Posts Tagged ‘high end design tips’

Creating Flow in an Open Concept Space

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Open concept kitchens, living spaces and dining areas are making their way from urban loft living to the suburbs.  New construction and renovations are featuring a noticeable lack of walls between the main living areas.  Opening up these spaces definitely changes the feeling of the home, but can also present new challenges in decorating.

There are two basic ways of decorating an open concept space: treat the space as one large room or try to break it up into individual rooms within the open space. This room does both successfully.  The library is easily identified because of the built-in nature of shelves.  Otherwise this room was a blank slate that could be divided in a number of different ways.

This open space is divided into three distinct activity areas simply by furniture placement. An  area for tea or a card game is created by placing a table and chairs just off to the side of the room. A conversation area takes its place alongside a fireplace.  A library table and chairs is placed within easy access to the books. Laying out the room in this manner creates flow between the spaces, but allows them to feel separate as well.

No matter if you decide to divide or unify an open concept space, open concept is a great high end design layout for today’s living.

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Cabinet Materials

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

When designing your kitchens, its important to understand and choose the right type of materials to keep a long lasting and beautiful cabinetry.  Now that we are at the tail end of summer, it’s particularly important for those living in high humidity areas.  Certain types of woods are more prone to warping and damage, so we should choose woods that will not only compliment our living space, but will be practical in withstanding the tests of time.  I’ve covered the types of woods common in furniture making in a previous post…now lets cover the types of wood that are good for cabinetry.

  • Red Oak – Strong and durable, this wood is ideal for custom made cabinets.  The bold color and strong grain patterns give your cabinets added texture.
  • White Oak – Even stronger than the Red Oak, this has more of a golden tone.  The grain is more subtle and this wood is often used in an “arts and crafts” type of feel.
  • Maple – This wood is more expensive than oak but less dense.  This wood can be stained as it has a light color but often to brighten a room, this wood is best with a clear or natural finish.
  • Hickory – Has a similar strength and grain pattern as oak wood.  Lighter in color, and like the Maple, this wood can add to the brightness of a room with it’s natural color.
  • Cherry – A hard wood with a unique coloring that darkens with age, this wood is versatile and can be used to give your kitchen a warm feel.

Keep in mind, wood warps easily so it is important that the cabinetry be finished as soon as possible.  Veneered cabinets are more stable than solid lumber in the high humidity areas.  Choose the woods that best compliment your home, but be cognitive of the long-term effects.  Finish your wood and enjoy the design!

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Mold In The Home

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Even the most luxurious houses can run the risk of obtaining a mold problem. This is a common issue with home and apartment owners and can be a dangerous issue to have. Molds can cause health problems when breathed in and can be potentially very toxic.

If you have a mold problem it’s best to call a professional because it’s virtually impossible to remove the mold without removing the area the mold is growing on. However there are preventative steps you can take to ensure that the molds will not grow in your home or at least kept to a minimum.

  • Molds like moisture. Fix any leaky pipes in your home immediately.
  • Places that are damp like the shower are hard to keep completely free of mold. Clean these areas frequently.
  • Do not paint moldy surfaces. Paint over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.
    Control the humidity in the home. Keeping the home dry will help prevent mold from growing.
  • Proper ventilation will air out damp areas.
  • Sealants around windows can prevent excess moisture from accumulating.

If you have a severe mold problem, contact a local professional to help take care of the issue.

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Heat Is Here !! — A/C Maintenance Checklist

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Maintain your equipment to prevent future problems and unwanted costs. Keep your cooling and heating system at peak performance by having a contractor do annual pre-season check-ups. Contractors get busy once summer and winter come, so it’s best to check the cooling system in the spring and the heating system in the fall. To remember, you might plan the check-ups around the time changes in the spring and fall.

A typical maintenance check-up should include the following.

● Check thermostat settings to ensure the cooling and heating system keeps you comfortable when you are home and saves energy while you are away.

● Tighten all electrical connections and measure voltage and current on motors. Faulty electrical connections can cause unsafe operation of your system and reduce the life of major components.

● Lubricate all moving parts. Parts that lack lubrication cause friction in motors and increases the amount of electricity you use.

● Check and inspect the condensate drain in your central air conditioner, furnace and/or heat pump (when in cooling mode). A plugged drain can cause water damage in the house and affect indoor humidity levels.

● Check controls of the system to ensure proper and safe operation. Check the starting cycle of the equipment to assure the system starts, operates, and shuts off properly.

Cooling Specific

● Clean evaporator and condenser air conditioning coils. Dirty coils reduce the system’s ability to cool your home and cause the system to run longer, increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.

● Check your central air conditioner’s refrigerant level and adjust if necessary. Too much or too little refrigerant will make your system less efficient increasing energy costs and reducing the life of the equipment.

● Clean and adjust blower components to provide proper system airflow for greater comfort levels. Airflow problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 15 percent.

Heating Specific

● Check all gas (or oil) connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger. Improperly operating gas (or oil) connections are a fire hazard and can contribute to health problems. A dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes improper burner operation. Either can cause the equipment to operate less safely and efficiently.

Actions To Do Yourself

● Inspect, clean, or change air filters once a month in your central air conditioner, furnace, and/or heat pump. Your contractor can show you how to do this. A dirty filter can increase energy costs and damage your equipment, leading to early failure.


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Antiqued Wood Floors

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Antiqued wood floorsDistinct from new wood that is distressed to appear aged, antique or reclaimed wood is truly old. Antique floor boards come from several sources. You can often find flooring that’s been removed from an old building, or you can get freshly sawn floor boards cut from very old timbers. Some salvage companies dive into lakes and rivers to pull up old-growth trees that were harvested in the 19th century but sank on their way to the mill. Other wood is reclaimed when old structures are demolished — barns, boxcars, industrial buildings, even wine casks. Many dealers provide information — some very detailed — on your floor’s past life.

There’s a double benefit: You get a distinctive floor, and lumber that might have been discarded is reused, saving forests.

Reclaimed wood that originated in old-growth forests, which grew slower and straighter than most of today’s timberlands, has a straighter, tighter grain. And decades of oxidation give it deeper, richer colors. “Antique wood has a lot of character,” says architect Ted Montgomery, of GroundSwell Architects, in Charlotte, Vt., “which is another way of saying it’s not perfect.” You’ll see nail holes, stains, and even minor insect damage in the boards. And that only contributes to their beauty.

Reclaimed flooring is generally milled the same as new solid-wood flooring and is available in ½- or ¾-inch-thick planks. Most reclaimed flooring comes unfinished — on-site finishing gives it a more authentic look — but a few manufacturers have introduced prefinished antique products. Expect to pay about two times the materials cost of new wood for antique or reclaimed wood, although some manufacturers offer “blends” from several sources, whose price is a bit more economical.

Reclaimed wood flooring should be kiln-dried, which kills bugs, exposes hidden cracks, and minimizes moisture content. It should also have any structural defects trimmed out. But those who deal in reclaimed wood say the most important indicator of quality is the track record of the supplier, along with his willingness to answer questions and to put in writing all specifics regarding grade and condition. It’s up to you to request a sample — a good idea with such a one-of-a-kind product — so you know what to expect before your floor arrives.

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