Zen and the Art of Shutters

Wanting some peace and quiet after a long day in the city is pretty universal. But what about darkness? Generally we associate darkness with evil and bad omens. However, darkness can affect the quality of your sleep in a number of ways. It’s been recommended time and time again to sleep in a room that’s as dark as possible (that means turning off the lamp, too – scary!). For those who live in the city, peace and quiet is especially essential. In LA shutters are not optional.

How should we go about getting the dimness we so deserve? Curtains are certainly an option, but they’re a mess to have to rope up every morning, and most people just end up not bothering. Getting light in the morning, especially if you work at home, is important. So what about shutters? It’s an on-off switch for the sun! Plus, they’re not unsightly and flimsy like blinds. It’s imperative to get shutters that are study, and will last a few years. It’s also a good idea to have them installed by the company that you purchased them from – wouldn’t want to go voiding your own warranty trying to be a hero.… Read More

Kitchens and Baths Receiving More Attention in New Home Design

At the height of the housing downturn the most impacted areas in new home design were also once the most lucrative: kitchens and baths. For several years new home owners passed on popular and expensive add-ons to their kitchens and bathrooms such as water filtration systems, large pantry areas and natural wood cabinets. However, a recently published A.I.A Home Design Trends Survey indicates these functions and more might see a comeback.

Kitchens and Baths Receiving More Attention in New Home Design

Renovation and remodeling contractors want to make the most of a renewed interest in these once popular amenities. Homeowners who passed on the functions to save money during construction are now more interested in having it installed after the fact. Meanwhile, some architects report an upward trend in the kitchen space requested by customers during the design of their new homes. What might it mean for renovation and remodeling contractors? More business.

The area that received the most attention was the kitchen. 22 percent of respondents in the A.I.A report said the size of the kitchen is increasing in new home design and construction. The rediscovered focus on size opens up the possibility of remodeling and addition work that can be done in this popular and lucrative sector. The dominant feature requested for new kitchens are renewable materials. Almost half of the surveyed architects said that materials such as bamboo, cork and concrete are becoming increasingly popular.

Bathrooms are a different story. The report suggests their size and quantity is remaining stable but with an added emphasis on accessibility of design. The trend towards more accessible, safer bathrooms has long been anticipated by contractors as current generations choose to stay in their homes into old age. Doorless showers and handheld shower heads are a popular addition to customer bathrooms.

Contractors are already beginning to mount advertising campaigns aimed at these unique customers. It remains to be seen if homes constructed in the residential downturn will become the latest, hottest market.

Overall, the report indicates a trend of stabilization in the design of kitchens and bathrooms with notable upticks in certain areas. Savvy renovation and remodeling contractors are cashing in on the number of households that renounced popular features during the downturn. Meanwhile, others expect more remodeling and addition options as the size of kitchen and bath design continues to increase in new home construction.

Check out the AIA’s full fourth quarter of 2010 Home Design Trends Survey Report.… Read More

Four Basic Tips on How to Landscape Your Garden

First and foremost the best tip any beginning gardener can take to heart is the magical wonders of simplicity. From the original concept to the sketch keeping it simple allows tons of room for creative and artistic expression. Furthermore this will ensure that to begin with the floor plan will be much easier to build. Avoid going overboard and trying to emulate seasoned and experienced projects that demand too much time and effort to begin with.

Four Basic Tips on How to Landscape Your Garden

Instead keep the originating inspiration simple and direct. Each and every landscaping step unfolds new and interesting challenges which need to be eased into. Start off with squares and keep the meandering fern laden paths to a minimum.

Secondly, if one were to look at professional drawings of landscapes there would be all kinds of intricate technical symbols, characters, and different coloured sections with specific illustrations. Keeping the overall details simplified is going to in the long run make sure the process unfolds smoothly. What things translate into, even with basic schematics, can quickly turn into an overwhelming venture so focus on main features like lighting, walling, and simple decorations at first.

The next step after the vision has been established and a rough sketch has been put to paper is gathering the materials. The materials themselves should also be kept basic. This is going to drastically cut down on initial expenditures and allow for easier fixes and patch-up jobs along the way. Decorative colouring should not be hard to match later on and the antiquated specialty stuff needs to wait because they may become hard to replicate or fit in down the road. Minimize the construction so that maintenance isn’t a huge aspect in the beginning. This is going to leave much more time for learning and experimenting.

Finally, after the outline has been set in place and it comes time for planting, remember again to make it a fun and pleasant experience. There is no need to go straight for strange, newer, trendy, and exotic looking plants. Go for the time tested kinds that will not cause you any heartache or complicate matters. Make sure they are going to be in supply and available. Finally, try to steer clear of extravagant plants that will demand tons of extra attention.

Keeping it simple is the best tip of all when it comes to landscaping. Through time, practice, and experimentation the artwork will evolve and grow with the keeper and moulder. Letting things stay simple means that unnecessary and flamboyant things, or expensive and demanding things are put on hold initially. This will ensure that the design will be a work in progress to be enjoyed for years and years to come.… Read More