Muhammad Mukarram Technical Services L.L.C
Reverse Floating Walls in Basement Construction

When you are working in expansive soil such as clay and other soils that expand with moisture content, you need to take special precautions to keep from having structural damage to the foundation and basement walls. One of these precautions is floating walls. A floating wall is not attached at top and bottom like most walls. Floating a wall is able to move with the house and keeps you from having cracks open up in your floor, foundation and walls as the moisture content in the soil changes.

Floating basement walls are usually attached to the floor joists for the first floor and then spiked to the floor allowing a space below the wall. This space is covered by the baseboards and isn’t seen.

A reverse floating wall is attached to the floor. You place the floor on the base plate on the floor and you spike it at the top so that the wall is stable but only attached at the bottom. This is done on wet walls to keep the plumbing stable. The open space is at the top of the walls and is covered by moulding. You can cover the whole wall with sheetrock but you need to take care to leave the top open for movement. This means you cannot attach drywall to the wall all of the way to the top or it will crack as the wall moves with moisture changes in the soil.

For reverse floating walls follow the basic instructions for floating a wall but instead of hanging the wall from the floor joist, you will attach the floor to the base plate and spike to the top plate. Make sure your wall is plumb. If you do not have the wall exactly square it will cause problems. A space of 4 ½ inches is needed at the top of the wall. The wall needs to be spiked in the same way as a normal floating wall too, just at the top instead of the bottom. See instructions for floating wall for more information.

To cover the open area at the top of the wall you can use moulding. Many people do not like the look of moulding around their ceiling. If you want alternatives you can look into having a drop ceiling that can move with the walls and floor. You would need to attach the framing for the ceiling to the frames for the walls. When the house breathes your whole room will move and you will not notice it.

Source by Christopher W Smith

Evaluating Current Situation And Development Trends For The Bulgarian Real Estate Market In 2008

Nowadays, the Bulgarian real estate market is in a sufficiently balanced condition. There are a stable interest and demand, and on the other hand sufficient supply on behalf of local and foreign investors to meet this demand. The price increase is moderate, without sharp jumps, as the indications show about 50% annually; in other words except well-balanced, the real estate market is in a stable growth period. The sudden price jumps, the stagnation, the lack of new construction and the lack of demand remain in the times past. As a matter of fact, the demand has always been there, but it used to be either avalanche-like or it was turning into a small flow and therefore usually the buyers could not find that what they were looking for. Things are different now. There are many sites, available in varied price ranges, at different distance from the sea, which in itself influences the prices. On the market the sites differ by their area and planning. To a great extent the variety refers to the apartments and the apartment complexes. The private houses are also widely represented on the market, however, the difference in the house demand compared to the apartment demand, is that no foreigner would buy an old-construction apartment, but the demand of old houses is as stable as the demand of new houses.

Of great interest are the areas located within close proximity of the sea – in Bulgaria the length of the coastline is approximately 240 km. The resource is vast; a lot of the attractive plots with a varied-size area, available especially in such regions, are suitable not only for high-rise construction, but also for building of private houses and villas with a magnificent sea view and scenery.

Land properties are wanted as in the vicinities of the large seaside cities, such as Varna and Burgas, as in the area of the summer sea resorts, such as Golden Sands, Albena, St. Constantine and Elena, Sunny Beach. As a general rule, the most preferred ones are the localities where the infrastructure is already developed.

Here is an interesting fact: if earlier the resort apartments were mostly bought for the purpose of seasonal living, thus more often now, the owners stay living in Bulgaria all year round, go on sight-seeing journeys all over the country, including to the uppermost west regions, to enjoy the natural resources and the variety of resorts. The customer service enhancement in the apartment complexes and the resorts in the country has proven its positive effect on the buyers’ choice. All sites are provided with all-year-round maintenance and security guarding, restaurants and shops, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gyms, bars, etc. Also very perceivable is the construction quality improvement, all the more that Bulgaria joined the European Union and it does its utmost to build as good as the rest of the European countries. For instance, there are more often sites with autonomous or central systems for heating and cooling of the interior premises. Due to the mass and progressively increasing competition in the sphere of construction, the building companies are frequently urged to bring in their tough business progressive technologies, materials, engineering systems and facilities, in order to ensure better habitability standards for the residential sites and to innovatively bring to life the latest scientific and technological achievements in the field of construction, production of building materials, and last but not least, to befittingly make use of the marketing and advertising art. Also a significant trump for them is the necessity of supply of such sites on the real estate market in the same price range as of the sites not particularly innovative as regards finishing.

An example could be the sites that are being built in the quite popular residential area in Varna, called Breeze. Both buildings – with high quality interior and exterior finish, where the apartments are of the same price range, but in one of the sites every apartment is planned to be equipped with the newest autonomous system for heating and cooling of the premises by Daikin, a Japanese manufacturer, and in the second building – the apartments will be heated by regular converter air-conditioners, that is to say the market prices of the apartments are the same, but the level of their technical equipment is different. There are many examples as this one.

If we give consideration to the sites that enjoy the highest popularity among newly arrived buyers, the leading positions are taken by those complexes and small apartment buildings, which are located in the prestigious panoramic areas of Varna – Bulgaria’s sea capital, in regions such as Breeze, St. Constantine and Elena (sea & spa resort in the vicinities of the city), Primorski Park, Galata. The apartments in these areas are suitable as for a seasonal summer vacation, as for all year round living and business. Moreover, there still is a quite good demand for not too expensive complexes in the small resort towns, such as Kranevo, Byala, Nessebar – with pure nature and moderate resort activity. The rise in popularity of the big summer resorts, such as Albena, Golden Sands, St. Constantine and Elena, Sunny Beach – famous across Europe – and the apartment complexes located on their territory continues, all the more that the customer service standard in the country’s resorts gets continuously improved and gradually meets the requirements for a European-level service.

Taking a look at the construction materials, used in the building of these dwellings, we should gladly notice the increasing popularity of the German-made 15 or 30 cm red bricks, that allow mechanized application of gypsum plaster; 150 or 200 cement quality class; good exterior 4 or 5 cm polyurethane façade thermal insulation boards; ETALBOND-type aluminum façade panels, natural stone facing slabs of local or European origin; multi-chamber PVC window framing, double glazed window with tinted glass in a range of colours; polished aluminum tubing and connections or stainless steel tubes for outdoor and indoor railings and outdoor railings for terraces and balconies; high quality and Bulgarian and Spanish tiles and granitogres, sanitary ware and mixer taps, both regular ad designer series; high quality interior and exterior doors with natural facing; high class laminate parquet; natural plank wood flooring or classic oak patterned parquet; interior paint finishes – mainly durable innocuous water-based paints; water supply and sewerage mains of polypropylene pipes and connections; autonomous electric- and water-meters ; contemporary electric units with safety fuses and switches.

Looking at the new construction private homes, it may be remarked that this kind of building is mostly concentrated in new complexes of closed type, located either within close distance to a populated area, within the boundaries of small towns or villages, near the sea or the beach, as well as in the villa areas of district centres such as the cities of Varna and Burgas.

In terms of construction, the houses are monolithic, brick-built, two-storey buildings: as a rule, there are a spacious living room with a kitchen and some auxiliary rooms on the first floor and bedrooms on the second. Oftentimes, the second floor could be described as attic because of the type of the roof. The roof itself is either classic type of wooden beams with hydro insulation, ceramic or bitumen tiles, or a contemporary “flat” type with thermal and hydro insulation and finishing exterior bituminous membrane. Exterior 4-5 cm façade thermal insulation using a silicate plaster and paint. It is common to see houses with a stone base up to the level of the basement premises and garages. Furthermore, if houses are built in the style of the Bulgarian national revival, their particular features are the oriel and the partial or complete wooden planking of the second and third floors.

Frequently the roof of these houses is deliberately made of old Turkish-style tiles and the windows are double-glazed of stained glass or with window grating, in order to thereby invariably stick to the intended ancient style of the buildings. A quite common feature are also the working fireplaces in both modern and traditional natural stone style. The interior walls and ceilings are mostly plasterboard finished with mineral wool quilt provided for insulation. More often in the practice the walls and ceilings are finished with smooth gypsum joint-filling and high quality paint or with decorative plaster finish. The sanitary premises are fully finished and fitted, including room tiling, lighting, an electric water-heating boiler, equipped with sanitary ware, mixer taps, showers and shower cabins. As the newest standard in construction we can define the use of multi-chamber PVC window frames available in various finishes imitating wood or simply in white colour; a regular double glazing or stained glass double glazing in a few base colours; also the installation of high quality interior and exterior doors with natural facing, modern locks and hardware; the floorings are made of high class laminate parquet; natural plank wood flooring or classic oak patterned parquet; the water supply and sewerage mains is made of polypropylene pipes and connections, autonomous electric- and water-meters ; contemporary electric units with safety fuses and switches.

The equipment of the home with the most necessary communications, such as telephone, internet and television is a must. The installation of electric plugs, switches and lights on the walls and the ceilings is also obligatory. Often the properties allow having an original and impressive landscaping: a lawn and decorative trees, free-growing flower compositions, decorative blooming bushes etc.

The contemporary market and the services of specialized companies provide the opportunity of building indoor or outdoor swimming pools and non-complicated children’s water rides. As far as the market nowadays offers a rich variety of price options, it is possible to install such kind of a water system with comparatively small budget. The fences are usually erected on the base of reinforced-concrete rings – the fundament of slag blocks, concrete blocks; they can be solid or made of spans with wooden or concrete elements with openings. Tiling elements covering the top of the fence could also be seen; often the entrance gate is massive, made of wood or iron, with modern damper mechanisms to facilitate opening and closing of the wings;

As a rule the liquidity as well as the price of the land plots depend on their exploitability, on the availability of panoramic view and beautiful surroundings in the area where the plots are located, as well as on the distance to a populated area in view of the prospective connection of the plots with communications (electricity, water-supply and sewerage system, telephone and internet); the plot prices increase in proportion to their proximity to important natural resources such as a sea, beach, resorts; very popular among the local and foreign purchasers are the areas located near lakes and rivers which by the way is an incredible feature of the the southern part of the Bulgarian black sea coast. The method of acquisition and formalization of a land plot or any other property in Bulgaria is quite easy, starting with the reason that in Bulgaria the title to the land exists. If professionally organized, the period to purchase a real estate and formalize the transaction can be reduced to a minimum of a few weeks.

When wisely chosen, the area for purchase of an apartment, a house or a land plot can determine not only the comfortable vacation and lifestyle of every one, but it also involves the golden opportunity for quick and profitable resale of a particular real estate.

On the other hand Bulgaria is rapidly renewing its popularity among the Russians and the Balts not only as an interesting tourist destination but also as a destination for profitable investment of capital with quite quick return. We can give an example by indicating a part of the clients of our agency – Dao Real, who invested in fully finished apartments in Varna City during 2006 and at the end of 2007 sold them through our direct mediation service without any additional costs on the apartments earning a profit of 35 000 to 50 000 euro. In terms of the country’s good political line – on the one hand, as a current EU member, Bulgaria has fulfilled all the eligibility requirements and directives for the country’s faster joining the Schengen area, and on the other hand, it implements a smart policy of development of mutually beneficial foreign-economic and cultural relations with Russia – the expectations are for further development and preservation of the country’s popularity among the Russian and EU purchasers and the investors. The topical of today is the large-scale construction of malls, department stores and business centers in the cities, which are developed not only with the joint capital participation of both local and foreign big contractors but there are also projects that are 100 % financed by funds of European contractors and organizations.

The local city authorities render complete assistance to the investors and developers for infrastructure development and renovation, as well as for supply of the necessary powers and public utilities to the area, where the site is located. The fact that there is an interest and investment of western European funds in the country shows itself the increasing stability in the region. The first shopping malls and business centers based on the European model have already been built and are in operation, but there still is big deficiency in buildings of that kind. Formerly, the offices and the small stores in Bulgaria were often situated in hasty re-fitted apartments on the first floor in common residential buildings. Now the number of such type of “offices” quickly decreases, all the more that a law on their forbiddance and gradual elimination is being adopted. In general, Bulgaria can be described as Eden for the investors, an undeveloped niche market, where formerly there was nothing special and nothing much happened, but where tranquility has always existed. Now it is the right time to make and concentrate serious investments in the Bulgarian real estates and development; and to receive such a great profit that would be too difficult to earn in any other European country.

Source by Javor Nachev

How Can Ready Mix Construction Materials Benefit The Builders?

Meaning of ready mix products is that they are readily available for use. For example, consider material used in the floor and wall plastering processes. It is mixed at the construction site using raw materials like cement, sand and water by the workers. But in case of the ready mix plaster, all these ingredients are premixed in specific quantities by the machines in a production plant. One can use these pre-mix plasters instantly by just mixing water. Hence, we can say that ready mix products are the one that can be used instantly to reduce efforts and time taken for the process. This is the primary reason why many builders today are using such materials in their projects. These products will offer them many benefits.

Reduced Efforts: The use of ready mix products minimizes efforts of both the builders as well as the laborers. Builders will now have to search for limited manpower for their projects which makes their task much easier. Moreover, laborers will not have to do the entire A to Z process to create the construction materials at the site because they are now readily available.

More Savings: Using ready mix products will not require much labor at the construction site. Builders can now hire only a few laborers for the cause and save up their labor costs. Not only in terms of cost, but builders can also save up their time which otherwise would be required in finding and hiring the laborers for their project.

Lesser Process Start up & Project Completion Time:

When a builder uses ready mix products in his construction venture, he can definitely complete his project in much lesser time because these products will greatly reduce the process start-up time.

Finest Quality

Such products are mechanically mixed and hence the consistency is assured. Builders can accommodate ready mix products for consistent quality in their construction projects.

One of the best examples of such ready mix products gaining recognition in construction industry today is a polymer based dry mix plaster which the builders today are using to speed up the process of plastering in their construction projects. This is a kind of ready mix dry plaster which comes mechanically mixed with ingredients like cement, dust-free sand, polymers and selected additives which make up for a good plastering material. It can be used instantly on the site by mixing appropriate quantity of water. So now builders can say “no” to the lengthy plaster mixing procedures and save up time in their construction projects.

Similarly even ready-to-use polymer based tile adhesives are available in the market these days. Cement, sand and chemicals usually go into manufacturing these adhesive products that enable tight bonding of tiles to the substrate. Generally used for wall and floor tiling processes these adhesives are known to ensure quality tiles fitting process with excellent bonding and low shrinkage features. Application of such readily available tiles fitting adhesives enables faster and efficient tiles fitting, thereby saving up lot of construction time for the builders to employ on other important processes in the project.

Hence, with advantages of ready mix products, they certainly cannot be neglected. Incorporating them in construction projects would definitely be a good job for the builders.

Source by Vasant Mungara

How To Avoid Your Bathroom Renovation Costs From Blowing Out

The cost of a bathroom renovation can vary enormously. The scope of your project, your selections and any upgrades are just a few factors that can substantially impact on the overall cost of your bathroom renovation. Let’s discuss a few tips on how to keep costs down:

Do It Properly

The term ‘false economy’ applies here- if you have to do it twice, it’s not cheap. Often people think they are saving money by re-using utilities such as the bath, by using “friends” as tradesmen, or by project managing the job themselves. There are no winners in this scenario. Using friends as tradesmen can backfire massively if they incur an error and you feel uncomfortable asking them to rectify it. Not to mention waiting endlessly for them to squeeze you in on a Saturday! As for re-using items such as the bath with a few minor chips in it, yes it will save you the cost of a bath but when you’ve already spent $20,000 on a new bathroom, what’s another thousand? Especially when you are soaking in the old tub in the brand spanking new bathroom!

As for project managing the job yourself, unless you’re a builder, or have successfully renovated properties previously, don’t risk it! Crucial stages such as waterproofing, tiling etc cannot afford to be missed or done incorrectly. Utilizing the services of a builder also ensures the work will be under warranty for seven years- worth every penny if something happens down the track!

If you are going to go the trouble and expense of renovating your bathroom, always do it properly and engage a qualified builder.


Also known as a cosmetic renovation, a retrofit will always be more economical than a full bathroom refit.

As soon as you make changes to the existing layout, your overall costs will increase. In particular, leaving the plumbing where it is will be a huge money saver. Maintaining the placement of your existing toilet, shower and vanity waste locations allows you to achieve a more cost-effective renovation. Within this you can increase the storage, introduce a walk-in shower and a stylish wall faced toilet to achieve a great visual impact at a lower cost.

Consider Tiling Carefully

Although a beautiful tile will lift your bathroom enormously, if you’re renovating with budget in mind, choosing the wrong tiles will blow your budget instantly. Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Extra small tiles add cost. Yes, your marble mosaic tiles will elevate your bathroom or shower wall, but they can be extremely pricey at over $200/m. They also cost more in labour cost to lay, as your tiler will spend much more time per metre laying them. Another cost factor with small-scale tiles is that they need to be laid on a perfectly flat and even surface- any imperfection in the surface will be amplified with small tiles. In a renovation, your tiler and builder will want the walls to be checked for level and straightened which could add more cost to you.
  • Extra large tiles add cost. Although using large tiles will make your bathroom appear larger, choosing an extra large dimension such as 450mm x 900mm or 600mm x 900mm or even larger, their heavy and awkward scale will mean it is a two person job for your tiler, which will incur cost. Sticking to a standard 450mm x 450mm or 600mm x 600mm tile should keep costs down.
  • Another way to quickly add cost to your bathroom is by choosing floor-to-ceiling tiles. This choice requires the ceiling cornice being removed and square set. To save on costs, some people will opt to tile just the floors and wet areas like behind the bath and shower. Yes, this will save you money but the floor to ceiling tiles make your bathroom look bigger.
  • Tile finish will add cost. When you are selecting tiles you will have the choice of selecting between a matt, lapatto or gloss finish. The matt is usually cheaper than the lapatto (semi-gloss) so choose this option when your aim is to keep your budget from blowing out. A matt tile is also generally easier to clean, ideal for a bathroom.

Don’t Overdo it

Less is more when renovating a bathroom. In such a small space, too many items will compete for attention and you will lose your impact. Not only will you save money by refraining from saying yes to every upgrade or accessory, you will create a better outcome for your project.

Instead, find a focal point or main feature in your bathroom you wish to draw attention to (for example, a feature shower tile, or a freestanding bath) and keep everything else to a minimum. Allow one or two accessories like a timber stool, some luxurious towels or an indoor plant to allow your chosen feature to shine. Top tip: choose a great mirror that doubles as a beautiful feature while serving a practical purpose.

Source by Sophie Hendry

Great Ideas for Marketing Your Tile Business on the Internet

If you want to be successful at marketing your tile business, you will need to turn to the internet as your marketing solution. Thanks to the fact that most people will search online before leaving their homes to make a purchase, you will find that your tile business can have a huge advantage over your competitors if you can turn to the internet for marketing.

There are many ways that the internet can help you market your tile business. The world of internet marketing is fast becoming one of the most competitive arenas in the world, and you will find that you will have to do a good deal of work in order to market your tile business online. However, if you are willing to do the work, you will find that marketing your tile business on the internet is the best thing that you can do for your company.

Step 1: Build a Website

The first step that you will need to take to begin marketing your tile business on the internet is to create a website for your company. You can have a simple website created, as it will just be the face of your company. If you want to truly succeed, you will find that a more advanced website will be advantageous and will help you to market your website more effectively.

The reason that a more advanced website will be more effective is that more people will be enticed to visit your website. The more people you can attract to your website, the more advertising you will be able to achieve. There are many aspects of your website that will lead to your success online, but nothing will be more important than having a website that is constantly being updated. The best way to have the ability to add new information to your website is to create a blog on your website. If you can post informational articles related to your tile business, you will be able to generate more traffic that will direct people to your site. The more people that visit your site, the more likely you are to receive customers.

Step 2: Internet Marketing

Once you have built your website, you will need to start trying the various techniques involved in the internet marketing game. There are hundreds of techniques that you can try, but here are some of the techniques that will be most effective in leading customers to your website:

Social media marketing is one of the most effective internet marketing techniques, and you can start driving traffic to your site through Facebook and YouTube. Facebook is the largest social network, and you can tell all of your friends about your website. Ask them to mention it to your friends, and you will start driving traffic towards your website. YouTube is a great place for you to post videos, and you can post some instructional videos on how to lay the different types of tiles effectively. Insert a link to your website at the end of your videos, and upload them all to YouTube. The more people search for your videos, the more people will see the link at the end that will lead them to your website.

Craigslist is the largest online classified ads website in the world, and you can harness it to help you advertise your business. All you need to do is write up an advertisement for your tile services, insert a link to your website, and create a unique title that will catch the attention of readers. Post the ad in the Craigslist section for your city, and ensure that it is in the right category. Millions of people use Facebook every day, and you will find that it is one of the best platforms for advertising.

If you want to succeed in the world of internet marketing, you will find the search engine optimization is the key. The higher your ranking is on the search engines, the more likely it will be that people will find your website. Learn as much as you can about SEO, or hire a company to optimize your web page to make it as search engine friendly as possible.

Exchange links with other companies in a parallel industry to yours. Find a website that promotes painting or other construction services, and offer to promote their link on your site in exchange for them promoting your link on their site. This link exchange can be one of the most effective methods of getting your website known, as many links directed to your page will usually increase your SEO ranking. You will also find that people browsing the other websites will be interested in clicking on yours, as you are providing a service similar to the one that they are looking for.

Use Pay per Click advertisements to promote your website. Pay Per Click ads are posted all over the internet, and they are usually displayed on websites that are similar to yours. You will pay for every time someone clicks on your advertisement to visit your web page, but you will find that these PPC ads will be some of the most effective methods of driving targeted traffic towards your site.

These are just a few ways that you can start marketing your website on the internet, and the sky is the limit. The world of internet marketing is growing every day, and hundreds of new ways to market your tile business online are being discovered every month. If you are serious about marketing your tile business on the internet, you will find that you can easily learn by investing a bit of time into studying internet marketing.

Source by Brian Garvin

Three Ways to Bring Old Ceramic Bathroom Tiles Back to Life

Old ceramic bathroom tiles may be scratched, out of fashion, or has simply lost its luster. It may also have become boring to the eye after years of seeing the same old thing. There are some things you can do to improve this position. The first is just giving it a good cleaning. The second is refinishing it if your budget doesn’t permit replacement, and third is replacement.

Bathroom tiles can simply become dull through build-ups of environmental debris, smoke, or even mold. The simple wall cleaning you do occasionally might remove water spots or obvious dirt, but is not sufficient to remove from ceramic bathroom tiles the oils that smoke resolves into. The tiles may be clean, but the grout gets discolored easily. By giving your bathroom walls a spring cleaning, you can restore it to the brilliance it once had.

If you’ve been using household cleaners, that may be the reason your ceramic bathroom tiles are dull. Ceramic tile cleaners are available on the market and have been specifically formulated to clean tile. Some are formulated to also remove grout that has become embedded in the tile. You can also concoct your own tile cleaner, using one part water, one half part vinegar and one half part baking soda. Use either a pail or a spray bottle. A sponge is all you need. Wash thoroughly, rinse, and polish dry. If the grout is still dark in spots, scrub with a brush, rinse and then dry. If the discoloration still remains, dab with bleach and clean. Don’t expose yourself to bleach fumes.

If the cleaning hasn’t brought your ceramic bathroom tiles back to life, and money is tight, you might consider refinishing the bathroom, painting over the tiles. Tiles do not bond well with paint. You have to prepare the tile surface first. This means turning the smooth surface into a rough one. You can do it with sandpaper, but once you start, there’s no turning back. You’ll need to clean the tile with a cleaner that doesn’t leave chemicals on the tile, such as one with trisodium phosphate. Use a large-pored sponge for better scrubbing. Then, with 180 grit sandpaper, abrade the ceramic thoroughly. It will feel sandy to the touch when you’re done. Then paint on an acrylic latex primer, preferably with a roller. Smooth with a latex brush, then allow the primer time to dry. Once dry, apply the paint. A semi-gloss latex paint is probably best. After a couple of hours, add a second coat if it looks as though it requires it.

Your third option for correcting old or unattractive ceramic bathroom tiles is to remove the tiles and replace with new ones. The big job is getting the ceramic off the wall. You use a grout saw, with a handled, thick blade, to cut out the grout. Then, with a hammer and a chisel, you softly separate the tiles from the wall. Be sure to wear protection for your eyes. You can remove old mortar with the chisel and hammer method also. If the old adhesive was chemical you’ll have to use an adhesive remover, which you can purchase at any hardware store. Once that’s done, sand the wall until smooth.

Setting ceramic bathroom walls requires wiping mortar or chemical adhesive on the wall and setting the tiles. You finish up by grouting. You can find more detailed instructions on the internet.

When you’re tired of those same old bathroom walls, try a good cleaning and if that’s not satisfactory, refinish or replace. You’re not stuck with those walls. With a little work and a little cash, your ceramic bathroom walls can be, once again, a pleasure to behold.

Source by Jeremy Van Dijk

How to Choose the Right Materials in Your Office Design

A comprehensive office design involves much more than just an office layout plan. If you are looking to freshen up your workplace it is well worth considering a complete re-think of the interior design of your office, from floor coverings to partitions, furniture and ceilings. With so many different areas of the office design to cover, the choice of materials for each can become quite baffling. Here are some tips on choosing materials for your office design.

  • Environmental Considerations: Choosing sustainable materials for your office design is a fantastic way to reduce your office’s carbon footprint and promote more environmentally practices throughout your business. Timber sourced from sustainable forests can be used in attractive floor coverings. Recycled plastics are strong and work well in all sorts of office furniture and fittings. Additionally, your office or workstations design can be complemented by using organic non-volatile paint for walls and ceilings.
  • Unusual Options: The use of unusual materials can give design an interesting twist. Instead of choosing conventional smooth wood, plastic or metallic surfaces, consider using materials with more tactile appeal, such as textiles, in your office design to mark your office out as individual. Some offices have been known to successfully use such unconventional materials as cardboard for furniture and partitioning. Using largely ignored materials such as cardboard can be an ingenious approach to save money in redesigning an office.
  • Walls: Instead of just giving your office walls a fresh coat of paint, why not consider using blank walls as a canvas for expressing your company’s character? A simple design can benefit greatly from creative wall surfaces, as they influence the mood of the whole room. New walls can be implemented in the office design, and can be made out of anything from wood panelling, to frosted glass, lightweight compressed wood board and portable metallic units with inbuilt storage spaces. For the existing walls, paint is an obvious option and is available in a multitude of colors, shades, finishes and textures. Designs with a reception feature wall painted in a striking color or touchable finish will attract anyone’s attention. Tiling, wall paper, wall decals, metal sheeting and wood panelling are other interesting choices for adding life to an office’s walls.
  • Combining Materials: With the multitude of useful materials available for your office and workstations design, it could be tempting to either take a very enthusiastic approach or try to use them all, or get overwhelmed and stick to the simple choices. It pays, however, to take a considered approach to using different materials in an office design. Too many clashing materials and the office become visually crowded and messy, too little and the office can seem dull. Often choosing one or two interesting materials to use throughout your office design can be very effective.

Source by John K. Taylor

The Principles of Design for Kitchens and Bathrooms

Good design is defined as unity of design and a timeless look. But to achieve unity and an evergreen look one must give consideration to all the principles of design. Remodeling your kitchen and bathroom is so much more than selecting fixtures and painting the walls. A good remodel will have a well thought out design concept that begins with the principles of design as its foundation.

The principles are balance, rhythm, emphasis/focal point, scale, proportion, and harmony/unity. In order to have a better understanding of these concepts we will look at each at it pertains to bathroom remodel planning and kitchen planning.

Let’s start with balance which is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, textures and space. On a recent powder room design a client requested tile to be installed above the vanity all the way up the wall and considered tiling the whole wall not just above the vanity. The powder room being very small could only visually support a small amount of tile without making the space feel bulky or heavy. Based on the principle of balance we opted for less is more and decided not to do the whole wall. Thought was also given to the light pendants we chose, again wanting to keep the room balanced we chose streamline lights that had very little bulk and clear glass to keep the balance of the space feeling light. These decisions helped the design of this small room feel spacious even with the lack of square footage.

Moving onto rhythm. The easiest way to create rhythm within a space is to repeat elements of design which can include line, shape, texture, color, pattern and light. In a recent bathroom project we used floral like mosaic in the shower, on the floor and on an accent wall. We repeated the pattern in several areas over mute color tile to give the bathroom rhythm. In a recent kitchen we used straight lines on the cabinet doors, hardware, light fixtures and furniture to create rhythm and flow. The idea is to keep the eye moving in a natural way that makes one feel relaxed and comfortable in the space and never overwhelmed.

Emphasis/focal point is one of my favorite principles of design to work with. Here the idea is to showcase a portion of the design and hold the viewer’s attention. Often referred to as the “wow” factor one can be as creative as they want as long as thought is given to the rest of the design principles. One of my favorite design projects was a master bathroom that was designed in all marble. The entire bathroom was jaw dropping so creating a focal point meant we had to get creative. The solution was building a false wall to house a fireplace and wall to wall niche tiled in herringbone which was accented with sun from a skylight. Though the entire space was breathtaking everyone who entered held their attention to the false wall we created. Focal point achieved!

Scale refers to the relationship of two or more objects, one that has a commonly known size. In a kitchen we know the average prep sink is 12×12. When selecting a faucet for this sink it would not be appropriate to select a large goose neck or commercial kitchen faucet.

Proportion is an obvious principle and easy to spot if it’s not calculated correctly. Simply put, one can not have a nine foot walk in shower in a bathroom that is only 8×9. The proportion of the shower is overwhelming and too large for the space. Likewise we would not use a giant chandelier meant for cathedral ceiling in a kitchen with eight foot ceilings. Scale and proportion go hand in hand and are a very important part of good design.

Harmony is all the different elements coming together to create a well thought out and beautiful design. In a recent mid-century makeover we gave thought to every element we added to the space. We chose dark blue tile, bold gold fixtures, walnut colored cabinets and turn of the century lights. Once all the elements were combined the harmony of the space was obvious. We would not have added polk-a-dots or nickel finishes to this design. Anything outside mid-century would have disrupted the flow.

Design has endless possibilities and with the right care given to the principles of design any bathroom or kitchen can be turned into a showplace!

Source by Kim M Ward

Top 6 Reasons to Hire a Local Handyman

With the rampant popularity of DIY solutions through the internet, everyone thinks that they can do their own home repairs on their own. While it’s true that there are easy home repairs, there are also reasons that you should let a handyman do the work as doing it yourself can do more harm (think costly repairs) than good. Here are the top five reasons to hire a handyman.

There are home improvement projects that you just can’t handle

When you hire a handyman, they have the tools and equipment that what most household usually don’t have. Below are the following tasks that are way better left to a handyman:

Flooring and tile installation – Tiling and flooring require special tools and the experience of the handyman to use it effectively. A slight mistake in this area could ruin the entire look of the floor.

Plumbing – Plumbing is an issue that no one would like to handle. When there’s a problem in the drainage system, only a professional problem can inspect the problem and provide an appropriate solution.

Painting – Although most homeowners do it on their own, it is not as easy as it looks. Painting a room or an entire house is a time-consuming process. You need to prime, tape and trim and you have to clean all the mess. A handyman will do all these work for you.

Home Renovation – You can’t just break the walls of your home with a sledgehammer and expect it to look exactly as you planned the next day. You need a proper renovation plan to make sure that your home’s structural integrity isn’t affected. You cannot create such a plan if you are not as experienced as the handyman.

Save time

When you do the work on your own, there will be times when you have to pause to do other work or buy tools and equipment to finish the job. This could take a lot of time compared to when you let the handyman do it for you. A handyman is prepared with the right tools, materials, and how to get the job done effectively.

Save Money

A handyman knows what he or she is doing; therefore, you only need to pay once to get the job done right. No need for trial and errors and the costly redone when your own work is flawed. A handyman will make sure the job is finished. Moreover, when you need materials, handyman often has discounted rates for suppliers.

Skills and Experience

Whether it’s flooring, plumbing, painting or any home repairs or improvement a handyman has the skills and experience to get the job done. It’s not his first rodeo and he has seen it all before. He or she has the necessary skills and experience to complete the job.


No more going to the hardware store to buy an expensive tool that you don’t know how it works and that you’ll only use once. Your handyman will have the tools for every job and how it can be done efficiently.


When working with a handyman, you can be sure that the finished job is what you expect it would be. One of the reasons for that is that they need to maintain a good working relationship with their customers. If there’s an issue or confusion, they will do their best to shed light in the situation.


Aside from getting the job done, safety is one of the priorities of the handyman. A handyman is trained to use the tools and equipment safely. The handyman also has the protective gear to protect themselves while the work is being completed.

While DIY can work, it is not always the best solution. It can cause a lot of stress particularly when things go wrong and worse it could put you and your family at risk. So why not choose a quality handyman who can take care of everything for you and get the job done effectively.

What a handyman can do for you

Here is a list of the jobs that a handyman can do for you:

  • Plumbing
  • Painting
  • Residential and commercial improvements
  • Home and commercial repairs
  • Tree removal
  • Carpentry
  • Drywall repairs
  • Hardwood flooring installation
  • Landscaping

Source by Arnel Y Colar

The Importance of Engaging a Competent Painter and Decorator

Decorating our home is about very much more than just putting some paint on a wall, or hanging sticky strips of wallpaper and attempting painstakingly to get the joins along each strip to collate with the next.

Of course this is all an integral part of the art of painting and decorating, but there is so much more to it than simply this. A room is only decorated on the rarest of occasions and so if we want it to look at its best it is always worth taking on the services of a real expert in the field.

When painting the exterior of our home in particular there is very much more to it than just gratuitously applying on a layer of paint. Surfaces can become weathered, damaged and uneven. If the fresh paint is to look its best and survive the course these surfaces need to be treated and restored to a level finish. Accuracy is vitally important, our windows are for us to look out of without having to espy arbitrary drips and splashes of gloss paint all across them.

And then there is the plastering, tiling and sometimes even floor sanding. A skilled decorator will have the ability to perform all these tasks in a professional manner. There is no point in a hired hand being able to paint a wall if the tiles around the wall are not correctly fitted, or indeed if there are holes in the wall that are left unfilled. Emulsion does not hide these away and placing wallpaper over them does not make them disappear.

Expert general building work or restoration may in some cases also need to be done. It makes good logical sense to attend to these issues whilst one is decorating rather than creating more upheaval again after the event. Painters and decorators will have the means to attend to this additional work, whether by performing it themselves or by bringing in the services of a professional in the field with whom they might have a working arrangement. Painting and decorating is a competitive business and the customer is able to make an informed decision by asking questions and seeking referrals.

A good decorator will have insurance, provide a guarantee on all work undertaken and have a provable track record of satisfactory work undertaken elsewhere that can easily be checked and confirmed.

Your home is your pride and joy, your castle. It is where you entertain and where you live from onr day to the next. It is most essential for your peace of mind that you are able to feel comfortable and relaxed whenever in the home you are.

A bad decorating job is difficult, time-consuming and often expensive to rectify. An expert touch from a painter and decorator upon whom you know you can rely enables you to have peace of mind whilst the process of transforming your home is underway.

Source by Mark P Richards