Mini Blog- Subway Tile

Subway tile is something that has been around for quite some time. This “trend” first made its appearance over 100 years ago when designers George C. Heins and Christopher Grant La Farge placed the infamous 3 x 6 tile into a New York subway station. This simple, sleek tile quickly made its way into homes across the country and has been a staple in design ever since. Its versatility is the main reason it has remained so popular throughout the different eras. Its simplicity allows it to blend seamlessly in any design from modern to farmhouse. The most common subway tile is the standard white 3 x 6 that is laid in a brick pattern, but there are also countless ways to mix things up and be unique.

Subway tile has evolved a great deal since its first debut. There are now different styles, colors, sizes, and configurations that can be used to create a look that is perfect for every space. Instead of the basic brick pattern, tiles can now be arranged in the same pattern just vertically. They can also be arranged in a diagonal or straight herringbone patter. Those simple changes in the way a tile is laid can make a huge impact. There are many other ways to arrange tile that is different and unexpected. The options are endless. The style and size of the tile might lend itself better to a different pattern overall.

The way we install subway tile is not the only thing that has changed. The tile itself has taken on new forms. There are wider variety of sizing than there was back in the day. Subway tile can now be long and thin, it can be larger overall, or it can be the same 3 x 6 that we have come to know and love. This shift in sizing allows designers and homeowners a chance to be unique and different, while still sticking with a classic. The different textures of subway tile has also increased. There are so many more textures that make for an interesting backsplash! Hand-formed subway tile has taken over because of its authentic look and the way the light reflects off the ripples. Beveled subway tile is another popular one because of its traditional feel. There is also glass, metal, marble, and so much more! We have come a long way from the smooth, porcelain 3 x 6 tile.

Another way to dress up subway tile is the grout! Grout is so much more than a basic building material! It is an important part of the design because changing the color of the grout can have a huge impact on the space. A stark contrast between the tile and the grout is most common, but recently colored grout has taken off as a way to bring interest to the tile while still keeping it simple. The only problem with contrasting grout is that it must be done very well because any imperfections will be highly visible. This can give the space a much needed focal point or can enhance the intended style.

Subway tile has been around for over 100 years and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. This classic look has grown and evolved during that time period. There are so many options now in terms of color, sizes, material, texture, and pattern that every kitchen can be unique. Don’t be afraid to use subway for your projects because its so popular, instead make it your own!

May Home Inspiration- Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again! The weather is finally getting nicer here in Western New York, which means it is time to do the cleaning and organizing that was put off during the winter months! Winter tends to be the time when everyone goes into a hibernation-like state. Things tend to pile up when your stuck inside. And often, when the weather is less than desirable it can affect our motivation. Spring is the time most people awaken from their slumber and are ready to accomplish anything!

Spring cleaning your home is the perfect thing to do that will kick start the warmer months ahead. This means steadily going room by room and clearing out everything that isn’t useful or is cluttering up the space. After the harsh, cold months of winter it can also be therapeutic to open the windows for the first time that year and let in that much needed fresh air. I know that this is not necessarily fun for everyone, but try not to cram all of this into one weekend. Go step by step and try to spread out the tasks over a few weeks. It is more important to be thorough than it is to be fast. Spring cleaning will give your home that necessary cleansing so that you can focus on the beautiful weather and enjoying everything that summer has to offer!

Photo Credit: http://www.foundrentals.com/blog/2015/11/30/found-home/

General Tasks

First, go through every room in the home and do a general cleaning. This will allow you to get the more basic tasks out of the way so that you can focus on the specific room tasks. This will help keep the job from feeling less daunting. Begin at the entry and clean the things that tend to get forgotten. Work your way through the house systematically by starting each room at the top and working your way down.

Start by washing the walls and removing those cobwebs that we all know collect in the corner then move on to the lights and ceiling fans. By doing this all the dust and dirt will fall to the floor. This keeps you from having to redo the floors later. Next, clean light switches, heating vents, and door knobs before moving on to the floors and baseboards. Dust all baseboards and then sweep and wash the floors, including any carpets or area rugs. Do not underestimate what this will do for each space! Everything will look and feel so much better. Now the focus can shift to individual areas and their unique tasks.

Photo Credit: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/portland-project-the-entry-staircase-reveal

Living Room

Once those general cleaning tasks are complete the focus can move to more area specific tasks. In a home each room has a unique purpose, therefore it only makes sense that each room would require something different in terms of cleaning and organizing! The living room is a high traffic area in any home. It is where everyone congregates and spends time together, whether its playing games, watching movies, or just enjoying each others company. That is what this space tends to need a bit more TLC than others.

Furniture in this space can certainly take a beating. Kids, pets, and everyday messes build up and things can get pushed off. This is the perfect time to take care of all of those things. Start with spot cleaning the couches and chairs then follow with the vacuum. Be sure to dust any hard surface that can collect dust. Also, wash any linens or blankets that might need it! Go through any magazines and other things that could use a good purge!

Photo Credit: https://www.mcgeeandco.com/products/jensen-coffee-table

Kitchen

The kitchen is ground zero for all of those other messes that occur in the home. Those stains and crumbs all originate in the kitchen. The kitchen also tends to be a dumping ground for all of the miscellaneous things that have no home. Mail gets left out, things don’t get put away, leftovers never get thrown out, and the mess just piles up. The kitchen tends to have many different places that can become disorganized quickly. One of those places includes the black hole we all know as the refrigerator. One of the first things that needs to be done in the kitchen is cleaning out the refrigerator. Throw out anything that has expired or donate what will never get used and wipe everything down thoroughly. Don’t stop there. Clean the outside of the refrigerator and all other appliances. Then pull everything out and clean underneath.

The next step is cleaning and organizing the pantry. This can very easily get unorganized when cooking and preparing meals. Have a method to the madness. Try to keep all similar products together and maximize the space as best you can. If you are feeling really ambitious, then place everything in clear containers and label them for a pristine pantry. Be sure to wipe everything down; inside and out. This includes the cabinets, shelving, and the back splash.

Photo Credit: http://www.rusticpassionbyallieblog.com/farmhousekitchens/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=392074700_12917358_335567

Bedroom

The bedrooms are one of the easier rooms to clean. Most people are not in the bedroom unless they are sleeping or getting ready. Unless you tend to dump everything in the bedroom so it is “out of sight, out of mind”, then you shouldn’t have to do much to get this room feeling fresh and clean! The bed linens should be washed every few weeks so I would take the time to do that while you are doing the rest of your spring cleaning. While everything is being washed and dried, clean out the dresser, nightstand and under the bed.

Don’t be afraid to move things out of the way to get the nooks and hard to reach areas that you may miss when cleaning weekly/daily. Once that is complete it is time to tackle the most difficult part of the room; the closet. Go through everything that you own and if you do not wear it or it doesn’t fit then donate it! Take this time to complete other daunting tasks, such as flipping the mattress. Once that is complete the bed can be made and everything can be organized.

Photo Credit: http://jennysteffens.blogspot.com/2016/10/our-bedroom-tour-autumn-accents.html

Bathrooms

The room in the house that no one wants to clean, but has to. Between the moisture and everything else the bathroom is a breeding ground for soap scum, mold, water spots, and much more. The bathroom should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week. The vanity top needs to be cleaned. The floor, shower, and toilet all have to be scrubbed. However, there are a few things that can be done less frequently.

A few of those things include wiping the inside and outside of the vanity cabinet with a wet cloth, cleaning the grout, clearing the shower and sink drains, and replacing the shower curtain (if you have a curtain). The bathroom closet or linen closet can also be organized. Try to get rid of anything that is just taking up space and is not being used. If you have any small samples or travel sized hotel toiletries that can be donated try to do that before you throw anything away, unless it has already been used (that’s just unsanitary).

Photo Credit: https://decorlogix.com/keep-your-bathroom-neat/

The best way to go about your spring cleaning is by making a list of the things that you wish to accomplish for each room or area of your home. Then make a general list of things that need to be done for most, if not every, room in the house. One of the things that usually needs to be done for the entire house is cleaning the windows inside and out. Or maybe some other things make it to your spring cleaning list, such as cleaning the garage or basement. No matter what is on your to do list, just take it slow and don’t rush. Good luck and happy cleaning!

January Home Inspiration- Starting a Renovation

Starting a Renovation

It is officially a new year, the time for planning, goals, and resolutions. If you are thinking that you would like to start this year off with that home renovation that you have been putting off, then you are most certainly not alone! Most people decide to look into home renovations in the first few months of the year. This is all well and good, just have realistic expectations on when you would like to start the project and when you would like it to be complete. It is also best to have some idea of the scope of the project and what you would like to spend.

In the home improvement world, it is all too common for someone to get overwhelmed or not know where to start. Hopefully, this blog will help those who aren’t aware of where they should start.

Photo Credit: http://zakadecor.com/31-stunning-farmhouse-kitchen-design-ideas-to-bring-modern-look/

Gathering Inspiration

The first step is to gather ideas and inspiration for the space in question. This step is either taken too seriously or not serious enough. Some homeowners will have a thousand ideas with no real direction of where they would like to go. They might also have ideas that may not fit into their ideal budget. Tearing walls out and re-designing the entire floor plan might seem probable on HGTV, but it is going to cost more than what most people plan on spending.

On the other hand homeowners may have looked a bit, but when it comes to actual decision making are completely unsure of what it is that they want. The main goal when looking for ideas is to look for a general style that way no one gets bogged down in specific details they are trying to replicate!

Photo Credit: https://moodecor.co/672-110-beautiful-modern-farmhouse-living-room-decor-ideas/73-beautiful-modern-farmhouse-living-room-decor-ideas/#main

Research Professionals

This step is the most important because it will make or break your project. In today’s world, anyone says that they can do anything and in most instances this is not the case. If you want the job done right and in a timely manner then you should hire a professional that knows what they are doing. Don’t get me wrong I am all for a good DIY project, but know there are limits to what a person can do and do well. If you are following a YouTube video on plumbing or electrical work then chances are you should have called a professional.

Do this early on in the process because then you are not wasting anyone’s time, yours or the contractors. First, be sure to meet with more than one company to find the right fit. Second, always look at reviews, photos of past work, and ask to see that they are licensed and insured. Keep in mind that just because they worked for someone you know does not mean that they are right for this job. Also try to find a contractor that will take care of mostly everything because you do not want to be your own general contractor.

Photo Credit: https://cristincooper.com/one-room-challenge-master-bedroom-reveal/

Timeline

Once you have found the right professionals to work with you can more accurately set your timeline based on their schedule and product availability. Every contractor is different with how they work and schedule jobs. Some contractors like to focus on one job until it is complete before moving on, which means a shorter timeline for the homeowner. Others like to skip from job to job, which is what leads to a longer timeline.

If a contractor is scheduling you for a few months out, do not worry. This is because of a few things. The first one being that they are high in demand, which is a good sign because it means they do good work. The second is because they know it will take some time for you to make your selections and to get everything they need to the job in order to start.

Photo Credit: https://www.domino.com/content/converted-basement-redesign/

Material Selection

Now as if the first parts of this process weren’t difficult enough, the next step is to decide what your space is going to look like. You have to make concrete decisions that are going to make this space what it is for years to come! That can be a lot of pressure to handle for people if this is their first renovation project. If your contractor does not have an interior designer on their staff then I would highly suggest hiring one for this portion of the project. They will be able to guide you in the decision making process. This will help things go much more smoothly.

If there is no designer and you decide to make these calls without the help of a professional then I would suggest going with your gut. Make one concrete decision then all of the others will fall into place. Another problem that I see occur far too often is people changing their minds frequently before they settle on the first one. Trust in yourself and what you like, if you keep gravitating towards a specific color, tile, or countertop then there is a reason for it!

Photo Credit: http://www.homebunch.com/beautiful-homes-of-instagram-29/

After all of this is complete you are well on your way to completing the project. I won’t say it will be smooth sailing from here because things always tend to pop up in renovations and remodeling, but you have most of the work out of the way. Trust in the professionals that you have hired and yourself and your space will be beautiful! Are you starting a home improvement project? Was this helpful? If so, let us know!

Mini Blog- Laundry

The laundry room is often the space that is forgotten about or put off. This is one of the most versatile spaces in the home because it can shrink or grow to fit the space and the needs of the family that is utilizing it.

On top of varying in size, laundry rooms can also vary in functionality in order to make the most out of the space in the home and suit the needs of each individual family. Laundry rooms have more recently become a desired space in most homes. This is mainly due to the fact that in the past laundry rooms were most commonly found in the basement of the home, which was rarely a finished space.

As seen in the above images, laundry rooms are now commonly used as multi-functional spaces. For instance, they now house areas to hang clothing to dry, ample storage, pet areas, and even coat and shoe storage so that it can double as a mud room. This can help maximize the space in an attractive and functional way. With today’s technology the functionality of the laundry room is even more limitless. Washers and dryers can now be stacked to conserve space if need be, they can be placed on risers for easy reach-ability, or they can stand side by side to allow for more horizontal space.

Overall, laundry rooms have come a long way from simply having a washer and dryer in the basement. They can now be easily incorporated into any basic home design to create something both beautiful and functional.

November Home Inspiration- Dining Spaces

Dining Inspiration

As we all know, November is the month where everyone gathers to spend time together and be thankful. Due to the fact that this often occurs around a large table of some sort, it is only fitting that this month’s blog just so happens to revolve around the topic as well! Dining spaces have certainly come a long way. 

The first thing I would like to point out would be that this is not titled dining rooms, but rather dining spaces. This is because the era of eating around a large formal dining room has come to an end. In today’s world, there are many ways and places to entertain guests.

Dining rooms have evolved from strict and rigid to free and open. Just as our way of life changes so do the spaces that we live and reside in.

Photo Credit: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/dc-design-house-opens-in-virginia-slideshow

Mixed Seating

With the open concept movement, many people are opting out of the separate formal dining room and going with something more inclusive. The photo to the right is the closest to the formal dining option in that it still uses a large dining table. However, it does differ in that it is a much more casual option. There are several reasons for this.

The first being that it is not an entirely separate space. It is in close relation to the kitchen and living space. They were still able to ground the space with the light fixture above, but because it is not surrounded by walls on all four sides it seems more casual. 

The second reason this is a more casual option is due to the mixed seating that is present. In the photo above there are three different style seats present at the single table. This creates an eclectic, casual look that would not be found in the traditional formal dining rooms that were common in the past.

Photo Credit: https://www.hgtv.com/design/hgtv-dream-home/2015/dining-room-pictures-from-hgtv-dream-home-2015-pictures?soc=dhpin15&crlt.pid=camp.Cx9NkzgM2hWB

Banquette Seating

This is the perfect option for those homeowners who prefer to make the most out of what they are given. Banquette seating has been steadily gaining popularity for many reasons. The biggest reason most likely being that this option can maximize the space in the home more than a formal dining room can.

Banquette seating often takes up space along at least one wall this allows for better circulation throughout the room in question and can make the room feel much more open and spacious. It allows people to have a designated dining space without needed a large dining room that will most likely never get used. 

This option also has a bonus storage compartment! Making use of the built-in bench seating as additional storage compartments helps to further maximize the usefulness of the configuration. 

Photo Credit: http://www.styleathome.com/mediagallery/house-tour-charming-and-sophisticated-victorian-rowhouse-1#slide-8

Island Seating

Some homeowners are opting out of having a dining table at all. These people instead choose to include some form of seating in the kitchen, whether it is at an island or a peninsula. This allows people to take space that would normally be allotted for a dining table and add it to the kitchen. This is especially beneficial to those whose kitchen is smaller than average.  

This is by far the most casual option aside from not having any dining space. However, if you do plan on entertaining frequently or hosting large gatherings then this option may not suit you. 

Most people will actually use a combination of the above options to add some variety to their home and allow for both casual and semi-formal dining. Everyone is different and the point of design is to create something that will work best for your way of lifestyle! 

Photo Credit: https://omghomedecor.com/2018/10/16/49-awesome-kitchen-countertop-trends-design-for-small-space/

 

Let us know what you think and what you would do if it was your home!