their time. Pride of ownership and pride in a job well done can truly make a person feel great. If the idea of coming home every day to a beautiful renovation that you completed yourself appeals to you, and you’re willing to dedicate required time and energy, then, DIY might be for you.





Con:  Risk – If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit there’s a chance you, ultimately, won’t be able to produce the results that a pro would. Unfortunately, if you take on a DIY project, you won’t have anyone to hold accountable but yourself. Maybe you can live with minor imperfections. Maybe you’re willing to invest even more time and work on it until you get it right or maybe you’re fully confident in your ability to deliver a top quality renovation. If that’s the case, go with the DIY approach, but if you’d rather reduce risk, hire a contractor.



DIY-reno-guidePro: New Skills – Learning a new skill can add to the return on investment you receive from thetime you put into a renovation. These skills will be particularly valuable if you plan on doing more renovations in the future. Often, learning by doing can be the best way to pick up new skills. It’s going to require the time and patience to research, read and watch how to videos, but the resources are out there and if you’re a fast learner, you can become adept at anything from plumbing to tiling to cabinetry. You may want to practice your newly gained skills on scrap materials before moving on to the expensive stuff. If you have the time and interest to research and practice the skills required and you are willing to use your house as your classroom or laboratory, DIY could be for you.



No-Extended-WarrantyCon: Lack of Warranties – If the tap you installed springs a leak a month after your DIY renovation is complete, what are you going to do? You’re either going to jump in there with a monkey wrench yourself and hope you get it right this time or you’re going to call a plumber and spend some of that hard-earned savings to have them fix it. A quality contractor will warranty their work for some length of time. If something goes wrong, you simply call them and they come make the repair. If peace of mind is important to you, you may want to stay away from DIY.




The decision to take on a do-it-yourself project should not be taken lightly. Nor should the decision to hire a contractor. Whichever way you go, do your research and know what you’re getting into. If you choose to DIY, have patience, be prepared for pitfalls, adapt to the situation and always follow proper safety precautions. If you choose to hire a contractor, choose carefully. Interview multiple companies and make sure you fully understand the timeline, the budget and what services you are getting. Are they offering design services or will they look to you for what finishes to install? Will they see the project through from start to finish or will they leave some of the finish work, like painting, up to you? Whether doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, the more questions you ask at the start, the better.

Top 5 Bathroom Do’s and Don’ts

Bathrooms are the smallest rooms in our homes, but between the plumbing, the lighting, the fixtures, the finishes and the layout, they require more thought and more work per square meter than any other part of the house. Here are 5 do’s and 5 don’ts to consider as you plan and execute your bathroom renovation.



Trendy_Fixtures1. Ask Yourself “How Often Do I Take a Bath?”

If you’re like most people, the answer is “almost never.” You take a shower every day, though, right? Instead of accommodating a full size tub, consider a large, luxurious walk-in shower. From rain heads to body sprays to steam generators to his and hers shower heads, the spa-like options are limitless. While some of these fixtures require a more complex installation, the fact that you will use them, literally, every day, may make them worthwhile. Having no tub is not right for every bathroom though. For resale purposes, your home should have at least one tub in it. Also, manufacturers have accommodated the trend towards showers with smaller tubs. If you want the best of both words, but don’t have a large space to work with, consider a smaller tub and a larger shower.



Hide Toilet2. Hide the Toilet

The fact is the bathroom door in many homes is often left open. And, the toilet is the one fixture you and your guests probably don’t want to see when walking by. Locate it away from the door if at all possible. Also, consider designing a room within a room to house the toilet. If that’s not possible, build a knee wall, or half wall to minimize its visibility. Better yet, tuck the toilet behind a storage piece, whether it is built-in or a piece of furniture like an armoire or dresser. If you’re after that spa-like feel, keep the toilet hidden.




3. Consider the Long TermLong_Term

Depending upon how long you plan to be in your home, you may want to consider its next owner. They might have children. They might be older and less mobile. If you’re going to sell your home some day, design the bathroom for a wide range of lifestyles. If you plan to live in your house forever, design the bathroom so that it fits your needs for the long term. We don’t like to think about it, but eventually, we might like to have a bathroom that accommodates us as we age. The concept of Universal Design, or the design of products to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, is gaining popularity and an increasing variety of attractive, accommodating bathroom products are available.






Wood4. Consider Using Wood, Yes Wood!

We use wood on the exterior of our homes where it is exposed to continual moisture and weather. Why not in the bathroom, then? Wood, when treated and installed correctly, can stand up to the wet, humid conditions of a bathroom and also offer a change of pace from the typical tile that clads nearly every surface of the typical bathroom. Wood simply looks, feels and even smells different than most other materials in the bathroom and can be a welcome contrast to stone or porcelain. As flooring, wood has a much warmer feel, when you step out of the shower, than tile. As cladding on a wall or ceiling, it can be a gorgeous accent.





92252610016417.tcvAAHrBiYR8UBRfT5G8_height6401. Don’t Move the Plumbing (Unless You Have to)

Unless the current layout of your current bathroom is completely non-functional, consider redesigning the space with the fixtures in the same location. This will prevent you from having to move the plumbing lines, which is an expensive endeavor. If plumbing fixtures need to be moved slightly, that’s OK, but when you start adding plumbing to walls that previously did not have it, that’s when the plumber’s bill starts to skyrocket.



92252610016419.kyh9wgwNcCBbuyXWHaAP_height6402. Don’t Buy Materials Online Without Seeing (and Touching) Them First

You’re going to see, and use the materials and fixtures in your bathroom frequently. Therefore, it is incredibly important to see them with your own eyes and touch them with your own hands before you spend money on them. Digital images can only tell so much of the story. The color of many popular surface materials such as quartz, marble and granite can vary significantly between samples. Ideally, you’ll select the actual piece of stone that your materials are cut from. Additionally, lighting fixtures that look great online may overpower the room when you install them. Plumbing fixtures may have a more glossy finish than you envisioned. Visiting a showroom or design center before you spend your money will prevent any disappointment.



261632581_d4b1577f769a3. Don’t Overspend on Trendy Fixtures and Finishes

You want quality materials, but popular design trends can become outdated in as little as five years. If your design aesthetic is more towards the modern and the trendy, consider buying your fixtures from the discount store instead of a high-end retailer, as you may need to replace them in a few years. If your aesthetic is more timeless, classic or neutral, feel free to spend up, but consider consulting with a designer before you take the plunge.



FVN8010BW-34. Don’t Overlook Storage

You’ve perfectly situated the sink, the tub, the shower and the toilet, but what about towels, toiletries, extra soap, your hair drier, make-up, moisturizers, hair spray, nail clippers, shaving cream…? A lack of storage in the bathroom can be a major inconvenience. That pedestal sink may be sleek and slender, but a vanity cabinet offers more storage. A beautiful framed mirror above the sink is attractive, but it doesn’t house small toiletries like a recessed medicine cabinet can. Did you plan wall space for a towel rack, shelving or even a cabinet? Do you have space to for a small closet? What furniture piece would fit in that leftover space in the corner? These are all questions to ask yourself before you start renovating your bathroom.



onepoint-webdesign5. Don’t Do It All Yourself

From plumbing to electrical to tiling to cabinetry, bathroom renovations require a wide range of very specific skill sets. Chances are, you don’t possess all of them, even if you are the most accomplished do-it-yourselfer. For the average weekend warrior, the best return on investment they’re going to get on their time is at the beginning and end of the renovation. Go ahead and demo the old bathroom at the beginning (just don’t forget to turn off the water) and feel free to paint the walls at the end, but unless you are very experienced, leave the more complicated jobs to the trades. Because of the variety of trades involved, the services of a well-qualified general contractor (GC) are well worth the investment. A good GC will not only keep the trades on schedule and help keep the job within budget, but will also help you plan the job from start to finish, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked and that the results meet or exceed your expectations.



Australia isn’t called “Renovation Nation” for nothing. According to the latest estimate from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, home-loving Australians have spent almost $15 billion during the first 3 months of the year alone for residential work, including building and renovation.

Experts say those billions of Australian dollars are serving a worthwhile purpose. A good home renovation can offer multiple benefits: increased market value, improved curb appeal, better looking interiors, household efficiency and productivity, building safety and security. All these benefits translate to peace of mind which—everyone will agree—is priceless.

But you don’t have to be a high-rolling homeowner to enjoy the ROI of a well-planned, well-executed home improvement project. You can stay within your budget and see a vast improvement on how your home looks and functions, through home renovation ideas that allow you to manage costs better. Here are a few tips that you might want to consider for your next property upgrade:

Don’t DIY. Do-it-yourself upgrades may seem like the most frugal option, but in reality and viewed with a long-term perspective, they can actually be more expensive than paying professionals to do the job. Without the proper tools and training, you can get into mistakes that double or triple the cost and time to renovate. Errors such as accidentally hitting a plumbing pipe or constructing cabinets that will never fit the kitchen can be easy to make but costly to correct.

Deal with a straight-talking contractor. When choosing home renovation experts to hire, choose one who won’t sugar-coat things and who can tell you directly which of your ideas will work and which won’t. Hire someone who can talk to you about budget requirements and help you figure out the best option for your range. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. A good contractor will move the extra mile to educate you as a client, so you achieve the best results for each project.

Look beyond cosmetic changes. Have your house plan ready before the work takes place, because a good renovation team will ask for your blueprints first and make an on-site assessment before making any changes. They will take time to examine the foundation and other things related to the construction of the building, and create various simulations using CAD software, because they want to make sure that every change they make won’t disrupt the overall integrity of the structure and its components.

Keep in mind that no home renovation is minor; every single change you make to your house will have a significant impact on its look and performance. Hire a renovation group with the experience, skills and systems to make sure your next renovation will upgrade not just your home, but also the quality of life of your household.

For a lot of homeowners these days, the excellent design of their bathroom is a must in ensuring its functional value. Making cleanliness a convenient task is no longer the sole goal—it’s imperative that the bathroom also becomes a place of relaxation.

Home renovation companies have their work cut out for them; they make sure to stay updated with trends so they’ll have a better understanding of what their clients particularly want. So if you’re looking for great bathroom design ideas, you can bet that these companies have several that you can get inspiration from. Five great ideas are listed below.

The “open” design – Bathrooms that open into an outdoor space are incredibly popular nowadays. Even small bathrooms look expansive if they have a glass sliding door that allows light in and leads to a much bigger space. A lot of homeowners also like the idea of being able to see out while they’re soaking in their tubs.

The “enclosed but still open” design – The layout for this is very important because there usually are no doors in the bathing area; rather, the strategic placement of the walls provide privacy. This bathroom design doesn’t open to an outdoor space, but usually to a bedroom or walk-in closet. A lot of luxury hotels actually follow this design because it creates an easy flow of movement for users/guests.

The “old world glamour” design – A lot of folks nowadays take inspiration from the glamorous style of old bathrooms with claw-footed bath tubs, big mirrors, tuft chairs, luxurious rugs, ceiling-to-floor drapes, et cetera. This design is particularly ideal for people whose design sensibilities gravitate toward the classics. The really nice thing about this design is that it’s all about the smart layout of the room and careful integration of elements, so even if the bathroom is not that spacious, it’s still possible to implement this design.

The “vintage” design – This is particularly compatible with small bathrooms because it’s concentrated on the space-saving solutions of old such as vintage cupboards, small medicine cabinets, pedestal basins, and stout bathtubs. It generally has that ‘50s to ‘60s feel with its subway tiles, bead board walls, and small windows.

The “sophisticated modern” design – This is all about the newest bathroom elements and the creation of as much space as possible. This design tends to use a lot of glass so lighting (natural, usually) is maximised. Likewise, it often utilises green solutions such as water-saving showerheads, toilets, and sinks.

Apart from browsing magazines and enlisting the aid of design experts, one can come across kitchen decorating ideas from different media platforms, including blogs and Pinterest.

The problem many homeowners face is not the dearth of ideas but rather, more importantly, bringing these often disparate ideas together into one unified look. If you are looking for decorating inspiration, here are some ideas that will help you tie different design concepts together.

Make it fun and creative

The kitchen is not just a place to prepare and cook meals. More than that, it should be a warm, personal and intimate space. In order to achieve that, it would be helpful to infuse your kitchen with something different and creative.

Consider making the cabinets go up to the ceiling

This will help you avoid two things. First, this will prevent the accumulation of dust and accessories in the space between the cabinets and the ceiling. Second, this will allow you to maximise available space and ensure that you have ample room for your kitchen essentials.

Use some restraint

One of the pitfalls of having too many design inspirations is the temptation to use all of these and overdo things. Practise some restraint and try to keep things clean, simple and functional.

Make wise use of stainless steel appliances

Stainless steel appliances can complement a wide variety of kitchen designs. However, if you go overboard, the final look can make your kitchen look smaller than it actually is. One of the best ways to avoid this is to substitute wood cabinets whenever possible. This will allow you to create a more intimate look for your kitchen.

Bigger is not necessarily better

Many property owners feel that a bigger kitchen is the answer to their needs. However, a well-designed kitchen that utilises the best materials and maximises available space can prove to be just as stunning and practical as a big kitchen.

Leave extra space

It may be tempting to fill every space of a kitchen. However, design experts will tell you that that is often not necessary. A good kitchen design will help you achieve function and aesthetics by effectively utilising open spaces.

Always go for quality

This is particularly important for your cabinets. Sure, you would want your cabinets to look good, but this should not come at the expense of quality. After all, your cabinets will be subjected to a lot of use and the ones installed in your kitchen should be capable of withstanding these.

You bathroom is one of the more important spaces in the entire house. So it should receive just as much attention as your living room and bedrooms when renovating or building.

The room has to serve more than just an area for bathing, brushing your teeth, and doing everything related to your hygiene. With the right design, layout, and styling, your bathroom can be the ideal spot for relaxation and a bit of indulgence. And both qualities will certainly boost the market value of your property.

Here are six bathroom decorating ideas that will help you add space, light, and style:

  1. Add pops of colour in an all-white bathroom.

White walls, white flooring, white sink, toilet, and tub—an all-white bathroom doesn’t just look pristine and, already, relaxing. It also creates more space in a cramped room, while adding more light.

But if you like vibrant palettes, consider adding pops of colour with your shower curtain, cabinetry, or even the tub.

  1. Use glass to separate the shower area.

A glass divider lends modernity to your bathroom. It can also create an illusion of space, opening up the entire room while still separating zones. For more privacy, you can choose frosted or textured glass dividers.

  1. Consider smart storage solutions.

Open under-sink storage with: vintage buckets or wicker baskets; shelving on the mirror; recessed cabinets on both sides of the mirror; floating shelves underneath wall lighting, and recessed cabinets with mirrors. You’ll have plenty of storage options if you just put your mind to it.

  1. Bold typography and graphic art create interesting features.

If you love contemporary art, why not add it to your bathroom? You can have an eye-catching print on one wall, and bold typography over the sink. Keep it inspiring, amusing, or encouraging because those will be the first things you’ll see in the morning and the last ones you’ll look at in the evening.

  1. Save money on accessories or even fixtures from salvaged finds.

A bathroom renovation or construction doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You just have to find the best sources for materials—from your tub and sinks to your cabinetry and lighting. You can check out a flea market, junkyards, or ask your contractor about excess materials from previous construction jobs.

  1. Think into the future when renovating.

Finally, when renovating or building, it’s good to consider what the future holds for your property. Do you intend to resell or rent it out? If you plan to pass the house on to buyers or tenants, think about pulling back a bit on the styling.

A heavily customised bathroom might turn off a few buyers or tenants. When in doubt, keep the colours monochromatic or toned down and use removable accessories that reflect your preference.


The kitchen always experiences a lot of action in the home. As such, it’s a big advantage for every household to have it renovated so that there’ll be an improvement in the way most activities are carried out.

Nowadays, there are many ways to ensure this advantage, such as making the most use of space by integrating space-saving solutions that can do multiple things; with the right renovation company, all these can easily be incorporated into the new kitchen design.

If you’re looking for kitchen design ideas to beautifully and creatively make over this very important space, here are five to inspire you.

  • Direct your attention toward the ceilings of your kitchen. Improving lighting is one thing you can do to make them most useful; another is to hang storage solutions from them. Most of the time, the ceilings are totally forgotten, but if you have a small kitchen, be sure to explore its potential for improved illumination and organisation. You can have pot racks attached to the ceiling; it’ll be so much easier to get the cooking pans and pots you need especially, if you have the racks installed near the stove.
  • Create an island if you don’t have much counter space. It can be a sturdy table with built-in storage (that can still be moved around or taken out of the kitchen if you need more space); it will function as an extra food preparation area (some thick hardwood-topped tables can serve as a chopping block, actually) and an informal dining area.
  • If you’re tired of the old look of hardwood floors, consider having them painted with patterns. This strategy will not only enhance the look of your floors but it can likewise conceal imperfections. You’ll be amazed at how newly painted floors can change the overall appeal of your kitchen. It’s important to mention as well that painting floors may make them easier to clean.
  • Open door upper storage units can be used to replace wall-to-wall cabinetry. These storage units can hold everything from kitchen ingredients to plates for dining. The advantage with these integrations is that they are much more accessible and they do have a really unique appearance.
  • Change the seating. Stools are perfect for the kitchen because they provide a lot of movement. There are bar height models that are compact, study, and light to move around. Also, some come really cheaply even if they have a fancy design to complement the design of the space, so they’re easy to accommodate into the budget.

Available Materials

Each of the materials are durable, corrosion resistant, and easy to clean. Below are their few distinguishable characteristic of each material.
• Aluminium: Environmentally friendly
• Stainless Steel: Scratch resistant, most preferred in commercial settings.
• Porcelain: Less expensive and visually preferred.
• Plastic: Light in weight and cheapest.
• Unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride (UPVC): Light in weight and very strong.
• Ceramic: Less expensive and visually preferred. If glazed, it is also stain resistant.
You can have your shower trays set down in screed, or traditionally, you can have them bricked in.

Available Shapes And Sizes


This Pentagonal shower tray takes up minimum floor space and can be neatly installed in the corner of your bathroom. Due to its petite size, it allows separate bath and enclosure.You can find Pentagonal shower trays to be mostly available in [900mm x 900mm] or [1200mm x 900mm].


For those not completely in tune with shapes, you can remember the quadrant shower tray as having two straight edges and a curved front. Homeowners will find it ideal for smaller bathrooms, and apart from finding the quadrant edges less noticeable than that of the square and the rectangle, the quadrant offers slightly more showering space than the pentagonal tray.One may also notice that the tray will not appear as small as it really is once the shower enclosure is installed. Quadrant Shower Trays are mostly available in [900mm x 760mm] or [1000mm x 800mm], whereas offset quadrants are mostly available in [800mm x 800mm] or [900mm x 900mm].


Rectangular shower trays are best suited for large and (usually) modern bathrooms because they offer the largest showering space. Homeowners and renovators that install the tray will often find them best located in the center of the room.The tray is available in many rectangular sizes from [900mm x 700mm] all the way to [1200mm x 900mm].


The square shower tray compliments bathrooms of all shapes and sizes and can be installed in several bathroom locations such as recesses, alcoves, corners, or the middle of the bathroom. As a matter of fact, the main reason they are popular is because they are so versatile.You can find them available in many square sizes from [700mm x 700mm] right up to [1000mm x 1000mm].

Types of Vanities
The bathroom vanity is the centre point of a bathroom and available in various shapes, sizes, and designs. As far as bathroom furniture goes, the vanity is very essential, but there is no right or wrong choice, just a matter of preference. Below are some guidelines to help you choose the best option suited to your preference.
Shelf Vanities: Consisting of one or several shelves, they are known to make small bathrooms look bigger. They are available in a range of materials such as glass, chrome, stainless steel, or solid brass. If you don’t want your towels and products to be seen by guests, the shelf vanity option might not be for you, but if you’re the type that knows their feng shui or has meaningful items for display, shelves are a great idea for bringing your bathroom to life.
Wall Mounted: vanities are basically fixed to the wall, and not touching the floor. Getting them reinforced to the wall will cost depending on how much work they need to stay on the wall, but once they have been installed, they look amazing and give your bathroom a spacious look and feel.
Cabinet style: now known as the traditional style. It is mounted along the floor along a wall and would generally have a mirror installed above the cabinet. It remains popular due to its elegant look and design. A cabinet style vanity is ideal for home owners that do not wish for items such as towels, toothbrushes, or medicine to be seen. So if you want products and accessories hidden away


Style Options
French provincial: A vanity design stretching back to France in the 1700s. These are beautiful and expensive antiques to have in your home and bring in a wave of compliments from any guests. Unfortunately one must take great care of them as they are not durable. A drawer handle may pull off the drawer if pulled too hard, and scratches will certainly stay visible. This is most ideal for elderly home owners, or homes without pets or children.
Rustic: Also known as country-style, the wood to make these vanities are generally pine, spruce, and oak. The wood itself may be acquired by taking wood from old existing structures such as stables, cottages, or pre-existing flooring – some as old as 30 or 50 years. The more expensive wood can be as old as 100 to 150 years.
Minimalist: In the strictest sense, the minimalist design serves one purpose – to take up as less space as possible. Otherwise, they can come in the form of a shelf, wall, or cabinet vanity available in various materials, colours, and pseudo styles.
Modern: As new types of materials are produced, and more unique requirements arise, the designers of this day and age come up with new designs to suit all kinds of requirements. To give an example, a contemporary wall hung vanity could contain fresh new features such as a solid stain resistant diamond stone top. The cabinet can be available in durable, non-fading high-gloss titanium paint, while featuring three soft closing drawers with a finger-pull grip and an under mount ceramic basin with overflow protection.

Click here to read about our Bathroom Checklist.

Sometimes if you have a small house or live in an apartment it’s more convenient to have a smaller bathroom renovation. However, just because it is small, it does not mean that it has to look small. There are a variety of options to make it look bigger, and we can guarantee you won’t need to take a sledge hammer to the wall to make it happen.

The options you should consider are your
– tiles
– splashbacks
– vanities

Tiles: the lighter the better

For the spacious look, we advise that you go with light coloured ceramic tiles. Once you have them glazed, you can expect the light to reflect better across your bathroom walls. Some of the advantages of having a tiled bathroom is them being

– hard wearing
– practical against humidity
– can be tiled over existing floor tiles
Beware that tilers will charge for the removal of any existing tiles.


The two types of splashbacks most efficient for a spacious look and feel are the glass splashback, and the acrylic splashback. While both of them can be used as an alternative to tiles, they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

the most favored splashback and a great alternative to tiles. While more expensive than tiles or most other splashbacks, it is absolutely worth the installation, it will

– Add light to the atmosphere
– Be easy to clean and maintain
– Not require grouting
– Have few to no joins
On the other hand, they require a lot of care. Once the splashback is fabricated, it can no longer be altered.

One thing we truly love about acrylic is that they come in sheets, this way we can cut and colour depending on the bathrooms requirements. It’s other well-known advantage is just how good an alternative it is to glass, as it is:

– stronger than glass
– lighter than glass (weighing half as much)
– cheaper than glass
– impact resistant
– can be painted before and after installation
This however, is not an invitation to buy cheap acrylics as they will crack over time.

Vanities: go modern, be minimalistic:

Nowadays, people have more of an idea of what their needs and options are, and so it is not at all uncommon to have designers creating new types of vanities to suit all kinds of requirements. So in this case, if it is a spacious looking bathroom, your specifications may involve
– vanity mounted to the wall or;
– choosing glass shelf if deciding to use shelf vanities
– cabinet not touching the floor
– medicine and any other additional cabinets mounted next to the top of the mirror
– sink in-built to the vanity
– minimum sized drawers; roughly >35cm width, >15cm height, length not so much an issue
The great thing about vanities is that when they are so small, the colour will not affect the spacious look you are after.

All the small things:

It’s amazing how these small things in your bathroom take up so little space, but can get in your way and somehow shrink your bathroom. Here is a list of things you may not even have thought of because you never previously noticed.
– Move the laundry basket out, maybe move it in the laundry
– Keep toothbrushes in a plastic capsule and in your drawer, along with the hairbrush and makeup
– Are the perfumes and figurines necessary for display? Put them away
– If the towel is dry, hook it behind the door – it doesn’t need to be seen
– Hand towels next to the sink are neat and convenient, but they take up space.
Visually, our perception of space is dependent on how clearly we can see the ends of the room. Typically, if there are obstacles or interruptions within our line of vision, we tend to subconsciously mark our own perimeters of the room and thereby shape our own perception. If you ever go to a bathroom show room, you will notice that the displayed bathrooms are always empty and thereby spacious looking even though they are almost always small. Something to think about.

What should I consider when choosing a shower head?

Some of the basic things to consider when choosing a shower head are the preferences of the ones using it, such as the wideness of the stream, the pressure of the shower, and the height. Down the track, you may even decide you want special modifications such as effects that make the water feel like rain or a waterfall, or perhaps have lighting to set a mood. Whatever the case, there are plenty of options for you to match with your preferences.

When looking at the type of shower heads, the most basic categories can be fixed (connected to the wall) and hand-held shower heads (connected to a hose). Hand-held shower heads are useful for washing children or to be used by people with disabilities. Alternatively, people have used them to clean corners of baths, shower cubicles, and nearby tiles.

Ideally, you could have a fixed shower head installed above head height, and the hand-held shower head installed at waist-height. Together, they would both be available for use while operating separately, meaning you could use one at a time, or both.

The performance of a shower head is based on a few small aspects. The pressure of the water varies in the suitability of those using it. High pressure water is certainly affective for removing dirt such as sand from the beach or mud, but it is very uncomfortable on the skin of children and the elderly.

It would be advantageous to choose a shower head with in-built pressure channels. This way anyone using the shower will be able to adjust it to their liking. For instance, a shower head with in-built pressure channels might have rubber switches on the sides that merely require a squeeze to change pressures.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong type of shower head as the selection is based entirely on preferences, but the goal is to match the type with everyone’s preferences in the household.

Concealed Cistern

The Concealed Cistern Toilet Suite is the latest in European design and most preferred in modern Australian bathrooms. It has an in-wall cistern fitted into structural slab wall cavity and can easily be serviced through a cover panel. You will find them available in several different materials, whether it is plastic cistern, vitreous china, or engineered stone. You can have it in single or dual flush. Perhaps the reason it is so favoured is due to its sleek appearance and spaciousness.

Close Coupled

We have all seen this model, it is the most common suite around. The close coupled toilet suite has the pan and cistern joined together with a flush pipe concealed. A very standard model, it is usually available in vitreous china or plastic cistern versions.

Wall Faced

This is perhaps one of the more self-explanatory types. It is called a Wall Faced toilet suite because the back face of the pan fits directly against the finished wall. You may often see this type of suite in a commercial environment, or maybe an up market domestic. The Wall Faced toilet suite is very easy to clean, not just because there are no gaps behind the back face, but also because of its curvy body.


The connector toilet suite has a similar appearance to the close coupled suite but is distinguishable by its plastic bridging connector. The connector plate is fitted to conceal the flush pipe, which is cut to size so that it may fit varying pan set outs in a flexible manner. Though the cistern is connected to the pan with a normal flush pipe assembly, it will always be flexible for all sorts of setouts. The connector toilet suite is usually available in vitreous china and plastic cisterns.
Rather than explaining the difference between the differing toilet pans, we thought it would be more effective to illustrate the differences and give you an idea as to why they are titled the way they are.


Connects directly into a floor mounted collar.


Connects directly into a pan collar mounted on the wall.

Skew Trap

Connects directly into a pan collar mounted on a side wall, available in left and right hand models.

One of the most popular aspect of every bathroom renovation, it is common for most bathroom vanities to have a built-in basin, but in the event that you wish to install one in a regular countertop, or replace one, we provide a brief overview of the different basins.

Also known as a rimmed sink, it is the most common basin as it has been known to match almost any countertop. In a simple sense, it is placed into a hole located on the top of the vanity – this way, it is the easiest type of sink to install, easiest to replace, and least likely to leak. The reason it is also called a rimmed sink is because of the oversized lip of the sink forming around the top of the whole. The basin is clamped underneath, and the plumbing is hidden within the vanity unit. As it is resting directly on the counter, it can handle heavy water weights and garbage disposal.

Being one of the least expensive, drop-in sinks are usually made of china or porcelain-coated cast iron. Do note however, when you are wiping water from the counter and directly into the sink, the rim will most certainly be in the way, and any moisture and soil will accumulate under the rim. You will also notice that the sink’s performance is very dependent on the quality of the material, the efficiency of the installation, and also how well you have cleaned and maintained it.

Under Mount
You may have seen some vanity units include this sink as part of the countertop as these are not only visually pleasing, but (arguably) the most convenient, as you can wipe debris straight into the sink without a rim/lip to stand in the way. The under mount sink is made from the same materials as the drop-in sink when it is bought separately and it sits below the counter top and is larger than the hole cut into the counter, creating an overhang into the sink bowl while clamped to the benchtop from underneath. The supply and plumbing waste lines are hidden inside the vanity.

In terms of installments, you must beware that this is not a cheaper option and it is more difficult to install – meaning, you should not be attempting to install it yourself unless, hire a professional. Also note that it is best suited to more of the solid surface material such as engineered stone or granite. Furthermore, to withstand the heavy weight of water and garbage disposal, the installation must be solid.

Fashionable and quite striking to look at, the sink is mounted directly on the bench, thus appearing like a bowl on bench top. Depending on the setup, the fittings will either be mounted to the wall, or the bench, and the plumbing. There is a lot of availability in terms of colour, shape, and material; commonly, people often have stone or porcelain as their material of choice, but interestingly enough, you can actually have these bowls made out of glass, giving them the transparent look. Whichever way you do it, the bowl will be the highlight of your vanity.

As it is shaped like a bowl, the structure is very much breakable, and as such, the edges can be broken or chipped easily. Watermarks and fingerprints will easily be left on the surface. While the bowel itself is easy to clean, cleaning around the bowl can prove difficult.

Wall Mounted
For the absolute minimalistic option, a wall mounted sink is a great way to save space as this sink takes up nearly no floor space and doesn’t even cost a lot to install. The plumbing is literally a small pipe under the sink that goes into the wall [known as a P-Trap, see illustration under toilets]. As a functional alternative to a vanity, the sink can be combined with mirrors, shelves, and other functioning accessories (such as a mug holder). Apart from requiring more attention when cleaning, there are no real setbacks.

At some point, you will need to select a shower screen to best suit your bathroom. Once the measurements have been made, choosing the shower screen becomes easy.

Basic Shower Frames

Perhaps the most cost effective, this shower screen has the frame around each side of every glass panel, giving it a very traditional look.

As its title suggests, there is no frame anywhere – the glass is installed using clamps, fixings, or channels, and it allows your shower screen to have a clean minimalistic look. The great thing about having no frames is that soap scum and grime cannot accumulate anywhere, making it very easy to clean.

Semi Frameless
By semi frameless, it has no frame around the sides of the glass panel and only framed around the outside. This shower screen costs less than its frameless counterpart, and many consider this a stylish look.

Types of Shower Doors

Pivot Door
The pivoting shower door rotates on two metal fixtures on the top and bottom of the door. This way, the door is not on an actual hinge, it is on the fixture known as a pivot. Thereby, as it is on a pivot, the door may rotate inwards and outwards when opened.

Sliding Door 
Sliding doors slide to one side across the screen and roll while suspended from a track. It can have one or more fixed panels, allowing entry and exit to the shower. This shower door is ideal for small bathrooms

Corner Shower Screen 
This shower screen is designed to be installed in the corner of the bathroom as it usually has two or more narrow fixed panels. The pivot door is used, allowing easier entry and exit to the shower.

Fixed and Swing
It is called the fix and swing because it has a fixed panel and a swinging door. It only opens outwards, and as such, is best in bathrooms with enough space to accommodate doors that open outwards.

Fixed Panel
Perhaps one of the more savvy approaches to a shower screen, this shower screen doesn’t have a door at all. It is just a panel of glass fixed in place, allowing home owners to have a walk in shower.

For those interested in having a bathtub in their shower area, click here.

When undergoing your bathroom renovation, you may have given some thought about removing the old bath tub and installing a new one. To better prepare you for the process, we’ve included some cost considerations.
To begin, if you haven’t yet decided which bathtub you want, there are a number of bath tubs to choose from as they can be made from various materials. To view the list, click here. Once you are satisfied with the bathtub you want, you may begin your search for a plumber.
As a general rule, be sure to get at least three quotes when dealing with contractors.
The plumber can remove your bathtub and also install it. While your plumber is at work, he can alter as well as modify any necessary fixtures or drainage. Here in Perth, we have known plumbers to charge at least $90 an hour. This is a common rate in Western Australia – other plumbers can go as high as $105.
Please note, if they need to buy any replacement materials (such as pipes, taps, knobs etc.), they will include it in their fee – this is why you have quotes, so they can give you an approximation of how much they will charge.
Water Proofer
Once the bathtub has been removed or replaced, and fixtures have been altered, you will need a water proofer to ensure the walls and the floor can prevent water from sinking through. Water proofing can cost anywhere between $35 and $70 per square meter.
You must also be aware that bathrooms on the 1st floor of a second storey house are required to have the whole floor water-sealed.
The tiler can be thought of as the one that provides the finishing touch. Once you have had your old bathtub removed, a new one installed, and your bathroom water sealed, it will be very unlikely that you will not need your tiles replaced. Based on the tiles you have chosen, the tiler can charge anywhere between $35 and $100 per square meter.
Please take this opportunity to view our page regarding the cost of tiling and the types of tiles on the market.

Whether you are replacing your tap or needing to select a specific ware for your bathroom renovation, there are two main criteria that determine the price of your bathroom tap ware. The type of material you choose dictates the physical value of the ware, whereas the tap style focuses not only on the shape of the tap, but also the labour work needed for fittings and installations.

Type Of Material

Taps can be made of various metals, such as stainless steel, chrome, brass, nickel, and even gold. Though it may be appear luxurious to choose chrome or gold, the material itself will not have any effect on the usability of the tap. While brass and nickel may be the most affordable, the metals may not look appealing, or just not match the rest of your bathroom.

Tap Style

You may be familiar with the cross-head style (the knob being shaped like a cross) as well as the modern used lever tap. Depending on how the installation is done, there are many more tap varieties; such as pedestal, double and single lever, or wall mounted taps etc.

A tap can either be mounted separately or fitted to the base of the spout – this is all based on the application and the available positioning.

Depending on the style of your bathroom renovation, or perhaps your laundry, you may also consider the three currently used washerless taps. The three being ball taps, cartridge taps, and ceramic disc taps. They are known to cut down on plumbing maintenance and not need nearly as much repairs as other taps.


The type of metal will not have any effect on the tap’s performance or efficiency, but understandably, we all want the best for our renovation and will thereby pick according to appearance. Always remember that when it comes to the quality and beauty of your home, you get what you pay for.

Click here to learn about shower heads.

When renovating your bathroom, be sure consider the material, rather than just the installation costs. You’ll be surprised at what benefits each one has to offer.
Acrylic: Beautiful and very light in weight, acrylic bathtubs are one of the most popular choices as it not only looks good, but is quite affordable and versatile; allowing it to be relocated more than once. To prevent it from cracking and chipping, it is reinforced with fibreglass.
Cast Iron: What is most fascinating about cast iron is that once it is moulded, it is nearly impossible to dent or even scratch. While we can appreciate that it is made from poured molten iron, it is rather expensive.
Fibreglass: Manufactured by building up layers of fibreglass and then spray coated with polyester resin. As a material, fibreglass is flexible, and as an overall product, it is one of the more affordable options.
Ceramic Tile: Perhaps the oldest, the ceramic tile surround is manufactured on site by creating the form out of wood studs covered with concrete board. Thereby, the ceramic tile is laid on the concrete board with an appropriate amount of mortar, and grout fills the gaps between the tiles. Recently, people choose to have a bath tub custom made to fit in their bath surround. This way cleaning requirement are reduced drastically.
Marble: Yes, you can also have a marble bathtub. The advantage of having one is little more than appearance, but beware that it may crack if exposed to a thermal shock, and can be etched by hard water. A marble bathtub can perhaps be used as a luxury item in a spare bathroom used on special occasions.
Cultured Marble: Despite, being titled so, cultured marble is not actually made from marble. It is called so because the finished product merely looks like marble. Polyester resin and limestone are mixed together and then given a gel coat finish. Think of cultured marble as the cheaper alternative to marble; it is after all cheaper than marble and cast iron, but slightly more expensive than acrylic.
Steel: Fairly mid-priced for a metal and much lighter than cast iron, the steel bathtub is common in new home constructions and high in quantity of units sold as replacements. The steel bathtub is available in a porcelain finish, remaining ever-durable and resistant to many chemicals and abrasion.
Stone: While most solid surface bathtubs are fairly new to the bathtub market, it’s been an alternative to granite and marble countertops for a while. It is very much a stylish high end option, and apart from looking look, it can maintain all types of bathroom temperatures for longer periods of time than other baths.

When you are deciding whether or not you want an exhaust fan in your bathroom, there are two main aspects you should consider. The effect that moisture has on your bathroom and the effect hygiene has on your health.

After a hot shower the air becomes moist, and although some of the moisture in the air will fade over time, a lot of it will stick and build up on your walls and floor. Moist bathrooms are uncomfortable to be in (especially during summer), and the floors can be slippery and prone to accidents. The water vapour over time makes it difficult for you to be able to see the mirror, and can be difficult to clean.

Filth in air
Infrequent circulation can cause the air to become stale. It’s common knowledge that when you breathe, your red blood cells transfer oxygen to other cells in your body. Simply put, breathing old or stale air is essentially compromising your body of basic functionality, and makes it an easy target for illnesses and diseases.

Stale air is not only hazardous to human health, but allows bacteria to build up and form dirty corners in your bathroom. If you choose to not have bathroom ventilation then you will have to manually clean the floor and walls each time you have used your bathroom. Even then, that would only be half the work. You would need to invent new ways to circulate the air.

When you decide to get a fan, you will notice they are available in several designs for the purpose of matching various bathroom styles. This way, it is unlikely that you won’t be able to find an exhaust fan that will match your bathroom.

We won’t tell you which brands to pick, but understand that when it comes to selecting an appliance for your home, you get what you pay for.

If you choose to replace your ceiling when undergoing your home renovation, you are aware that you have had to choose between a contractor that specialises in ceilings, and a carpenter, whose skills branch out to ceiling removal/replacement. Either way, you can be certain of one thing. The job is going to be messy. All and any moveable objects such as furniture and appliances will need to be moved away from the work area.

The following are some guidelines to help you prepare, save time, and money.

Preparing your walkway for access

Removing your current ceiling will be the messiest process. To better prepare for it all, you need to think about how your walkway is going to look when the contractor is frequently entering and leaving the house to fetch tools and materials, or to remove debris.

Items that you may need
– roll of cardboard
– some masking tape
– tape measure
– cutting knife
– hire a skip bin

Simply put, you will be covering up your walkway to reduce the level of mess in your hallway. To do this you will need to strategically measure the perimeters of the walkway from the front door, right down to the kitchen and lounge area. By strategically measuring, we mean, how many lengths will you need to accommodate.

For example, if the walkway from your front door to your kitchen is an L shaped walkway, you would need two lengths of cardboard appropriately sized for each turn – you’re obviously not going to be twisting the sheet of cardboard around. Once the cardboard lengths have been placed down, you secure them to the floor with masking tape; this way, the cardboard will stay in place when people walk on it, but will also be easily removed when the work is finished.

If you are hiring the contractor yourself, provide a skip bin (usually available in 2 or 4 cubic meters for small rubbish), otherwise, the renovation company you signed with will make sure one is hired for you.

Tearing up your existing ceiling

If your contractor has an apprentice with him, let them be, but if your contractor doesn’t have a pair of hands to help him, consider lending them.

Items that you may need
– work gloves
– safety goggles
– broom
– vacuum cleaner (for commercial/industrial purposes)

To save yourself time (and money), you can offer to assist your contractor by removing debris as they are pulling away the ceiling – just remember to have a pair of work gloves (for obvious reasons) and safety goggles if you are not used to flying dust.

If you have hired the contractor yourself, you may want to have a vacuum cleaner designed for commercial/industrial premises (more affordable ones may cost under $150).

Putting in the new plasterboards

Once again, be prepared to help your contractor if needed. While they will hire/have a panel lifter with them to raise the plasterboards to the ceiling, carrying the plasterboards through the house and to the work area, and then placing them on the panel lifter is quite a mission – a carpenter 6’3 tall and weighing 95 kilos would have great difficulty completing this task alone.

Items that you may need
– bucket of water
– sponge (adequate for cleaning a car)
– bucket to accommodate plastering paste.
– spare step ladder

Typically, you can use a broom to hold up the plasterboard as the contractor is drilling / stapling it in place. Once your contractor has installed the plasterboards, he will move onto the cornices. They may regularly ask you to wipe the excess paste off of their brush and into a bucket, and other times they may ask you to lightly soak the sponge and hand it to them in order to limit the amount of paste on the cornices.

All in all

Your contractor will normally have an apprentice/assistant to help them get the job done, but in the event they don’t, you need to make yourself available not just because it is the nice thing to do, but also because the work will get done quicker. Read back to preparing your walkway, if you do it yourself, your contractor can begin working on the ceiling immediately rather than charge you for the time it takes for them to prepare the walkway. Also consider how much longer it would take to install the plasterboards if they have to do it themselves.

Colour selection is very important. We often find that the true success of a good kitchen design lie equally in the way that the colours, textures and materials blend together as in delivering a good finish.

Whenever you are choosing colours for your new kitchen or living space, considering the following rules:

1. Identify a mood or theme that you want to incorporate. Paint companies like Dulux actually group their colours according to these schemes. Check out their latest trends, hues and spaces on their website. Their online colour visualisers are also very helpful.

2. Think about the colours of your furniture and cabinets. These items will dress your room. If they make big vibrant statements, it might be best to tone down the colours a bit for the walls and ceiling. That way you accentuate the dressing furniture, cabinets & benchtops.

3. Ceilings are always best to keep light and neutral.  The reason is simple. Most modern homes, units and apartment have standard 2.4m high ceilings. The only time that we would recommend a bold dark ceiling is when there is enough wall surface and natural light to balance out this feature.

4. Think about creating a feature wall. These walls can make a subtle or bold statement. If it is a subtle statement that you want, use lighter analogue colours. Bolder statements can be made by using richer and darker tones. Don’t forget to experiment with paint finishes and textures.

5. Make sure that you marry your colour selection with your lighting selection. Think about how the light will reflect off different surfaces at various times of the day. Buy sample pots and have fun experimenting with colours. It’s always best to see it on the wall first before committing!

A good colour selection can really boost the expectations and value of your kitchen renovation.  If you are still a bit hesitant, get in touch with a colour consultant.  It is money well spent!

You will learn that there are many options when it comes to choosing a bench top for your kitchen renovation. Every option has its advantages and disadvantages that vary in durability, appearance, and affordability. Below is a brief overview of each bench top, stating the pros and cons of each option.

A granite bench top is available in several beautiful colours and is known for its durability as it can withstand hot pans and is relatively scratch resistant. Customers that prefer the appearance of natural stone can expect this bench top to be long lasting as the material is one of the hardest available – with some care, they can also expect it to look good for years to come.
However, the bench will require regular resealing as the material is porous and thereby susceptible to the passing of liquid and air. Granite bench tops are also admittedly expensive as a result of the quality in the material, as well as the labor needed to construct them. You will however find that they are cheaper than solid stone, and roughly the same price as engineered stone.
Engineered Stone
Engineered stone is a material made of crushed stone that is held together by polymer resin. The materials are made in slabs and often cut, polished, and arranged entirely on the work site. The engineered stone bench top became very popular very quickly due to its favored appearance; allowing a generous variety of colour and patterns.
The only actual disadvantage with an engineered stone bench top is the fact that it’s expensive, but with the material’s durability preventing scratches or any need for resealing, most customers would argue that it is worth the price.

This is one of the most expensive materials purely because it is beautiful and has appealed to many buyers. However, this material is neither scratch nor stain resistant and is also sensitive to certain cleaners and acidic foods. It also requires resealing. In order to have longer lasting beauty, most customers prefer to have marble surfaces in the bathroom rather than the kitchen.

The laminate bench top is the cheapest option and is popular among customers that are on a budget. There are plenty of colours to choose from and it is easy to maintain. Do note however, that the material is susceptible to burns, cuts, scratches, and often won’t be able to support an under mount sink – so forget about chopping vegetables or resting anything too hot on the surface, or even using abrasive cleaners.
Renovators say that laminate bench tops are a mission to install, and if there is a pocket of liquid embedded somewhere in the surface, the structure of the bench top will gradually sag and deteriorate.

Stainless steel
in a commercial setting, it is most suitable to have stainless steel bench tops for hygiene purposes. They are easy to clean, they’re hard-wearing, and can withstand hot pans. Restaurant owners would be pleased to know that stainless steel bench tops can be manufactured to hold integral sinks and draining boards.
Clearly in a commercial setting, owners would not care so much for scratches, fingerprints, and dents being seen on the surface, but they should be wary of any abrasive cleaners. As far as being known to be expensive, the price will vary depending on the thickness of the steel. Otherwise, this type of bench top is chosen specifically for its performance, not appearance.

Solid surfaces
a solid-surface bench top is made of a solid plastic block, providing a consistency between the patterns and colours. Certain brands allow the material to appear like granite or marble. While considerably expensive, it is neither scratch nor heat resistant. However, the material is hygienic, easy to repair, resistant to stains, and does not show any visible joins. Customers also have the option to create draining boards and integral sinks.

these bench tops are perhaps the most unpopular option for fairly understandable reasons. Though they are strong and long-lasting, they are neither heat nor scratch resistant and require regular re-sealing. The cost varies on the type of timber you choose.

The decision to invest in a traditional style or contemporary kitchen depends on a range of factors.

Whenever clients choose to do a kitchen renovation, their decision is motivated by 2 factors:

1. Adding value to the kitchen to boost the value of the property, or
2. Adding a functional space that suits their lifestyle and personal taste for years to come.

We therefore recommend that if you keep in mind the resale value of your kitchen investment to a potential home buyer, without completely disregarding your personal taste, you should end up with a product that suits both you and future purchasers.

Another ruling factor to consider when making this decision is the style and age of your home. Farm and country style kitchens traditionally look better in period homes. The reason for this is that the cabinet mouldings are complimented by the architectural features picked up by the plaster mouldings, floors and furniture throughout the home. This is not always the case however. We have seen beautiful contemporary kitchens working well in a traditional home, but it is a good rule of thumb.You also want to consider not only the architectural style of the cabinets, but also the colour. Colour schemes are essential when bringing a particular look and feel to your kitchen. Contemporary cabinets and bench tops come in a range of assorted colours. It is therefore a lot more versatile, especially if you want to style a kitchen in a certain way upon completion.

The final factor is you budget. Country style kitchens are traditionally more expensive. Why? It all comes down to supply and demand. The new home market is completely geared at satisfying the demand for a slick, minimal and clean kitchen look – aka a contemporary kitchen.

Remember to have fun with your new kitchen renovation and get a good kitchen planner or cabinet maker to design it up for you. The reward is always in good planning!

To learn about choosing kitchen appliances, click here

Pendant Lighting:

When choosing your pendant, the style of the pendant should match the style of your kitchen. For instance, wooden pendants go well with traditional kitchens, whereas coloured glass goes better with modern kitchens. Scale-conscious customers try and get their pendants to be 254mm smaller in diameter than the width of their kitchen counter – one advantage to this is having more headroom, especially if you have your dining table in the kitchen.

 There are two ways to position the height of your pendant. One is to hang the bottom rim 1550mm to 1650mm from the floor, and the other is to hang it 760mm above the surface of the dining table.
If you have a long dining table, it’s a great idea to have multiple pendant lights hanging over it, just as well they are great to have over cook tops and the kitchen bar. It is always worth installing a dimmer as it can limit your light consumption, and lower your energy bills.

Task Lighting

Today’s compact kitchen renovations designers place wall-mounted cabinetry above most worktops for optimum storage efficiency. This provides the perfect mounting point for recessed cool LED down lighters that cast shadowless white light exactly where Cook is working. Using tinted bulbs creates an amazing ring of light around the room, for that million-dollar look that is surprisingly inexpensive.

In-Cabinet Lighting

Concealed sensor lights inside storage units are one of the neatest kitchen lighting ideas to come out in the past decade. Unless in glass-fronted ones in which you display your memorable treasures, you can set then to come on when they sense the door is opening, and turn off again after you close it again.

Ambient Lighting

Kitchen ideas of using ceiling up-lighting on wall cabinets have been around for decades. However the new series of LED lights now make multiple designs affordable that do not generate a single degree of heat. Try pure white ones above the main work area, and softer, warmer lights over the family chill-out spot. The really neat thing is that you can swop the bulbs around at any time you want.

Suspended Lighting

Have you got a central island or a separate dining table standing on its own? If so, this is the perfect excuse to install pendant lighting over it. This is where kitchen renovations really do become fun. There are so many stunningly unique designs around, that it’s actually difficult to settle on one.

If your kids like to do their homework while you prepare the meal (and perhaps offer a little independent advice) then make sure that this aspect of your kitchen lighting plan comes complete with dimmer switches, so that you can brighten or dim your pendant lights according to the circumstances.

Strip Lighting

If you are an adventurous spirit, then why not experiment with the latest kitchen ideas in strip lighting. This can create a great art deco feel – and make the room seem longer when the other lights are turned down low. When you become imaginative like this you transcend what others think, and start having fun!

The Finishing Touch

Of all the opportunities available when doing kitchen renovations, kitchen lighting can produce the most spectacular results. In fact, kitchen ideas like the ones we mentioned can add a heap more money to the value of your home than they cost. When you sit down after supper and switch the lights to their maximum effect, you’ll agree that the effort was well worth the cost.

Recessed Lighting

Your recessed lights serve many purposes as they can be used for general lighting in open floor plan areas, for highlighting counter areas and stove tops, and also be used with or without standard ceiling lights. You can just as well have sleek and minimalistic lighting, and still be illuminating your entire kitchen. It’s ideal for counter tops and island bars, allowing it to be an appealing and inviting place to carry out your tasks in.

The recessed lights are commonly placed around the perimeters of the room, and about 300mm – 450 mm away from cabinets so that they can better illuminate counter areas. As always, dimmers can help adjust the atmosphere and mood of the kitchen – also saving energy and extending the lifespan of the light bulbs.As they are so convenient, you can use separate dimmer switches for different zones of lighting to give a variety of lighting options; for the counter areas, Kitchen Island, and pantry etc.For tips on colours, click here

Today we will talk about incorporating a good kitchen payout into your renovation project. Unfortunately when it comes to giving your kitchen a makeover, you might find that your opportunity to change the layout is not always possible.

The layout is usually governed by the design of the room, location of the walls and the position of the services (water, waste gas, etc).  Regardless of whether you can change the layout, try to keep the following in mind.

Changing your layout can mean that you might have to move a wall, construct a wall, relocate plumbing and electrical services, and in some cases create or close up windows. These items all come at a cost, so keep make sure to match your design with your budget.

Your kitchen layout needs to be practical. The golden rule here is creating what is called a “kitchen triangle”. In short, it is a triangle of movement between the cooker/oven, sink and fridge. Regardless of the layout of your kitchen, if those 3 kitchen elements are positioned in a triangle, it should be easy to move between each station.

Kitchens come in different layouts. You get the single galley kitchen, which means that all cabinets butt up against a single straight wall. Next is the double galley kitchen, meaning that all cabinets butt up against two parallel walls, thus creating a galley down the middle. Then there is the classic u- shaped and l-shaped kitchen design with or without central islands.

You need to ensure that when choosing your kitchen cabinets, that you make provision for your storage needs. It is easy to outgrow your kitchen in terms of space. Make provision for a pantry if possible and ask your cabinet maker about building intelligent storage solutions into the cabinets. Check out the HettichHefele or Blum websites for ideas.

Whether you have a small or large kitchen, a clever layout coupled with a good design can really make using your new kitchen an absolute joy. Be smart about choosing a good design and stick to your budget!

For information on choosing a good kitchen installation company, click here.

There are various kitchen installation companies out there. Before we answer the above question, lets first address – “what do kitchen installation companies do?”.

Cabinet Makers (also called kitchen installers) tend to do the following:

1. Visit your home and measure up your kitchen space.

2. Work on a design with you that incorporates your kitchen layout, color schemes, storage and appliance requirements.

3. Manufacture and install your kitchen cabinets. Sometimes they will also do the same for your benchtop and splashback of choice.

What don’t they usually do?

4. Strip out your existing kitchen, take out walls, brick up windows and relocate your services to fit in with the new kitchen design.

5. Fit off your electrical and plumbing services after the benchtops have been installed. Install any flooring, tiling, ceilings, cornices etc.

So, with that in mind….. here are 4 top tips for choosing a good cabinet maker?

1. Look for good customer service. Are they returning your calls? Do they keep their appointments? Do they have designs with you on time? Are their designers friendly and courteous?

2. Is it a reputable company? Look out for industry awards and don’t be shy to visit their showroom if they have one.  Ask for customer references and follow up on them.

3. Do the ideas of their designers excite you? The designers should be passionate and be full of recommendations. You might always like all their ideas, but that is ok. It is part of working towards a good design.

4. How many people will you deal with? A good kitchen company should have 2 people that customers interact with – the designer and the installer. Ask about this and ask to meet the installer. These parties should leave a lasting professional impression with you.

5. Does the price tag reflect the service and product on offer? Make sure that you know exactly what is on offer. Do they use their own installers? Do they project manage the renovation process? Does it all come with a guarantee?

It goes without saying that not all cabinet makers and kitchen companies are created equal. Find out what they do. Find out what you have to do….. then stick to the 5 top tips. Good Luck!

Whether you have a small kitchen, or you just want more space for the dining / lounge area, there are very simple ways to minimise your kitchen size and add space to your home.

By rule of thumb, the available space in your kitchen will mostly depend on your cabinets, not only their size, but location. Regardless of your kitchen style, it is always good to have a hanging cabinet. Simply being, a hanging cabinet above your kitchen bench and next to the range hood can affect whether you are able to store your refrigerator in the kitchen, or having to store it in the pantry/laundry.

The great thing about the latest kitchen cabinets is that there are no limitations as to how a cabinet appears, is shaped, or even what angle the cookware is stored. It is very common to see cabinets expertly compiled together (like LEGO blocks) around the kitchen to fit around bench tops, range hoods, and windows. Simply put, modern designs are designed to be whatever you need them to be.

Use a Dish Drawer
While each of the kitchen styles do offer various cabinet designs, they can still take up space when you are using them to store the dishes, cups, and silverware. If you currently have enough space to store cutlery away in a complimentary manner, change nothing. But if you want more space, or would just prefer dishes to not be seen, rely on a dish drawer – they can be installed to under the sink, next to the bench top, or even wall mounted. Dish drawer owners often like to say, “We can put our dishes away dirty”.

Think about your Kitchen Style

Many first time renovators often choose a modern kitchen. It’s not a bad choice as it is very sleek and designed to accommodate all sorts of requirements. As well as a strong emphasis on colours and lighting, renovators can save space by implementing the variety of cabinets, corner units, and appliances strategically placed to give your kitchen a spacious surrounding.

Traditional kitchens are known for their rich and luxurious look, its opulent colours and decorative mouldings add detail to a timeless product. Because it is a style rather than a trend, it will fit well with most Australian homes, as the original character of the house stays preserved. While a traditional kitchen is often favoured amongst experienced renovators, you must be aware of its limitations, and that is that a lot of modern appliances may look out of place, such as the latest dishwashers, refrigerators, and cooktops.

The contemporary kitchen has straight sleek lines or long bending curves, accommodating modern appliances without compromising the timeless beauty of your home. Its monochromatic colour scheme will provide for a lustrous appearance, whilst still providing the functionality and low maintenance of a modern kitchen. In a contemporary setting, it is not at all uncommon to have your kitchen sink next to your dishwasher, oven, and cabinets joined to your fridge while all other cabinets are mounted above. This setting is ideal for small kitchens, allowing children and other family members to walk through the kitchen without causing any distraction.

Note: All articles regarding do-it-yourself work are provided in good faith, and intended for personal use. If you are unsure, in doubt, or have any health problems or injuries, don’t risk it, hire a professional.


Spirit level: to make sure you do not drill in the timber on a crooked angle. It’s good to have one whenever you are installing or fixating anything in your household. Always keep it near the tools.
Piece of Timber: Nothing fancy, just make sure the timber is at least 20mm thick. This will need to be drilled into the wall to support the weight of your cabinet as you are installing it. Be sure that the timber is roughly the same length as your cabinet.
Power drill with screws: We strongly recommend you do not try to hammer some nails or manually screw them in. Try and use a square headed screw at least 2 1/2 inches long. The square head will stay on the drill tip allowing you to hold the drill in one hand and (if needed) the cabinet with the other.
Fillers (dependant): Filler strips are small pieces of wood placed between the wall and the side of the cabinet, allowing cabinet doors to open. They can also be used to cover any gaps between kitchen cabinets. They should have the same finish as the cabinets, and are one to three inches wide, and sometimes wider.
Assistant: Have a friend, partner, or family member to hold the timber at the correct angle while you drill it in. Once the cabinet is resting on top of the supporting timber, have your assistant holding the cabinet against the wall while you drill the screws in.

The Steps:

1. Plan the location: make measurements and mark dimensions of where the cabinet will be.
2. Use spirit level to check that the angle of the border is not off.
3. Drill in one end of the timber.
4. Check spirit level before drilling in other end. Have your assistant firmly hold the timber.
5. To lighten the load, remove all doors, shelves, and any other detachable items from the cabinet.
6. Have assistant firmly holding the cabinet against the wall on the supporting timber while you drill.
7. Remove timber.

Things to Consider

Is your kitchen wall prepared?
In most cases, we would assume that your wall is either plain or stripped. Ultimately, we don’t want any cabinet installation to be happening over tiles or splashbacks.

Is your cabinet next to a wall or Range hood?
In other words, would you be able to open the cabinet doors if the cabinet is right next to a wall? And while we’re here, would you be able to open those doors in a hurry? Without them getting scraped against the range hood? You also don’t want the handles bouncing against the wall and gradually leaving a dent. Remember to use fillers.

Number of screws
When you are drilling, make sure you have fortified each corner inside the cabinet as well as the middle (top and bottom) so that there are no hanging gaps. While the cabinet may appear secure after just a few screws, time and the pull of gravity may prove different.

For basics on cabinets, please visit our Cabinet Types page.

Prior to home renovations, Perth property owners have one more important decision that they need to make before the actual commencement of the remodelling project: whether to stay home or leave.

In order to make the right decision, it is important for property owners to consider the following factors.


If you intend to stay at home during the renovation process, you have to consider the fact that doing so can increase the overall project price. Some contractors have to work double-time to ensure that vital needs like plumbing and electricity are kept running and interruptions are minimised. Additionally, the contractor may ask for an extra fee to ensure that the home is kept clean.

Project type

In some types of projects, it is perfectly all right to stay at home while work commences. However, in some cases wherein electricity, plumbing and heating need to be cut off, you are better off staying in a hotel or leasing an apartment for a short period of time.

Work scope

If the project is confined to just one area of the home, it is possible to stay at home, granting that you are willing to make some adjustments and sacrifices. However, if the scope of the project covers a good amount of the property or if you cannot afford to not use a bathroom or a kitchen during the duration of the work, consider staying in another place.

Kids and pets

If you have kids and pets at home, you should be aware of a few things. For one, the noise and activity can be distressing for them. Second, the job site can be a noisy place and the workers will not stop their work just because it is your baby’s nap time. Third, the activities of kids and pets can disrupt the workers. Be mindful of the latter if you are planning to stay home. While kids may be well-meaning and want to chat with the workers, they can unknowingly disrupt the smooth flow of work. As for pets, many contractors, through clauses in the contract, ask that they should not be held responsible if pets escape.

Cooking your meals

If the bulk of the renovation is in the kitchen, you need to plan how to prepare and cook your family’s meals. You may not be able to use your usual tools and appliances. You can stay at home but you need to make a lot of adjustments and sacrifices.

Dirt and debris

There is no way to go around this: Your home will get dirty. In the beginning, this may seem like a small price to pay. However, if you are a neat freak, this can take a toll on you.

If you are still unsure about which decision to make, it is worthwhile to visit an actual, ongoing renovation. This will give you a clearer picture of the actual state of a home undergoing this kind of work.

Before the start of bathroom renovations, Perth homeowners are often caught up in the excitement of finally achieving their dream kitchen.

Often, property owners overlook the fact that renovations in practically any part of the house can be quite messy and you may not be able to do all the activities that you usually do. During the period wherein workers and their equipment come and go inside your home, it will look nothing short of a war zone.

In order to better adapt to this chaos, here are a few things that you can do before the bathroom renovation starts.

A word on security

During renovations, a home can be vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals who may want to take advantage of the chaos inside your home. While you are away and while the workers are busy with their tasks, it is possible for thieves to make their move.

Do not rely on the workers to take a look at your home all the time. It is your responsibility to beef up security at your home. Consider adding a few extra locks and storing some of your valuables elsewhere.

…and on privacy

If you are going to stay home, you may still want to have some measure of privacy while the workers are away. Make the necessary adjustments. For example, do all your private business earlier before the workers arrive or after they have left. It also wouldn’t hurt to put up some dividers or folding screens to demarcate the work and private areas.

Move your stuff

If you are staying home, instead of moving to another apartment during the duration of the renovation, it is a good idea to move your personal effects and belongings to the bathroom that you will be using.

Before work starts, be sure to pack all the bathroom essentials you need and store these in one convenient location. This will help you avoid disturbing the workers. Or you can move all your stuff to the bathroom you will be using during the renovation process.

Make the work area a no-kid zone

The job site can be a dangerous environment, with heavy equipment and hazardous materials found in it. Kids are naturally curious and may be drawn to the hubbub in the kitchen. Take the necessary precautions and keep your children away from the work zone. This will help prevent unnecessary accidents and keep kids from distracting the workers

The bathroom is a relaxing retreat for men and women, and so many are inclined to beautify it and make it that “place for everything, and everything in its place.” If you’re thinking of upping the overall look of your bathroom without busting a lot of money, here are seven creative and frugal bathroom decorating ideas surely worth trying.

  • Organise your cotton, flosses, make-up brushes, etc. — but not on the bathroom counter. Use the wall and free up some space near your sink by getting a plank of wood, several Mason jars (or any old jars that are the same size), hose clamps, a picture hanging kit, a drill and screws. Attach the jars to the plank of wood using the screwed-in hose clamps, mount on the wall using a picture hanging kit, and there you go — a wall organiser that will hold a bunch of bathroom essentials. It’s not only useful, but it has a country charm as well.
  • For damaged tiles in the bathroom, purchase a mosaic kit (which is very affordable) and go wild with the design you can create. You may even want to take out other tiles to further enhance the new colourful tiling in your bathroom.
  • If you’d like a spa feel for your bathroom, try creating a pebble mat. Pebbles can be purchased from crafts stores and you can use an old rubber mat you have. With a strong contact adhesive, glue all the pebbles to the mat.
  • No shelves in the bathroom to hold towels? Hang a wine rack on the wall instead – it will not take up too much space, but it can hold several towel rolls which you can arrange strategically for a more aesthetically pleasing effect.
  • Use multi-tiered trays typically used for food, not only to organise bath essentials but also to beautifully display them. If you don’t have any, you can stack plates and candle holders for the multi-levelled display.
  • Store some candles in the bathroom as well and display them nicely. They’re great for mood lighting just like in spas, and if you purchase the scented kinds, you automatically get an instant deodoriser. This is perfect especially if you have guests coming over and visiting the bathroom frequently.
  • Consider a skylight for the bathroom. The initial investment may be pricey because you will need the services of expert bathroom renovators, but you can be sure the effort will be cost-effective. You can save a lot of money eventually by being able to take advantage of natural illumination during the day and doing without electricity for those moments when you just want to chill in the bathroom. Likewise, skylights can improve ventilation and may help inhibit the growth of moulds caused by excessive moisture in the bathroom.

Finding home improvement ideas to implement in your property has never been easier. A cursory search on the Internet will yield several great results, which sometimes can be overwhelming. On top of that, there are lots of professionals who can work with you to tailor these ideas to fit your needs and budget.

The real challenge lies not in choosing among these ideas, but in making these ideas come into fruition and getting maximum utility out of these.

If you are keen on sprucing up your home, bolstering its functionality or even increasing its value, here are a few important factors to consider.

Focus on improvements that deliver maximum values

If money is not an issue, you will probably generate a long list of improvement ideas. However, it is more likely that you will be working with a limited budget. As such, it is best to focus on improvements that can actually boost your property’s values.

To DIY or not

It may be tempting to tackle home improvement projects by yourself. But even if you have some experience and you have the right tools readily available, it is important to recognise your limitations and enlist the aid of professionals for some projects.

But whether you are keen on tackling home improvement projects by yourself or not, it is a good idea to develop a few helpful skills that will enable you to tackle simple home repairs. Additionally, it pays to invest in the right tools. Start out with the essentials and upgrade later on.

A word on financing home improvements

One truth that homeowners must understand is that most improvement projects won’t pay for themselves. If your current budget is limited, it is worthwhile to know what your financing options are. And although some projects do not directly pay for themselves, you can end up minimising your overall expenditure with projects that reduce other household expenses. This is another reason why you should choose which projects to tackle first.

Know where to splurge

Before drawing up a budget for your home improvement project, it is worthwhile to list down your wants and needs. By focusing on the essentials and those that bring the best returns and savings, you can end up with more savings — savings that you can use for splurging for your wants or even for your next improvement projects.

Make a plan and stick to it

Before starting out any project, it is a prudent idea to know the important details ahead of time, including the cost, design, the materials to be used as well as the timeline. Additionally, you want to set realistic expectations. Developing a plan, and sticking to it, can help you avoid costly and time consuming changes.

Seek the help of experts

Whether you need help in some areas or a professional who will handle every aspect of the project, you need to make sure that you opt for experienced and trustworthy professionals.

Your kitchen is one of the more important rooms in your home. It’s a place for gathering, for entertaining, and for the serious gourmet cook, it’s also a kind of “temple” for relaxing. Indeed, the kitchen has become more than just a place where food is prepared. Also, its overall look and feel will improve the value of your property as many homebuyers pay attention to kitchen design.

So it’s no wonder then that you’ve decided to change a few things — have new appliances installed and maybe enlarge the space. With the wide range of modern kitchen designs today, how do you pick a suitable one to make the most of your investment?

Here are five key factors you should consider when selecting from contemporary kitchen designs.

  1. Decide on the most functional and appealing layout for your kitchen.

An ill-chosen layout could turn your kitchen into a limited and crowded space. In considering the layout, think about how you work while you prepare and cook meals. You should also factor in the foot traffic, which will determine the space you’re going to need.

Do you want to cook dinner while looking over your kids doing their homework? This may mean adding an island or a breakfast bar. Do you need quick access to the refrigerator, pantry, and the sink? This means developing task-specific zones with the layout. Other kitchen layouts to consider are the U-shaped layout and the galley layout.

  1. Consider the architectural style of your home.

Your new kitchen should match your entire home. This will help you choose cabinetry, appliances, backsplash, flooring, and other elements for the kitchen.

  1. Think about the level of comfort and interaction your kitchen could deliver.

Today’s most contemporary kitchen design is an extension of the living room. From banquettes covered in fabric to fireplaces, your kitchen could become another lounge. You can also consider a design that features sliding doors so that the space still feels open and inviting even though it’s closed off for serious cookery.

  1. Don’t forget storage space.

A cluttered kitchen can make cooking a chore. So you want to maximise the space you have by considering kitchen designs that use innovative storage solutions. This not only means using previously unused spaces but also making them accessible while you work.

  1. A well-lit kitchen can become an economical design element.

Finally, all the great elements you’ve considered for your kitchen will fall flat without good lighting. From recessed lighting and chandeliers to task lighting and overhead lights, make sure your lighting options provide functionality as well as style.

A new paint job gives your home exterior a new look. Apart from the aesthetics a good paint job is done for home improvements as the house could be worn down because of its exposure to the elements and due to insects. A good paint job should protect the home from the weather, insects and in some cases pollution. When done properly it can last for up to 20 years and more. The best time to paint your home would be in spring time as that is when the climate won’t affect your work and you can see the results immediately. If you are going to paint your house as way for home improvement then you need to get a good latex paint that is durable, toughest and has the most protective finish. Here are a couple of reasons why you should paint your house.

Home’s Exterior is worn out

The exterior paint gets worn out due to the weather conditions that occur during the year. Also another thing that make a paint job look worn out is exposure to pollutants like dust, car exhaust and from fire smoke.

Rain, snow, ice and frost all have negative effects on the paint. The moisture makes the paint to swell and soften which would lead to cracking, peeling, flaking and blistering. The moisture in the paint encourages the growth of mildew.

Extreme or prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause the paint to fade and it diminishes the protection it was giving the house. The ultraviolet rays of the sun breakdown the paint’s binder and causes it to start to fade, making it lose all its inherent properties.

The sudden changes in temperature from hot to could make the wood either expand or contract this in turn affects the paint that is coated on it. This leads to the paint to crack and flake off.

Repair is needed

When part of the house is damaged for one reason or another the walls would need to be painted. After the repair has been done then comes the paint work to improve the appearance of the damaged area. This is also another way of home improvements. After repairs are done a fresh coat of paint will be needed not only on the repaired part but also the whole house.

After prolonged used of time the paint starts to chip and break off by itself and it needs to be replaced. If you as the home owner were to wait any longer that would lead to the wood being destroyed. By elements of the weather and as such you would want to have the paint repainted.

Increase the Value of your Home

A fresh coat of paint immediately increases the value of a home and it is why many people paint their houses first before selling it. A great paint job means that the house has been kept in proper condition and it is pleasing to look at. Painting a home is one of those investments that give you a quick return on your money as it is a way of home improvement.

Yes, whether you need a new cupboard or are undergoing a kitchen renovation, a reputable cabinet makers use more expensive materials and thereby charge more.

Why should you choose a reputable cabinet maker? Read on, and you’ll be more than happy to.

Like all tradesmen, cabinet makers can only have a positive reputation as a result of their previous work. Clients are often willing to give public feedback on message boards and social media tools. Just as well, customers are willing to tell their friends about the quality of a cabinet maker’s work. Word-of-mouth has many times proven to be more powerful than advertising. Understandably, customers that have concerns due to previous experiences are reluctant to try lesser known companies.

Level of Standard
The level of standard is the lowest legal requirement needed to get the job done. Cabinet makers that have become well known for providing high quality work will normally strive to keep that reputation, above the level of standard. Tradesmen with little motive will merely try and get the job done quicker, at the level of standard, and sometimes below.

Those small extra things
A lot of cabinets look great when they have just been finished, but time and wear soon determine a cabinet’s true quality.

You look at a regular cabinet. A bit of paint is chipped off at the door corners. One door is solid and stable, while the other swings wide open if you don’t push it closed in place. The nails in the base of a drawer are weak and of dismal quality, and so the base sags and makes it difficult to open and close the drawer. What was supposed to be a pretty copper handle of a drawer is suddenly torn off when you try and open the drawer in a bit of a rush.

All of these minor (yet noticeable) flaws prove to be great nuisances when you have had this cabinet for a few years. Who would have known this would happen. The one who built it; the one that chose what materials (nails, wood, handles etc.) were going to be used.

The Circle of Quality
A reputable cabinet maker is known for producing high quality cabinets. To make them, they need the correct materials. The materials used to build a high quality cabinet will often cost more. To have those materials and be able to order more of them, they will charge more for their cabinets, and customers have paid for those cabinets because they are of high quality. In the strictest sense, if you want quality, you get what you pay for.

There are four main types of kitchen cabinets. While each one is capable of storing many of your appliances and cookware, they each serve a primary purpose for your kitchen.

Base: The Base Cabinet’s main objectives are to host the sink, hold up the kitchen counter, and act as a base for the wall oven. Being as big as it is, it’s common for storing pots and pans, and you may not have known, but it can also be used as a kitchen island. You may have noticed that this cabinet is one of the more major building blocks in the kitchen, and it is actually called a “Base” for a very good reason – it doesn’t just have several primary purposes, it also helps define your floor plan.

Wall: By definition, a wall cabinet can be any storage compartment placed above countertops, so long as it has at least one door. The idea of having a wall cabinet is to have convenient access to your plates and cups – this way you’re not bending every time you need a glass of water. It’s not uncommon for a wall cabinet to have adjustable or fixed shelves.

Tall: These cabinets rise from the floor to the ceiling, and as such, can be used to store anything from food, cookware, and cleaning products. Commonly though, they have been used as pantries and storages for brooms. The tall cabinet is most popular among traditional and contemporary styles, and seems to equally compliment large and small kitchens.

Specialty Units: A specialty unit is anything from a corner cabinet, a suspended units, and right down to a bottle rack. Think of it as the fixtures and fittings of your kitchen. It’s very common to find specialty units attached to the inner doors of fridges, a slide out cabinet next to a base cabinet, and a kidney shaped slide out unit coming out of a corner cabinet.

Click here to learn how to install a hanging cabinet.

When undergoing your kitchen renovation, it’s important that you have all of the latest appliances. Having so many options nowadays, it is understandable that not everyone knows the different types of appliances.



Forced Convection Ovens: A fan provides air circulation through the heating chamber, allowing rapid heat up and recovery rate. It has adjustable vents and a semi-forced exhaust fan, making it a fair sample drying oven.

Forced-Exhaust Ovens: The air flow is forced through the chamber with a fan. The air is then and transmitted through a vent.

Side Draught Ovens: Air is circulated left to right, ensuring even air flow and heating. Great for flat trays and interestingly enough, hospitals use side draught ovens to preheat plastic sheets.


Stoves / Cooktops
Electric Coil: These affordable cooktops can be used with several types of cookware (aluminium, cast iron, copper, porcelain, stainless steel, tempered glass etc.) while providing a fixed, even cooking heat. They also come with a drip bowl underneath, so you need not worry about spills or stray food.

Electric Smoothtop: Unlike your traditional stove, this has a ceramic glass cooking surface, so spills are easy to clean and the surface heats up and cools down very quickly.

Induction: This type doesn’t use traditional radiation heat and thereby offers several advantages, such as energy efficiency, keeping a cooler temperature, and only heating the cookware and its content; you’ll also notice foods and liquids heating quicker. Finally, you can order gas conversion if you prefer gas over electricity.

Gas Cooktops: Your average gas cook top has four or more burners with a visible cooking flame and needs a 120-volt household circuit to operate. It is still used to this day for understandable reasons. It has fast, precise heating, and it will heat up and cool down very quickly. While a classic, newer modifications have allowed open burners or smooth ceramic glass tops.

Modular: The highlight of this cooktop type is how the round heating elements can be replaced by grill-style or griddle cooking assembly. This allows cooking elements to be swapped over for different tasks, such as using the griddle for pancakes, the grill for steaks, and standard elements for pots and pans.

In this day and age, every kitchen designer will include a dishwashing machine in your kitchen renovation. They are very common now and are expected to be as normal as exhaust fans in bathrooms.

Under Counter: Once it is installed, it stays there permanently and thereby allows you to do other tasks at the sink while the dishwasher is still operating. However, if you relocate homes, your dishwasher may have to stay with the house.

Drawer: Perhaps the most favoured. You get to put away your dishes dirty and they’ll be clean when you come to collect them.  You will however notice that the price is high due to it being so convenient and high in demand.

Countertop: These are the most economical of all models and require a counter or stand to locate them close to the sink. To operate, you need a connection or adapter to attach to the faucet and they generally run as long as the faucet is turned on.

Portable Free-standing: If you are regularly relocating, you’re only concern would be the space in the kitchen. Otherwise, you wheel it to the sink and connect to the hot water faucet.


Exhaust Hood
The exhaust hood is also known as a range hood, and an extractor hood. It contains a mechanical fan and is installed above the stoves. When you are cooking, you are releasing chemicals in the air such as fumes, smoke, odors, heat, and airborne grease. Not having one would leave your kitchen foggy, dirty, and quite hazardous to the lungs.

There are three different styles of exhaust hoods. They are known as slide-out, fixed, and canopy. Canopies have more functions but can be difficult to install, whereas slide-out and fixed provide the more basic functions. If you have anything above your hood like cupboards or decor, you will not be able to install a canopy hood. You will be informed whether your hood is to be vented into the roof space, ducted into the roof space, or ducted to the atmosphere when you are about to install your exhaust hood. Atmospheric ducting is most recommendable to those that regularly do hard cooking.

To learn how you can maximise kitchen space, click here.

  • happy hover


    We know that our clients rely on us to be just as committed in the end, as we are in the beginning. Our initial design, consultation and renovations service is there to provide you with the best possible information – no hard sells.

    Our project managers will give you confidence that the project is on track. You can view the schedule online and even download the selections.

    After sales is also important. We will remain with your project until you are 100% satisfied. Our aim is not only to create a relationship with our clients, but also to maintain it. We look forward to meeting you!

  • design hover


    We consider project a success only when the design, the delivery and the budget is completely in sync. That is why our home renovation expert companies in Perth manage all 3 of these components in house. We have a sound knowledge of the latest materials, trends and what will work best within your home.

    We listen to your requirements and make note of your budget, then design and deliver a beautiful and functional product. It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of experience and input from our staff, suppliers and trades to make this process happen. It is what we love doing, and we know you would love it too!

  • wedone_hover


    The experience of our staff and trades has been the keystone to the success of our company. We have diligently sought out great trades who specialise in renovation projects.

    It is a prerequisite they be clean and conscientious, with a consistent ability to deliver a high quality product. Our project managers also has a deep understanding of construction, most having worked on site themselves.

    We have worked on homes and renovations project in Perth ranging from 1930’s bungalows to the latest penthouse apartments. It is this experience that allows of to deliver on the vision of renovating your house, into a beautiful home.

  • 26
    subway tile glass

    7 Things to Know About Glass Splashbacks (Yes, mirror is also glass!)

    Ceramic or porcelain tiles are a popular choice for kitchen splashbacks, and for good reason. They offer the beauty and durability that many homeowners seek…

  • 12

    5 Tips for Selecting Floor Tiles Worthy of Your Home

    Tile is a perfect choice for flooring. While ever popular wood floors are making their way into more and more spaces, including kitchens, the strength,…

  • 29
    Bathroom Accessorise

    Accessorize Your Bathroom with Brilliant Results

    Many homeowners find that a renovation is an opportunity not only to update the finishes and  fixtures in their bathroom, it’s also an opportunity to…

  • Call Now