Tips For A Successful Kitchen Home Improvement Project

Next to bathroom home improvements, kitchen home improvements can provide the best return on investments for improving the value of your home – where every dollar spent in the bathroom increases home sale price by about $5, nearly every dollar spent in the kitchen increases home sale price by about $3. As kitchen home improvements can range from the simple to the extravagant, this is something that needs to be targeted carefully.

First, decide what you dislike about your current kitchen. It may have a truly horrible work flow, with counters and appliances set around in odd locales making it hard to work productively. Maybe you want to have an island counter for staging food preparation, or maybe you’ve developed a deep aversion to harvest gold or want more shelf space to work with.

If your desire for kitchen home improvements is simple, the first and often times most often overlooked aspect to try is refinishing the kitchen cabinets. Take a moment to consider this – if your kitchen is too dark, sanding down the finish off your cabinets, installing maple or light oak trim and a new varnish can often be done in under a week, and without expensive contractors coming in. (You may have to eat out for a week while everything is curing…) The best part about it is that as anyone who’s ever gotten contractor quotes on a kitchen can attest, getting professionally fitted cabinets is expensive. Everything has to be custom fitted, and lathed and put together, and budget can get blown out the window, and fast.

The next cheapest method to consider is replacing the flooring or repainting the walls. Vinyl floor tiles are inexpensive and easy to install. Repainting the walls can give you a new and airy look without costing you an arm and a leg, and in conjunction with resurfacing the cabinets, you can make your entire kitchen look like new with only a couple of weekends of work.

More extensive upgrades involve replacing appliances, and that can cost a fortune. However, a lot of modern appliances have color panels and doors that can be removed and replaced, allowing you to update them to your current favorite color scheme.

When decorating your kitchen, think about workflow and sight lines. Now is the time to decide what goes where, and where appliances and kitchen gadgets live, so that they’re not constantly sitting on the countertop, eating space that could be used for something else. Think about the steps of preparing food – where things get set when they come out of the refrigerator or pantry, where chopping goes into place, where dishes are stored when they’re waiting to be washed, what goes in what counters. Take the time to plan the ergonomics of your kitchen and it’ll not only look better, but work better too!

Kitchen Design Elements – Then & Now

If you were one of those kids who always got in trouble for being in the way…constantly underfoot while your Mom was busy in the kitchen, don’t feel badly about it-it wasn’t entirely your fault.

Actually, most of the blame should go to the person who built your parent’s house. More specifically, that classic ‘work triangle’ concept most kitchens were designed around years ago (and continue to be). It just didn’t leave any extra space for…well for anything.

Back then, the work triangle served its purpose however. By basically positioning the three major kitchen components (refrigerator, stove and sink) in a triangular pattern, it did make Mom’s cooking chores somewhat easier. Way back in the ’50’s the work triangle was determined to be the most efficient layout for the average kitchen. Of course, back then most women stayed at home, worked in the kitchen by themselves, cooked most meals from scratch and needed storage space for an estimated 400 items. A compact work triangle limited the distance between the key kitchen components while helping speed up preparation time.

Today however, many women work outside the home, share the cooking responsibilities, prepare very few meals from scratch and have about 800 items to find someplace to put. Times have definitely changed. And although basic kitchen designs are still conceived around the work triangle concept, layouts are becoming more flexible as kitchen design guidelines continue to evolve.Kitchen designers today think more in terms of more space and multiple work stations. Multiple stations make it more convenient for a number of people to work efficiently while staying out of each other’s way. A work station can be created anywhere a reasonable amount of counter space is available near a major appliance or a sink.

When space allows, adding an island is one of the most common means for designing multiple work stations into a kitchen. By simply adding a second sink or a cooktop into the island, you can double your kitchen’s available work space.

Flexible kitchen plans must now consider activities that don’t involve the preparation of meals. Non-cooking activities such as homework, bill-paying, laundry and casual entertaining now find their way into the kitchen. The kitchen is has become the central location of many modern home plans. Our busy schedules and hectic lifestyles have made it almost imperative to incorporate entertainment and information systems into modern kitchen designs. The kitchen has become the gathering point in most homes and having a computer station, TV and other media close at hand is a convenience rather than a luxury, and the importance of such conveniences can’t be discounted.

In yesterday’s kitchens, a major improvement involved upgrading to a frost-free refrigerator, a self-cleaning oven, finally getting an automatic dishwasher or fixing that dripping faucet. That was then. Kitchen upgrades today usually require considerably more than new appliances. Professional, competent kitchen planners and designers are a must. There are countless ‘what-ifs’ and ‘maybes’ that arise during a kitchen upgrade or remodel. Costs can get out of hand and mount more quickly than most homeowners can imagine. A knowledgeable kitchen designer is able to think and plan ahead and be creative problem solvers.

With careful planning and professional assistance, you can be certain your new kitchen has the space and conveniences you desire, and plenty of room to keep those kids out from under your feet.

Choosing Bathroom Lights For Safety And Style

If you want to look your best then you’ll probably spend a fair bit of time in the bathroom, but unless you have decent bathroom lighting you may not be seeing yourself in the best light. Literally. Designer bathroom lights can look fabulous, and add a very great deal to the overall look and feel of the bathroom, but when it comes to choosing the right lights for your bathroom it’s important to think about two things.

The first thing to consider is the look of the light itself. This may be a wall light, bathroom mirror light or ceiling light, and each of these types offers a whole variety of choice. If you have a bathroom with chrome based fittings, such as chrome taps, chrome towel rails and chrome handles on bathroom cupboards then it’s probably a good idea to consider opting for bathroom lights with a chrome finish. Nickel plated lighting offers a beautifully warm look, but it’s generally best to complement chrome with chrome rather than mix nickel and chrome together.

Another aspect to consider as far as the look of the bathroom lighting is concerned is the type of shade you use. Frosted glass offers a diffused light, which is both soft and very much easier to work with if you happen to be taking advantage of a little privacy and a mirror to carry out your ablutions and pampering. Spot lighting such as that offered from recessed ceiling lights, usually LED or halogen, can look incredibly stylish, and helps focus more light where you need it. But for lighting near bathroom mirrors a soft, diffused effect can work extremely well, giving you a more even light.

But the second aspect to consider when choosing your bathroom lights is safety. Clearly a bathroom is a wet area, and electricity and water are not the best of companions. Today however there’s a very easy system in use which helps you to quickly and easily identify the type of light that’s suitable for each area of your bathroom. So, for example, zone 1 is the wettest location, being around the bath and shower. Zone 2 is slightly less soaking, being just outside the immediate bath, shower and basin areas, and zone 3 is the furthest away from these sources of water. So if you’re looking for designer bathroom lighting to create a well lit bath or shower area, look for zone 1 lighting, and for bathroom mirror lights and designer bathroom wall lights, bear in mind you’ll need either zone 2 or 3

Buying a Whirlpool Bath

Whirlpool baths are becoming increasingly popular, with more people benefiting from their home spa whirlpool. Whirlpool can be fitted with a filtration system which cleans the bath for you, allowing you to spend your time relaxing. Whirlpool baths are known world-wide for their luxurious designs and relaxation. They are the perfect thing for relaxing at home after a hard day at work or just the normal everyday stressful activities. Whirlpools are designed to fulfill the consumers luxury wants for hydrotherapy, aromatherapy and ultimate bathing experiences.

A jet of massaging air can be added to a bathtub; hydrotherapy is able to transform people’s life, to allow people to have a better state of mind and improve their health. Why settle for a plain bath when you can have a Whirlpool? They are beautiful, energy efficient, well built, and surprisingly affordable and are very well-known for their swirling and bubbling motion that soothes the body.

So what should you bear in mind when buying a whirlpool?

o The first thing to consider is the design of the whirlpool itself to ensure that it goes well with the general design of the bathroom.
o The colour should fit the general decoration.
o Do you want a walk in bath and shower combined? These come with special water tight fitments that act as a door in the side of the whirlpool.
o Low Water Sensors – They will automatically shut off the motor once it has detected that the water level is too low, this stops the motor from burning out.
o Built-in grab bars and slip-resistant floors
o Internal water heaters – To save money on heater, you should consider buying a whirlpool bathtub with internal water heaters to keep the water temperature consistent.
o The filled weight of the filled Whirlpool should be kept in mind; if you buy an extra large make sure your floor is built to support the weight.

Unlike air baths, whirlpool tubs are much more pressurised and the jets release a combination of both air and water that is a little more intense. This aspect can be really terrific for muscle aches and to relieve tension.

One last great thing about having your own whirlpool bath, apart from being able to use it yourself anytime, is the value and attractiveness it adds to your home.

What Are Hard Landscaping Materials?

In landscape design and architecture, hard landscaping materials refer to construction materials that a designer or architect uses to enhance the landscape design. Some examples of hard landscaping materials include stones, bricks, gravel, concrete, glass, and the like. The matching term soft landscaping materials refers to the plants.

Here are some common hard landscaping materials to get you familiar with these important elements in your landscape design:

Pavers are widely used in landscaping. There is a wide range of pavers to choose from to suit different areas in your home such as a patio, driveway, walkway, pool area atc. Pavers are also used as edging or as stepping stones. Pavers can be made of stone, brick, concrete, grass, and other materials. They come in all sorts of colors, shapes, patterns, and sizes. It is up to you or your landscape designer to choose which kind will fit your landscape theme or style.

Another common hard material for landscaping is crushed rock, which is also available in various sizes and colors. Crushed volcanic rock is a popular choice. Its red color gives a rustic appeal to the landscape. Other kinds of crushed rock include gravel, sandstone, quartz, limestone and others. Crushed rock is versatile, very low-maintenance, and affordable. They are commonly used for paths, driveways and drainage areas.

For constructing decks, steps, edges, walls, pergolas or gazebos, the most widely used material is timber. It is relatively inexpensive, easy to procure and work with. Consider using salvaged or recycled timber instead of new ones. You can re-use this material so make sure not to waste it.

Soils are valuable hard landscaping materials. To improve soil condition in the yard or garden, add organic fertilizing matter or compost. Remember to choose plants that match or thrive on the type of soil that area has.

Because of the broad range of hard landscaping materials, choosing the right product can be overwhelming and confusing. Just remember to select materials that will both go well with the site, the plants, other hard landscaping materials and the overall theme of the garden. For instance, materials made of steel and metal may not go well with an Asian inspired garden. Highly reflective materials are not ideal for areas that get a lot of sunlight. There are also certain pavers that are suitable only for light foot traffic and should not be used on driveways. You should also make sure that the hard landscaping materials you use are durable enough to withstand the type of weather and climate in your area.

Choosing the right hard landscaping materials is very important to a landscape designer. It is just like choosing the floor or fixtures in a house. The landscape designer must ensure that the hard landscaping materials will work together to truly enhance the surroundings.

Benefits Of Metal Buildings For Commercial Use

Many companies are currently making use of steel materials to design different kinds of commercial structures. Such buildings normally incorporate various architectural methods, patterns and fabrics. Metals are considered to offer the longer lasting solution for designing, constructing and putting up different tension systems. Metal buildings for commercial use are considered to be durable and strong to be able to withstand tones of weight. These high quality materials are considered to be best for making window and door frames and different structural applications in the construction industry.

Furthermore, there is specialized steel that is perfectly designed for both commercial and industrial purposes. Some of these sectors where metallic materials are generally used in recent times includes recreational and leisure buildings to accommodate many users. They are hugely popular in large warehouse which require larger space and strong foundation. Metal structures for public use require materials which are of high quality and international standard. Such buildings are normally built to conform to the local regulations and requirements.

In addition, modern offices are built by steel with the view of providing space and flexible utility. The idea is to accommodate most of the office work and other productive work. Such facilities can be used for storage, conferences and meeting places, kitchens and other needs. Such buildings take less time to erect compared to other structures made from wood, stone or even bricks.

Therefore, erecting structures using metallic materials will save you lots of money and time. The use of materials such as these is currently being used all over the world to build commercial premises. It is easier to add other amenities on to it such as windows, ceiling lights, ventilation and other architectural designs.

Metal buildings are customized to meet the demands that a modern consumer needs and the growth of business enterprises. This type of premises is mostly preferred in the commercial sectors because is affordable and can serve many functions. Apart from businesses, they are also used to serve the function of educational purposes, community work and as portable facilities.

They are popularly being used to house student unions at the university campuses, used to provide temporal offices and accommodations in construction sites or provide extra space for specific public functions. Meanwhile, the construction of such structures would still require extensive structural work which includes wiring, duct work and plumbing as the core foundation which has to be followed with other functional designs including interior and exterior designs.

One of the most commonly designed type of metal building is the clear span normally referred to as the interior space of any construction structure. The roof of this kind of structure is sustained through the borders of framework used and the walls of the structural elements.

The main reason behind the increase of metal structures for commercial use is because of the rise in cost of construction. They are considered to be less expensive and can be customized for any use compared to the more traditional structures that uses stones, bricks or wood. Above all, they are quite safer and not susceptible to fire.

Adorn Your Home With the Best Art in Stone

What is that makes a house grand? What is it that makes the house look classy and a class apart – all at the same time? It is natural stone. It is not hard to see that why man is so fond of stone – history has it that the early man lived in caves and perhaps it is from there when the stone fetish started. Of course, wood and bricks were the dominant building blocks of a home until steel came along. However, in these days due to restrictions in stone mining and using them for building homes is not what one would call a good economic sense. The reasons are not hard to guess. It is way pricey, it is heavier to move, construction is way slower and they are a bit too ‘heavy’ on the looks. However, with little use of combination of natural stones, one can make their home look a class apart.

Marble and Granite Touch to Your Dream Home

They are used almost in every flooring and construction of countertops. The reason is that the marble makes a rock-solid flooring at the same time giving it the elegant glaze with durability that nothing else can match. With granite, it is more used in table tops and kitchen countertops and liberally used even in bathroom designing.

The glaze and shine that these two ancient stones can give is simply unparalleled. A shine that does not look too awkward for your eyes and is high on aesthetic appeal! Kitchen is one place where the stones are used quite liberally. The reason is that granite is always classy and is easy to clean too. Moreover, it is not reactive and heat-resistant quite a bit. With a polished granite slab, you need not worry about oil/liquid spills or even with some powdery material. The pores are virtually non-existent in a polished granite top; remember the mirror like shine on the table top? When it comes to kitchen cabinets, hardwood is the best deal. It is light as well as it is strong enough to bear the kitchen beating that it may be subjected to. Laminated hardwood cabinets look classy and can resist dust and grime that may eventually settle on them.

Throughout the home, marble flooring are a must have if you want to bring ‘that’ elegant look throughout your home. Strangely it is marble flooring that best complements your walls and the artistic lampshades that you chose over others. Even with ultramodern designs, marble flooring looks the best. Marble flooring tiles are the in thing today mainly because they are easy to fabricate and easier to transport and lay on the floor. They can be cut to desired shapes and sizes as per requirement.

As one popular saying goes in the construction department – dreams are made of marble and granite in the home building industry. It is not hard to see the reason as why they are so popular.