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home improvement

The Best Bathroom

150 150 Nisha Muire

The best bathroom ideas are those that will maximize your ensuite’s space and functionality while increasing its architectural and design appeal. Finding a style that closely matches the tone and ambiance found in the rest of your home is another good idea as this will help your bathroom to blend into the context of your residence seamlessly.

When you set out to upgrade your bathroom, bear in mind that while it will bring up your home’s value, you will only see a full return on your investment if you are smart about your renovation. You can easily sink 45K into a bathroom reno, but that doesn’t mean that you will ever recoup that money when you sell because few people are willing to spend that much more on a home just because of a fancy ensuite – unless your neighbourhood will support such an expensive renovation.

Things to keep in mind when renovating your bathroom:

Replacing vs Upgrading
If you have a smaller budget to work with but desperately need to renovate, then consider simply replacing your old fixtures and finishes with newer models. It won’t cost as much and you can find really nice items on sale or at liquidation outlets. Sometimes, you can even breathe new life into old items by repurposing them. If you have more room in your budget then you can look to upgrading your space by purchasing more expensive fixtures, enlarging the space, adding a window or lighting or even completely moving around the shower, toilet and sink.

Showers vs Tubs
Depending on which bathroom you are renovating, it might not be necessary to keep your tub. If it is the main family bathroom, then a tub is a must as this is what homebuyers look for and expect. However, if you are renovating your ensuite and rarely use your tub – why keep it? If you are a shower kind of person then the smarter move would be to get rid of the tub and create a walk-in shower. In fact, you can go all out and get rid of the shower lip itself so that you have a very modern design that you can age into gracefully.

Installing an ordinary shower head is conventional – but why not explore the different kind of shower heads on the market today? Rain shower heads drop large droplets from an overhead spout while full-body jets line the shower walls and hit you from everywhere for a massaging effect.

While steam rooms are no longer as popular as they once were, installing a heat lamp in the shower is a great way to warm up on cold mornings.

Adding mirrors to any room will increase its size considerably – adding a large one to a small bathroom will give the same illusion of space. But, why stop there? If you have a tendency to shave in the shower, then it might be worth splurging on a fog-free mirror and proper lighting and creating a little recessed nook for a mirror and your shaving items within the shower itself.

Although safety bars in the shower are associated with the elderly, they are very good to have for people of any age. They provide a secure spot to hold onto when soaping up your feet – and today it’s possible to get very attractive options that don’t give the look and feel of a nursing home or hospital.

Typically the only seating in the bathroom is the toilet bowl, however, there is room to add more seating in the form of a make-up seat at the vanity and a shower seat in the shower – both of which are very useful and come in extremely handy.

For some really good ideas on bathroom renovations you can check out this article over here //bit.ly/1LnZB1A.

Upping Your Curb Appeal

150 150 Nisha Muire

The first impression anyone has of your home is what they see when they pull up in front of your door. Whether you have a one-bedroom studio townhouse or a palatial estate set on several acres of land, your home’s curb appeal will be what people take away from your property. How your home presents itself will also go a long way when it comes to selling it. Many homebuyers want to be wowed when they view a property and a house’s curb appeal plays a significant role in that all-important first impression. Here we will look at a few of the ways to better your home’s curb appeal inexpensively and with little effort.

Cut that Grass!
As silly as it sounds just tidying up your lawn and flower beds will have a huge impact on how your home looks to others. If your cat disappears in your lawn, your shrubs are turning into trees and you can’t distinguish the flowers from the weeds in your flower beds, it’s time to roll-up your sleeves and give everything a good trim and a good weeding. Nothing improves the look of a home like properly mown grass, a weeded garden and well-trimmed shrubs.

Clean and Paint
If the exterior of your home is filthy with grime and dust then buying or borrowing a powerwasher and giving the facade a once-over will brighten things up considerably. Also be sure to wash your windows as nothing screams “shack” more than dirty window panes. Just be sure to use the proper settings to that you don’t damage your siding, bricks and/or stone work.

Think Creatively
An easy way to change the look and appeal of your home is to change the exterior fixtures such as lighting, railings or trim. If you have a garage door that has seen better days but can’t afford to replace it, then consider giving it a coat of paint – you can do the same for front doors and railings. Swapping out old lighting fixtures for new ones is also an inexpensive fix while adding more exterior lighting might cost more but will definitely increase the wow-factor of your home. Adding planters with colourful annuals is a quick fix during the summer while potted evergreens are a good choice for the cold months.

Bigger Budget Projects
If you have a bit of a budget to work with, then you could consider having your home professionally landscaped. Change the look of tired pavers by swapping them out for new stone bricks, repave cracked and peeling driveways and consider creating visual interest with low-maintenance mixed gardens. Changing old windows and doors and maybe even refacing the house are all bigger budget projects that will drastically alter and improve the look of your home.

In the end, it isn’t necessary to spend big buck on improving the look of your home unless you want to. You can find some fun before and after pictures over here of improved homes: //bit.ly/1H1wYZ5.

Exterior Cladding – Getting it Right

150 150 Nisha Muire

The exterior cladding or finishing material of your home has more than just an esthetic value – it is what will protect your home’s structure from the elements, keep critters away and keep you warm and dry on the inside. The kind of cladding you choose will depend on the climate in which you live, your personal style and taste and also on your pocket book. In general, the colder the climate, the more durable a cladding you will want to select for your dwelling.

There are a number of materials that can be used as the exterior cladding for your home. Ranging in choice from natural wood to brick and stone to composite and vinyl, aluminum and metal, the choice is large. Aside from climate and cost, other factors that might play into your decision can include maintenance, durability and environmental impact.

If you are looking for a small eco footprint, then either natural wood, composite or brick and stone would be your best bets. However, bear in mind that when it comes to natural wood and composite, maintenance is quite high and the siding will not last as long as other options. It is also more susceptible to mold, rot and insects. Cedar siding is longer lasting and requires less maintenance and last longer but it will weather to a grey finish that isn’t necessarily pleasing to everyone. When it comes to brick and stone, although the production of these materials is clean, the extraction process isn’t and they are among the more costly options on the list. However, maintenance is very low and it will last for decades.

Some of the more common exterior cladding choices on the market are vinyl and aluminium siding. They are relatively cost effective and highly durable, but they can leave a much larger environmental impact given their production process. Vinyl siding is especially affordable and easy to work with, although it won’t last as long as some other options. Aluminum siding is another very good option, but it is usually used for upper floors because it has a tendency to warp easily when dinged.

If you want to learn more about different kinds of siding and their pros and cons, there is a very good article over here //bit.ly/1FtIJXE and Rona also has a very informative list of sidings over here //bit.ly/1HnmHDp that gives you the more technical specs of the different options availabl.

Lastly, be sure to always check with your municipality’s by-laws concerning external cladding as some materials can be frowned upon