17 April 2017

So Your Kitchen Is Flooded. Now What?


We can’t say for sure what the worst homeowner nightmare would be, but we’re pretty sure a flooded kitchen holds a firm position somewhere at the top of the list. When water isn’t where it’s supposed to be (like when it forms a swimming pool on your kitchen tile), it can cause serious damage. And the tricky thing with water damage is that some of it can be unseen. Water can seep into cracks and crevices undetected, causing a buildup of mold and other severe problems.

When you’re faced with a flooded kitchen, you’ll undoubtedly feel overwhelmed. What damage is being done? What can you do to stop it? What should you do first? Read on to find out.

Stop the Flooding

The obvious first step is to stop the water from doing any more damage. Find the source of the leak, and stop it. If a pipe has burst, turn off your main water valve. If the leak is near your sink, you may be able to find a knob near the pipes. If all else fails, you can typically call a plumber, describe your situation, and have them help you figure out how to turn off the water.


Think of Safety

If you see sparks or smell gas, turn off the electricity in the flooded room. (This can be done at your main breaker.) Next, call the fire department immediately, and leave your home.

Call a Disaster Relief Company

A flooded kitchen is one project you should not tackle on your own. Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, which means you want the water in your kitchen cleaned thoroughly by someone who knows what to do. Removing the water yourself, patting the area dry, and leaving a fan on the floor for a few days is not a sufficient treatment for a flooded kitchen. Water can seep into unseen places, and you can end up dealing with major damage down the road.

You need the help of a disaster relief company, which will handle all the cleanup, gather evidence, get estimates, and deal with the insurance adjuster for you. Not only that, but they may be able to negotiate to get you the most claims money possible. And if you need to rebuild or restore, the disaster relief company will know how to do that.

Call Your Insurance Provider

Tell your insurance company about the flood so they can get their process moving. Don’t wait too long, or you could affect the outcome of your claim. Ask questions: Is the damage in your kitchen covered? Will the insurance company reimburse you for takeout food if your kitchen is temporarily unusable? Will there be extra costs?

Initial Damage Control

You’ll want to have a water damage restoration company do the main cleanup, but take stock of your furniture, books, and more to see what you can save. Don’t leave books in wet places because their colors can bleed. Move furniture and other items to dry places, and let them air out. But only do this after the damage has been documented properly by the disaster relief company and/or insurance company. If an item looks like it is destroyed, ask the disaster relief company for advice. Make sure to file appropriate claims with the insurance company for anything that has been destroyed.

Restoration

If your kitchen has been badly damaged, you’ll need to begin a restoration process. The insurance company should tell you how much money you’ll receive, and once they do, you can begin working with a restoration company to restore, remodel, or even upgrade your kitchen.

That sinking feeling you felt when you first saw the flood in your kitchen? You can quickly replace it with relief — as long as you act fast, and get the right team on your side.

Deborah Lamberton is the general manager for New Life Restoration, a 24/7 disaster cleanup company that offers fire & smoke, water & storm damage, mold remediation and more.

15 April 2017

The Best Ways to Create a Family-Friendly Kitchen

When we have children, the kitchen is often a room we don’t think about childproofing. We just assume that the children won’t need to go in the kitchen so it’s not something we need to worry about. While this may be true of babies and very young children, as they get older, it’s fun having them in the kitchen and involving them in cooking and baking. Your kitchen can easily become the heart of your home, and a place where you spend time having fun as a family. Generally, you just need to make a few small changes to turn your existing kitchen into a safe, family-friendly space.

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Safety

In any family home, safety is, of course, the most important thing. Especially in the kitchen where there can be a lot of danger. Think very carefully about your storage. Keep any sharp knives and utensils out of reach or locked away, but also keep anything particularly heavy such as large pots and pans out of reach. Cupboard locks are a great investment. However you choose to make your kitchen safe, do regular reviews as children are growing and learning all of the time.

Keep it Tidy

Another way to keep your kitchen both safe and welcoming is to keep it tidy. Make sure that everything has a home and that you keep on top of any chores. Give older children their own responsibilities and involve them.

Color

Make it colorful. Light, bright colors can help to create a fun, friendly atmosphere. Why not let your children help you chose a color scheme? They love being involved and feeling like their opinions matter.

Fun

The very best way to make children feel at home and welcome in any room is to add some fun. Hang their artwork on the fridge or even frame some for the walls. Get them a window box and let them have their own mini herb garden. Cover your fridge with fun magnets they can play with. Open your kitchen up to your children, let them in, and then watch them thrive as they discover new skills and explore new sides of their growing personalities.

Height

If you want your children to be able to get involved in cooking and preparing meals from a young age, you need to think about height. If your sink and work surfaces are too high, consider keeping a stool or step close to hand so they can get involved whenever they want. Even if it’s just to watch.

Seating

Having a seating area in your kitchen is a great way to make it a more social space. We all lead busy and hectic lives so often meal times are the only chance we get to sit and speak to our families. Having a seating area means you can do more than just eat together. The children can sit doing their homework or talking to you while you cook. Even a small breakfast bar can be a great asset.

If your kitchen needs a full overhaul to either help make it safe or update your style, get in touch with a kitchen remodeling Toronto company who can help you get started today.

05 April 2017

An Informed Look at Bathroom Lighting


Sometimes overlooked until the last minute, this very important part of bathroom design requires careful thought. Inadequate lighting can make your everyday chores more difficult. However, a  boost of confidence is but one reward when that guy or gal in the mirror is cast in a flattering light each morning!

Let’s talk about some concepts that will help make your renovation a brilliant success.

Adding Light in Layers

First, we want to divide bathroom lighting into 4 categories: ambient, vanity, accent, and decorative. These categories are sometimes called “layers” as each serves a purpose, though their functions usually overlap. Don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple.

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Ambient lighting could also be called general purpose lighting. A surface mounted fixture or a series of recessed lights are most common. You’ll want to ensure that no dark or shadowy areas detract from the cheery atmosphere.

You have an ever growing number of beautiful fixtures to choose from. Many designers now recommend pendant lights or even small chandeliers for bathrooms. These  disperse the light evenly and add a touch of elegance. You’ll get plenty of ideas not only on lighting but for all your fixtures by browsing through SmartStyle Bathrooms online showroom here.

For something out of the ordinary, you might consider cove lighting. A string of lights, like a tiny rope, hidden behind a crown moulding. The moulding is placed down from the ceiling a bit so the light spills over into the room. You can a choose from a wide variety of colours and brightness to perfectly complement the rest of the room. This could fall into the decorative category as it may not be the main source of light for the room.

Whatever the label, this will create a warm glow around the perimeter of the room and gives a classy, modern look.

Don’t forget the shower! In all too many homes, the shower area is not lit and unless there is plenty of ambient light, it will be a dark area. Just make sure any fixture slated for use in a shower enclosure is rated for the damp environment.

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Vanity lighting is one of the key elements of successful bathroom design. Shaving, putting on makeup, hairstyling, and many other activities require plenty of light.

Vanity lights placed above the mirror may cast shadows over the face and make everything more tedious. Even multiple bulbs often don’t always solve the problem.

The new preferred method: a sconce on each side of the mirror, placed at about eye level will very nicely do the job. Because light comes from two directions, shadows are virtually eliminated. This method creates a flattering, even light over the face.

You could even add a matching fixture above the mirror if you wanted. This will give a more traditional look and make things a bit brighter as well. You will want to put lower wattage bulbs in the top fixture to avoid the shadowing problem stated above. Also, choose fixtures that won’t extend past or overhang onto the mirror, as that will cause a glaring reflection of the bulb.

Accent lighting and Decorative lighting add the finishing touches to a thoughtful design. A small recessed light can focus on and accentuate beautiful features in your bathroom. A picture or piece of artwork can be highlighted. Or perhaps the beautiful tile work or carefully chosen fixtures.

Cove lighting, mentioned above, is another common decorative lighting element. It works well as under counter lighting or to outline other features of the room.

You will want to coordinate fixtures, tile selection, wallpaper or other decorative elements so that they complement one another. A touch of style will make your bathroom transcend the ordinary and allow you to really make a statement.

Practical Considerations

The next step is to decide on some practical matters. For example, have you considered dimmers for your vanity lighting or what wattage the bulbs should be? You might enjoy reading this article in Forbes magazine that goes into depth on some of these details.

Not only can dimmers be used to create atmosphere, but can allow a very welcome adjustment for tired eyes late at night. When choosing bulbs, a crisp white is regarded as the best colour for vanity lighting as it accurately shows skin tones.

If you have ever been in a room where you had to try three or four switches to find the right one, you will appreciate the importance of switch placement. Make sure to place them so that they are in easy reach when needed. If done correctly, the use of each switch should be fairly obvious. Of course, it’s also a nice idea to have the exhaust fan and various lighting features on separate switches.

Putting It All Together

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Incorporating all these points into your remodel is not easy. Try not to get discouraged, just take it a step at a time. Many others have successfully worked through their projects and you can too! Here is a way to look at the whole project broken down into three simple steps.

A little forethought and perhaps some help to refine your design will put you well on the way to creating an oasis in your home that you’ll be proud of for years to come.

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