Tweeter button
Facebook button
Youtube button

Category: Blog

Appliances: When to Splurge and When to Save 

Are you thinking about upgrading your appliances but are overwhelmed by all of the available options? It can be confusing. There are high-tech appliances that practically do all the work for you from an app on your smart phone. And, there are the basic appliances that work well in small spaces and fit within tighter budgets. Let’s take a look at what is available and what might work best for your home.

Refrigerators and Freezers

The refrigerator is often the hub of the kitchen. It likely gets the most use. If you have a large active family that is constantly going into the refrigerator for drinks or fresh snacks, or is leaving notes on the fridge door, you might want to consider one of the new smart models. There are refrigerator/freezer combinations that have interactive screens where you can leave messages, write shopping lists, display photographs, and even watch TV. Some of these also come with interior cameras so that you can check what is inside the fridge while you are at the grocery store from your phone. Many of these refrigerators also come with alarms that alert you when the door has been left ajar.

If you aren’t in the market for a giant, high-tech refrigerator, give some thought to the tidy, space saving built-in drawer units without all the bells and whistles. In addition to a small, slim, basic refrigerator, you can have a drawer freezer and/or a beverage drawer. The under-cabinet beverage drawer is a great space and energy saver. There is no need to repeatedly open the entire refrigerator door to get a cold bottle of water with the smaller drawer.

Ranges and Ovens

Do you have a super busy schedule and barely enough time to prepare meals in the evening? It may sound like science fiction, but there are ranges with smart ovens that act as refrigerators all day and then can be turned on from your phone or a timer to cook a meal before you get home. You can prepare a meal, such as a stew or whole chicken, place it in the chilled oven before you leave for work, and it will be cooked by the time you get back. Of course, with the convenience comes a steep price tag.

A more budget friendly option might be a wall oven/microwave combination. Wall ovens take up less space. The combo units allow you to cook a meal in a time saving convection oven or heat something up quickly in the microwave.

Washers and Dryers

Front loaders with stainless steel drums are the new favorites in large capacity washers and dryers. Some washers now have both front and top load sections where you can either do 2 loads at once or just do a really small load without having to run the entire front loader section. They also come with steam modes to take care of wrinkles. These are extremely convenient but they take up an enormous amount of space that often requires a separate room.

A simpler alternative for a smaller space is a washer/dryer combination unit that fits snuggly beneath a kitchen counter. These take a little longer to operate, but they get the job done without taking up precious interior real estate. And, they are surprisingly well priced.

How to Pick the Perfect Kitchen Sink and Faucet

Luxury items are interpreted in many different ways. Some prefer brand names for prestige while others think of the function as the top identifier. Still, others accept that design is a favorite part of choosing extraordinary pieces for a home. A kitchen sink is not just another part of the kitchen. For many, it is one of the focal points of the room. How the sink fits into the overall design of the kitchen is an integral part of making the space feel like home.

Consider the purpose

Do you have a master chef in the making? Perhaps you love all the culinary tools you see on your favorite food shows. Functionality is an important part of any kitchen. You want a sink and faucet that are going to stand up to the rigors of what you put them through.

Socialization is a huge deal in many homes. A hands-free faucet is excellent for large families and people who spend a ton of time cooking each day.

Choose a sink that looks and performs well in your environment. Complimenting colors that match the hardware in the kitchen is a great place to start when shopping for sinks and faucets.

How big is too much for your space?

You want your sink and faucet to make a statement, but taking over the area is not the point in luxury design. Fitting into the square footage you have available is just as important as function and design. If it looks good and fits, then it is going to work out, but a sink that just looks nice is not going to make sense when there are no counters.

Many styles have several size options. Most top luxury models come in several sizes ranging from large arched faucets that can fill a pasta pot in no time to compact faucets for smaller spaces.

Does this fit into the flow of the room?

Choosing where to put the sink is just as important as picking one that fits your cooking needs. A sink needs to be in just the right spot to give you cleaning room for dishes and food prep, but it should also be near the stove so that you can get water and clean up while cooking. Many people choose to put a sink on the island instead of on the wall to give them more room for prep near the sink. This placement works in homes that have large enough spaces for an island. Choosing the right sink depends on how the kitchen flows and where the stove and refrigerator are located. Many consider the sink, cooktop, and fridge to work best in a triangle pattern so that all the vital areas are central to one space.

Choosing your sink and faucet should be a fun thing to do. Functionality and fit are two of the major things to consider when making a selection. Opting for a finish and style should only be part of your decision to ensure that your kitchen sink works for the family for years to come.

Spring Cleaning: What not to miss when tidying up the bathroom

The spring season is the perfect time to clean up your bathroom and create a fresh setting for the warmer months ahead. Deep cleaning the bathroom will make it a relaxing space for you and will also create a homey environment for your guests. When you need a checklist for spring cleaning the bathroom, there are a few necessary steps to complete.

Declutter the Cabinets

There’s a significant amount of clutter that can accumulate during the winter months, over even over years. It’s easy to stash away linens and toiletries that you’ve acquired as gifts and from travel, and then forget they’re there. Purge items that haven’t been used for at least a year or are almost empty. You can also throw out old towels that are frayed, faded or mismatched. Consider replacing the linens with white towels that will make the bathroom feel like a spa. Group the items by category and place them in containers or baskets that are labeled to make it easy to find what you need. Wipe down the inside of the cabinets or shelves from spills or dust. If you have a medicine cabinet, check the dates on bottles and dispose of anything expired.

There may also be random items in the bathroom that belong to other areas of the home. Collect jewelry, coffee mugs, and clothing that can free up extra space in the room.

Scrub the Tub

The bathtub is one of the main features of the room and should be in good condition to prevent keep the rest of the bathroom from looking old or dirty. You can also bleach the grout on the tile to create a brighter and cleaner environment.

Wipe down the tub’s faucets, handles, and shower doors for water stains or grime that has developed. You can also replace the shower curtain and should if mold is present.

Clean the Ceiling

It can be easy to forget to clean the ceiling in the bathroom, but the area can become dirty with cobwebs or dust. Dust the corners and remove dirt on the blades of ceiling fans. You’ll also want to wipe down lights, vents, and the windows, if there are any.

Disinfect the Toilet

The toilet is a breeding ground for germs and needs to be deep cleaned every month. A scrub is much different than a wipe down or dusting. Scrub the inside of the toilet bowl with a scrub brush and apply toilet bowl cleaner. A steam cleaner can also be used on areas that are hard to reach on the outside of the bowl. You can also use a toothbrush and white vinegar or bleach if you don’t have a steamer. Once it’s dry, use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the toilet and toilet seat after spraying the outside of it with a mixture of vinegar and warm water.

Shake Out the Rugs

If your floors or rugs are forgiving, it’s easy to forget about the hair and dirt on the floors. Shake out rugs in the bathroom and wash bath mats that can be thrown in the washing machine. Once you’ve washed the rugs, dust along the baseboards of the bathroom and sweep or vacuum the floor. Floor vents and covers should also be wiped down. You can even consider using a floor steam cleaner, which will kill bacteria that is present and doesn’t use toxic chemicals. Once the floors are clean, put the rugs back down.

Designing Your Dream Bathroom:10 Mistakes to Avoid

Remodeling the bathroom is a chance to improve the aesthetics of the space with new features and fixtures, plus it acts as a way to add value to the home. Even if you aren’t the best at designing, you can avoid major bathroom remodeling mistakes with some careful planning. Here’s how to prevent 10 of the most common snafus.

1. Not Planning Carefully

To maximize budget and minimize costly surprises, the first step of any remodeling project should always be a specific, detailed plan. This document should include a scale drawing of the room and the desired renovations, as well as a realistic budget, materials, and timeline. A contractor should help you plan out the timeline and give you realistic costs so that you know upfront what to expect.

2. Sticking Completely to Basics

While the bathroom is typically considered a utilitarian space, that doesn’t mean the design should completely lack flair. A bathroom is a great place to explore creativity by choosing a bold wallpaper, striking fixtures, and incorporating patterns. Even those who prefer neutrals should plan to add elements of interesting contrast.

3. Not Inflating the Budget

After homeowners have an itemized budget in place, they should add 15 percent to the total cost to account for unexpected expenses that arise. If the bathroom project is budgeted at $10,000, setting aside an additional $1,500 (or more for those who live in an older home) is prudent. This way you won’t start the project, find a costly snag, and not be able to finish it.

4. Adding Competing Elements

One key feature should stand out among the design in the bathroom, so homeowners should choose the unusual piece they really love and make it the focal point, allowing the other fixtures to play the supporting role.

5. Not Fixing Minor Mistakes

Once the renovation is ongoing, it can be easy to overlook small errors like a crooked tile or smeared spot of paint at the moment. Taking the time to fix items that will be noticeable later, though, will increase the aesthetics of the bathroom and pride in the work done. Don’t be afraid to ask your contractor to fix anything wrong you see – that’s their job!

6. Not Enough Lighting

Rooms should incorporate both ambient lighting and brighter task lighting. This is especially true in the bathroom, where activities like shaving and makeup application require precise vision.

7. Forgetting Flow

Although the bathroom is a separate space, it’s important that it has some coordination with the rest of the home. Choosing modern fixtures in an old farmhouse will make the new bathroom stand out in a bad way. While it’s not necessarily that the design match exactly, unifying elements are key to creating a comfortable feeling.

8. Not Changing the Layout

If the current bathroom layout isn’t working, moving or even removing a fixture can open up the space. It’s much better to have fewer elements and a more open layout than a bathroom with a toilet, large sink, bath, and separate shower in a cramped area.

9. Choosing Dated Items

Instead of choosing the trend of the moment, which will look dated in a few short years, opt for classic, elegant fixtures that can work well with a range of decor. Save the color of the season for items that are easily replaced, such as the shower curtain, rugs, and paint.

10. Forgetting About Storage

Those pristine countertops won’t stay that way if the designer fails to include the cabinet and closet space to hold all the odds and ends used in the bathroom. Make sure there are enough drawers and storage for all of your bathroom amenities.

Kitchen Islands : What You Need to Know

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then the island is the heart of the kitchen. This free-standing space is typically the place where you slice, dice, and gather while making meals. It’s also a source of some much-needed storage space and something nearly 80 percent of homebuyers consider essential. So, it only stands to reason that you’ll want to choose a kitchen island that works well in one of the most frequently visited spots in most homes. Here’s what you need to know when picking a kitchen island.

Go with the Traffic Flow

Make sure there’s enough room for everyone to get around your island and work comfortably in your kitchen. This means leaving about 36 to 48 inches of space around all sides of your island.

Create an Informal Dining Area

There’s no reason you can’t place some chairs around an island and create a dining spot. Just leave a clearance of about 12 inches between the chair and counter to provide sufficient legroom and a width of about 24 inches per person.

Choose an Island that Meets Your Needs

Do you want something with extra counter space so you can bake and prepare daily meals? Is your main priority extra storage? Think about what you like to do most in the kitchen or what matters most to you when choosing your kitchen island. Only go with built-in mechanics and other features if it’s something you actually need and you want to stay within your budget.

Consider Durability with Countertop Materials

Pay attention to the material you select for your island’s countertop. According to Consumer Reports, the best countertops for busy kitchen areas are ones made of quartz, granite, limestone, marble, or laminate. Recycled glass and butcher block can be equally durable.

Opt for Different Shapes

If a rectangle-shaped island won’t fit in your kitchen, oval and T-shaped islands can be just as functional and appealing. Also, there’s no rule that says an island has to be in the center of your kitchen. If it’s going to be mainly for food prep, for instance, it would make more sense to have it near your appliances.

Embrace Openness

A popular trend in kitchen design these days is to create open, inviting spaces. Extend this concept to your island and use an open shelf display so you can easily see and access your accessories. This is also a good way to display your fancy glassware and dishes.

Illusion of Grandeur

Extend the visible part of your island about 5-6 inches above the nearby countertop and opt for materials that match your interior walls. The result is an island that almost disappears from view, which will make your kitchen appear larger.

Ideally, you want to choose an island after you’ve made other decisions about your kitchen’s design and layout, especially if you’re making other improvements. If you’re adding an island to an existing kitchen that’s not going to be completely remodeled, consider things like your color scheme, textures, and overall decor and layout when choosing an island. Ultimately, you want a kitchen island that’s going to be a natural fit and a welcome addition to your space.

Designing Your Dream Kitchen | Entertaining – Foodie – Practical

The kitchen is the most important room of the home where you can entertain and spend time with your family members. The style and design of the space determines how much use you get out of the space. Especially if you’re a foodie or you love to entertain, certain style will give you more bang for your buck. Here are some things to consider when designing your dream kitchen.

Large Backsplashes

Backsplashes are one of the latest trends for the kitchen. It sets the style and tone of the room as a decorative feature, and sometimes even as the main focal point. Consider using white subway tiles, which are chic and clean, if you want to create a light and airy setting. The backsplash will work as the canvas for other pieces of decor in the room.

The all white backsplash will also look modern with neutral gray colors, which is considered to be one of the fastest growing color shades in interior design.

Oversized Kitchen Islands

Kitchen islands serve many purposes in the home. Whether it’s as extra area to prep food or a place to sit and eat breakfast, they’re a great investment. You can enjoy having additional countertop space at an island that includes a sink and a seating area to dine at. You can also utilize the feature for extra storage space that will allow you to store your pots and pans. Build drawers that are shallow, which will make it easy to keep everything organized and will minimize clutter. Some of the latest islands also include sliding garbage or recycling cabinets and built-in dishwashers. The sky is the limit.

Separate Freezer Unit

For those who enjoy entertaining or never seem to have enough room in the refrigerator, you can consider installing a separate freezer unit. A separate freezer doesn’t have to sit in the garage or basement – there are now units that look chic and add to a luxury kitchen. You’ll get the chance to stock up on prepared foods and avoid making extra trips to the grocery store.

Open Shelving

Open shelving will allow you to show off your favorite dishes and can make everything easy to access. Although many trending kitchens have open shelving above the counter, you can also create it underneath the cooktop, where your favorite pots and pans can be stored. Manufactured stone is an ideal material to use for the shelves because of its durability and attractive design. The product won’t easily scuff or scratch when you pull pots out as you cook.

You can also add shelves that are made out of reclaimed wood to create an urban or rustic setting in the home.

Add a Pot Filler

Pot fillers are one of the latest features that many foodies or amateur chefs are adding to their cook space. Pot fillers can be installed above the stovetop and allow you to have easy access to water when you’re cooking. You can skip a long trip to the sink and avoid spilling the contents of the pan with a product that is anchored above the burners. It’s convenient and cool.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz countertops mimic the design and style of real marble but are available at a fraction of the cost. The material is currently replacing granite countertops and is resistant to chips, scratches, and burns. It’s incredibly easy to maintain and will allow your kitchen to appear more spacious due to its light color shade.

Gray Kitchen Schemes: How to Do it Right

A kitchen with a predominantly gray scheme does not have to look like a cold, rainy day. Like other neutral colors such as black, white or brown, gray is a color that plays well with others, and a gray kitchen can inspire a peaceful mood that makes people wish to linger in it, or calm down an area of the room that’s an otherwise too-vivid primary color. Indeed, since the kitchen is the heart of many homes, a gray color scheme can provide a respite from other rooms that are a bit too “noisy.” Another thing about gray is true about most other colors. Light gray makes a small kitchen look bigger, and a darker shade of gray makes a kitchen look a bit cozier than it is.

The kitchen does not have to be contemporary or Euro-modern to take advantage of the color gray. Gray goes well with a kitchen designed along Victorian or more traditional lines. Following are some ideas for a beautiful, predominantly gray kitchen:

• A kitchen with a backsplash made of gray subway tiles and white floor and wall cabinets makes a sophisticated statement when they are joined by a large, celadon blue kitchen island with a white marble top and black stools.

• Another kitchen has glossy white subway tiles for the backsplash, though the cabinets are gray and the wall cabinets have clear panels that allow a view of the dinnerware.

• Stainless steel is an effortless way to introduce gray into a kitchen’s decor. One contemporary kitchen has a split-level island with stainless steel countertops that echo a simple, stainless steel pillar and the stove vent hood. The windows have black frames and mullions, as does the crown moulding on the ceiling. The one pop of color is a bright orange corner cabinet that keeps the room from being a bit too industrial. Instead of orange, red, blue, yellow or green would be just as effective.

• Gray cabinets with black hardware are found in another kitchen with black counters and a brown kitchen island that’s lit by pendant lights with gray metal shades.

• Stainless steel is a large part of one kitchen with gray-painted wooden cabinets. Stainless steel is seen in the range and the wall ovens. All of the gray is balanced by areas of blue, including the subway tile backsplash and glimpses of blue dishes and cookware. Another kitchen is dominated by stainless steel counters, sinks, vent hood, stove and even a stainless steel toaster. But the frameless cabinets are mustard yellow.

• A homeowner who wants to go full on gray might take an idea from one kitchen that uses several shades of gray to make a statement. This room has a light gray ceiling, hardwood floor painted dark gray, a white subway tile backsplash, pale gray cabinets and darker gray countertops. A robust kitchen island is painted a light purplish-gray, as is the wine cooler beside it. Above the island hangs a heavy, old fashioned gray lantern that looks like it was borrowed from the outside. The roll-up shade over the window has a pattern of different shades of gray.

No homeowner should be afraid of a gray kitchen!

BATH | Creative Ways to Incorporate Glass Cubes

Glass is a superior material to use for décor and functionality alike in many rooms of the home. Glass cubes are one type of glass that you can consider implementing in your bathroom to achieve a variety of results. These blocks may be translucent, but more often, they are frosted or opaque. Opacity allows light to filter through the glass cube while preventing fully-focused vision behind the block. Because privacy is a top concern in bathrooms, this is an exceptional material to use. There are various options that you can consider if you want to update your bathroom with glass blocks, and a closer look at the options may entice you to make an upgrade to your space.

As an Exterior Window
Incorporating natural light into a bathroom is often in direct contrast with the need for privacy. Windows are the most common way to bring natural light into a room, but the last thing you want to worry about is if the blinds are fully closed as you climb in or out of the shower or change your clothes. When you use opaque glass cubes as an exterior window option, you can enjoy abundant natural light in the bathroom throughout the day without a concern for privacy. These glass cube windows can even be installed in the upper perimeter of a shower to allow natural light to filter into this often-dark area of the bathroom. This can instantly brighten up a space that may currently be gloomy.

Surrounding Your Shower
Many showers have fully-functional shower doors that open and closer or that slide shut. However, these can shatter easily, and they also can interfere with others who may be using the bathroom at the same time. One idea is to upgrade your bathroom by installing a walk-in shower that incorporates glass blocks for privacy. The glass cubes can also control splattering water. Another idea is to keep your existing shower door in place and replace a full tiled wall with glass blocks instead. This can make the shower a more light and airy place that you enjoy bathing in.

As a Half-Wall or Partition
Depending on the current layout of your bathroom, you may have privacy concerns in various areas. For example, your toilet may be out in the open and may not have any privacy enclosure around it. Perhaps the area where you most frequently change in, such as near your closet, is visible to those in the bedroom and beyond when a door is left open. Building a half-wall or a partition with glass blocks around these key areas can provide you with the privacy you need without completing enclosing the space.

These are only a few of the many ways that glass cubes can successfully be used in your space to accomplish decorating or functional challenges. Consider what your current challenges are in your bathroom, and think creatively about how glass cubes can be used to resolve those challenges. Because of how functional and practical this material is, you may be pleased to find that it can easily help you to improve your bathroom to your satisfaction and with minimal cost.

KITCHEN | Expanding: How to plan effectively.

The decision to expand a kitchen is often primarily made out of necessity. A kitchen is one of the most frequently used rooms in the home, but it can unfortunately be rather small or may have an impractical design. While it is most commonly equated to meal preparation tasks, this space is often also used as a prime spot for a family gathering each day as well as for entertaining family and friends. If you have decided to expand your kitchen soon, take time to focus your attention on these steps to ensure the most effective design plan available.

Make a List of Must-Have Features
Because of how functional a kitchen is on many levels, you likely have a lengthy list of must-have features for your space. This may include practical matters, such has finally having a storage space in your cabinetry to hide the toaster when it is not in use. It may include practical matters, such as creating a dine-in space on a huge island. You may also need more space for traffic to maneuver, and you may even want your dishwasher relocated to a more desirable location away from the open door of the refrigerator. These are just some of the many items you may include on your list of kitchen expansion goals. This list can serve as a guide for your future expansion planning efforts.

Tour a Showroom for Inspiration
A kitchen should be aesthetically pleasing and should have a beautiful style that corresponds well with the overall feel of the home. However, it also must have practical, functional features that enhance your convenience in the space. When you tour a local showroom filled with kitchen designs, you can enjoy standing in the midst of beautifully decorated spaces. Each has realistic and beneficial features, and this gives you the ability to experience these features in a real-life scenario so that you can more easily determine which features you need or want in your new space.

Consider Expanding Into the Home or Building Out
Now that you have a better idea about what your dream kitchen will look like, the practical matter of planning for the expansion must be considered. You typically have the option to expand outward by building onto the home or inward by usurping additional space for kitchen use. Because it is more cost-effective in most cases to expand into the home, consider this as a first step. If this is not practical, consider if your property line provides ample room for an outward expansion. While it may cost more to expand outward, this gives you more usable square feet in the home and can directly improve your property value for great financial benefit.

After you have taken these steps, your next step will be to price out the kitchen expansion project by reaching out to a contractor. You may even consider getting multiple quotes for both an inward and outward expansion. With quotes in hand, you can determine the best financial plan for paying for the project. After you have addressed all of these factors, you can get the ball rolling by setting up service with the contractors you have selected for help with your kitchen expansion project.


BATH | Go Vintage with 6 Easy Steps

Going vintage is an attractive and refreshing change from more modern and traditional bathroom designs. It can be easily accomplished with just a few steps that involve a little styling and researching as to just what vintage entails in a bathroom space. With ideas in mind, a bathroom area can be transformed from plain to vintage in six easy steps.

Historical and Charming
Vintage decor is usually thought of as decorative elements that are from design periods of less than 100 years. Beyond the 100-year mark, antique standing comes into play. Popular vintage themes today place the approximate period from the 1920s through World War II. Vintage bathroom looks incorporate style elements that are historical as well as charming, winsome, and eye-catching in appearance.

Six (6) Easy Steps to Vintage

1. Wall Surfaces
Wall surfaces that are adaptable to a vintage bathroom look include a number of finishes, such as:

• Tile – tiling was often used in vintage bathrooms, particularly square tiles. Vintage looks can be achieved by using tiles around mirrors for a framing effect and as borders to a baseboard finish as well as highlights to bathtub enclosures or through a floor to ceiling or wainscoting effect.

• Wallpaper – subtle yet classy floral or idyllic themes go well with a vintage look and can add simple nuances to a bathroom space, particularly if different patterns or scenes are used above traditional wainscoting or bead board.

• Wainscoting – white wainscoting and its other panel-like offshoots definitely characterize vintage and can be used in almost any bathroom to add a solidness and textural element to a space. For a vintage bathroom wall, wainscoting should be placed approximately 36 inches from the floor up, and the space above the wainscoting should be painted or wallpapered in a vintage paint color or pattern.

• Murals – murals are considered a vintage standard and a design solution that is appealing as well as practical and easy to apply to almost any surface. A variety of images are available today, many of which portray the ideal vision of vintage.

2. Color
• Color is essential in a vintage bathroom and paint colors, particularly those used above wainscoting, tile, or on another wall for contrast should be subtle and faded or Art Deco inspired to achieve a vintage look. Other vintage colors that typify those from the 1920s on into the 1940s include white, cream, ivory, beige, mint green, turquoise, soft yellow as well as the more exotic pastels of the Art Deco period, such as tangerine, pink, brick, gold, emerald, and brown.

3. Floors
• Vintage flooring from the 1920s and on into the 1940s was mostly porcelain tile that came in many styles. It was hexagonal in shape and was finished with a decorative border around the flooring perimeter. Geometric patterns were prominent as was wood flooring and though linoleum was available, it wasn’t used as much in bathrooms. Any one of these vintage flooring examples are available today in updated and easy to maintain versions of their older selves and can transform an ordinary bathroom floor to a vintage look in a matter of a few hours.

4. Fixtures
• Most vintage fixtures are white, though colors were introduced and used during the era and included pastels and even black. Sinks were wall-hung with a rolled-rim, single-post pedestal, or vanity types with marble tops, porcelain sink that stood on narrow legs. Clawfoot and pedestal tubs were still in use but were upgraded to corner style tubs, recessed tub enclosures or standard tubs with an integrated shower. Sinks, tubs, showers and older wall hung tank toilets have all been redesigned today to reflect an original vintage appeal, so there is no reason a vintage bathroom cannot be replicated with the same types of fixtures.

5. Lighting
• Vintage bathroom lighting today is patterned after porcelain, white glazed one bracket wall lights of the 1920s that were used throughout the Depression and the Second World War. There were ceiling fixtures with dainty and decorative designs in which the light bulbs would extend outside of the fixture. Later there were brass and chrome-plated sconce-like fixtures with glass bell-shaped shades. Today, those same types of fixtures have been modified into sophisticated vintage lighting that is used to light and enhance vintage bathrooms. Bathroom pendants, wall sconces, vanity lights, ceiling lights and Art Deco inspired lights are all designed to bring out the character of a dimly-lit vintage bathroom.

6. Accessories
• Bathroom accessories can bring a vintage feel to a bathroom. Advertisements from toiletries and bath products from the era or old movie or military recruitment posters accessorize with color, depth, texture can add historical significance to a vintage bath. Other bath, styling and makeup accessories of the time could be displayed in vintage toiletry containers or wooden bins. Textile choices that echo vintage quality can be incorporated through luxurious cotton towels, bathmats and shower curtains with elaborate bottom designs, lace tops or decorative valances.

Imagining and actually putting together a vintage bathroom can be an easy process with the ideas presented here and many of the designs of the era are adaptable to almost any current bathroom design situation. Go vintage for a change of pace and space. The old yet new look will update any bathroom.

Incorporate Mounted Counter Tops into Your Bathroom

Mounted countertops, also referred to as cantilevered countertops, are units that are secured in place by mounting them to a back wall or between side walls. These can be slabs with sinks, vanities with storage, or wall mounted sinks. A mounted countertop often gives a bathroom a very contemporary look and feel. They can also be rustic. They free up floor space below, making for easy cleaning. A mounted countertop generally requires some additional reinforcing within the wall. Plumbing can be concealed in the wall, unless it is used as being used as a design feature. Here are a few ideas for incorporating mounted countertops into your bathroom.

Integral Sinks
Integral sink countertops are perfect for smaller spaces. The sink is formed into the counter surface without any seams. It is basically a large one piece sink with counter space around it for toiletries. The sink/counter is mounted to the wall surface with vertical reinforcing bars that are embedded in the wall so that you can still lean on the counter. These units can be formed from quartz, concrete, acrylic, porcelain, wood, or polymers.

Wall Vanities
A wall vanity is a cabinet, usually made of wood, with storage drawers or shelves. They do not go down to the floor. A wall vanity can be attached directly to the wall studs and blocking. They conceal the plumbing. A standard countertop material and sink can be placed on top of them.

These often work nicely with modern bowl or square sinks that sit on top of the vanity as a design feature. With this type of installation, wall mounted faucets and handles compliment the design.

The vanities offer little storage space. The room beneath the vanity gives you more toe space and lends itself to easy cleaning of the floor. They are also very easy to install in an existing space that might have an uneven floor. They can be leveled independently of the floor.

Slab Countertops
A free floating slab countertop works especially well with sinks that sit on top of the counter. These slabs are generally several inches in thickness for stability. They can be made of wood or metal and held in place by side walls, brackets, or concealed reinforcing rods. Thick tinted glass has also been used in this application. Glass does need to be held in place with attractive specialty brackets. A glass sink bowl perched on a glass counter with stainless steel hardware, faucet, and plumbing can be quite striking in a contemporary bathroom.

Wall mounted countertops and sinks in bathrooms are becoming increasingly popular. There are some advantages, such as a modern look, free floor space, ability to level the unit, easy floor cleaning, and customization for small spaces. You can use them in contemporary designs, or even go rustic with free from wood or concrete. If you are paying attention to the tiny house movement, you may notice that mounted countertops are showing up more frequently as suitable options for smaller spaces.

10 Kitchen Accessories (gadgets) you need NOW!

A well-stocked kitchen is a joy, but without proper planning it can be a cluttered mess. As new trends moving toward simplicity remind us that less is more and that an empty countertop is a thing of beauty, there are several tools on the market that can streamline your kitchen workspace.

Tools To Clear Your Countertop

Chemex Coffee Pot
Chemex pots require no electricity; simply load the filter, slowly add hot water just off the boil, and enjoy spectacular coffee. In addition, once you’re done, this pot can be quickly rinsed, dried and returned to the cupboard. No cords to fiddle with, no coffee pot parked on the counter 24 hours a day, and delicious coffee. Perfect! 

Wacaco Espresso Maker
Whether espresso is a daily need or a weekend treat, this portable espresso tool needs only hot water and time to brew a luscious, creamy coffee treat.

NutriBullet Blender
These wonderful tools are powerful, sleek and small. Blend your smoothie, then clean and store your machine for great nutrition and a tidy counter. These tools are lightweight enough to store anywhere in your kitchen.

JosephJoseph Cutting and Pastry Mats
While some roll-up cutting mats are slippery and may require you to chase them across the counter, the silicone mats made by JosephJoseph will stay put, then be easily rolled up for storage.

Items To Leave Out For Beauty’s Sake 

Magnetic Knife Holder
There are several magnetic knife holding tools, but the floating wooden boards are a thing of beauty. While they take a bit of space, they’re visually striking and austere. 

Wall-Mounted Spice Rack
There are several options to hang kitchen products where you’ll need them, and this simple spice rack can go inside cabinets or on the wall. 

Bread Box
Keeping bread in plastic or in the refrigerator actually encourages mold! Instead, consider storing bread in a beautiful bread box with built in cutting board. 

Hang Something Healthy
Fruit in the refrigerator may get ignored; fruit in the open is admired and more likely to be enjoyed! An adorable fruit storage option is a hanging basket with bar and hooks! This tool can be used in a kitchen of any size and will keep items open to the air, limiting mold and reducing bruising.

Drawer Customizations

Add A Simple Liner
If your kitchen tool crock is overcrowded, or if you just want things in drawers, try the premium drawer liner from The Container Store. Messy drawers lined with this product will become controllable as items will not slide around. 

Crockery Drawers
For petite cooks or growing families, a crockery drawer can reduce risk and make it easier to set the table. These handy storage drawers are adjustable for multiple plate sizes and make it easy for anyone to unload the dishwasher or set the table.

The kitchen is a work room, but it can also be beautiful. Whether you like the look of many gadgets or an open, blank counter, these tools can help you display (or hide) your favorite tools.


BATH: Bathroom Tile Patterns. What you need to know.

Bathroom tile patterns have an impact on the visual appearance of the room and on the atmosphere achieved in the overall design. A variety of factors should be considered when selecting bathroom tile. The placement location of the tile, the size of the bathroom and the bathroom décor choice are among the more important aspects to evaluate when deciding on tile patterns. Tile can be used in unique ways to make a bathroom look and feel like an exquisite retreat.

Color of the Tile
It is not only the master bathroom that can be designed with luxury in mind. A guest bathroom can include high-end, luxurious details that will pamper and impress visitors. Generally, a guest bathroom is not as large as the master bathroom. Therefore, neutral colored tiles such as beige, tan, or cream are a good choice because they make the room appear larger. Light shades of blue or gray and white also add visual spaciousness to a small bathroom. Darker colored tiles, such as navy or black, or vibrant colors such as red, orange, yellow or green can be used in a large bathroom.

Choosing Tile Sizes
When choosing tile for a small bathroom, it’s best to select medium size tiles. Choosing small tiles can make the room look smaller and visually chaotic. Elegance and sophistication can be achieved in a small bathroom when a medium-size tile is used in a simplistic arrangement. There’s an abundance of decorative opportunities in a large bathroom. A combination of various size tiles can be used to create interesting designs in the shower area, in the backsplash design, on the floor or in any area of the room.

Arranging the Tile

The placement direction of the floor tiles visually impacts the room. Tiles placed in straight even rows make the room appear long and narrow. A diagonal tile pattern makes the room appear wider. Placing tile in a manner that creates a decorative floor design is one flooring option. When doing this, it is essential that the size of the pattern be in balance with the size of the bathroom. Arranging tiles that are diverse in size and similar in color is a good way to make a bathroom more interesting without creating visual overload.

Using Tile to Create Atmosphere

Mosaic tile can be used to enliven the atmosphere in a bathroom. It’s ideal when used as for a backsplash or as a decorative border or accent feature. Hexagon tiles add sophistication to a bathroom design. They are ideal for a luxury master suite that is designed to provide homeowners with a superb relaxation retreat. Glass tile in a relaxing blue or green shade can increase the serenity of the bathroom. Tiles in varying shades of gray add elegance to any bathroom. Grays and neutrals provide homeowners with an extensive amount of decorative freedom when it comes to accessorizing the bathroom. Porcelain tile that looks like wood or stone can be used to create a tranquil atmosphere, a rustic vibe or a simplistic atmosphere in a master bathroom or guest bathroom.

KITCHEN: Our Favorite Kitchen Hacks from Space Saving to Cleaning

No matter how much space you have in your kitchen, you want it to be well organized and a cinch to clean.

We’ve found a few hacks for keeping kitchen spaces sparkling and finding extra space in places you may not have considered that can quickly and easily expand your kitchen area.

Same-shape containers 
Storing dried pantry items such as legumes, pasta and other store-bought items that come in varying sizes of packaging can be difficult. Putting them in same-size containers makes it a breeze to see what you have on hand and pull the rice out of the cupboard without spilling the beans.

Cupboard door shelving
That bit of space between the cupboard door and the shelving can offer a huge area for storing the wee bottles and jars that contain all those must-have spices, sauces and rubs. The petite packages tend to take up a lot of room rolling around a large cupboard, so keep them tidy and tightly stored in an indoor cupboard shelf. They are an inexpensive buy and easily attach with screws to the inside of most cupboards.

Cutting board for over the sink
Is your counter space at a premium? Expand your precious prep area with a long cutting board that fits snugly over your sink. This inexpensive hack also creates an easy clean up area for slicing, dicing and chopping. All the little food bits get swiftly swept into the sink rather than all over the counter or floor.

Pan lids
There are many organization systems out there for this constant storage dilemma. The many lids for all those pans only get used about half the time, so they tend to get in the way of every day cooking. By installing a simple curtain rod, you can store those oversized and unwieldy lids on the side of a large pantry or along a backsplash. The shallow u-shape of the curtain rod nicely holds the pot tops by their knobs or handles. This can also be a visually appealing aesthetic in your kitchen space if you line them up in shape and size, arrange them by color or other appealing design.

Clean the Coffee Maker, Cutting Board and Copper Pots
Lemon and salt go a long way in the kitchen. To remove burnt coffee from the bottom of a carafe, disinfect cutting boards and make copper pots shine, rub lemon all over the surface and liberally cover with salt. After letting it sit for a bit, use the lemon to scrub the area. After a good scrub, let the salt mixture sit on the surface for a good 5 minutes before rinsing and washing with soapy water.

Clean under the Refrigerator and Oven
Foreign objects tend to find their way deep under those heavy kitchen appliances. The notoriously difficult and narrow spaces can easily be cleaned with an old pair of panty hose and a broom handle. Stretch the panty hose over the handle and sweep it from side to side under the appliance. The panty hose tiny fibers will pick up dust and dried bits that you can then sweep up.

Eight Tips for Sanitizing Bathroom and Kitchen Grout

At the Bath & Kitchen Showplace, we want to help customers maintain the beauty of the tile in a kitchen or bathroom. One of the most important aspects of tile countertops, walls or floors is the grouting that is between the items. We know that the grout that is used to hold tile in place can become dirty and discolored. However, when our customers want to sanitize grout, they must use specialized methods to avoid damaging the substance and the surrounding tile. When our customers use the wrong types of cleansers and tools on their home’s tile, it can ruin the tile, grout or underlying adhesives. Here is a list of the best ways to clean the grout in your home.

1: Remove Items from the Floors, Walls or Countertops
To make the process of cleaning grout easier, our customer should remove all items from a surface, including small appliances, rugs or artwork. This will make the sanitizing process easier and faster for our customers.

2: Wear Protective Gloves While Cleaning
We suggest that our customer wear old clothing and protective gloves while cleaning the grout on countertops, floors and walls. When our customers plan to kneel on the floor to clean grout, they should buy cushioning kneepads to protect their knees.

3: Read the Maintenance Directions Supplied by the Manufacturer
Our customers must make sure to keep the maintenance directions for the tile in their home to understand how to clean the grout without harming the tiles. In addition, use the types of cleansers and tools suggested by the manufacturer.

4: Make Sure the Room Is Ventilated Properly
It is important for our customers to have proper ventilation in the room where they are working to clean grout. Open windows in a home, or use a circulating fan to avoid breathing the fumes from cleansers.

5: Read the Directions on the Cleansers Carefully
Before beginning to clean the grout that is between tiles, we advise our customers to read the directions on the cleansers. It is never a good idea for our customers to mix different cleansers together because it can lead to dangerous fumes.

6: Mix This Gentle Cleaning Solution
For grout that has light stains or dirt, we suggest using a homemade solution of white vinegar and water. Mix this in a spray bottle to use on countertops, walls and floors to remove dirt with a mop or cloth.

7: Pour Baking Soda on Difficult Stains
If some of the grout on a countertop or floor has a difficult stain, then pour baking soda on the discoloration before spraying it with water. After the baking soda sits for a few minutes, use a soft toothbrush to scrub at the stain to remove it completely.

8: How to Remove Dark Stains or Mold

The grout in a humid bathroom may develop mold, or our customers may have a dark stain on a kitchen countertop’s grout. Use a mixture of chlorine bleach and water on grout with deep stains or mold. Our customers should protect their eyes from the bleach solution by wearing goggles.


The Bath & Kitchen Showplace
Bath & Kitchen Showplace offers everything you need for your bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects. We offer more than 50 years of experience to help our customers in the Austin, Dallas and Arlington areas find the best plumbing and fixture products for every budget. Please browse our site and let us know how we can help you.