Thursday, March 26, 2015

Home Painting Tips From A Color Expert

  David Oliver has become known around the world as the creative director of Paint & Paper Library, finding commercial success with his practical range of Architectural Colours; a complementary colour-by-number system for ceiling, cornice, wall and woodwork, using chromatic colours of a similar tonal weight. The color maestro, David Oliver, shared his favorite tips for picking the perfect hue in your home with Veranda magazine. David has a background in Fine Art and studied at the National Art School in Sydney. He has exhibited in Dublin, Madrid, New York, Sydney, Stockholm and London. He is also well known for his fabric and wallpaper designs! Here's what David said about painting your home to WOW not bore. 

Choosing THE Color

Choosing a paint color is one of the most difficult aspects of decoration to get right, as it has as much to do with the light source as the pigments used, and neither is constant. Using sample pots can help you avoid expensive mistakes, but you need the patience of an oyster to see how the color and light change from wet to dry and during the day and at night.One method I find helpful is to paint the inside of a wooden storage or cardboard shoe box. This helps predict how a particular color will change in a room with the different kinds of light throughout the day.

Defining The Doorways
Doors can be treated in the same way as paneling. If there's molding on them, then they can be painted in three different tones. I generally like for doorways to be darker or in a different material than the walls. They could be glossy, they could be veneer, they could even be painted three different darker shades. Doorways mark the transitional zones of the house, so when you define them in this way, it helps you navigate your way through the house.
Subtle Variation Of Color

A subtle variation of color is an effective way of uniting all the architectural elements of a room. It's more visually pleasing than when everything is painted in the same color, and it gives the architectural elements on the walls more detail. So with my paints I like to use the palest shade, No. 1, on the ceiling, No. 2 on the molding, No. 3 on the trim and No. 4 or 5 on the walls. The real beauty of this system is its prescriptive simplicity and creative versatility. It can be applied to any period or type of architecture. My color scales can benefit anyone, from experienced designers to individual homeowners who are addicted to color and passionate about paint.

Using Dark Colors
I like for baseboards to be darker than the floor and walls. My personal preference is completely dark, even black. A lot of people worry about darker colors making a room feel smaller, but in fact, I find the opposite is true—that darker colors help blur the boundaries of the room and create a sense of infinity. The boundaries, particularly at night, tend to disappear into the shadows.

Paint The Hidden Places

Sometimes there are colors you adore but haven't quite found the courage or an appropriate place to use. Why not use them to paint those places or surfaces usually hidden from everyday view, such as the inside of your kitchen cupboards or cutlery drawers? It will make a refreshing change from the off-white color usually used through habit or conformity.

Friday, February 27, 2015

4 Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling Trends That Will Never Go Out Of Style

Here are four design ideas and trends that are home features that will never go out of style. When making the decision to remodel your home, consider these ideals. Incorporating some or all of these will keep you satisfied with your home for a long, long, LONG time! 
1. Clean & uncluttered Clean, uncluttered spaces are always en vogue for kitchens and remodeling, think about how to store equipment and supplies in dust-free areas (like drawers or cupboards) and allow countertops to be relatively free. For both rooms, create a good space to store and keep cleaning supplies as well. This area should be easily accessible yet not so easy that small children can tamper with the toxic supplies.
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bathrooms. These are the rooms we associate with hygiene, so it’s important that they don’t harbor dust-collecting tchotchkes. 
2. Neutral palettes Every homeowner wants to incorporate their favorite colors into their kitchen and bathrooms and this is easy to do with colorful walls, linens, and decor. But to get the most longevity out of these renovations, choose fairly neutral colors for the expensive elements like countertops, cabinetry, flooring, backsplash, and appliances. Understandably no one wants a plain vanilla room, so think about using interesting textures or patterns with neutral colors. Or use neutrals from opposite ends of the color spectrum, like ivory and chocolate brown, or white and charcoal grey.

3. Energy efficient appliances More and more, homeowners are interested in appliances
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that look good and save energy costs. Focusing on refrigerators, microwaves or ovens that offer good long-term value is important. So are low-flow water fixtures or on-demand water heaters. Look for the EnergyStart logo when shopping for appliances and talk to your contractor about other ways to save on your monthly energy and water bills.

4. Maximized spaces The layout of your kitchen and bathroom should be functional and space should not go to waste. Design for efficient movement within the rooms and good placement of storage. Invest in pull-out drawers or hidden storage spaces – it will help fit more into the space and keep everything organized. Don’t get hung-up on the actual size of the kitchen or bathroom; whether or not a room is functional has more to do with layout and design than the amount of square footage.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

4 Ways To HURT Your Home Value

   Most of our blogs talk about ways that you can improve the value of your home. However, there are a few things that you can do that will actually decrease the value of your home. Some of the things that can devalue your home are beyond your control, such as your neighbor’s property going into foreclosure, so why take the risk of bringing the value down even further. Make sure that the changes or renovations are smart and will pay you back when you sell your home.

  • Going over the top with your home improvement in a neighborhood that
    will not support it is a common mistake. An example of this would be installing a $20,000 in-ground 
    swimming pool behind a $60,000 house. An appraiser cannot give the full value of the improvement because your home cannot be valued drastically higher than the other homes in your area.
  • Closing off the front porch is another mistake that homeowners make when updating their homes. If you think that gaining an additional room by closing off the porch will increase the value of your home, think again. Potential buyers may see this as a turn off if they’re interested in the area and the people in it. A closed-off porch prohibits easy interactions with the neighborhood. If you want to enclose it, consider screening it or enclosing a portion of it while leaving the rest open. 
  • Having an above-ground pool after you’ve made the decision to put your
    house on the market is a sure way to bring down the asking price. (This is a big "DUH!") Most homebuyers will see it as an eyesore that might be too much to manage. Above-ground pools are hard to keep completely clean and are a potential breeding ground for mosquitos. By removing the pool and re-grading the yard you’re actually adding to the value of your home when it comes time to sell.
  • Most people fancy themselves as part of the DIY movement, but when it comes to big projects in your home, it’s best to leave them to the pros. Homebuyers can spot a sloppy job a mile away. What you save in renovations, you will lose when it comes to sell. Plus, going with a professional can help you make good choices, because they usually know what’s popular but not too trendy as to look dated in a few years.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Is This The Year You Go Gray?
    You know we've talked about gray being the new hot neutral, and we've recommended it for your bathroom remodel. But the popularity of gray knows no bounds! And we know why. Gray is calm. Gray is chic. And gray works well in so many styles and plays well with other colors.

    Will you go gray this year? Would you consider using gray in your kitchen remodel?

 Gray can be prominently used for cabinetry, countertops, tile and other flooring. Have a look at some of these design ideas for incorporating this trending neutral into your kitchen:

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Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Ultimate Guide To 2015 Bathroom Trends: The 6 Hottest Ideas In Bathroom Design

  2013 and 2014 bath design focused on sustainability and doing more for less. Now in the world of Atlanta design and remodeling we’re starting to see a focus shift. In 2015 bathrooms will address a more personal element: how our rooms make us feel. It may sound silly, "how does the bathroom make you feel?" But considering the fact that the bathroom is often the first room you walk into in the morning, and the last room you walk out of at night - how your bathroom makes you feel can be a very integral part of how you feel in your home overall.
   Some of the bathroom remodeling trends that AK predicted for 2014 (uptick in tiling bathroom walls, custom showers overtaking tubs and the use of the color gray) are sticking around for 2015. But in case you missed any of it, or want to know some new bathroom design trends and ideas for the new year we compiled a list of AK's 2015 Bathroom Trends. Here goes!

  • Feature floor tiles. In the past the focal point of a bathroom was often the vanity, countertop or even the fixtures. Rarely - RARELY - ever was it the bathroom floor! Why? We think this year it's the year of the floor! Not since black & white checkerboard tile was hot has the floor seen so much focus.  Whether the focus is a pattern or a color, floors are going to shine this year!
  • Geometric tiles - On more than just the floor! Geometric patterns have been all over home design for the past year and a half. But now they are being considered a modern classic and infused into more permanent design features, like tiles. As we predicted last year, many homeowners are finding it functionally desirable and aesthetically pleasing to tile partly or fully up their bathroom walls - particularly in small spaces.
  • Custom Water Control. Say goodbye to basic shower and basin faucets - even our previously trendy "Rain Head," and say hello to smart, user-friendly bathroom fixtures. These include thermostatic mixers; mixers that control multiple water sources, touchscreen-operated showers that give users more control over the flow, mix and temperature of water, and much more.  In this Kohler shower pictured the user can control the water, light, sound and steam from a single location. Speakers, Rain LED overhead faucets with Chromatherapy LED's and Aromatherapy Scents are also included. 
  • Bathrooms that reflect the rest of the home. No one wants to walk out of their modern minimalist kitchen into a Provencal cottage living room. Similarly, no one wants to walk out of their rural chic bedroom into their dated 1980s bathroom. While bathrooms may usually remained closed to the view from other rooms in the home, the bathroom should none the less reflect the same style and taste as the rest of the house. Looking at the bathroom as an integral room that deserves attention and good design, as opposed to a space to be tolerated and sanitized has given rise to beautiful bathroom designs in the last 5 years. As well as elevating bathroom remodeling to the #1 remodeling project around the country! We don't think this new mindset is going anywhere in 2015.
  • Gray. Calm. Cool. Collected. These are just some of the feelings that are customary to associate with the color gray. It's also perhaps the trendiest neutral out there right now. In the 80s and 90s we turned the beloved beige. Today, we're twisting the idea of a basic palette with a little black edge and turning to gray! Gray is simply a more elegant neutral. It gives depth to subtle colors and makes bold tones pop.  In the bathroom, be sure to use a flat paint or matte finish items so the color looks organic instead of industrial!
  • Quartz Countertops. While you may have heard the brand name "Sile Stone" being tossed around as the new intruder into the granite market - you may not have realized this is just a brand of engineered quartz. With low maintenance, high durability and literally endless color choices, quartz countertops offer an excelled alternative to natural stone countertops. Here in Atlanta, we can usually find a granite to fit any style and any budget. But as the desire to customize our bathrooms grows, so will the utilization of various brands of quartz. Bold colors, marble knock-offs and thicker "statement" slabs will be 3 main reasons people flock to quartz this year.

Dreaming Of A Newly Designed Or Remodeled Atlanta Bathroom? 
Where To Start:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Kitchen Ventilation

Cooking produces a host of harmful by-products—heat, smoke, grease and odors—that not only accumulate on surfaces and give the kitchen a dingy appearance but also make the room uncomfortable for someone preparing a meal. The right range hood will keep the air in your kitchen clean and comfortable. Here’s what you need to know to choose a ventilation system that fits your cooktop and your space.

Ups and Downs

Any kitchen ventilation system falls into one of two main categories: updraft and downdraft. Updraft systems, the favorite among kitchen-design professionals, install directly over the cooking surface. These devices use a blower to gather vapors that rise naturally during the cooking process and then push them outside through a duct.
Updraft Systems
If you think an updraft system has to be accompanied by a boxy metal hood you’re in for a surprise. Newer models from Miele, GE Monogram and Zephyr utilize what is known as perimeter capture, a system that pulls contaminants to the edges of the hood rather than the center, allowing for slimmer, sleeker designs, such as flat or gently curved panes of glass or metal panels that project out from a wall and fold away when not in use. Gaggenau’s AH 600 ventilator makes use of the Coanda effect, a physical principle that allows it to lift and remove vapors before they escape from the hood. The awninglike device employs two fans instead of one. The first fan, positioned at the front of the ventilator, generates a flow of air that pushes smoke and steam toward the back of the unit, where a second fan pulls them up into the duct-work and out of the house. By comparison, a traditional ventilator uses a single fan to capture vapors and draw them up and out of the house, explains Brian Wellnitz, kitchen ventilation marketing manager for Broan-NuTone, a manufacturer of ventilation products.
Downdraft Systems
Downdraft designs pull air across the cooking surface and down through a duct that leads outside the home. Unlike hoods or canopies, which are purchased separately from a cooktop or stove, these devices are often integrated into the surface of the cooking appliance. Since these units rise no more than 10 inches above the cooking surface, they’re too short to capture vapors rising from a tall pot, and because their methods of capture fight the natural laws of physics, most designers prefer to reserve this type of ventilation for situations where a hood won’t work. “They’re best in kitchens with cathedral ceilings, where the length of the ductwork would be too great to work effectively, or in an island configuration where the homeowner doesn’t want to block the view,” says Arcadio Lainez, director of marketing for Zephyr.
Hoods or downdraft units without ducts leading outside the home are not true ventilation systems. They recirculate air, and have a limited ability to reduce grease, smoke, heat and odors.

Pump Up the Volume

Whether updraft or down, the effectiveness of any ventilation system depends on the volume of air the blower can move in one minute in relation to the heat output of your cooking surface. This measure, CFM (cubic feet per minute), generally ranges from 100 to 1,500. To calculate the CFM your cooking surface requires, you need to know its total heat (Btu) output, which can be found in the appliance’s user guide. For example, a range with four 10,000-Btu burners has a Btu output of 40,000. For conventional (less than 60,000 Btu) cooking products, measure the width of the cooking surface in feet and then multiply by 100. For example, a 30-inch (21/2-foot) cooktop requires a 250-CFM system. For 60,000 Btu–plus pro-style appliances, the formula is different: Determine the Btu output and then divide by 100. So a 90,000-Btu cooktop will require a 900-CFM system. In addition to operating at a high enough CFM, the unit must also fit the width of your cooking surface. A 30-inch range requires a hood or downdraft vent that is at least 30 inches wide. If space permits, bigger is better, say manufacturers. The reason is simple physics. The larger the capture area, the less likely grease and odors will escape. “For a 30-inch range, a 36-inch hood is best,” says Wellnitz.
A hood’s depth—the distance it projects from the wall—is also important. “You want to make sure it covers the middle of the front burners,” says Blake Woodall, director of sales for kitchen ventilation manufacturer Vent-A-Hood. “Otherwise steam and vapors will escape every time you use those burners.”

Bonus Features

The newest systems do more than remove smoke and steam. Many have sensors that will switch on the fan automatically when they detect heat rising from the cooking surface. Delayed turn-off keeps the exhaust running for up to 20 minutes after the cooktop has been turned off, ensuring all vapors are removed. Some vents can be tied in to a system that monitors ventilation throughout the home. Broan’s LinkLogic allows kitchen ventilation to work in conjunction with attic ventilation and ceiling fans throughout the home to maintain quality indoor air.

Pricing Guide 

Good: $200 to $600

These budget-minded updraft units are perfect for ordinary gas and electric cooktops and stoves. Minimal (150-CFM) outputs mean these models cannot be used with pro-style appliances. Expect a basic awning shape and a limited range of finishes and colors—white, black and biscuit being the standards. Downdraft units begin to appear at the upper end of this price range. AK does not use or recommend any of these units; they are not sufficient for regular cooking.
Better: $600 to $1,200

Step up to a more varied selection of up- and downdraft designs, improved features and CFM outputs of 500 or more. Added features like built-in warming lamps, remote control and variable fan speeds are common. Stainless steel and other metal finishes are an option. If you want to create a custom look, this is also where you will start to find power packs, fans, motors and other interior workings sold without an enclosure. You hire a carpenter or metalworker (at additional cost) to make a housing, and end up with a one-of-kind focal point when you’re finished.
Best: $1,200 to $1,800

If design is a primary concern, this is the category to consider. Here, you’ll find sleek units that quietly make a powerful presence without taking up too much space. Blowers with increased CFM capability (600 and up) make these units ideal for pairing with pro-style ranges and cooktops. Extras, like built-in heat sensors and delayed shutoff, make them more functional.
Ultra: $1,800 and up

Here, style is the name of the game. Look for elegant European styling and designs that fold up and out of the way when not in use or that are so unobtrusive you hardly notice them. This is where you’ll find use of advanced technologies like the Coanda effect and perimeter capture. When it comes to finish, stainless is the most common, but there are other options. Miele, for example, offers custom colors for their standard designs.
Have you seen this?

The compact Mini-Om (there’s a bigger model for larger installations) uses a perimeter capture system, which puts more powerful suction in a sleek, low-profile design. Its aerodynamic styling makes it quieter and it consumes no more energy than conventional ventilation systems. In black or white backpainted glass and six colors, including Electric Blue, shown. From $2,300;

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ideas from

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Protect Your Southern Home From Arctic Weather

  Though the northerners love to laugh at us for it, those of us who migrated south are not used to dealing with freezing temps. We're all starting early this year with this November arctic blast! Here are some reminders for our Atlanta homeowners on what you can do to protect their homes from the freezing winter weather!

  • Keep your attic well ventilated to maintain a temperature close to that of the outdoors to minimize the risk of ice dams forming. A warm attic melts snow on the roof, causing water to run down and refreeze at the roof's edge, where it's much cooler. If ice builds up and blocks water from draining, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.
  • Ice dams are an accumulation of ice at the lower edge of a sloped roof. When interior heat melts the snow, water can run down and refreeze at the roof's edge, where it's much cooler. If the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off the roof, water is forced under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of your house.
  • To help reduce the risk of ice dams: Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Keep the attic well ventilated so snow doesn't melt and refreeze on the roof's edge.
  • Bursting pipes occur when frozen water causes a pressure buildup between the ice blockage and the closed faucet. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are particularly vulnerable to extreme cold. To keep water in your pipes from freezing:
  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow heat transfer. Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes with caulking. Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes that run through an unheated or unprotected space.

  • Bonus Suggestion: Review your homeowners insurance policy periodically with your insurance agent or company representative to make sure you have sufficient coverage to protect the investment you've made in your home. Report any property damage to your insurance agent or company representative immediately and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.