Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tile: Up, Up and Away!

   Tile is such a wonderfully useful product, isn't it? It comes in stone, ceramic, porcelain, glass, and more. It comes in all shapes, all colors, all sizes! You can practically put it ANYWHERE! We'll just come out and say it - We LOVE Tile! We've had many opportunities over the years to use tile in some unusual places. One place that is less and less unusual is straight up the kitchen walls.
   Take one look at the popular kitchens on Houzz and you'll see many homeowners doing what we have done for years - take the tile out of 'the backsplash box' and let it climb up, up and away. The beautiful thing about a backsplash is it protects the wall, allows for easy cleaning in an easily soiled spot, and it can add a "WOW" factor to a kitchen. Imagine what more of this tile could do, in the right designer's hands, to change the look of a kitchen!
   Here are a few examples of kitchens designed by AK Renovations, that were the pioneers of this tile trend!
- Get All The Project Details By Clicking Here! -

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Children Of Aging Parents: Talking About Safety

   Americans are living longer; there is no doubt about that. The average life expectancy seems to be
increasing an average of 3 years per decade! Though many of us and our parents are living to an older age, many of us are also living longer with chronic conditions and disabilities. A shocking 4 in 10 of American adults are caregivers for elderly family members. While being a caregiver is a wonderful, challenging and loving role to play - it can be fraught with questions and roadblocks!
     One question that our clients encounter often is "How do I talk to my parents about their safety and living at home?" While we may be aging in place renovation specialists, we may not be the best family communication resource! However our years in the industry have taught us where to turn. "Talk Early...Talk Often" is a great online resource full of tips about talking to your aging parents about many sensitive topics! One important one being your concern for the safety of your parents who want to remain independent in their own home, and renovating for aging in place
   "Talk Early..." author Dale writes, "beginning the talks with your aging parents needs to be like learning to swim. You start with learning to hold your breath and put your face underwater. You don’t start with the swimming leg of a triathlon. You'll want to start small. And you do want to start now. Start while your aging parents are fairly healthy, when there are no apparent concerns. That way you do have the time to build slowly and have conversations about every area of their life and health without panic or pressure."

   Read Dale's 5 Steps to talk to your aging parents about the future here: Talking To Aging Parents 

See AK's professional tips for Aging In Place including a design checklist and inspiration projects: Remodeling For Aging In Place
  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Selecting the Right Bath Tub

 Tubs are one of the most talked about features of a bathroom remodel. They're either IN or they're OUT! Our remodeling clients often choose to eliminate a unused tub in favor of  a large shower with seating, body sprays, steam, etc. And for other clients, the tub is one of their most favorite features and sometimes one of the main reasons they want to remodel! (read this alpharetta bathroom remodeling story) So if a tub is IN in your home, and you're wondering which one is right for you, try these tips from Studio Il Bagno: "Five Rules for Selecting the Right Bath Tub"

-RULE 1. First determine the exact dimensions of the space where the tub will be placed and then consider the types of installations that could fit into that area.

-RULE 2. Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of commonly used bathtub materials to determine which will work best for you.

ACRYLIC:
  • Of all possible surfaces, acrylic has become the material of choice in the bathing world due to its
    natural warmth, ease of maintenance, resilience, and ability to be formed into soft contours. In particular, Lucite® Perspex® acrylic has proven to be a long-term, super-durable material for baths. It is well-known for its deep and lasting colors, superb high-gloss surface finish and texture, exceptional strength and durability, biocidal action, and design flexibility.
  • Acrylic can be maintained with little more than regular cleanings using a mild, non-abrasive cleaner. Water lines can easily be wiped off with a soft cloth. If the surface becomes scratched, it can easily be restored by light sanding using extra-fine grit wet and dry sandpaper  After years of wear, the finish on an acrylic bath can still be buffed to a high sheen—something that cannot be done on dulled enamel cast iron or fiberglass.
  • Acrylic is both strong and light weight. It is also more forgiving should you slip and fall. And, if you select the right manufacturer, there will be absolutely no flexing in the floor or sides of the bath. It stands up to high temperatures and ultraviolet light, resists thermal cracking, and is highly resistant to chemicals and mildew.
  • In addition, acrylic is moderately priced and affordable.

ENAMELED CAST IRON:
  • Also known as porcelain, enameled cast iron tubs are quickly becoming the dinosaurs of the tub industry. These tubs are very strong and durable but also very heavy and may require extra support in the sub-floor.
  • Their fired surface is high gloss and hues are rich, but abrasive cleansers used on the surface may permanently destroy the shine. The non-skid texture put on the bottom of many cast iron tubs can be particularly difficult to clean. The baked-on enamel surface resists scratches, cracks, and chips; however, if these do occur, they will require expensive professional  attention to repair.
  • Cast iron is initially cold to the touch. It warms by conducting heat out of the bathwater into the metal and then back out into the room—a cycle that requires hot water continually be added to the bath to maintain water temperature.
  • Cast iron tubs are typically more expensive than acrylics and come in limited shapes and sizes.

GEL-COATED FIBERGLASS:
  • Gel-coated fiberglass bathtubs are inexpensive, strong, light-weight, and available in many sizes
    and shapes, but these tubs generally do not have long lives.  The surface of fiberglass is susceptible to stains, mold, and mildew which can penetrate the surface and be difficult to remove. Gel-coated fiberglass baths have a tendency to flex, develop crazing and spider cracking, and to become chalky over time.

CULTURED MARBLE:
  • Cultured marbled is essentially a blend of crushed limestone, fiberglass resins, and fillers coated with a clear gelcoat formulated to as produce—at least initially— a tough, durable, non-porous and shiny surface that is stain resistant and easy to maintain. However, once you wear through the thin gel-coat veneer, the porous body of the bath will be difficult to keep clean.  If you are considering cultured marble or another other solid surface tub, look at the underside. If it is porous and full of bubbles, beware.

EUROPEAN STEEL ENAMEL:
  • European steel enamel baths have wide usage, particularly in Europe, and are not to be confused with domestic steel tubs that are much thinner and quite prone to chipping. The advantage of European steel enamel is its glass-hard, non-porous surface which is easy-care and hygienic. It is resistant to scratches, impact, UV rays, chemicals, heat, and limescale. Steel enamel baths come in a multiplicity of sizes and shapes, including an array of narrow widths for use when space is at a premium. Newly introduced to America, European enameled steel baths are gaining popularity.

NATURAL MATERIALS:
  • For those seeking the bathtub to be the dramatic focal point of the room, baths can be created out of genuine marble, onyx, granite, glass, brass, copper, wood, and more. Many of these baths are truly works of fine art. While they are definitely made for bathing, they will require specialized care, depending upon the material, to maintain their beauty.

- RULE 3. Find a bath that is a comfortable fit for the person who will use it the most. “Try it on” first.

-RULE 4. Consider quality first and price second. 

-RULE 5. If you enjoy soaking, consider adding a massage system.