(BPT) - Love the look of sleek, elegant shower spaces featured in popular home-improvement magazines and TV shows? You don't need to be a design expert to update your favorite bathroom with touches of modern luxury and influences of European simplicity. To create a fashionable, functional and fabulous shower, follow these three rules.
Rule 1: Create clean lines
A design aesthetic that embraces clean lines is at the heart of sleek shower designs. Skip complicated patterns and ornate details in favor of polished designs that produce a beautiful, finished look.
In shower spaces, consider the surround and flooring transition. Explore joint systems and find one that is seamless and low-maintenance. Consider flat walls rather than traditional curved varieties. Be aware of the visual impact a shower has when viewed both internally and externally.
Clean lines, simple transitions and smart design are keys to creating a timeless sleek shower that you'll enjoy for years to come.
Rule 2: Think beyond tile
More homeowners are looking for tile alternatives to create sleek shower designs, and Kohler's Choreograph collection is a popular solution. The collection features Serica material, a proprietary composite material that precisely combines crushed stone and fiber reinforcement to create unparalleled durability and beauty.
The Serica walls are available in a variety of decorative options - from simple solid colors to fresh textures, as well as stone-like decorative natural options - all with a matte finish to provide a honed look and textured element. Optional accent panels add visual emphasis or contrast to the overall shower design.
Additionally, the walls can be trimmed in-field to allow installers to cut to the exact dimension of the shower space. Installation is much simpler than with tile, meaning the job can be completed in less time while providing homeowners with an equally beautiful space.
Rule 3: Use functional design
Today's shower spaces are too often cluttered, which isn't just uncomfortable - it's also unsafe. A sleek shower space is enhanced by thoughtful details that make it easy to stay organized.
Start by thinking through your daily routines to help shape the vision of an ultra-functional bathroom space. Keep in mind, sleek design doesn't necessarily mean minimalist design. The right storage solutions and built-in features will adapt to your routine without overwhelming the space.
The Choreograph collection is ideal for creating a sleek, functional space. The collection includes a variety of decorative walls, a joint system, in-wall storage, on-wall storage and seating in different styles, colors and finishes to create traditional, transitional and contemporary spaces that fit both the functionality and aesthetic needs of homeowners.
Sleek shower designs may be hot, but experts predict this is one trend that is here to stay. By following these three guidelines, you'll create a stunning shower space you'll enjoy every day.
(BPT) - Investing in a bathroom upgrade is in the cards for nearly a quarter of homeowners planning to renovate within the next 12 months, according to a new survey by Bankrate.com. Improving a bathroom is rewarding on multiple levels; if you're selling, buyers love great bathrooms. If you're staying, a luxurious bathroom can be a relaxing oasis where you'll be happy to begin or end a busy day.
Your bathroom is also an expression of who you are, and it should reflect not only your needs but your unique artistic flare as well. What could be more satisfying than making an artistic statement in one of the most-used rooms in your home? If you're planning a bathroom renovation, here are four ways to make a statement in the space - and elevate your bathroom to a work of art:
Choose a showpiece sink
Few design elements afford such a perfect opportunity for utility and artistry to blend beautifully as does the bathroom sink. A striking statement vessel in patterned porcelain or smoky glass can be a focal point for your vanity while still providing ample space for essential functioning.
It's not difficult to find statement-style sinks, but to truly elevate the basin to a form of art, look for options that evoke the look and feel of the era when luxury items were handcrafted by learned artisans. Kohler, a trusted name in bathroom fixtures for more than 100 years, offers Kohler Artists Editions collections that turn everyday fixtures into striking statement pieces. Whether you choose the subtle, carved texture and the complex color transitions of the Derring collection, the organic beauty of the Nature's Chemistry glass lavatories or the old-world stylings of the Sartorial Line, each piece is a unique statement of your personal artistry.
Stun with a standout shower
Most Americans spend six to 10 minutes or more in the shower each day, according to multiple surveys. But a shower is so much more than just a place to get clean. A shower can soothe at the end of a trying day, or invigorate your senses in preparation for a busy day ahead. Statement showers incorporate luxury features such as multiple shower heads, wall jets, hand showers, rainfall showerheads, seating, customized lighting and even sound and video.
While bigger may be better in a statement shower, it may not always be possible. Start with a glass enclosure that makes the shower feel open to the room. If your space is small, choose lighter-colored tile. Bigger showers can withstand darker tile work.
Create luxury with countertops
Options like granite, marble, concrete, limestone and other natural stones might be too costly for a kitchen, where you have a lot of counter space, but they're a cost-effective way to make a statement in a bathroom where you have less square footage to cover.
These high-end materials pair perfectly with statement sinks to create a unique, one-of-a-kind look. Upgrade bathroom countertops to your dream material and then add luxury touches like a matching backsplash or under-counter LED lighting.
Transformations with tubs
Tub options are virtually limitless these days, and you can find statement tubs in every size and style imaginable. The tub is often the essential element homeowners and designers first fall in love with, and the one that establishes the direction for their overall bathroom redesign.
Soaking tubs continue to be popular installations for bathroom renovations, according to the 2016 National Kitchen & Bath Association trend report. Whether you choose a traditional claw-foot design that evokes a bygone era, a concrete tub that creates a more modern or industrial look, or a porcelain confection with sweeping, graceful lines, you can find a statement tub to match your personal sense of artistry.
Renovating a bathroom is an investment well worth the time, money and passion - and it's an opportunity to put your artistic mark on one of the most important rooms in any home.
13604 Natural Stone in the Shower
“Stone can be a good choice for the shower, but it does require certain care and maintenance,” said David Bonasera, owner of ESP, a San Jose, California-based distributor of environmentally safe cleaning and sealing products for natural stone. “The most important thing you can do is be a good steward to the stone.”
Know Your Material
A useful generalization is that the lighter the stone, the more porous it is. Darker stones have a tighter molecular structure and are less likely to stain, Bonasera said. There are many exceptions to this concept and a knowledgeable stone supplier and fabricator can help guide you to a suitable material.
Granite is a good choice for bathrooms, said Jacqueline Tabbah, vice president of International Stoneworks, Inc., a stone restoration company in Houston, Texas.
“Most granites are easier to maintain because they don’t react to the three As: acid, ammonia and alcohol,” she said. “Acid reacts to marble and travertine, and etches the surface, removing the polished finish.”
Understand Proper Care
“Customers may decide not to use natural stone, but porcelain tile can become discolored and grout lines can darken,” she said. “There is always upkeep, it will just be different.”
When cleaning natural stone, it is best to keep things simple. Soapy cleaners can add buildup and attract dirt while vinegar and harsh cleaners can damage stone. To avoid these issues, always use a neutral cleaner with a pH level around seven.
A few quick preventative measures can keep stone surfaces looking fresh. To help avoid water marks on the stone surface, use a squeegee on the walls after showering. Bonasera also recommends leaving the door open to accelerate air drying and using glycerin over traditional bar soap.
“It’s transparent and doesn’t have a lot of fat, lye and animal byproducts that are in regular soap,” he said. “It will cut soap scum, which is a food source for mold.”
For more information about using natural stone in your shower, or elsewhere in your home, visit usenaturalstone.com.
Main image (white marble shower) courtesy of Stoneshop
Building Stone Institute
Fast tips to protect your home when hosting guests
(BPT) - Hosting friends and family at your home is a guaranteed way to make long-lasting memories.
Not only will your guests be reminiscing about the wonderful chats and laughs you shared, but thanks to some quick tips from Minwax(R) spokesperson, Bruce Johnson, they'll remember how great your home looked, too.
To prepare your home for guests, no matter how long they plan to stay, consider these 9 easy tips:
Mats and rugs: The sand and dirt on the bottom of guests' shoes act like 60-grit sandpaper, wearing away your floor's finish as they move from room to room. Protect your floors with fresh doormats and colorful rugs on each side of your doors. Plus, new rugs add a welcoming touch while instantly refreshing your space.
Fill furniture nicks: Make furniture look new again by filling in marks and scratches the easy way with Minwax(R) Stain Markers(TM). Available in a wide range of wood tone colors, Minwax Stain Markers have a convenient felt tip that delivers stain precisely where you need it, making your worn furniture look virtually new again.
Move fragile objects: Hosting can mean extra activity throughout a home and accidents can easily happen. Rather than a friend accidentally bumping into your grandma's heirloom porcelain vase, opt to store it for a while. Breakables are best put away when guests are over, especially when hosting large parties.
Protect finishes: A great way to preserve and protect the finish on any of your wooden furniture is with a coat of Minwax(R) Paste Finishing Wax, in either natural or special dark. Rub it on, let it begin to dry, then buff with a soft cloth to a semi-gloss sheen.
Directions: Finicky furnace? Touchy toilet? Microwave with a mind of its own? Ease guests' stay by posting a small note card with directions for anything that might not be obvious. You'll make them feel at home!
Set out guest towels: Overnight guests will need to shower and prepare for the day. Set out extra towels and washrags for their use either by the guest bathroom sink or on their bed. Not only is this convenient, but it also encourages guests to wipe up wet messes which will eliminate future mold and mildew growth.
Protect tabletops: To avoid unintended white rings and water spots on wooden surface, apply a coat of Minwax(R) Wipe-On Poly a few days before your guests arrive. Then, set out coasters and trivets for easy use so guests stow drinks safely throughout your home.
Quick Cleanup: No need for a full cleanup after an event, but basic steps can help avoid long-lasting damage. Make sure to visit each room and pick up plates, cups, napkins and glasses. These often have moisture or food under them which can damage furniture (and smell) if left overnight.
Big Results on a Little Budget
DIY projects that pay to do yourself
(Family Features) With the abundance of home improvement shows on TV, DIY has evolved from an intimidating trade for the pros to an easy-to-manage project for even the least handy of humans. Transforming a home from disaster to delightful through simple DIY projects and repairs is much easier than you may think and can save you a bundle in the process. If the thought of doing your own handy work has you wiping your brow, think again with these easy improvements.
Stained tubs. Nobody likes to look in the bathroom and see a dirty, grime-stained bathtub or shower. Most of the time, that grime and grit builds up and becomes difficult to remove, making an already annoying mess even more of a headache. Depending on the type of material your tub is, you can opt for an abrasive powder, baking soda or even a pumice stone to rub out those nasty spots.
Wall dents and holes. Wrestling matches among the kids, rambunctious pets and moving furniture all take their toll on your walls. The dings and scratches are easy to fix with a little spackle and paint, but with the right resources, so are bigger blemishes – even outright holes. When you use a kit such as the 3M Large Hole Wall Repair Kit (Lowe’s, $15.98), there’s no need to hire a pro or buy a bunch of tools for holes up to 5 inches in diameter. The kit includes everything you need to fix anything from a can-light hole in the ceiling to a door knob hole in the wall – no experience required. Unlike mesh screens that can leave lumps on the wall, this product uses an innovative behind-the-wall back plate for a flat fill that generates the same results as hiring a professional.
Dripping faucets. Plumbing can be especially intimidating, but one of the most common plumbing annoyances – a dripping faucet – can be fixed in just a few minutes with just a few dollars. Usually the cause of a drippy faucet is a washer or O-ring that has gone bad and you can simply replace those parts. Turn off the water then use a screwdriver or hex wrench to loosen and remove the faucet fitting. You should be able to easily see the washer and ring fittings. Just replace the old with the new and reassemble. Note that if the drip is coming from a faucet with separate handles for hot and cold, you’ll want to isolate which handle is the culprit before you get started.
Find more cost-saving DIY home repair solutions at diy.3m.com.SOURCE:
(BPT) - Losing power at home is inconvenient. When it happens, the worst part is not knowing if the outage will last for a couple hours, or if it will stretch on for days. But if you take a little time to get organized and round up a few items today, you will be ready to keep your family comfortable when the lights go out.
"This time of year, a variety of causes can lead to a power outage and affect the length of the outage, as well," says Ed Del Grande, a home improvement TV host, author and syndicated columnist. "Ice storms, high winds and other winter weather can damage transmission equipment and cause an outage. A little preparation can help you get through it safely and comfortably."
Experts like Del Grande recommend grabbing an oversized plastic bin and loading it with the essentials so you're ready when the lights go out.
Pull together some non-perishable, ready-to-eat foods. A couple jars of peanut butter and some boxes of crackers can go a long way in keeping your family happy and fed. Also, include some canned goods, like meat, fruits and veggies, along with instant hot cocoa and coffee. Include energy-dense foods like protein bars, dried fruit, peanuts and nuts. Finally, don't forget the goodies, like fun-size candy bars and chips and salsa. Keep your camp stove or grill in a place where you can easily pull it out, but remember, do your cooking outdoors.
Make sure you have the right supplies to get you through those long nights and brief days of winter, safely. Round up all the flashlights in your home, pull out that battery-operated camping lantern from the garage and get them into one convenient place. Then, the next time you're at the store, pick up extra batteries so you can keep those lights going throughout the duration of a power outage.
Keep a stack of quilts, old comforters, woolen blankets and even sleeping bags handy so you can all snuggle in. Along with these, gloves, scarves, sweaters, fleece and stocking caps can also ward off the chill that will creep in.
Electronics and entertainment
It's the immutable law of the power outage: It always hits when your device has less than 20 percent battery power. Pick up a couple of rechargeable power banks to keep smartphones and other electronic devices powered up. And don't get rid of older devices such as MP3 players and personal compact disc players. Use them to play music or an audio book when the lights - and the Wi-Fi - are knocked out. Finally, have some low-tech entertainment at the ready. Books, board games and even a deck of playing cards can help pass the time and maybe even help with family bonding.
Consider investing in a standby generator
A great way to ensure you have safe, reliable backup power in the event of an outage is to invest in an automatic standby generator like those from Kohler. These generators are installed right outside your home, much like a central air conditioner. Once the power cuts out from your utility provider, a standby generator kicks in within seconds, even if you're not home. That's because standby generators connect to your existing fuel lines, whether it's natural gas or propane. So the next time the outage hits, your family won't be without the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, stove, or anything that runs on electricity, including smartphones and computers.
If you're interested in learning more about standby generators, KohlerGenerators.com has several resources to help you explore the many options, including videos and sizing calculators, so you can find one that's right for your home. For additional tips on how to prepare your home for a power outage, visit the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes at FLASH.org.
(BPT) - Just a decade or two ago, home automation was still something of a novelty. Some homeowners might have had programmable thermostats in their homes, but many probably hadn't thought of automating things like window coverings. Moreover, they likely viewed any home automation they did have as a convenience. Today, home automation is becoming an essential efficiency-enhancing element in many homes.
Right now, just fewer than 6 percent of American households have automated homes, but within four years that percentage is expected to triple to nearly 19 percent, according to data compiled by Statista.com. What's driving more people to automate their homes? A report by icontrol networks found security, cost savings and eco-friendly energy efficiency are what people find most exciting about home automation.
Heating and cooling, lighting and security systems are among the most common elements automated in homes, but they're far from the only ones that can save you money and make your home more efficient. Here are three surprising things you can automate in your home to further improve efficiency, boost energy savings and lower energy costs:
Shades, drapes, blinds, and awnings can all help control the amount of heat and light that enter your home. Selecting window coverings to block out light and heat in summer, and admit light in winter, can help your home's heating and cooling systems work more efficiently. However, the effectiveness of window coverings hinges on opening and closing them at the right time - something you may forget to do, or not be home to do.
Automating and powering window coverings can help automatically maximize their effectiveness. Depending on the climate where you live, automating window coverings could yield energy savings of 11-20 percent, according to a study commissioned by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
Somfy's motorized solutions easily integrate with any home automation system, regardless of brand or technology, and offer many options for controlling window coverings. Select from a wide variety of hand-held remotes, sensors, wall switches, and the myLink app that allows you to control your motorized window coverings from mobile devices.
If you've ever been locked out of your house or had a guest arrive at your home when you were out, you probably wished there was some way to unlock your front door without a key - and from miles away. Smart locks allow you to do both those things and more.
You can replace or supplement an existing lock by installing a smart lock, and you won't need a professional locksmith to do it. If you can install a regular lock and operate a smartphone, you have the expertise you need to add and use a smart lock.
In addition to allowing you to lock and unlock your door without a key, smart locks also allow you to operate the lock remotely from an app on your phone. You can also receive alerts when the door has been unlocked - a great way to track the comings and goings of latchkey kids. Many allow you to generate a single-use digital key that you can email to guests or service providers who may need to enter your home when you're not there. Smart locks can also be paired with most popular home automation systems.
Many appliance makers are offering smart, connected appliances with the big draw being their "wow factor." However, some of the features of these appliances do hold the potential to improve a home's efficiency and energy savings.
For example, a refrigerator that tracks groceries and lets you know when you're about to run out of an important item could help you better plan your shopping trips. Fewer car trips conserves gas and reduces greenhouse emissions. Cooking is another area where automation can relieve some of the energy waste caused by human error. Smart ovens and cooktops can sense when to turn themselves off in case you forget to do it - reducing energy waste and fire risks.
More homeowners are discovering the convenience, security and efficiency advantages of home automation. Technology is helping make American homes more livable and enjoyable.
The Truth About America's Cleaning Habits
(Family Features) People across the country spend countless amounts of time cleaning around the house. One of the most problematic areas is the kitchen, where 91 percent of Americans say they “deep clean” at least once a year. Rather than wasting precious time spraying and scrubbing, you can now find appliances with a finish that guards against skin’s natural oils, including the Maytag Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel kitchen suite. Save yourself an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes of time cleaning the kitchen each month with appliances that help prevent smearing and streaking. Find more information at maytag.com.
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