Facts About Flagstone

facts about flagstone

facts about flagstone

Flagstone is becoming an increasingly popular stone to use when landscaping the home. You can use it for walkways and patios giving your outdoor decor a charming look. But what exactly is flagstone? Here are the facts!

Flagstone is a beautiful flat stone made from sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock is made up of “sediment” which is small bits of other rocks, sand, mud, pepples etc. Over long periods of time this sediment becomes glued together and forms a hard surface stone. Flagstone is made like this; basically it is a sandstone formed mainly from sand particles, felspar, quartz and cemented with silica and/or calcium. Flagstone is often confused with slate but slate is a metamorphic rock made from clay or volcanic rock.

Flagstone comes in a variety of colour combinations this feature makes it quite popular. It is also very durable as an installation and because it is formed in nature, it is very tough! Depending on where and how it was formed the colours can widely vary. The most common of the flagstone colours are beige, dark brown, pink and peach. It is not uncommon to find gold, white and even green or blue flagstone.

There is a wide variety of uses for flagstone but it is most commonly used for patios and walkways. It is naturally slip proof and also quite beautiful. This makes it a perfect material for outdoor surfaces.

Laying flagstone for a patio or walkway is not that difficult and if done correctly can last a lifetime!

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5 Modern Bathroom Design Ideas

5 modern bathroom design ideas

5 modern bathroom design ideas

Would you say your overall design style is sleek and chic? Do you enjoy the true architecture of a space with its linear simplicity rather that an overly adorned and accessorized space? If you’d like to translate your modern vision into your Master Bath here are a few design ideas to help get you started.

1. Cabinetry

  • When it comes time to selecting the design of your cabinetry lean toward clean, crisp and streamlined furniture.
  • To create a lighter and sleek bathroom environment consider cantilevered cabinetry secured to the wall creating a minimal look to the vanity piece. Create some drama with strip lighting added to the bottom side of the cabinet – which will cast a warm glow to the floor below.
  • Provide additional built in wall-to-wall storage elsewhere in the bathroom to compensate for the reduced storage in the vanity area.
  • Deep dark rich woods evoke a sense of warmth to the clean lines of contemporary design.

2. Fixtures

  • Crisp clean and sleek white fixtures speak to the contemporary/modern design. If space allows introduce one of the hottest trends – a free- standing bathtub.
  • They are available in all shapes and sizes and nothing creates a more dramatic focal point in the bathroom than an exquisite free-standing tub. Simply position it in front of a spectacular picture window with a breathtaking view as the backdrop.

3. Surfaces and Materials

  • Utilize solid surfaces for countertops, whether quartz, limestone, granite, concrete or glass to give it a clean contemporary look. Keep the edges simple and square for easy maintenance and sophisticated style.
  • Always introduce an interesting backsplash material in contrast to the counter top color and material. Whatever the surface I like to apply it on all walls from floor to ceiling. It creates instant architecture and adds great detail and drama to the space.
  • Glass tile, mosaic, stone or ceramic details are just a few of the highly decorative backsplash products out on the market today that create a sense of modern style.
  • Keep geometry in mind when selecting the material for your contemporary backsplash. Consider tile shapes that are rectangular, oversized, or small mosaics to create detail in the pattern of the application. If the tile is oversized and rectilinear install it in a brick pattern. If it’s shape is longer and thinner then stacking the tile creates a very interesting modern vibe. Stay away from the common square tile in any size.

4. Luxurious Shower

  • Create a steam shower with multiple rain heads, and body sprays. If your budget allows, add chromatherapy and aromatherapy to your master bath wish list as well. These fittings represent the epitome of modern luxury design. Don’t forget a built in bench and access panel to hide the steam system.
  • Design a full seamless glass enclosure from floor to ceiling and finish the interior with complimentary mosaics or stone tile to set it apart from the rest of the space. This glass enclosure creates a more visually open space within the overall space.

5. Accessories

  • Remember to keep clutter and display to a minimum.
  • Accessorize with towels in a bright color for punch or stainless steel and woods. Keep everything to a minimum and clutter free.
  • Select chrome, nickel or silver toned drawer/door pulls, towel bars, towel hooks and paper holders for sparkle.
  • Frame vanity mirrors in woods or silver tones – in similar finishes to the other accessories adorning your modern bath.

Now draw a bath and enjoy the modern luxuries of your new space.

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The Benefits Of Bunk Beds

the benefits of bunk beds

the benefits of bunk beds

When a parent has more than one child, or when there are temporary guest at someone’s home, one consideration that the parent, or the homeowner has to think about, is space. Specifically, they will want to make sure that others are getting a good night’s rest. However, a bedroom might only have so much space to contend with. There might not be enough floor space to fit another bed in the room. This is why sometimes when there isn’t enough space to contend with horizontally, one must think of ways to use space vertically. Luckily, bunk beds do just this. They allow the homeowner to take advantage of vertical space in a way that allows a comfortable sleep experience for those who need it.

Bunk beds are most popular with parents who need a way to create sleeping space for their kids. These beds can especially come in handy for parents who have children of the same gender, and who are small. It’s actually a very common practice, and bunk beds are very cost efficient. Bunk beds for kids are less expensive than it would be for a parent to purchase two separate beds. Beyond this, a parent can house their two children in the same room, without having to worry about keeping their kids in separate room, and then having to purchase furniture for two separate bedrooms.

These beds can be made out of either a wooden frame, or they can be made from metal. Some people like the idea of buying bed frames that are made out of hard wood, because they tend to last for a longer period of time. So not only can these beds serve their purpose for small children, but the bed can last long enough to allow out of town and overnight guest a good night’s rest. The beds that are made out of hollowed metal don’t last as long as hard wood, but they are very stylish and sleek. Typically, a bunk bed is designed to hold two twin sized beds, but there are now modern versions of beds that not only have compartments for two twin sized beds stacked on top of each other, but they come with a compartment for a full sized mattress that is built into the side of the bunk bed.

So if a homeowner, or a parent is looking for a cost efficient way to allow as many people as possible to sleep in a room, then they should shop for bunk beds. They allow a homeowner to take advantage of space in a bedroom, and they provide a less expensive option for sleep solutions than a regular bed would.

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How to Finish Wood – Varnish Or Seal?

how to finish wood - varnish or seal?

how to finish wood - varnish or seal?

Being involved in DIY workshops I am often asked about the difference between whether to varnish or seal a finished project. Both are excellent finishing techniques – when applied in the right circumstances.

Did you know that the internal structure of wood contains thousands of microscopic cells or tubes that run up and down the grain of the timber. These tubes carry nutrients that are essential for tree growth and, once cut and dried, they continue to expand and contract under conditions of high moisture and humidity.

Even after a synthetic finish has been applied to the surface of wood, the wood continues to expand and contract depending upon the external ambient conditions in which it is placed. It is not a process that you are going to notice but there are some obvious indicators that this is happening. In very wet weather you may find that a exterior door, garage door, or even a timber gate, will swell and stick, or you may struggle to open a timber window. This is due to the fact that the wood has swollen (expanded) as a result of excess moisture being absorbed into the wood. The swollen wood will eventually dry out and revert back to its original shape, although sometimes a bit of sanding down may be required.

Taking the above into consideration, when deciding what finish to apply to your wood projects it helps to know a few facts beforehand.

What is varnish?

Varnish is a blend of resins and oils that are applied to the surface of wood to provide a protective layer against damage. Varnish is available in various formulations from gloss and semi-gloss to a matt finish. The most common varnish used today is polyurethane varnish.

Varnish does not penetrate into the wood, rather the first coat of varnish blocks the surface of wood to offer protection from ambient moisture. However, due to the constant expansion and contraction of timber, over time the varnish layer may crack and perish allowing moisture to gain access to the wood and further exacerbating the problem.

What is sealer?

Sealer is combination of resins and oils, but with a lower viscosity than varnish, which means that sealer actually penetrates into the wood itself to nourish and protect from within – rather than on top. It is essential to apply three coats of sealer to wood surfaces, as the first coat penetrates into the wood, the second coat bonds with the first layer to form a seal, and the third and final coat provides a surface that is heat, scratch and water resistant.

Sealer can be applied to almost any timber surface – interior or exterior – and there are various types of varnish specifically designed for interior or exterior conditions. UV stabilisers are added to exterior sealers to protect against sunlight and some even contain mould and fungus inhibitors. Before applying any sealer to your exterior timber be sure to check the label that the sealer meets with all your local climate conditions.

Now we know the difference between varnish and sealer it makes a little bit more sense as to the finish we should apply to a particular project. Sealers are perfect for any surface whilst varnish is better for indoor surfaces where there is little chance of high humidity or moisture. For example in a bathroom, laundry or kitchen.

Here are some tips for when using varnish or sealer:

  1. Do not wipe the paintbrush on the inside of the tin as this adds air bubbles and can spoil the finish of your project
  2. Apply sealer or varnish with the grain of the wood and work away from an edge for a much smoother finish
  3. Never apply too much or too little. If you have never done this before practise on a scrap piece of wood to get the hang of it before you start on your project
  4. Should dirt (or bugs) spoil the surface whilst it is still wet – leave it there. You will only spoil the finish. Wait until the coat is dry and use fine steel wool or 240-grit sandpaper to lightly sand away the blemish
  5. Always wait for the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat. A tacky first coat will spoil and you will have to sand everything down and start again
  6. For a high gloss finish lightly sand between coats, excluding the final coat

And there you have it. If you follow the guidelines above you will have a perfectly finished project that can take pride of place in your home.

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Living Room Design Ideas

living room design ideas

living room design ideas

The living room is not the only place where you and your family will get spend time together relaxing and enjoying each others company, but it is also the place where your guests will sit and probably dine. For this it is important that when designing your living room you come with the best ideas possible. You don’t have to be an artist or interior designer by profession to do it, all you need is the right choice of colors, furniture and your room will look spacious and lively.

Dining room sets form one of the most important accessories of any living room. And because of this, they have to match just about everything in the dining room. Sofas, fabrics and the wall should also blend in color so as give your living room an extraordinary look. When selecting color, you need bright colors that will compliment each other and at the same time make your room appears more spacious. Colors such as lemon, white, lemon shades and even peach when combined will give your living room extra space together with a sense of comfort. Dark colors on the other hand may not be the best for your room. Not only will they make the room appear smaller, but may make it appear intense and intimate.

Brightness –

When coming with design ideas for your living room, you just have to consider the brightness. A living room should be bright and have all the happy and bright colors visible. A bright room will not only attract members of the family, but it will also provide a memorable experience for whoever pays you a visit. A bright room will set the tone and mood for anything taking place, and you can also spice that up by adding some bright colored flowers, curtains and furniture that will suit it. In your design ideas, try as much to do away with dark and dull colors.

Reflection –

Almost everyone loves a spacious room, and if your room is small then you just have to do something about it. You can make your room appear bigger by placing mirrors in strategic positions. Doing this will increase the width and the breadth of your living room from the reflection.

Floor –

The floor should be something you should consider when coming up with ideas for your living room. Certainly you wouldn’t want a floor where it is almost impossible to walk, but would rather have one where you and other people can move around without having to bump into pieces of furniture. The color and material you use on the floor is also equally important. A common trick to the floor is by using ceramic and mosaic. You can also put fine polished wood so as to give your living a fine bright look.

Lighting is also something to bear in mind when designing your room. The lighting can be from fluorescent bulbs or you can have enough windows to allow more light.

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Silk Flower Arrangements: Benefit From Greenery, Even If It’s Fake!

benefit from greenery, even if it's fake!

 benefit from greenery, even if it's fake!

Studies abound about the need for and benefits of greenery. Flowers, grass, trees, all natural settings large and small sooth the soul, calm anxiety, and engulf us with peace. We all know that wonderful feeling and abounding joy of walking through a forest, a botanical garden, a lovely park, or other world of nature; the soothing inner calm-blissful moments.

Researchers have found that nature can also help heal the body. Roger S. Ulrich, PhD. Director of the Center for Health Systems and Design at Texas A&M University found that hospital patients with a window view of trees had an easier recovery than patients whose window looked out at a brick wall. Patients who could view nature got out of the hospital faster, had fewer complications and required less pain medication than those who only viewed a wall. And interestingly, even photos of nature helped ease recovery.

If photos of greenery have been scientifically proven to be beneficial physically and mentally, then it makes sense that replicas of natural plants and trees can be beneficial as well. Artificial greenery and silk flower arrangements (the common generic name for many artificial flowers) can give that peaceful easy feeling we humans experience when viewing nature. Is it as wonderful as walking through the forest? No. As calming as entering a botanical garden? No. But still, it’s something! It’s coming home to greenery, flowers, something lovely and “natural” in our home. It’s working in an office with a glimpse of nature, even if it’s a replica.

Having a home or office filled with gorgeous living growing greenery and blooming flowers is a beautiful dream, but reality? With our busy lives, time to water, feed, trim, transplant, pluck, protect and otherwise care for living plants is just not available. Silk flower arrangements and artificial greenery provide a viable, feasible, and pleasant alternative. At home, a blooming center piece cheers us regardless of the material it’s made of. In the office, a viney plant, small tree, other artificial greenery or silk flower arrangement brightens the space and brings beneficial feelings. Coming and going from work without worrying about the plants and eliminating one more chore at home or office simply makes sense.

Many of the silk flower arrangements today are made of such real looking materials, you have to walk up and touch them to know they’re not. Blooming silk flower arrangements make us smile. The replicas themselves are often works of art.

So elevate your mood by bringing in artificial greenery and silk flower arrangements. This way it’s easy to change your decorative plants with the seasons, holidays or just because you feel like it. Kick back, take a moment and enjoy a glimpse of nature. It’s healing, it’s comforting, it’s soothing to body and soul—even if it’s fake!

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