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Category: Blog

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.

Kitchen: 10 Steps To Going Contemporary

The appeal of a contemporary kitchen is often how clean it looks, and likewise how easy it is to keep clean. Gone are the heavily detailed wood cabinet doors and drawer fronts with their raised panels and crevices for dust (or worse) to get lodged in. Ogee shaped brackets and crown moldings are also a thing of the past when going contemporary.

Smooth, sleek surfaces and straight lines seem to dominate. The blank canvas of a contemporary kitchen allows for you to highlight a piece of fine artwork on an empty wall, a colorful bowl with fruit, or a vase with fresh flowers.

Here are 10 contemporary kitchen ideas that are trending right now.

Lacquered Cabinets
These are cabinets that have several coats of lacquer in pretty much any color you want. They are polished to a smooth finish.

Satin Nickel Hardware
Nickel is a sturdy metal with a finish that does not highlight fingerprints. Simple door and drawer pulls in nickel can add a modern twist to cabinets.

Quartz Countertops
While these counters have been gaining in popularity, they really play well with a contemporary theme. You can opt for the ones that do not pretend to look like granite. These are available in various colors and are quite strong and sanitary.

Sheet Glass Backsplashes
Glass tile has been a hot item for backsplashes the past few years. You can achieve a more contemporary look by using sheets of glass that don’t have grout lines. The monolithic sheets are available in different color tints. They reflect light well, opening up a space.

Cabinet Depth Appliances
While oversized appliances may be practical, they tend to break up the lines of a kitchen. Newer appliances are now available that are more compact and designed to sit flush with the cabinet face. A good example of this is the refrigerator drawers that fit snuggly into a base cabinet. These are ideal for beverages and produce.

Free Floating Vent Hoods
There are some very cool venting systems for over your range or cooktop available. These are not the ones that hang beneath a cabinet and jut out into the room. These are free floating, stainless steel, works of art that are meant to be noticed.

Integrated Sinks
Integrated sinks have come a long way from the heyday of synthetic solid surface countertops. These materials had some growing pains with the sinks being subject to developing vein-like cracks around the drains and garbage disposals. Integrated sinks in stainless steel or concrete counters tend to fair much better and with the same clean edges.

Wall Mounted Faucets
There is something very smart about having your faucet in the backsplash, rather than on the deck of your counter or sink. An especially nice feature is in the faucets that you can fold back against the wall when not in use.

Porcelain Tile Plank Floors
Porcelain planks are trending for both indoor and outdoor applications. They are available in earth tones and grays, and can have the look of wood. The tile is installed without the need for wide grouted joints. It is extremely durable, easy to clean, and has a modern look and feel.

LED Task Lighting
LED task lighting is more energy efficient and has a lower profile than incandescent or fluorescent fixtures. LED is available in thin strips that can be placed discreetly under cabinets, at toe-kicks, or even in drawers. They are great for over counter lighting and for mood or night lighting.

Choosing the Right Tile for Your Bath

One of the more pleasurable aspects of decorating or renovating a bathroom is choosing the type of tile for the room. Remember, tile is not only for the floor or the shower stall. Tile can be placed on backsplashes, vanity tops and tub decks. It comes in so many varieties that it can be a focal point of the bathroom.

What is Tile?
Tiles can be made out of almost anything, including wood and leather, but when it comes to bathroom tile people are referring to material that’s hard, esthetically pleasing and water-proof. Here are some different types of tile for the bath space:

Ceramic Tiles
These tiles are made of clay that is fired at high temperatures. Porcelain tile, also made of clay, is fired at even higher temperatures. Ceramic and porcelain tiles come in a great array of sizes, shapes and colors that can match the decor of just about any bathroom. The prices range from inexpensive to quite pricey. Ceramic tiles are easy to maintain, though the grout between them needs to be kept clean and sealed.

Tiles can be carved out of such natural stone as granite, marble, limestone, slate and travertine. The colors are usually neutral and give a bath space a luxurious look. Most stone is porous and needs to be sealed against staining. The homeowner also needs to make sure that the floor is sturdy enough to support the heavier tiles. Though regular stone is surprisingly affordable, rare specimens of stone can be very expensive.

People are surprised to hear that glass tiles can work in a bathroom, but certain types of glass are made to be both strong and beautiful. Glass tiles come in many colors. Popular colors for glass tile are blue or green, and they give a bathroom a shimmering, maritime feel because of the way the light falls into them. Glass tends to cost more than ceramic or even stone tile.

Though some people find metal off-putting, it is quite attractive if it’s used judiciously as an accent, a border or a backsplash. Stainless steel immediately brightens an area of the bathroom, but warmer colors such as those found in copper or bronze can be had. Metal scratches easily, so the homeowner should take note of this. They should also know that some tiles look like metal but only have a glazed metal finish. Metal can be very inexpensive, though handcrafted metal tiles can be more expensive than glass or stone.

Things to Consider
Before buying tile, the homeowner has to know which tiles are rated for the floor and which tiles can be put on the walls. The two types can’t be interchanged. Floor tiles are tougher and heavier than wall tiles, and they should have a textured as opposed to glossy finish to reduce the risk of slipping. Because they can be unkind to the feet, especially on winter mornings, it’s a good idea to lay floor mats.

Most types of tile can be easily installed by a DIYer over a weekend. These include mosaic tiles, which are small tiles that are attached to a backing. Special tiles with irregular designs, shapes and sizes should be left to a professional tiler.

KITCHEN: Storage ideas and hacks to simplify your space

Having a small kitchen can be super frustrating, especially for people who like to cook. Even small space has a lot of potential, though. With these hacks for small apartments or houses, you can make the most out of the space you have and start to love your petite kitchen.

Maximize Your Cabinet Doors
The insides of cabinets can provide a lot of extra storage space. All you have to do is hang a cork board or a magnetic board on the inside of the cabinet door. Put up your shopping lists and small containers for holding items like spices, gum and other small items. You can also use chalkboard paint on the inside of your cabinets and use them for making lists – this may help keep your multiple lists off your refrigerator door, which will quickly make your kitchen look decluttered.

Store Your Knives Smartly
In a small kitchen, there’s usually a shortage of both drawer space and counter space. Since you’ll need your knives close by, especially if you cook a lot, you can’t exactly store them too far from the stove. Use the backsplash behind your stove to keep them within arm’s reach. Put up magnetic strip and then hang the knives (and other metal utensils) you use most frequently.

Take Advantage of an Empty Wall
It can be hard to notice the blank space you have in your kitchen, but unused areas can be converted into storage. If you have a wall or part of a wall that you’re not using, consider putting up shelves. Open shelves will give you extra room as well as easy access to your items. If you store your nicer dishes and appliances on them, you can brighten up the space, too. Even a tiny bit of space on either side of a window can be maximized with slim shelving.

Storing Your Pots and Pans
You’ve probably seen gorgeous copper pots and pans hanging from the ceiling in super fancy homes, but this featured isn’t just for the rich. You can get a scaled-down version and hang some of your frequently used pots and pans overhead. If you don’t want to put a fixture overhead, consider putting hooks on the ceiling of your cabinets and hanging them there.

Keep Bulk Foods in Smaller Containers
If you like to buy in bulk in order to save money, keep smaller portions of the foods in air-tight containers. Big boxes or bags of cereal, crackers and even dog food can be stashed away in a closet and only taken out to refill your containers. Plus, storing your food like this will keep it fresh for longer.

Get Rid of Your Table
If you need a surface to eat on but your kitchen table is taking up a majority of the space, consider having a folding table built into the wall. You can bring in a couple of folding chairs or slim stools for when you’re ready to dine-in, the fold it up out of the way when you’re finished.

Take a good look around your kitchen to find space that’s being unused. If you have tall cabinets and are only using the bottoms of them, consider hanging items. If you have wall space that’s blank, think of what you can put up to make your life easier. If you need extra help, talk to experts who renovate kitchens for a living.


10 Practical and Creative Bathroom Ideas

The bathroom is one of the most used rooms of the home where residents spend time bathing and grooming each day. The room should have a high level of appeal with its design and style to ensure that it stands out on the property. When you want to incorporate practical and creative bathroom ideas, there are a few important designs to use.

1. Subway Tiles
Subway tiles are sleek and modern for those who want to create a trendy space that looks urban. The tiles will enhance the design of the walls and will create an upscale environment that can feature a horizontal or herringbone pattern.

2. Wallpaper
Wallpaper is one of the most common home design trends that enhances the aesthetics of the room and determines its overall style. Consider using a bold print that includes oversized florals or chevron print on all four walls or on one accent wall in the room.

3. Pedestal Tubs
Make a statement by installing a pedestal tub, which will work as the focal point of the bathroom and incorporates a vintage touch that looks regal in the setting.

4. Marble Countertops
Marble countertops have replaced granite materials in bathrooms and will allow the space to look chic and contemporary. Install marble countertops, which will look beautiful with gold fixtures that are used on the cabinets or sink.

5. Reclaimed Wood
Add reclaimed wood to different areas, which can include on an accent wall or with the cabinets that are installed. The touch will create a rustic design that will incorporate extra warmth into the room for a cozy detail.

6. White Linens
Use fresh white linens in the bathroom to create a clean setting that feels more like a spa and will make it look professionally decorated. You can add a stack of white towels on one of the shelves or roll up white wash clothes to place in a wicker bin when storing the linens.

7. Sconces
The lighting that is used in bathrooms influences the style of the room and how comfortable it feels. Add sconces on each side of the mirror above the sink to create a balanced look that illuminates the setting.

8. Glass Door Knobs
Create a unique touch in the bathroom with glass knobs that are used on the doors, which will allow the room to look antique and classy. The glass knobs will add extra detail in the setting to ensure that you have all of your bases covered when it comes to designing the space.

9. Oversized Chandelier
Add a dramatic chandelier in the bathroom, which is an unconventional fixture that will make the bathroom feel cozy and can make the environment look upscale. The fixture will illuminate the room and will wrk as a classy detail that can be paired with rustic or antique furnishings.

10. Floating Vanities
Floating vanities look modern and innovative while also freeing up extra space underneath the countertops where you can store extra baskets or bins for your towels and toiletries.

Counter Installs: How to Choose and Install Properly

Counters for kitchens are available in a variety of materials. Choosing the right material for your needs depends on several personal preferences. Durability, aesthetics, maintenance, and cost all have to be considered. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options available. 

The appeal of granite as a counter material is still going strong. It may well be the top choice for many homeowners and kitchen designers. Granite is a very hard surface. It is available in multiple colors and patterns. It wipes it clean easliy. It is one of the more costly surfaces. The longevity and durability of granite might offset the initial investment. Granite requires some routine maintenance. It is recommended that it be resealed once a year, depending on how much use it is subjected to.

Granite slabs are cut at a stone fabrication shop to match a template that your contractor or kitchen professional supplies. Seams have to be matched properly. The stone is best installed by a professional. It is glued in place onto a plywood base layer.

Manufactured stone counters are made from a combination of stone materials and binding polymers. Quartz is strong, stain resistant, heat resistant, anti-microbial, and virtually maintenance free. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns. Quartz is comparable to granite in terms of cost and installation.

If you are looking for a warm, farm house style look, wood is a great countertop material. Butcher block is strong and durable when sealed properly. Wood is generally less costly than stone and quartz, depending on the type of wood you choose. Teak and mahogany are water resistant and very handsome. Wood does need to be sealed to keep it free of bacteria and damage from water. You will have to sand and reseal it periodically, just as you would a hardwood floor.

You can purchase butcher block in specific lengths and attempt a DIY installation. Wood is easy to measure, cut, and install directly on top of base cabinets. You don’t need to worry about matching seams. Alternatively, your carpenter can install a wood counter rather quickly and accurately.

Laminate countertops have been around for decades, and are still a very popular material for a budget friendly installation. Laminates have come a long way in the last 30 years. They are better made with cleaner seams. The color, texture, pattern, and material options are endless. A particularly nice option is stainless steel laminate. You can achieve the sleek look of stainless without spending a small fortune on a custom metal counter. Laminates require little maintenance, other than wiping them down. Certain laminate materials are prone to reacting poorly to hot pots being placed on them.

Laminates are thin sheets that are cut and glued to plywood or pressed board cores. The core material is attached directly to the base cabinets. This is another installation project that you can try yourself.

The use of concrete as a counter material continues to grow in popularity. Concrete is a very versatile material that can be shaped and sized to pretty much any design configuration. Concrete is very strong, functional, and easy to maintain when sealed properly. You can choose different colors and aggregates for a distinctive personalized décor.

Making your own concrete countertop is super economical, though labor intensive and extremely heavy to lift into place. There are professionals who specialize in concrete counter fabrication and installation. It will cost you a little more, but the time saved is an enormous benefit.


Additional Considerations
In addition to the counter materials and installations mentioned above, there are other options available that you might also want to consider. Glass, recycled materials, marble, soapstone, ceramic tile, and custom stainless steel or zinc are all mentioning.

Five Inexpensive Personal Touches For Sprucing Up Your Bath Space

The bathroom may appear to be a little bland for a homeowner’s taste, and she may be thinking of ways to make it come alive. It is, after all, a very well used room of the house and should be just as appealing and comfortable as any other area. Some additions that might be made to this room or several bathrooms to give them a little more atmosphere and interest could include:

Plants will thrive in this moist area, especially if there is a window or two or strong lighting. Choose plants that match the theme chosen. For example, if it is a tropical theme, add palm-type house plants. If it is a rustic look, cactus or corn plants may be appropriate. During the holidays, Easter lilies or poinsettias will look perfectly at home in this small area. If real plants just are not possible, quality silk plants are also an option.

If small pieces of framed art are readily available, this can be the perfect place to display them. The art can be done by professional artists, local painters, or even by children or grandchildren. This can add so much color and appeal to the walls. Choose frames that match the decor. If it is very formal and traditional, carved wooden frames may be appropriate. More modern art would look best in plain black or white frames. Children’s artwork can be placed in clear acrylic frames and be easily switched out to the next “masterpiece.”

Spots of color can be added in many ways. Paint a small accent wall a bold color. Invest in new and bright shower curtains, throw rugs, wash cloths, and towels. Even scented soaps come in a variety of appealing shades. A simple step such as replacing the soap dish, lotion dispenser, and toothbrush holder may give a fresh new look to the room.

A great way to give this area a cozy feel is to add small shelves to the blank walls of this room. Display a variety of interesting collections such as antique perfume bottles, shells, and even Avon men’s cologne bottles. Use the open shelves to store pretty soap bottles, imported lotions, and aftershave sprays. Shelving above the toilet is a great place to store and display necessities such as fingernail polish, washcloths, quality shampoos and soaps, and bath and body sprays.

Candles can add so much to the atmosphere in a bathroom. They can also help dispel odors and permeate the area with a variety of delicate scents. Try lilac, lavender, fresh linen, baby powder, or rose scents to make this room even more welcoming. During the holidays, use cinnamon, pine, pumpkin, or peppermint scents.

There are so many ways to add character and pizazz to this small room. Use imagination, ask for a talented friend’s assistance or call on expert interior decorators to assist. Whatever it is decided to add, this room will pop with innovative and unique touches. If there is a long line outside this door during the next family gathering, it may be that they want to enjoy all the special touches that have been added.


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.