09 December 2014

How much should you spend on a blender to use in your kitchen?


A blender is one of those kitchen utensils that can vary greatly in price, from the tens of dollars to the mid hundreds. There’s no easy answer as to how much you should pay for a blender, a good deal of the decision is going to depend on what you want to use it for. Of course your budget will also need to come into the equation.

If you’re a nutrition fanatic, and the blender is going to be put to work to make everything from soup to purées and from nut butter to baby food, then may want to invest in a powerful machine that’s going to withstand the workload. On the other hand if you’re just a smoothie a day person you probably don’t need to break the bank.

What’s the difference between the different priced blenders?

The blenders at the top end of the market are expensive, there’s no two ways about it, but they do have impressive blending strength. They have a real work horse of an engine and precision engineering that makes sure whatever you are blending is literally pummeled away. They are sturdy and strong and they will endure a large amount of wear and tear. Not to mention, they are the nutrition aids that are popular to be seen with. If you’re interested in keeping up with the neighbors, these are the blenders that you aspire to.

Now, if you have the budget, you may want to have one of these mean machines no matter what, but do you really need it? There are plenty of blenders on the market in a lower price range that will do a job for normal day to day blending.

The mid-price range blenders, at around $100, will happily withstand your normal soup and smoothie demands without surrendering under the pressure, and it has to be said that even those blenders in the lower price range are worth considering if you’re not a major foodie. Let’s face it, if your blender is only going to see the light of day a couple of times a week, and you’re happy with a relatively smooth smoothie, you may be quite happy with a lower end blender that does a basic job.

Are there any other options?

If you don’t want to invest in a standing blender then you may want to consider an immersion or “stick” blender. If you have an immersion blender then you literally just have the stick; the motor is situated in the handle. This may be a good option for you if you are limited to the amount of storage space you have, and you only blend small amounts. For larger jobs, such as blending a whole kale, you really need to use a standing blender.

If you love your smoothies and soups then a blender is a great addition to your kitchen. If that’s as far as your culinary blending exploits are likely to progress then you don’t need to spend a huge amount on a blender. If you want to blend away for hours, with a high rate of blending power, then it may be worth taking the plunge and making that big investment.

08 December 2014

Bathroom storage options

The bathroom can sometimes be forgotten when it comes to interior design, but a beautiful bathroom can truly make a house a home. When designing or fitting your bathroom we all know that it can be difficult choosing furniture that’s not only functional but also adds to the design of your space.

To us a good bathroom is a well-organised space and when it comes to bathroom storage a high quality bathroom vanity is integral. The humble bathroom vanity is more often than not seen as a pretty functional piece of furniture. It is used to hide unsightly plumbing, house your sink and provide accommodation for your towels or toiletries. We have complied some innovative bathroom vanity options for you to consider if you’re looking to get the balance of storage and aesthetic just right.By making the right choices when it comes to bathroom furniture you can transform your basic bathroom into a stunning sanctuary for you and your whole family to enjoy.

Offset Drawers

Whilst many vanities provide under sink storage they can sometimes have a faux-panel directly under the sink to hide the basin and any plumbing. When this top drawer is inaccessible it often leads to the vanity having just one usable, low level drawer giving you just one large space to house all of your items. This can be annoying at times and some of your items may be difficult to reach for.

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Offset vanities add space either on one or both sides of the basin. This allows for extra drawer space allowing you to organize your products much more efficiently. When adding smaller drawers to either side of the sink at waist level it also provides easier access to your products without the need to bend down.

Some designs add extra spacing to just one side of the sink, this allows for a whole column of drawers down one side for storage and extra counter space. This extra counter space can be great to place your everyday items on or even to decorate with something that adds to the look and feel of your bathroom space.

Sliding doors

Vanities that use sliding doors are a great choice for narrow or small spaces where opening a door or pulling out a drawer may be difficult.

Vanities with sliding doors usually leave the area underneath your basin exposed meaning you can utilize all the space around it, this is great news if your bathroom is a little on the small side.

Corner Vanities

Corner pieces are brilliant at making the most of small spaces and usually come in both traditional and contemporary designs. Depending on the size of your space some corner vanities come with an extra column of drawers or even built in shelves either side of your sink basin.

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Older Styles of Vanity

Sleek, minimal and modern vanities not your first choice?Although the word ‘innovative’ usually lends itself to more modern designs traditional or vintage bathroom vanities can also be the answer to your storage problems. Although most traditional vanities will have a faux-drawer panel they usually make up for it by being generally larger in size.  Pieces such as this one from Abiletilecentreare are a great example of this. As well has being home to an array of drawers in different sizes pieces like this are bursting with character and can be the stand out piece in your bathroom.

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Pieces like this are made to last a lifetime so although they seem a little pricey at the time do not be discouraged, instead see a piece like this as an investment.

For a wide range of bathroom vanity options visit Abiletilecentre.

28 November 2014

Drips, leaks and squirts: simple fixes for your kitchen faucet

Via
When you turn your faucet off and it doesn't turn off panic usually sets it. After you’re done getting angry, you usually need to head to the hardware store to try to fix the problem. But, what should you purchase? A lot of DIY solutions just aren't right, and they can actually leave you worse off than when you started. Here are some solutions to swear by, not at.

Determine Where the Leak Is Coming From

This is probably the most important step. If you don’t know where the leak is coming from, you can’t fix it - period. So, try to determine if it’s leaking just from the faucet itself or if the water is also coming out of the handle. If it’s leaking from the faucet, you may need to replace a seal here, or you might need to replace the whole faucet, depending on what’s damaged and how badly.

If the leak is coming from the handle, it may be a simple O-ring.

Shut the Water Off

Shut the water off before you start working or you’ll have a gigantic mess on your hands. The shut-off valve for most kitchen sinks is usually underneath the sink. It’s a small handle that you can turn to shut the water off. Sometimes, it’s a lever. 

Verify that the water is off before proceeding.

Pry off Your Faucet Handle

If you have a single-handled cartridge faucet, pry the small plastic cap off the top of the handle. If you have a duel-handle faucet, you’ll need to take the decorative cap off both the hot and cold water handles. If you have a handle-style faucet, instead of a twist knob, you can usually unscrew the end of the handle and then unscrew the fixture.

The cartridge lies underneath the decorative cap or handle. There’s also a cartridge in here that mixes the hot and cold water if the cartridge is worn out or cracked, it’s entirely possible that water could be seeping through here to the spout.

Fortunately, this piece usually pops out so that you can replace it. If it doesn't you may need to replace the entire faucet unit.

Unscrew the bonnet with a pair of slip-joint pliers and then use needle-nosed pliers to grab the U-shaped retainer clip. Set this aside, but remember its orientation. Inspect the o-ring while you’re at it. Once the bonnet is removed, more of the faucet can be taken apart on most models.

If the rubber o-ring is damaged, replace it.

Replace the Parts and Put Everything Back Together

Most parts on your faucet can be purchased at a hardware store, but if you want decorative parts, now is the time to replace them. Stores and websites, like BedBathandBeyond.com, carry a lot of really attractive models that aren't very expensive but look amazing.

Reassembly of the faucet is the exact reverse of removal. Make sure that that the bonnet is reoriented in the correct way before securing the handle. Otherwise, you’ll have another leak on your hands.

Michael Perry has had his share of leaking faucets. A father of five busy children, he's always fixing something or writing about fixing something. Look for his informative articles on a variety of websites and blogs.

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.


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