Category Archives: Home Improvement

Kitchen Without Spending A Fortune

We all want a beautiful kitchen. It’s where you cook, eat and gather to mingle. There’s no denying that a full kitchen remodel is one project you need to diligently plan, prepare and save up for before you commit.

Don’t let assumptions that you can’t afford it stop you from building the kitchen of your dreams in your current space. There are plenty of tips, tricks and updates that’ll have you smiling ear to ear when you see the final outcome. Prepare yourself for sensible ideas that’ll make it possible for you to upgrade your kitchen without spending a fortune.

Ready to start your kitchen remodeling project? Connect with a pro today and receive up to four free estimates.

Mix & Match

Kitchen upgrades don’t always have to involve high-end features that all look the same. Mixing and matching materials, colors, designs and patterns will give your kitchen a brand new look without the extra money and fuss it takes to find identical styles. That’s all you have to do; think outside the box. Leather chairs mixed with fabrics, wood mixed with tile, stainless steel and different shades of paint will give your kitchen a facelift with character.

Strategically Display & Decorate

There’s so much you can do to spruce up your kitchen when you put in the effort to decorate it nicely. A few ideas that are simple and budget-friendly include adding a colorful area rug, dressing up your walls with eye-catching images and adding greenery and fresh flowers. Open shelving displays and storage around your kitchen island allow you to show off your favorite pieces and help control clutter.

Shiny Clean Stove Tips

unduhan-5If there’s one spot in the kitchen homeowners fear cleaning the most, it’s their stove. It’s great for cooking a warm meal, but unfortunately, it’s also very good at collecting grime and grease.

The reason most people don’t like cleaning their stove is because they’re not sure the best way to go about it. Don’t let lack of knowledge stop you from having a tidy kitchen. Make your cooktop look brand new with these four secrets to a shiny-clean stove.

For stubborn stains that won’t go away, its best to let the experts handle it. Contact a pro today and get up to four free quotes from cleaning professionals in your area.

1. Get In The Habit Of Cleaning Your Stovetop

Habits are regular tendencies or practices that are frequently hard to give up. One habit I think we can all relate to is not cleaning the stove. I think it’s time to change your ways and spruce up your stove (this includes me too). This article is the perfect opportunity to review the proper steps and form a positive habit of consistently cleaning your stove. After going through the motions a few times and recognizing how good it feels to have a clean stove, you may find you don’t mind the chore as much as you once thought.

Set yourself up for success by making sure you’re always prepared to remove dirt and grease from the stovetop. Reserve one sponge (preferably with a soft side and an abrasive side) for stove cleaning. After you’ve done the dishes and cleaned the counter, get in the habit of heading over to your stovetop and cleaning it with soapy water and the sponge. Prevent crud buildup by getting in the habit of cleaning your stovetop every time you cook.

2. Secure The Right Tools

Did you know they make ovens with a self-cleaning function that allows you to clean the inside with a push of a button? If this is something you feel would benefit you, you may want to look into upgrading your stove altogether. If you won’t be purchasing a new stove anytime soon, don’t worry. There are plenty of other tips and tricks to use, as long as you have the right tools handy.

If your stove doesn’t have a self-clean option, then loosen up food particles using a different method. Put a bowl of boiling water into the oven for 15 to 20 minutes with the door closed. The steam will loosen up dried messes and make for much easier clean up. In addition, oven cleaner, a Mr. Clean Eraser, WD40, soaking it in ammonia and scraping gunk off the flat surface with a razor are all alternative options.

3. Use A Natural Degreaser

There are also many great solutions for those of you who prefer to use natural cleaners in your home. Coconut oil is not only good for your hair and skin, but your stove too. Make a degreaser and watch the grime disappear. For the best natural degreaser, use two-part baking soda to one-part coconut oil and add two to three drops of orangeessential oil.

Another easy solution is to sprinkle your stove with baking soda and lemon juice. In fact, there are many household productsthat can quickly be prepared naturally instead of needing to purchase them in the store. Produce items in bulk, cut costs and lay your mind to rest knowing you’re cleaning with products that are safe for you and your family.

“Vinegar is an effective sanitizer; liquid soap is a great stain remover and degreaser; baking soda makes a gentle abrasive and lightener for tough stains; and essential oils add a clean scent — mix them together and they make the perfect degreaser for your kitchen,” says the The Kitchn.

4. Maintain & Protect

Regular maintenance and upkeep does wonders for keeping your home a safe and healthy place to live. Prevention and a proactive approach will save you headaches down the road. Clean as you go and after each meal you cook on the stove. Experts recommend cleaning your stovetop when it’s warm for the best results. If you’d like to start fresh with a deep clean, then call a cleaning pro to get you started on the right foot.

Take the initiative and make the process easy on yourself by reserving one sponge (preferably with a soft side and an abrasive side) for stove cleaning. Do the dishes, sanitize the counter and get in the habit of cleaning your stovetop with soapy water and the sponge as your final task. Consistently wiping down your dirty stove will prevent crud buildup. I’ve also read that you can cover your stovetop in car wax for protection.

Cabinet Trends To Watch

All home remodeling trends come and go, but when you’re talking about the most trafficked room of the house, some say the heart of the home, it’s vital to know what others are doing in case you ever decide to sell.

Kitchen cabinet trends have not changed as much as other areas around the kitchen, such as kitchen countertops, but a few dominant trends have taken shape in 2015. Fortunately enough, many experts agree that most of the kitchen cabinet trends discussed below are not going away in 2016.

Looking to upgrade your kitchen cabinets? Contact a pro today and receive up to four free quotes.

1. Personalized Cabinets

First and foremost, despite any of these trends, many homeowners are adding cabinet styles, colors and functions that fit their needs and desires. As time has evolved, cabinet companies have come up with numerous styles that match any home design or style. As a result, even homeowners who can afford them are passing over custom cabinets for more affordable, yet design-friendly, semi-custom cabinets.

Overall, in today’s world, there is no cookie-cutter kitchen cabinet design. Ask any kitchen expert for hot designs and they will almost certainly say that personalization and tailored designs are sticking around through 2015, into 2016.

2. Clean Lines & Subtle Design

Two other dominant trends for kitchen cabinets are clean lines and subtle designs. To ensure design flexibility in the long term, cabinet door styles have become simpler, using clean lines. As the modern style continues to gain steam, clean lines and subtle designs make ideal sense for anyone looking to upgrade their kitchen cabinets.

Matching another kitchen remodeling trend, clean lines go perfectly with black and white kitchens. As I noted in Kitchen Remodeling Trends For 2015-16, black and white kitchens tend to offset each other and give the kitchen a clean, sleek and visually appealing design. Clean lines, along with black and white kitchens, can also offset the tension between rustic, modern and transitional kitchens.

3. Shaker Style

Along with the classic black and white, shaker style cabinets have remained in vogue for years. At first glance, some associate shaker as a plain, square design that doesn’t leave much room for imagination. However, many more attractive versions of the shaker have come to life since the 1800s.

One way to install terrific shaker cabinets is by using premium quality wood. With its simple design, shaker cabinets let the wood or material do the talking. Just like a knife does the work when you’re cutting an onion, the wood tends to speak the loudest when it comes to shaker cabinets.

Just how prevalent are shaker cabinets?

“Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s a white painted-wood shaker door with a square picture and simple recessed center,” Anthony Maucieri, president of East Hill Cabinetry said.

Bathroom Safety Tips

As a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) remodeling professional, I work with clients looking to improve safety in their home or prepare themselves for senior years. One of the components we’re asked to install most often? Grab bars, particularly in the bathroom.

As part of a full remodel of the main bath in a 1927 Shorewood home, we installed blocking for grab bars, something that is a standard practice for us. The owners were happy about the blocking, but opted to hold off grab bar installation “until they needed them.” “Needing them” came much sooner than anyone expected. Within a few months of completion, our client fell and broke her ankle. Without grab bars in the tub and shower, she wasn’t going to be able to stay in their home. In this case, nothing special was needed besides the bars themselves. This bathroom was pre-equipped for them. What might have happened had it not been so? What if there was no blocking there?

Before we delve into that, let’s consider the bars themselves first.

The Visual Part: Better Looking Grab Bars

It used to be that grab bars were institutional-looking blobs of stainless steel that were stuck on the walls. Not ideal! Now, grab bars are available in nicely-styled pieces that look more like towel bars than grab bars. Several makers, including Elio, Moen, Kohler and Invisia, have introduced many stylish pieces to enhance bath safety. No longer do safety and assistive devices need to look like they were stolen from a hospital. The pieces available today can be incorporated in any home decor.

The Technical Part: Support is Critical!

To be usable as a grab bar, the bar and it’s mounting need to be capable of supporting 250 Ibs. Wouldn’t do much good if the bar held up but came off the wall, right? Drywall anchors typically max-out at 50 or 75 Ibs., maybe a bit more in cement board. To be certain of secure mounting, manufacturers recommend the grab bar mounting flange be screwed to a stud or blocking capable of carrying these loads.

Support Isn’t There When or Where You Need It

Studs are most commonly spaced on 16” centers. Grab bars typically run in 12” increments, which means if you can find one stud, you probably won’t find another on a 12” increment until 4’ away. This is longer than most bars. Blocking behind the walls? Not likely, particularly in an older home.

Adding a stud or blocking to a tiled surface can be really fun, if you like the idea of busting large holes in walls. It’s a daunting task. Most wouldn’t even consider it. Sometimes, this can be attacked from the other side of the wall, but then there’s drywall, plaster repair and repainting. With all that, an $80 to $150 grab bar winds up costing hundreds to install. There’s something wrong with that picture.

The Secret Weapon? The Alternative to Studs

The “secret weapon” is the Moen SecureMount anchor. I personally installed SecureMount anchors in a 1938 Wauwatosa home recently. Being of that era, I didn’t think it likely there would be any blocking in the walls for mounting grab bar and I was correct, there wasn’t. The tiled tub and shower walls were in pristine condition; access from behind would have been a real mess. SecureMount anchors were by far the best solution. The install was a bit tough, only because it required boring 1-1/4″ holes through tile and its mud base, about 1-⅛” total thickness. But compared to the alternative? We installed three anchors in the wall, as we did manage to catch one stud after all. It was all done in 3 hours!

In a short time and with a bit of clean-up, our client had a strategically-placed grab bar and a hand grip in his shower that raised his confidence and improved his safety. And as a bonus, the beauty of the bars themselves pleased the client immensely. “They look fantastic, like they’ve always been there,” he said. Truly, they fit the home’s 1938 classic decor perfectly.

Double Benefit: Grab Bars that Double As Something Else

Genevieve Liesemeyer of Pillar Designs, a specialist in design for senior living, points out that “When people slip they naturally grab for the first thing that is close. That might be an insecure item like a towel bar.” Great point! Since new grab bar designs look like and therefore could double as towel bars, we have a solution that provides greater safety and function in the bath with one piece.

Beyond towel bars, there are assistive devices that double as shampoo shelves, paper holders and more. “Assistive devices” is a general category that includes grab bars, hand grips and much more. The possibilities? Virtually endless. With today’s designs and some ingenuity, almost any decorative hardware item in a bath or anywhere else, can become a safety device.

Shower Without Spending A Fortune

A bathroom should be a space for you to relax and unwind. However, depending on the size and age, this may not be exactly how you see your bathroom. It may not be time for you to start your bathroom remodel, but there are plenty of things you can do right now to create a space you enjoy.

The shower is a great place begin to make changes. Many people think you need a complete overhaul to enjoy, however, a few simple and affordable upgrades will create a shower you love.

1. Improve Your Shower Curtains

Shower curtains alone can change the entire look and feel of any bathroom. Let’s start with the type. Say goodbye to plastic curtains and replace them with fabric. Pick a color scheme that matches your linens or a more modern pattern that will instantly update the look of older features, like colorful tile walls.

Neutral, waffle texture shower curtains are very trendy and add a bit of sophistication to the bathroom. If your budget allows, buy two of them, so the curtains open at the center, instead of the sides like most do.

If you are feeling creative, turn it into a DIY project! Find a plain color fabric shower curtain and add your favorite ribbon to the bottom. Get stencils and a fabric pen to design your own. There are so many options to add your own unique shower curtain to your bathroom and all are easy projects for a rainy weekend.

2. Consider Your Curtain Rods

You can expand your shower without knocking down a single wall. Curved curtain rods are a luxurious addition that will add more space to your shower. Gone are the days of the curtain liner taking up your precious space while you’re showering.

Also, take a look at how you are hanging your shower curtain. One of the things I didn’t know I needed until I had it were double-sided shower curtain hooks. There is a hook on each side of the slider, so your curtains will never stick together, or mistakenly get tossed over the other side of the tub. It also makes it easier to change out the curtain liner when it gets dirty. A double rod will also accomplish same thing.

3. Upgrade Your Shower Head

Give your shower a new feel by changing your shower head! There are many kinds of affordable shower heads available. Looking to save on your water bill? Check out water conservation shower heads that decrease water usage and still maintain the water pressure you desire. Or, take a look at the very trendy rainfall shower heads, with prices ranging between $50 and $100 depending on the style. Replacing your shower head is an easy DIY project, but if you’re uncertain about working with plumbing, call a pro.

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to your current shower head, think about giving it a good cleaning to take off any mineral deposits, rust or water stains. You can easily accomplish this with materials you have at home, like water and vinegar. It’s sure to look good as new after a cleaning.

4. Spice Up Your Shower Caddy

One of the biggest issues in anyone’s shower is the abundant amount of shampoo, conditioner and other bottles cluttering the area. Many showers do not provide optimal storage space. A simple addition of a quality shower caddy can help in cleaning up and leaving the tub clutter-free.

However, the key to creating a luxurious shower is to invest in one that not only looks good, but fits your shower well. Tension pole shower caddies are specifically useful in stand-alone showers and can easily be tucked away into a corner. For claw foot tubs, use a shelf caddy or spa stool to keep bath products within reach.

An ecological way to keep bath products contained is by purchasing refillable wall mount dispensers. This will keep all of your bath products in one place and allow for a more spacious shower.

Tips for Choosing The Right Toilet

From its creation in the early 16thcentury, the flush toilet is now an essential part of everyone’s home. Modern toilets come in many shapes, sizes and colors. While most of us don’t give it much thought, you can truly customize your toilet to your bathroom needs.

There could be many reasons you’re looking to invest in a new toilet, such as a bathroom remodel or preparing for a home sale. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about choosing the right toilet for your home.

Toilet Function

Above anything else, the purpose of a toilet is purely for its function. You want to make sure your toilet meets your family’s needs. Start by measuring your bathroom and evaluating the space where you want your toilet to go, as you want to make sure yournew toilet will fit in your bathroom. Here are a few factors to consider.


Toilets generally come in two different heights. Standard height is most common, about 14” to 15” tall. Comfort height toilets are between 17” and 19” tall. Installing a comfort height toilet makes it easier to sit down and stand up. These are also ADA compliant toilets, with the height being exceeding 16.5”. Comfort heights are easier for seniors and people with back problems to use as well.

Bowl Shape

There are three common bowl types when it comes to toilets; compact elongated, elongated and round-front. Elongated is the larger of the three, providing about an extra 2” to the bowl area compared to the round-front shapes. Compact elongated toilets are shorter, so they reduce the amount of space needed, but keep the general shape. Round-front is a smaller bowl, generally good for families with young children or smaller bathrooms.

Flushing Types

Two standard flushing systems exist. A gravity flushing system is what you’ll likely find in most residential homes. This flushing type uses the force of gravity to remove waste when the lever is pushed. Since there are fewer parts needed, toilet repairs tend to be minimal and inexpensive.

Pressure-assisted flush systems are the more expensive option. This system uses a tank within the larger tank to create air pressure, forcing water into the bowl. This system is a good choice for families wanting to reduce clogs. However, because there are more parts, it can require more maintenance.

Choosing The Right Faucet Design

While some may be overwhelmed just by the thought of a bathroom remodel, others, like myself, see the countless possibilities that lie ahead. It’s an opportunity to get your creative juices flowing and trust me, when it starts it, won’t stop. Choosing the right faucet design is just one part of the many decisions that you will have to make. So, if you’re already rolling your eyes, this is for you. Below are three steps to choosing the rightfaucet design. This will hopefully make your job a bit easier and give you the motivation needed to start that bathroom remodel you’ve been dying to get done.

Regardless of the faucet design you ultimately choose, go for quality and integrity of the faucet’s parts. You want something that’s durable, but also within your price range. With that said, consider the following design elements when choosing the right faucet design for your remodeling project.

Style & Design

When looking to imitate an Old World or Tuscan style design, Barbara Kaplan, interior designer and principal of Design Dimensions in Phoenix suggested choosing oil rubbed finishes. In her interview with HGTV, Kaplan states that because the finish offers a brownish, burnt tone, it stands out wonderfully in a cabin or cottage setting.

In the above photo, oil rubbed fixtures are paired with a white marble countertop, marble backsplash, neutral paint and a gold framed mirror to create a warm and inviting space.

Let’s say you want a Scandinavian style bathroom, then you probably want to go with chrome fixtures. On the other hand, nickel hardware allows for a more elegant design. This type of fixture is best used in a guest bathroom or powder room, where you get to be more creative because of the smaller size.

Layouts for Your Small Bathroom

unduhan-6Taking a bath should be one of the easiest ways to relax after a long day. You can either unwind in your hot tub or let a rainfall shower wash away your stress. Yet, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a lavish bathroom that can fit luxury fixtures. Chances are, you live with a small bathroom, where you always bump into the door or vanity when you undress or step into the shower. What’s worse, your bathroom can’t accommodate more than one adult. Hence, you’ll agree that having a bath is indeed a daily struggle, causing more stress.

Don’t fret just yet. Before you throw a bunch of money in bathroom expansion, try to re-examine the layout of your existing bathroom. A well-planned layout will help solve the above issues, but beware, you’ll have to make a few compromises, such as tearing out your tub.

Below, I picked several ideal layouts that can work with five of the most common small bathrooms. By simply rearranging the layout, you can make a BIG difference and keep the same footprint.

Looking to upgrade your bathroom? Contact a pro today and receive up to four free quotes.

Small Full Bathroom

Dimensions: 40 square feet (5’ x 8’)

Fixtures: Sink, toilet and tub shower combo or luxury shower

A full bathroom usually requires a minimum of 36 to 40 square feet. A 5’ x 8’ is the most common dimensions of a guest bathroom or a master bathroom in a small house. If you happen to have this standard-sized small bathroom, there are two different layouts you can consider. Based on your bathing habits, you can either go with a modest tub-shower combo or opt for a fancy shower with multiple shower heads. No matter what you choose, you should be able to towel off comfortably without hitting your door or toilet.

According to House Plans Helper, the position of the door doesn’t really matter. Nonetheless, for aesthetic reasons, you may want to hide your toilet from the entrance view.

Small Third-Quarter Bathroom

Dimensions: 36 square feet (6’ x 6’)

Fixtures: Sink, toilet and standard shower

  • Bathroom remodeling costs
  • DIY bathroom updates
  • Bathroom ROI

Another common size you can find in small bathrooms is 6’ x 6’. Although this square floor plan meets the minimum requirement of a full bathroom, I’d recommend using it as a third-quarter bathroom. Here are a few reasons. A bathtub will take up too much space in your tiny bathroom, not to mention its bulky look will make your bathroom feel even more cramped. On the contrary, a third-quarter bathroom only comes with a sink, toilet and shower, helping declutter your tiny space.

To open your small square bathroom and create a smooth traffic flow, you canposition your shower or vanity in the corner.

How to Get Bathroom On A Law Budget

All you need sometimes is a change of scenery or a new look to feel refreshed. The same goes for your bathroom. Maybe you’ve been thinking about redecorating, but you’re not sure how to go about it. If you’re ready for a bathroom transformation but don’t want to spend the money on a fullremodeling project, then this article is for you.

We’ve got some clever and practical ways to enhance the appearance ofyour bathroom that will help you bring back that spark. See seven simple and fun ways to spruce up your bathroom on a budget.

1. Accessorize

Accessories are used to jazz up an outfit, and the same goes for your bathroom. Go online or pop into one of your local home stores and find an attractive soap dispenserand toothbrush holder.

This bathroom is the perfect example of how elegant and tasteful bathroom accessoriesmake a statement. Think about what you’re currently using to store cotton balls and soap and determine if it’s adding to the style of your bathroom or bringing it down. If the latter is true, then it’s time to purchase some new ones.

2. Bath Towels & Rugs

Towels and bathmats come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Depending on your storage and display options, they’re a great, stress-free way to style and brighten up the space.

It’s easy to forget how adding little touches here and there can make such a big difference. Take the time to shop around and see what looks are a possibility in your bathroom, and then narrow it down from there. The nice part is you don’t have to stay with one look forever. Bath towels and rugs come and go, and so do trends. Have fun picking out new pieces and mix it up when you’re sick of the look.

3. Décor

Don’t overlook the weight décor carries in the visual appeal of your bathroom. Some ideas include: pictures, frames, flowers, shelving, mirrors and uplighting. Instead of purchasing a picture from the store, think about if you have any of your own images you can print and frame to add that personal touch.

The bathroom in this image is an excellent example of how décor can work to your advantage in a small space. They’ve added open shelving and uplighting to create a soft and elegant look. The large, frameless mirror is a great piece that also makes the room look bigger. As you can see, these details make a world of difference!

4. Get Organized

A messy bathroom is an unhappy bathroom. Before you do any decorating, make sure you’ve cleaned up and picked up so you’re organized prior to sprucing up your bath. Get creative with your storage. Build or buy containers and shelves that will consolidate your bathroom products.

Mirrors that open are one way to hide items you don’t want displayed and provide extra room in a small space. Take a look at the bathroom in this image. The owners installed a beautiful dark wood storage cabinet which is more useful than a picture in this spot. What a great idea!

Remodel Ideas For Your Bathroom

DIY bathroom remodeling is not only a popular trend going around the U.S., but it’s also one of the most valuable. In fact, on average, bathroom remodeling projects yield a 60% return on investment. As such, you may not only get to enjoy the luxury of using an updated bathroom, but the monetary return as well.

Nevertheless, bathroom remodeling is not easy. To make a difference, you need honest advice from the pros. As such, we rounded up six common DIY bathroom remodeling projects and the steps to complete each without a pro.

If you feel some these are biting off more than you can chew, be sure to contact aprofessional bathroom contractor near you.

Bathroom Remodeling Costs

Before we dive into each project, we must cover the average costs. According to ourbathroom renovation cost estimator, the national average for a bathroom remodeling job is $7,920. This price includes hiring a professional. Therefore, expect your DIY bathroom project to be much less expensive (expect longer completion time though).

DIY Bathroom Planning

Before you start your DIY bathroom remodel project, you must ask yourself six essential questions. By asking and answering all six, you will know if this bathroom project is not only worth your investment, but time as well.

The six questions you need to ask yourself before every DIY bathroom remodeling are:

  1. What is in the bathroom remodel budget?
  2. What do I need & what do I want?
  3. Who will be using the bathroom & what is its function?
  4. How long can the family function without this bathroom?
  5. Do I want to install energy efficient products?
  6. Do I need more bathroom ventilation?

For more tips and guidelines into this six questions, please see DIY Bathroom Remodel Planning.

DIY Bathroom Ideas


Time to jump into your DIY pants. I am going to start off with the easiest and most prevalent DIY project around the house. Believe it or not, new paint can transform your bathroom from 1980s drab to 2010s fab. Whether you go bold with dark blue or casual with stripes, new paint will not only give new life to an outdated bathroom, but make it feel larger as well.

Making your small bathroom feel large is not as hard as it sounds. There are easy, proven painting tips that can make your small bathroom feel like the lavish master bath you deserve.

  • Use light colors
  • Keep all same tone
  • Blend tile color & wall color
  • Paint ceiling & wall same colors
  • Paint vertical stripes to make it seem taller
  • Paint horizontal stripes to make it seem wider
  • Use light colors on doors, windows & molding
  • Color unexpected accents
  • Paint a statement or accent wall