Design Tips & Ideas

Top Ten New Basement Ideas

Gone are the days of the residential basement being a place for self-storage and never-to-be-seen again belongings. In today’s modern homes, basements are making a comeback and they’re doing it in high style.

Companies like Abtech Basements can help you covert your basement into a new living space:

  1. Play: Having a place for the little ones to scamper to when they want to get their energy out can be invaluable. Especially on rainy or cold days when outside is not an option. Think of creating a spot where the kids have stations for art, movies, LEGO building and reading.
  1. Fitness: Home gyms aren’t that unique, yet having one just downstairs cannot be beat. These days personal gym designs can incorporate the latest fitness crazes. Hang TRX bands from the ceiling or install a motorized vertical climbing wall.
  1. Cook: Dream kitchens are one thing, but a second dream kitchen could put the quintessential cook in pure heaven. Design a kitchenette, replete with a small oven, refrigerator and streamlined cabinetry. Adding a breakfast bar is a great idea for socializing with friends while prepping those appetisers.
  1. Play (Adult): For entertainment, the basement can be transformed into a bowling alley or ping-pong area. In a snap, this turns a boring storage space into an active one.
  1. Relax: Escaping within your home can be tricky–especially if there are kids around. Create an underground oasis with soft chaises, a custom speaker system to stream through that spa music, a mini water feature and lighting with dimmers.
  1. Cheer: Let’s be clear on this one–we’re not talking about a man cave. Instead, a sports-oriented bar and lounge is a superb way to show your team spirit and have an ideal place for entertaining friends surrounded by memorabilia from their favorite teams.
  1. Swim: So decadent is the swimming pool. This in-ground structure would of course need to be done in a home where water levels were not an issue. But if you get the green light, go ahead and indulge by installing a stunning pool. And paint the ceiling a sky blue with fluffy clouds to represent the sunny outdoors.
  1. Library: Even in this day-and-age where tech rules, there’s still nothing like a library with custom bookshelves and large leather sofas to  lounge, read and relax in.
  1. Wine: Wine cellars aren’t a new concept for basements, but tasting bars are. Why not transform your basic bar into one where flights can be enjoyed via a luxurious dispenser system.

10. Launder: Ok, so some will appreciate this one, while others may not but we’re going there. A large laundry room with front-loaders, a separate folding counter, hanging wardrobe area and sitting area with flat-screen television and tufted sofas makes this mundane task that much more bearable.

Posted by Suzanne at 10 June, 2014

1 Comment

Window Replacement Perks


It’s quite amazing how the style of windows can entirely change the look of a home. By investing in window replacements such as bay designs, French doors and even glass roofing, the effort goes beyond just the aesthetic principles.

Why Window Replacement is a Keen Idea:

Value:  Renovations in general are obvious contributors to increased home values, but new windows can make a significant difference in a home’s value, not to mention resale value.

Eco-Smart: By installing double-glazed windows, not only will your energy bill be drastically reduced, but that damaging carbon footprint is minimized. Companies like Abbey Windows install energy-saving glass which acts like thermal insulation and harnesses solar energy as needed.

Open Up: All windows open to allow fresh air to enter, but by renovating your home and replacing walls with bi-fold doors that feature full panes is a stellar way to create boundariless living with the outdoors.

Impact: Here we’re referring to weather-related glass protection such as impact glass. This type of glass for replacement windows and indoors is vital in areas where hurricanes and high winds prevail during certain times of the year, and will boost the value of your home, too.

Year-Round Enjoyment: Conservatories or enclosed porches have stemmed from some of the most historic and traditional-style homes. However, thin, unglazed glass can make being in the room less than enjoyable. By replacing the old with double-glazed, insulated windows and rooftops, this living space is now a place where family and visiting friends will flock to.

Quiet: Especially for homes or flats which are within a city or well-populated, bustling area, window replacement can act as a noise buffer which will prove to be an invaluable upgrade–especially at bedtime.



Posted by Suzanne at 9 June, 2014


Bright (Green) Idea: LED Lighting for Your Home

We’re about to shed some light–no pun!–on the newest trend in home decor: LED Lighting. Not only do LED fixtures cut down on energy bills, but they epitomize stylish lighting. From table lamps to dining room chandeliers and beyond, LED lighting is available in a multitude of designs.

Here are a few perks of this progressive ‘bright idea’ in lighting:

Next: LED is considered the next generation of lighting. From family homes to corporate offices across the globe, this energy-efficient lighting is becoming ever-popular. LED lighting is quite savvy–it lights up a room magnificently, yet does it at a slow, steady and cost-saving pace.

Lifespan: An LED bulb has a much longer lifespan than a traditional bulb so replacement–and hassles–are lessened.

Style: Whether minimalist, classic or modern, companies like Lampwise offer LED lighting in a plethora of fixture designs. Think sleek strip lighting, wall sconces or drum-shade pendants–just about any look can be transformed into an energy-efficient LED splendor.

Options: The beauty of LED lighting is how it can truly create an entirely new vibe for your interior or exterior space. Imagine a back-lit living room wall which perfectly displays your collections, or a pool patio bordered by a soft glow at dusk. The options are both spectacular and endless.

Outdoor Led Light

Hue: Like a rainbow spectrum, LED lighting is offered in a variety of colors like blue, green, purple and even degrees of white. Some systems such as those designed for flooring and pools, are dynamic, changing colors automatically. Talk about a showstopper!

So whether your LED lighting integration remains more traditional simply by way of bulbs or edgy with an artistic custom system for your entire living space, this eco-fabulous lighting alternative is an ideal for today’s modern living.

Posted by Suzanne at 6 June, 2014


15 steps to creating a minimalist home

One of the latest architectural trends is minimalism. A minimalist home is charming and streamlined yet still very inviting. The beauty of a minimalist home lies in its furniture and artistic setting. Here are 15 simple steps to creating a minimalist home:

  • Systematic approach: You must first plan what you intend to change as this will help give you an overall vision. To simplify the process, it is advisable to start with one room at a time.
  • Stick to essential furniture: To simplify the room, start with its furniture. When selecting products, you should stick to only to items that are essential. That said, do not sacrifice on comfort and usability.
  • Clearing the floors: Keeping the floors clear is also important. Make sure that there is nothing on the floor apart from the furniture. Stacks of clutter and tanged cables are definitely out. A major part of this task will be automatically completed when you strip down the room to the bare essentials.

Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 5 June, 2014

1 Comment

Small Spaces: The Bathroom

Bathroom design has become ever popular, even a tad addictive.  From over-the-top luxurious designs to clean-lined modern interpretations, the options are abundant. Yet what if your space is smallish? Well, here we present a few rules of thumb when designing a wee-bit washroom where form-meets-function:


Color: Keep one color throughout. And we’re not just talking about the hue of the walls, but tiling, too. By adhering to wall and floor tiles in one tone, the concept blends and creates the illusion of a more spacious interior.


Vanities: Rather than featuring a basic vanity, find one that hovers. That is, it “floats” several inches off the floor, yet still features valuable storage space for toiletries and towels. If there’s an available upper cabinet or closet for these must-have items, then a simple pedestal sink is an elegant alternative and you can get it in Bathroom deal.


Walk-ins: Some people love bathtubs, others couldn’t have a care about them. If you’re the latter, then consider removing the tub and instead, install a walk-in shower. One particular design technique is to feature an open shower, perhaps with a single glass panel divider–and that’s it. The tiling throughout will flow homogeneously, creating blurred boundaries which always guarantee a spacious vibe.


Reflect: In a small space, surfaces should reflect. Frameless shower doors, or better yet, walk-in wet room glass panels work best to portray an open space. And tiling should be high-gloss, even iridescent, to catch light and bounce it throughout the bathroom. Large, backlit LED mirrors are all the rage and become an excellent way to literally light up the room.


So while a small bathroom can initially prove to be a challenge, these clever tips will help you design a fabulous new space that is roomy, not to mention inspirational.

(Picture via)

Posted by Suzanne at 4 June, 2014


Summer 2014: Get ‘Decked’ Out!

Ah, summertime. Pool parties, backyard barbecues and plentiful play in the outdoors. There’s no better way to prep for summer fun than to consider creating a new deck for your home. The options are plentiful from large, multilevel designs brimming with landscape to more quaint ones perhaps with a gazebo.


Whatever your choice, here are a few things to think about before embarking upon your fabulous deck project:


  1. Purpose: What is the main reason you’re wanting to expand your outdoor living space? Perhaps it’s because you desire to entertain more often and larger groups. Or maybe it’s merely to create more privacy in your backyard, or to have a place to lounge while watching the kids play in the pool.


  1. Zoning: When hiring a contractor, be sure to look for one who is familiar with recent zoning codes and regulations. If necessary, a surveyor may have to be called upon to ensure that the deck remains within your property boundaries.


3. Material: You’ll want to decide what aesthetic you wish your deck to portray. Weathered woods are quite popular, as are tropical hardwoods such as teak and ipe. Softer woods like cedar and pine are also commonly used, so the options run the gamut.


  1. Finishes: Other than the structural design, the finish and color of your deck is a very personal choice. Since the deck will be exposed to the elements, it’s vital to have it finished with specialty stains and protectors our colleagues at Trade Paint Direct  recommend. These oil finishes, coatings and stains in a variety of tones and hues, so it’s up to you to customize the look and feel of your decking.


The beauty of adding on a deck is that it literally becomes an extension of your family’s living space. Whether enjoying it under the sun or stars, it will become a welcome addition to your home sweet home.


Posted by Suzanne at 2 June, 2014

1 Comment

How to Remove a Stripped Screw

Everyone with a screwdriver knows that feeling: you’re turning the screwdriver but the screw itself is going nowhere. Uh-oh: the head is stripped. This often occurs with low-quality screws when the metal on the screwdriver is harder than the material the screw is made of. But don’t worry – there are several methods to get that screw out.

  • Stop using the screwdriver you’re using. First things first: don’t make the problem any worse by using the same tool to further damage the screw head. Check to see that the screwdriver has the correct bit and correct bit size (not all Phillips heads are equal). If you find a better fit, try pressing down hard as you’re unscrewing for the best grip.
  • Try using a rubber band for better grip. Place the flat part of a wide rubber band on top of the screw head and then apply forceful but even pressure and slowly turn the screw. The rubber might give the extra grip you need by filling in the spaces left by the stripped part of the screw head.
  • Use a screw extractor. If the screw head is only worn but not yet destroyed, a special bit called a screw extractor might but just what you need. If you have a set of interchangeable bits for a multi-bit screwdriver, you might already have one of these handy. The rough metal teeth on the tip of the bit fit into the stripped screw head for extra grip. Go slowly and apply hard pressure. If there is still slippage, try (carefully) drilling a small hole in the screw head to give the bit more room. Don’t drill too deeply, or the head will be destroyed entirely – worst case scenario you can always try using a tap & die set to remedy the situation.
  • Use pliers. If the head of the screw isn’t flush against the surface, try grabbing the head of the screw and twisting with pliers or – even better – a vise grip. If the screw is close to the surface, be careful about damaging the surface around the screw with the jaws of the vise grip.
  • Make a new screw head. If you have a Dremel or similar tool lying around, put it to use by cutting a notch in the screw head and changing it into a flathead screw. Be careful not to cut too deeply and destroy the entire screw head. Cut it just right and you should be able to remove it with a flathead screwdriver.
  • Use a hammer (method #1). Try using a hammer to gently tap the screwdriver into place. Since it was the stripped screw’s soft metal that caused the problem in the first place, you might be able to forge a better grip by gently tapping the bit further into the screw head.
  • Use a hammer (method #2.) Put all of that built-up frustration to use by destroying the screw with the hammer. Pound it down, pound it sideways until it breaks, or claw at it like crazy. Clean up the scene with some putty or spackle and pretend like this never happened.

Posted by Keren Fathi-Poor at 30 May, 2014



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