19 November 2014

Up for quality bathroom tips? Then you're in luck

Via

Clothes piled on the floor, mould on the ceiling, lime scale-ridden taps and sinks that overflow at the merest hint of water – yeah, you need a bathroom makeover.

It’s the heart of the home, the bathroom. You’ll sit and contemplate life on the toilet, bellow show tunes in the shower and preen yourself to perfection in the mirror – are there any more important things in life?

But if your bathroom is more Poundland than upmarket fab, we've got a few ideal solutions for you.

Fantastic flooring

Nobody wants to feel like their feet are blocks of ice when they wander into their bathroom. But carpeting is an ill-advised solution, increasing the likelihood of mould and rot on your floorboards.
For the finest flooring, install marble in your bathroom and combine it with bath mats in key areas where you’ll be resting your feet.

The most luxurious marble tiles will leave your floor with a luxurious sheen, even if it will leave a hefty dent in your wallet.

Divide and rule

Dividers are great for any room, giving you the illusion of extra space without the need for any fancy DIY. But in the bathroom, they have an even more practical purpose.

Just imagine those times when you’re desperate to use the toilet but someone else is in the shower. With a judiciously placed divider, you could nip into the bogs without either of you feeling like your privacy has been invaded.

You could even add a divider on a relatively low budget, with a simple freestanding version available in supermarkets or design stores.

It’s only natural – or is it?

You've probably heard the concept that we’re more influenced by either the creative or rational sides of our brain – but you probably never thought it would affect your bathroom design.

Indeed, the more romantic amongst you will most likely favour a rich, mahogany or beech wood finish in their bathroom; the kind that casts the mind to the great outdoors.

Invest in some strong oak worktops and you’ll feel like you’re in a bristling woodland log cabin – even if you’re just in a flat in Croydon.

But then there are the more rational realists amongst you. You’ll most likely favour a clean pure-white sheen in your bathroom, with jet black worktops and a plain shower. The perfect example of function over romance.

However, the best bathrooms will incorporate both to suit their own tastes and their guests. Figure out the ideal middle ground and you’ll be able to sit on the toilet in absolute luxury.

14 November 2014

Five gorgeous celebrity kitchens to make you green with envy


How do you feel about your kitchen at the moment?

The chances are that there is something about it that just doesn't quite hang together; maybe the paint work is fading, the curtains look dated or the flooring is stained and marked. Well prepare to feel a whole lot worse about it, as we take a look at five celebrity kitchens that are quite simply stunning.

The good news? Not all of them are necessarily unattainable either, as many of these fantastic aesthetics have been achieved in kitchens of a relatively average size, so you may even find a bit of design inspiration in the following list. German kitchen specialists BGO Kitchens give us the low-down...

Courtney Cox's Minimalist Utopia


Simon Upton

Created by award-winning interior designer Trip Haenisch, the former Friends star has opted for the sheer white minimalist touch here, with CaeserStone countertops and ovens, while the built-in refrigerator is by Gaggenau. We really love those vintage barstools though!

Breakfast with a Sea View

FrontDoor.com

From the minimalist to the downright ostentatious, this stunning Malibu beach front property with a sea view from the kitchen belongs to none other than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

The countertops are stainless steel - great for keeping clean by the way - while all of the appliances are top of the range, not to mention a huge walk-in refrigerator and freezer!

Swank-y Design

Simon Upton

This celebrity kitchen belonging to Oscar-winner Hilary Swank may look small for one belonging to an acting megastar, but it is also undoubtedly perfectly formed.

Designed by Mark Zeff, this kitchen is complete with quartz countertops and Kohler sink fittings. That very cool floor lamp? That's from New York-based home wares firm West Elm. You can take the full tour around her Manhattan apartment on ElleDecor.com.

Homely Hollywood

Miguel Flores-Vianna

This kitchen belongs to Will and Grace actress Megan Mullally and it certainly doesn't look like a typical celebrity space. The Dacor cooker top was chosen by designer Ames Ingham, as well as the oak cabinets and same CaeserStone worktops as you see in Courtney Cox's kitchen.

Taylor Swift's Functional and Stunning Kitchen

FrontDoor.com

Pop superstar Taylor Swift may not live here anymore, but we think you'll agree the decor in the kitchen of her former Nashville home is a fantastic combination of style and functionality.

From the marble backsplashes and stainless steel appliances, through to the butcher-block countertop on the central island and the gorgeous copper range hood - a true focal point for this terrific space.

What elements of these Hollywood kitchens do you think you could incorporate in your own home? Let us know in the comments below.

This guest blog was written by John Rooney on behalf of BGO Kitchens - a family-run company with years of experience in supplying high quality German kitchens.


13 November 2014

Antiques belong in the kitchen too!

via
Modern appliances, the latest recipe, seasonal spices… staying current is important when it comes to cuisine and your cooking space. And in 2014, your kitchen is often a place that contains just as much programming and electronics as your car or TV room.  But let’s not forget the comfort and class of tradition - the sturdy, burgeoning design of homewares past, or your love for your great grandmother’s recipes. Incorporating antiques into your kitchen is an easy and effective way to bring time-honored heart and design to your favorite room. The internet boasts opportunities for buying timeless antiques at great value, so here are a few ideas to help get your wheels spinning:

Use antique vases as storage
While vases are traditionally regarded as flower holders, they have countless other uses if you put your mind to it. You can give a new life to a beautiful antique vase by using it to store your favorite utensils and kitchen gadgets. It’s a convenient, unique way to show off your love for old treasures.

via
Accent with antique furniture
Accenting with antique and/or mismatching chairs and table sets can benefit the overall ambience of your kitchen. Incorporating different antique chairs or accenting a corner with an old desk or cabinet for a work space gives off a homey, well-rounded feel. This works especially well in rustic-themed kitchens, but can also be complementary to more bold, modern designs.

Install antique fixtures for a dramatic effect
Finding the perfect antique can do wonders for the lighting and overall mood in your kitchen. While there are many great options for antique lighting online as is, sometimes old pieces need a bit of love and refurbishment. Here are some tips for modifying lighting and fixtures on your own.

Dine with antique dishes and ceramics
Mismatched dish sets offer an eccentric, aesthetic way to dine, and antique ceramics are a great window into the cultural values and delicacies of the past. Search for charming antique dishware online, or refurbish some old family heirlooms for a unique and personalized dining collection.

03 November 2014

Forget everything you think you know about drop ceilings

When I was doing a lot more retail design than I do these days I loved to work on older homes. There was always something about having to work within the confines of an existing structure that made me think more creatively. Blank slates are easy, but resolving a problem in an older home requires real effort. It's important to honor the structure you're working with and the challenge is always to add function without introducing any extraneous elements. Not breaking the bank is usually in order too.

My older home clients used to reach out to me initially because something had happened that they just couldn't live with.

In a plaster and lath home, it was usually the aging plaster itself or water added to aging plaster that prompted the decision to do something.


However, a water problem like in the office photo above can easily turn into a budget buster. Fixing the underlying problem is step one obviously, but repairing the original ceiling and walls is where the meter really starts running.

For all practical matters, nobody builds plaster and lath ceilings and walls anymore. and it's very difficult to partially rebuild a damaged old wall using drywall. Typically, all of the plaster comes out and gets replaced with drywall. By the time you're at that point, you're over budget and still have a room to finish.

Oh the joy of owning an old home.

There are options you know and they're not the drop ceilings you remember from school and work.

Honestly, if I were in the position where the damaged office shown above were mine, I'd be very inclined to replace all of that damage with something like this.


Yes, that's an Armstrong drop ceiling. It's the Easy Elegance Coffer and you can read about it here. 

Of course you'd repair the damage in the original room but when you're up against a wall (no pun intended) when it comes to a budget, a solution like a new drop ceiling from Armstrong may be the your best option. I know that's what I'd do.

In the meantime, take a look at Armstrong's inspiration gallery. You'll be amazed at the planks, the panels, the drops and the metals they have available. I know I was!

02 November 2014

Looking for color advice? Then don't buy this book.

I've been a blogger for over seven years and despite my irregular posting schedule anymore, I get inundated by press releases daily. I look them over of course and a lot of them are interesting.

However, every once in a while one comes through my in bin that really sticks in my craw. Such was the case a couple of days ago when a release showed up that was hawking a new book on the "psychology" of color and how to use said psychology to pick colors for your home.


The press release even went so far as to lead with the tease, "Do you wish you knew the secrets to selecting the best paint for your house like the pros do?" Trust me, any pro who relies on the kind of goobledygook advanced by this book needs to lose his or her license.

Jeanette Chasworth, who calls herself  "the Color Whisperer," managed to cram so much snake oil into a single page release that it boggles my mind. Among her claims are these gems: "It tells you which colors create a mood and how to use that to your advantage to increase your health, lose weight, make your food taste better, and increase energy."


Honestly? The right color walls in my kitchen will help me lose weight? It'll increase my health? It'll make my food taste better?

Let's stop here for a minute and think about this. By what mechanism will I lose weight with the right wall color? Will it burn more calories than I take in? Will it exercise for me?

Will the right wall color season my food just so or thicken my sauces automatically?

And what on earth does a promise to "increase" my health even mean?

There is such a thing as color psychology, let me say that. And there's a place for actual psychology in interior design. However, none of that is absolute.

It's commonly held and never questioned that the color red improves your appetite. Well, what if you were traumatized by the movie "The Shining?" What if "red room" reminds you of "redrum" and you're immediately haunted by images of a deranged Jack Nicholson breaking down your door with an ax? Odds are, the color red is going to put you off the feed.

When I lived in Florida I had a yellow kitchen and I loved it. I loved it because my grandmother Stewart had a yellow kitchen and it reminded me of her every time I walked into the room. My neighbor Kevin hated it and decreed that he was mortified by the very idea of a yellow kitchen. Maybe Kevin was beaten senseless with a car aerial in a yellow room when he was a kid. Whatever the case, it was clear that he had a negative association between kitchen and yellow. On the other hand, I had a positive one.

That's color psychology in a nutshell. Blanket prescriptions of what colors make all people feel or respond in a specific way are nonsense.

The color selection process begins with "what colors do you like?" and it ends with "which of those colors will work in this space?" That, Madame Color Whisperer, is the "secret" to how pros select colors.

This books is hardly the first one to make such nonsensical claims of course. Apparently, making up advice like this is a good way to make a buck but it's a load of crap.

I would love to live in a world where people who proffer such magical advice are held accountable for it. What recourse do I have if I take her advice and fail to lose weight? What if my food tastes the same? What if my health doesn't increase, what ever the hell that means?

If you want to know for real how professionals select colors, just hire one. Honestly, just hire one.
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