Archive for June, 2011

Creating your own Fountain

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Outdoor, Tile and Natural Stone

Many people would like to add a water feature to their yards but aren’t sure where to start. Do those pre-designed fountains seem a little too big, small, too traditional or modern or just not right for you? How about taking a chance and building your own unique water feature?

If you’re handy, grab some books and start making plans. If you’re not, there are landscape contractors who specialize in water features. Think about what you want. Do you hope for a dramatic fountain? Would you like more of a waterfall effect just off your patio? Maybe you just want a little burbling place to splash your hand in on hot days.

Once you decide, consider style. Would you like something that looks like it has been there forever? You might find stone tiles that give that feeling. How about a contemporary waterfall like the one in the photo? There are plenty of drops to help the water splash and make noise, and the natural-toned tiles help blend the piece with its surroundings. Maybe you’d like a south-of-the-border look with hand painted tiles in rows along the edge.

Whatever your taste and style, take a look at the options at our showroom. Our salespeople can point out the tiles and stone choices that can best handle outdoor living and lots of water.

Do you want to add the magic feeling that water gives an outdoor space? With the right choice, you can make your yard a special place to linger and enjoy.

Tile Flooring About both Layout and Tile Choice

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Design and Decorating, Tile and Natural Stone

What do these two photos have in common? Believe it or not, the floors have the exact same layout. On the left, the photo shows what appears to be a bathroom’s tile floor. The three shades of blue add a bit of interest without overpowering what is normally a relatively small space.

On the right, this photo of the entryway to a 19th century Paris home uses the same tile layout in a dramatically different way. The juxtaposition of the light and dark tiles adds just the right accent to a room rich in detail.

It’s easy to say the drama comes from the wrought iron gates and the beautiful staircase, but if you imagine that floor as solid stone it’s quickly clear that the flooring is the piece that links everything together.

Chances are this floor is stone. The depth of color and its survival for well over a century with limited damage suggests stone. It’s also likely because the walls and staircase are stone.

Would you like to create a room in your home with the same sense of timelessness as this one? A good start is recreating flooring that reflects the quiet appeal shown here. You may not be able to reproduce the amazing iron work and you may not have room for a staircase that flows into a room the way this one does, but by adding in a floor like this you are on your way to producing some of the mood and magic of this Paris space. Why not take a chance and have a bit of old-world France in your own home?

There’s a Lot to Learn from this Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

This room is certainly blue, and it may not be to your taste, but there are many design choices here that are worth paying attention to when you decorate your own home.

First, even a love of blue didn’t lead the designer to ignore other colors. The gold tone in the curtains, along with strong white elements, balance the blue and keep it from feeling totally overwhelming.

Second, every tonal range from light blue to a dark navy come into play, creating enough contrast with the white to keep the room interesting. The room also demonstrates a balance between pattern and solids. By adjusting the color and style, this room handles three patterns well. The rug is a dark blue with a diagonal striped pattern of medium flowers. The final pattern, the chair in the left foreground, is primarily white with just a few blue flowers scattered on it to connect it with the room.

Finally, the balance of the furniture fits well within the room. The curtains, mirror above the fireplace and the art connect the room all the way up to the high ceiling. The carpet is a strong grounding element, and the clear coffee table – an unusual contemporary note – allows the carpet to carry a person into the room without interruption.

Whether you love blue or not, take a second look at this room and discover the take-aways when you decorate your own home.

Keep Pool Water Outside, Away from your Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Family, Hints, Tips and Advice

If you have a backyard pool, you have the potential for a summer of fun for you and your family. Don’t let your frustration over all the wet feet on your floors take that fun away. There are a number of options for reducing or eliminating wet feet in the house.

The best solution is to add a pool bathroom if you don’t have one. In the best situation, the bath will have a door onto the pool area and one into the house. Swimmers can shower, dry and change before coming into the house proper. It’s also handy for outdoor parties and barbeques.

If a pool bath is not an option, consider going half way with an outdoor shower. This can use your outdoor faucet if none of your indoor water sources are convenient to the pool area. Adding a small solar water heater can get the water warm enough for a comfortable shower on sunny days. If you build in some privacy, people can shower, dry, change and then bring their dry selves inside. You may even want to encourage people to rinse off before going into the pool, which will keep your water cleaner.

A behavioral option for keeping floors dry is to set a rule for air drying before coming inside. With a quick towel dry, most people will be drip free in ten to fifteen minutes. This works well if you have nice patio furniture for relaxing and access to cold drinks.

One choice involves eight to ten feet of washable rugs or folded beach towels on the path to the house. People will leave most of their drips outside. This is a temporary solution at best. If you have a lot of pool guests, you are constantly replacing damp with dry towels or rugs and laundering them.

What solution is best for you? To determine how to keep your floors nice without making the pool frustrating rather than fun, consult with your family to choose an option you can all live with. Then enjoy your pool all summer long!

Enjoy the Richness of Wood

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hardwood

Re-creations such as this home provide us with a realistic view of life before our time. These homes generally consisted of one or two rooms and maybe a loft as a sleeping space for children.

This main room served as kitchen, dining room and living room. Much of the furniture was probably hand made from local wood. The walls and floors are also locally produced.

Take a look at the log wall along the back of the room. This is an outside wall, with the rounded logs facing out and scraped smoother on the inside. If you like this look, today’s hand-scraped wood flooring can give you a taste of it. This wood floor, on the other hand, is not common today. That muted light brown-grey tone comes from lots and lots of scrubbing with harsh soap and water to keep it clean.

The central table has a much richer patina – developed through hard use and loving care. You can find flooring and furniture with a comparable level of character. Some floors are reclaimed from older properties and sanded and stained to achieve this look. Flooring companies are also getting very good at creating this feel from new wood.

How much wood do you want in your own home? Things have changed since the time when people had to build a life with products made with their own hands, but much about this room is inviting and charming. What can you learn and borrow from this room to add charm to your own space today?

It May be Time to Look at your Baseboards

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Have you paid any attention to your home’s baseboards, beyond dusting them every now and again? It’s probably worth a look – baseboards actually frame your floors. Choosing different baseboards may add a special look to your home.

Have you added crown molding or considered it in your home? If so, you may want to replace your standard baseboards with something that complements the look of the crown molding. The molding the cat is examining while waiting for dinner is a higher, old fashioned baseboard that creates a homey traditional look in a room. More contemporary homes benefit from a simpler less strong baseboard. In fact, many tile and stone floors will have tile or stone going up three or four inches from the floor in place of traditional wooden baseboards. This is an attractive and simple look for a modern space.

Deciding whether to paint or stain baseboards will depend upon other architectural elements in your home. If your doors, door and window frames as well as any other molding are stained, it’s generally best to stay consistent with baseboards. However, don’t feel obliged to have stained baseboards with a wood floor. As you can see from the photo, a white painted baseboard works well with wood.

Baseboards are only one of the many details that go into making your home something special. Don’t ignore them just because they’re a minor factor. The right choice can add an additional touch of charm to your décor.

Floors for Babies

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hints, Tips and Advice

If you’re expecting a baby, you’re also preparing for a world of life changes. Is moving or renovating on the horizon? If so, be sure to keep your baby in mind as you select your flooring.

Babies spend an amazing amount of time on the floor. When they’re first born, lay your little one on a quilt on the floor underneath a slow-moving ceiling fan. You’re providing hours of entertainment! As they get older, the floor is the site of rolling over, scooting and crawling as well as stacking and knocking down blocks. Learning to walk comes next, and the floor is the best place to play and spend time as your baby moves from toddler to schoolchild.

You should think about comfort, ease in moving and stain and spill issues with your baby and flooring. Carpeting is a good choice because its cushion provides a safer falling surface and a more comfortable place to play. Look for soft carpeting with a good pad to maximize both comfort and safety, and with a baby in the house, spend the extra money for a stain-proof option.

Hard wood and laminate will also work well for children. Studies have actually shown that time spent on their stomachs on a hard surface adds neural connections that will make learning easier later in life. The smooth surface also makes it easier for learning feet to walk. Area rugs can take the place of carpeting if your style is more suited to wood.

The right flooring is just one of the many decisions you face with the addition to your family. We’re here if you need advice on floors or other home options.

Capture the Flavor of Another World

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

There is a magic that comes from buildings that have been part of the landscape for centuries. Visits to other countries can give you a taste for an old-world look that is uncommon to impossible in the U.S.

If you would like your home to capture at least some of the flavor of another world and another time, there are things you can do.

Start with the floors. Stone floors will give your home the flavor of the past if you choose a roughly-cut option with strong color changes that provide the feel of an older patina.

Match that look with roughly-plastered walls and paint with some variation to show off the unevenness on the walls and ceiling. Paint followed by a glaze overlay in a slightly darker color can give that look of age. Be subtle in your choices.

Another addition that can help contribute to the old world look would be one or more architectural artifacts imported from other countries. Doors, windows, fireplace surrounds, benches and various friezes and art are available either at local retailers or online. If your budget is limited, check out reproduction pieces at museum stores and online. Adding just a few touches will carry through your old world theme.

Think finally about lighting. Daylight and soft candlelight echo the lighting options available many decades ago and will complement your design direction. Finish up with a handful o f colorful elements. Take a look at how the plants and red flowers in this photo enhance the soft patina and texture of the walls, roof and courtyard. Be sure to make today’s charm part of your design.

Your Parents’ Safety

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Uncategorized

Children rely on their parents to keep them safe. Things like holding their hands when crossing the street are second nature for parents with small children. As those children grow, they need fewer protections. However, as our parents and grandparents grow older, they may need our help to stay safe.

It may be time to step up and do home safety checks for your parents and/or grandparents. As people move into their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, mobility and balance can be more difficult, and falling can make the difference between a healthy old age and one that is more limited.

Your first step is to talk to them about your concerns. Nothing suggested here is particularly expensive or life-changing. Work with them to conduct a home accessibility audit. For example, are there things out of reach that require them to regularly stand on a chair or stool? Getting a sturdy home step-ladder with a handle to hold onto would be much safer. Or even better, keep everyday things accessible from the floor.

If any floors need to be replaced, encourage carpeting. For seniors, the cushion of carpeting is the safest option. It doesn’t get slippery and it softens a fall, reducing the risk of breaks. Check to make sure that all area rugs have non-slip pads and no edges are curled up to make a tripping hazard. Also look for any slippery situations in the bathroom and add non-slip mats both inside and just outside the tub to reduce risk. Safety handles, a chair in the shower, and a hand-held shower head are also helpful when balance is not as good as it once was.

The final step is home security. Do their doors all have deadbolt locks? A security screen door on at least the front door will allow them to answer it without risking a home intrusion. Check also to make sure that overgrown landscaping doesn’t obscure doors and windows from the neighbors.

When you were a child it was safety first for them. Now that you’ve grown, turnabout is definitely fair play!