Keep Away That Mold!

Mold in your home is a serious issue requiring immediate attention. It can pop up anywhere in your house, but the most likely place you will find it is in your bathroom.

 

Some of the conditions needed for mold to grow are damp and steamy areas, poorly ventilated rooms and from moisture on exposed plumbing . Sound familiar? Not to mention the environment created in your shower stall right after a shower or bath.  Wet tile and shower liner, water beneath your shampoo and body wash, as well as an exposed soap bar make for a perfect storm in your bathroom.

 

Mold almost seems impossible to prevent, unless you want to remove your soap and other shower items daily. Fortunately, with a few smart choices in material and design, there will be no need to simulate your last camping trip.

 

If a bathroom has not yet been installed, make sure the design includes waterproof material, which will prevent moisture from reaching difficult to access areas that can create a breeding ground for bacteria and mold to develop. Proper ventilation is also key to stopping this issue before it starts. Whether a window is present or not in the room, consider installing a bathroom fan that can be run during hot showers and baths to prevent steam from rising and causing mold in the wall tiles and ceiling.

 

Existing bathrooms do not have the benefit of newer materials that would make it easier to keep the environment mold-free, so a little more hand-on work is required.  If a ventilation fan is not currently installed in the room, adding one would go a long way in keeping the area dry. Use it during shower or bath time and for 30 minutes afterwards to keep moisture away.  Consider minimizing bath products in the shower to ensure that there are less dark, wet spaces for bacteria to grow under.  Before exiting the shower, use a towel or squeegee to wipe or scrape away as much moisture from the walls as possible. Finally, make sure to clean all exposed tile at least once a week.

 

 

An Easy Guide to Bathroom Renovations

An updated bathroom not only adds quality to your life it may also attract potential homebuyers.  Whether you are happily settled in your dream home or looking to sell, making sure your bathrooms are up to date is always a good thing.  Consider these bathroom renovation tips to spruce up this essential space in the house. 

 

Think about trying a sleeker design for the shower stall as this is an easy way to add value.  Barrier-free shower systems add luxury to the space, making getting in and out of the shower easier for adults, young and old alike.  Install large glass doors that will help the room look larger since there is no shower curtain separating it from the rest of the space. Consider a large shower head or multiple jets that provides adequate water pressure.  They will not only look nice but give you a spa-like feeling right in your own home.

 

Updating your bathroom floor will change the whole look of the room.  Be sure to use a material that is resistant to water and stains. Tile is a classic choice, but there is also vinyl, cork and engineered wood to consider.  Any look is possible since they are all good choices to use in a damp area, so feel free to step out of your comfort zone to give them a try.

 

New cabinets will help bring your bathroom up to speed. Determine whether you want to have more or less storage as this will help you choose what design will function best in the space. A master bath may require larger cabinets than a guest bathroom that isn’t going to get as much use.  If the space is small, using lighter colors is helpful for making the room look bigger.  If you’re cabinetry is large enough to accommodate dual sinks for your countertop area, go for it. Potential homebuyers love to see this in a home.  For single sink areas, choose a bold idea like a vessel sink or a drop-in with detailed design around the rim to add character.

 

Fixtures also play a big part in the look of your bathroom.  They come in an array of finishes to complement the rest of the room and a variety of styles that lets you choose whether you want to go for a vintage, contemporary or modern look.  Be sure to match the cabinetry, shower and lighting fixtures to keep on theme with your renovated design.

Design Tips from the Trade

Decorating can be made so much easier if you know some key tips designers have been using for decades. Designers learn tips and tricks over time. Read on for helpful advice that can be utilized for years to come!

Treat the ceiling! This is the easiest way to give your room a designer look. People assume no one looks up. The truth is, drawing the eye up to a beautifully treated ceiling will make a huge impact on the space. Paint can work wonders for adding a dramatic effect. No treatment will go un-noticed. Put in the effort and you will be glad you did.

Hang large pieces of art. Statement pieces of art will defy the room and fewer pieces are needed. This is a great way to take the design style of a room into the direction it needs to go. There will be an immediate impact and less decorating will be needed to complete the room’s look.

Leave ample room around each furniture piece. This is rule if particularly good for seating. Leave at least 30”-36” space between each piece of furniture. This rule is excluded for accent or end tables. Accent tables can be placed within an inch or two of the seating piece.

Wider walkways are needed to make the room and house flow properly. Usually residences have 30” for a residential walkway or hall. However 36” wide walkways are much more comfortable and open. If you have the room, plan your furniture around this rule. The home will feel comfortable and a positive flow will be achieved.

Hang draperies high. This rule excludes vaulted ceilings and is meant for standard flat ceilings. Hang draperies close to the ceiling and let them hang right above the floor. Puddled draperies are becoming outdated. They can become a hazard as well as requiring many more routine cleanings. A simple pleated panel will create a sophisticated and classic look that only requires cleaning once a year. Never launder draperies yourself!

Using just one or two of these ideas, your home will be well on the way to a more professionally designed house!

Decorating with White

Decorating with an all-white color scheme creates a dramatic statement and provides a fresh, calming look. Dramatic and calming at the same time? We think this look, over many others, achieves that! An all-white design offers a stunning modern look, but it can be hard to pull off as it could look stark and austere if not designed with care and intention. Of course, it’s not for everyone either—those with kids and/or pets—this could be a cleaning nightmare. Also consider that not everyone has a home with the architectural interest needed to pull off the look as seen in magazines and design blogs. But if you are finding yourself drawn to this look and want to go for it, consider these tips.

Architectural Detail and Structure:

Before you commit to painting everything white and swapping out all your furnishings and accessories, consider the architectural details in your home. An all-white look puts the architecture of your home on display, so if it’s lacking in this way, you’ll need to give it some love. Consider upgrading trim, adding crown molding and interesting ceiling treatments. A white brick wall, or white marble or stone finishes are also great ways to add interest and avoid an overly stark white space. If you imagine the bedroom pictured above without the wood moldings, the look would be lacking. In the image below, the built-in shelves and wide crown molding create strong architectural interest in this room.

Tone & Texture:

When decorating primarily with white, texture and tone will be vitally important. Mixing tones and shades of white will add interest. Don’t be afraid of mixing different whites. Add texture by using different materials; linen, faux fur, area rugs with subtle patterns, pottery, stone sculpture, knitted throws. You can use it all because your unifying element will be color.

Shape:

When you’re purchasing furniture, remember to include a variety of shapes. If you have too many rectangles, add a round coffee table, or dining table. If you have too many curves, add some square or rectangular shaped pieces to keep the space visually varied and interesting.

We hope this helps get you started in planning beautiful white spaces in your home. We’d love to help you select materials for your space to give you a look you’ll love for years.

 

Kitchens!

From casual to sleek there are endless ways you can design your kitchen.  Whether you’re working with a small or large kitchen space there are four basic style variations that can be implemented to create a comfortable, fully functional kitchen for the occupants of your home.

 

Contemporary

Contemporary and modern are often thought of to be the same. However, in the design world these two styles vary, especially when it comes to the style of  a kitchen. Contemporary kitchens became popular in the 1960’s. In the 60’s tangerine, turquoise and hints of black were trendy colors used when decorating. Contemporary kitchens are minimalist in nature and are characterized neutral color palettes.

 

Modern Kitchen

A modern kitchen is equipped with advanced technology in kitchenware and is drenched in the latest design features. Yes, modern kitchens are a perfect blend of function and style. Kitchen cabinets are skillfully built into the walls and sometimes smart storage options are utilized in the design to create added storage space. Smart homes are more likely to be equipped with modern kitchens because of the smart phone and voice command functionality.  While modern kitchens are the most expensive design to implement you are guaranteed a sleek and sophisticated finish.

 

Traditional

Traditional kitchens are family friendly and they closely resemble the type of design you would see on a family-oriented television show. Yes, a traditional style kitchen is warm and classic with muted colors incorporated creating a homey feeling. Traditional kitchen utilize a breakfast nook and a spacious kitchen table providing ample room for the preparation of meals. Natural materials are used in cabinetry, for flooring and furnishings  bringing in the outdoor atmosphere. This is the perfect space to enjoy a home cooked meal with the family.

 

Transitional

A transitional kitchen space is designed just as it sounds. It’s a kitchen that’s a cross between traditional and contemporary.  A transitional kitchen offers the warmth of a traditional design with the simple and clean lines of a contemporary  kitchen. You can add contemporary finishes to a traditionally styled kitchen by bringing in new artwork and installing new lighting. In this design, natural materials are used against manufactured ones to create a modernized yet traditional look.

 

 

Making a Loft Work for You

Loft spaces can be awkward to try and make them work as added space within a home. Find out how this loft doubles as two extra spaces, combined into one, while looking great at the same time!

This particular loft is an extra bedroom for guest, as well as a media space. Placing the bed at the end of the room tucks it away and gives a sense of privacy. The flat screen is mounted on the wall at the other end of the room. A husband or a wife can come up here to have some quiet time and watch their favorite shows. There is the added plus of possibly taking a cat nap on the comfortable bed!

Combining a media space and a bedroom is a great way to get lots of use out of the long narrow room. There are stairs, not a ladder, which leads up to the loft space. The key to having a loft that you actually use is having stairs to access it. A ladder makes it not as appealing to just go up and hang out in a loft. Actually ladders deter people from using their loft space. A successful loft will have access by stairs. If you are intending on using a loft space, make sure to give it a chance by having easy access.

Make the loft a comfortable area that family members and guest will actually want to use the space. Comfortable floors and furniture is a must. In this loft the wood beams and the stacked stone on the walls make the space feel warm and inviting. A brightly covered area rug makes the floor feel welcoming.

There is even added storage up against the wall that has a very low ceiling height. Most loft spaces are in the part of the house where the walls meet the pitched roof. Utilize this awkward space by having low furniture or cabinets that can be used for extra storage. Guest can also use this storage space to keep their belongings and clothes in, while staying in the loft!

Back to School Tricks

School is about to start up again! Enjoy this post for easy tips that make back to school easier. There are so many things around the house that can be transformed into something more useful.

Packing school lunches takes time and costs money. Don’t buy ice packs, make your own easily, for a fraction of the price. All you need is a sponge, water and a zip lock bag. Wet the sponge and ring out some of the excess water. Place the sponge inside a zip lock bag and freeze. Make five at a time, one for each day of the school week!

Keep homework supplies organized. Put pens, pencils, colored pencils, scissors, tape and glue sticks in a plastic silverware organizer. This is the perfect item to keep things separated and organized. Next find a decorative box that has a lid and place the organizer inside. This is perfect to keep on the bookshelf or right on the desk top.

Stay organized by staying color coded. Get a simple dish drainer. One that is rectangular. Place color coded folders inside and label each with the appropriate subject. This way you can keep track of tests, quizzes, notes etc. The silverware cups can be used to keep pens and pencils!

Protect school books by creating your own paper bag leaves. Unwrap grocery store paper bags. Use tape to wrap the books in the brown paper. Then let your child add the title and decorate the paper however they want. Make sure they put their name on it so it can be returned if misplaced.

Use a door hanging shoe organizer to keep school and art supplies organized and visible. This is perfect for keeping calculators, glue, pens, pencils, markers, rulers, compass and lots of other art supplies. Place the organizer on the back of the door in your child’s room. They can help themselves to the items they need when completing projects and home work.

Create a Desktop Zen Garden

 

Whether you are going through the upheaval of sending kids back to school or the exciting activity of updating your kitchen, a small, quiet place in your home is quite effective when it comes to maintaining your sense of peace.  Zen gardens are designed to create this sense of peace and give a specific location where you can focus.  A miniature version of this is a Desktop Zen garden. 

Desktop Zen gardens are naturally beautiful, a great mind reliever and gives you a creative outlet. They are easy to make and fun because you can personalize them with things you love.

First choose a vessel. We prefer low, round glass bowls, because you can see more of the sand and that makes us feel closer to nature. The vessel does not have to be glass. When selecting the vessel, choose something you are drawn to and can see beauty in.

Fill the vessel with sand. Either buy the sand from a crafts store or collect it yourself on the beach. Putting items in your Zen garden that you collected while happy with family, will make you happy when you look at the garden and interact with it.

Our favorite thing to place Zen gardens is river rocks that have been found while in the outdoors, sea shells and shark’s teeth that we found on the beach, or even random avocado seeds. Anything that is organic that you are drawn to can go in your garden.

Play with your garden and relieve stress by using a little rake or even a fork to create designs in the sand. Incorporate your treasures in the designs you make. This will help calm you and clear your head. These little gardens are the perfect size to fit on your desktop at work or the counter top in your kitchen.

A fun way to make the garden brightly colored is by adding colored sand. Get creative and have fun while you create your garden. Feel free to change out the treasures or only use a few at a time. The less clutter the better your garden will look. 

Removing Candy Stains from Carpet

Children will be to heading back to school before too long and the summer full of activities is coming to an end.  Time to look around and survey the house, perhaps cleaning up some unwanted items left by the kids.  One item you may find is stuck-on candy. Many times when children (or their friends who are visiting) have candy, it can find its way to the carpet. Find out how to remove candy stains from carpet below!

Gently remove any chunks or excess of candy by hand. Gently work one (only one!) of the cleaning solutions from below into the stain. Be very careful not to rub stain into the carpet, but instead blot the stain, starting at the outside edges and working your way inside. This keeps the stain from spreading further. For best results, add solution to a spray bottle and spray on your carpet stains.

A detergent solution is the safest way to remove candy from carpet. Mix 1 cup of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon of clear liquid hand dishwashing detergent. Avoid laundry detergent because the dyes in the detergent will stain the carpet. Also do not use dishwashing detergent (the kind that is used in the dishwasher) because they contain bleaching agents and dye. When using a detergent solution, it is important to rinse the carpet well afterwards. Any leftover residue will attract and show dirt.

Ammonia cleaner is somewhat stronger than a vinegar solution. Ammonia solution should be tested before used on any stains. Mix a solution of 1 tablespoon of ammonia per one cup of water (do not use a stronger solution as it could discolor the carpet).  Test a small, hidden area and watch for any color change. If a color change does occur, do not use the ammonia solution. Make sure to rinse the carpet area and blot up the excess ammonia solution with a dry clean towel.

Hopefully this advice will help with your stain removal!  If you find you cannot remove the stain to your satisfaction, please let us know.  We are happy to answer questions and help in any way!

How to Choose the Right Paint Finish

Knowing the right finish for paint can be tricky. Find out how and where to use the different paint finishes available.

Egg shell should be used in bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. They create a soft finish. This finish is also good for not highlighting imperfections in the wall. This finish will help create a soft look that is easier to relax in.

Flat or matte finishes should be used on ceiling. This finish hides imperfections even better than egg shell. These two finishes are truer to the color and add more depth than the other paint finishes.

Satin finishes have a bit more of gloss to them. This makes it easier to wipe the walls down and remove stains. This finish is great in kitchens, hallways and bathrooms. Use this finish in any space where there is higher foot traffic and more activity taking place.

Semi-gloss is even better for wiping clean than satin finishes. It should be used on trim work and doors, making them easier to wipe clean. This should not be used on walls because it draws attention to any imperfection in the wall. Even if you did not notice any imperfections, paint a wall semi-gloss and a one is sure to show up.

Glossy finishes should only be used on furniture and never on walls. It is easy to wipe clean but will show even more flaws than semi-gloss.

Now that you know what finishes to use and where you can be more confident selecting and purchasing paint for your home!

If you have any questions on your home, feel free to ask!  We are always happy to help.