Colours of 2014

In my last post I mentioned white colour as a medium to visually unclutter small spaces. 2014 offers new inspirations for your interiors. Designers take a modern twist on the traditional by pairing soft pastels with vivid brights to create a colourful equilibrium. So here some of the hits.

Disciplined romance of a city living – Paloma Grey

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Fresh memories – Violet Tulip

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 Natural commitment – Hemlock Green

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To be continued….

Small spaces – big ideas

Small spaces present a challenge of balancing practical needs and aesthetics.  Here are some elegant solution and tips how to make the most of a limited bathroom space.

Befriend light.

  1. Increase the amount of day light;
  2. Increase the amount of reflected light;
  3. Use transparent and floating materials not to obstruct light.

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Paint it white. White is often used as colour to visually unclutter, expand the space. There are few rules to remember with this colour.

  1. Use warm colours of wood or accessories or even vintage elements to avoid institutional veer
  2. Use warm whites in a limited colour paletes to avoid austere feel.
  3. Use textured and patterned white materials to add richness to an interior.
  4. Use pure whites if your bathroom has unusual architectural elements or outstanding views to emphasise its uniqueness.

whtbathroom view white

Secret places. Niches, shelves and mirror cabinets, are the most common ways to address space storage needs in a small bathroom. To this I would add use of corner space, kitchen inspired storage, and creative storage details like toilet paper grid below. Pocket doors are also a great solution for small spaces.

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Connect. Connect bathroom with the rest of living space through continuous use of the same colours or materials.

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ImageSimple truths. Clean lines, simple shapes and clear accents make small space sufficient and harmonious with our needs.

ImageClose to heart. Clean-lined minimalist look visually exposes and expands the space. But why not embrace its boundaries and create intimate and personalised space?

Water under the bridge. Small spaces mean close approximate of all elements to water. Therefore good drainage, sealants and water resistant/absorbent materials are important if you would like to save on future maintenance.

30c683eb2aaeb231c6164071ea1bc0b3 Remember, any obstacle is an opportunity for creativity to manifest itself.

Good luck!

Building or remodelling your home: be prepared to be prepared.

ImageImageYou can’t spend too much time on planning. Yet there is just not enough time to plan it all.  Here are some tips on what to consider when estimating your timeline.

Standard vs. Custom. How long does it take to ‘do’ a bathroom? A week?  In the ideal fantasy world – yes. In the real world – it depends. 

The more standard your project is the more accurately a builder can estimate the time it’ll take to complete it. Allow for custom made details delays as the production schedule of your suppliers might be put out by other commitments. Ensure all measurements are taken and recorded correctly by your suppliers. This will eliminate any installation dramas.

Any original design has to be meticulously thought through. Any change in utilities infrastructure means extra time and extra cost. The impact of this change on the rest of infrastructure and construction should be carefully considered.

But I want that bath… Source you suppliers and materiars before estimating the time for the project. Some of these stunning tiles, bathroom suites, floors and lights can take time to arrive. Schedule your jobs accordingly.

This means, every single design detail has to be set in stone before you can estimate how long a project can take.

State of the art. If you are going for unique design created by a professional, allow for going back-and-forwards. To settle on details can take up to 6 months.

Finishing touches. Unbelievable, but fact: finishing touches are often underestimated in the timelines. Be sure to understand the exact list and scope for these last touches of brilliance.

What rain? In general, it is worth while spending time understanding how many and what steps major jobs include. Demolition only looks like item in itself, but it might have a different meaning when that kitchen wall is out, and frames have not arrived, and it’s raining. Horizontally. Scheduling at the greater detail and incorporating external factors like weather and public holidays will spare you from few grey hairs.

Where is my plumber? Whenever multiple trades are involved allow for delays and schedule clashes. The way to mitigate this risk is to have couple of electrician, plumbers, etc. on a standby. It worked perfectly for me in the past.

The Big Day. If you can avoid it, do not renovate when pregnant! Don’t tie up the renovation end date to any significant event in your life. Unless you are in need for adrenaline.

Oh, yeah, permits.  Yep, bureaucracy. Has to happen before you do anything. Start the process the moment you had a construction/ renovation/ remodelling/ improvement thought. And don’t forget the community. It is a good idea to start talking to your neighbours about your ‘Dream Home’ from afar as soon as you had that vision.

Remember you. The main stakeholder in your project is you. Plan your life during the project ahead of the project so that the stress is minimum. It happens so often that the ‘saving money’ option can cost relationships. If heavy demolition/reconstruction is on the cards, consider moving out for the period. If you have a lot of items to protect from renovation damage, consider putting them in storage. Anything to keep peace and serenity in your home!

Beware: DIY enthusiast!

DIY4For some of us DIY is a hobby; for some – a way to save money; and for rare people – it’s almost a form of meditation (I’ve seen those 🙂

I any case once in a while even the most talented and experienced DIYers face a disaster. Here are some common pitfalls.

Disaster

Prevention/Remedy tips

 

Drilling through a pipe or a cable Get pipes and   electrical cables detector, use common sense to know where you are drilling   and just in case switch the power off.
Spilling paint whilst decorating  Make sure you   set up properly:  cover all your   valuable surfaces; be mindful where the paint is, and careful when you care   it around. Close the lead tightly. Keep pets and children away 🙂
Flat pack furniture collapse Follow the   instruction. If it still collapsed you might be covered by a manufacturer or   home insurance.
Digging through pipes and cables  Obtain and   update with changes site plans to ensure you don’t end up fixing piping or   cabling instead of planting a tree.
Injuries: falls, cuts, other personal injury Read user   manual for tools and equipment. Wear protective gear. Understand you   risk/benefit from doing the job yourself. Have a comprehensive medical   insurance.
Poor workmanship Set up   properly, for example, have the right tools, measurements and materials.   Learn all the steps of a job. Do them properly or ask a friend with   experience to help. Schedule a job properly to allow enough time to complete   the job and not live it half finished and watch your effort decay.Remember that   a sticking brick can end up in an injury and associated liability case.
Causing home emergency: damaged utilities  Don’t tackle   what is beyond your capabilities. Some home insurers might cover you for an   emergency callout.
Illegal construction Make sure you   obtain all necessary permits before you invest into remodelling and adding to   your home.

Remember certain jobs are not subject to DIY by Law. Be sure to check the legislation when you embark on any of these jobs:

  • Plumbing repairs
  • Electrical repairs
  • Asbestos removal
  • Roofing repairs
  • Gas appliance repairs

Good Luck!

How to choose a toilet

 

ImageIf you thought that choosing a toilet was a simple business Bill and Melinda Gates would disagree with you. They are prepared to invest millions of dollars to choose the right technology. What about you?

Not sure about the millions, but here are some tips to make an informed choice 🙂

Shape & Style

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Eccentric

There are three main configurations of toilet suites: one-piece, two-piece and wall-mounted toilets. Two-piece sets tend to be more affordable. However one-piece suites are easier to clean and fit better into contemporary or modern spaces. Wall-mounted toilets offer the most dramatic effect design wise, but might come at price and need specialist care for the future maintenance.

Styles also offer generous choice and mainly distinguished by cleaner, concealed look or more exposed features. Here are some of them:

Wall faced

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one-piece

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wall faced

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concealed

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close coupled

One-piece

Close coupled

Concealed          

Connector/Link

High tank

Eccentric’s choice

 

Make

Some of the most common materials include porcelain, ceramic, plastic or even steel (if you have a special spot for plane aesthetics). You can have the body of your suit gold-platted or hand painted too. When choosing, consider the manufacturer’s reputation and guarantees as well as the properties of the material itself. 

Connection

Types of toilet pans:

S-trap. Most commonly used in Australia. Connects directly into a floor mounted pan collar.

P-trap. Pans have either a horizontal or angled outlet spigot which connects directly into a pan collar

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mounted on the wall.

Skew trap. Skew trap version pans are available in left and right hand models with a horizontal or angled outlet spigot which is offset at 90° which connects directly into a pan collar mounted on a side wall.

Set-out. The “set-out” is the distance from the wall to the centre of the waste outlet. The set-out can vary greatly depending on the age of the house. Most new homes will have a standard set-out of about 140-165mm, which will enable most toilet suites on the market to be installed. However, if the set-out is more than 200mm or less than 100mm, it will limit your choice in the type of toilet you buy.

Bottom or top (back) inlet. Cisterns also have what’s called a bottom or top (back) inlet. This means the water enters the cistern at its base, usually from an outlet on the wall, or it enters the cistern at the top, via a specially designed hole at the back, so that it is concealed from view. Make sure your plumber knows whether you are installing a top or bottom inlet cistern, or you could find your water line is in the wrong place!

Performance

When choosing your dream toilet suite, compare options on the following metrics:

  • Comfortable size: Is the toilet too small for a large person? Try it out. All of you.
  • Elevated height: For anyone who struggles while lowering and raising themselves, or for those basketball players.
  • Cleanability: If you consider the ease of cleaning a toilet the most important feature, a smooth-sided bowl is the best choice.
  • Quiet flush: if you are a ‘night owl’.
  • Power flushing: Many toilet manufacturers have their own patented flushing systems designed to exceed performance standards. Most of these designs use water pressure to compress air in a chamber. When the toilet is flushed, the air pushes the water out of the chamber at high velocity, flushing the toilet with less water.
  • Automatic seat closing: Some toilets are designed with a slow-moving hinge that gradually lowers both the seat and lid. Doesn’t      this sound like the perfect solution for the lone woman in an all-male household?
  • Insulated water tank: To prevent a build-up of moisture on the outside of the tank (a breeding ground for mold and mildew), many      toilets have an insulated water tank.
  • Two-lever flush: To conserve water, many toilets offer a double-action flushing lever. You push the small lever to release less water for liquids or use the large lever to flush away solid waste.
  • Add-ons. Of course, if there’s no room in a remodel for a bidet, toilet seats that provide a bidet function are available. Heated toilet seats are another option that can be added without busting a bathroom budget.

Sustainable solutions are flooding the industry by the moment, but this is a story for a separate post 😉

Tips

Installation. Make sure that your plumber has worked with the type of toilet suit you are going to install. You don’t want them to be creative when installing a particularly expensive model.

Try it before you buy it. It has to fit you and your family. So, have fun and find the right size and cut for you.