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All About Herringbone Pattern

What is Herringbone Pattern?

The herringbone pattern is an arrangement of rectangles used for floor tilings and road pavement, so named for a fancied resemblance to the bones of a fish such as a herring. The blocks can be rectangles or parallelograms. In similar terms, it is a distinctive “V” shape.

The difference between Herringbone and Chevron pattern:

Both of them are composed of pieces that are equal size and arranged in a zigzag pattern. Herringbone is when the planks are cut into perfect rectangles and then staggered a bit, so the end of one plank meets the side of another. The Chevron pattern occurs when the planks are cut at an angle so the zig meets the zag along a perfectly straight axis. See the diagram below for a visual illustration. 

The History of Herringbone:

The idea of Herringbone came from the skeleton of the Herring fish. Herringbone texture and pattern first started with jewelry and textiles. It dates back to the ancient Egyptians which made the pattern very popular with kings and queens. The Romans adopted the pattern when they built their roads. They interlocked the bricks while laying crushed stone underneath creating an impact absorption which prolonged the lifespan of the road. It was also known in Ireland back in 600BC in horsehair textiles which added Celtic class. It started to become popular as a flooring in Europe as early as the 1500’s, starting out as brickwork again but in decorated churches and other buildings for centuries. It was also known for people to scatter sand on their dirt floors and sweep the floor in a decorative pattern similar to this.

How to use a Herringbone pattern:

The herringbone pattern is a classic look that may never go out of style because it gives a room depth and simplicity in a gorgeous way. It’s sophisticated but subtle way to create style and separate the space apart from your average design. You can use it as a backsplash, flooring, ceiling or even an accent piece to your space. It was originally used with wood but now it can be designed with any material you wish. You want to make sure nothing competes with the herringbone pattern because it really does give drama all on its own. Some questions to ask yourself when remodeling your space is:

  1. Do you have a larger room and want a focal point, so the eye doesn’t wander? This would be a good choice to choose short planks to create a tighter herringbone pattern.
  2. Do you have a smaller room that you want to make look larger? If yes then choosing long, wide planks to create a more open herringbone and lead the eye outwards.
  3. Why not be daring and create a herringbone feature in a large hallway? Opt for a color that contrasts with the existing floor. Lay a rectangle of herringbone in the center of the room to act like a rug.
  4. What kind of furnishings do you have that will be designed around your herringbone pattern? Darker herringbone patterns look great contrasted against pale color palettes.

 

How to install a Herringbone pattern:

Installing a herringbone pattern is definitely not an easy installation so hiring a professional would be recommended. It can even be difficult for a professional to make sure they have some experience with it before hiring them. First, measure and mark the center point. The first step to laying a herringbone pattern is to find the center point of the wall. Dry lay the tiles, then work out the 45-degree angle for the first piece of tile. Next lay the rest of the tiles. Mark the tiles that will need cutting and then cut those tiles. Number the tiles and then start laying your design permanently.

 

 

 

     

 

 

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Bathrooms over the last 100 years

Introduction

The idea of a room in a home dedicated to personal hygiene and grooming is, strictly speaking, a recent one. For the most part, houses built much before the turn of the century didn’t have bathrooms. So, in the span of about 100 years, the modern bathroom has evolved from a novelty into an almost-universal residential fixture. But there has always been a need for disposing of human waste, as well as a need for providing facilities for bathing and grooming. How those human needs evolved into the modern bathroom is a story about both technology and culture. 

 

  

1920’s

In the 20’s was the start of using color in bathrooms. Bathrooms not only became functional but they became fashionable. Kohler was the first company to introduce colored fixtures of toilets, sinks, and tubs. They came out with 6 colors: Horizon Blue, Old Ivory, Spring Green, Lavender, Autumn Brown, and West Point Gray. This was a major innovation since before then every fixture was white and no one ever thought to change that until now. In the 20’s a lot of the sinks were attached to the wall without a vanity or pedestal sinks.

 

Other features typical of 1920’s bathrooms include:

  • Vitreous china pedestal sinks or mounted sinks with thin chrome legs
  • Formica countertops and sparse counter space
  • Wood cabinet storage spaces
  • Chrome fixtures with rectangular shapes and rounded edges
  • Rectangular bathtubs with low or no showers
  • Big, boxy wood vanities
  • Vinyl-topped stools
  • Built-in accessory holders such as toothbrush holders, magazine racks, and soap racks

 

1950’s

In the 50’s thru the 60’s pink and mint green were the most popular colors in the bathroom and not just as accents or paint color but the entire bathroom including the tub, sinks and tiling. Pink, the color of optimism was a reflection of the postwar America. After Mamie Eisenhower wore a silk ballroom gown that had 2,000 rhinestones on it to the inaugural ball in 1953 it became a must for bathroom styles all over the country. Bathroom decorations stemmed from summertime garden colors. They would even put built-in planters in the windows on the inside to create the garden feel.

 

  • Vinyl flooring was popular in the 60’s but went out of fashion in the 80’s because of asbestos. Now it has become popular again because they are making it asbestos-free and due to its affordability, durability and easy maintenance.

 

 

1970’s

 

The color scheme only got more extravagant in the 70’s and carpet on the floors became very popular which nowadays is a big turn off and is only thought of as uncleanliness. Nothing was ordinary in the 1970’s bathroom. Shag carpet with rugs and toilet covers plus brightly patterned wallpaper and window coverings.  It was more like an invitation to a birthday party than a bathroom break. Tub enclosures also became a popular thing with decals of patterns on it of course.

 

  • Wood paneling was popular in the 70’s because it was inexpensive and easy to install and then went out of style because it was too common. It has become popular again but painting it white is more common in the 21st century.

 

Today

It’s all about a luxurious spa-like feel in bathrooms today. The white, clean and clutter-free look that was once seen in bathrooms before 1920’s is back but now it is popular to have state of the art technology and be a place to get away from the everyday stresses of the 21st century. Tubs aren’t as popular as they were in the 1990’s but they are still seen in them once in awhile if done right. Homeowners who don’t use tubs are opting out and saving the space for large walk-in showers that have double shower heads or a bench to keep their fast-paced life still peaceful and spa-like. 

 

  • In the 80’s glass block walls were very common in walk-in showers or used for windows to let natural light in but not be able to see into the bathroom from outside.
  • In the 90’s is when large master suites started to become popular in homes. They featured an en-suite and walk-in closets. This hasn’t gone anywhere since its popularity except master plus en suites are becoming more popular on the main floor away from the other bedrooms for more privacy.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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The “NEW” Vinyl Flooring

The History of Vinyl Flooring

Although vinyl is the most widespread type of industrial flooring, it has just recently gained popularity in the residential flooring market. The material has been around since 1926, so it has had time to evolve. All of its industrial-grade characteristics (water, scuff, stain, and scratch resistance) are why more and more people choose it over hardwood and laminate flooring. With an increasing number of manufacturers focusing more on the luxury vinyl tiles that imitate the texture and colors of natural materials such as wood and stone, this type of flooring is bound to dominate the residential market soon. Vinyl is durable and practical but does have some flaws. 

Pros

  1. Variety of Styles and Colors- Due to the customization-ability of the manufacturing process the design styles and colors are endless. The tiles are made by turning colored PVC chips into solid sheets of different thickness, which allows for a pretty wide variety of colors and patterns that can’t be achieved with other flooring types. There is even now the option of an extra layer of polyurethane, which can be made to resemble texture and feel like stone, wood, and even clay tiles. This technology makes it very hard to tell the printed vinyl tiles from the real floors.
  2. Different Types of Flooring- Tiles tend to be the most popular residential flooring but there are other shapes and types of vinyl. It can be either rolled out in sheets or cut into tiles or planks. Sheets of vinyl are usually 6 or 12 feet wide, kept in rolls and sold by length. Using vinyl sheets makes the surface look consistent and gives it a clean look. Vinyl tiles have a standard size of 12×12 inches, but can be made bigger or smaller to fit your needs. It can also come in the form of planks. This can vary in length but are usually 4 ½ or 6 inches wide. All these different types can significantly minimize the amount of waste that’s left after installing.
  3. Softness- Vinyl floors do have a layer of foam added during the manufacturing process that’s used to cushion the sound more. It makes for a surface that’s much softer than wood or laminate.
  4. Easy Maintenance- Floor maintenance with vinyl floors requires very little effort. They are water and stain resistant so they are perfect for households with kids and pets. When installed properly, vinyl planks are perfectly flat with no cracks or dents, which makes sweeping and vacuuming much easier.
  5. Easy Installation- This is one of the biggest benefits of vinyl plank floors is that they are fast and easy to install. Most are made to click and lock into one another and depending on their backing can be installed without adhesive. When installing, the surface rarely needs to be perfectly flat and allows for minor inconsistencies.
  6. Extreme Durability- A lot of the vinyl flooring manufacturers offer 25-year or lifetime warranty to residential areas. They are produced in a way that makes them water, stain, scratch and scuff resistant, which makes for a very durable floor that takes a lot of time to wear out.

Cons

  1. VOC Emissions-This stands for volatile organic compounds which are organic chemicals that evaporate at room temperature and release dangerous emissions indoors. These compounds aren’t acutely toxic, but a prolonged exposure may lead to health problems such as asthma, eye and skin irritations, etc. Since 2010, many manufacturers reduced the amount of PVC used in the production of vinyl tiles, but low-end products often come with a high concentration of VOC.
  2. Prone to Gouging- Although this is a problem mainly associated with vinyl sheets, vinyl planks can also suffer from this kind of damage. Planks have a much harder surface than sheets of vinyl, but the polyurethane top layer that luxury vinyl tiles have is still easy to dent. Thanks to shock-absorbing ability, a glass is more likely not to break when it hits the vinyl floor but a dropped knife will leave a pretty visible, irreparable cut.
  3. Requires Skill and Experience- The interlocking mechanism found with vinyl planks might make them seem like a dream DIY product, but installing vinyl planks requires a little more experience than beginner’s level. Preparing the surface, applying a flattening mass, cutting and adjusting the shape of the plank are all things for which you might want to hire a qualified contractor to install.
  4. Marginal Effect on Resale Value- Vinyl planks are the least expensive flooring option but can be the biggest expense when renovating because of the prep work that goes into it, especially with the rollout vinyl. So, investing in vinyl plank floor won’t increase the value of the property because most home buyers prefer premium floors such as wood or stone.

 

Types of Vinyl Flooring

Self Adhesive: This type of flooring has an adhesive film on the back that you remove. This is a cheaper version of vinyl flooring but still popular due to their appearance and ease of installation.

Glue-down: Depending on the type of vinyl, those using glue-down methods will typically see more PVC and multiple layers due to there adhesive natural needed. There is a special adhesive that is needed that is waterproof.

Interlocking: This type of vinyl flooring is a locking technique used with a hammer to connect them together. No other extra adhesives are needed, it’s like a large jigsaw puzzle.

Loose Lay: This is a newer technique that creates a barrier to eliminate the possibility of moisture above the flooring. With this installation method, you can clean up any spills you have without worrying about the subfloor becoming wet. Without any adhesive, if there is a spill that has been there awhile then you can pull them up instantly. You don’t need gap expanders, and these tiles won’t contract or expand because of their clippings to the wall.

 

How to Find a High-Quality Vinyl Plank Floor

When you’re looking for vinyl planks on the price spectrum tend to look equally good, and their real-life characteristics can’t be easily distinguishable. There are a few things you should look for in vinyl planks that can help you determine its quality, and avoid buying an overpriced or a substandard product. The most important trait of vinyl planks is their thickness, which also determines their price. So mid to high range planks would be 5-6.5mm thick, while the cheapest is usually 1.5 or 2mm thick.

Another thing to look for in a vinyl plank is a thick wear layer. A thick wear layer means more polyurethane, which is a lot harder than PVC and offers better protection from scratching and gouging.

Luxury vinyl planks are more expensive than the plain variety because they have a texture almost exactly like real wood or stone. The deeper and more detailed the embossing, the better it is. Always try to pick a few random planks and check the quality of the texture with your fingers.

Although the vinyl itself is pretty durable, the entire plank can easily wear and tear if not made properly. The cheapest vinyl planks usually come with the shortest warranty and vice versa. It’s recommended you always choose a product at the top of your budget to ensure the best value for your money.

 

Cleaning and Maintenance

Use a lightweight vacuum or broom to remove fine dirt and debris that builds-up on the flooring. Depending on how much traffic your flooring endures, will determine how often you will need to sweep. Everyday dish soap and warm water work great with a damp mop. If your mop has a scrub brush on it, that is fine to use for harder grime just make sure it is plastic bristles and not wired or super stiff ones, it can damage it if it’s too abrasive. Be sure to rinse with a clean bucket of warm water after cleaning. If you feel like it needs more of a deep cleaning then use white vinegar and warm water or combine dish soap and vinegar.Try to avoid strong abrasive cleaners as it can damage the vinyl over time. Maintenance over time is almost non-existent but you could coat it with polish every year or so to protect against wear and tear and brighten it up a little bit. Most luxury vinyl flooring has a 25-year warranty or longer.

 

       

 

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Old Is Back And Now New Is Here To Stay

“Don’t throw the past away. You might need it some rainy day. Dreams can come true again. When everything old is new again.” -Peter Allen, Songwriter/Performer

 

With new technologies coming to the market every day when you see something old coming back it brings a little coziness back into your home. Lots of styles from older generations are making a comeback with a hint of modern appeal but also old objects that use to have a use are coming back with a different use intended. Check out some of the things below to see if you want to add these to your next remodel.

 

Dutch Doors Dutch doors became popular in the 18th century by Dutch settlers of New York and New Jersey. They have split down the middle horizontally and traditionally used for stables to keep animals on one side and children on the other side while allowing for light and air to filter through. They are still used in barns for horses to look out of their stalls but keep them confined but they are becoming quite popular inside the household for ventilation.

 

Sleeping Porches– These became popular in the 20th century because it was advocated by health professionals that the fresh air helped with the immune systems. They became very popular in the south and west when sleeping outdoors was cooler and more comfortable. This was before air conditioners of course. In Arizona, they are called Arizona-rooms.

 

Transom Windows A panel of windows above doorways to let more light in when there was a lack of electricity or air conditioning became popular. Also, it was a great way to circulate air when doors were closed for privacy. Of course, the beauty of glass is why this has become an old new feature to add to design.

 

Stained Glass– This type of glass has been around for thousands of years and is a timeless feature but traditionally seen in churches or other significant buildings. It was made from flat panels and used as windows, the creation of modern stained glass also include three-dimensional structures and sculptures. It is colored by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. Then it is arranged in small pieces to form patterns or pictures. Nowadays it is referred to as art glass and seeing more of a variety of use than just windows.

 

Laundry Chute– With technology increasing so dramatically. We are wanting things to be easier to get the job done. Washer and dryers now have built-in steam options, specific load options even all in one job for tiny-living. Why not go back to the nearly forgotten feature of having a laundry chute. With 2 story homes or homes with basements, it makes sense to provide a low-tech convenience into one of the never-ending chores.

 

Intercoms/Video– These have not only come back but have capabilities our ancestors wouldn’t even dream of consisting of remote modules in several areas of the house, music options surround sound throughout the house or even video and surveillance systems right at your fingertips. You can even buy a phone system with a built-in intercom functionality if you want to avoid hardwiring in your home.

 

Clawfoot Tubs– These tubs provide a deeper soak than most modern tubs today, plus add a whimsical look to your bathroom. It is popular to even have them outside and bathe under the stars. Whatever suits your fancy. You can find these tubs inexpensively at salvage yards. With some porcelain paint and TLC, you can bring life to the old. Manufacturers are also making them brand new if that is a better route for you.

 

Rumford Fireplace– Henry David Thoreau once counted his Rumford fireplace as a modern convenience that was often overlooked by his contemporaries. Common in the early to mid-1800’s they were tall and not very deep, which allows them to reflect most of the heat generated by the burning wood back into the room. With utility costs increasing, this old design is becoming popular again as a way to save some real money.

 

Pocket Shutters- These were popular in the 18th & 19th century when walls were very thick providing a deep window jamb whose pockets could contain an entire interior shutter. These unique architectural details are coming back because they provide not only privacy but also insulation or shade when the elements really start to become overbearing.

 

Pocket Doors– These type of doors disappear when fully open, into a compartment in the adjacent wall. They were mainly used for an architectural effect or when there is no room for the swing of a hinged door. They travel on rollers suspended from an overhead track and floor track. They were particularly common in Victorian homes to close off such areas as sitting rooms or dens but now they are useful for walk-in closets and bathrooms to help save space

 

Dumbwaiter– These are convenient for carrying items like laundry and food from floor to floor in the 19th century. Today they have become popular again in restaurants and schools but homeowners are catching on to the fad and enhancing their multi-level homes with state of the art models.

 

Mail SlotWith the rise of online bill pay and the decline of USPS, and the increase of stolen identity through the mail; mail slots have become popular among the older neighborhoods that don’t have a community mail area. They are so sleek and secure.

 

Ceiling MedallionsThis was popular among upper-class homes in the 19th century which were designed to add architectural interest and beauty to the room. Usually above a chandelier so it could emphasize the patterns. Then they were usually made from paper mache or heavy materials like iron or marble. Now you can get the same look made from foam, plastic or wood.

 

Picture Railing MouldingThis was used to provide a way to hang artwork on plaster walls that could crumble under the force of a hammer and nail back in the Victorian Era. Nowadays it is a visually appealing design element that lets you hang art in a unique way.

 

             

 

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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.

 


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Celebrating July Fourth with Retro Pro!

History of Independence Day!

Have you ever wondered why we celebrate the Fourth of July or how the Fourth of July holiday came about? Many people think we celebrate the Fourth of July because it is the day we received our Independence from England. While those people are thinking along the right track that is not the entire reason that we celebrate the Fourth of July, nor is it the reason that the Fourth of July holiday came about.

Way back in the 18th century, the United States was not considered the United States. In fact, what we now call states were actually called colonies. The United States was actually an extension of England. People traveled from England aboard ships to settle in America, but eventually, differences in life, in thought, and in interests began to develop which caused a rift between Britain and America.

When the colonies were first settled they were allowed to pretty much develop freely without hardly any interface from Britain, but things abruptly changed in 1763. Britain suddenly decided that they needed to take more control over the colonies. Britain decided that the colonies needed to return revenue to the mother country and they needed to pay for the colonies defense, which was being provided by Britain. But the colonies did not agree with these new rules at all. They felt that since they were not represented in Parliament that they shouldn’t have to pay any kinds of taxes to the mother country, hence the saying “no taxation without representation.” When Britain continued to tax, the colonies formed the First Continental Congress to persuade the British government to recognize their rights. When this didn’t work a war was declared, which is known as the American Revolution.

After the First Continental Congress failed to persuade Britain to recognize the colonies’ rights, and war was declared, things began to heat up. Many people who were both considered moderates and radicals had decided that enough was enough and that any kind of taxation without representation was considered tyranny. People such as John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Ben Franklin, as well as a group called the Sons of Liberty decided that it was time to unite all of the colonies and to stand together against Britain.

During the course of the American Revolution, a second Continental Congress was formed. It is this group that adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration of Independence was drafted by John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. After the first draft was written by Thomas Jefferson, it was revised by Ben Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson before it was sent to Congress for approval. All thirteen colonies stood behind the Declaration of Independence and adopted it in full on July 4, 1776.

This is where the Fourth of July holiday comes in. The Fourth of July is known as Independence Day because that is the day that the Second Continental Congress adopted the full and formal Declaration of Independence. Even though we had declared that we were independent, the American Revolution was still being fought, which meant that we were still not independent. Regardless of the ongoing war the following year, people in Philadelphia celebrated a muted Fourth of July.

While celebrations on July 4th during the American Revolution were modest, after the war ended in 1783 the Fourth of July became a holiday in many places. The celebrations included speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks. To this day the Fourth of July is the most patriotic holiday celebrated in the United States.

 

Recipes

Star Marshmallow Pops

Ingredients:

  • Kraft Square S’more Marshmallows
  • Star Cookie Cutter (about 2″ wide)
  • Red Sugar Crystals
  • Blue Sugar Crystals
  • Paper Straws-patriotic colors
  • water

Directions:

Start off by laying out some wax paper to avoid a sticky mess. Grab your cookie cutter and press it into as many marshmallows as you think you’ll want for star pops. Push the paper straws into the middle (sticky part) of the marshmallow stars and set them back down on the wax paper. When you ready to start decorating, put another piece of wax paper on the counter. Press the marshmallow into a cup of water-turning it over to coat both sides with water. Then press the “wet with water” sides into the sugar crystals coating the marshmallow with the sugar crystals. Set the coated marshmallow pops onto the wax paper sheet to dry-it will probably take about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then once they have had a chance to dry place them in a mason jar with rice at the bottom to hold them in place looking like a bouquet. Store in an airtight container if you want to keep them for a couple of days.

 

 

 

Red, White, and Blue Frozen Bananas

Ingredients:

  • Bananas
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate melting wafers or chocolate chips: red, white, blue
  • Lollipop Sticks
  • Red, white, & Blue sprinkles

Directions:

Peel the bananas and then cut them in half. Place each banana piece on a lollipop stick. Freeze the bananas for at least two hours. Melt the Ghirardelli chocolates in the microwave and then use a spoon to cover the frozen banana with the melted chocolate. If you are going to decorate your red, white and blue frozen bananas with sprinkles, add the sprinkles before the chocolate hardens. If you want to drizzle on the candy melts, place the chocolate covered frozen bananas back in the freezer until the chocolate is completely hardened. For the candy drizzle, place 15 Wilton blue, red and white candy melts in a Ziploc bags. Place the plastic bags in the microwave.  We started at 40 seconds increments until the candy melts were fully melted. Once the candy melts are melted, cut the tip off the bag and drizzle the candy over the frozen bananas. Place the decorated red, white and blue frozen bananas back in the freezer until you are ready to serve them.

 

DIY Projects

4th of July Fireworks Decor

Supplies:

  • Variety of sticks
  • Flat spray paint Red, white & blue
  • 3 Mason jars
  • A ribbon that is red, white & blue or themed for Independence day

 

Directions:

Spread out a bundle of sticks in pile of three. Spray each pile with red, white, and blue paint. Let dry and reapply if you see any missed sections. Take the mason jars and wrap the themed ribbon around the top. Place the sticks in the jar and display as a centerpiece or mantel decoration.

 

 

Firecracker Poppers

Supplies:

  • A stapler
  • Scissors
  • Craft or needlework needle
  • Fun craft punches for making your own confetti
  • Hole Puncher
  • Toilet paper (to make the rocket shape)
  • Colored construction paper
  • Red and Blue tissue paper
  • String
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Beads (these will not show so it doesn’t matter what they look like)
  • Ribbon for the streamers (red, white, & blue)

Directions:

Cut a small square of tissue paper that will be big enough to cover the bottom of your cardboard tube (about 3” across). Cut a small disc out of a sheet of construction paper that will fit just within the radius of the cardboard tube. With some glue attach this disc to the center of the tissue paper. Let it dry a few minutes. Thread about an arm’s length of string onto your craft needle and tie a bead to the end for a knot. With this, puncture the center of your disc that is attached to the tissue paper. This will be the trap door.

Next, you will need to glue this tissue paper trap door to your cardboard tube with a small line of glue around the bottom of the tube. Make sure you attach it with the bead side inside the tube and the string side hanging outside of your tube. You can add a pull tab to your long dangling fuse or just let it hang. We added stars to some of ours. Let dry. Cover the toilet paper with decorative paper so you don’t know that it is toilet paper. The length is roughly 6.5×4.25. Attaching the ribbons to the bottom inside of the decorative covering will keep it looking more professional. Roll your paper around the tube and staple the top for strength. You can’t staple the bottom because your tissue paper trap door keeps the stapler from getting inside but I found that a couple of pieces of tape did the trick. Now you can fill your tube with confetti. We just put in a few handfuls but feel free to load this sucker up. Just think about how much confetti you want to clean up later. Attaching the cone to the top of your rocket can be a bit tedious. It’s purely aesthetic so if you opt out of this part that’s fine.

Cut a circle about 3.25 inches wide across, then cut one snip all the way to the center of the disc like you see above. Take the edges of your cut and pull them together, probably about a half an inch or more. When your cone has reached a desirable height, staple it at the base. Attaching the cone to your rocket can be a little tricky. The important thing is creating a strong holder that you can use to hang your rocket from. Since these rockets will be tugged upon, you don’t want it to fall apart before it explodes. Putting a weight-bearing string through two holes punched in the top of the rocket body works best.  

Then string the two sides of the string through the center bead and up through the center of the cone so that it comes out of the point at the top of the cone. The cone itself can’t really hold the rocket together so taping it wouldn’t work. An easy way to string the cone is to open up the stapled cut from the inside of your cone and pull your string through the gap.

 

       

Here’s a Scientific Diagram 

I found that I needed to “prime” some of the rockets to ensure maximum explosiveness. You can do this by simply poking some small holes (or cutting with a sharp blade) around the bottom of the trap door. Just make sure you don’t cut it completely out because the ripping sound of that trap door being yanked out is probably the biggest part of the fun.

 

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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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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How To Teach Your Kids About Remodeling And Fixing Things Around The House

It’s every dad’s dream when they have their first child is to teach them something they are good at. Working with your hands is becoming a thing of the past in most households but it is very important for their future as independent adults and important for learning to work together as a family. First, in order to teach your children independence, let’s take a look at some things that might make your children become helpless adults. More and more adults are recognizing the signs of entitlement in their kids. We see kids who won’t lift a finger to help out, who think the world revolves around them, who rarely show gratitude or empathy and who demand more..more…more! Entitlement or laziness is sown over the years in a million little parenting decisions–all made in the name of love. Sometimes a few tweaks in parenting styles can make all the difference. Below are some of the most common entitlement-prone parenting styles, as well as a few proven fixes:  

 

    1. Keeping them happy at all costs- This might be you if: You’d rather let your kids dominate your phone during errands or pulling strings with teachers and coaches than face a tantrum. When we drop everything to help our kids avoid unhappiness or disappointment, we teach them that their happiness is top priority. Then when they get into this routine if they face life’s setbacks like not getting something they want they are unable to cope. Help your children early on to develop strategies for overcoming difficulties large and small. The fix: Kids are entitled to your love and undivided attention every day. Spend 10 minutes a day individually with each child, on their terms, doing whatever they want to do during that time. Commit to it on a daily basis and you can watch as entitled behaviors melt away. Your kids will stop trying to get your attention in negative ways (like tantrums and negotiating) when they know they’ll get it in positive ways.
    2. Being an enabler- This might be you if: your children expect you to clean up after their mess. The start of this is small because when they are newborns they can’t do anything and so you get in the habit of doing everything. As they get older parents are already in the habit of doing everything themselves so they have a hard time letting go because apart of them doesn’t want their kid to grow up or they just feel it will get done faster if they do it. As your child goes through each stage of life it is important to let them become a little more independent each time.  Little things like picking up after themselves, helping out with chores or participating in cooking, even making them eat things they don’t like because that is what everyone else is having can go a long way in not enabling them. Fix: Setting ground rules for yourself is very important to not enable your child. Telling them they are really growing up and old enough now to do things on their own is also very good. Be sure to set them up for success by helping them understand it’s the next stage of their life, just like school and going to the next grade level. Giving them chores on weekly basis will also help build responsibility. Like all children they will throw a fit on not wanting to do it but not give in to this behavior will ensure that eventually, they will just do it instead of trying to get out of it. Remember to follow through on your ground rules.
    3. Being the rescuer- This might be you if: your child can’t remember things like homework, permission, slips, lunch unless you remind them every time. You’ve had the sense for a long time that your kids could remember their lunches by themselves but never seem to and feel entitled to your personal delivery service when they forget. The fix: Anyone can make a mistake from time to time but they will only learn if they get in the habit of remembering what they need. Tell your kids in advance that you’ll no longer be rescuing them. Be clear about your expectations, and help them brainstorm strategies to keep track of their responsibilities.
    4. Being the indulger- This might be you if: your child demands to drink a soda with every meal and wins or your toddler throws a temper tantrum unless they have your phone to play with. It’s not wrong to let kids experience life’s little pleasures, but it’s our job to set the appropriate limits we know are best. Entitled kids are known for thinking of themselves as above the rules, and deserving the best of what life has to offer. We can change this mindset by sticking with the limits we set and ignoring the protests and negotiations. The Fix: By providing plenty of opportunities for kids to wield age-appropriate control over their own lives will give them a sense of power over positive things such as eating healthy, doing their homework and budgeting. When they have this control over some aspects of their lives they will less likely pitch a fit when we have to say no or enforce limits on other areas that are more for adults, like dating or curfews.
    5. Being over the top- This might be you if: You go far out of your way to make sure your kids have the best childhoods possible. Tons of presents at holidays, designer bedrooms and picture-perfect outfits are all great things but kids don’t need them. If they always experience the best of what life has to offer when they are young, then they feel entitled to it as they grow older. Cutting back our over-the-top tendencies will make for happier, more contented children down the road. The Fix: Take pleasure in the little things by expressing gratitude for what you do have instead of focusing on what you want. In fact, research shows that grateful people are happier overall. Involve your kids, and create daily or weekly gratitude rituals to help them appreciate what’s most important in their lives.

   

Now that we have covered techniques for good parenting styles, getting your children involved in helping fix little house issues will be a blast. They will get to bond with you and learn how to take care of their own home when they are older. Kids love to feel needed. They like to know that although they are a bit smaller than mom and dad, they can still help out around the house. Giving a child a hammer and some nails to bang into a scrap piece of wood is good training and it helps kids know that they really made a difference. You can have them help you with a few repair jobs around the house that will make them feel valuable.

 

Oil Hinges- Open a door and point out the squeaky noise to the child. Now when I was a kid the best thing to use was a can of WD40 to get rid of the squeak but over the years I have found that a silicone base of lubricant works way better. Show your kid how to make the noise stop by squirting a few drops inside the hinge. Make sure to also mention the harmful aspects of the job so they always know the do’s and don’t.

Tighten Handles- Grab a Phillips screwdriver and a flathead to show your kid the difference between the two. Then show them how to tighten the screws to keep the handle from wiggling.

Loose Towel Rack- If towel racks are loose, after teaching your child to tighten handles they can tighten the racks.

Scuff Marks on Linoleum- There are a few techniques you use to teach your kid how to get scuff marks off the floor. Toothpaste with a washcloth, a pencil eraser or the nifty Mr. Clean dry eraser works wonders. Show them all of them because it will teach them how to think outside the box in situations. With toothpaste dab some on the scuff mark and use the cloth or eraser to rub it. Then show them the easier method of buying a Mr. Clean dry eraser and wetting it down then rubbing the mark until it’s gone. Note: This is also good if they decide that their wall is a canvas, you can teach them to clean up their own mess by scrubbing the wall until it’s gone. If it is permanent then the next job will come in handy for them.

Painting- This is a good job to teach children early on because everyone has to paint something or other in their lifetime. Grab a small paint brush, painter’s tape, and a plastic Tupperware to give them some paint to start out with. First, show them the steps to painting and why we do this. You can always start with little touch-up jobs with the younger ones and work up to bigger projects. Giving your child the opportunity to repair things in the house is a big deal to them. They will feel like they have done something substantial and will likely never have to worry about them wanting to help you with future projects if you make it fun and not a chore.

 

Some ideas for practicing to get little ones in the habit of hands-on work

  • Tools of their own- You can buy reasonably priced kid-size tools. A toolbox I like is the “Grip” nine-piece children’s Toolkit which costs about $35 and is available on kids toolbox. A cordless driver though made for adults is a fun tool for them to learn to use, the Skil iXO and black & decker L13100 cordless drivers are perfect for little hands. It’s about $30. A low-temp hot-glue gun is safe to start learning to glue things together. A hand drill works easily without pinching fingers. Put a piece of wood into a vise and have them practice making holes. The Fiskars craft drill comes with four bits and is a great start for only $16 fiskars craft drill. A keyhole saw strengthens young kids’ hands and is sized for better control. The handy saw set comes with fine and coarse tooth blades for about $7 at forsmallhands.com
  • Learning to hammer- To a kid who isn’t quite ready to drive nails, nothing feels better than whap, crackle, and pop. Supply a kid-size hammer or a rubber mallet and show them how to hammer bubble wrap. After they master this you can upgrade to a nail and scrap wood, hammer the nails in half way and let them finish the job. Soon they will be helping you build your next project.
  • Driving screws- This is fun and a higher level of experience for kids. Put some screws in a scrap of drywall and let the kids screw them in with a cordless screwdriver or hand-held screwdriver. Drywall is a lot easier than wood, once they have that down upgrade to a block of wood half drilled. They will feel so accomplished once they get it down.
  • How to use a wrench-  This is another great beginner tool. Put different size bolts on boards and then let your kid use wrenches to attach color-coordinated nuts to each one.
  • Sawing- This is a skilled technique and can also help with preciseness. Clamp some foam core to a workbench and let the kid saw strips. Foam core is easier to than wood and then upgrade when they are ready.

 

Kids are easily frustrated so be careful not to go too fast for them. Let kids handle the tool to see how it works and feel. Let them get a sense of accomplishment with it before moving on to another one. Remember perfection is not the goal, enjoying the work is the most important lesson learned. Another thing you can do is sign up at Home-depot where they have a workshop each month learning a new project. They are free and something that will help you bond with your children.

 

   

 

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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Feng Shui For Your Kitchen

In Feng Shui, kitchens are one of the most important rooms. They represent the heart and home, a place where friends and family gather to connect. Using feng shui to organize and calm a kitchen can increase health and happiness.

The Meaning Of Feng Shui

It’s an ancient Chinese science of creating happiness and abundance by altering or modifying the movement of chi energy and by balancing the effect of elements and directions. However, as per now, just understand that it’s the science that creates positivity and suppresses negativity.

A kitchen is a place where healthy, nutritious and yummy food are cooked; the same food once consumed gives you and your family the energy and stamina for day-to-day chores. Furthermore, a kitchen has a lot of fire element involved and it’s always better to keep the “fire element” under control. This is why you must make it feng shui compliant.

When you combine Kitchen and Feng Shui you get a kitchen that can and has all the ability in the world to ward off any or all negativity while, simultaneously, enhancing positive energy in your home. The same positive energy then spreads into your home making you and your family happier, healthier, optimistic and everything good that you can think of.

 

    

 

Tips For Adding Feng Shui:

  • Mirrors are good if you position them to reflect the stove burners; doubling the burners is believed to boost finances.
  • Copper attracts positive chi. This could be decorations or copper pots.
  • Potted plants or herbs bring prosperity but be sure to place them along the south and east walls of the kitchen.
  • Fruits and vegetables indicate prosperity also and using pictures will increase the sensation of abundance.
  • If the laundry room is in or beside the kitchen then don’t allow dirty clothes to pile up.
  • Keep pantry doors closed at all times.
  • Don’t leave brooms and mops out, store them in a closet to keep clutter minimal.
  • Don’t place the oven or range in the northwest sector known as “Heaven’s Gate.” Good luck energy resides in the northwest direction.
  • Don’t let dirty dishes pile up.
  • Don’t hang a dish towel over the oven handle.
  • Keep entries clear and uncluttered to invite opportunity in.

Feng Shui Color and Their Meanings:

Keep the following in mind as a guide, but always remember to tap into your own mind, body, spirit needs and goals, as well as your own visceral reaction to each color.

Red- Acts as a stimulator.

Orange- Uplifting color that promotes happiness.

Yellow/Gold- Symbolizes power, stimulates health, patience and wisdom.

Pink- Represents love, romance, and partnership.

Green- Represents growth and new beginnings, as well as healing and freshness.

Blue/Greens- Represents youth, new beginnings, and inspires confidence.

Deeper Blues- Infuses wisdom and introspection.

Purple- Inspires spirituality, adventure, and prosperity.

Black- Contemplative color that encourages reflection and mystery.

White- Cultivates clarity, precision, and communication.

Gray- Invites helpfulness and represents a harmonious union of black and white.

Brown- Offers stability and security.

 

Important Considerations For Feng Shui Kitchens

There are several key feng shui elements to which you need to pay close attention when working with your kitchen layout. Placement of your appliances needs to follow feng shui principles of fire versus water and hot versus cold. The placement of your appliances is sometimes more important than the actual direction. If you are remodeling your kitchen and starting fresh then here are some tips you can follow to make your kitchen Feng Shui.

  1. Try to place the kitchen towards the back door of the home.
  2. Keep the kitchen clean and uncluttered at all times.
  3. Keep the kitchen well lit and ventilated.
  4. Face east while cooking in the kitchen.
  5. You can have windows in the east or west walls of the kitchen.
  6. Make sure to keep lightweight things in east and north of kitchen.
  7. You can have a sink in north or north-east of the kitchen.
  8. Keep the gas stove/burner a few inches away from the wall.
  9. Keep at least 1-2 feet distance between stove/burner and the kitchen sink. If there is no option then place small plants/herbs or green decorative glass panel stove and sink. You can also place a green color decorative glass panel between the stove and sink.
  10. Above also applies to refrigerators too; you must keep 1-2 feet distance between stove and refrigerator in the kitchen.
  11. Repair all leaking taps and faucets in the kitchen that is an indication of draining away all money and wealth from the house.
  12. You can place a dining table in the north-west or west of the kitchen.
  13. Try to use yellow, orange, rose, chocolate or red as floor and wall colors for the kitchen.

 

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