Posted by & filed under Home Renovations.

Choosing the right home for you and your family is one of the most exciting events that you will experience. How your family will use your new home is largely determined by lifestyle, and the right layout can significantly impact your experience in the home. From its size and shape, to where the rooms are located in adjacent to each other, to how the flow of the house feels can make or break a sale. According to freshome.com, there are several effective ways to choose the right floor plan for your home.

Basement hardwood flooring

Design Style:

Every homeowner has their own design style and choosing a floor plan that meets your needs is essential. Perhaps, you consider yourself more traditional and prefer a floor plan where walls separate rooms. Maybe, you want a more modern open floor concept that will satisfy you and your family better. Whichever design style you prefer, you should consider how furnishings will look within the home, especially in open concept designs because of the flow from room to room.

Location:

Your next consideration is to decide what type of dwelling fits your family best. Depending on where you want to live could dictate what type of floor plan fits the bill. Dwellings such as single-family homes usually have more outdoor space for a backyard and overall areas to spread out. An attached home, like a townhouse, brownstone or condo in an urban area could also meet your single family home needs, but it’s divided up with a multi-level floor plan. Split-level floor plan means your entire floors are split to separate levels. Each layout is different and must be considered when you’re looking at homes.

Pros & Cons:

There is no such thing as a perfect floor plan, so it’s important that you understand the pros and cons that you will encounter in the house that you choose. You need to decide what your priorities are for your lifestyle and what can you learn to live with or live without. A large living room window wall might be overlooked as a negative because it limits space, but natural light is a main feature that you want.

Layout:

When choosing a floor plan, ensure you are basing your decision on how the home flows and feels for your daily activities. Don’t get overly excited about the upgraded floors, countertops and appliances in the home you are viewing. You should imagine the home in a stripped down state and form your own opinion how the layout will work with your family in residence. A floor plan should feel right when you walk through the house and it should meet your criteria for how it moves. An example is the ease of flow from the kitchen or living room from the foyer. Trust your instincts when reviewing homes and the various floor plans within them.

Furnishings:

While thinking about the rooms and layout of your floor plan, consider whether your existing furniture will work with the new arrangement. If you must buy new furniture you will still need to determine what pieces will fit into what rooms in the new plan.

Modifications:

If you have found the house of your dreams, but the floor plan is slightly off, modifying the layout is a viable option to make the house flow better. Removing a spare closet to make more room in a bathroom or opening up a wall to create a multi-functional room can make your floor plan even better. Finally, here are a few pitfalls in house floor plans to avoid altogether because, regardless of your style, they are simply incorrect for any house layout.

  • Inside Stairway Facing the Entrance
  • Hallway Facing the Entrance
  • Dining Room in the Center
  • Adjoining Bedrooms
  • Bedrooms Located Off the Living Room / Dining Room (unless senior)
  • Poorly Located Guest Bathroom
  • No Views From One Room to Another

Posted by & filed under Backyard Renovations.

Looking for ways to maximize your small backyard? Designing a small landscape can be tricky, but don’t worry. We have got some great tips to get you started.

In a small yard, even the smallest detail is highly visible. By applying some creativity in your backyard renovations, you can not only create visual appeal but also make the yard appear larger.

backyard deck

Tip 1: Incorporate multiple focal points into your design

The biggest problem that you will encounter when you design a small space is that there is not enough space to create a stunning focal point. This will reduce the visual appeal of your backyard. In this case, the most viable solution is to install several small focal points throughout the yard. They can become quite a delight when a visitor discovers them unexpectedly. Shop for weatherproof objects of art that you can place outside. Look for unique items, antiques or original works of art.

Don’t put all of these objects front and center. Of course, one or two items should be placed in the garden and they can act as the basis for planting design. Others should be sequestered among the plants.

Tip 2: Design in inches

If the yard is small every ill-conceived detail will draw unnecessary attention. What this means is that you should design each element carefully. You can’t just throw things around. Make use of every inch of ground and enhance its visual appeal.

In standard design, square feet are the unit of measure. When you design a small garden, you should think in terms of square inches. You won’t be able to fit all those amenities in a small space if you don’t have a precise layout.

Tip 3: Splurge on high quality materials

Nowadays plenty of varied and luscious construction materials are available. This provides ample opportunities for experimenting. You can now export exotic stones from different parts of the world and use them in your design. Also thanks to improvements in manufacturing technology, a huge range of attractive ceramics is readily available for outdoor living spaces. While you can also use them in larger spaces, the cost can be prohibitive. The beauty of a small landscape is that it allows you to afford lavish materials because you only need a small amount of them to create the desired looks. When you design a standard landscape, you usually start with concrete and then work your way up. When you have a small space, you should start with the high end items.

You should also consider matching your paving materials to your interior floor materials. So, for example, if you have travertine marble inside your home, you should consider using porcelain tile which mimics its texture and color outside.

When you design a small space, it is imperative that you pay attention to the details. You have to design every inch. Don’t hesitate to splurge on exquisite materials. Make sure that you do not create a cluttered look. Less is more when you design a small space. So choose items carefully and install them in the right places where they will delight the visitor when they discover them accidentally.

Posted by & filed under Kitchen Renovation.

When you’re thinking about a remodeling project in the kitchen that can have a stylish and dramatic effect, adding a backsplash will certainly do the trick. Whether you want to install a new kitchen tile or just want to update your current one, backsplash can add visual appeal, variety and colour to your kitchen. Tiles are a useful and simple addition, yet they can transform the appearance of your kitchen to an eye-catching statement. Best of all, there is relatively little fuss because installing a backsplash is a project that can be tackled without disturbing other elements in the room.

Backsplash

 

Traditionally, a kitchen backsplash is installed behind a sink or cooktop, but today’s kitchen tiles are being utilized for aesthetic charm throughout the kitchen implying both utility and pizzazz. Besides their beauty, backsplash provides a good deal of protection against unsightly cooking stains and water marks on the wall. Most backsplash tiles simply wipe clean after preparing a big meal. If you’ve ever splattered pasta sauce on the walls while cooking, you’ll appreciate how effortlessly tile wipes off to a clean finish.

Tile offers an attractive versatility of distinctive looks because of its customized ability. Tile backsplash is available in an endless array of styles, colours, shapes, textures, sizes and a variety of finishes to suit any budget. Since many contemporary homes today have cabinet designs that feature simple, clean lines with monochrome colours, the kitchen tile backsplash is a great way to experiment with bold designs, creative patterns and distinguishing colours.

There are several common types of tile that are extremely popular because of their attractiveness, durability and trendy appeal. The most fashionable tiles that are seen time and again in many homes include, ceramic tile, glazed porcelain tile, glass mosaic and natural stone tile, but other popular backsplash include granite, mirror, stainless steel, limestone, plate glass, beaded board, and more. Most wall tiles require little maintenance; however tiles like porous stone or clay must be sealed periodically so they won’t stain or absorb water.

There are no set rules to follow for tile backsplash other than considering the feel and look you are trying to achieve. The first step in choosing your backsplash is to take into account the colour of your cabinets since this where most of the contrast will be noticed. Next, think about the colour of your wall as a secondary consideration since the wall provides an overall reflection of the mood and tone. If you performing a total kitchen makeover, you’ll want to coordinate your kitchen counters with the backsplash for a uniform and synchronized appearance.

Subway Tiles:

This type of tile is immensely popular and a classic choice that’s found in many residential kitchens. Its simple design is uncomplicated and it features rectangular ceramic tiles usually in light tones with light coloured grout, but any colour will work to suit any kitchen design. Additionally, the simple rectangular shape can be configured and arranged into any pattern.

Mosaic Tiles:

This variety is another classic look in kitchen backsplash design because it adds visual prominence in your kitchen’s appearance. Mosaic tiles are often made of glass or stone. They adhere to a mesh backing for easy installation and grouting is a breeze. They are very popular for DIY-ers and they can be designed in any diverse pattern.

Penny Tiles:

This style is currently another popular choice for those who want to have a vintage look in the kitchen. The tiles often feature small, light-coloured tiles that are bordered by dark grout. The finished look represents a design that is reminiscent of another era in time, adding a touch of historical elegance to any kitchen.

Tumbled Tiles:

This type of tile is truly a natural stone and can be used alone or mixed with mosaic glass for a more decorative look. Some of the popular varieties include limestone, marble, travertine, saturnia and granite. Marble & travertine are the most popular because the tumbling process brings out the true natural beauty of the stone.

Posted by & filed under Backyard Renovations, Home Renovations.

One of the most common problems that many homeowners face is that additional space is always in demand. Regardless whether your house is big or small, this dilemma becomes an issue that crepes up over time. The overabundance of “stuff” that we own can result in a garage stuffed to the rafters or rooms in the house overflowing with clutter.

Maybe that workshop that you’ve always dreamed about is currently crammed into a corner of the basement with no hope of becoming a reality. Perhaps your garden tools and equipment get jammed in the garage with no alternative place to store them. If this sounds familiar, consider broadening your horizons by looking outside your home for a functional and creative solution.

The benefits of an outside shed are numerous. It can be for anyone who needs to clear out space within the home and have a centralized location for household storage. It can also be the ideal place for housing a variety of different items, like equipment and tools or it can become a space for a specialized interest, like a workshop. Depending on its design, size, structure and insulation, it can even be a mini-garage for auto repairs or store a vintage car. The trick when choosing the right outdoor shed is figuring out what its purpose will be and how you are going to use it on a routine basis.

Although the appraisal value of your home may not entirely reflect the value of your shed, having a well-built backyard shed will certainly increase the value of your property.  A bigger and better quality built shed will be both visually appealing, fetch more interest and garner a higher price from a prospective buyer.

Outdoor / backyard shed

Materials:

The shed can be made from wood, resin or metal. A wooden shed is among the best option for its overall look, aesthetic appearance and it can be completely customized to create a very specific size or shape.  It can be painted to match your house and customized inside with multiple shelves and cabinets. A metal shed can be made of either steel or galvanized aluminum. Metal is a common first-time shed purchase since it is the least expensive, but metal is not as strong as resin or wooden sheds. Resin sheds are made of a high quality plastic material that makes the sheds lighter, yet stronger and more durable than wooden sheds.

Types of Outdoor Sheds

Storage Shed:

This type of shed is your all-inclusive structure. Homeowners tend to use this type of shed for household items that are no longer used in the house. This might include chairs, tables, toys, etc. It is essentially a multi-purpose catchall for items that need storage because they are not ready to go to the dump just yet.

Garden Sheds:

People who love to garden will relish having a shed to store the multitude of garden items associated with this favorite pastime. It can be strictly functional, but it can also be a decorative focal point that blends with the landscape surrounding the gardens for added charm. Whether it’s used to store garden tools, lawnmowers, buckets, pots and planters, or a place to start seedlings or pot plants, a garden shed is a great addition to the backyard for the avid gardener.

Workshop:

For those who do not have the space in their homes for a workshop, a shed can be a practical and economical solution.Workshop sheds are an ideal location for those who want a place to call their own for home improvement and woodworking projects or designing crafts. Usually, the workshop area offers enough room for a workbench, counter, work table along with a place to store tools and supplies for home repairs and hobbies. Some workshop sheds can be built with an overhead garage door that makes it easy to move tools and equipment in and out of the workshop. The backyard workshop is the ultimate dream for every handyman.

Over the years, the lowly shed has grown up. Today, many come with windows, shingled roofs, and window boxes and they have a multi-purpose beyond just storage. They can blend in with your surroundings and they are an attractive addition to any backyard.

 

Posted by & filed under Kitchen Renovation.

Ask any homeowner which is the busiest room in the house and they will answer without hesitation that it is the kitchen. The kitchen’s functionality should fit your lifestyle because an efficient kitchen is typically a key point in having a happy family life. Living in a poorly laid out kitchen will negatively affect every moment you spend in this often used space.

Although the concept of the kitchen work triangle is not a fixed rule, its design provides for optimum operation as it relates to the efficiency of movement within the kitchen. The plan calls for all of the major workstations to be close to the cook, yet be far enough apart to maintain an uncluttered setting. The design also keeps the traffic flow of family members away from the work zone because nothing is more irritating than having people under feet while you’re trying to cook.

Kitchen Triangle

So, what exactly is the kitchen work triangle?

In 1944, the University of Illinois conducted several studies regarding the adaptability of kitchen designs. Based on their analysis, the kitchen work triangle is probably the most researched and applied ergonomic (the science of work) principle around and it’s still the centerpiece of most kitchen layouts.

These days, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) updates and publishes these basic design standards. According to the NKBA, the kitchen work triangle is an imaginary straight line that is drawn from the centre of the sink, to the centre of the cooktop, to the centre of the refrigerator and finally back to the sink. A kitchen that follows the design standards of the kitchen work triangle is almost guaranteed to be both functional and safe.

The NKBA suggests these standard guidelines:

  • The sum of the work triangle’s three sides should not exceed 26 feet.
  • Each leg should measure between 4 and 9 feet.
  • The work triangle should not cut through an island or peninsula by more than 12 inches.
  • If the kitchen has only one sink, it should be placed between or across from the cooking surface, preparation area, or refrigerator.
  • No major traffic patterns should cross through the triangle.

By following these simple rules, each site will work in harmony and proximity to the other in order to achieve the optimum efficiency and avoid wasting a lot of steps while preparing a meal.There are three basic design layouts for the kitchen work triangle.

The U-Shape: In this design, there is a triangular path from the sink on one wall to the cooktop on another wall and finally to the refrigerator on a third path.

The I-Shape: The I-Shape kitchen has one element of the work triangle against one wall with the other two stations along another wall.

The Galley: In smaller kitchens and very tight circumstances, all three workstations are located along the same wall, like on-board a ship, hence the name galley kitchen.

While the triangle is the basic rule of thumb, people other than the cook will need access to the kitchen, especially the refrigerator and sink. Therefore, the refrigerator should be placed at the triangle’s outer corner and the sink should be placed at the next point for easy accessibility. The cooktop should be at the most remote point and protected from intrusion. To work at peak efficiency, all three sites need a certain amount of floor and counter space. A table or island should be placed in the kitchen where it will not obstruct the triangle yet not too far from the station so that it can be utilized on its own.

 

Has the Kitchen Work Triangle Changed Over Time?

Essentially no, but since many modern day kitchens are larger, incorporate other must-have appliances and they’ve become multi-purpose rooms, it’s important to determine what design and function your kitchen will serve.According to Kohler, “Since cooking has become more of a communal activity for friends and family, having two distinct work areas (each with its own triangular plan) makes a lot of sense.” The kitchen work triangle still plays a major role in kitchen design, but you can make adjustments that work for you and your family’s lifestyle.

Posted by & filed under Kitchen Renovation.

With the recent volatility in energy prices and the growing concern that greenhouse gases are contributing to climate change, consumers are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption in their home. Today, technological advancements, such as higher energy ratings for appliances and lighting in the kitchen have improved efficiency. With the kitchen full of appliances using energy and more lighting taking its toll on consumption, it’s important to think about replacing them with models for the best efficacy and reduced operating costs.

Kitchen Windows

 

 

A study by the professional consulting firm Deloitte suggests that there is a rise in the diligent attitude toward energy consumption by consumers. According to the study, 68% of consumers have taken extra steps to cut their electricity bills since the recession hit in 2011. There appears to be a birth toward energy conscientiousness, and 95% of the people, who did take steps to reduce their bills, do not intend to increase their usage even as the economy improves.

In your kitchen, the major appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens washers/dryers and lighting account for a big chunk of your monthly utility bill. If you have a refrigerator that is more than a decade old, you’re using more energy and spending more of your hard earned dollars. However, you can change your kitchen from being an energy guzzler to an efficient location. Government standards have tightened considerably over the last few years, so any new appliance you buy today has to use less energy than the model you’re replacing. More energy-efficient motors, compressors, pumps and valves and improved gaskets, seals and insulation have all contributed to lowering an appliance’s energy consumption.

Appliances:

The most efficient products carry the ENERGY STAR logo. These qualified household appliances are the most energy efficient in any product category. They exceed the minimums regulations set by the government guidelines. They use less energy than conventional appliances and offer superior performance and save you money. A new energy efficient washing machine or dishwasher can use up to 40% less energy than an outdated model. The more efficient an appliance, the less it costs to operate. Although it may cost more initially, its running costs are less and the machine will last longer. That makes it better for you and the environment.

  1. Refrigerators use the most energy of any home appliance. Features like automatic ice dispensers can increase electricity usage by as much as 20% compared to similar models. Therefore, choose what you really need and use.
  2. Always run your dishwasher with a full load because most of the energy used in a dishwasher is spent heating the water. Filling your machine is more effective than running half-loads.
  3. Energy efficient washers and dryers use 50% less energy. They extract more water during spin cycles, reducing drying time which saves energy and money. Front-loading machines use one-third less water, one third less heat energy and less detergent.
  4. Cooking with a microwave oven instead of the stove can save you money. Fast and efficient microwaves use from 30% to as much as 80% less energy than conventional ovens.
  5. When considering gas or electric ovens, self-cleaning has more insulation, keeps the heat in better and uses less energy. Convection ovens reduce required temperature settings, hence cut energy use by 20%.

Lighting:

Ask anyone where most people spend their time at your house and the answer is most likely the kitchen. Since this room is the new social gathering hot-spot, the kitchen is using more lighting and it’s an energy consumption drain, but you can make it more energy efficient by:

  1. Install Energy Star rated recessed pot lights for an inviting but uncluttered look.
  2. If you already have old pot lights in the ceiling, buy an Energy Star CFL or LED retrofit to upgrade your lighting and lower your energy bills.
  3. Replace old fluorescent tube lighting with smaller and energy efficient tube lighting under the counters for a striking effect but lesser cost.
  4. Install modern task lighting with LED lights as focal points for the counters.
  5. Install group lights on a separate control switch so you can turn on a few lights at a time and prevent energy overuse. Use dimmers to control the amount of energy used.
  6. If your budget is tight for retrograding, swap old bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs.

Posted by & filed under Kitchen Renovation.

The Floor:

The flooring in your kitchen is one of the most important considerations that you can make for this high traffic area. Having the correct flooring can make a huge difference in this often-used space since its noticeable characteristics are often about functionality and less about aesthetics. Ceramic or porcelain tile has long been a kitchen flooring of choice because it is attractive, resilient, comes in a wide range of style options and can stand up to the heaviest punishment your family can dish out.

Kitchen tiles

 

Large layouts are the most popular kitchen styles because they minimize grout lines and they can make a small kitchen appear larger. Square is the preferred shape for tiles, but rectangles, hexagons, and octagons can convey a distinctive statement too. Ceramic in the kitchen also yields a great return on your investment because a high quality, well-crafted tile floor implies a level of ownership pride. The inherent quality of the flooring is a great selling point since prospective home owners see a beautiful tile floor and appreciate its quality and lasting durability.

Porcelain or ceramic tiles are the strongest type of flooring with porcelain being sturdier and less porous than ceramic.You can create any number of looks with tile from contemporary to charming and cozy. Ceramic in the kitchen creates a visual focal point. The look and feel of tiles instantly conveys quality, simplicity, and a hint of opulence. They are resistant to chemicals, water absorption, staining, and scratching and maintenance is very easy. They are sterile and hygienic without any toxicity.

The primary differences between porcelain and ceramic are the temperature at which they are kiln fired and the raw materials used to manufacture them. Porcelain is created by exposing the clay to very high temperatures and this in turn hardens the surface, which makes these tiles highly desirable. In addition to being durable and impact-resistant, they will outlast any other flooring materials that have faded, buckled or cracked over time. Whether you choose ceramic or porcelain, ensure that you purchase floor tiles that are called ‘floor tiles’. Be certain that they that have a slightly raised pattern or texture to allow for a safer kitchen floor.

Although tiles are still one of the most popular choices for kitchen flooring, there is a downside. The very hardness that makes tile so desirable can be difficult to stand on for long periods of time while cooking. Serious cooks will want to put down floor mats to cushion their legs and take the stress of their backs. Another liability of kitchen tiles is that their surface is cold to the touch on bare feet and dropped dishes, mugs, and glasses can break on impact.

Backsplash:

  • Like kitchen flooring, ceramic or porcelain backsplash in the kitchen is one of the most preferred choices because of its many benefits. Backsplash is available in many styles and textures, and it’s easy to clean because it’s slippery and sleek. Spills or splash stains wipe off easily and require no special cleaners other than warm water and a soft towel.
  • If you have an outdated kitchen with old fashioned tiles, the new up-to-the-minute designs are simple enough to replace. The procedure for installation of tiles is super easy that even a novice can learn how to install them. Many of the newer styles come in sheets of multiple tiles and even the grouting is premade these days. This makes installing ceramic tiles a snap.
  • Since ceramic and porcelain tiles are produced using only natural materials, they are environmentally friendly with no toxic contaminants. In addition, they help to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  • A tiled backsplash not only updates the look of your kitchen in an elegant way, but it improves your home’s value. This low cost improvement goes a long way to making the kitchen appear cleaner and brighter with a touch of pizzazz as a finishing touch.

When it comes to choice, there are infinite options to choose from regarding kitchen tiles. The designs and styles are endless and the price range can fit any budget. All you need is a little imagination to create your perfect look.

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

As we transition through life to our senior years, safety in the home becomes a priority for many older adults. This is especially true of the bathroom because it is considered the most dangerous room in the house. There are slippery surfaces that one might fall on and sharp corners where a person can hit their head. However, by integrating some practical safety renovations, it can be the one room where you start your day with confidence. With the right bathroom safety renovations and a little help from tax incentives, you can turn the most dangerous room in the house to one of the safest.

According to Ontario.ca, the Ontario Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit is a permanent, refundable personal income tax credit that is worth up to $1,500 each year. It is calculated as 15 percent of up to $10,000 in eligible home modifications that help seniors be more functional in their home. To quality, you need to be 65 years old or older by the end of the year for which you are claiming the credit or living with a family member who is a senior. Your income doesn’t matter; seniors and their family member at all income levels are eligible. more info

With that in mind, here are some bathroom modifications that can outfit your bathroom to become a safer, secure and more pleasurable private environment.

Bathtub with handheld shower

The Location:

If possible, one fully remodeled bathroom on the main floor is the ideal. Keep in mind that space is an important factor for moving around if there are assisted devices like canes, walkers or wheelchairs. It allows individuals the freedom and safety to move easily around the toilet, bathtub, shower stall, cabinets and closets. If a first floor bathroom is not an option and mobility is an issue, than consider installing a chair lift to get to the second floor.

Bathtub/Shower:

Walk-in tubs and showers are one the best safety features for seniors. Most of them include grip bars, seating and non-slip floors. They are usually lower to the ground for ease of entering or exiting with little effort. One type of shower to consider is the roll-in shower that has a stall with a curb-less entrance. The opening is 36 inches wide and wheelchair accessible. A handheld showerhead with adjustable settings is suitable because it can be moved around easily, especially if you’re seated, and the temperature controls are at your fingertips. When considering a walk-in tub, invest in one with whirlpool jets to receive the benefits of relieving tender muscles and relaxation.

Toilet:

Low toilet seats can be difficult for seniors; however, if you have a toilet seat at the proper height, it can make a big difference in the comfort and safety in your bathroom. By replacing the existing toilet with a senior-friendly toilet, (a chair-height toilet) it will give you the freedom to raise and lower your body weight with minimal effort. If your personal situation is structurally more complex, you can consider installing a special lift chair that is made to mechanically lift and lower your body from the toilet.

Non-Slip Flooring:

Nothing is more dangerous for seniors than a wet, slippery floor in the bathroom. It can result in fatal injuries and it should be replaced or modified for injury prevention. There are several options to consider for making the bathroom floor a safer feature. Most vinyl flooring can provide excellent traction for a little bit of extra safety. Cork or Bamboo is popular because they’re attractive, comfortable and depending on the finish, they can be non-slip and quite safe. Carpeting is always a good option because it can be safe, warm and soft on bare feet. Large area rugs with non-skid backings also work well because they offer you security at an affordable price.

Lighting:

Proper lighting in the bathroom is essential since seniors typically have some sort of impaired vision. Replace old, outdated or dimly lit fixtures with up-to-date lights to eliminate shadows and dark spaces. A brightly lit vanity in the bathroom will help to prevent bumps and bruises and make the bathroom safer. Additionally, installing a light in the shower or bathtub stall will help a senior navigate around the space with more confidence.

Extra Safety Features:

  • Install grabs bars throughout the bathroom where needed most.
  • Install adjustable height counter tops with rounded edges.
  • Make provisions for roll-under access in front of the sink.
  • Install tilting mirrors for ease of use in a sitting position.
  • Lower the medicine cabinet for convenience and a handy reach.

Feel free to contact us to discuss your own bathroom safety renovations for seniors.

Posted by & filed under Interior Design.

When considering ways to improve your home’s energy-efficiency, ceiling fans should come to mind. Ceiling fans are a great way to cool your home during the hotter months and circulate warm air during the colder months. They are relatively inexpensive, generally quiet, and they come in a variety of materials and styles to suit any décor, including some with light fixtures.

Ceiling fan in the dining roomA ceiling fan is a cost-effective investment because it can work efficiently all year-round. The continuous movement of air in the home can affect the indoor temperature by up to 10%, which translates into money saving features for the homeowner. Most ceiling fans use about as much power as a 100 watt light bulb. This low wattage can save you up to 10% in heating costs and up to 40% in air conditioning costs!

Most ceiling fans are equipped with reversible settings that allow you to make adjustments in the air flow depending on the season. During the summertime, rotate the ceiling fan in the counter-clockwise direction to produce a cool breeze. The airflow produces a wind-chill effect, making you feel cooler by evaporating moisture from your skin. Since ceiling fans use only one-tenth the energy of air conditioners, you can turn up the thermostat on your AC to make up the difference. This will save energy while maintaining the same temperature; thereby, remaining comfortable for less money.

Because warm air is lighter than cool air, there are layers of air with varying degrees of temperature, the warmest air being near the ceiling. In the winter, reverse the motor setting and operate the ceiling fan in the clockwise direction to produce a gentle updraft. This forces the warm air near the ceiling to circulate down throughout the living space. As with the energy savings of air conditioners in the summer, the same principle applies to adjusting your thermostat in the colder months. You can reduce the house temperature and still maintain warmth and comfort.

You can also gain additional benefits by using passive techniques when using ceiling fans, such as windows coverings and planting shade trees near the house. These inert accompaniments can help you to further reduce your energy consumption and save you extra money.

When shopping for ceiling fans, look beyond the price since cheaper models may warp over time and have overly thin blades that can vibrate with an annoyingly noisy motor. Look for ENERGY-STAR certified fans because they are 20% more efficient than other standard models, they come equipped with variable speed controls and a motor rated between 80 and 120 watts. This rating is considered the gold standard for efficacy.

The size of the ceiling fan is determined by the size of the room that it will occupy. Also, the size is defined by the diameter of the blades, which generally range from 60 to 135 cm. For the most effective benefit that you can experience from ceiling fans, they should be hung from ceilings that are higher than 2.5 meters (approximately 8 feet). When they are mounted, they should hang at least 30 cm (approximately 12 inches) from the surface of the ceiling. You should also choose a fan with blades set at a 15-degree angle for optimum air circulation. Here is a guideline for choosing the right ceiling fan for your room:

Room Size – Ceiling Fan Size

  • 75 sq ft – 29-36 in
  • 76-144 sq ft – 36-42 in
  • 145-225 sq ft  – 44 in
  • 226-400 sq ft – 50-54 in

If you want to get the most out of your ceiling fan for its energy-efficiency, there are really only a few simple rules for you remember:

  • Purchase a fan with an Energy Star Rating
  • Choose the right size fan for the room
  • Install it properly
  • Set the correct blade rotation for the season
  • Adjust your home thermostat accordingly

Posted by & filed under Home Renovations, Kitchen Renovation.

If your kitchen is showing signs of aging, giving it a makeover is one of the best bang-for-your-buck projects that you can undertake to bring it back to life. With some rudimentary skills, it’s possible for you to dramatically change the look of your kitchen without a costly kitchen renovation. Even a few key changes that you do over time can yield big results that are extremely effective and personally rewarding.

For homeowners on a tight budget, there are many fast fixer-uppers that can be done to give a kitchen a fresh, updated look without breaking the bank. If you consider yourself a warrior who’s prepared to tackle a makeover, here are some suggestions to create pizzazz in your kitchen.

Interior Paint Colours

Paint:

Nothing improves that look of a kitchen more than freshly painted walls. Adding a new coat of paint is one of the easiest and most economical ways to change the overall appearance of your kitchen. It will do wonders for transforming your old, tired looking room into a rejuvenated setting. When considering paint colours, choose a neutral tone for longevity and its ability to make the room appear larger to highlight is esthetic appeal.

Cabinets:

  1. If your kitchen has old-fashioned wooden cabinets, you can dramatically alter their look by painting them. It is usually inexpensive and it can be done in a relatively short period of time. You can either refurbish your cabinets with a dramatic and bold accent against soft hue walls or the cabinets can have an understated tone as a carry over effect. However, the trick to beautiful cabinets is in the preparation of the surface. Select a paint that is a semi-gloss/gloss alkyd paint that will be easy to clean and repel stains.
  2. Another option you can consider is to reface your old cabinets. This method is more expensive, but considerably less costly than replacing all of the cabinets. Refacing can make cabinets look brand new by removing the door and drawer fronts and replacing them with a veneer or pre-finished wood. The choices are endless in whatever style and finish you prefer. You can even add molding or trim for an added touch of elegance.

Hardware:

Hardware has been called the jewelry of your kitchen, so for a quick and easy transformation, grab your screwdriver and get rid of the worn and outdated items. New hardware can make a huge impact to the overall look and feel of your room. Replace old cabinet knobs, pulls and hinges for an instantaneous alteration. The options are infinite, so let the personality of your kitchen be your guide when making your selection. Whatever you decide, make sure the hardware matches the existing hole locations.

Flooring

Since replacing flooring can be a costly endeavor, adding large area rugs can give your kitchen that added spark for brightening up your room. However, if you can budget for a new floor, you can purchase inexpensive vinyl flooring or a most expensive material if your kitchen area is small. You can also consider covering your old flooring with a new thin underlayment backer-board for a clean, fresh start and install porcelain tiles that are permanently bonded to interlocking trays. They simply snap together after they are laid down properly and grouted in place.

Fixtures

  1. Changing your sink faucet with a modern, sleek, up-to-date design is an affordable, fast and easy way to spruce up the look of your kitchen. Select a solid metal faucet because it’s heavier and more durable and will look great over time.
  2. Improve and transform your kitchen with new light fixtures. You can find all sorts of styles in a variety of price ranges. Choose ceiling-mount fixtures for ambient lighting and under cabinet fluorescent fixtures for task work in the kitchen. Modern-day lighting will not only brighten up your room, it will enhance your kitchen’s features.

There are endless possibilities for transforming your outdated kitchen with easy-to-fix solutions for a revitalized appearance. By updating your kitchen with a little imagination, you can give it a fashionable look at an affordable price.