Showing posts with label flooring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flooring. Show all posts

09 February 2015

The benefits of outdoor gas heaters

Do you want to throw an outdoor party during the winter season? Whether it’s for a birthday, or special event, you may be worried about your guests feeling cold and leaving the party early. This is a pretty good consideration to look at, particularly for the benefit of your guests, but you don’t have to move the party indoors. You could still use your back yard to enjoy an ambient, warm setting with your family and friends without restricting your outdoor fun to parties alone. Maybe you just love spending some time with them in the cool of the cold season, or even at night, when temperatures have dropped.

The Benefits of Outdoor Gas Heaters

Outdoor gas heaters use radiant heat to create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere long after the outdoor fun is over. They come with a vast array of benefits that are able to offer you a warm welcoming place in your garden, or on your patio, that you can relax in. They also come in a variety of shapes, sizes or even styles to suit your individual heating requirements.  Below, we look at the benefits that outdoor gas heaters can have for your home.

They’re convenient
Whether you choose natural gas or liquid propane for your outdoor heating, you'll find that these appliances give you some degree of convenience. For the natural gas option, you can hook it up to your home's natural gas supply, so refueling doesn't become an issue. Simply turn it on, and let it warm your outdoor space.

They’re safe
Natural gas, when used in these heaters, won't harm the environment or pollute the atmosphere as the gas is contained within canisters. As a safety feature, natural gas is blended with an identifying odour to ensure that it is easily detectable in the event of a leakage. Essentially, when this source of fuel is used with an outdoor gas heater, you’ll get nothing less than instant heat, ambiance and peace of mind.

They’re quick
Outdoor gas heaters are one of the quickest ways to heat up a space. You don’t have to worry about shivering away whilst the element heats up, and you’re likely to be able to enjoy instant heat, meaning the party can go on for longer!

They’re customizable
Your patio can accommodate outdoor gas heaters, which are specifically meant for that purpose. With a vast array of designs available, you should expect a diverse range of features on these appliances. The market is currently geared towards heaters that are slim, stylish and minimalistic in all dimensions. The average Australian consumer is no longer interested in bottled gas, since this technique is not cost-effective where gas consumption is concerned. They want something that looks good, or that you can’t really see at all. Something that warms the space without making a show of itself is one of the most requested types of outdoor heating at the moment. In addition to this, Australian consumers want quality products, which have been manufactured by local companies, since local manufacturers are able to guarantee quality as per the country's standards.

Providers in Australia, such as Heatstrip, specialize in dealing with a range of innovative outdoor heating solutions. If you’re looking for gas outdoor heaters, you want to go for some that are high performance, low on the use of space and cost, and easy to set up and use. Choosing appliances that are low-glow electric radiant heaters, contributes to low outdoor heating costs at the end of the day. Everyone is looking at reducing heating bulls, especially where a lot of heating is involved for prolonged periods of time.

Unlike traditional heaters, modern heaters sold in Australia are stylish, minimalistic, high performance and result-oriented. So whether you are throwing a party, or simply relaxing in your own back yard, outdoor gas heaters will suit your purpose well.

24 April 2013

A Kitchen Worthy of a Chef

Is your food starting to taste a bit gritty? If your paint is chipping off and landing in your boiling pots, the marble countertop has seen better days and the cabinets keep swinging open and banging you on the head it might be time to give your kitchen a little fixer upper.

Your kitchen space needs the same amount of attention and care as the rest of your home. In other words, it should be more than a place where you cook your meals and eat. Let’s see what you can do to wow anyone who comes in for a midnight snack –

Liven it Up with Crown Molding
Sometimes, little touches of creativity are all it takes to turn a run-of-the mill kitchen into a masterpiece of interior design. For instance, you can replace chipped wall paint with an impressive layer of crown molding. The molding is typically added to add a formal touch to living spaces but there is no reason why it can’t work in the kitchen. Crown moldings are designed to gracefully flare out to a finished top edge thereby making the area look unique.

A lot of manufacturers offer crown molding that resemble the finishes of cabinet lines. In the end to all comes down to personal taste. For example, four or five inches of crown molding will be a perfect touch if your kitchen includes dark cherry colored cabinets or a sophisticated theme.

If your kitchen has some space to spare like an empty wall you might want to consider installing some shelving. You can put some favorite knick knacks on display or shelve any cookbooks that might have been cluttering the kitchen table.

When it comes to replacing a broken countertop, going with one that will last longer might be a better option than a countertop that looks pleasing but cracks easy. In cases such as these, installing a stainless steel countertop is a good idea.  Why go for the stainless steel variety? Stainless steel countertops are non porous and metallic. This means that it they are antibacterial and do not need to be sealed.  Stainless steel countertops are a great way to add a modern and unique flair to your kitchen.

Butcher Block
This particular countertop adds a warm and timeless element to any kitchen space, and can be a very practical addition to your kitchen. By installing a butcher block countertop, you’re giving your kitchen a nod to simpler times when cooking was an all-day activity not handed out to microwaves and food processors.  If you’re a chef, be it professional or aspiring, butcher block countertops are a great platform to show off your skills.

It seems that every home in a neighborhood resembles the one next to it. Your home association may not let you make many changes to your exterior, but you can add a lot of individuality to your home by investing in your kitchen space. Now that you know what you should do to make your kitchen space something that will inspire delicious and tantalizing culinary delights out of you it is time to get cracking and incorporate your own style in it. Bon app├ętit!

About the Author

Jake Kaufman writes on behalf of America’s Floor Source, a flooring and installation specialist headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.  America’s Floor Source is committed to providing the highest quality carpet and flooring products, top-notch customer service, and customer satisfaction.

24 January 2013 you're killing me

I haven't written for for a year and a half, yet every day I wade through no fewer than five e-mails from Houzz members. To a one, those emails are asking questions that can be answered by clicking on the "more info" link next to a photo I posted, or they're asking unanswerable questions such as "what color is that?" or "what's the name of that granite?"

Again, judging precise color based on an internet photo is impossible, especially if it's in a product photo. Product photos tend to be heavily Photoshopped and actual colors get lost in the mix. Never mind that you're viewing everything on an uncalibrated monitor.

What prompted this post was an e-mail I received a half an hour ago. Here's the question and the photo:

Clicking on the "more info" link would have told this person that what's in that photo is a cork floor from US Floors in Atlanta. Those floors aren't sold retail and are only available from a showroom at around $8 a square foot. I get it that most people don't buy things like new floors every day and that the general population doesn't have the product knowledge that people like I do. But still, think and be respectful. Houzz's links are clearly identifiable and they're there for a reason.

Aside from that, the colors and patterns you see on the internet aren't real and the only way to select a color for anything is by looking at a sample in real life.

This vignette is from a showroom where I once worked. The cabinetry colors are Oyster Vintage over Maple and Harvest Bronze on Knotty Alder from Medallion Cabintry. The wall color is Sherwin-Williams 7037. The back splash is two colors of mother of pearl. The hardware on the cabinets is from Schaub and the finish is oil-rubbed bronze. The faucet is from Rohl and the counter is Tusk from Avonite. I know this because I designed this display.

However, this vignette was shot by a professional photographer who flooded the whole showroom with artificial light. In your home, colors such as Oyster Vintage, Harvest Bronze and Sherwin-Williams 7037 will look nothing like they do in this photo. Asking for their names is irrelevant  Ask instead for a white-ish paint color, a rich brown color and a strong neutral for the walls, because trust me, the colors shown here look very little like this in real life.

Similarly, natural stone patterns don't have formal names. What's Labrador in your market is Uba Tuba in someone else's. Not only that, those patterns change, often radically, over time. A stone labeled Crema Bordeaux today looks nothing like the same stone from the same quarry in Brazil five years ago.

I get a lot of e-mail from people who describe a room and then tell me about their dilemmas about how to furnish or paint said room. While I appreciate that strangers see me as an authority, I won't answer a question like that out of principle. My training as a designer taught me early that I need to see and be in a room before I can figure out what to do with it.

A designer sees things from a dispassionate, removed perspective and it's a designer's job to a) plan a space, and b) save you money in doing so. If you have a difficult room or if you've hit the wall, hire a designer.

Good design advice is never free in the same way that legal, medical, real estate or tax planning advice is never free. Designers make a living from their expert opinion, the same as any other professional. It's as true in real life as it's true online. has done amazing things in providing the public with a library of inspirational photos. They've done a great job of designer outreach too. But there's a disconnect in there somewhere. The people who write for that site aren't there to offer free advice. They're there to increase their presence on the internet and they do it for very little money. Please respect that. What you see on the internet isn't real and there's no substitute for a design professional. Hire an independent designer.

13 December 2011

Save the dates for Coverings 2012

Coverings is a must-see show and conference for the tile and stone worlds and Coverings 2012 is coming to the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from April 17 through April 20.

Whether you're looking for the next big idea or the bottom line, you'll find the inspiration you're after at this year's show. There are over 1000 exhibitors from 50 countries signed up so far, Coverings 2012 promises something for everybody in the architecture, builder, design and fabricator communities.

Coverings 2012 features a robust conference schedule including accredited seminars and live demonstrations led by some of the most reputable authorities in the industry. Oh, and it's all free.

So add it to your calendar and make it a point to be in Orlando on April 17th. I know I'll be there!

You can learn more and register to attend on Coverings website. See you in Orlando.

20 August 2011

An intro to engineered wood floors

OK gang, my overview of engineered wood floors went live on the other day. Click on this slide show and it will take you to post haste.

11 August 2011

Speaking of wood floors

Here are my Hardwood Floor overviews that have run on these last two weeks. Click ont he slide shows and they'll send you to the original postings.

The last wood species I profiled is an Australian wood called Spotted Gum. It's breathtaking and it spurred a bit of a sidebar conversation about gum trees and koalas, check it out.

09 August 2011

Wood floors to drool over

I've been working on a ten-part flooring series over at for the last couple of weeks and have moved onto wood floors. Last week and this week are all about solid plank floors and next week I dive into the world of engineered wood floors.

As the series unfolds I'll post slides shows and links here every week and when it wraps up I'll consolidate everything into a flooring super post. In the meantime, follow the action over at Houzz.

A company that's been instrumental in my research on wood floors is BR111. They have a stunning website, complete with prices and a store locator. If you're interested to see what's available in solid wood, engineered wood, locking, bamboo and wall treatments, spend some time with BR111.

One of the things I look for in a manufacturer's website is high-quality photography and BR111 doesn't disappoint in any way. Here are a couple of their shots.

Kingsbridge Oak

Brazilian Teak

Macchiato Pecan


Thanks for being such a terrific resource BR111. Again, here's their website.

27 July 2011

How to buy stone tile, via Houzz

Here's another article in my flooring series for This time it's all about stone tile. Here's the slideshow. If you click on it, it will take you to Houzz's site and the actual article.

28 August 2010

Wood floors, Australian style

Reader Elisabeth (who's from Melbourne) and I had a small sidebar conversation in the comments after yesterday's post about wood floors.

Wood floors tend to be pretty regional and I asked her what were popular woods in Australia. She responded that she thought Spotted Gum's the most popular wood floor in architect-designed homes. I was intrigued by her description and I'd never heard of Spotted Gum. So I dug around and learned a thing or two.

What's called Spotted Gum is actually Corymbia maculata, a kind of eucalyptus that grows in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

It makes a beautiful floor.

Thanks Elisabeth!

What other regional hardwoods are lurking out there I wonder.

06 May 2010

My first cork floor is in

I have been on a cork floor kick all year and the first of the three cork floors I have in the works is in as of last week.

There are about six seams in this photo and I bet you can't find one.

The material in question is from the Earth and Classics palette from US Floors' Natural Cork Collection. US Floors' Natural Cork Collection is a series of glueless, engineered, floating floors. The interlocking planks are each 11-5/8" by 35-5/8" and they are 15/32" thick. The underlayment's already built into each plank and the installation's a snap.

US Floors' Natural Cork Floors carry a limited lifetime warranty for residential use and maintenance consists of dry mopping when needed. My homeowners are as ecstatic about their floor as I am. I knew it would be beautiful and easy to live with and being right is a lot of fun sometimes. This is not the first cork floor I've ever encountered, this is however the first cork floor I've ever convinced someone to install in her home. I was a little nervous about how she'd like it once it was installed and it's good to know that my worry was for naught.

The kitchen where this floors is in a transitional contemporary style but I think this floor could have worked in a kitchen of any style.

US Floors makes a terrific product and anybody who makes something that makes me look good gets a thumbs up from me.

Oh since I know you're wondering. This floor cost around $9 a square foot. Check out cork floors from US Floors.

26 April 2010

Wood Flooring: A Complete Guide to Layout, Installation & Finishing

I have been on a serious wood floor kick lately and in a move that makes me think they can read my mind, the great folks at Taunton Press sent me a review copy of Wood Flooring: A Complete Guide to Layout, Installation & Finishing by Charles Peterson with Andy Engel. And wow what a book. Between Peterson's book and the accompanying 60-minute DVD, it would be safe to call this the definitive guide to all things wood floor.

Peterson holds a degree in engineering and has a 30-year history in the wood flooring business. He's a master craftsman and the owner of CP Hardwood Floors in Gales Ferry, CT. That's Peterson on one of his floors below.

Photo by Randy O'Rourke

He made that floor himself and it was named 2009's Floor of the Year Award from the National Wood Flooring Association. If you need further proof of his expertise stop reading now. Wow!

©Tom Hopkins Studio

It's brimming with gorgeous photographs of course, this is a Taunton project after all. Beyond the coffee table qualities of Peterson's new book, it's also a thorough guide for professionals. Peterson starts from square one in his book with a basic lumber review. He progresses through instructive chapters on jobsite preparation, installing subfloors and then a thorough guide to installing both plank and engineered wood floors.

With the basics out of the way, Peterson then branches out into parquet, inlay, marquetry, borders, aprons and medallions. The work he shows is his own primarily and it's inspiring to see someone so dedicated to his craft.

©Tom Hopkins Studio

After all the eye candy in the middle of the book, he then moves onto chapters on sanding, finishing and then wraps up everything with a chapter devoted to problems and solutions.

©Tom Hopkins Studio

If you have a need to a good reference guide to wood floors, this is it. Interestingly enough, it's also a terrific inspiration guide and a fitting addition to my design library. That is a difficult balancing act to pull off and Peterson does it with grace and skill.

©Tom Hopkins Studio

You can order a copy of Wood Flooring: A Complete Guide to Layout, Installation & Finishing by Charles Peterson with Andy Engel through Taunton's website.

18 April 2010

Cement Tiles Provide Form & Function

I'm Bill Buyok, owner of Avente Tile, and primary contributor for our blog, Tile Talk. This is my first post on Kitchen and Residential Design. I want to thank Paul for letting me share my zeal for tile with his readers! My passion is hand-painted and handcrafted tiles from around the globe, and that's all you'll find at Avente Tile. I am also a devotee of handmade cement tiles, also called Cuban Tiles, or mistakenly called encaustic tiles among numerous other names.

Cement tile is design at its best in both form and function. Made of cement, these tiles are a green product and both durable and strong with great insulating properties. In form, the tiles become works of art with infinite possibilities using almost any pattern, a large existing color pallette, and the option for custom colors as well.

Here's a home tour that showcases the versatility, beauty, and function of cement tile.

The entryway greets you with an intricate and bold pattern surrounded by a single row of solid color cement tile and stone. The colors in the floor work well with this antique door.

Santiago Entry Way

The formal dining room uses cement tile in the traditional rug pattern.

Formal Dining Area with Sosua Carpet

Leading out to the large patio, a less common design places four tiles together within a grid of solid color cement tile. This creates an exquisite open-air patio that runs the length of the home.

San Juan Patio

And, to emphasize the idea that cement tiles are indeed an artistic expression, I found this object d'art - framed and hanging at the end of the patio.

Perfect Patio Art - Fish Cement Tile

Could there be anything more perfect than this to symbolize how well cement tiles work in both form and function? I hope you enjoyed the tour!

Find Out More about Cement Tile
Avente Tile offers a complete line of solid color and patterned cement tiles. Choose from geometric designs and stylistic floral patterns in traditional and contemporary colors. Solid color tiles are available in approximately 80 colors. Some patterns are stocked for quick delivery.

View our online catalog of designs:

Or, call us toll free at 888.739.4972, 9 AM - 5 PM PST, Monday through Friday. Or, by e-mail:

Follow Avente Tile on:
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21 March 2010

More on cork floors

I have been barking about cork floors for years and all of the sudden the rest of the world seems to have caught up with me. Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I'm hearing a lot of noise out there that agrees with my opinion of the stuff.

Tim Carter writes a syndicated column called Ask The Builder that runs with some regularity in The St. Pete Times. Here was his column from yesterday's paper.
Q: I'm interested in cork flooring planks and wonder if it's really as good as the salesmen tell me. Because money is very tight, I'm looking for a discount cork floor. A local carpet store is having a cork flooring sale soon, so now's the time to make a decision. Do you have experience with this material? If so, would you install it again in a home you'd build? Is it as durable as they say? How do you protect it? Is it easy to clean?
A: I understand your doubts about whether cork flooring is really a suitable material to walk on day in and day out. After all, when you hold a cork from a wine bottle in your hand, you can see it's somewhat friable. In comparison, a piece of oak seems impossible to break apart or chip.

I had my doubts, too, until I saw a cork floor. About 35 years ago my father-in-law took me along for a ride to visit a business partner. When we walked into the kitchen, I saw the strangest floor.

It was cork kitchen flooring, resembling the deck of a ship, with planks that were very long and about 8 inches wide. When I asked what kept it from disintegrating, the man said, "Son, you don't have to ever worry about this floor wearing out."

I later discovered that cork flooring was used in many commercial and institutional buildings that receive heavy foot traffic. You don't have to worry about durability if you purchase a high-quality cork floor.

To give you another example of its toughness, I installed cork plank flooring tiles on the steps that lead to my basement. Steps are a great place to test flooring as your foot typically slides on the tread surface as you climb.

My basement steps got heavy traffic because our home office was downstairs. Countless trips were made up and down these steps, which were not vacuumed that often, adding grit to the equation.

Just yesterday I cleaned these steps, getting them ready for an open house. They looked the same as the day I installed them 10 years ago. I owe much of this to the toughness of the cork, but also to the fact that I coated it with five coats of high-quality urethane.

Another thing that helped the cork on my steps was the custom oak nosing I installed. Because I knew shoes would be sliding onto each tread, I had the top piece of oak milled so that it was 1/64th of an inch thicker than the thickness of the cork planks that were glued to the steps. This prevented the shoes from wearing away the front edge of the cork on each tread.

I used clear water-based urethane on the cork on the steps and on the floor in the entire basement. It was easy to apply and is easy to clean. I just use regular liquid dish soap and water to clean up spills. For regular mopping, I add 8 ounces of white vinegar to 2 gallons of warm water.
You can read more from Tim Carter on his website Ask the Builder.

With that ringing endorsement in mind, I have two cork floors being installed in two projects in the next few weeks. Both jobs are getting a wide plank, engineered floor from US Floors in Georgia. Job one is getting a floor called Cleopatra.

Job two is getting a floor called Merida.

I can't decide which one I like more. US Floors has really broadened my horizons when it comes to the flooring I specify and cork's rapidly replacing my former knee jerk use of travertine. US Floors also sells flooring made from bamboo and oil-finished hardwood. Check out this floor sample.

Now guess what it's made from.

Give up?

That's bamboo pretending to be tiger wood and I will not rest until that ends up in one of my projects. I have never seen anything like it. Well, I have. It's just that it was real tiger wood.

Anyhow, back to cork. What do you guys think? Anybody out there already have it? Care to share a story?

28 December 2009

Petracer's makes beauty

I'm putting my travel schedule together for 2010 and one of the highlights will no doubt be attending Coverings this year. Coverings is the trade show for the tile, stone and flooring industries and it takes place in Orlando from April 27th through April 30th this year. I'm very much a tile guy, and Coverings is a feast in every sense of the word.

Coverings is an international show and the world's best and most interesting producers and manufacturers show off their wares during those three days in April. The Italians are well represented of course and for me, it's the Italian companies that push the envelop farthest.

The last time I attended Coverings, I had the distinct pleasure of spending some time with the sales and marketing team from Petracer's Pregiate Ceramiche Italiane. In English, that means "Petracer's Precious Italian Ceramic." They are aptly named.

Petracer's is based just outside of Modena in Emilia-Romagna. Modena is renowned for it's basalmic vinegar of course, but it's also a hot bed of Italy's tile industry.

Petracer's tile has a unique aesthetic and I say they produce the most authentically Italian tile in the business. There's a distinctive look to Italian decorative art and Petracer's captures it perfectly. There's a spare and clean feel to the aesthetics I'm describing. Petracer's look whispers instead of shouting. And when it does raise its voice, it's a joyful sound indeed.

Look at some of their offerings here. What do you think?