Monday, 30 December 2013

Guest Post: Seven Deadly Sins of Bathroom Design - what to avoid

The bathroom is an area of space in the home that has become increasingly popular in terms of importance and design over the years. Gone are the days of a room built for practical personal hygiene as more choices for design, appliances and furniture become available. 
Getting the most out of a limited space can be a difficult process and quite often there are essential elements to the design that are not considered. Too often the dreams of a bathroom sent from heaven become a living nightmare.
With this in mind, below are the seven deadly sins of bathroom design:
1.     Considering all guests:  The home should be a place that all close family members and relatives visit in comfort. If a family has members that are elderly then an awkward bathroom to use may stop them from coming to visit. With a few simple bathroom solutions such as grab bars and disabled access into bathing areas the ease of accessibility will be improved significantly. By implementing a few extra elements is could provide the difference to making a comfortable and relaxed home for all the family. For those with an upstairs bathroom, a curved stair lift may be needed to gain access to this important area.
2.     Waterproofing: Quite often the design takes over the focus of the bathroom. It needs to be 100% waterproof to prevent any leaks, rotting wood and other unsightly and damaging aspects water can create for the home. A percentage of the budget on re-designing a bathroom should always have the waterproofing covered.
3.     Cheaper options: Sometimes the cheaper option isn’t always the best. When buying tiles or appliances the idea is to have a sense of longevity in the product. Bathrooms should not be replaced or redesigned often so ensure that the appliances bought are of good quality. A toilet seat breaking or a tap snapping after a few years can be one of the biggest annoyances.
4.     Design plans: From a toilet in front of the door to a sink that knocks an elbow, many bathrooms are of a small size and sometimes the placement can be inconsiderate of the bigger picture. Make sure that the plans are drawn down and measurements are taken fully to appreciate what it will be like in the room once completed. These permanent fixtures will cost more money to change around should a mistake be made.
5.     No natural light: Too often a bathroom can appear stuffy and enclosed without the use of natural light. A bathroom should always have a window; not only will it make the room light and airy but it will give the appearance of being larger.
6.     Condensation: A major sin is not considering the way air, moisture and steam passes through the bathroom. A room that is wet and dry many times throughout the day needs a proper airway system with quality extractor fans or vents to starve off any mould issues.
7.     Stick with the simple appliances: Don’t be worried about staying in with the designs of today and opting for an eccentric appliance. Many people now look on with their avocado coloured bath with disdain and this could be the same for some of the colour options of today. Pearl white has never gone out of fashion and won’t seem out of date once the next trend is realised so is always a safe option.

Guest Post: Laying Laminate Flooring

You may think you are walking on a beautiful wooden or marble-topped floor but you are actually walking on laminate. Laminate is a type of durable flooring that is cleverly designed to have the appearance of the texture of real wood or stone.

It’s practical and economical compared to the real thing, looks just as good and is more resistant to daily wear-and-tear. With a bit of preparation, it is also straightforward to lay yourself and there are many guides on how to lay laminate flooring to help you get it right.

Here we focus on a few extra tips to make the process even easier.

Tip #1 – Let laminate floor boards acclimatise to the room
It is a good idea to let the flooring planks acclimatise to the room for 48 hours before you plan to lay them. This enables them to adapt to humidity and temperature so that they are in good shape when you start to put them down.

The best way to store the laminate boards is in flat stacks on the floor.

Tip #2 – Buy more laminate flooring than you need

Mistakes happen and you may find you run out of laminate planks if rooms are awkwardly shaped or floorboards become broken, damaged or otherwise wasted. Buy around 10% extra but don’t open all your packs at once. That way you can return what you don’t use.

Tip #3 – Prepare the subfloor

The subfloor needs to be prepared before you lay the laminate so give it a good sweep and wash it to ensure that it is free from dirt and debris. If you are laying laminate on a concrete floor, wait until the floor is entirely dry before starting.

You will need to put down a vapour barrier before laying laminate planks too. This is a thin layer of foam which helps to soften sound when walking on the floor and protects the laminate from moisture. Your dealer or manufacturer will give you advice on how best to lay the vapour barrier as it depends on the shape and size of your room.

Tip #4 – Be careful

Carefully match each plank tongue to groove and tap together with a piece of scrap flooring so that you don’t damage the planks. It is a good idea to stagger the planks when installing the next line of flooring by six to eight inches. This creates a more interesting appearance than if the planks are placed flush with one another.
Laying them in such a manner also goes some way to creating a stronger floor than if they are placed flush.

Tip #5 – Choose wisely

Laminate flooring comes in a range of colours, style and patterns but you want something that will stand the test of time and not need replacing anytime soon. It’s therefore important to choose wisely and think about how your selection will look later on down the line.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Guest Post: Enjoy relaxed living in sunny Devon

When most people think about their retirement they dream of spending their increased leisure time in pleasant surroundings with an active social life and amenities that will suit their interests.

Ilfracombe in Devon is the perfect place

One of the major benefits of moving to this beautifully sunny North Devon town is its proximity to the sea, and the fact that there is so much to do and occupy your time. Retirement apartments in Ilfracombe will give you the opportunity to relocate to this lovely town, retain your independence and engage with a group of other neighbouring homeowners.

One of the main advantages of this type of retirement living is that help is on hand if you need it, but you’ll also be able to continue with your own style of life for as long as you can. Ilfracombe is well marked with access guides; in fact there is even a group that promotes access for those with mobility problems in the town. You can borrow or hire a mobility scooter, should the need arise.

Activities in Ilfracombe, Devon

As you’ll be living by the sea, you should try and explore the Tunnels beaches. These were erected in the 1820s and were designed to separate males and females in order to preserve Victorian decorum. If you do decide to spend a day here, relax with a drink or a meal at the stylish Café Blue Bar, right on the beach.

Ilfracombe is jam-packed with cultural activities. There is a wonderful 66-foot Damien Hirst sculpture of a pregnant woman, called Verity, on the pier. The town also has a theatre, The Landmark, where you can go to hear music, watch a play and see a film. This unusual building is also right on the seafront. Further along the pier, you’ll be able to visit the local Aquarium and admire all the beautiful marine life housed in this centre.

Attractions close to Ilfracombe

If you’re thinking of having a day out, then a trip on the nearby Lynton and Barnstable steam railway will be great fun. This iconic narrow guage steam railway has been featured by Michael Portillo, and will take you back in time across moorland and rural countryside in one of its wonderful old-fashioned carriages. The railway is always looking for volunteers, so if you fancy for a new hobby and want to boost your social life, this might be just the opportunity you’ve been looking for.