Terrible 90s Decor Trends We Are Very Glad Went Away

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Home design trends come and go. And then sometimes they come back again. However, the ’90s were a lot of things but an era for amazing home decor was not exactly one of them. In fact, ’90s decor was pretty frightful in many cases and there are some trends that we are very happy to have seen the back of (we hope) How many of these less than stellar home decor tweaks do you remember?

Orange Pine Kitchens

Orange Kitchen

Pine is a lovely material for kitchen cupboards. Relatively inexpensive compared to other options, very versatile and fairly durable. It also tends to blend in well with other decor elements and can be as at home in a stripped back contemporary kitchen as it is in a country style affair.

Except something went terribly wrong in the 1990s because most of the kitchen pine turned orange. Why? That has never been adequately explained by anyone. But all too often the new kitchens of the 90s looked a lot like the minor monstrosity above.

Carpet in the Bathroom 

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Carpet is a great flooring choice in many areas of the home. It makes living rooms extra cosy and can help give bedrooms a comfier air. But carpets and bathrooms are, in all honesty, two things that should never be mixed. Bathrooms are, by their very nature, damp places, even if you have a great extractor fan system. And a carpet that remains constantly damp, even just a little damp, quickly becomes a carpet that is infested with mould and mildew. But it’s usually underneath where it lies unnoticed for months, maybe even years,

However, in the 90s, apparently many interior designers forgot all about these very basic facts and began suggesting that people carpet their bathrooms, usually for ‘warmth and luxury’. Carpeting the side of the bath tub, as in the picture above, was also very popular. Why? We can’t remember. But we do know lots about the horrors that people who have removed that 90s bathroom carpet have experienced when they did.

 

Corner Baths

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Corner baths were THE bathroom must have in 1990s and many a homeowner ripped out their perfectly serviceable existing bath tub and installed one of these oddly angled things instead which, if you were over about 5’5″ tall were horribly uncomfortable and certainly not conducive to a nice soak. They did usually have the ‘nifty’ water jet function that turned them into a sort of low budget Jacuzzi but even that wasn’t really much of a selling point.

Florals, Florals Everywhere

In the latter part of the decade people went floral crazy. None of the patterns matched and the floral sofas and chairs, wallpaper and carpet were usually accented with silk flowers which did little more than gather dust and fooled absolutely no one. And yet so many living rooms in the 90s looked a lot like this:

Florals

Inflatable Furniture

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Who ever thought that inflatable furniture for adults was a good idea? Well, 90s people actually. It was ‘cool and hip and trendy’ and things like the prime example pictured  not only existed but people bought it and thought it actually looked good in their home.

So there you have it, the decor trends we hated most from the ’90s. What other horrors do you remember?

Top 9 Tips For Vacation Proofing Your Home This Summer

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Are you planning a vacation soon? As the summer heats up the chances are pretty good that you are. And no doubt making all kinds of plans and arrangements to try and ensure you have a stress and worry free time. However, there may be some important things you are missing; the steps you should be taking to make sure that your home is ready for your vacation!

Not sure what you should really be doing? Here are our top 9 tips for vacation-proofing your home.
Tip #1. Make Some Plant Provisions

Watering your plants before you go is quite possibly something you will remember to do. However, some plants need water every few days and if you’ll be gone for a couple of weeks they may not make it through your trip in one piece. If you can’t get someone to agree to plant sit try placing the pots in your bathtub with an inch or two of water, so they suck up the water through their roots.

Tip #2-Turn off all Electronic Equipment.

Unplug all of your computers and televisions before you go away. Not only will that save energy, it will reduce the risk of energy spikes, which could destroy your electronic equipment or even spark a fire.

Tip #3-Turn Off the Water Supply to the House

Shut the water off at the main valve in your house before you leave. Yes, it’s a pain, but it really is better to be safe than sorry. The last thing you need when coming home from vacation is to be greeted by two inches of water in your house.

Tip #4- Turn off the Water Supply to Your Toilets

In addition to shutting off the water you may want remove water from your toilets as far as you possibly can, even in the summer. It’s not unusual for mould to begin forming in the toilet bowl in a less cool than usual bathroom as it is simply not being used. And you really do not want to have to deal with that when you get home either.

Tip #5-Stop Your Mail and Packages

Always stop your mail while you are on vacation. A loaded mailbox is a big signal that no one is home. If you have packages being sent when you are gone or newspapers that are regularly delivered, ask one of your neighbors or friends to stop by regularly to pick them up.

Tip #6-Keep the Lights on

A dark house is like a beacon for burglars. Set up a timer system so that certain indoor lights come on auromatically after dark (maybe the living room in the evening, a bedroom later at night and ensure that the exterior of your home is well lit after dusk too, even if it is just by solar lighting (which you actually don’t even need to worry about turning on and off.)

Tip #7–Lock Your Doors and Windows

No doubt you’ll check the front door several times before you leave, we all do, it’s a reflex. But how about all of the windows? And the entrance to the basement?

Tip #8 Clean Out Your Refrigerator

Nothing is worse than coming home to a house that smells like rotten eggs. Give away perishable foods to neighbors or relatives. Alternatively, freeze the food. Here is a list of foods that can be frozen. Contrary to what you might have read, you CAN freeze lettuce, onions, cucumbers, celery and tomatoes. Just realize that you have to use them in a different way than how they were before they were frozen.

For example, a frozen cucumber can be use to make a sauce. Frozen celery is used in soups and stir fries and tomatoes can be used for sauce. Lettuce and other greens can be used for smoothies. Just be creative.
Tip #9 Leave a Key with a Neighbour or Family Member

Make sure you give a key to a neighbour or family member in the case of a power outage or emergency. (Note, not all neighbours like that 3 am in the morning call from your alarm company so choose wisely.)

It’s not that unusual for alarms to go off while people are away even when nothing is really wrong. Perhaps the wind blew a door open or the alarm was tripped by a bigger member of the wildlife community. Still, it is good to know someone is there in case of a house emergency, just remember to bring back a thank you gift for your volunteer’s vigilance.

What You Should Know About Your Pets and Mould Exposure

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We have often discussed the dangers that mould can pose to the health of humans here but did you realize that your pets can be affected too? And that often, in a home in which mould is growing unchecked and/or undetected it is the furrier members of the family who may suffer the health effects of mould exposure first.

How Pets are Exposed to Mould

Just as is the case for their human counterparts troublesome mould spores enter an animal’s body via simple inhalation. One of the problems is that the average dog/cat/rabbit or other furry friend lives its life much closer to the ground than a human does and if mould is hiding beneath the floor or behind the wall, as it often does, this may mean that they suffer the effects of mould exposure more acutely, especially as they rarely get to leave the house as often either and so are almost constantly exposed to pollutants in the air around them.

What are the Signs That Mould Exposure is Affecting a Pet?

When experiencing the effects of mould exposure, pets can exhibit symptoms such as:

Respiratory difficulties and illnesses: wheezing, coughing and struggling to breathe
Pulmonary hemorrhage
Bleeding from the nose
Scratching themselves in the absence of fleas; pets may develop sores or even bleed from excessive scratching
Chewing on their extremities or at their skin, which can also develop sores or bleeding
Excessive licking that can cause hair loss
Extreme and/or unusual lethargy
Runny nose
Loss of appetite
Allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny eyes and other symptoms that may also be caused by common allergens, not just mold

Protecting Your Pet (and Yourself) From Mould

Keep your pet away from moldy food and environments.

Store your pet’s food in a sealed container to keep out moisture and mold growth.

Buy only pet beds and toys that can be washed in hot water to help ensure they don’t get infected with mold and dust mites.

Use shampoos that fight allergies for your pets.

If your pet begins showing symptoms of toxic black mold poisoning, such as changes in the typical behavior, eating patterns and energy level, this can be deadly. In this case take him to the vet as soon as possible and inform the doctor that your pet might have been affected by mould exposure.

We really do want to stress (again) how important it is that any mould growth – or suspicion of such – not be left unchecked. The safety of your home, yourself and all the members of your family – the furry ones included – may be at risk if you ignore the problem or tackle it in the wrong way.

Want To Change the Look of Your Bathroom? Look to the Walls

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For any homeowner, no matter how big or small their bathroom might be one of the quickest and often most inexpensive ways to give to give the whole space a nice quick face lift is to change what is on the walls – in other words the wall coverings.

When it comes to bathrooms there are lots of different options available to you but you do have to keep in mind that bathroom wall coverings must to be able to stand up to a lot more what might be on the walls in other rooms in the house. Lots of heat, lots of moisture and usually the need for more frequent cleaning are just some of the challenges that bathroom wall coverings have to be able to meet. To give you a little inspiration though here is some information about some of the best choices when it comes to bathroom wall coverings:

Paint – Repainting your bathroom is a very easy way to totally transform the look and feel of the space in just an afternoon . Gloss and semi gloss paints are best for the bathroom though as they have the ability to repel water and are usually much easier to keep clean. The only time paint might not look great in a bathroom is if the walls are already a bit bumpy and lumpy as paint will only accentuate that. Still want to paint? A good sanding may help.

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Wallpaper – Wallpaper is making a comeback and there are a lot of gorgeous wallpapers out there. Trouble is most of them are simply not suitable for use in the bathroom. For the bathroom vinyl wall coverings are a better choice. They are moisture repellent, pretty easy to hang and there are still a lot of choices out there to help brighten up your bathroom.

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Tile – Tiles have been used in bathrooms of all sizes literally for centuries. Porcelain or ceramic tile is often considered to be the perfect bathroom wall covering in terms of sheer durability and ease of cleaning but covering all of the wall space in a medium to large size bathroom with tile may not be very cheap. Accent tiles on a painted bathroom wall are a nice inexpensive alternative though.

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Glass Block – Glass block is really taking off in terms of popularity for use in the bathroom and for a lot of very good reasons. Glass block has a smooth, sleek modern,look and can let in a lot more natural light (always a great thing for any sized bathroom) without exposing you to the outside world! Again, this is not the cheapest option in the world and you will definitely need the help of a good contractor to help you install it but the finished look is usually breathtaking while also being durable and easy to keep clean.

contemporary-bathroom

 

 

Porcelain vs. Ceramic Tile: When to Choose One Over the Other

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You have a DIY project in mind that calls for some tilling. You plan on heading to the home store soon to pick some out. Once there you are presented with not only color and pattern choices but material choices too. When choosing between the two most common – porcelain tile and ceramic tile – they are pretty much the same thing, right? Visually maybe but in actual fact the two do have differing properties that mean one is probably better suited in certain situations than the other. With that in mind let’s look at some common scenarios:

The Scenario: A tile installation in a room with high moisture content

The Best Tile Choice: Porcelain

You’ve always read, heard and thought that ceramic tile is a great choice for use in a ‘moist’ room like the bathroom, and to a lesser extent, the kitchen. And it is. But porcelain is better.

Why? Because of their moisture absorption rates. The Tile Council of North America defines porcelain in terms of water absorption. Specifically, porcelain tiles absorb less than 0.5 percent of water. Ceramic and other non-porcelain tiles absorb more than 0.5 percent water. More porous tiles can lead, over time, to unseen mould and mildew (usually behind the tile itself and in a water damage situation – a bathtub overflows, a washer leaks in a tiled laundry room, a dishwasher leaks on a kitchen floor – the porcelain will be better equipped to handle the situation.

The Scenario: Your DIY Job Will Call for a Lot of Tile Cutting

The Best Tile Choice: Ceramic

The area you need to tile is an awkward one. Odd nooks and crannies and unusual shaping means that you already know that you will need to cut lots of tiles in order to make everything fit. According to the TCNA in this case ceramic is probably the better choice. The less dense nature of ceramic tile makes it easier to cut accurately, resulting in a better looking – and better fitting – tile job.

The Scenario: You are Tiling Outside

The Best Tile Choice: Porcelain

As ‘outdoor living’ spaces become more and more important to homeowners – and more and more formal and ‘designed – tile is popping up more often, most commonly to help create a patio where there was previously no formal structure economically and and relatively easily.

Such things can look truly stunning and which tile is best often depends upon where you live. Here in Ontario, where hard freezes are common in the winter outdoor grade porcelain tile wins over its ceramic peers every time.

This is because when ceramic tile freezes, it absorbs moisture. This causes ceramic to expand and break, but the higher density of porcelain makes such things far less likely.

A Word About Tile Grades

Both ceramic and porcelain tiles are graded by the TCNA and this is something you should also be paying attention to when shopping, no matter which material you opt for. The grading breaks down as follows:

Grade 1 – This is the weakest of all standard grade tile and is best for wall installations only.

Grade 2 – This is a great choice for all kinds of wall tile installations but it is also suitable for floor installation in areas that see only light foot traffic – a guest bathroom for instance.

Grade 3 – This grade of tiling is probably the most commonly used in residential building. It is a great choice for flooring areas that get light to moderate foot traffic like the kitchen and the master bathroom.

Grade 4 – Another great residential tile flooring choice but this grade can stand up to heavier daily foot traffic without losing any of its beauty.

Grade 5 – These are the tiles that can stand up to it all. They are used in really high traffic areas like airport concourses and shopping malls and are the best choice for outdoor projects.

Outdoor Living Ideas: Creating Your Own Backyard Vegetable Patch

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Most of us really are making the effort to go a bit greener, especially at home and at the same time lots of people, not just in Ontario but all over the world, are becoming more and more concerned about the quality of the food they buy at the supermarket and are opting to go organic whenever they can.

Organic fruits and vegetables can be pricey though, however good for you they might be. there is an alternative though and all you need is some space in your garden a little guidance and a lot of patience. and that alternative is growing you own produce in your very own vegetable garden.

Before you recoil in horror and protest that you simply do not have the “green thumb” to create and cultivate a vegetable garden you should know that it is nowhere near as hard as it sounds. Here are some pointers for the first time veggie gardener:

Deciding What You Want to Grow – Starting fairly small is usually the best idea for those new to the concept of vegetable gardening. Some first timers make the mistake of over-planting at the start of the growing season and end up not only feeling overwhelmed by their garden but left with too much produce on their hands as well.

When you are deciding what you want to grow you should remember that certain vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, beans etc – will keep on producing for months while other veggies like radishes, carrots and corn will only produce once so you should plan your garden accordingly.

A growing trend among vegetable gardeners right now is to try out heirloom seeds. Most of the fruits and vegetables you can buy in the supermarket are derived from just one or two varieties (its cheaper and easier that way) but heirloom seeds bring back varieties that have not been cultivated for years, or that have been created by horticulturists.

The variety in terms of color and taste is astonishing and there are now a number of great Canadian suppliers you can all kinds of seeds from online. These sites offer detailed information about each seed including what soils and climates it is best suited for, allowing you to choose the varieties that have the best chance of success if they are planted where you live.

Heirloom carrots. Yes, they grow like this and taste great
Heirloom carrots. Yes, they grow like this and taste great.

Finding the Space to Grow – Once you have determined what you want to grow then you have to find the room! But you do not need miles and miles of space to start a vegetable garden. Urban dwellers often do very well with container gardens set out on their decks and there are many postage stamp sized veggie patches that still produce lots of tasty food all year round.

In fact there are only three main requirements for the success of a vegetable garden (hard work aside) You need good light, a good soil and the right amount of water and these are things that can come together almost anywhere with a bit of effort. And now, time for the harder part…

Simple Steps to a New Vegetable Garden

The very first thing you need to do is to define just where your vegetable garden is going to be located and define its borders. this is your first chance to get a little creative as well. Instead of choosing to stick with a square or rectangle why not go for a circle, an oval or even an abstract shape instead? Once you have determined the perfect shape mark it out with a simple line of sand.

If your new garden currently has grass then that will need to be dug up carefully. The easiest way to do this is to use a specialist sod cutter but if you work carefully a spade can do the job just as well.

Next comes the hard work, the digging. You need to dig (or till) until all the rocks, roots and debris in the soil are gone. This is a good time to add an organic compost to improve the soil quality, simply mix it in as you dig.

The next step is to further delineate the vegetable garden from the rest of the landscape with some edging. A trench of about 6-8 inches deep and 1 to 2 inches wide should be sufficient.

It will take extra time and effort but if you place plants and seed where you want them to go before you actually plant them you can lay out your vegetable garden far more  effectively. This helps you get the spacing right as well as create visual appeal as well.

Now for planting time. Try to follow the directions on seed packets as closely as possible and any plants you are adding should be handled with extreme care, especially around the root area. If a plant has been potted and seems to have become rootbound gently tease the roots free, don’t pull!

Adding mulch to your new vegetable garden is one of the best things you can do to ensure that all the new seeds and plants it contains have the best chance of achieving great growth. A 2 inch layer of shredded wood chips or other mulch material will help keep the weeds at bay and trap essential moisture in the soil even when the weather above ground is hot and dry.

Once everything is planted and mulched it all needs a good soaking. If you are using a very dry mulch it may absorb a lot of the water before seed and plants can get any so soak it well to make sure that the moisture will seep down to them.

Not that hard is it? All you have do after this is keep an eye on your garden, water it is a needed and then go and treat yourself to a new recipe book in anticipation of all that wonderful homegrown food!

Mosquitoes 101 – How to Kill and Repel Them in and Around Your Home

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Mosquitoes are worldwide news right now and not for a good, or even interesting reason. The Zika virus, a virus that is seemingly crossing the globe at surprising speed is primarily spread by them, so there is some cause for concern.

According to the Canadian Government’s official website as of June 9, 2016, 114 travel-related cases and 1 locally acquired case have been reported in Canada. So as of yet, local cases really aren’t a problem here. However keeping mosquitoes at bay is a good idea anyway, not just because of the current focus on them but also because mosquito bites from any insect, infected or otherwise, are never fun.

Here are just a few tried, tested and for the most part rather effective ways to help keep the mosquitoes at bay in and around your home as well as a little more information about why they may seem to be especially fond of ‘living with’ you.

Signs Of Mosquitoes

Obviously if mosquitoes are buzzing around you can hear them, and if they are biting you can certainly feel them. But ideally it would be nice if they never got that close. The fact is though they are everywhere, and if the temperature is about 50F and there is any standing water on or around your property – a pond, a pool, an uncovered rain barrel or even a puddle – the chances are very good that there are going to be more than a few mosquitoes around.

How to Eliminate Mosquitoes

Dealing with a mosquito problem is actually more about repelling them than actually trying to kill them. What does help? All of the following:

Wearing an insect repellent that contains DEET whenever you are outside and making sure that everyone in your family is as well. Children should be protected with a formula designed especially for them and have a concentration of no more than 30%.

Understanding the relationship between mosquitoes and beer – Maybe it’s a genetic problem or maybe it is species envy, but mosquitoes are, and many research studies have demonstrated this, are uniquely attracted to beer. In fact when faced with a crowd of victims they will actively go after the ones with beer in their bloodstream first.

You can however, use this to your advantage. How? By setting a beer trap. It’s very simple; pour the contents of a can of bottle of beer (and it can be cheap stuff, mosquitoes are not fussy) into a shallow dish and set it outside. Any mosquitoes in the area will find themselves drawn to it and then they will usually dive in and die a quick, and one assumes rather happy, death. You can also make a similar trap using water and dish-washing liquid but it is not quite as effective.

Citronella Candles – If you are entertaining outdoors citronella candles can be of some help, but they are not a ‘magic bullet’. However, since they can look rather nice as well there is certainly no harm in setting them out, as long as you keep basic fire safety in mind.

Long Term Solutions

In the long term eliminating the water sources that are attracting mosquitoes can be most effective of all. Covering pools and ponds helps (but you will still have to accept a certain failure rate here) and covering or removing buckets of water helps too.

Not all of the water sources that attract mosquitoes to your property are immediately obvious though. Having mosquitoes inside your home can actually be an indication that a plumbing problem exists somewhere. Check your crawl spaces, basement, and other common areas where the pipes run for a leak. It doesn’t take a large pool of water to spawn dozens of mosquitoes. A simple leak can accomplish the same thing a large pool can for these insects.

It should also be noted that toilets that are rarely used – maybe in a guest bathroom – can also become mosquito breeding grounds. Periodically flush every toilet, check all of your plumbing joints, and inspect any appliance that holds water to make sure there aren’t leaks occurring.

The landscaping around your home may be a problem too, especially if the slope of the landscape is causing frequent puddling of water. If the problem is serious call in an expert but before you do check that your drains and gutters are clean, as clogged gutters really are practically penthouse accommodation for the average mosquito.

You’ll Never Guess How Easy It Is to Deep Clean Your Kitchen. Try These 7 Simple Hacks

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Who doesn’t shudder at the thought of having to deep clean the entire kitchen? All that grease and grime makes you wish you could somehow magically get another kitchen ASAP. But obviously, things just don’t work that way and the job, however gross, has to be done.

Deep cleaning might not be as difficult as you might imagine though. Check out these pro tips below on how to use unconventional methods (aka natural ingredients) to keep your kitchen looking clean and smelling fresh too!

Use baking soda. On everything.

We just love baking soda. Not just because it’s a brilliant recipe ingredient but because it can be used as an all-around ‘everything’ cleaner, especially in the kitchen.

Greasy Oven? Spray the inside with water and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda all over the inside of your oven. Keep spraying with water after a few hours or so and let sit overnight. You can then scrub off the remnants of your last baked masterpiece off for a clean looking oven.

Slimy sink? Although stainless steel sinks are relatively easy to clean, some grease may not come off as easy with ordinary cleaners. Sprinkle baking soda all over the area that needs special attention and scrub away with an old toothbrush. You’ll probably notice your reflection from the shiny sink afterwards.

Kitchen tiles and grout, which does tend to get grimy easily, can also be scrubbed to like new with the simple ingredients of water and baking soda and a toothbrush.

Dispose of the stink with lemon

A garbage disposal is one of the toughest spots in the kitchen to clean. Sadly, they often get rather smelly no matter what you do. Want an easy fix? Just throw in a half slice of lemon through your garbage disposal and let its citrusy power chase away all the stink coming out of the disposal. You can also use this trick on your sink itself by rubbing a slice of lemon all over it.

Deep clean chopping boards with– you guessed it– lemon!

Feeling like your wooden chopping board needs some TLC? Sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the board and use a half slice of lemon to scrub. Not only will this disinfect your cutting board, it will also leave a fresh scent.

Use oils to clean your microwave

Now although that sounds counter-productive, you can totally clean your microwave using essential oils. Saturate a big sponge with water and place it inside your microwave. Fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of essential oil (lemon essential oil is a favorite) and spray inside. Set your microwave for about 2 minutes and then turn it on. Afterwards, let the sponge cool down enough for you to handle it and use that sponge to wipe out the inside. So easy!

Clean while you blend!

Blenders might look tough to clean but all you need to do is fill it with a little bit of water and a few drops of dish-washing liquid, turn on the blender and watch it clean itself like magic! Make sure you rinse off remaining soap residue though, which can be done most easily with a clean water ‘blend’.

Use ammonia to clean gas stove burners

Pour about a quarter cup of ammonia in a sturdy Ziploc bag and put the stove burners inside. You don’t need to soak the burners. The idea is to let the ammonia fumes dissolve the grease and hardened oils. Leave the bag tightly sealed overnight and wipe it clean with a sponge. And there you go, good as new. (Warning: do not mix anything with the ammonia as it might create toxic fumes.)

Use Kool-Aid in your dishwasher

Run a small amount of lemonade or lime Kool-Aid powder through your dishwasher instead of the usual cleaner (sans dishes of course). The citric acid will do the cleaning for you as it wipes out stains and old lime deposits. Kool, huh?

Choosing Your Outdoor Kitchen Essentials the Right Way

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Summer is the perfect time for making the most of the good weather and taking your meals outdoors instead of being stuck in a hot kitchen or stuffy dining room to eat. These days more and more people are taking that idea to the next level and creating an complete outdoor kitchen that truly allows them to make the most of those warm, balmy summer days.

An outdoor kitchen can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, or can afford it to be anyway. But there are certain things that every outdoor kitchen really needs to make it properly functional and save you from having to keep running back indoors every few minutes! Here are a few essentials you should not be without

A Good Cooking Appliance

The simple BBQ has evolved a great deal and many of the best outdoor kitchens now feature a real live oven, usually a wood burning one. If your budget won’t run to anything that fancy a simple fire pit designed for cooking costs less than most standard grills do and the flavors you can create by experimenting with cooking woods and other fuels are often unique and exquisite.

A Place to Chill

One of the delights of a summer evening spent outdoors is the chance to sip on long, tall, cool beverages – or just a beer or two. In order to be able to do that with ease a small fridge is a great addition to any outdoor kitchen. You probably do not need anything bigger than a dorm style refrigerator, the kind you can usually find right at your local home goods store for less than $100.

Storage: Any outdoor kitchen needs some great storage space. You do not have to spend a fortune on built in outdoor cabinetry though. A mobile kitchen island can do the job very nicely and they too are far more affordable than you might think, especially if you shop at a home improvement chain store. A mobile island also offers the advantage that it will give you a ready-made outdoor food prep area as well and, if you are willing to spend a little more, the convenience of a sink as well.

Dinnerware for Outdoor Use:

Running back to the indoor kitchen to get extra plates, cutlery and glasses will certainly cut down on the time you have to enjoy your outdoor kitchen so keeping a dinner and glassware set outside, even if they they are plastic, is always a good idea.

Great Lighting

Eating in the pitch black is not too much fun indoors or out so make sure that your outdoor kitchen area is well lit. Bear in mind that for maximum function and beauty an outdoor lighting scheme should follow the same pattern as an indoor one; you’ll need task lighting as well as the stuff that sets a great ambiance.

Safety Equipment

Just like you should have a fire extinguisher in your indoor kitchen there should be one in your outdoor version as well. No matter what mode of cooking you employ there are fire hazards involved and you need to be prepared.

Need some design inspiration? Check out our great gallery below:

Home Design Trends: Bathroom Design Ideas – A Vintage Inspired Bathroom

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If you are considering remodeling or redecorating your bathroom you do have to decide, to a certain extent, upon a basic design theme for it. While many people are choosing to go very hi- tech and contemporary by adding sleek new fixtures and replacing their bath with a generous walk in shower others still prefer a more traditional, vintage look. Vintage does not have to mean antiquated though. Here are some ideas to help you create a vintage bathroom that functions as well as modern bathroom but still harks back to the best bygone eras had to offer:

Bathtub – If you are going to be creating a bathroom with a vintage feel the right bath tub is a must. If you don’t have the time – or the inclination – to go hunting through antique showrooms and junk yards for a real vintage bathtub there are a number of new bath tub designs available that mimic their ancestors perfectly including modern day takes on that most classic of tub designs, the claw foot.

Flooring – Ceramic tile really is the best choice for flooring in a vintage themed bathroom, but you can deviate from the classic black and white subway tile look (although it is gorgeous) To help make a small bathroom look larger choose a larger ceramic floor tile size, as fewer grout lines to distract the eye means that the whole room looks and feels more spacious. Another nice touch for a vintage bathroom is the addition of a mosaic of some kind on the floor.

Window Treatments – Modern Venetian blinds will look a little out of place in a vintage bathroom, Roman blinds may be a better alternative. Fabric draperies are another great looking choice but if your bathroom is not properly ventilated at all times you do run the risk that over time they will become magnets for mold and mildew.

Accessories – Basically anything, as long as its not to modern, goes here and you can have a lot of fun accessorizing a vintage look bathroom space. Ornate tooth mugs, Art Deco mirrors, shabby chic pieces and even chandeliers can all help you set the right tone and if you shop in the right places you can even find toilets that fit the theme but still offer modern day efficiency.

Need a little inspiration? Here are some vintage inspired bathroom looks we love and we think you will too: