Design your dream kitchen using natural stone tiles

If you like spending time in the kitchen as much as I do, then you deserve to have it designed and equipped as per your desire. The electric or gas appliances are of great importance but so is the overall atmosphere. Using natural stone tiles can help you design your dream kitchen with minimum efforts and investments. Sometimes, all it takes is just to get a new kitchen top, backsplash tiles or flooring to change the entire outlook of a room. Natural stone tiles are a perfect solution both for renovation and for building a completely new kitchen.

Marble, travertine, granite, slate and limestone can be used and combined to create sophisticated, modern or rustic look for your kitchen. Stone is material that can be used for different purposes. The good thing is that you can have the natural stone tiles with different finishes for different surfaces. You can have polished granite or marble for your kitchen top since it will shine and bring more light but as this finishing makes the tiles more slippery when wet, it is better to use honed stone for the floor. Choose your tiles carefully as they will serve you for life and double check with the manufacturer/seller which ones are more appropriate for countertops and which for walls and floors. Then pick up your favourite design and hire the best professional you know to turn it into reality. Below you can find an example of how a new slate floor and some bricks on the wall can turn your old kitchen into a completely new room.

Create a farmhouse kitchen in 3 simple steps

If you have a look at these before and after pictures your first impression will be that it is a completely different kitchen.

Before

After

But if you take a closer look you will notice that the cupboards and the kitchen appliances are the same. The significant difference comes from the slate floor and the brick wall. The kitchen tops are also replaced with lighter ones to match the entire setting of the room. So, here are the 3 steps to follow if you want to have a farmhouse kitchen of yourself:

Change the floor

Choose the most appropriate natural stone for the kitchen floor. Opt for material that can withstand the wear and tear and an occasional food or liquor spill. The floor above is covered with farmhouse riven slate tiles but another option are the gold, yellow or grey granite tiles, as they also carry the same rustic feeling. Besides slate and granite are quite easily cleaned and maintained.

Install new wall tiles

In this particular case the owner chose a brick mosaic wall to add value to the rustic look. It is indeed a good combination with the modern kitchen appliances and the slate floor. Another good suggestion is to use natural stone tiles for the wall or only for the backsplash area around your sink. You can pick some honed or tumbled travertine tiles since they will match the entire atmosphere of the kitchen.

Replace the kitchen top

Install a new countertop to finish the new look of your kitchen. You can opt for natural stone as well – granite or marble tops are quite popular and durable but you can choose a wooden worktop as well. The wood will bring warmth to the entire design of the room and also serve as a highlight in your farmhouse kitchen.

Follow these three simple steps when renovating your kitchen and it will surely become the room you have always dreamt of.

Fireplace Safety Tips You Should Know

Fireplace safety

Who doesn’t love a nice warm fireplace on a winter’s evening?  Fireplaces in the home represent warmth, family, and a feeling of coziness.

Whether it’s a gas fireplace, wood, coal or electric, there are some safety tips you should be aware of when installing and maintaining one in your home.

Gas, wood, and coal are all fossil fuel burning fireplaces, which means they can give off carbon monoxide in the home if not vented properly.  Electric on the other hand does not give off any carbon monoxide, though you still need to be careful of the electrical wiring involved and proper voltage is in place to power it.

We purchased a beautiful linear fireplace in Toronto last year for our condo and absolutely love it!  It’s an electric fireplace that matches our modern decor and provides lots of heat and ambiance for our home.

But whatever kind of fireplace you decide to purchase, just be away of some common safety tips first.

If you will be installing it in your existing chimney, be sure your flu vent is working properly and the chimney shoot is cleaned properly before use.

When using fossil fuel burning fireplaces, always be sure that the room is properly vented, even leaving a window slightly open or at least doors to other rooms open.  Not only can carbon monoxide build up in the home if not vented, but the fire could consume the oxygen in the room if it is an enclosed area.  Proper ventilation is important!

For safety, always be sure that combustibles are clear of your fireplace and that you have a proper screen or glass door in place when using it.  Kids can get burned and fire could light nearby paper, etc if you are not careful.

And never leave a fireplace lit unattended, always put it out before going to bed or leaving your home.

Hope these tips helped and did not scare you, having a fireplace in the home is a wonderful thing and can bring the family together on a cold winter’s evening.

Firpelace Safety Tips Infographic

HVAC Troubleshooting Tips

HVAC Tips For Winter Home

Nothing is worse than you HVAC system crapping out on your in the middle of winter.  Actually, crappy out in the middle of summer may be worse.

Your HVAC system is something you take for granted when it is working fine, but like your car, you regret taking better care of it when it stops working for you.

One of the best ways to save money and headaches is to do routine maintenance on your system to ensure it is working properly as you head into spring and fall each year.

While some things are better left to the pros, especially when it comes to gas and electrical, there are many things the novice homeowner can do on their own to ensure a properly working system.

One of the most common and easiest fixes is being sure to replace your filter each month.  Poor air circulation leads to your system having to work overtime to compensate for poor air flow which leads to an overworked system that can eventually fail.  It is also leads to higher energy costs as your system needs to work even harder to produce the same amount of heat or cooling in the home.

Another thing is to check your HVAC ductwork.  If you have metal ductwork, having it cleaned is simple and affordable.  If you have fiberglass or fiberboard ductwork installed, they can be more difficult to clean and may need replacing if they are very old or in bad overall shape.  We had our HVAC ductwork replaced in Toronto last year by Lloyd HVAC and will be saving a few hundred dollars a year on our energy bill as well as cleaner and healthier air in our home.

And if you system is more than 10 years old, you should call an HVAC company to come out and do a full inspection as there are probably numerous things that need to be checked, repaired and possibly replaced.  A few hundred dollars can save you a few thousand later on down the line.

If you’re not that handy around the house, you’ll save a lot of money down the road if you learn some basic home maintenance.  You can learn alot from sites like HGTV or the DIY Network.

Check out the infographic below for additional things to consider when troubleshooting your HVAC system.

 

HVAC Infographic