Ideas

How Do I Choose The Best Kitchen Layout

Today we will talk about incorporating a good kitchen payout into your renovation project. Unfortunately when it comes to giving your kitchen a makeover, you might find that your opportunity to change the layout is not always possible.

The layout is usually governed by the design of the room, location of the walls and the position of the services (water, waste gas, etc).  Regardless of whether you can change the layout, try to keep the following in mind.

Budget
Changing your layout can mean that you might have to move a wall, construct a wall, relocate plumbing and electrical services, and in some cases create or close up windows. These items all come at a cost, so keep make sure to match your design with your budget.

Practicality
Your kitchen layout needs to be practical. The golden rule here is creating what is called a “kitchen triangle”. In short, it is a triangle of movement between the cooker/oven, sink and fridge. Regardless of the layout of your kitchen, if those 3 kitchen elements are positioned in a triangle, it should be easy to move between each station.

Design
Kitchens come in different layouts. You get the single galley kitchen, which means that all cabinets butt up against a single straight wall. Next is the double galley kitchen, meaning that all cabinets butt up against two parallel walls, thus creating a galley down the middle. Then there is the classic u- shaped and l-shaped kitchen design with or without central islands.

Functionality
You need to ensure that when choosing your kitchen cabinets, that you make provision for your storage needs. It is easy to outgrow your kitchen in terms of space. Make provision for a pantry if possible and ask your cabinet maker about building intelligent storage solutions into the cabinets. Check out the HettichHefele or Blum websites for ideas.

Whether you have a small or large kitchen, a clever layout coupled with a good design can really make using your new kitchen an absolute joy. Be smart about choosing a good design and stick to your budget!

For information on choosing a good kitchen installation company, click here.

How Do I Choose A Good Kitchen Installation Company

There are various kitchen installation companies out there. Before we answer the above question, lets first address – “what do kitchen installation companies do?”.

Cabinet Makers (also called kitchen installers) tend to do the following:

1. Visit your home and measure up your kitchen space.

2. Work on a design with you that incorporates your kitchen layout, color schemes, storage and appliance requirements.

3. Manufacture and install your kitchen cabinets. Sometimes they will also do the same for your benchtop and splashback of choice.

What don’t they usually do?

4. Strip out your existing kitchen, take out walls, brick up windows and relocate your services to fit in with the new kitchen design.

5. Fit off your electrical and plumbing services after the benchtops have been installed. Install any flooring, tiling, ceilings, cornices etc.

So, with that in mind….. here are 4 top tips for choosing a good cabinet maker?

1. Look for good customer service. Are they returning your calls? Do they keep their appointments? Do they have designs with you on time? Are their designers friendly and courteous?

2. Is it a reputable company? Look out for industry awards and don’t be shy to visit their showroom if they have one.  Ask for customer references and follow up on them.

3. Do the ideas of their designers excite you? The designers should be passionate and be full of recommendations. You might always like all their ideas, but that is ok. It is part of working towards a good design.

4. How many people will you deal with? A good kitchen company should have 2 people that customers interact with – the designer and the installer. Ask about this and ask to meet the installer. These parties should leave a lasting professional impression with you.

5. Does the price tag reflect the service and product on offer? Make sure that you know exactly what is on offer. Do they use their own installers? Do they project manage the renovation process? Does it all come with a guarantee?

It goes without saying that not all cabinet makers and kitchen companies are created equal. Find out what they do. Find out what you have to do….. then stick to the 5 top tips. Good Luck!

How To Maximise Kitchen Space

Whether you have a small kitchen, or you just want more space for the dining / lounge area, there are very simple ways to minimise your kitchen size and add space to your home.

Cabinets
By rule of thumb, the available space in your kitchen will mostly depend on your cabinets, not only their size, but location. Regardless of your kitchen style, it is always good to have a hanging cabinet. Simply being, a hanging cabinet above your kitchen bench and next to the range hood can affect whether you are able to store your refrigerator in the kitchen, or having to store it in the pantry/laundry.

The great thing about the latest kitchen cabinets is that there are no limitations as to how a cabinet appears, is shaped, or even what angle the cookware is stored. It is very common to see cabinets expertly compiled together (like LEGO blocks) around the kitchen to fit around bench tops, range hoods, and windows. Simply put, modern designs are designed to be whatever you need them to be.

Use a Dish Drawer
While each of the kitchen styles do offer various cabinet designs, they can still take up space when you are using them to store the dishes, cups, and silverware. If you currently have enough space to store cutlery away in a complimentary manner, change nothing. But if you want more space, or would just prefer dishes to not be seen, rely on a dish drawer – they can be installed to under the sink, next to the bench top, or even wall mounted. Dish drawer owners often like to say, “We can put our dishes away dirty”.

Think about your Kitchen Style

Modern
Many first time renovators often choose a modern kitchen. It’s not a bad choice as it is very sleek and designed to accommodate all sorts of requirements. As well as a strong emphasis on colours and lighting, renovators can save space by implementing the variety of cabinets, corner units, and appliances strategically placed to give your kitchen a spacious surrounding.

Traditional
Traditional kitchens are known for their rich and luxurious look, its opulent colours and decorative mouldings add detail to a timeless product. Because it is a style rather than a trend, it will fit well with most Australian homes, as the original character of the house stays preserved. While a traditional kitchen is often favoured amongst experienced renovators, you must be aware of its limitations, and that is that a lot of modern appliances may look out of place, such as the latest dishwashers, refrigerators, and cooktops.

Contemporary
The contemporary kitchen has straight sleek lines or long bending curves, accommodating modern appliances without compromising the timeless beauty of your home. Its monochromatic colour scheme will provide for a lustrous appearance, whilst still providing the functionality and low maintenance of a modern kitchen. In a contemporary setting, it is not at all uncommon to have your kitchen sink next to your dishwasher, oven, and cabinets joined to your fridge while all other cabinets are mounted above. This setting is ideal for small kitchens, allowing children and other family members to walk through the kitchen without causing any distraction.

Installing A Hanging Cabinet

Note: All articles regarding do-it-yourself work are provided in good faith, and intended for personal use. If you are unsure, in doubt, or have any health problems or injuries, don’t risk it, hire a professional.

Materials

Spirit level: to make sure you do not drill in the timber on a crooked angle. It’s good to have one whenever you are installing or fixating anything in your household. Always keep it near the tools.
Piece of Timber: Nothing fancy, just make sure the timber is at least 20mm thick. This will need to be drilled into the wall to support the weight of your cabinet as you are installing it. Be sure that the timber is roughly the same length as your cabinet.
Power drill with screws: We strongly recommend you do not try to hammer some nails or manually screw them in. Try and use a square headed screw at least 2 1/2 inches long. The square head will stay on the drill tip allowing you to hold the drill in one hand and (if needed) the cabinet with the other.
Fillers (dependant): Filler strips are small pieces of wood placed between the wall and the side of the cabinet, allowing cabinet doors to open. They can also be used to cover any gaps between kitchen cabinets. They should have the same finish as the cabinets, and are one to three inches wide, and sometimes wider.
Assistant: Have a friend, partner, or family member to hold the timber at the correct angle while you drill it in. Once the cabinet is resting on top of the supporting timber, have your assistant holding the cabinet against the wall while you drill the screws in.

The Steps:

1. Plan the location: make measurements and mark dimensions of where the cabinet will be.
2. Use spirit level to check that the angle of the border is not off.
3. Drill in one end of the timber.
4. Check spirit level before drilling in other end. Have your assistant firmly hold the timber.
5. To lighten the load, remove all doors, shelves, and any other detachable items from the cabinet.
6. Have assistant firmly holding the cabinet against the wall on the supporting timber while you drill.
7. Remove timber.

Things to Consider

Is your kitchen wall prepared?
In most cases, we would assume that your wall is either plain or stripped. Ultimately, we don’t want any cabinet installation to be happening over tiles or splashbacks.

Is your cabinet next to a wall or Range hood?
In other words, would you be able to open the cabinet doors if the cabinet is right next to a wall? And while we’re here, would you be able to open those doors in a hurry? Without them getting scraped against the range hood? You also don’t want the handles bouncing against the wall and gradually leaving a dent. Remember to use fillers.

Number of screws
When you are drilling, make sure you have fortified each corner inside the cabinet as well as the middle (top and bottom) so that there are no hanging gaps. While the cabinet may appear secure after just a few screws, time and the pull of gravity may prove different.

For basics on cabinets, please visit our Cabinet Types page.

Should People Stay During Home Renovations? Perth Contractors Weigh In

Prior to home renovations, Perth property owners have one more important decision that they need to make before the actual commencement of the remodelling project: whether to stay home or leave.

In order to make the right decision, it is important for property owners to consider the following factors.

Budget

If you intend to stay at home during the renovation process, you have to consider the fact that doing so can increase the overall project price. Some contractors have to work double-time to ensure that vital needs like plumbing and electricity are kept running and interruptions are minimised. Additionally, the contractor may ask for an extra fee to ensure that the home is kept clean.

Project type

In some types of projects, it is perfectly all right to stay at home while work commences. However, in some cases wherein electricity, plumbing and heating need to be cut off, you are better off staying in a hotel or leasing an apartment for a short period of time.

Work scope

If the project is confined to just one area of the home, it is possible to stay at home, granting that you are willing to make some adjustments and sacrifices. However, if the scope of the project covers a good amount of the property or if you cannot afford to not use a bathroom or a kitchen during the duration of the work, consider staying in another place.

Kids and pets

If you have kids and pets at home, you should be aware of a few things. For one, the noise and activity can be distressing for them. Second, the job site can be a noisy place and the workers will not stop their work just because it is your baby’s nap time. Third, the activities of kids and pets can disrupt the workers. Be mindful of the latter if you are planning to stay home. While kids may be well-meaning and want to chat with the workers, they can unknowingly disrupt the smooth flow of work. As for pets, many contractors, through clauses in the contract, ask that they should not be held responsible if pets escape.

Cooking your meals

If the bulk of the renovation is in the kitchen, you need to plan how to prepare and cook your family’s meals. You may not be able to use your usual tools and appliances. You can stay at home but you need to make a lot of adjustments and sacrifices.

Dirt and debris

There is no way to go around this: Your home will get dirty. In the beginning, this may seem like a small price to pay. However, if you are a neat freak, this can take a toll on you.

If you are still unsure about which decision to make, it is worthwhile to visit an actual, ongoing renovation. This will give you a clearer picture of the actual state of a home undergoing this kind of work.

Before the Start of Bathroom Renovations – Perth Property Owners’ Checklist of Tasks

Before the start of bathroom renovations, Perth homeowners are often caught up in the excitement of finally achieving their dream kitchen.

Often, property owners overlook the fact that renovations in practically any part of the house can be quite messy and you may not be able to do all the activities that you usually do. During the period wherein workers and their equipment come and go inside your home, it will look nothing short of a war zone.

In order to better adapt to this chaos, here are a few things that you can do before the bathroom renovation starts.

A word on security

During renovations, a home can be vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals who may want to take advantage of the chaos inside your home. While you are away and while the workers are busy with their tasks, it is possible for thieves to make their move.

Do not rely on the workers to take a look at your home all the time. It is your responsibility to beef up security at your home. Consider adding a few extra locks and storing some of your valuables elsewhere.

…and on privacy

If you are going to stay home, you may still want to have some measure of privacy while the workers are away. Make the necessary adjustments. For example, do all your private business earlier before the workers arrive or after they have left. It also wouldn’t hurt to put up some dividers or folding screens to demarcate the work and private areas.

Move your stuff

If you are staying home, instead of moving to another apartment during the duration of the renovation, it is a good idea to move your personal effects and belongings to the bathroom that you will be using.

Before work starts, be sure to pack all the bathroom essentials you need and store these in one convenient location. This will help you avoid disturbing the workers. Or you can move all your stuff to the bathroom you will be using during the renovation process.

Make the work area a no-kid zone

The job site can be a dangerous environment, with heavy equipment and hazardous materials found in it. Kids are naturally curious and may be drawn to the hubbub in the kitchen. Take the necessary precautions and keep your children away from the work zone. This will help prevent unnecessary accidents and keep kids from distracting the workers

7 Creative and Frugal Bathroom Decorating Ideas

The bathroom is a relaxing retreat for men and women, and so many are inclined to beautify it and make it that “place for everything, and everything in its place.” If you’re thinking of upping the overall look of your bathroom without busting a lot of money, here are seven creative and frugal bathroom decorating ideas surely worth trying.

  • Organise your cotton, flosses, make-up brushes, etc. — but not on the bathroom counter. Use the wall and free up some space near your sink by getting a plank of wood, several Mason jars (or any old jars that are the same size), hose clamps, a picture hanging kit, a drill and screws. Attach the jars to the plank of wood using the screwed-in hose clamps, mount on the wall using a picture hanging kit, and there you go — a wall organiser that will hold a bunch of bathroom essentials. It’s not only useful, but it has a country charm as well.
  • For damaged tiles in the bathroom, purchase a mosaic kit (which is very affordable) and go wild with the design you can create. You may even want to take out other tiles to further enhance the new colourful tiling in your bathroom.
  • If you’d like a spa feel for your bathroom, try creating a pebble mat. Pebbles can be purchased from crafts stores and you can use an old rubber mat you have. With a strong contact adhesive, glue all the pebbles to the mat.
  • No shelves in the bathroom to hold towels? Hang a wine rack on the wall instead – it will not take up too much space, but it can hold several towel rolls which you can arrange strategically for a more aesthetically pleasing effect.
  • Use multi-tiered trays typically used for food, not only to organise bath essentials but also to beautifully display them. If you don’t have any, you can stack plates and candle holders for the multi-levelled display.
  • Store some candles in the bathroom as well and display them nicely. They’re great for mood lighting just like in spas, and if you purchase the scented kinds, you automatically get an instant deodoriser. This is perfect especially if you have guests coming over and visiting the bathroom frequently.
  • Consider a skylight for the bathroom. The initial investment may be pricey because you will need the services of expert bathroom renovators, but you can be sure the effort will be cost-effective. You can save a lot of money eventually by being able to take advantage of natural illumination during the day and doing without electricity for those moments when you just want to chill in the bathroom. Likewise, skylights can improve ventilation and may help inhibit the growth of moulds caused by excessive moisture in the bathroom.

Make Home Improvement Ideas Work for You with These Tips

Finding home improvement ideas to implement in your property has never been easier. A cursory search on the Internet will yield several great results, which sometimes can be overwhelming. On top of that, there are lots of professionals who can work with you to tailor these ideas to fit your needs and budget.

The real challenge lies not in choosing among these ideas, but in making these ideas come into fruition and getting maximum utility out of these.

If you are keen on sprucing up your home, bolstering its functionality or even increasing its value, here are a few important factors to consider.

Focus on improvements that deliver maximum values

If money is not an issue, you will probably generate a long list of improvement ideas. However, it is more likely that you will be working with a limited budget. As such, it is best to focus on improvements that can actually boost your property’s values.

To DIY or not

It may be tempting to tackle home improvement projects by yourself. But even if you have some experience and you have the right tools readily available, it is important to recognise your limitations and enlist the aid of professionals for some projects.

But whether you are keen on tackling home improvement projects by yourself or not, it is a good idea to develop a few helpful skills that will enable you to tackle simple home repairs. Additionally, it pays to invest in the right tools. Start out with the essentials and upgrade later on.

A word on financing home improvements

One truth that homeowners must understand is that most improvement projects won’t pay for themselves. If your current budget is limited, it is worthwhile to know what your financing options are. And although some projects do not directly pay for themselves, you can end up minimising your overall expenditure with projects that reduce other household expenses. This is another reason why you should choose which projects to tackle first.

Know where to splurge

Before drawing up a budget for your home improvement project, it is worthwhile to list down your wants and needs. By focusing on the essentials and those that bring the best returns and savings, you can end up with more savings — savings that you can use for splurging for your wants or even for your next improvement projects.

Make a plan and stick to it

Before starting out any project, it is a prudent idea to know the important details ahead of time, including the cost, design, the materials to be used as well as the timeline. Additionally, you want to set realistic expectations. Developing a plan, and sticking to it, can help you avoid costly and time consuming changes.

Seek the help of experts

Whether you need help in some areas or a professional who will handle every aspect of the project, you need to make sure that you opt for experienced and trustworthy professionals.

5 Key Factors to Consider When Selecting Modern Kitchen Designs

Your kitchen is one of the more important rooms in your home. It’s a place for gathering, for entertaining, and for the serious gourmet cook, it’s also a kind of “temple” for relaxing. Indeed, the kitchen has become more than just a place where food is prepared. Also, its overall look and feel will improve the value of your property as many homebuyers pay attention to kitchen design.

So it’s no wonder then that you’ve decided to change a few things — have new appliances installed and maybe enlarge the space. With the wide range of modern kitchen designs today, how do you pick a suitable one to make the most of your investment?

Here are five key factors you should consider when selecting from contemporary kitchen designs.

  1. Decide on the most functional and appealing layout for your kitchen.

An ill-chosen layout could turn your kitchen into a limited and crowded space. In considering the layout, think about how you work while you prepare and cook meals. You should also factor in the foot traffic, which will determine the space you’re going to need.

Do you want to cook dinner while looking over your kids doing their homework? This may mean adding an island or a breakfast bar. Do you need quick access to the refrigerator, pantry, and the sink? This means developing task-specific zones with the layout. Other kitchen layouts to consider are the U-shaped layout and the galley layout.

  1. Consider the architectural style of your home.

Your new kitchen should match your entire home. This will help you choose cabinetry, appliances, backsplash, flooring, and other elements for the kitchen.

  1. Think about the level of comfort and interaction your kitchen could deliver.

Today’s most contemporary kitchen design is an extension of the living room. From banquettes covered in fabric to fireplaces, your kitchen could become another lounge. You can also consider a design that features sliding doors so that the space still feels open and inviting even though it’s closed off for serious cookery.

  1. Don’t forget storage space.

A cluttered kitchen can make cooking a chore. So you want to maximise the space you have by considering kitchen designs that use innovative storage solutions. This not only means using previously unused spaces but also making them accessible while you work.

  1. A well-lit kitchen can become an economical design element.

Finally, all the great elements you’ve considered for your kitchen will fall flat without good lighting. From recessed lighting and chandeliers to task lighting and overhead lights, make sure your lighting options provide functionality as well as style.

Reasons to Paint Your Home’s Exterior

A new paint job gives your home exterior a new look. Apart from the aesthetics a good paint job is done for home improvements as the house could be worn down because of its exposure to the elements and due to insects. A good paint job should protect the home from the weather, insects and in some cases pollution. When done properly it can last for up to 20 years and more. The best time to paint your home would be in spring time as that is when the climate won’t affect your work and you can see the results immediately. If you are going to paint your house as way for home improvement then you need to get a good latex paint that is durable, toughest and has the most protective finish. Here are a couple of reasons why you should paint your house.

Home’s Exterior is worn out

The exterior paint gets worn out due to the weather conditions that occur during the year. Also another thing that make a paint job look worn out is exposure to pollutants like dust, car exhaust and from fire smoke.

Rain, snow, ice and frost all have negative effects on the paint. The moisture makes the paint to swell and soften which would lead to cracking, peeling, flaking and blistering. The moisture in the paint encourages the growth of mildew.

Extreme or prolonged exposure to sunlight may cause the paint to fade and it diminishes the protection it was giving the house. The ultraviolet rays of the sun breakdown the paint’s binder and causes it to start to fade, making it lose all its inherent properties.

The sudden changes in temperature from hot to could make the wood either expand or contract this in turn affects the paint that is coated on it. This leads to the paint to crack and flake off.

Repair is needed

When part of the house is damaged for one reason or another the walls would need to be painted. After the repair has been done then comes the paint work to improve the appearance of the damaged area. This is also another way of home improvements. After repairs are done a fresh coat of paint will be needed not only on the repaired part but also the whole house.

After prolonged used of time the paint starts to chip and break off by itself and it needs to be replaced. If you as the home owner were to wait any longer that would lead to the wood being destroyed. By elements of the weather and as such you would want to have the paint repainted.

Increase the Value of your Home

A fresh coat of paint immediately increases the value of a home and it is why many people paint their houses first before selling it. A great paint job means that the house has been kept in proper condition and it is pleasing to look at. Painting a home is one of those investments that give you a quick return on your money as it is a way of home improvement.