Archive for the ‘interior design’ Category

Creating a vintage-feel bathroom

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

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Grey, vintage-inspired bathroomimage credit

No matter how many modern bathroom designs and features we’re exposed to now and in years to come, there’ll always be a special affection for traditional, vintage-feel bathrooms. These designs were, of course, modern once upon a time, so here are some products and styles that The Bath House Online believe to be key in helping create a real vintage-inspired bathroom.

roll-top bathtub in a vintage-inspired bathroomimage credit

Free-standing roll-top bath

The focal point of any traditional bathroom suite is more often than not the bathtub, and what could provide a more period look than a shiny free-standing bath with feet and a roll-top edge. With the bath interior extending out and overlapping the exterior before rolling back on itself to create a smooth, rounded edge, you know you have a bathtub worthy of any vintage bathroom. The addition of feet elevates the bathtub slightly off the ground as well and adds to the already traditional design, especially when matched with the taps.

pedestal basin in a vintage-inspired bathroomimage credit

Pedestal basin

There was a time when bathroom basins weren’t settled on a counter top with storage space underneath or hanging from a wall with no additional support. This was the time of pedestal basins; free-standing from the ground with all pipework hidden by a hollow yet solid looking plinth. These plinths, or pedestals, provide the same effect on basins as feet on bathtubs – not always a necessity but add a unique element of style that was so popular in years gone by. For that even more vintage feel, fit separate taps for hot and cold rather than one single mixer tap.

high-level cistern in a vintage-inspired bathroomimage credit

High-level cistern

Sometimes, practicality in the bathroom is key and a toilet that’s compact enough to almost be hidden away and blended into the background is the best option. Going back half a century, however, there must have been quite a different mentality when you consider the high-level cistern. The toilet bowl and seat are the same, but the actual cistern stands tall above the rest, connected by a thin pipe and a pull-chain dangling down. If a traditional wc is what you’re after for a vintage bathroom, they don’t come much more traditional than a high level cistern.

wooden floor & panelling in a vintage-inspired bathroomimage credit

Wood

Adding not just a vintage feel to your bathroom, but a warm, homely one too, wood remains a popular material choice for everything from floor to ceiling. Start with specially glazed wooden floorboards and match this particular tone of wood with other objects that eyes will be drawn to such as storage cabinets, intricately carved mirror frames and toilet seats. Right down to the finer details, wood maintains that effect; door handles and shelves may go unnoticed, but go a long way in contributing to the picture as a whole.

The Bath House Online has a fantastic range of affordable bathroom products perfect for creating your very own vintage bathroom. They house collections from many leading bathroom brands to cater for all sizes, styles and budgets.

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10 common underfloor heating questions answered

Sunday, April 5th, 2015

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lounge area with poured resin floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: Resin Floors North East

Underfloor heating can leave many people puzzled when it comes to ascertaining how they work and how they can benefit those who have them installed. Here we’ve taken the 10 most common questions concerning underfloor heating and provided the answers:

'How Underfloor Heating Works' diagram

  1. What are my options when it comes to underfloor heating?

There are two types of underfloor heating available, electric and wet. Electric underfloor heating consists of heat mats, packed with electric wires that warm up once connected to the mains electric supply and thermostat.

barn conversion loft bedroom with wood floor and underfloor heatingImage credit: William Beard Flooring

Wet underfloor heating utilises plastic pipes under the floor that heat up using warm water from the central heating system.

L-shaped sofa in front of a fire with Indian stone tiles with underfloor heatingImage credit: Llama Developments

  1. Where can I buy underfloor heating?

Your local DIY store probably stocks underfloor heating kits that you can pick up off the shelf, but we recommend that you speak to an expert, such as The Underfloor Heating Store and visit their showroom to witness the benefits of such a system for yourself.

kitchen underfloor heating

  1. How much does underfloor heating cost to install?

Prices vary depending on whether you opt for an electric or a wet system, but you can buy electric heat mat kits from £74.99 or a wet underfloor kit from £239.99. Then there’s the cost of installation, tools and labour for electricians and plumbers: put aside £400 as a starting point.

Tiled floor with underfloor heating in a bathroomImage credit: VIP Plumbing & Heating

  1. How much does underfloor heating cost to run?

This varies on the size of the room and the system used, but you are looking at an average cost of £248 per year, based on 25m underfloor heating running for four hours everyday for a year.

Bedrom with grey walls, tall feature window and wooden floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: Architecture Live

  1. Which underfloor heating system is best?

Both systems can heat the room to the same temperature. However, bear in mind that a wet system is cheaper to run than an electric even though it requires more work to install.

Wet systems are also more energy efficient, a traditional central heating system requires the water it uses to be heated to 80°C, whereas an underfloor heating system requires just 45°-60°C and will still heat a room to a comfortable 21°C, with no cold spots. This will save you money in the long run and reduce your carbon footprint.

Grey and yellow kitchen-diner with underfloor heating Image credit: Avocado Sweets

  1. How long does underfloor heating take to warm up?

This all depends on the thickness of the floor, the insulation you lay down and how well insulated the room itself is. The general consensus estimates that it takes around 30 minutes to heat a wooden floor but can take a few hours with an un-insulated, concrete floor.

kitchen with vintage industrial stools on a grey rubber floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: Chris Dyson

  1. Can I install underfloor heating myself?

Anyone can install underfloor heating and treat it much like any DIY project. You will, however, require a qualified electrician or plumber to connect your system to the mains electricity or central heating system.

open plan, white-washed, light-filled lounge with wooden floorImage credit: The Bazeley Partnership

  1. What size of kit do I need for my room?

The Underfloor Heating Store recommends that you buy an underfloor heating kit that covers between 80-85% of the free floor space in the room to reduce the occurrence of cold spots. It is also important that you do not order too much if you are using rolled heating mats because you cannot simply cut the cables.

large kitchen with central island and polished tiled floor with underfloor heatingImage credit: DDWH Architects

  1. What floors can underfloor heating be used with?

You can install underfloor heating beneath most flooring solutions, tiles, vinyl, laminate and even carpet can all be laid over underfloor heating, just bear in mind that better insulation is required for thicker floors.

Cream fitted kitchen with tiled floor and underfloor heatingImage credit: P & P Maintenance Services

  1. Can I put furniture on top of underfloor heating?

Most free-standing furniture is fine to place on top of an underfloor heating system. Just be careful when placing items such as thick rugs or dog beds in the room because they can trap heat and cause issues.

Now you know the answers to the most commonly asked questions, it’s time to get your very own kit laid in the conservatory, in the kitchen or even the bedroom and enjoy toasty floors underfoot!

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Is a wet room right for you?

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

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Aquadart wet room walk through from the Bella Bathrooms website

So – is a wet room right for you? There’s certainly no shortage of reasons to consider installing one. For starters they look great! The selection of photos we’ve chosen to accompany this post testify to that. A well-designed wet room should be clean and minimalist. You can luxe it up with added extras – glass panels, power showers, underfloor heating, anti-fog mirrors, heated towel rails and sun tunnels. Bella Bathrooms has a huge selection of quality bathroom, wet room and shower accessories.

Wet room leading out onto a patio areaimage credit: Skona Hem

They’re easy to clean & very hygienic. Consider installing downstairs off the rear entrance or in a garage/boot room for washing dirty people and dogs before entering the house! Having said that, wet room technology has moved on tremendously and they’re certainly not limited to the ground floor.

Black and white tiled wet roomimage credit: Terry’s Blinds

Wet rooms are ideal for people with mobility or accessibility problems – no climbing in & out of baths or fighting with conventional shower cubicles.

Minimalist wet roomimage credit: Remodelista

They add value to your property – installation can be from as little as £1,500 but can add £10,000 upwards to the value of your house…

Wet room installed into a loft spaceimage credit: House to Home

… and they’re a great option for an awkward/restricted shaped or sized room – suitable for studio flats, loft conversions… even the space under the stairs!

Wet room in Dairy Cottage in the New Forestimage credit: Dairy Cottage

Having listed all the potential benefits, it can all be undone by poor execution. Install with care & caution. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Great haste makes great waste”. Preparatory planning & works are essential in installing a wet room. Properly waterproof the space, provide adequate ventilation, install non-slip flooring such as rubber or natural stone tile and you don’t need to be reminded about the dangers of mixing water and electricity! If you follow a few simple rules then there’s great scope for design expression. You’ll be left with a beautiful space that will enhance the quality of your life & home.

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Choosing the right doors to suit your space

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

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row of different antique wooden doorsImage credit: anyjazz65

Doors have a huge functional and design impact on our homes. If you’re buying brand new doors, the chances are that you don’t need to worry too much about functionality. All new doors from reputable suppliers will comply with safety standards – though of course you do need to check where fire doors may be required to higher standards.

violet coloured internal doorImage credit: Martha Stewart

The main point to decide when choosing new doors is how well they complement the rest of the interior design of your home. Do they fit with the look you have or are trying to achieve?

ivy clad house with black front doorImage credit: JR P

Wooden doors continue to dominate the market – and it’s obvious why this is. Wood is a beautiful and natural material that has been used by mankind to furnish the home since Adam was a lad. Wood lends charm and warmth to a home in the way that no other material can and with today’s huge choice of natural wood finished available from suppliers like Todd Doors, Door Stop and Howdens for example – there’s something to suit every style of home. Even oak, the most traditional of all woods for doors, can be precision-engineered to give a clean, light and very contemporary feel to the most modern of internal environments.

internal white sliding barn doorImage credit: Welke.nl

No other material really captures the texture and natural beauty of real wood – which is why it’s always such a popular choice with interior design professionals. It’s also so versatile.

antique wooden barn doors

With doors, it’s generally true to say that you get what you pay for. So look for special offers from bespoke and high quality suppliers. It isn’t always easy for the non-expert to see why one door is cheaper than another; but you will once it’s in place, by which time it’s too late if you’ve bought cheaply. Along with the look and feel of the doors, tell-tale signs of quality are revealed when you look at how a door has been made (particularly its joints) and of what material. Also, check whether the supplier is able to offer the 10-year Manufacturer’s Defect Guarantee.

kid's bedroom doorImage credit: Kidsomania

Once you’ve chosen the style of door, you also need to choose handles that will complement the doors and your overall design. Take time in getting this right as the handles really change the look and feel of the door and your whole interior.

orange bicycle outside a building with black double doorsImage credit: Giuseppe Milo

From a practical point of view, if you have any doubts about being able to fit the door – then get professional help. If you live in a modern house, though, this isn’t too difficult a task for those with just a little DIY experience. First – accurately measure the frame. If the frame isn’t “true” then fitting the door will be more difficult. Buy a door that either fits the opening perfectly (being careful to measure the opening very accurately) or buy a door that is very slightly too large so it can be planed or cut down as required.

black internal double doorsImage credit: Stumblehome

Next – enjoy the look and feel of your new interior!

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Buying a conservatory: 5 important issues to consider

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

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Sun lounge

There’s nothing more infuriating than trying to keep up with the Joneses. You’ve converted your attic into an office, transformed your basement into a man cave and knocked down your double garage for reasons you can’t remember.

Then your smug neighbour waves at you from his new conservatory – he has a glass of wine in hand and a satisfied smile on his face – as you stand in your garden green-eyed and conservatory-less. Damn those Joneses!

Unlike man caves and offices that have long been abandoned, and financial ramifications written off, conservatories are actually extremely useful additions to the home.

But, before you rush out to the nearest conservatory superstore (that’s not really a thing) to wave your credit card at a hapless assistant, there are a few important things you must first consider.

gable front conservatory

Planning permission

According to the government, conservatories fall under the same planning regulations as any extension or addition to a house. This means that, provided certain limits and conditions are met, it won’t require an application for planning permission. To ensure you meet these conditions, though, you should familiarise yourself with the government’s handy Planning Portal guide.

Victorian style conservatory

Check with the neighbours

While it’s not essential you check with your neighbours before pressing ahead, it will do a lot for relations if you keep them in the loop regarding potential building work. It’s also a good time to make them green with envy as you unveil your plans for an all singing, all dancing conservatory that’ll make their own seem like a shoddily erected tent in comparison!

bespoke conservatory

Choose your style

It won’t surprise you to learn that conservatories come in all shapes and sizes. Older properties can opt for a Victorian or Edwardian style, while modern homes can take advantage of more contemporary, bespoke designs. Whatever you plump for, it’s important to make sure it fits with the existing look and feel of your home, lest it sticks out like a very expensive sore thumb.

bespoke Lorimer conservatory

Energy efficiency

We’re all conscious of how much energy we’re using these days. When it comes to buying and installing your conservatory then, this focus shouldn’t waver. As such, it’s important to make sure your new space will be properly insulated and the glass used on all levels has a low U-Value (the lower the better for energy efficiency).

conservatory from the garden

Position

Where you position your conservatory will depend on a few factors. For most, options are limited to the back of the property. If this faces east, you’ll benefit from the early morning sun, with the heat warming your conservatory for the rest of the day. If it faces north, it can be extremely chilly during the winter, while a south facing space means it can be unbearably hot during the summer months.

By Paul Watson

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