• Get HomePlan-it News by email.

  • Tips & Ideas

    Jun 23rd, 2011

    The Coffee Table Bed

    Since leaving my parents home I’ve always lived in small spaces. It was sometimes a challenge but you learn to get creative with space. The most ingenious thing I’ve seen lately is the Coffee Table Bed by Julia West Home. It’s a good looking coffee table and quickly becomes a bed for one. Perfect for someone who doesn’t have a guest room.

    Julia West Home is located in Toronto and from what I can tell they don’t have an online shopping cart. They have other double duty furniture pieces on their site at JuliaWestHome.com. Check it out, dove-tail joints, I give this one a thumbs up.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas, Trends | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Mar 1st, 2011

    Tufted Furniture

    A little vintage, a little right now!

    tufted-furnitureThis is a classic look that instantly adds sophistication to any room. Robin Bruce is creating tufted furniture in a 21st Century way. Unexpected fabrics and new lines give this classic a new life.

    Robin Bruce by Rowe offers a line of tufted furniture that is affordably beautiful.


    Posted in Tips & Ideas, Vintage Home | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Feb 17th, 2011

    A great trend in painted ceilings

    striped-ceilingOne trend I’m hearing about this past year and still going strong for 2011 is the painted ceiling, not a white ceiling but a magnificent color painted on the ceiling. This is a daring trend because….I don’t know about you but I never want to have to paint a ceiling twice. My arms hurt just thinking about it. This is most definitely a time to hire a pro.

    I recently visited a friend who moved into his new condo. His ceiling is painted with stripes of different widths. The color choices for the stripes are perfect. This is a drop ceiling over the kitchen. It probably is used for air conditioning duct work. I think this solution is the best I’ve seen for turning a low ceiling area into an asset. I was sorry I didn’t bring my camera. So here is the photo taken with my iPhone.

    He hired professional painters. I think they did a great job. The stripes were perfect. What do you think?

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Jan 3rd, 2011

    2011 Color trends for your home

    Pantone has named Honeysuckle the Color of the Year for 2011. It’s a daring color. I once had a bathroom painted that color. It’s great for a small room like that. Probably a little too much for the walls of any other room in the house. But I think as an accent color it would be magnifico.
    Benjamin Moore has named “Vintage Wine” as the 2011 Color of the Year. It’s a very sophisticated color. It works with a neutral palate but a little dull for my taste. I love how they used it on the ceiling. Color on the ceiling is another trend.
    Many trend sources are showing purple as a major trend with turquoise as a close second. I love both of these as accents in a neutral room as the pop of color.
    The use of Black or white is still very much “IN”. One way to make a sophisticated update to your home….Paint all the doors a rich black. It’s very stylish.

    If you’re looking to make a change in the new year but don’t want to spend a lot then consider paint. It makes a big impact and it’s easy to change. Be bold. You will love the results.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Dec 8th, 2010

    Turn every day trash into holiday gold


    It’s almost impossible to decorate your home for the holidays without spending tons of money. On almost any given day we find ourselves grabbing an extra ornament, buying a new wreath or spending enough on a menorah to feed the family for a week. As the penny pinching mother of two girls I know how tricky living on a budget can be (especially during the season of treats, toys and tinsel), but you can find small ways to live large… without spending large.

    * Make Your Own: It might sound cliche, but making your own ornaments and wreaths is one of the best ways to decorate your home without going over budget. But if you aren’t a crafty person, help your home look festive by adding small amounts of baby’s breathe flowers, candy canes or pine cones wear needed. Try spray painting pine cones in beautiful colors (a fun activity for the kids) and filling small baskets or bowls to create a simplistic center piece.

    * It’s Ornamental: Consider buying a large container of cheap, basic ornaments (the simple, shiny kind in a universal color) and dotting them throughout your house. Fill up an empty candle holder, arrange them around a centerpiece or vase, or add them in a bunches on top of cabinets or windowsills with candles throughout…voila!

    * Get Wrapping: If all else fails, use an affordable holiday ribbon to wrap the staircase banister, dining room chairs or small throw pillows (as if you’re tying a holiday bow on a present). And remember to turn of your Christmas tree or seasonal lights during the day to save electricity (you’ll thank yourself later!)

    Bailey Vincent Clark is the founder of Makeover Momma.com: helping busy, budgeted women feel fit, fashionable and fabulous after kids. In addition to hosting Makeover Momma TV weekly and working as the “New Mom” voice for Walmart.com, she is a full time mother of two girls in small town Virginia.

    © Photo Courtesy of Etsy.com

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by makeovermomma

    Feb 10th, 2010

    Flor is an eco-friendly option for your floors.

    florYou’ve probably seen Flor Carpet tiles on one of the many interior design television shows. They are a great flooring solution if you have children, live in an apartment or your just looking for a product that is customizable and encourages your creativity. You can create a unique design of your own by mixing and matching tiles. They are easy to clean and for the stubborn stains just replace the tile. Quick to install, easy to clean and eco-friendly, what more could you want?

    Get samples or a catalog at http://www.flor.com

    Tags: ,
    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas, Trends | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Jan 13th, 2010

    Create a Tile Mosaic for a great accent in your kitchen

    mosaic1My husband and I live in a condo so our kitchen is small. We decided to remodel the kitchen and make the layout better suited to cooking. We actually cook. Unfortunately behind the pantry cabinet we found a support beam. An ugly support beam, what are we to do. The kitchen designer at Home Depot thought we should put a fake cabinet door there. That would have fooled no one. I asked him to show me what it looked like without the fake door and there it was, a huge white support beam. But what I saw was an opportunity to have a Mosaic feature that will make my kitchen unique.

    I bought tumbled marble tiles that I broke up with a hammer at Home Depot and Talavera tiles I found online. I worked out my design on paper first. I had never done this before but I did my home work. I found out what kind of thin set and grout and kept a positive attitude. I knew I could do it.

    It only took a day. The backsplash took the rest of the long weekend because of the cutting. For the backsplash, we used 2″ square tumbled marble in sheets and occasionally inserted a talavera tile.

    finished_kitchenDon’t be afraid to try anything. If you’re unsure of yourself then do a test first. My husband had never used a tile saw before but he did a great job on the backsplash and we now are proud to show off our kitchen. The tile work is the first thing people mention when they see it. We turned a possible eyesore into a work of art.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Jan 12th, 2010

    Quartz countertops: A cleaner, safer countertop

    silestoneWe recently remodeled our kitchen and originally planned on a granite countertop. But then I saw the Silestone® Quartz countertops and I was sold. I wasn’t aware of the Microban® antimicrobial protection at the time, I just loved the look. I chose a dark green that looks like it has bits of glass in it. It reminded me of terrazzo floors which were big in South Florida in the 1950’s.

    The microban protection inhibits the growth of microbes such as odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew, making it easier to clean and stay clean. Silestone is GREENGUARD certified for low emitting interior building materials and perfect when building a green kitchen.

    Silestone’s unique manufacturing process of built-in Microban® antimicrobial product protection, NSF Certification and GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification make Silestone® Quartz a Cleaner, Greener surface to use in all of your design projects.

    Silestone has been used on Extreme Makeover Home Edition and in the HGTV Dream Home. Candace Olson of Divine Design is a spokesperson in the television commercials and uses Silestone frequently on her HGTV show.

    I’m happy with my decision.

    Posted in Living Green, Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Oct 15th, 2009

    Kitchen Design: Storage, Style, and Celebration

    Nooks, Islands, Carts, Racks and Creative Use of Space

    The modern kitchen is much more than just the room where cooking takes place. Kitchens serve as informal eating areas, communal gathering places, scheduling centers, and even homework help zones. People may gravitate towards kitchens for the food, but they stay for the warmth and company.

    If you have an older kitchen, it may not be able to fulfill all of these functions. Older kitchens are often smaller than we might prefer. If you are remodeling, you can try to find a way to expand your kitchen’s space—even adding a bay window breakfast nook can open up space and add value to your home. But even without additions or dramatic renovations, there are solutions that will help you increase your kitchen’s storage capacity and style.

    Smart storage is another good way to open up space. Even if you don’t have room for a large kitchen island, consider adding a small one as extra counter space. Add a few stools, and you have an informal eating area. A kitchen cart on wheels can add an extra dimension to your storage space, and it can be moved according to your needs. This helps you maximize a small, awkward space. If you have too much storage, you might consider eliminating a top-heavy upper cabinet or two, which will make your kitchen feel more spacious. If you have attractive cookware, a pot rack is both practical and decorative; it frees additional cabinet space, keeps your pots and pans more accessible, and makes a nice display.

    Good kitchen storage solutions come in a variety of styles to match popular kitchen styles. Keep this in mind when choosing storage solutions. For a French country style kitchen, choose smooth wooden surfaces, Mediterranean blues and yellows, and the occasional delicate touch of terra cotta or wrought iron accessories to make your kitchen feel warm and friendly. If you have mid-century vintage-style appliances, look for retro storage in bright colors with chrome hardware. Or, if you’re a minimalist, keep your colors neutral and your focus on clean, sleek lines. No matter what your style is, consistency and attention to detail will help your kitchen be a welcoming place for friends and family.

    Have parts of your kitchen do double duty. Let the breakfast nook be the place for homework. For your next dinner party, let your kitchen island be a prep station before your guests arrive and an hors d’oeuvre station when they show up. With a little planning, even a small kitchen can be reconfigured to meet the needs of modern life.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan

    Oct 15th, 2009

    Remedies for a Wet Basement

    By: Robert Clarke

    A wet basement can be just a nuisance or even real nightmare. Each year, thousands of homeowners are faced with the unpleasant side effects of seasonal rainfall. Problems they can face range from just dampness to even flooding. Chronic basement leakage is a serious problem that can destroy personal property, furnishings, appliances, and sometimes even cause permanent structural damage to a homes foundation. Excessive moisture is a huge attraction to wood-eating insects, wood rot and decay. Despite the pervasiveness of the problem, few homeowners are aware of the causes of water leakage.

    Common Causes
    One common cause of basement leakage is improper surface drainage, such as a yard sloped toward the home. In many cases, the problem can be greatly alleviated by re-grading the yard to slope away from the homes foundation or diverting surface water around the house.

    Other common culprits include poorly positioned rain gutter downspouts, missing, leaking or clogged rain gutters. A downspout that is improperly positioned to drain against the side of the house, allows water to build up along the foundation wall, until the backed-up “reservoir” finds a weak spot in the foundation wall.

    The most difficult cause of basement leakage is a high water table. A high water table problem occurs when the home is built too deeply in the ground, into the level where water remains constant throughout the year. A high water table problem can also be caused by under ground springs or sustained periods of rainfall that cause the water table to rise during the wet seasons.

    Is it Leakage or Condensation?
    You should try to determine if your problem is actually water “leaking” in or if it’s just condensation forming on the cool surfaces. Condensation occurs when warm, humid air comes into contact with cooler basement walls, floors, water pipes etc. As an example, just take a cold bottle of soda out of your refrigerator and set it on the counter. After several minutes, you’ll notice steam forming on the outside of the bottle. After many minutes pass, you will see a small puddle of water forming at the base of the bottle, as the beads of moisture start dripping down. This is a classic example of condensation, not “leakage”. If your basement is actually leaking, the water should not just “appear”. You should be able to see where it’s coming in as it leaks, in the form of a puddle or stream or water.

    Helpful Tips
    Your rain gutters should be cleaned of leaves and debris at least once per year. Downspouts should direct water runoff from the roof to a discharge point at least several feet away from the homes foundation. Use a splash block at the end of your downspout to avoid soil erosion. Never bury your downspout lines unless you can empty them out to daylight.

    Buy a good dehumidifier to lower the natural humidity level in your basement. Make sure your dehumidifier is the proper size for your basement. Ask for a drain hose attachment so you don’t have to empty the water collected every day. Get a unit with a built-in de-icer. Dehumidifiers are actually refrigeration coils and can freeze up and stop working. Keep the doors and windows to your basement closed, year round. Opened doors and windows allow extra humidity to enter your basement, causing condensation. Your dehumidifier will also run less.

    Waterproofing Paints and Sealers There are several good waterproofing paints and sealers on the market today. Waterproof paints and sealers can work well for minor dampness on walls and floors. Pay special attention to the preparation instructions from the products manufacturer. Be aware though, interior waterproof paints and sealers don’t do anything to alleviate the “source” of the problem.

    Time For a Professional? A professional basement waterproofing contractor can offer you a variety of solutions, depending on the source of your problem. Methods can include outside excavation, installation of drain tile, parging your walls, interior drainage systems or epoxy cove systems.

    Summary Prevention is always the first and best approach. Look closely at the grading around your property and make sure your rain gutters are in good working order. Get a good quality dehumidifier to reduce humidity in your basement. If you’ve done your best to correct your problem and it still leaks, it might be best to bring in a professional. Check companies for local references, ask for a certificate of insurance, check the companies warranty to see what’s covered and check them out with your local Better Business Bureau.

    About The Author
    Robert Clarke has owned B-Dry System NEPA, a basement waterproofing company, for the last 20 years. Visit http://www.b-drybasementswaterproofingnepennsylvania.com for more information. He has also served as President of the B-Dry Owners Association, a nationally recognized group of basement waterproofing contractors. Visit http://www.b-dry.com/ for details.

    Posted in Tips & Ideas | leave a comment » | Posted by Susan