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.


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.

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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.

01 November 2014

Butcher block surfaces from ButcherBlockCo.com

When I was a kid, we used to buy our meat from a butcher. As in a real, live butcher who worked in an actual butcher shop. This was not by any means a charcuterie and concepts like grass fed and free range weren't even imagined yet. What it was an honest-to-goodness butcher shop and I remember it smelling like a combination of blood and the heavy paper everything came wrapped in.

I was fascinated by the place and what fascinated me most was the table-sized butcher block where just about everything was cut. It looked a lot like this one.

Buy this table here!

Those days are gone of course --killed off by a combination of changing consumer tastes and proliferation of grocery stores.

Though the traditional butcher shop may be well on its way to extinction,  those butcher block tables are still made by the John Boos Company and here's one they call the AB.


Here's the AA


I took those images from the ButcherBlockCo.com's website. ButcherBlockCo.com is a small firm in Phoenix that specializes in butcher block tables and counters from the John Boos Company. John Boos has been making wood tops and counters since 1887 and they are the gold standard of what a butcher block surface ought to be.

I've always known the reputation of John Boos but until recently, ButcherBlockCo.com was unknown to me. That changed with the arrival of this.


That is a scale replica of a John Boos AA and in my photo it's being used as intended. Namely, as a cheeseboard. My Mini Boos Butcher Block came with a rosewood handled cheese hatchet by Boska. Needless to say, I love this thing. It works as advertised, people can't look at it and not comment and it reminds me of that butcher shop a long time ago. That's what we call a win.

But ButcherBlockCo.com is more than just a purveyor of novelty cheese boards. They sell, direct to consumers, the full range of John Boos products and they do something else I've never seen offered on a website before. You can price and order your own John Boos butcher block counters. Seriously, there's a calculator built into the website. Not only that, they offer free shipping on any order over $75.

So if you're in the market for butcher block counters, tables, islands, cutting boards, kitchen carts, work tables or anything else the John Boos Company makes, look no further. ButcherBlockCo.com has you covered. Check out their website, find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter too.

08 October 2014

Seven must-haves for a new home


Building a new home can be both exciting and stressful, especially when it comes to choosing the house plans and envisaging your life in the abode once it has been built. Many people get swept away in the thrill of finalizing their plans, but perhaps don’t take as long considering the layout and inclusions as they should. In order to minimize any post-construction regrets, it’s important that you factor in as many relevant details as you can before the building work starts.

From weighing up the amount of storage space and natural lighting, to considering electrical outlets and the placement of rooms, there is much to sort out. To help bring you many years of blissful home life, read on for seven elements you’ll want your house design to factor in.

Low-Maintenance Fixtures, Fittings and Surfaces

When designing a house that you’re planning on living in for many years to come, it’s always a good idea to keep the choice of fixtures, fittings, and surfaces in mind. For example, low-maintenance materials such as granite, quartz and laminate can be ideal for kitchen and bathroom bench-tops. Similarly, polished concrete floors can be easy to look after over the years, while stainless steel fixtures and fittings are a breeze to polish up as time goes by.

Placement of Rooms or Flexible Floor Plans

It’s always a good idea to think carefully about the placement of rooms in your home’s layout. For example, do you need a small powder room near the garage or back door to allow for clean ups after working on cars or in the garden? Or perhaps you need to ensure that the kitchen is placed close to the garage so that there’s no issue of lugging groceries too far? It’s also wise to choose flexible floor plans and make sure your house plans fit your needs. Having rooms or spaces in the home that can adapt easily to the changing needs of the family over time is very helpful.

Storage Space

In this day and age pretty much every family has accumulated a lot of stuff. Whether it’s a large collection of clothes, sporting equipment, books, DVDs or gadgets, most people never quite factor in enough storage space for all their belongings when designing a house. In the planning stages, make sure you include ample storage that will suit your needs both today and in the future if your family is likely to expand.

Look for areas of wasted space where you can create a small utility closet or storage nook (such as under flights of stairs, between bedrooms, or even in vaulted ceilings). Look to add in as much accessible storage space as possible, such as cabinets and shelving at heights that can be reached without ladders.

Provisions for Pets or Elderly Family Members

If you’re customizing your home to suit your family, make sure you think about the elderly members, as well as the four-legged ones.


If you currently have, or will in the future, less mobile family members living with you, have a very good think about sticking to a single-level home that doesn’t have any stairs.

Similarly, more and more people are factoring their pets in when designing a home these days. Homeowners can look at installing a dog-bathing facility in the laundry, or specially-designed cabinets for pet food in the kitchen or garage.

Heating and Cooling

Installing the right kind of heating and cooling systems during the build of a home is always going to be much cheaper than adding them in after, so don’t forget to consider your family’s needs in this area.

For starters, make sure your new home has properly-insulated walls to help keep the abode cool in summer and warm in winter, without a lot of extra need for power-draining appliances. As well, carefully consider whether you’re likely to want or need underfloor heating in the future, as it is one of the most expensive items to retrofit later on.

Electrical Outlets

Another thing that many people forget to include enough of in their home design is electrical outlets. As early as you can, think about each room inside your house, as well as the outside spaces, and consider exactly how many power outlets you might need, as well as where best to locate them.


Consider adding plugs on the kitchen island for phone chargers, under windows for Christmas tree lights, and in the bathroom and laundry for appliances such as hairdryers, shavers and dust busters.

Number of Windows and Skylights

Again, many people forget to factor in enough windows or skylights when designing their home. Natural light is one of the most sought-after elements in a house, so carefully consider the aspect and layout of each room in your plans to make sure you don’t end up with a residence that feels dank and dark, no matter the time of year.

29 September 2014

The Bridal Registry Guide: Things to consider when building your wedding registry

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If you are finally getting ready to say goodbye to your single life and plan a fantastic wedding, chances are that you have a million things on your mind. Indulging your oddest whims in different department stores by spending a lot of money that you don’t really have is probably the last priority on your to-do list right now.

But what if the items that you are craving for at the moment could actually come from your closest friends and family members who want to help you build a new life with your better half? From this standpoint, creating a wedding registry is a smart move.

Following a well-organized, manageable Goodearth Bridal Registry will allow your wedding guests to select the most inspired must-haves and surprise you with the perfect gift. On top of that, a registry will enable you to determine who bought what (in case the card vanishes into thin air) and enjoy your first days as a married person without being forced to deal with returns or duplicate present issues. Wondering how you could prevent tiny mishaps that could compromise your wedding registry creation and management efforts? If so, here are a few things that you should consider.

Start Early. Early planning has its benefits. Just think about it: some of your closest friends and family members will want to surprise you with the coolest, most practical and sleek gifts as soon as you announce your engagement. This is precisely why it may be a good idea to create your wedding register early (preferably a couple of weeks before your engagement party) and list a few essential items that you want to get your hands on. It’s never too early to start, especially since you can add your favorite picks, like those gorgeous dinner sets for instance, which is more or less a pretty essential part of any lavish wedding and edit your register later on.

Register at Multiple Locations. Why limit your options when you can register at multiple stores? According to Real Simple, it would be best to stick to two or three department stores, taking into consideration that handling multiple bridal registries can be stressful and time-consuming.

Focus on Everyday Items That You’ll Actually Need. These days, you can register for everything your heart desires: from socks to stocks. Some financial institutions even open bank accounts enabling guests to deposit money for grooms who are saving up for a place of their own. Other couples choose to redirect their guests’ contributions to their non-profit of choice. If you are expecting less conventional presents, remember that some of your guests may want to offer you traditional gifts, like a colorful, custom made dinnerware or luxurious bedding for instance; this is why you should also register at a large chain store to expand your options and keep all your categories of guests happy. At the end of the day, you can satisfy your philanthropic needs. If you want to receive everyday items from your guests, it is advisable to focus on elements with a prominent practical value. Always put usability above looks and ephemeral trends. For instance, expensive china with an elegant design is definitely more useful than a wine fridge, especially if you only drink beer. Analyze your real necessities and expectations before editing your wedding registry.

Let Your Guests Know Where You Have Decided to Register. If you want to comply with the complex and at times hard to decipher wedding etiquette, you shouldn't use your wedding invitations to let your guests know where you have chosen to register. Even so, most stores distribute information cards that could be distribute to your guests by your shower hostess. If you don’t want to send out any cards, you could always rely on word-of-mouth. Your closest relatives and friends will gladly transmit this vital piece of information. Also, you should know that most stores ensure guest access, making it easier for your loves ones to find your registry and discover your wishes.

25 September 2014

Choosing the right recliner for you


There’s no shortage of riser recliner chairs on offer these days. In fact, there’s now a dizzying array of these products to choose from, which can make deciding which versions to buy difficult. However, as long as you know what to look for, you should end up with the ideal riser recliner for you.

To help you along the way, took a look at this brief guide.

 Comfort and ease of use

Of course, you’ll want your new seating to look the part, but the first issues you should consider when perusing your options are comfort and ease of use. After all, if you get a product that ticks both of these boxes, you stand to significantly enhance your quality of life.

To avoid disappointment, you should make sure that the chair you buy is a suitable height, width and depth. Also, bear in mind that the item must be able to fit within the space you have in mind, and you’ll need to make sure that there’s enough space around the seat for you to be able to get into and out of it comfortably.

Take care to find out how simple each chair is to use as well. You don’t want to be fiddling around with complicated systems or searching for awkward levers. The best products boast simple controls, allowing you to rise and recline with total ease.

In addition, consider how far from the wall you will need to place your chair in order to recline on it. Some products can be positioned within a few inches of walls and this can make arranging lounge furniture much easier.

Massage functions

All riser recliners make sitting down and getting up easier. However, some of these products also offer massage functions. The very best of these systems can provide effective relief from a range of medical conditions, including back pain, arthritis, sciatica, hip pain, varicose veins, night cramps, poor blood circulation, spinal disorders and water retention. They can also speed up recovery after certain sporting injuries and they can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Even if you don’t have any of these health problems, the technology enables you to enjoy on-demand massages. At the press of a button, you can relax and unwind in the comfort of your living room.

Style

There is no need to compromise on style simply because you’re after practical seating. As long as you know where to look, you can take your pick from an array of attractive chairs that perfectly complement your decor. It’s worth paying close attention to this issue. After all, you might have your riser recliner for many years, so it’s important that you like its appearance.

General quality

Last but by no means least, consider the general quality of the products available. Certain chairs look great at first glance, but quickly lose their appeal once they start malfunctioning or coming apart at the seams. Remember, these items are supposed to make your life easier and more enjoyable. They should not be a source of stress.

Luckily, it’s now easy to find excellent quality riser recliners that exude class and that function perfectly. For example, the products on offer at www.adjustablebeds.co.uk come in a range of styles and fabrics and they boast a number of impressive features. Their Cyclo-Therapy massage system offers the ultimate therapeutic massage and they benefit from Easy Reach technology, meaning you can position them close to your walls.

As long as you consider all these factors when you’re searching for a riser recliner, you can rest assured you’ll be thrilled with the results.

08 September 2014

Enhance the aesthetics of your bedroom with a contemporary, sliding wardobe


A bedroom looks best when it has less furniture and more space to walk around freely. Apart from the necessary things, there should not be anything in the bedroom. However, in a typical house, you will never find such an ideal bedroom. There will be closets, wardrobes and whatnot, making the bedroom as much like a store room as anything else. Wouldn't it be nice if you could actually find the secret of getting the ideal bedroom in your house?


Well, the secret is a sliding wardrobe. So what exactly is a sliding wardrobe? These are wardrobes that have sliding doors to create more space in the bedroom. If you have seen a traditional wardrobe, you would have noticed the swinging closet doors that often created an obstruction and needed more space to make way for the whole door to be opened. But with innovation and new style, the sliding wardrobes have become very popular among families especially, because they can keep all their clothes in one place.

Types of sliding wardrobes

With the introduction of sliding wardrobes, various experiments were done with their design and style and ultimately three different types of sliding wardrobes were introduced. The following are the three types of sliding wardrobes that are swarming the market these days:

  • Glass-type sliding wardrobes - These wardrobes blend well with any bedroom and if there is a theme for the bedroom, then there's nothing like it. If you go to an interior designer, this is probably the first thing that he or she will suggest you to buy. If you want to add a unique style to the doors, then choose from the smoked glass panels - they look gorgeous on these wardrobes. However, while choosing the glass do ensure that you choose Plexiglass and not some other glass. Plexiglass is known for its durability and would suit the wardrobe to perfection.
  • Mirrored sliding wardrobes - These wardrobes are made of glass materials and have a reflective film on the back of the glass panel. The whole concept of this wardrobe is very smart as the big mirrors are crafted to act like sliding doors. It makes the wardrobe look so much bigger due to its reflective nature and the craftsmen that designed this feature did nothing extraordinary, but simply replaced a few parts with glass and played with the reflection; as simple as that.
  • Wooden sliding wardrobes - These are the most common type of sliding wardrobes that you will find in the market. These are simple, yet elegant and are made of dense wood such as teak, mahogany and maple. Unlike other sliding wardrobes, you will find a lot of designs in this one. The doors can have an additional touch of beauty with crafted wooden panels or louvered closet panels. But, it all depends on the manufacturer whether he can put these innovations in his work or not.

Sliding wardrobes are available for online order as well since the reputed names like SKON Design have marked their presence online. Depending on the colour theme of your room you can browse the internet and order the best sliding wardrobe. Suppose you have a white theme for your bedroom, and you happen to live in Dublin. Simply, go online and search with white sliding wardrobe in Dublin and you will find the names of the companies who have the wardrobe with the specification you just gave. Searching on the internet helps you see the entire structure of the wardrobe very easily, and you also get to compare the price with other online stores providing the same thing. Sliding wardrobes have immense benefits, and it is the latest trend in the market. It would be wise to select this wardrobe if you are looking to buy a new one.  

Different types of cookers and ovens


If you’ve decided your tired, old cooker or oven needs replacing and it’s a long time since you visited an appliance store to check out the different types available on the market, you may be confused about the choices. However, at online retailers such as Appliance World, due to the extent of their product range, you’re sure to find one that will suit your needs perfectly.

Gas

Powered by mains for the majority of people but occasionally using bottled gas, cookers and ovens using gas have long been a popular choice for households. Quick to heat up and easy to control as it’s a much more visual cooking method than any of the electrical choices, gas cooker tops and electric ovens such as the Siemens built in ovens are a popular combination for many kitchens requiring a sleek design. The only real disadvantage to using a gas cooker is that there’s more parts to dismantle and clean with the rings are they will need washing regularly to remove the fat and food residue otherwise they can quickly become blocked.

Induction

Induction uses very powerful electromagnets, and these are underneath a glass surface which is manufactured from smooth ceramic. When turned on, the induction power comes from an electromagnetic field. The field causes heat to be created, and this is then transferred to the pan or pot on the stove. There’s no heating element and no burners underneath. The way the food cooks is through a rise or fall in the amount of electric power. It’s also possible to buy induction cookers which are manufactured from cast iron.

The main positive aspect from using induction to cook with is that they are really safe – with particular reference to children. There’s so little chance of burns happening accidentally, because the heat moves from the field to the cookware and there’s no stovetop to heat up. As it’s electrically powered, there’s never a worry about a gas leak.

Induction power is very energy efficient, and food doesn’t take so long to cook. It’s also a very easy to use the kind of heat as temperature control is easy, and changes in the heat take place very quickly.

Because of the glass top, they are very quick and easy to clean – a wipe with a soft, damp cloth, and the job is finished. They also suit modern, sleek and contemporary designed kitchens.

However, some people feel there is a possible issue with radiation, but research evidences this to be very low. You’ll need to buy pots and pans which have either iron or stainless steel bottoms otherwise the magnetic field won’t be created, and there’ll be no heat. The cookware bottoms also have to be flat to ensure even distribution of the field.

You’ll need to be careful with the surface. Be careful not to crack the glass with cookware or to drag anything across the top otherwise you’ll end up with scratches.

Ceramic top cookers

Ceramic cooker tops work through the installation of metal coils or halogen lamps placed under a piece of ceramic glass. They work through electricity and heat up when switched on. Heat produced then goes into the glass surface and then into the pan.

A ceramic cooker cools down very fast and so is very safe – particularly when just switched off. As with induction, there’s no worry about gas leaks. This is an energy efficient choice with very dense heat in a focused spot.

Cleaning is easier – a damp, soft cloth is all that is needed, but they do need to have spills removed immediately to prevent burn marks.

Using ceramic may mean buying new cookware as they require heavyweight pans for good conductivity covering the whole surface. They are easily scratched and broken in a similar way to induction. Whilst they cool down quickly, they are slow to heat up, and temperature changes are felt not to be quick enough for many people when cooking and needing to up the heat.

04 September 2014

How to choose the best kitchen layout design for your home

via

Kitchens are the central hub to your home and one to be proud of at that. Whether you are building your home or you want to remodel, once you get to your kitchen you can become overwhelmed and you may find yourself asking the same specific questions repeatedly. Do you really need a new kitchen? Do you know what kitchen shape you’re looking for? Is the layout you’ve picked suitable enough for your needs?

L-Shaped Kitchens

If you have a large family and a large kitchen space, the L-shaped kitchen will work wonders and even leaves enough space for you to have an island in the centre. It works well for a multipurpose kitchen and even more so if you have two cooks. Though, you will want to ensure that you leave sufficient space between your island and/or peninsula and any cabinets that you

U-Shaped Kitchens

The U-shaped kitchen is quite similar to the L-shaped though instead of two wall surfaces, you will have three and typically with one major appliance on each wall. For example; you will have the stove one on, the dishwasher in the centre next to the sink and the refrigerator on the other. Taking into account your kitchen space, there may also be room for you to add an island.

I-Shaped Kitchens

A single wall kitchen which is also known as the I-shaped kitchen is more suitable for a single dwelling and you may find these in apartments where more often than not, the space that you have available is drastically less from that of a standard house. It won’t provide you with an overly efficient workspace, though if it is just you in the home and most times you are cooking for one, this might not be a bad option for you and sometimes it is the only option.

Galley Kitchens

Most of the time these type of layouts do offer efficiency and a simple plan. For the better part, the appliances will stand in a single line along one of the kitchen walls while the other is used for preparation and may host the sink. With modern styling and a more open concept, turning the back wall into booth-like seating is also something that is possible with the addition of some high

There are always going to be certain aspects that you want to take into consideration when planning your kitchen, no matter what your pre-chosen layout is. Keeping your sink and dishwasher close to one another will help with easier cleaning and organize your cabinets and drawers. Keeping your glasses near the fridge, your pots and pans near the stove and your cutlery and dinnerware near one other will make for easier access. Common washing machine problems usually mean that the machine needs to be pulled out from the wall, so make sure this is possible after you have installed it. The more time you put into planning your kitchen and the more organised it actually is, the smoother you will find things running. The last thing you’re going to want to do at the end of a long day is run around your kitchen more than you need to.

07 August 2014

Your modern kitchen: top design ideas and inspiration


Modern kitchen designs change as frequently as diets and appetites. But, if you’re feeling sour about your current décor, sweeten the interior with the following kitchen inspirations.

Go Tech

Get high tech, opting for appliances with LED screens, range hoods that pop out when needed, and lighting that suits activities and moods of inhabitants. Stainless cooktops make maintenance easy and one-press oven options keep cooking convenient.

Out-the-Door

Those with kitchens adjacent to patios and outside decks, double or triple the size of the food serving area, purchasing wine cabinets, grills, and seating sets that endure all weather.

There are no limits for those who want to transform an outdoor area into a kitchenette space with mini fridges, outdoor dishwashers, and wet bar.

Up and Away

Finding a place for needs in tight spaces is a problem for apartment owners and city dwellers. Fix a number of shelves in your kitchen, fitting pots, pans, dishes, seasonings, and other needs into small spaces. Make a small kitchen larger through do-it-yourself strategy and rearrangement.

The Little Things

Updating major appliances is expensive but making a change in the handles and cabinet knobs also makes a huge difference in perception. Choose polished metal to transform the face of cabinets and drawers with minimal investment.

Fresh Paint

Change the ‘feel’ of the room with a fresh coat of paint, reading up on the psychology of colours. Blues relax inhabitants while bolder reds liven the room and keep visitors attentive to in-kitchen goodies and conversation.

Window Smart

Be smart about the little things, like changing the colour of drapes and introducing designer blinds. Get deals on popular products at Super Blinds Mart.

Designer Jars

Find eye-catching jars at kitchen suppliers or ask a creative friend to paint the outer surface of a number of store-bought cans. Customise containers that hold sugar, pepper, and other cooking ingredients.

Floor Focus

Focus on the kitchen floor, choosing a number of woods that make cleaning easy and floors beautiful. Alternatively, tile can be produced to look like wood, providing the appearance but costing only a fraction of the price.

Clean Countertops

Choose all-black or pure white countertops to counter other colours in the room. Alternatively, pieces of granite enrich the look of dated counter surface and cabinet faces.

Backsplash

Get inventive with tiles, creating a colourful backsplash. Fix your kitchen with art as well as a fresh design idea. Use tiles to include the names of friends, family members, and pets.

On an Island

Hire a carpenter to build a small island, creating more space for food preparation and storage. Creative providers fix pull-out shelves, extensions, and seating surfaces to serve as a mini kitchen table, especially useful to those trying to save space.

Get Hood

Range hoods have been stealing the show when it comes to modern kitchen refurbishments. With a number of model, placement, and exterior options, a well placed and designed hood becomes the crown jewel of the room.

Musically Inclined

Traditionally, the kitchen is a place for family and friends to come together. Today, Internet, smart phone, and big screen TV options steal away from time together. Make the room more inclined for habitation through buying video and audio components like iPod player/speakers and using iPads as small-screen televisions.

Kobey Hennessy is always renovating, whether it is his home, or one of his friends or relatives houses. An avid writer, too, he loves to share his ideas with others by posting a various blog sites.

Family-friendly kitchens: warm and cozy inspiration for your cooking place


The kitchen is the hub of many homes and there is probably a constant stream of people traffic as people invariably gather around where the food and drink can be found.

Sometimes the layout of a kitchen needs updating to accommodate a growing family or maybe because it is starting to look a little tired. Here is look at how you can transform your kitchen into a warm and inviting family-friendly space, where everyone will feel at home.

Colour scheme

The layout of your kitchen is important and it needs to help you to cook and socialise with ease by making the best use of the space that is available, but to get the look and feel just right you need to make sure that you choose your colour scheme with care.

Yellow can give your kitchen walls an instant uplift, as it has the ability to give even the smallest space a sunnier disposition and it works well when you use the hue to paint the back walls behind shelving. Red and orange are also classic warm colours and all three of these colours certainly have the capacity to make a room feel more inviting and warmer.

Red might be a bold choice for some people in the kitchen, especially when you consider that it is the colour associated with stimulating appetite, so for a country kitchen style you should probably consider a lighter shade or colour that is not quite so overwhelming.

If you really want to use warm and cosy colours in your kitchen but would prefer to keep your keeping space a little more neutral, you may want to consider brown shades like chocolate chip or coffee with contrasting neutral colours like creamy white, which may be how your work top or cabinets have been finished.

Open-plan kitchen diner

If you have a kitchen that is large enough to provide a dining area within the kitchen then this is very often the modern solution for many households who have moved away from using a separate dining room to eat on a daily basis.

Plenty of seating is always going to a good idea especially if you have a family that is prone to large gatherings and enjoying mealtimes as a great way of catching up on the day’s events. You find some great seating options at a site like Swivel UK, where you can draw some inspiration and decide which particular style or finish would work well in your kitchen space and colour scheme.

An open-plan area with plenty of seating choices will encourage everyone to hang around after dinner is over and not only does it provide a great family-friendly solution, but the added bonus is that this type of kitchen setup is always very attractive to house buyers.

This means that you are potentially adding value to your home with an attractive open-plan kitchen and with a warm and cosy colour scheme to draw everyone in, no one will be too keen to stray away from the hub of the house.

Josh Burke is passionate about functional and beautiful home spaces. When not working with clients revitalizing kitchens, basements, and bedrooms, he loves blogging about his inspirations and tips he's learned over the years.

06 August 2014

Top 5 Energy Efficient Appliances of 2014



Home appliances account for most of the energy that you use in your home. One of the best ways to reduce your electric bills is by using energy-efficient appliances. These appliances apply advanced technology, allowing you to enjoy better performance. Here are the top 5 green appliances based on information compiled from 3 of the top professional home appliance repair and maintenance providers.

The Whirlpool Gold ® Series Dishwasher with Sensor Cycle

This dishwasher automatically selects appropriate wash and dry settings. The Whirlpool Gold ®Series dishwasher with sensor cycle cleans tough stains 35% better compared to other appliances. It uses adequate amounts of water, time, and energy, allowing you to make significant savings.

It has an efficient wash system that allows you to clean a full load with less energy and water compared to other models.

This dishwasher comes with specialized options that allow you to clean a small number of dishes while still remaining energy efficient. Its Top Rack Wash helps you save energy and time because it can wash dishes placed at the top. This means that you don’t have to load dishes until you have a full load. It will also automatically determine how much water and time is required to wash the dishes on the top rack.

Its AnyWare™ Plus silverware basket allows you to free up additional rack space. The basket easily fits in the door or lower rack, allowing you to wash more dishes in a single load.

Its upper rack is adjustable and you can easily pull it in and out when you want to change its location to suit the size of the items you want to wash.

The Kenmore Elite 4.7 cu. ft. High-efficiency Top-Load Washer

This washer has an Energy Star ® label, making it an ideal choice if you are looking for a green appliance. The Kenmore Elite 4.7 cu. ft. top-load washer offers superior fabric care as one of its signature features. It applies Smart Motion technology that allows you to use 6 washing motions. It also has 14 wash cycle options and 5 temperatures, allowing you to save on energy, water, and time when cleaning your clothes.

This 4.7 cu. ft washer can accommodate large items such as bedding. It comes with an in-built heater that automatically warms water to allow enhanced cleaning. The heater will raise the water temperature quickly. This means that each fabric gets customized cleaning.

Information on the “Whirlpool Gold ® Series Dishwasher with Sensor Cycle” and “Kenmore Elite 4.7 cu. ft. High-efficiency Top-Load Washer” provided by: Accredited Appliance of Phoenix.

The Kenmore Elite 29.2 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Genius Cool™

This is an Energy Star compliant stainless steel refrigerator that is designed to offer better performance. The GeniusCool™ relies on two evaporators that cool the freezer and refrigerator separately. This means that your vegetables will remain crisp while your frozen items are protected from freezer burn.

It comes with the CrisperKeeper™ drawers that absorb the natural gas emitted by vegetables and fruits when they are ripening. This helps to keep your produce fresh for a longer period.

This refrigerator offers you more storage space but it still remains in the standard 25 cu. ft. footprint. It also features the CleanFlow™ Air Filter that is used to circulate air. It is more effective at reducing food odors compared to using baking soda.

The refrigerator door can store about 8 gallons of milk. This is remarkable when it is compared to other side-by-side refrigerator models.

It also comes with SmartSense™ Temperature Management that is designed to detect temperature changes in the appliance. This feature automatically adjusts cooling to ensure foods are stored at the most appropriate temperatures. Your foods will stay fresher for longer periods in this appliance.

The refrigerator also comes with the Kenmore® dispense system, allowing you to get filtered water. You can customize the system to get preset water amounts based on your preferences.

The Thermador 36” Masterpiece Series Electric Cooktop with Touch Control and Bridge Element

This cooktop comes in an elegant design and offers precise control and excellent performance. The Touch Control feature offers 17 power settings, allowing you to save energy when cooking or warming food. It has a panel lock, timer, and 9 cooking settings, fast preheat setting, and keep warm setting.

It has the Triple Element feature that is designed to heat various types of cookware efficiently. The size of the cookware will determine how much energy is used to heat it, allowing you to gain significant energy savings.

This is one of the few cooktop models that come with a bridge element. A dual-zone element is integrated, making it easy for the appliance to heat cookware that have unique diameters. If you have oblong cookware, this appliance will come in handy when you are cooking or warming food considering its one of only a few that can do it with ease.

Information on the “Kenmore Elite 29.2 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator with Genius Cool” and “Thermador 36” Masterpiece Series Electric Cooktop” provided by Appliance Repair Specialist of Tampa.

The Sharp R930CS 1-1/2 cu. ft. 900-Watt Convection Microwave

This is a stainless convection microwave oven that is usually used as a countertop unit but you can also have it built in. The Sharp R-930 uses 900-watt to function. It comes with more than 10 power settings. This oven has an interactive display with smart and easy sensor settings.

It has a turntable that allows food to heat evenly, reducing the amount of energy used. This appliance can also crisp, brown, bake, and broil different types of food. It’s definitely the best appliance to use when you are making popcorn.

This convection microwave oven can accommodate a 13” cake pan and standard roasting pan. It comes with additional racks that allow you to bake two different dishes at the same time.

You can use this microwave oven to cook meats such as chicken, sausages, and steak. It comes with the Sensor Cook feature that allows efficient cooking. This feature is designed for cooking hot dogs, frozen entrees, and vegetables. All you have to do is place the items on a plate and select the Sensor Cook option for the particular food item and the appliance will do the rest for you. The sensor settings offered by this appliance allow you to realize significant energy savings when used regularly.

And there are no protruding parts on this appliance, making it easy for you to clean it up with some paper towels or damp cloth.

Information on the “The Sharp R930CS 1-1/2 cu. ft. 900-Watt Convection Microwave” provided by AAA Appliance Service Center.

23 June 2014

Can different types of kitchen tiles have different hygienic qualities?


Kitchen tiles come in a wide range of assorted colors and designs. They even vary a great deal in their sizes, ranging from exceptionally small mosaic tiles to larger ceramic tiles that measure one square foot each. In addition, kitchen tiles are used in a variety of different locations.

They can be used on the walls, on splash backs, the floors and, as always, the counters. However, there is one thing that they should all have in common. They should all be designed with hygiene in mind, and as such it should be easy to clean them and keep them free of bacteria.

For instance, kitchen tiles such as large ceramic tiles that feature deep grout can sometimes be a problem. Therefore, according to Yorkshire Tile, the grout should be finished with an antibacterial coating in order to ensure that bacteria cannot get deep into the grout and cause problems later on. This is important regardless of the location of the tiles, but it takes on a special importance when the tiles are used on the counter or in some location where the bacteria could possibly come in contact with food or food preparation areas.

In addition, it is important for you to choose the right types of kitchen tiles. The website www.tiles.org.uk focuses on the importance of choosing the right type of tile for the job that it needs to do. The website also directly ties this information in with following proper hygienic practices in the kitchen.

For example, ceramic tile is relatively easy to clean and it is easy to keep disinfected. Again, the problem usually occurs when the grout is porous and is not finished with antibacterial coating. This can easily be corrected by using the proper techniques for the grout. Furthermore, tiles that offer a mosaic appearance that are sold in sheets are easy to maintain and keep clean because they only offer the appearance of grout while the actual surface is completely smooth. These are easy to install and also easy to keep disinfected.

Choosing the right kitchen tile is vitally important, both for aesthetic purposes and to ensure that food preparation areas are kept as sterile as possible, and that the tile itself is not causing a problem related to hygiene in the kitchen.

A great first step towards finding the right tile is to know how you can protect it and keep it clean before you even use it. According to www.countrycustomtile.com, the sealant that protects against fungal and bacterial cultures is an impregnating seal, which works by seeping deep into the grout and tile and bonds with the molecules within. Remember that sealer need only to be applied on water-based grouts; epoxy-based grouts are already protected.

Clean the area carefully before laying the sealer down, and once it has set, make sure that it is dry before using it. One last precaution is to let your grout sit for a full two weeks before applying the sealer. And finally, if you are using a top coat sealer, it is not recommended for glazed tiles, as it will not stick well.

20 June 2014

Blending in — creating a pleasant but practical kitchen

Julia Child's kitchen

It’s said that the heart of the home is in the kitchen, and that’s certainly true. The focal point of many family gatherings, the kitchen is often just a buzz of activity. Especially if you've got to cater for a large family, making sure your kitchen is well-planned out can prove a real time saver when it comes to maintaining a clean and hygienic atmosphere. Even if you’re just cooking for one, you really can’t underestimate the relaxation a few enjoyable hours in a neat kitchen can provide.

Kitchens should be designed, keeping not only aesthetics in mind, but also efficiency. Ensure that appliances are sensibly located – especially the main essentials like electric cookers, refrigerators, etc. — and workflow will be so much smoother. In fact, this is probably the most important factor while designing a kitchen.

Aesthetics are important, too. Taking the time to reflect on how you’d like your kitchen decorated is certainly worthwhile. Your kitchen has to be somewhere you enjoy spending time, and if you've got kids, making sure it’s attractive for them, too, is a neat little trick to encourage them to help with the washing up! The counter tops, the colors of the appliances, the color of the backsplash — coordinate them all to make your kitchen a pleasant room to spend time in.

Making sure the kitchen is easy to clean will help hugely, too. Alright, that carpet might look great in the shop, but when it comes to mopping up spilled sauces and wine, you’ll definitely be thankful for easy-wipe surfaces! Tiles come in such a variety of designs and colors that the hardest part of your job will be choosing what you want. Tiled floors, once laid correctly, can last a lifetime, so it’s really essential to think carefully about how you want your kitchen to look today.

The appliances in the kitchen should also be coordinated with each other. If space is at a premium, buying an electric cooker with an oven makes sense. Preferably, choose appliances of the same brand, since it makes servicing them easier and you can often get good discounts when you buy more from one company.

Keep enough space to move around the room. Try to make a small eating space in the kitchen by putting an island with stools or a small table. Put up some colorful accessories such as pictures and plants to enliven the atmosphere.

These are but a few of the many ways in which you can make your kitchen the happiest place in your home. Apply them and you’ll feel less like you’re slaving away at a stove, and more like you’re improving your quality of life.

17 June 2014

Six tips to help you to think like a designer


Getting your interior space right is an important part of enjoying your home. Without the space working the way you want it to, you’ll feel on edge and ill at ease – the opposite of what your home should achieve – so SigmaLondon have some ideas to help you get what you want from your interior. But first of all you need to step back and look at your home dispassionately…

1. Analyse the Space.
Look around your home, the same way you did when you were buying it and identify the best features; the things you don’t like quite so much and the bits that are just plain nasty. Make a note of which way the room faces – does it get a lot of sun, or mostly shadow. Now look at how many electrical sockets it has – enough for your needs? Do a sketch floor plan and note the door swings and number of windows.

2. How is that Room Used?
Does the area assigned to a particular room offer enough space for the way it is used? Would it actually make more sense to change the room sequence around to take advantage of more or less light? For example a room that is used for watching television benefits from not having direct sunlight, but a kitchen without good lighting is hard to work in. Consider then, if moving the space around will give you a more flexible home and one that works with the natural features you already possess.

3. What is the Most Logical Layout?
Some properties simply don’t allow the flexibility to add an extension. In this situation you’ll need to be clever with how you use the space to really achieve what you want. Look at the current locations of the rooms and decide if it really makes sense to have a bedroom beside the reception room. Some rooms are better grouped together – that space would be better used as a kitchen or dining area – it keeps the ‘public’ spaces together and gives the bedroom a quieter location. Grouping bedrooms and bathrooms together is also practical because this type of zoning allows for a calm and sensitive handling of the more intimate spaces. It will also enable you to create a suite of rooms around your bedroom area.

4. Note the Position of the Services.
Kitchens and bathrooms need easy access to drainage – which generally runs down an exterior wall. As part of the process of considering the layout of your home, make sure you take note of this because any building work that involves reconfiguring the layout, will involve pipework being moved and this cost will only be practical if the structure of the building allows the work to be done easily.

5. Are the Rooms Overlooked?
Depending on the location of your house, some parts of it are likely to be overlooked by your neighbours. For the more public areas of your home, this is easily solved with window treatments or plantings that screen the room from view. Sometimes though a bedroom will end up in a location that is less secluded than you’d like – because that is the most logical place for it – and this highlights issues of privacy that using a window film for frosting the glass can solve. You’ll need to consider your views on this before you decide that this layout is right for you.

6. Check that the Furniture Fits!
Planning your interior space is like doing a puzzle, everything has to fit in its proper place before the job feels complete. If you allow your heart to dictate what you purchase, you’ll end up with a home that is overcrowded and not thought out. Never buy the furniture before you know how you want to use the space and always take the measurements with you when you go shopping – if something doesn't fit – don’t buy it. And keep in mind, if you live above the ground floor, how will you get the furniture into your home?

Getting your interior space right will allow you to relax within your home. It will feel welcoming and well planned. Sigma London believes that this is vital to any interior scheme and that you will benefit from the improvements you make – because your home should be your haven.

SigmaLondon – Interior designers in London. You can find them on Facebook.

23 May 2014

Transforming the dining room with chair cushions

via Decoist
It’s often the smallest of changes that get noticed. This is especially true in a dining room, where an entire room is otherwise based on few pieces of dining room furniture. The accents, accessories, and decorations all go a long way to change the feel of the room.

Chair cushions are often ignored and viewed as tacky, but they definitely have their place when done right. Chair cushions are not just the typical tie-knot cushions that hook to the seat and the back of the chair. Sometimes they just come in the form of padding for the seat. This works especially well with metal chairs, but it can be pulled off even if the chair is wooden, wicker, etc.

Right now you’re probably clueless as to how you can make this look stylish. Take a look on Pinterest to get an idea on the different chair cushion looks. This may help with understanding how dining chairs can have cushioning without seeming tacky. Of course, there are a few ‘bad’ designs in the bunch but that’s to be expected. You want to think of a way to incorporate cushions to your dining chairs while adding, not taking away, style and flare to the room.

How to Incorporate Dining Chair Cushions

You will have to use your imagination a bit to figure out what the best look would be for your particular dining set. It will depend on a number of factors such as the color, material, and even the tone of paint on your walls.

Complementary Chair Cushions

Of course, your dining room will already be stylishly themed. This gives you an advantage as you merely have to find a complementary color, such as the color of your wall paint, to use as the basis for the chair cushions. This allows you to maintain the current theme while adding an extra layer of depth to the room’s design. It also adds comfort for your family and guests.

Eccentric, Eye Grabbing Chair Cushions

You don’t always have to keep things calm. You can use the chair cushions as a way to capture attention in your dining room. This is a very good choice if you have a strong white them. The chair cushions can then be any color and have any pattern and they will get noticed. This doesn't take away from the theme of the room, but it can help set the tone.

Reupholstered Chair Cushions

Sometimes what’s holding back a dining room isn't the furniture, but the upholstering. Dining tables can be refinished and transformed to something incredible. The same can be accomplished with dining chairs by reupholstering their cushions. If you have chairs with cushions, it’s a good idea to consider whether reupholstering may improve the look of the chairs and the room as a whole. You can learn how to reupholster a dining chair online too, it’s not difficult at all!

What’s best for Your Dining Room?

This is a change that needs to be looked at on an individual basis. Take a look at your dining room and get a feel for what would work. You can then start looking online for ideas at websites that offer DIY chair cushion designs. This is a better idea than just buying pre-fabricated chair cushions as you have full control over the design of the cushions.

You don’t have to worry about making these changes either. You can print off the design and put it on your chair to get an idea for how it will blend with the room. When it’s on fabric, it’ll just look nicer. You can even find a short list of designs that catch your interest and compare them the same way before making your final decision.
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