Design Tips & Ideas
Underfloor heating systems are ideal with wood floors and the system truly lets you to enjoy this natural floor finish. There are a couple of things to consider with wood floors and underfloor heating and we’ve listed these for you in this post.
• Thickness and density of the wood floor
The conductivity of wood is less than stone or tiles so the thinner the wood is, the higher the heat output of the system and the faster the heat up time. The maximum thickness is 18mm as any thicker than that will hinder the efficiency of the system. If desired, thicker boards can be used, but these will result in a lower heat output. The density affects the heat transfer where high density floors transmit heat better.
• Suitability for use with underfloor heating
Underfloor heating systems can be used under almost all wood floors, but it’s advisable to check with your floor supplier and manufacturer to make sure your floor is compatible with the system.
The better the underfloor insulation, the more energy and cost efficient the system is. A number of insulation types to use with the system are available, from insulation boards to special under and overlays (depending on the system).
• Moisture content of the wood flooring
Engineered wood is more stable than solid wood, but it is important that the moisture content is sufficient with both types. This is typically 10-11% when the boards are laid, which will reduce to 8-9% when heated. The best thing to prevent any problems is to check the moisture content with your supplier and make sure that the flooring is transported and stored in a dry environment.
• Humidity of the room
Wood is a natural material and the variations in humidity levels can lead to shrinkage and expansion of wood. Air humidity should be maintained between 40% and 60% at all times.
• Maximum floor temperature
The maximum floor temperature wood floors are heated to should not exceed 27°C. This is achieved by having a thermostat with a floor probe which automatically controls the underfloor heating so that the temperature won’t raise above the 27°C. Warmup has a selection of thermostats that are ideal for controlling underfloor heating under wood floors.
• Heating controls
The accurate controllability of the system is essential with the top temperature restriction of 27°C. Temperature accuracy ensures no energy is wasted and that the floor heating can be safely used under wood floors.
For floating and nailed floors it is advisable to use a specialist wood floor underlay over the heating system. This needs to be thin and not the foil-reflective type. The maximum TOG is 2.5 as any thicker than this will reduce the heat output too much.
• Type of system
Both electric underfloor heating and warm water underfloor heating are suitable for use under wood floors. The type of system usually depends on the project type and your preference. Electric is usually preferred in refurbishments as it does not raise floor levels. Warm water underfloor heating is ideal for new builds and the combination of both, hybrid, provides a perfect heating system for a whole house.
• What makes a reputable UFH supplier
There are different solutions for underfloor heating for wood floors and when choosing an underfloor heating supplier for a wood floor, you should at least find out how long they have been trading for, what their guarantees are like and have they got technically skilled staff to help you out should you have any problems.
Posted by Michelle Lesser at 3 October, 2014
Moroccan design takes its roots from Moorish architecture, distinguished by its rich colours inspired by the Middle East, its exquisite furnishings and beautiful tiled designs are proving very popular the world over. Traditionally Moroccan homes were built with privacy in mind; houses were built around a central courtyard, beautifully adorned with fountains and pools and it’s this style that has worked its way across the globe in recent years.This post written by experts in Moroccan décor, Habibi Interiors, will guide you through some of the most alluring ways to bring Moroccan style into your courtyard.
Let’s start with the cornerstone of Moroccan inspiration – the traditional architecture, built from centuries of cultural and religious influences to create beautiful mosaic archways, curved doors, patios and furniture. You can bring as much or as little mosaic decoration into your courtyard as you like, from creating entire tiled walls and floors to simply adding Moroccan style tables or seating areas or a beautifully decorated fountain or water feature.
When it comes to Moroccan style your colour schemes need to be bold. Brilliant reds and warm oranges are very commonplace, but so too are vibrant blues and greens combined with cooling neutral colours, chosen to reflect the feel of the desert and the Mediterranean ocean. You can replicate this look by keeping the walls neutral whilst adding lots of colour with a mosaicked water feature and bright furniture and ornaments.
Textiles and Upholstery
Your courtyard needs to be all weather friendly, so there won’t be a huge amount of upholstery present but you can still invest in (or make your own) cushions or draperies for your garden furniture. Big plush floor cushions finished with intricate patterns and geometric shapes are a sure fire way to get your Moroccan style noticed. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colours and patterns to get that eclectic Moroccan look.
Moroccan themed accessories are going to be the thing that really brings the whole Middle Eastern atmosphere to life. Traditional Moroccan lanterns are a great place to start, usually moulded from brass or copper, the intricate designs cast beautiful shadows across your courtyard when hung from the walls or canopies.
Moroccan style ornaments will enhance your theme even further, much like with the lanterns, metalwork plays a heavy part in ornamental design. Look out for delicately designed vases, canisters and trays, featuring complex designs as well as ceramic vases, candle holders and bowls.
Something that will really help emanate that Moroccan atmosphere is a traditional oil burner, decorated with beautiful tiles or coloured glass, choose Moroccan spiced oils – the cinnamon, clove and spice will burn to create a truly Middle Easter feel.
Taking inspiration from Moroccan architecture, ornamental design and traditional textiles will allow you to create your very own Moroccan escape, shaded from the world outside; your courtyard can be your own private, Mediterranean haven.
Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 1 October, 2014
We’ve written before about some of the keys to living a minimalist lifestyle. In that post we talked about the importance of keeping floors clear, having only the most essential pieces of furniture, etc. What we didn’t talk about, though, was how to go from the cluttered (we’re guessing) lifestyle you lead now to the minimalist lifestyle you desire. Let’s change that now.
For a lot of people, the idea of going from a “more stuff=more happiness” to a minimalist lifestyle seems great until they realize exactly how much downsizing is actually involved. That’s when they start to feel very possessive of all of the stuff they’ve collected. It’s only natural. It took time to find all of those decorations! And your mother in law will give you a really hard time when she visits if you don’t serve dinner on the china she insisted on giving you even though it’s the ugliest stuff you’ve ever seen.
Here’s the truth: making the transition from a “stuff” based life to a minimalist life isn’t as much about ditching a bunch of your stuff (though that certainly is part of it). It is more about figuring out what matters most to you and what you most need to have on hand every day.
Start With Basic Needs
Go through your current home. Touch every single thing you own (seriously–every last thing) and when you do, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I use this every day?
- Do I use this at least once every three months?
- Do I use this at least once every year?
- Does this have sentimental value?
- Will you be written out of the will if you get rid of this thing?
- Does this make me happy every single time I look at it?
The only things that you should keep actually on hand in your new, minimalist, home, are the things that you actually use every day and the things that make you happy every single time you look at them (these tend to be decorative items).
Put the things that you use at least once every few months and the things that have tremendous sentimental value/things that will get you written out of the will if you get rid of it/have to have it on hand if someone comes to visit (like the china your mother in law gave you) into a small and local storage space. That way you can easily get to them when you need them.
For things that you don’t need quick access to, but still want or feel like you need to keep (holiday decorations, for example), a portable storage unit (sometimes called a pod) is your best bet. The site www.unitedmayflower.com recommends a portable storage unit for people who are trying to declutter because the pods are delivered and picked up. That means you don’t have to find a way to transport potentially heavy things like heirloom furniture to a storage space.
Everything else can be sold or donated (which will be handy come tax time).
Space Savers to Keep You From Panicking
One of the things that causes most new minimalists to panic is the idea of getting rid of their media collections. But remember: eReaders, mp3 players and cloud storage make it possible for you to store hundreds of books, music, shows and movies in a few small devices.
To save space in the kitchen, try hanging your pans on the wall. If you arrange them carefully, you can create a great and functional art piece that frees up space in your cabinets.
Captain-style bedding (where there are drawers under the bed) is a fantastic way to extend your clothing storage without requiring bulky dressers or a large closet.
The process isn’t going to be easy but trust us: once it’s done and you look around your clean and open minimalist space, you’ll be glad you did all of that work.
Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 23 September, 2014
Posted by Michelle Lesser at 15 September, 2014
If you’re anything like this writer, your favourite activity will be sitting in your living room, in your pants, slobbing on the settee and vegetating to the latest season of Game of Thrones. And being the most frequented part of your home, you’ve got to make all that slobbing as comfortable as possible.
So, what interior design choices should you choose for optimal comfort and style?
The seating of gods
Have you ever sat in a truly uncomfortable seat? It’s like Chinese water torture, suffering an uncomfortable illness or having to sit through a full season of Geordie Shore –awful.
And the cheapest seats never make do for comfort. Instead, they make you feel like you’re sitting on a layer of cardboard atop a stone.
Really, especially if you’re looking for unadulterated comfort, shelling out a little extra is well worth the dough. Try celebrity recliners for fully adjustable bliss, and couple them with a settee that really hits the spot.
When you’re positioning your seating, be sure not to make your telly the main focus. Foster a naturally sociable area by placing chairs and settees opposite each other in an almost-circle.
Good seating is paramount in a front room, so spend wisely and well.
Buying a telly has become so complicated nowadays, hasn’t it?
Gone are the days when you proudly asserted your ownership of a 32-inch – now you have to know exact screen resolutions, number of HDMI ports, whether your SCART plug doubles up as a toaster and if you have dongle support (seriously, does anyone actually know what a dongle is?).
Here are the basics you need to know:
• 1080p is the highest screen resolution available.
• Having at least two HDMI sockets is preferable.
• A good quality television will have a set-top box built-in.
• Higher quality tellies will have features like Netflix and internet access built-in – although they aren’t vital if you’ve got a USB port and a laptop.
But most of all, don’t let your huge telly cramp the style of your room. Few people want a black hole as their living room’s focal point.
A touch of class
You can have mounds of Blu-ray’s, stacks of DVDs and games dotted around your sitting room, but you also need some class to impress your guests.
Invest in adequate shelving to hold a varied array of ornaments and decorations, and consider placing some pictures – whether it’s works of art or family photos – to give the place a personal touch.
The best thing about slobbing around is feeling entirely comfortable, and having your personal bits and bobs is a big part of that. But when you’ve got guests around, having a well turned-out and cultured look about your home is the key to creating a sociable atmosphere.
Posted by Michelle Lesser at 15 September, 2014
It could be the rotten frame, the door barely clinging to its hinges, the sullen mat or the fact that people keep throwing money at your doorway, mistaking it for a sleeping tramp, but something about your entrance needs a makeover.
Indeed, your entrance design can be easy to neglect when you tackle the rest of your home – but without a classy walkway to your door, you’re setting a disappointing precedent to guests for the interior of the house.
So, how can you turn that front entrance from a sleeping tramp to a luxury walkway?
Morph your mat
It might only be where you wipe your feet, but door mats are also the way to initiate a positive feeling in your home.
Seek out a durable, machine washable mat with an eye-catching pattern to make your entrance stand out. Also ensure it can scrape dirt from your soles effectively. Essentially, don’t vie for the cheap, Poundland option – buy a luxurious mat that will last longer and capture dirt quickly.
Your door is the focal point of any entrance, so you hardly want it looking like the police have kicked it in a thousand times. Instead of a door from the set of The Wire, you should invest in a sturdy, heavy door specially designed to weather the elements.
But if a completely new door and frame is out of your price range, consider giving it a fresh lick of exterior paint or varnish. Just make sure you screw the door off its hinges and take it inside before you paint it – the last thing you want is rain ruining your paintjob before it’s dry.
Look to the countryside
Have you ever been to the countryside and looked at the exterior of those wonderful cottages you could never find in the city?
Butterflies flutter around trellised creepers, a long cobbled pathway leading to the entrance takes you through rose beds and mesmeric colours, and a white picketed gate reflects the sunlight with a glimmer.
In essence, it’s perfect. And while you might not be able to capture that exact tone in your urban gloom, a few hanging baskets and a tidy garden with some flowerbeds can increase the delight-factor in your garden no end.
Make it match
So many homes suffer from a disconnect between their exterior and interior, causing a jarring shift in tone when you move from one area to the other.
Yet if you can marry both, you’ll have a home to be admired.
This doesn’t have to be difficult or even particularly intricate. Provided you keep both areas clean, well-designed and regularly updated, your outdoors and indoors won’t be drearily mismatched.
Picture via Pinterest.
Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 11 September, 2014
[Image Source - https://www.flickr.com/photos/wanhoff/455500490/]
We all want to get fit, in one way or another – but how many of us actually do? Figures suggest that we, as a nation, squander £37m on gym memberships that we don’t even use, so why don’t we go? Whether it’s having to stay in with your kids or not finding the motivation to uproot yourself out of the house and drive all the way to the gym, there’s always reasons we never get round to it – some more valid than others!
We’d all love to be able to do more at home – it’s so much more convenient, there are less people hogging the machines and you don’t feel so self-conscious, particularly if you’re new to the gym. This guest post runs through four ways to really make your home fitness friendly if you’re thinking of major renovations.
1. Home Gym
Your first instinct, when thinking of fitness in the home, is going to be to jump straight for replicating the feel of a commercial gym but with the convenience and comfort of it being in the next room – and it’s not a bad jump to make. If you’re already adding new space it’s perfect; it’s vital for a home gym to be somewhere totally separate to the rest of the house. Much like a home office, you won’t be motivated for long enough and you’ll struggle to stop being distracted.
The minimum cost of a home extension, according to Trade Advisor, is around £15,900 – and they can rise towards the £50,000 depending on size. A smaller extension would be more than enough for a home gym, keeping the costs down, and all the equipment in The Independent’s top 10 home gym equipment list comes in at well under £2,000 – which means kitting it out needn’t cost the earth either.
2. Swimming Pool
Before you click off and assume that home swimming pools are completely unaffordable, just keep reading. Remember the previous section and our home extension minimum being around the £16,000 mark? Swimming pools are not too far behind – with the Society of Pool and Allied Trades Association (SPATA) estimating between £15,000 and £25,000 for a typical home pool.
This means that, far from being a dream luxury that only the very rich can afford, for some it’s potentially just a toss-up between extending your kitchen and garage or having a swimming pool installed. There are plenty of specialist firms too, such as Edge Leisure, who will carry out design work as well as manufacture and installation to ensure it fits your garden space adequately.
3. Expanded Living Spaces
You don’t have to be rolling in cash or getting armed to the teeth with high-tech gym equipment to make some dedicated space in your home. Whether you’ve got two separate living rooms or a spare bedroom which sees next to no use, there’s usually scope in a reasonably sized home to open up your usable spaces and break down the walls – literally.
Say you really want to get into yoga, or simple muscle building exercises like push-ups but you just don’t have the room in the living room. Getting a partition wall knocked down can cost, on average, as little as £1,100 according to industry reference site Building Sheriff – giving you plenty of room for a living area as well as a workout space.
4. Home Saunas
Sounds ridiculous? Far from it. There are plenty of manufacturers offering free-standing home sauna units, which can easily be incorporated into any home extension plans – and they don’t have to cost the earth either.
Most models come in at well under £1,000, making them one of the more affordable fitness options in our top four – although YourSaunaAndSteamRoom.co put the average modular four-person and larger models at around the £2,500 mark. However much you budget to spend, and however large you need your sauna, just be sure to stick to reputable brands, such as Helo, rather than skimping on a no-name option.
Armed with these four fitness changes, it’s easy to get ideas for your home’s next health-inspired extension or renovation. It might require some investment, but it can be worth it in the long run – no more excuses, get exercising!
This guest post was written by Tom McShane – a UK-based marketing blogger working in conjunction with swimming pool specialists Edge Leisure.
Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 2 September, 2014