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Super User

Super User

Monday, 04 August 2014 09:15

Get in the zone!

Manhattenoffset-twin-quadrant

Broker meteofinanza, Free forex expert advisor

A few years ago there was a huge surge of interest in having ‘ wet rooms’ - however what clients and some bathroom suppliers neglected to mention was there was  a clue on the terminology ‘ WET’.  Clients soon discovered that soaking the entire bathroom is not very practical.

We have always advocated walk in or walk thru as the perfect alternative where we combine a tray or tiled tray with a glass screen to protect the rest of the bathroom while still allowing a generous showering area with a minimal look.

Most British manufacturers are aware of our hard water so provide factory fitted anti-limescale treatments which will make any shower doors easier to keep clean.

The type of shower enclosure we design largely depends on the space that is available and the type of enclosure you wish to create.

A single door option can be used in an alcove where three walls are in place, which can then be tiled or panelled.

Doors are available in various options - bi-fold where the door folds back into the shower can maximise the space available. Pivot doors rotate on a pin mechanism at the top and the bottom of the frame, opening outwards into the room, but with the rear of the door swinging backwards into the shower, pivot doors therefore need less clearance space than hinged doors which are fixed to the side of the wall. Both of these options, whilst creating good access into the enclosure can leave water sometimes dripping onto the bathroom floor.

Sliding doors straight or on a quadrant enclosure stops this from happening sometimes the opening can be smaller.

Look for the thickness of the glass as well which can be up to 10mm which although more expensive offers a far sturdier solution.

Safety is also a feature with some non-slip coatings available and strategically placed grab bars will all help.

So take your time and work with your bathroom designer to create the perfect showering solution for you, for a quick blast in the shower to wake you up in the morning, or a hot relaxing shower to unwind at the end of the day.

Modern Homes recommends enclosures from Manhatten, Kudos and Simpsons all available to see in our showroom.

 

Monday, 04 August 2014 09:06

Sparkling results!

 Dishwasher

Sparkling results!

Why you should buy a dishwasher for your new kitchen.

It has now been proven that installing a dishwasher will save you time, water, energy and money so what’s not to love about that!

I have always said that I would rather do without my washing-machine and have to visit the launderette than not have my dishwasher!

As a dirty crockery cupboard it is invaluable - immediately putting all crockery in the dishwasher instead of being left on the side creates a cleaner, tidier environment.

Dishwashers are much more hygienic, they work at hotter temperatures (up to 70 degrees depending on the setting) which is more than you could put your hands in which means dishes come out much cleaner.

The detergent is stronger than you would ever use by hand, also probably the least hygienic item in your kitchen is usually your tea towel which can be a hot bed of bugs and bacteria, as the dishwasher dries using hot air there is no need to wipe anything with that grubby tea towel.

If you compared directly washing up 12 place settings by hand and in a dishwasher the following results may surprise you.

• Hand washing uses around 63 litres of water … dishwasher only 15 litres

• So if you are on a water meter this would save you over 40p per load.

Features to look out for are a quiet operation, especially important in more open plan kitchen/living areas. Intelligent technology, this can even work out how dirty your dishes are and automatically set the correct programme and temperature for you.

Flexible interiors - these can vary greatly so look for baskets that can be adjusted, racks that fold up and down and cutlery trays can all be useful.

Special programmes for glassware or intensive for pots and pans.

Delayed start can be useful to take advantage of cheaper electric at night.

Dishwasher drawers can be useful when switching from small amounts of washing-up during the week to larger amounts at weekends and when entertaining.

And above all don’t forget this is a machine specifically designed to turn a chore into a pleasure!

 

Thursday, 19 June 2014 11:57

Style in the bedroom

Ava-web

 

How to achieve maximum style with minimum fuss in your bedroom

Summer is here and now is the time to look to carry out some minor changes to give a fresh uplifting look to the most restful room in your home.

Usually the best place to start is with our soft furnishings, new bed linen will rejuvenate the look of your bedroom in an instant, along with the addition of a few accent cushions making the bed look super inviting.

For Spring and Summer choose lighter coloured fabrics and bear in mind that natural bedding materials like linen can be a coolant in hot weather as they allow your skin to breathe. Key colours for spring 2014 include cool peppermint and fantastic fuchsia!

Using throws to add colour or texture can also create a luxurious ambience draped over a chair can also be snuggled into when reading your favourite book.

If redecorating is out of budget or too much trouble think about creating a feature wall and leaving the rest , this can be as dramatic or bold as you want using wallpaper or preprinted murals with any image you wish. Another way would be to have a collection of artwork, or pictures close to your heart. Vary the size and shape of your frames to add interest and place your favourite print directly above the bed.

Your chosen favourite pieces will stamp your personality onto the room and usually make you smile first thing in the morning, never a bad thing!

Bedside lighting is often neglected and need not be boring, there are many styles and finishes available.  You can also have the convenience of touch control lamps that can be controlled and switched off with very little effort.

Think rugs to inject colour, pattern, texture and warmth, nothing can be nicer than sinking your feet deep into a plush soft fabric when you first get up.

Remember this is the room you see last thing and night and first thing in the morning so creating a relaxed, happy environment is vital to your well- being and need not cost the earth!

 

Thursday, 29 May 2014 11:23

Cooking up a storm!

 Slideandslideweb

Cooking up a storm!

Focus on what features will get your culinary juices flowing!

MULTIFUNCTION OVENS
They offer a variety of cooking functions to help you get the best results every time. For example they usually include different functions like fan cooking, grill, defrost, and keep warm, top or bottom heat or a combination of the above.

PYROLYTIC SELF-CLEANING
Now hands up who hates cleaning the oven? This to my mind is a feature well worth having; it heats the oven up to approx 500 degrees at which temperature all the grease and dirt just turns to ash and can just be wiped out (once the oven has cooled down).

STEAM COOKING
Steaming our food is known to offer significant health and taste benefits as it preserves the nutrients in the food. An upgrade to a pure steam oven would be a combi-steam oven; this will still speed up your cooking time, keeps all your food nice and moist but can still brown your meat!

COMBINATION MICROWAVE
This will combine the speed of microwaving with browned and crisp food. It has been proved that a joint will roast in roughly a third of the time it takes in a conventional oven.

WINE COOLER
As a glass of wine will no doubt need to be enjoyed whilst cooking takes place where better than to store it than in a built in wine cooler. These are now offered with two independently controlled temperature zones so that both your red and white wines can be stored at their ideal temperature.

SOUS-VIDE
A relative newcomer into the domestic kitchen appliance market is a ‘sous-vide’ oven this combines a combi steam oven with vacuum sealer which promises to provide gastronomic restaurant quality results.

 

Friday, 16 May 2014 12:55

How to Shine Bright!

Bathroomlighting3

Shedding some light on the smallest room in the house

Now hands up who amongst you has a solitary 60 watt light bulb hanging from their existing bathroom ceiling? Yes I thought so! So let’s talk about shedding some light on how to properly illuminate your smallest room in the house.

Whatever the size of your bathroom, well thought out combination lighting is always the best route forward.

Having decided on your main layout with your bathroom designer, for example position of bath, basin, shower etc. lighting becomes your next major decision.

Bear in mind that you will need different lighting requirements for different times of the day, for example the morning rush to get ready for work is very different from a long relaxing soak in the bath at the end of a busy day when a more subdued scheme is required.

It is becoming common practice for us to fit outside switches for the lighting rather than the old style (gets rather grubby) pull cords we are used to. A dimmer switch can then be added to aid changing the intensity of the lights.

Overhead lighting can be either ceiling mounted using LED or florescent or recessed ceiling down lights for a flush finish; this creates your ambient overall light.

The next important area is above the basin, this is your hub of operation in the bathroom.  In an ideal world using an illuminated mirror or mirror with independent lights either side rather than overhead illumination (which can create shadows) will aid shaving or applying makeup.

Adding lighting to a shower enclosure makes sense, just bear in mind whatever you choose needs to be suitable for a wet area IP65 rating, add feature lighting in tiled alcoves or even integral LED lights in the shower head to create a glimmering effect as the water flows.

LED lighting can also be used really effectively in the skirting level area of the room, when added to the bottom of furniture or bath panels it can create a lovely wash of light across the floor.  LED’s are so energy efficient and will not increase your electric bills.

Always use the warmer colour of LED lights rather than cool white as this will warm the feel of the environment and make your skin look better! Always a bonus!

 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 13:26

Case Studies - Adrienne

Adrienne

Workmanship that stands the test of time

Having met and enlisted the Modern Homes team to do her kitchen some 15 years ago, Adrienne says there was no question of who to call when she decided to update and expand her bathroom.

“We were very happy with the kitchen Tina designed for us, and well over a decade later, the workmanship has really stood the test of time,” says Adrienne. “For us, Modern Homes was the only choice for our new bathroom.”

img 1

After fitting a new combi-boiler, Adrienne’s airing cupboard had become dead space – which is when she called Tina about expanding her bathroom to use the newly available room.

“Tina came over and talked to me in depth about what I wanted, and which layout would make the best use of the space,” says Adrienne. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted, and Tina let us cycle through various combinations of flooring and tiles until we were completely satisfied with our choices.”

The bathroom is minimalist themed, and has been tailored and tweaked to fit Adrienne’s vision.

 img 2

“With Modern Homes, you get both extremely high quality workmanship and service,” she says. “Tina’s attention to detail is phenomenal, she really sees the bigger picture but also pays attention to the little details – equally Karl who fitted our bathroom is clearly an exceptional craftsman, we couldn’t be happier with the job.”

img 3

Although the focus was on style and space, Adrienne says her favourite features are the little touches of glamour and luxury incorporated in to the design.

“My favourite feature? Well when I’m in my extra-long bath, it’s the bath, but then it could be the power shower, or my specially lit mirror…. I love all of it!”

img 4

Adrienne says she is already showing off her bathroom and would certainly recommend Modern Homes to a friend.

“I would have no hesitation recommending Tina and her team, the designs are beautiful and the fact that one company manages every stage of the process makes it a lot less stressful, we wouldn’t go anywhere else!”

img 5

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 00:00

Sinks and taps with style

Frankes Largo Workcentre

 

Sinks and taps with style

Sinks and taps are a key piece of your new kitchen and with the advent of modern technology; designs are not only practical but can also look attractive!

Even if your new kitchen design includes a dishwasher, your sink can still take a lot of daily wear and tear.

When it comes to size, remember the need to wash your roasting pans and grill pans from your oven - too many times I have seen clients struggle with silly round bowls that you can’t fit anything in!

Unless you have a fairly large room a double bowl option is not usually viable so the more usual choice is a bowl and a half, the smaller bowl is incredibly useful for rinsing and pouring things away whilst the main bowl is in use.

The material you choose can have a large impact on the longevity of your sink, currently stainless steel is still the preferred material, with great versatility on budget and styles. Always invest in a model which is 18% chrome and 10% nickel which will make sure it is tough and rust free.

More traditional kitchens can still benefit from the styling of a classic Belfast or ceramic sink and these are becoming more hard wearing and stain resistant than sinks of the past.

For an integral look use a granite or composite sink matching the colour of your worktop, particularly useful in smaller rooms to create the illusion of more worktop.

New to the block are wooden sinks and also glass surround sinks which can add a striking feature to a more contemporary design.

Taps have evolved enormously over the last few years with filtered water options, boiling water taps, pull-out sprays, LED indicating water temperature and for the water conscious amongst you taps with built in flow regulators and flow regulation measures. A note of caution is to ensure that you know what your water pressure is, nothing worse than a tap that only dribbles water at you.

Swivel spouts and even pot fillers can ensure that even the biggest saucepans can be filled easily, just make sure that your tap spout is positioned high enough for your biggest pan or vase.

Recently launched the Franke Largo work centre has all the style and functionality of a conventional stainless steel sink with the added convenience of two soft touch compartments. These can be used for storing washing-up items out of reach or as an area for disposing of food waste, and are plumbed so any excess water drains away to keep the area clean and tidy. The rear compartment is also removable allowing easy emptying of food waste. There is a pop up waste operated by a push button so that you can empty the sink without putting your hands in the bowl. Add to this a chopping board and strainer bowl and this makes this the ultimate workstation.

 

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 11:03

To cover or not?

lancaster-mdf-shutters-kitchen-full-height-300x226

 

To cover or not?

Having decided on your perfect kitchen, bathroom or interior layout now decisions need to be made on window dressings and with a tremendous choice available it can be a little overwhelming.

Windows provide a fabulous opportunity to add colour, texture and also ambience to your room with a product that can be changed easily in coming years.

Start with deciding on the practicality and ease of cleaning in the room; a sensible choice for kitchens and bathrooms can be a blind, a simple solution that is easy to clean when required.  Readymade blinds can be an affordable choice and most leading retailers offer an in store or online buying guide which will help measure your window and take you through the correct way of fixing.

If this appears too daunting many retailers will come to your home and I believe this can be a better solution as it is much easier to match colour schemes in the room.  Levels of service can vary greatly so shop around to find a company that will offer this personal service.

Newer to the market and  my personal current favourite are shutters, they offer such versatility, in terms of insulation, recent research has shown that interior shutters can reduce the amount of heat lost through your windows by up to 62%.  They offer complete privacy and allow you to control the amount of light coming into the room- there is nothing quite like the pattern of dappled sunlight coming though shutters to add light to your room.

Traditional timber shutters can also be finished in a variety of ways, painted, oiled or stained finishes, but there are some fabulous budget options now available, including special waterproof versions made of high quality polymer, very practical for bathrooms.

Curtains are usually the preferred choice for sitting rooms and bedrooms and can be used in a variety of ways.  Curtains can also be combined with a sheer roller blind for privacy and control of light, an updated more modern version of your Nan’s old net curtains!

So whatever your choice think outside the box and be brave, add colour, texture and pattern to complete your finished room transformation!

 

Monday, 24 March 2014 00:00

Worktop workshop

Page8-B-Vulcano

 

Worktop workshop

A new worktop is a huge part of your beautiful kitchen so it is imperative to choose one which suits your kitchen, budget and lifestyle.

We often design kitchens to be integral open spaces for living and entertaining so over the last few years the focus on worktop material has become more vital than ever.

The aesthetics are very important but we also work with our clients to discuss how they use their kitchens before recommending a product.  For example if they regularly use food with lots of spicy colours certain worktops may have a tendency to stain. Also some products can require regular maintenance and sealing, not to be advised in a busy family situation.

To help you we have devised the following guidelines:

As a rule of thumb never cut directly onto any work surface, always use a chopping board or butchers block onto the worktop when using any sharp implement.

Be sure to mop us any spillages with a clean dry cloth, liquids should not be allowed to pool on the worktop for any length of time.

Do not place hot, wet or very dirty pots straight onto the worktop. All worktops need extra protection particularly against heat and trivets or stainless steel hot rods should be purchased alongside your kitchen.

Wipe down all worktops regularly with a damp (not wet) cloth with warm soapy water, we never recommend the use of multi-purpose cleaning products which contain chemicals as these may also damage the worktop.

Budget

The cheapest option and one which most of us have lived with for many years already are laminate worktops prime example being Formica - these can start from as little as £30-40 per linear metre .We have a variety of colours to choose from which are now available in high definition print and a choice of realistic textures. With the addition of matching up stands and splash backs can create a stylish finish.

Timber worktops are both beautiful and practical and the natural anti-bacterial properties of wood make it one of the most hygienic surfaces available. Starting at £ 60 plus per linear metre this can be an option which works with both traditional and modern styles of kitchen well. The main disadvantage of wood is that it does require some maintenance. The surface needs to be sealed completely to protect the wood and sustain its properties and durability.  In addition, it will always need constant re-sealing which can become time consuming

Mid Range Options

A new choice in this area is a composite worktop which is fabricated by your kitchen installer Ranges include Maia and Encore. These are usually a blend of resins and natural minerals which are non- porous, easy to care for, hygienic and durable. A silky smooth finish along with near invisible joints can make this a luxurious addition to your home. Additional sink options with under mount bowls and drainer grooves bring a bespoke look which along with matching up stands, splash backs, decorative support panels and plinths can add the final design lead finishing touches to the kitchen. Prices start from £ 150.00 per linear metre.

Quartz Composites are engineered stone which have a high ratio of mineral to resin (usually about 93% quartz crystal), well known brand names include Silestone and Caesarstone.   The advantages again are non-porous easy to clean. They have a consistency of colour not found in natural stone and the high quartz content make them tougher to withstand scratching and more heat resistant (although as noted above we never advise putting hot things directly onto any worktop !) Prices start from £ 200.00 per linear metre.

Top End Options

Most ‘blow the budget’ options involve the use of an additional independent fabricator.

Your worktops are made especially for you with decisions made during the templating stage (when a set of tops are templated to the exact contours of your kitchen) with multiple choices available for finished front edges etc.

Most natural stones can be used including marble, granite, limestone or even slate, which all have a high quality finish and feel.  With no two slabs of a natural product being exactly the same you can be sure you are getting a unique look. Many stones will again however require regular sealing and maintenance.

Stainless steel looks great in a really contemporary setting or if a client wishes to create a semi-professional vibe to their room.  Stainless steel has migrated from a commercial application due to its hygienic and hard wearing properties and allows you to chop directly onto the worktop or place hot pans. It can also be produced without joins to be extremely hygienic. The down side can be it can scratch but over time the scratches just accumulate to give an overall brushed finish which actually improves the look.

Glass is becoming a popular choice it is strong but can scratch but can show water marks particularly if you are in a hard water area. They are now available in virtually any colour so can create a stunning bold look.

With prices starting from £ 400.00 per linear metre these options can be teamed with a more cost effective door style range to create a fantastic bespoke designer kitchen without having to rob a bank!

 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:45

Creating safe kitchen design

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Creating safe kitchen design

With kitchens becoming an ever increasing part of our living and social space I believe it has become ever more important to integrate safety within the design.

Statistics show that most accidents happen in the home and this can be where the very young or elderly can be at risk.

When planning your new kitchen with your chosen professional designer it will be worth bearing in mind the following points.

A well-positioned hob is vital to gain as much worktop space as possible around the hob area.  This will stop saucepan handles sticking out over an edge or getting in a situation where handles get hot as they are over an adjacent ring. Look out for modern hobs designed with locks for ‘little fingers’.

New style induction hobs only heat the metal base of the pans that they come in contact with and stop doing so as soon as the pan is moved.  Even the saucepan handles don’t get so hot.  Some induction hobs even turn themselves off after a period of inactivity should you have forgotten to do so.

Always make sure that the hob is positioned near to the sink so that you don’t have to carry heavy pans of boiling vegetable water to strain across the kitchen to drain.

Eye level appliances can also keep little fingers away from hot appliances and food and many oven manufacturers have ‘stay cool’ oven doors.

Unfortunately lots of modern cleaning materials are very bright and sparkly (think dishwasher tablets) and can therefore be a magnet to small children. As it is not always practical to place these out of reach so it may be easier to fit a lockable storage compartment within a base unit.

Another danger can be the kettle which should always be cordless or have a short flex and be sited to the back of the worktop so there is no temptation to pull on wires.

Alternatively we now have hot taps available which are securely mounted to the worktop , have a child proof push and turn style handle and as an additional safety feature the water comes out of the tap in a fine spray rather than a solid jet.

Whilst the consequences of trapped fingers are usually less severe than burning or poisoning we have all felt the pain of doing something like this.  Quality soft close hinges to doors and soft close drawer runners are now common place and will help reduce this risk.

Non slip floor surfaces can also help, wiping up any spills immediately they occur and also discourage children from playing with toys in the main kitchen area. I can tell you from experience that there is nothing worse than the pain of standing on a sharp piece of Lego with no shoes on!

Above all talk to your designer to ensure that your beautiful new kitchen ends up a safe and happy environment for the whole family to spend quality time in!