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The Scoop On White Kitchens

White kitchens have definitely stayed a trend for homeowners over the last 20 years and is continuing to rise for the next few years to come. All white kitchens tend to have a timeless quality and are almost able to camouflage their age. Since it is such a universal color, white is appropriate for any style of decor, whether it’s traditional Victorian, modern contemporary, retro and vintage, mid-century, or industrial. The versatility is another reason why white kitchens are so popular, it tends to be appealing to most people due to being both basic and bold, vivid and dramatic and not too flashy. They could also be considered a template for additional personalization if you choose, such as adding colored accents or material to make the space your own.

While white kitchens aren’t going anywhere, expect to see a rise in color, especially other neutrals like gray and blue. Warm wood tones are becoming a popular replacement for painted cabinets. The two-toned look started catching on in 2017, in which cabinet colors were mixed and matched in the kitchen. For example, the bottom cabinets might be a darker color, such as gray, and the upper cabinets then all in white. Having a color that is bolder for the kitchen island contrasts the rest of the kitchen and makes a statement. This is why white has many benefits because then you can play with color in unique ways. White is such a basic color, that you can go along way with design and it also makes the space feel light, airy and clean. White can also make your small space look bigger than what it really is.

In kitchen remodeling, cabinets receive the highest allocation. They take up a lot of real-estate and are costly to manufacture and install. White cabinets avoid the decision of having to select a wood finish that dates a home quicker than is needed. You can also rest easy knowing that your kitchen can easily be updated with accessories and appliances while keeping the cabinets longer.

 

Versatility

Whether your kitchen has an upscale or shabby chic vibe, white cabinets are workable. This adaptability can be appealing to potential home buyers. While they may not see eye to eye with you on your kitchen decor, they know they won’t have to completely gut the kitchen when they move in. White plays well with nearly every other shade, making it convenient to coordinate countertops, appliances and lights fixtures, and backsplashes.

Warmth

Even though white is the name of the game, one mustn’t forget that the kitchen is part of the house and therefore in its design, it must project warmth and preserve an inviting appearance. In order to prevent a cold and sterile feeling, it is recommended to select a number of elements that will disrupt the monotony of the cold white and that will provide splashes of color and warmth to the space. Herbs of an intense green color, placed in a decorative vase on a white work surface would do the trick wonderfully. Adding paintings with splashes of color will give your kitchen an inviting look without cluttering the countertops. Even adding colored appliances might warm up the white monotony of the space.

Natural Light

High electricity prices and environmental awareness contribute greatly to energy-saving LED lamps. This trend is welcomed but full of potential home-lighting catastrophes in the form of white fluorescent bulbs. In order to prevent an office atmosphere in your kitchen, choose lighting with a warm color, not fluorescent. Warm natural light completes and emphasizes white surfaces without creating a cold feeling. If you are able to, try to plan your kitchen ahead of time so that during the day, those sitting in your kitchen can enjoy natural light entering through large windows which are essential for the ventilation of an active kitchen, among other things.

Wood

In order to generate interest and break the uniform appearance of the space, you can incorporate segments of wood (butcher) into your work surface. The segment can be a part of the work surface that is integrated creatively such as in a zigzag formation or a portable element such as a large cutting board that can turn into a hosting platform in an instant. You can always integrate into the general kitchen design cabinets made of wood and create a complex design combining materials.

Color

A color’s character is often determined by the material on which it “lies”. When designing a white kitchen, it is important to remember that for different materials, different finishes influence the manner in which the white reacts to the material, and what amount of light will reflect from it. A glossy finish, with a reflective characteristic, gives depth to the white color that will also be affected, among other things, by the colors of the elements around the space that reflect off the white. On the contrary, a matte white finish, which absorbs the light, allows, relative to the glossy, for the white color to appear as a single unified piece.

 

 

How to add color to your white kitchen

  • Get furniture with color to add a pop to your white space
  • Add wood to your white space to help add contrast
  • Add a dark color to window treatments will add a pop to the white space and you can change them out when you want to update it.
  • Be Bold! Give your island a pop of color.
  • Put a splash of color in the backsplash to break up the white concept.
  • Add a dark flooring or dark countertops to a white kitchen
  • Get stone white countertops with excessive dark veining to add texture to your white space without taking away from the white concept.
  • Make your oven hood the centerpiece of your white kitchen by making it extraordinary. Think copper or a wood material.
  • Embrace black stainless steel appliances or even colored.
  • Paint the walls using color to make your white kitchen pop with warmth.

 

     

 

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Kitchen Remodeling Tips And Advice

Why Remodel?

Kitchen remodels can be exciting and discouraging at the same time. There are many reasons why you may want to remodel. You may not have enough space and storage to work comfortably in your kitchen, or everything is so outdated that it is needed. Whatever the reason is, focus on your main reason so that your vision will be achieved. Also, take into consideration improving the value of your home and your budget. When it’s all said and done these two things will give you a piece of mind.

 

Questions to ask yourself

  1. What is your objective?
  2. How long do you plan to live in the home?
  3. Do you have children or pets?
  4. Do you have allergies or health issues to consider?
  5. Will you be living in your home during the renovation?
  6. What is your budget?
  7. What have people in similar homes accomplished, and what has been their limitations?
  8. Can you remove that wall to open up the kitchen?
  9. What’s behind those walls?
  10. When do you want to start?

Get A Professional Involved

It is very important to not take on a kitchen remodel without a professional because kitchens are one of the more complicated projects to tackle. It also provides a relief to know it will be taken care of and you won’t have to worry about it every time you have free time that you need to spend it on your remodel.

 

A Few Things To Ask A Contractor:

Are you licensed and insured?

Can you draw up a detailed proposal?

Do you have in-house workers or do you sub-contract jobs out?

Do you have a designer on hand?

How often do we meet to check-in on the renovation?

How is your warranty protocol?

 

How A Project Is Sectioned Out

  • 29% cabinets and hardware
  • 22% design and installation
  • 16% walls, ceiling, floors, doors, & windows
  • 14% appliances and ventilation
  • 9% electrical and plumbing

 

Ways To Save On Your Cabinets

Choose a manufacturer that offers the door style and finish you want as a standard option, with no up-charge. Don’t pay for factory-built or custom organizers. Aftermarket utensil dividers, rollout trays, and back-of-the-door spice racks are a fraction of the cost. Websites such as organize.com and cabinetparts.com are good ones to check out. Avoid custom configurations. You can often use stock wine organizers, cubby units, and even appliance panels to fill awkward spaces that might otherwise require you to buy a custom cabinet.

 

Think About The Details

  1. Installing multiple outlets along the backsplash or on the island is a detail that most forget. It helps to provide electricity wherever you need it.
  2. Having a cabinet for your garbage and recycle bin is very helpful in clearing space up in your kitchen and keeping the smell to a minimum, some cabinet companies are even designing a board to separate the drawer from the garbage pull-out to keep the smell contained even further.
  3. Newer cabinets are now being designed for organization and so you can find soft closing drawers, inserts for knives, pull out storage for large appliances and spice racks. Think about your lifestyle and how easy you want to make it when working in the kitchen.
  4. Another detail to think about is designing with future cleaning in mind. Find products that will keep cleaning minimal to save you time and energy in the long run. Flush-set or under-mount sinks don’t catch as much dirt and grime. Quartz countertops have way less maintenance than granite countertops.
  5. Designing wide pathways for your kitchen is important for easy traffic flow. The standard paths throughout the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide and in the cooking-zone area should be about 42 inches wide. When planning makes sure your kitchen island or peninsulas have a good width for you to get around with ease.

 


kitchen remodelkitchen remodel

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5 Common Myths About Remodeling Your Kitchen Or Bathroom

Remodeling is not something one does every day. In fact, most people do not understand the ins and outs of home renovations or remodeling. Many homeowners are apprehensive about tackling the projects themselves or hiring a professional for fear of being ripped off. Are you thinking about remodeling your kitchen or bath? You’ll find lots of misconceptions that can confuse your decision-making process. Below we have listed the top 5 myths behind remodeling to help you make a better decision.

 

Doing a renovation yourself, hiring a relative or your local handyman to the job will save you more money.

It’s not an easy project doing a home renovation whether it’s one room or the whole house. If you just wanted one specific thing done like flooring or installing appliances then that might be a good option but if it’s an extensive project then hiring a professional contractor will provide you with the experience and a written contract with all your expectations on paper to give you a piece of mind. Do your homework and make sure you interview at least 3 different companies. Three things you should look for in these companies is time management, price, and quality of work. Pick two that mean the most to you and go with the contractor that meets those two. A professional contractor should provide you with a written estimate of the project, a calendar of events, and will proactively communicate with you throughout the process.

Most projects run longer and end up costing more in the end.

This can be true if you decide to add more to the budget or change products to pricer ones. Another thing that can sometimes happen is things occurring that were not accounted for in the budget like plumbing or electrical problems, this is especially true if it is an older home. If you properly plan and set up a budget this is less likely to occur and if it does then change products around so that you don’t go over budget. Depending on the age of the home, you may want to have a contingency fund available for unexpected issues. Even the best contractors can’t determine these issues ahead of time until they start to dig into the project.

Doing a home renovation will trash the whole house and yard.

It really depends on your contractor that you choose for the job. Make sure to ask about the after-cleaning and site maintenance. Most of the time when your remodeling your home you plan on living in the home while it is being renovated. A reputable contractor will clean up each day and maintain a living space for you. Always check with the contractor and calendar on days when power and water might be turn off for construction so there are no surprises.

Kitchen and bath remodeling is too expensive.

Once you set a budget for your remodeling needs you can begin your research to determine what works for your kitchen or bath remodel. No matter the budget for updating your kitchen or bath it will increase the value of your home automatically. Just don’t go overboard on upgrading unless you plan on living in the home for another 10+ years. Kitchen and bath remodeling is the best investments when adding upgrades to your home, just keep that in mind.

Hiring a reputable professional contractor is too expensive.

A professional contractor is the most experienced person to remodel your home and wouldn’t you rather save time, stress and money in the long run if you choose the right person for the job. Do your homework and interview at least 3 different companies to make sure you have the right fit for you and your project.

 

 

 

Feel free to Contact Us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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Modern Farmhouse VS. Country Farmhouse Styles

Do you like a modern farmhouse style or a country/rustic farmhouse style? The styles vary slightly but the look changes everything. 

Long before Fixer Upper on HGTV became a hit, the farmhouse style always had something about its character and rustic beauty. Nowadays, you can mix that farmhouse style with clean and modern lines that create a whole new style in our modern day.

Modern Farmhouse Style

 It’s not often that the term modern and farmhouse are heard together but the combination of design styles has become quite popular amongst homeowners. A contemporary farmhouse evokes feelings of warmth and comfort but stays classic and timeless. Not too cluttered with old stuff but more of a mix of new adding a touch of rustic woods and rusted metals. It’s a balance between comfortable furniture and decor with a hint of salvaged materials like reclaimed wood or old antiques. Everything is tactile and tangible.

 

Country Farmhouse Style

Country Farmhouse style is more casual with less sophistication. It lies heavily on accessories of old stuff than a minimal standpoint. This type of style feels more original and carries true elements of vintage throughout. The furniture and appliances are true to the style but sometimes a laminate is laid over the top of new appliances to match the cabinets. It creates more of a homey feel than a clean feel like the modern farmhouse style. Antiques and old decor flourish in this style. Everything is eclectic and comfortable. 

 

For your bathroom you could add these:

  • Refurbished old dresser for a vanity
  • Brushed metal handles (bronze or black)
  • Antique touches or knick knacks
  • Natural textures
  • Distressed wooden framed mirror
  • An old footed tub or copper colored tub
  • Barn wood accent walls

 

For Your Kitchen you could add these:

  • Farmhouse Sink
  • White cabinets
  • Beadboard
  • Shiplack
  • Rustic Table
  • Mason jars or large glass jars as accents
  • Rustic touches
  • Plank wood floors
  • Barn wood accents or door
  • Half door
  • Open shelving
  • Plate racks
  • Old photos framed
  • Old windows used as wall hangings
  • Mixing wood and metals together with furniture
  • White subway tile as a backsplash

 

 

                    

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What To Do With A Galley Kitchen

What is a galley kitchen? A galley kitchen is a narrow usually small kitchen with one long aisle lined with countertops, cabinets, & appliances on either side. Below gives you a general idea of a galley kitchen layout.

 

 

Small kitchens aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If the space is designed correctly you will find a galley kitchen is functional. If your kitchen is an outdated galley kitchen then yes it was probably badly designed and creates a hectic workspace. Fear not remodeling your galley kitchen can help make the space more efficient and give you just as much storage as a large kitchen. It truly is an effective space and makes the most for a true chef as long as you have the right designer in place to give you what you are looking for. With the long aisle and parallel counters, this is designed exactly how the professional kitchens are in restaurants. The only thing you may not get in a galley kitchen that you do with a large kitchen is the open concept. When you entertain an open kitchen gives you a chance to mingle with your guests while still working in the kitchen, this is less likely to occur with a galley kitchen but isn’t impossible if it’s designed right.

Look at the positive side of a galley kitchen. If you love to cook this is an ideal way to control traffic flow in and out of the kitchen. It’s ideal for one person in the kitchen so it’s a great asset if there tends to be too many cooks in the kitchen. Tidying up a galley kitchen is usually easier because the design is minimal. It keeps the cook organized and utilizes the space around them. It also follows the design technique of the “kitchen triangle” which is an invisible line that is drawn between the sink, stove, and refrigerator creating optimal efficiency.

Getting ready for your galley kitchen remodel. The vertical cabinet is a great way to utilize space. Getting bins and baskets to store extra cooking tools and various accessories like cookbooks can be stored up higher while the necessities can be stored at arm’s length. Get rid of countertop appliances that you don’t use much and invest in multi-use appliances. Pot racks are another good addition to save on cabinet space and can add some style to the kitchen.

Choosing a style. Choosing the right style for a galley kitchen can be tricky, first of all, remember that galley kitchens can be dark and dungeon-like because of the space confinement. It is best to go light and bright when designing your galley kitchen. This will help make the kitchen feel open and spacious. Making sure to have a lot of natural light is important so, make a larger window or add skylights will help open up the kitchen. Choosing lighter paint colors will reflect the light in the space also. White is the trend for kitchens now so this will also add a timeless look if you are trying to sell. To add depth pick out colorful accents to make the space inviting. Under cabinet lighting is another nice feature especially for cooking.

Dining in a galley kitchen. It might be hard to dine in a galley kitchen but you can possibly create a breakfast bar or nook that will give you somewhat interaction with your guests. This is popular in large kitchens also but usually, it is an island in the middle of the kitchen.

 

 

 

Feel free to contact us here at Retro Pro Kitchen and Bath and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

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What “Fixer-Upper” Can’t Teach You About Home Remodeling

remodeling

Fixer-Upper! The show that is the greatest difference between showbiz and what really happens when remodeling your home. Why do they make it look so easy? Why do they make it seem so cheap? The real question is why do we believe the fantasy behind it but not the reality of remodeling a fixer-upper? HGTV implies to the viewer that remodeling is easy and gives a sense of having relief to what is expected during remodeling. It also dampens our moods when we realize that it is nothing like the real world and more issues arise during the process than we even dreamed of. Problems also equal to more money needed in the budget. From permits to inspections, to even product back orders, there are always things causing delays and costing money in the remodeling process. The more prepared you are as a homeowner the smoother things tend to go because you expect it.

 

 

 

 

Remodeling Times Are Often Rushed

Whenever you watch a home renovation show usually they always have a ridiculous turnaround time on a project. If you’re not aware of this when you go to hire someone, you will have a preconceived thought that you are being taken advantage of. On HGTV when you see a large project get finished quickly, you don’t really see all the scrambling that goes on behind the scenes to do the job and get it done on time. It may look like you see 3-5 people working but in reality, there are 30 people working to get things done in a short amount of time and they work around the clock which your normal contractor would never do that. Sometimes even details of the project are left undone for filming and then later finished up.

 

 

Renovation Budgets Aren’t Realistic

A long list of must-haves and a very tight budget doesn’t usually go well together in reality. The budgets made for TV are specifically designed for TV. Networks often partner with advertisers and they usually give materials away because of the free publicity. The contractors may also discount their services because of the publicity, which can cause a lack of workmanship on the project. Homeowners should be prepared when they see an estimate from contractors because some things they don’t tell you on TV. For example, some evaluations need to be done through county laws like testing for lead paint or asbestos which is standard for older homes. Usually, jobs can go from 3-4 wks to 3-4 months depending on how big the job is.

 

Storylines Are Embellished For TV

The stories that just seem so good to be true are usually the case. Not true or embellished enough to make it more interesting. For example, during a fixer-upper episode, they ended up picking the house that was the owner’s grandparent’s house. Well, what they don’t tell you is she had already purchased the house from her parents. So the story doesn’t sound as intriguing as you viewed it on the air but it does intrigue you hearing the made-up version. So the old saying “don’t believe everything you hear,” definitely goes the same for don’t believe everything you see on Tv.

 

Flipping A Fixer-Upper Isn’t As Easy As It Seems

In today’s housing market every dollar counts and lately flipping houses have decreased about 2% compared to 2013. Determining on which investments will sell your home quicker is more important than investing too much into a property just to watch it sit on the market for months. Do your research of your neighborhood, keep an eye on what’s selling and stick to a budget that is affordable. Make sure the updates you do is beneficial for the new homeowner not what you want. Keep everything neutral and create staging to create a more pleasing atmosphere for the future homeowner. Remember it is about selling your home as quickly as possible for the price you want.

 

Buying A House Is Never As Easy As On TV

Many shows make home-buying seem so simple and painless. What may seem like a day on TV most home-buying experiences take a least a few weeks but mostly it can take months depending on circumstances like if you have to sell an existing home or if you want to live in a specific community, can take longer. One of the biggest hurdles is getting approved for a mortgage loan. There is a significant amount of paperwork involved. What you don’t see is someone struggling for 60 days to get approved for a loan, only to be turned down because the criteria changed. When they are on the show they have already gone through this portion of home-buying maybe even already bought the home in some cases. So beware on the look of HGTV because they are just there to entertain you not give you valuable information concerning what your home-buying experience will be like.

 

 

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Bathroom Remodeling Trends

With so many bathroom remodeling trends around, it’s hard to choose what to do with a remodel project. Keeping up with trends can be a bit tricky, so sometimes it’s best to just do what works for you and your design style, and keep things simple!  However, if you are one that likes to keep up with what’s new and now, or just need some design ideas here are some of the hottest trends.

 

Wood Tile:

If you want a wood look without the hassle of real wood, or laminate flooring, then tile is the way to go. With recent technology, you can get the look of real wood on a tile plank which is perfect for bathrooms (or kitchens) since it’s waterproof, and looks amazing! It’s easy to take care of and keep clean which makes it ideal for many homeowners these days. There are many different colors and grain patterns to fit anyone’s budget and style. If you are in a colder climate, you might want to consider adding a heated floor as tile can be very cold on the feet! In the warmer climates, tile is a great option to help keep the home cooler.

Ceramic Wood flooring

 

Shower Niches, benches and seats:

Everyone needs a place to put things in the shower! Niches, benches and seats not only look great but they add functionality to your shower. So having a niche for your shower accessories and a seat or bench to sit on is a great addition. You can add style and design to an otherwise basic or boring wall, and utilize wasted space in corners with a nice seat or full bench. Niches create a nice break up in the wall and make the shower look more aesthetically pleasing, and of course functional! There are many different ways to incorporate these items into your shower remodel, you can keep it basic and have the niches blend in with the wall, or make them stand out by adding a design inside them.

Niches, Seats & Benches click to enlarge photo

 

Frameless Showers:

Having a frame-less shower gives your bathroom a clean and sleek look. It can also give the area the appearance of a being bigger than it is. These types of showers are custom made so you are open to design your own space, and not limited to the mass produced doors which also have a lower quality control. Because they are custom made they do cost quite a bit more than a standard pre-made shower door, but on the flip side they will increase the value of your home. They will offer an aesthetically pleasing and classy look to any home.

Frameless Shower Doorsclick to enlarge photo

 

Minimalism:

Keep it simple, less is more! In bathrooms, you want to have a clean look with lots of space, this is where minimalism comes in. This approach means clean lines throughout the bathroom, smooth surfaces, and creating a better design through simplicity. Choose cabinets without hardware, recessed lighting instead of bulky or busy fixtures, and tile patterns with a clean look that flow nicely.

Minimalist Designs click to enlarge photo

Large Walk-In Showers:

Many homes have the cookie-cutter 5 piece bath setup (which we here at Retro Pro like to call the “Arizona Special”), and this includes the typical separate tub and shower. Some like this option, and keep both tub and shower, however, the recent trend is going to just a shower and removing the tub all together. By doing this you can create a large open feel to your bathroom with an oversized walk-in shower. Below are some of the before and after examples from a few of our “Arizona Special” remodels!

25 ways to clean your home with vinegar!

Vinegar

 

Oh How I Love Vinegar, Let Me Count the Ways!

 

Vinegar is an incredible liquid and can do amazing things around the house! It can be used for everything from a fabric softener, to toilet cleaner to cleaning cutting boards. And at a fraction of the cost of chemical store-bought cleaners, it can save a lot of money over time! Cleaning with vinegar can work wonders on your home! Here are some ways to use vinegar around the house for all your cleaning needs.

 

Kitchen-

 

Refrigerator: Instead of using chemical based cleaners to clean your fridge, try surface cleaning with white vinegar. Clean spills on the shelf with a 50-50 vinegar and water mix. You can even keep a bottle of the mixture stored in your fridge!

 

Drain: Dip and old toothbrush or brush small enough to get inside the disposal into some vinegar, sprinkle some baking soda on it, then use mixture to scrub away odors and built up food in your garbage disposal.

 

Cutting boards: For cutting boards, just spray surface with white vinegar and rinse clean, that’s it!

 

Microwave: Cleaning a microwave can be a nightmare! But instead of scrubbing for hours to try and get it clean, you can easily remove grime buildup and stains by placing 1/2-cup vinegar and 1/2-cup water in a glass bowl. Microwave for about 2-3 minutes, or until it boils. Then just wipe buildup away with ease!

 

Stained plastic containers: Does your trusty plastic storage containers have stains from spaghetti sauce or other food items? Use vinegar to coat the inside of the container, let sit to absorb into the stain then wash as usual.

 

Countertops: Cleaning countertops with white vinegar is easy. Just spray onto your surface, then wipe away with a warm, wet rag. Vinegar works great on many surfaces, however it does not do well on granite or marble surfaces.

 

Bathroom-

 

Toilet: Have ring-around-the-toilet (if you have kids this is inevitable, we all know they can never seem to remember to flush the toilet)! Just pour a cup of vinegar in the bowl, and let sit overnight. Then sprinkle with baking soda or borax and use a scrub brush to clean away stains. For tougher stains it would be best to drain the water from the toilet bowl when soaking overnight (and keep your fingers crossed no-one wakes up in the middle of the night and uses it before morning)!

 

General bathroom cleaning: Use straight or a diluted vinegar cleaning solution to scrub away bacteria, especially around the toilet, which will help curb urine staining and odor (gross I know, but it happens)!.

 

Tub or sink drain: Tub and sink drains are notorious for buildup from the daily use. To remove them just close the drain plug and pour 1/2-cup distilled white vinegar around the drain and let sit for several hours. Then scrub to remove buildup.

 

Shower: Is it time to deep clean your shower? Bring vinegar to a boil, get some rubber gloves, then use it to wipe down the shower door and walls. Keep them damp by wiping them down every 5 to 8 minutes for 30 minutes (yes this is a daunting task, but we are talking about a deep clean here people, so not something you have to do all the time). Once the 30 minutes is up, dampen a non-scratch sponge with vinegar, sprinkle it with baking soda, and scrub away (and you thought your job was done after the first 30 minutes didn’t you). Rinse the walls and door with water and Bye-bye germs, mold, water spots, and soap scum!

 

Shower head: If you live in an area with hard water, this will happen more often than not! To remove mineral build up pour some white vinegar into a plastic bag, and secure it to your shower head with a twist-tie, rubber-band or masking tape. Make sure there is a sufficient amount of vinegar so that the bottom part of the shower head is totally submerged. Leave the bag on overnight. Remove the next morning just before showering (if you don’t remember to remove the bag before turning on the water your shower will get a morning cleaning once the bag explodes).

 

Tile surfaces: Mix 1/2-cup white distilled vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Mop floors or scrub countertops with the solution and allow to air dry.

 

Bedroom-

 

Mattress disinfectant: Mix distilled white vinegar, a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spritz on your mattress to help combat dust mites, mildew, and general odors. For a deeper clean, follow with a dusting of baking soda. Let dry, then vacuum.

 

Laundry-

 

As a fabric softener: Sounds weird, I know! You can use vinegar instead of fabric softeners in laundry. It softens the clothes and removes static just like the dryer sheets. Not to mention it is a fraction of the price. Just have to add the vinegar during the final wash or rinse cycle and bam, soft and static free clothes!

 

Dining Room-

 

Glass: Use a 50-50 vinegar-water solution to keep glass tables, doors windows, and any other glass surface sparkling clean.

 

Wood furniture: Use 1/4-cup white vinegar mixed with 1-cup olive oil (and a few drops of lemon or orange oil, for a fresh scent) to clean and condition wood furniture.

 

Floors-

 

Carpet odor and dust mite remover: Mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a fresh scent, with distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spritz lightly throughout. (It would be best to test in a small spot first for colorfastness.)

 

Carpet rinse: Everyone loves getting their carpets cleaned, but what you may not know is there is usually a left over residue from the shampoo/cleaner used to clean the carpets. This leftover residue can attract dirt which in turn will make your carpets get dirty faster. So after shampooing, give your carpet a good rinse by using 1/2-cup vinegar per gallon of water. This lifts dirt-attracting soap residue, so carpets will stay cleaner, longer.

 

Carpet pet odor remover: Wet spot with vinegar. Sprinkle with baking soda, and work the two together with a brush or your fingers (I prefer a brush, but if you want to use your fingers, go for it). Let dry, preferably overnight if you can keep pets and children away from the area, then vacuum up.

 

Wood floor wash: Add 1/2-cup vinegar to a gallon of water to clean wood and laminated floors. Take precaution to not over-saturate the floors and damage the wood or laminate.

 

General Purpose-

 

Air freshener: Add a 1/2-teaspoon vinegar to a 4-ounce spray bottle, then fill with distilled water, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give the space a fresh and clean smell.

 

Window cleaner: Mix 1/4-cup rubbing alcohol and 1/3-cup vinegar in a 32-oz spray bottle, then fill with water. Lightly spritz on a lint free cloth to clean.

 

All-purpose cleaner: Mix 1-cup vinegar, 2 teaspoons borax, 4-cups hot water, 5 drops liquid dish soap, 10 drops tea tree oil, and 10 drops your favorite essential oil (optional).

 

Disinfectant: Use a 50-50 vinegar-water mix to wipe down telephones, doorknobs, faucet handles, and more when cold and flu season hits.

Homemade Disposable Cleaning Wipes Recipes:

1 roll of paper towels (needs to be a good quality brand like Bounty or Viva). A large container that will fit a full roll of paper towels (so you don’t have to cut them down). A 1 gallon pitcher from the dollar store works great!

 

Solution mix – 1 3/4 cups distilled water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon liquid dish soap (like Dawn) and 10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil.

 

Check out this link for the full How-To instructions and more info!

Homemade Disposable Cleaning Wipes

 

How to Prepare for a Kitchen or Bathroom Remodel

Lady Thinking

So you want to remodel your home. How do you prepare for a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Where do you start? What are things to consider? What is your budget? There are many things that should be thought out and determined before going to a remodeling company. By figuring out some of these question beforehand, it will make the consulting process much easier.

 

First, what is your plan, are you going to remodel one room, or multiple rooms. For instance, if you want to remodel your kitchen, how will the remodel affect the adjoining rooms? Make sure your kitchen design will keep within the flow of the rest of the home. Don’t go super modern on a kitchen design if the rest of the home is stuck in the 80’s! Bathrooms are a little more lenient with the design/style since the only room they are attached to is one bedroom (in most cases), and most likely only the homeowner will see it.

Also, consider your lifestyle and what kind of materials you think would work best, for flooring do you prefer tile, wood, or vinyl. Keep in mind the very different feels of each type of material. If you live in a colder environment, keep in mind that tile will be cold to walk on unless you want to install a floor heater. For counter tops, depending on if it’s a kitchen or bathroom, what type of daily use will they get? Do some light research to see which type of counter tops you like best. Also think about color options for everything, do you want dark colors, light colors, bold colors, and how everything will fit and flow together.

Next, understand what it takes to do a remodel. Depending on the space it can take anywhere from 2 weeks for a small bathroom to upwards of 4-6 weeks or more to complete a full kitchen remodel. During this time you will have people in and out of your home all day for several days per week. If you don’t deal with chaos and noise well, consider taking a vacation while the remodel is being done, or plan to be out of the home during the times the workers are there. However, keep in mind questions may come up during the process, so be sure to be available for those whether it’s over the phone or in person.

Also, decide if you want to manage and schedule all the various tradespeople yourself, or hire a remodeling company that employs all those people and can handle everything in-house. Hiring a remodeling company is usually the best choice, as you won’t have to worry about all the ordering, scheduling, and keeping everyone on the same page and on track. A remodeling company will make all these things effortless, and keep communication seamless throughout the process with a project manager.

Home value

Another good thing to figure out is what is your home worth, then determine if the remodel will increase that value enough to make it worth it? If your home is only worth $100,000 and your remodel is going to cost $50,000, it may not be worth it, especially if you don’t plan on staying in your home long term. So really think about what you want out of your remodel and if it’s worth the money. General rule of thumb for return on investment (ROI) is plan on spending around 10%-15% of the homes value on a kitchen remodel and a little less for a bathroom. However, keep in mind there are many factors that go into calculating out your ROI, so it’s not an exact science! So if you have a $100,000 home, you will want to spending right around $10,000 to $15,000 on a kitchen remodel (on average), and $5,000 to $10,000 on a bathroom remodel. Various factors come into play depending on kitchen or bathroom size, and what your remodel will entail, so costs involved can vary quite a bit!

A remodel can be a fun and exciting adventure, and this is your chance to let your personality shine through. Think outside the box, and get inspiration and design ideas from Pinterest, and browse pictures on remodeling websites, and company portfolios. Be sure you know what you want when it comes to the more “permanent” items such as flooring, shower tile etc. But have fun and take risks with things like paint, cabinet handles and those things that could always be easily fixed/replaced if you decide to later down the road. Don’t choose a style or design based on a current trend, trends come and go and you don’t want to be stuck with something you won’t be happy with for years to come.

Budget

Be sure to have a budget in mind that is reasonable for the work you want done. You will not be able to have a full remodel done on a master bathroom for $5,000. Be reasonable with your budget, but don’t overpay as well. You will pay for quality, so keep this in mind. If you think you found a great deal on a full bathroom remodel, be sure you check your sources, most likely you will “pay for what you get”, and when doing a remodel you don’t want to skimp on quality materials and craftsmanship! Remember this is permanent. Once you have a general budget in set, keep in mind you have have to make changes and forego some design aspects to stay in budget.

A good, reputable, remodeling company will help you work through your ideas and help you stay close to where you want to be, if it’s within reason. Also write down questions to ask during your consultation so you don’t forget! Find out if the company offers a warranty on their materials and work. Do they use any type of sealers or protectants on their products. If you hire their company, when will the work start on your remodel? Labor is usually around the same amount as the cost of materials, so be sure you calculate that when doing your budget. If you want flooring that is $1.50 per sq ft, most likely the labor costs to install will be about the same, so essentially you will be paying $3.00 per sq ft for materials and labor.

 

Once you have thought through all these steps, you are ready to find your remodeling contractor! Preparing will help during the consultation, and make it easier for you and the contractor to iron out details and ideas that suit your needs. There is always room for change so be sure you are open minded and listen to what your contractor and designer suggest. It’s also important that you choose the right design team, find someone that really listens to you and tries to understand who you are, your concept, and help you work through your ideas. You don’t want someone who tries to steer your in a different direction that you aren’t comfortable with! In the end, you will find the right match for you and get the kitchen or bathroom of your dreams!

Before and After Transformations

 

Before and After Kitchen Remodel

Pet Friendly Flooring Options

Pet Friendly Flooring

You come home from a long hard day, you open the front door, and find your fur-baby patiently waiting. You scoop them up in your arms, and give them the love they have been waiting for all day. Family pets bring so much joy and happiness, and then you find it, a big mess on your new carpet or wood flooring. You cringe as you imagine the permanent damage these kinds of accidents can cause to your expensive flooring. But do not fret. In this article we are going to review several options for pet friendly floors that will give you peace of mind from your little friends’ accidents.

 

The types of flooring we are going to discuss include the following: hard surface materials such as stone, tile and concrete; resilient vinyl; soft surface flooring consisting of various types of carpet; and wood based materials such as engineered wood and laminate. All of these products have advantages and disadvantages such as the look, feel, durability, and the cost. We will discuss how well these products are suited to pets, and specifically how well they do resisting wear, stains and moisture.

Pet Friendly Flooring

Hard Surface Floors:

Hard surface floors are inherently the best options for pets. They are very durable, resist staining and are easy to clean. The main disadvantages are the cost and the hard feel which can be very slippery for some pets. Natural stone and cement based grouts are the weak link in these products as they are porous and can stain easily if not treated. Recent chemical advancements have developed nano-particle sealers that can penetrate into porous products like these. They also vastly improve their ability to resist stains and moisture, and can last over 15 years. These premium sealers are available at most tile material supply houses.

 

Low quality tiles may have a very weak surface and can scratch or crack easily, so avoid these products. Concrete is typically coated with a resin material that may or may not resist staining. Some of these products are extremely durable, while others may be very weak and even peel off the concrete under light use or when in contact with moisture. Do your research on the coating to be applied to your concrete and be sure to use something with high bonding strength as well as the ability to resist staining.

 

Vinyl Floors:

Resilient vinyl flooring has made huge advancements in technology which has made it a very good choice for being pet friendly. The main disadvantages are that the surfaces may be slippery and may be scratched easier than the hard surface materials. One of the greatest advantages of vinyl is it’s resistance to moisture and staining. It’s surface does not allow moisture or stains to penetrate the flooring. When used with a pressure sensitive glue, they will not release when in contact with moisture like the old vinyl would.

 

Vinyl flooring in the past has also been prone to damage because the surface is soft, thin, and tears easily. Sheet viny,l or peel and stick tiles, have typically looked very cheap. But the new vinyl plank and tile market has smashed the old paradigm of the cheaper vinyl. The look and feel of the large planks can be similar to that of a high quality laminate or wood flooring. The pieces are relatively easy to replace if damaged, and they are installed at a lower cost. The highest quality plank materials have a titanium reinforced top coating that resists scratching making it an ideal product for pets of all sizes.

 

Carpet:

Carpet has a soft luxurious feel that can be a welcome place for pets to sleep and play. But it has long been a feared floor covering for pet lovers due to the chances of it being ruined by stains, odors, and claws. This has encouraged many homeowners to remove all carpet in place of more durable solutions. However, recent advances in pet friendly carpet technology has created a whole new generation of carpet and padding that resists stains, prevents the absorption of moisture below the carpet, and resists damage from claws. New weave designs also helps the carpet to release pet hair. All major carpet manufacturers have “pet friendly” carpets, so it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. When choosing a moisture resistant padding be sure to select an installer who knows what they’re doing. A poor installation can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the padding’s ability to keep out stain causing moisture and stubborn odors that get stuck in typical carpet padding.

 

Wood Floors:

Wood based floors include laminate, engineered, and solid styles. High quality laminate can have a very nice look, resist scratches, and resist stains. However, it has typically been very susceptible to moisture damage and just one pet accident can cause irreparable damage to the flooring. However, new advancements in laminate technology have developed materials that resist water damage for up to 24 hours which can typically give enough time to clean up the mess.

 

Engineered and solid wood materials both have a top layer of real wood that can be damaged, and are all affected by water, although to varying degrees based on their hardness. Hardwoods such as maple, cherry, oak and hickory can be much more resistant to denting and scratches than softer woods such as pine, ash and birch. The coating applied also makes a big difference in how scratch resistant the wood is. Check the manufacturers specs on the coating used, and don’t rely on arbitrary warranty periods. These can give the perception of a long lasting wood floor, but can be very misleading. The hardness of the wood and the strength of the coating are the best indicators of how well your flooring will do with pets.