Archive for August, 2011

Smooth Tile Surface Works for Wheelchairs

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Ceramic / Porcelain Tile

People who have disabilities can live, work and play despite the physical challenges they face every day. The right home designed to accommodate those challenges can make all the difference.

One of the best flooring options for the wheelchair-bound is tile. A smooth tile surface is easy to maneuver on and holds up to chair traffic well. With grout sealer, it’s also one of the easiest floors to maintain.

The next issue is accessibility. Even in a one-story home, it is important to have limited or no steps or other thresholds between different living areas. Wider corridors and doorways also make a difference. Although wheelchairs have an amazingly small turning radius, a bit of extra space is always helpful.

Threshold-free showers can help someone in a wheelchair be more independent. Plenty of space for maneuvering a wheelchair, higher-level toilets with a couple of safety bars and sinks at the right height and with space for a wheelchair to fit under them can turn a bathroom from a challenge to a safe and comfortable environment.

Kitchens can also be designed for comfort and convenience. Focus on lower cabinets for storage with pull-out drawers to access even the tools at the back of the cabinet. Prep space such as an island works well if it is table-height and provides room to accommodate a wheelchair. Sinks with spray handles also make it easier to cook and clean from a seated position.

People with disabilities want the same things everyone wants but they do not take independent living for granted the way most of us do. And you may find that friends and family who face physical limitations – either temporarily or permanently – appreciate your thoughtfulness if you can provide then with a comfortable place to visit.

A Pop of Red

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

What really makes this room work? The lines are clean and inviting and there is a good balance between light and dark, but it’s the red that makes the room pop.

Do you have a favorite color that you would like to showcase? This approach provides a great way to let one color stand out. The light tile floor is neutral enough to warm up the space without pushing for attention. In the same way the table and chair frames anchor the space but are close enough to black that they don’t read as a color.

Then the red takes over. With the large art piece on the side wall, just a couple of chairs and the three rounded pieces on the table, red is the dominant theme in the room without overtaking the space. The key to making this one-color approach work is to balance it carefully as this room does.

Red will capture the eye no matter where you stand in this room. However the simple lines of each piece of furniture allows the owner to add color and flavor when entertaining. Dishes and linens could go in any direction, both in terms of color and texture. If you wanted to go in a completely different direction, just use slipcovers on the chairs and the red would be limited to the artwork.

You might want to notice one other interesting thing about this room. Although the style is sophisticated, it is really child and messy-dinner friendly. The large porcelain tiles and the leather chairs are easy to clean if diners have any mishaps. No need to fear serving red wine in this space!

What’s New in Laminate Flooring

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood and Laminate

With advancements in technology, flooring manufacturers have made some recent breakthroughs and have introduced a new affordable option to flooring with the use of laminate floors. Laminate was first used as a material for counter tops but since they found it very affordable, durable and resistant to scratch and damage, many home owners now use laminate as the best alternative to real wood for their flooring.

So what is laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is made from multi layered materials. The top layer is made from melamine resin and has undergone heat forming to make it durable which serves as the protection from scratching or scuffing.

The next layer is the print film which is the photograph of the wood that it is copying. It can be a photograph of an oak wood, pine, bamboo, mahogany and many others which are protected by the coating of the first layer. The technology for making laminate flooring is so advanced, that it is now difficult to distinguish a laminate floor from a real wood.

The next layer is the core and is composed of high density fibreboard to increase the strength and durability of the laminate floor. Sometimes, there is another layer of plastic added after the core to protect the core from moisture.

There are many different types of laminate floors available:

  1. Embossed. Embossed laminate floors have raised patterns that can be cut into square or rectangular strips.
  2. Smooth. Smooth laminate floors are one variety of laminate floors that closely resemble ceramic or marble floors.
  3. Wood Grain. Wood grain laminate floors are the type that closely resembles hardwood floors.
  4. Patina. Patina is a new type of laminate floor that is basically the same as the embossed type, but it has been painted for a more artistic look.
  5. Distressed. Distressed is another new type of laminate floor that has an old and worn out look to it.

Laminate floor tiles can either come as strips, planks or tiles which can be glued or snapped together for installation.

Definitely, laminate floors are the best alternative for homeowners who want to cut down their flooring costs while still having many styles and design choices to choose from. Stop by one of our convenient locations to pick out the perfect style of laminate for your home!

Out of the Ordinary Patio

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Outdoor Living

This great space works for outdoor entertaining or just a small family evening. The overall look is dramatic and inviting, with some twists in the design that take this space out of the ordinary.

Start with the most obvious element – the thatch roof. This roof is beautifully crafted, using skills that are almost impossible to find today. But the search for competent craftspeople was worth the effort, and the roof is fabulous.

The rest of the design grows out of that roof. The rattan furniture echoes the weaving and natural fibers above them, with colorful cushions to add the only spot of color in the space. The frame of the patio area is a studied contrast in both texture and color. The light smooth look is accented by evenly-spaced square openings under the eaves.

The flooring works perfectly in this space. Tile always works well outside, and this large-scale pattern set on a diagonal adds movement to the area. The light tones work with the framing, and the occasional darker tiles built into the design add character and interest. Using a dark brown grout connects floor and ceiling.

Tile serves another purpose in this outdoor space. If you look toward the back on the left, you can see a delightful piece of art – actually a tile mosaic mounted on the wall. By creating art with tile, the look is sophisticated and interesting while the materials can handle whatever the weather has to give.

Whether you’re having a large party or a small family gathering, this space is ready to support your plans. Think of taking an unusual approach to ceiling, flooring or furniture when you plan an outdoor space, and let your style shine!

Texture Makes this Photo and Your Home, Special

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

The house is the first thing to catch your eye in this photo. The roof has different types of tiles set slightly unevenly. The two doors are both wood, but unique in look and shape. Even the walls have both a plaster overlay and spots that show the stones underneath.

It’s not color that makes this photo special, it’s the various textures. There are only three colors here – brown, green and a bit of blue for the sky – but the textural elements draw the eye.

If you were at the location of this photo, you might find yourself walking up to touch the wall, maybe pausing first to put a hand on the bark of one of the trees in front. Texture invites us to interact with our surroundings. Whether soft or rough, our hands just want to reach out and feel what our eyes see.

In your home, do you ever consider your use of texture? Bringing in a variety of touchable elements makes a room feel more inviting. Think in terms of contrast. If your flooring is smooth like wood, add some soft and rougher-surfaced elements such as an overstuffed easy chair or an antique pounded copper bowl. Carpeting looks softer and more inviting when contrasted with a low wood table or bronze candlesticks. Even a simple twill sofa will pop when you add pillows and a throw with strong textures.

Use your imagination. Reach out and touch things in your home and see if more texture might add a special appeal to your space just like it does to this photo.

Make a Splash with Tile Trim

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Ceramic / Porcelain Tile

This dramatic stairway provides a strong visual demonstration of how powerful tile can be. The tile on the risers of the stair defines each step, emphasizing the curve and actually adding to safety in situations such as this when stairs don’t fit the standard.

By choosing two different but complementary designs for every other step, the tile doesn’t overpower the space. Instead, it adds color and another element of personality. Combined with the custom railings and the overall open design, this stairway is poised as the focal point of the main living area.

Using tile as an accent shouldn’t be limited to kitchen backsplashes and bathrooms. With the right tile used the right way, it can add color and style to any room in your home. A fireplace surround can change from a unnoticed feature to a focal point by bringing in specially-selected tile or stone. An entryway can benefit from applying tile instead of wood as a baseboard. If you choose a pattern that complements the flooring, you can create a special space to introduce people to your home.

Thanks to tile’s weather tolerance, it’s a great option outside also. If your patio needs perking up, how about adding tile trim to benches and planters. Your outdoor kitchen can gain style with a tile edging under the countertops and grill.

To start thinking of tile as a valuable design element, visit our showroom and check out the rich variety of color and style available in today’s tile. Our idea books and vignettes may open your eyes to opportunities to add color and interest to your home with tile.

Take Time to Reflect on Mirrors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

If you’ve visited some mountainous countries, you’ve probably run across mirrors like this one. The goal is to provide an early view of oncoming traffic to make it easier to navigate switchback roads.

This mirror was carefully positioned to make the most of its view. In your home, there is a value to taking the time to position your own mirrors to make the most of them.

Mirrors can be functional in a number of ways. They can reflect light, serve as a chance to check your appearance, and expand the feel of a space. When you buy a mirror, think about whether it can be more than decorative.

A mirror can grab light from a nearby window to brighten a dark corner. To take full advantage of the mirror, experiment with placement to maximize the light reflected.

If you would like a mirror near your normal home exit door to do a final check of your appearance, be sure to get a large enough mirror and position it well for everyone in the family. Many times there’s a tendency to hang a mirror too high so that shorter family members can only see from the nose up. Once again, experiment with size and placement to ensure that the mirror is as useful as you planned.

Don’t limit your reflection attention to actual mirrors. Many other elements in your home may be reflective. Some flooring has a natural shine such as natural woods and various tiles. Metallic accessories also have a natural reflective quality. Add sparkle to your room by considering reflections when you decorate.

Plan with Personal Territory in Mind

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

One of the more interesting cultural differences is personal territory. This is how far away strangers have to be from you for you to be comfortable around them. In the U.S., our personal territory runs about 18 inches. As a result, our common greeting with strangers is a handshake – reaching out while keeping our preferred personal distance.

When you plan your home’s seating, an understanding of personal territory can be very useful. For example, have you noticed that frequently only two people will sit on your sofa even though it would hold three or more? Notice that in the photo of the people watching baseball, there are only two people on the sofa, the other two choosing to sit on the floor rather than break into anyone’s personal territory. The only exception to this unspoken rule is family members, who frequently have less or no personal territory among themselves.

To help contain your seating at the appropriate distance, use an area rug. Choosing the right size rug will help you capture your seating at the right distance. Set any additional chairs at that eighteen inch distance and people will comfortably sit in them. This works just as well with dining and snack-bar chairs. A little additional thought to issues of personal territory and you will have a good party with guests who are comfortable with themselves and each other.