After working on many many design projects, I’ve realized that a lot of people want the same things for their home. They want a cozy, warm, safe, and comfortable home where they can be themselves. They want a space that is lived in and doesn’t look like a museum full of cold treasures. They want a clean, uncluttered, functional, and inviting home where they can relax, kick up their feet, and escape the stresses of everyday life, yet be able to entertain their family and friends. The outside world is fast paced, chaotic, frustrating, and difficult enough. After work, people want to come back to a home where they can recharge and be themselves in a space that reflects who they are. Here are 10 ideas on how to create a warm and cozy home sanctuary.
Marble is a beautiful natural stone that gives an elegant, high-end and luxurious look to bathrooms. Most architects and designers love to specify marble in their projects because it’s a classic material that will never go out of style and stands the test of time. It’s one of the rare materials that is beautiful and elegant without costing a fortune. Since marble is a natural stone, every piece is unique and different from all the others. Plus, it’s an expression and continuation of nature that we all want to integrate indoors.
Italian marble is considered one of the finest materials in the market today. Two most popular types of Italian marble are Carrara marble and Calacutta marble. Carrara is slightly grayish in color with soft feather grains which is a typical characteristic of the marble. The gray veins can be small and fine and tend to run linear. Calacutta on the other hand is whiter and smoother than Carrara and has darker and more dramatic veins which are thick and generally run in a mesh on the entire surface. A general rule of thumb to remember is that the whiter the marble, the more expensive it is. Calacatta marble is whiter compared to Carrara marble, so it will be more expensive, sometimes up to 5 times more expensive than Carrara marble. Carrara can cost anywhere between $25 sq/ft to $100 sq/ft whereas Calacutta starts anywhere from $60/sqft to as high as $250 sq/ft unfinished. The high cost of Calacatta marble is mostly because of its rarity and low availability, which makes it more precious and is considered a luxury stone. If you are renovating your bathroom, consider using marble to give your bathroom a high-end luxurious look and feel. Contrary to reports of marble requiring high maintenance, it’s just a misconception so I hope that won’t deter you from considering marble for your bathroom. Here are a few reasons to use this wonderful, versatile, and beautiful material.
Most people don’t think about grout color when it comes to tiling floors, walls, ceiling, or backsplashes. It’s often an overlooked design element as homeowners are primarily concerned with selecting the right tile material, color(s) and size(s). However, grout color is just as important as the tile you choose. It can completely transform the look of a room. Not only will it influence the look of the space, it makes the floor, wall, ceiling, or countertop stronger by bonding the tiles together and preventing the edges of a tile from chipping and cracking. Grout color also affects how much cleaning you’ll have to do. Lighter grout will need to be cleaned more often as it is more likely to show dirt while darker grout does a better job of hiding dirt and stains but are prone to fading and staining from harsh cleaners and direct sunlight. Ask yourself if you want the tile to stand out or do you want to highlight and feature the graphic pattern? To help you choose the right grout color for your tiling project, here are three basic approaches to selecting grout color.
Design: SR Gambrel and Photo: Eric Piasecki
If you are going through a remodel whether it’s your kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, or laundry room, there’s a lot to consider, especially tiles. Are there exposed edges on your kitchen backsplash or shower wall? Will the tile turn corners? Are you considering using decorative tile to give your kitchen or bathroom a classic detailing elevating your space to a high end luxurious look and feel? If so, then chances are you will need tile trim. What are tile trims? Tile trims are used to create a smooth transition between the tile and the wall. It gives you a clean, finished look by creating seamless transitions while hiding mud set and thin set. They are also vital for wet environments to keep water from pooling in corners and also reinforce stress points between the wall and floor by repelling water. So what are the different kind of tile trims out there? I’ll be covering tile trims specifically for smaller sized tiles such as 2 x 4 or 3 x 6 tiles, rather than large format tiles such as 12 x 24 which I’ll talk about in a future blog post. Here are some of the more commonly used tile trims we see today.
A lot of homeowners frequently ask me about selecting lights for their Kitchen peninsula or islands. Should they have one, two, or three lights? What kind of lights should they put there? Pendants, chandeliers, flushmounts, recessed lights, track lights, or multi-light pendants? If pendants, how high should they hang above the peninsula or island? There are a lot of things to consider when it comes to selecting lights for your island or peninsula and what happens is most people select lights that are too small. I recommend getting a larger size (oversize even) to achieve a more high-end and upscale look. Honestly, there really are no rules about how many lights you should have, although the trend in the past has been 3 lights over an island or peninsula. Depending on the size of your island or peninsula, it is really your preference for type of lights and/or number of lights. It’s not common nowadays to see two or even one oversized pendant or chandelier which I prefer over three medium sized lights. An oversized light over a counter creates a focal point that makes a bold statement in your kitchen. It’s a great conversation piece. For islands and peninsulas with deeper counters, you can try linear suspension lights which are energy efficient and offers a more contemporary look if your decor is more on the modern side. With all the thousands of lighting options out there in the market, how do you start? Below are several different kinds of lights to help give you ideas and inspiration so you can make the best decision for yourself.