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Friday, June 28, 2019, 23:59 | No Comments »

The kitchen is probably the most used room in your home besides the bathroom and is, therefore, a great place to start if you are considering renovating or redecorating your home. Since this is the heart of your home, adding some new home décor to your kitchen is a great way to give your home a fresh new feel. Don’t worry, redecorating your kitchen does not have to be expensive. While it certainly could be if you were to replace appliances, flooring, cabinets and other large ticket items; there are plenty of ways that you can give your kitchen a facelift without blowing your budget. Check out the ideas below to help you spice up your kitchen and breathe new life into the heart of your home. 


Add Textiles with Flair – If you want to make a big impact in a small kitchen without it being too overwhelming, a great way to do this is to introduce bold textiles into the space that feature eye-catching colors such as reds, yellows, and oranges. Add rugs, pictures, curtains, and other accessories in the same color family and you will quickly add some visual interest to your small kitchen space. Not only this, you can be sure that this inexpensive idea is sure to give you a lot of impact on the cost.


Lighting – Lighting is very important in setting the mood and creating the ambiance in your home. If your kitchen currently has inadequate or incorrect lighting, adding new light fixtures is a great choice. Choose recess lighting to provide direct light to areas where food is prepared and cooked while keeping the lighting in the entertaining and eating area a little more toned down to set the right mood and create a welcoming ambiance that you are sure to enjoy whether eating dinner with the family or entertaining your friends or coworkers.


Cabinet Hardware – This is an area that you may not give much thought; however, with the right hardware, you can transform your cabinets and make them pop. Your local hardware store, as well as many online retailers, offers plenty of styles of cabinet handles and drawer pulls to choose from. Consider choosing handles in the same finish as your appliances or for visual interest, add colored handles and drawer pulls in the accent color you have chosen to use in your kitchen to help create a cohesive pulled together look.

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Monday, June 3, 2019, 23:00 | No Comments »

If you want to remodel or redecorate your home, I am sure that the first thing on your mind isn’t the amount of money that you are going to get on your investment; however, this is something that you will want to keep in the back of your mind when making choices about any improvements that are to be done. While some home decorating and renovating can pay off in the form of a return when you choose to sell your home, others may not and may even decrease the value of your home. Therefore, it is important for you to think about the best way to invest your decorating and renovating dollars to get the biggest bang for your buck.


● A Fresh Coat of Paint – While you may not think that painting will make that big of a difference; trust me, it will. By choosing the right paint colors you can make large spaces feel smaller and cozier or make small spaces feel more open and spacious. Keep in mind that adding dark colored paint to small rooms will make the room feel smaller, so choose lighter shades for smaller rooms and darker shades for bigger rooms. Or, if you want to bring in another shade of a similar color (complimentary color) into the
space, choose a single wall in the room to act as the accent wall in that space.


● Landscaping and Outdoor Decorating – When you first think about redecorating your home, chances are your bedroom, living room or kitchen come to mind first. However, keeping up with the landscaping and choosing quality home décor supplies and furniture for your outdoor patio deck or entertainment area is a great way to extend your indoor living space outdoors for everyone to enjoy. No need to spend a lot, a simple patio furniture set and a few colorful accessories will quickly transform the space if you are on a minimal budget. When buyers come to look at the home, their perception of the outdoor area should give them a sense that this is a perfect area for entertaining their guets and family.


● Kitchen & Bathroom – When spending money on decorating and renovating your home, you should be aware that the two rooms in your home where you are the most likely to see the highest return dollar for dollar on your investment are in these two rooms. So, if you want to ensure that your budget dollars are spent wisely and are looking to maximize the profit you earn upon the sale of your home, sink your budget into these two rooms making neutral improvements that everyone is sure to love.


Thursday, May 23, 2019, 01:18 | No Comments »

Whether you have just moved into a new home, or simply want to update your current home with a new look and feel; you are faced with a choice. Do you do the designing and decorating yourself? Or perhaps, hire a professional to help you come up with some design ideas, and then do the decorating yourself. The choice between the two is up to you! However, if you want to have full control throughout the process, doing the decorating yourself might be the best route. Not only will this allow you to personalize every detail, but it will also help to save money that you can use to invest in your home décor plans.

● Take Pride in Your Work – When you let someone else do the job for you, you will not have nearly the same feeling of satisfaction as you will have if you do the decorating yourself. This is because although you will be making many decisions when working with a decorator, you won’t be doing the work yourself and therefore, won’t experience the pride that comes from a job well done. If you want to save money and have something to be proud of, then taking on your home decorating and design on your own is a great way to give you a boost of morale.

● Put Your Personality into it - Another great thing about doing the designing and decorating of your home yourself is that you have full control of each and every step of the way. This means that each and every piece of furniture, rug, curtain, and accessory is going to be handpicked by you according to your personal style and taste. By removing the middleman (The designer) you will truly be able to reflect your personality into your own so that it is truly a reflection of you, your style and your personality.

● Take Your Time – When you choose to decorate your home yourself, you will have the luxury of taking your time and doing it in spurts when it is convenient for you. When you hire an interior designer to help you with the process, you will be billed for their time and will have to work around their schedule. Not only is it going to be more convenient to do it yourself on your own time, but it will also allow you to spread out the cost of the home decorating and renovations you need, according to your personal financial needs.


Monday, April 22, 2019, 20:22 | No Comments »

Cool Ideas to Make Your Garden Look Great

After surviving a winter that seemed like it was never going to end, we’ve finally entered outdoor-party weather! Hands up who’s ready for barbecues, lawn games, and alfresco dinners! But is your garden ready?

A well-designed patio, garden or terrace is basically like adding square footage to your home. It should be an extension of your living space, and an area where you enjoy spending most of your time during the summer. It should be beautiful, inviting, and a great place to entertain. Although most outdoor make-overs are expensive, there are a lot of little tricks you can do to spruce things up a little

Just like the inside of your home, patios, terraces and gardens also benefit from seasonal spruce-ups, new furniture, cushions and other accessories like a rug, potted plants, maybe a parasol or barbecue or fire pit etc. But hey, while we’re at it, why stop there? What about a DIY canopy or pergola with flowing curtains, or a built-in fire pit area, outdoor kitchen and pizza oven? And there are shoestring budget friendly ideas too – like making an outdoor cinema with a simple projector and a bed sheet.

So, while it’s probably too late in the game to do a complete outdoor renovation, there are plenty of little things you can do to get your garden or patio in shape for friends, family, and fun. Whatever the shape or size of your outdoor space, these fun ideas will help you take full advantage of warm weather.

Build your own canopy

It goes without saying that patios are a go-to spot for alfresco dining, but rain – or sometimes too much sun – can be a problem when entertaining outside. A simple DIY canopy offers a stylish covering and creates a boho vibe.

You could even have the area completely covered so you can be outside, rain or shine. If the roof is made of beams, you could weave a weatherproof fabric through the beams to keep you dry – or out of the sun.

Create an outdoor cinema

Create your own backyard cinema with a projector and a sheet! Perfect for entertaining, and it can be achieved on a shoe-string budget. A projector is a great investment for any film-lover. Warm evening? String a sheet up between two trees and watch a movie while snuggling up under some blankets with a bag of microwave popcorn.

Bring the indoors out

If it’s looking to be a dry week, bring your living room outside! Snap up an outdoor rug, some outdoor cushions and a coffee table, and create a cozy seating area. Set up your own bar station where you leave outdoor glassware and you’ll thank yourself later! For a more permanent solution, outdoor benches and a concrete or other form of weatherproof coffee table means you won’t have to move things around and you can just leave them outside year-round. Why not add built-in storage to display potted plants, ornaments or outdoor glassware and serve ware?

You could even accessorize with weatherproof floor lamps, framed pictures and mirrors. This arched window mirror is a favorite of mine and would suit any garden.

 Create your own game

A DIY tic-tac-toe game is quick and easy to make and can be a boredom buster on long hazy summer days. Cut out # sign out of some paper and use the paper as a template to paint the pattern onto wood or stone. Then just paint the X’s and O’x on some stones and leave to dry.

Hang up some curtains

Whether you have a generous patio or tiny terrace, curtains can make an outdoor space feel cozier. In a larger space, use them to section off an area – even keeping the curtains tied back can create the illusion of different spaces or areas. If you’re fortunate enough to have a large porch or patio, curtains can help to make it feel more inviting. And in tiny spaces like city balconies, a curtain or even simple mosquito net can create a sense of privacy.

 Build a fire pit

To create a focal point or point of interest in your outdoor space, a built-in fire pit or barbecue area not only provides heat and commands attention (like a fireplace would do in a sitting room), but is also resilient and will stand the test of time.

 Transform your patio

Patio looking a little sad and unloved? Give it a complete refresh with Custom Curve decking. Break free from the traditional straight-and-narrow patio decking (and the kind that gets moldy, slippery and gross), and invest in their Custom Curve which not only fits beautifully on curved or rounded patios, but is also resistant to fading, scratching and mold growth. So, unlike wooden decking, they won’t rot, warp, crack or splinter, and offers an elegant finish requiring minimal maintenance – making it the optimal outdoor flooring for creating an enviable al fresco living space.

And, whereas a traditional timber deck would need to be stained and prepped ahead of winter, Trex is an ultra-low-maintenance option that requires no sanding or sealing. Just an occasional sweep, and a clean with soap and water is all that is needed. Oh, and it’s eco-friendly too, and made from 95% recycled materials.

Create a kitchen bar

Does your kitchen have a window that opens into the garden? Use it to create an outdoor bar area where drinks and food can be passed straight through! All you need is a strong ledge and some bar seating. Or, if budget isn’t an issue, build an outdoor bar area on to the back of the kitchen, where the plumbing can be easily connected to the kitchen.

Build a pizza oven

With a wood fired pizza oven, you can host endless pizza nights! You could either go all out or have a one built in.

No budget? Take your garden way beyond weekend BBQs and build an entertaining space that Gatsby would be jealous of. Outdoor kitchens are more than just an oversized grill on a patio. They can be fitted with fridges, stoves, pizza ovens and ice machines, and almost all are accompanied by seating and dining areas, too. Outdoor kitchens allow you to prepare meals and chat with your guests, without having to run back inside for plates, drinks or grilling utensils every other minute.

 


Monday, April 8, 2019, 18:36 | No Comments »

Choosing Dinnerware

Selecting a dinnerware collection is an exciting task! With a myriad of options to choose, we are here to help narrow your search, and find the style that is perfect for you. Whether you are looking for formal china, or fun, everyday essentials, we break down the basics and answer any questions that may arise.

Understanding Dinnerware Materials

What are the different types of materials used to make dinnerware?

Luxury dinnerware is usually made of either porcelain or bone china. Casual dinnerware is made from earthenware or stoneware because these are usually more durable, easier to care for, and lower in price.

– Porcelain: The key ingredient, kaolin, is what makes porcelain so extraordinary. Fired at the highest temperatures, porcelain combines a stark white appearance with incredible durability to make timeless pieces that will last in beauty and reliability for years to come. Well-known names to consider include Raynaud, Haviland, and Philippe Deshoulieres. And if you appreciate hand-painted porcelain, Herend and Anna Weatherley make beautiful pieces.

Care: Most porcelain items are dishwasher and microwave safe. We recommend hand washing for larger pieces, hand painted collections, or items with gold or platinum decoration. Items with metallic decoration should not be microwaved.

– Bone China: This is a very fine, soft-paste clay that is made from several key ingredients, including bone ash. The result is a beautiful, high translucency white with warm, ivory tones. Considered by many to be the finest quality of china, it has great strength and very high chip-resistance. Brands we suggest Pickard, Royal Crown Derby.

Care: Most bone china items are dishwasher and microwave safe. We recommend hand washing for larger pieces or items with gold or platinum decoration. Items with metallic decoration should not be microwaved.

– Stoneware: Ideal for casual dining, stoneware is fired at very high temperatures to produce pieces which are durable and quite chip-resistant. Available in a numerous range of colors, some pieces also have beautiful crackled surfaces

Care: Dishwasher, microwave, oven, and freezer safe.

– Earthenware: as it is fired at relatively low temperatures, this type of pottery is more porous and less translucent than either porcelain or bone china. These pieces are relatively thick and heavy, and their natural colors range from buff to red, depending on the clay used. A much-beloved characteristic of earthenware is that it is likely to crackle as the clay expands and contracts, but this does not affect the use of the piece

Care: Dishwasher safe; most are microwave safe on low to medium settings. We recommend avoiding sudden temperature changes.

What is Limoges porcelain?

 Limoges refers to a region in France where some of the earliest porcelain pieces were produced as far back as 1765. For centuries, the name Limoges has represented the finest quality and craftsmanship in porcelain throughout the world.  Limoges porcelain is very white; most of the best-known producers of French porcelain are based in Limoges.

What are some simple ways to determine quality in dinnerware?

You can determine the quality of porcelain and fine china with a few simple tests:

– Hold the piece up to the light and you should be able to see the shadow of your hand behind the porcelain.

– Flick the plate with your fingers and listen for a resonant ring.

– Examine the color and make sure the glaze is even; the finish should be smooth and lustrous.

Dinnerware Styles

What dinnerware styles are available?

Generally, dinnerware is broken down into casual and formal collections.   From there, you can choose between four major styles: solid (meaning one color throughout, with no pattern), banded, patterned, and hand painted.

And for outdoor entertaining, there are also outdoor dinnerware collections available.

Suggested Quantities

How many dinnerware collections do I need?

In making this decision, we suggest considering the size of your family, the type of entertaining you are most likely to do (formal seated dinners or buffet brunches), and the complexity of your menus. Many people choose to have at least one casual collection for everyday use and one formal collection for selected occasions (usually porcelain).

How many settings do I need?

We recommend registering for twelve five-piece place settings, as these will see you through most dinner parties. These five-piece settings typically include a dinner plate, salad or dessert plate, bread and butter plate, tea cup, and tea saucer. On more casual collections, you will sometimes see four-piece settings available. These normally include a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and mug. While you may not always be entertaining for twelve, having additional pieces will guarantee that you have spares when items break, or unexpected guests show up. From time to time, collections or specific pieces do get discontinued, so if you love a piece, buy it while you can.

What is included in a five-piece place setting?

A five-piece formal setting consists of a dinner plate, salad plate, bread/butter plate, teacup, and saucer.

What is included in a four-piece place setting?

On more casual collections, you will sometimes see four-piece settings available.  These normally include a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and mug.

What are standard dinnerware sizes?

Sizes sometimes vary slightly among different collections, but they are generally as follows:

Presentation Plate           12″ diameter

Dinner Plate       10.5″ diameter

Dessert Plate     8.5″ diameter

Salad Plate          7.5″ diameter

Bread/Butter Plate          6.75″ diameter

What is a presentation plate?

Also known as chargers or buffet plates, presentation plates are oversized plates (12″ diameter) designed to add color and style to your table setting. These are usually removed before the main course is served, although they are also frequently used as buffet dinner plates since they can hold larger quantities of food.

What kinds of serving pieces do I need?

When registering for dinnerware, it is easy to overlook serving pieces. However, these items are not only great for unifying your collection, they are necessities that will be essential for cooking, entertaining, and everyday dining. We recommend the following as a starting point:

– Two to three serving dishes

– Two serving bowls or salad bowls

– One covered casserole dish

– One cake platter (or better yet, a cake stands for a better presentation)

– One tea and/or coffee service (this should include the teapot or coffee pot, creamer, and sugar bowl)

Caring for Dinnerware

 How do I care for my dinnerware?

 Most dinnerware items are microwave and dishwasher safe, unless they are decorated with gold or silver.  We recommend hand washing for larger pieces, hand painted collections, or items with gold or platinum decoration. Items with metallic decoration should not be microwaved.

Monogramming

How should I monogram my dinnerware?

If you choose to have your dinnerware monogrammed, consider several different options. Single-letter monograms usually feature the first initial of the last name. On three-letter monograms, most individuals choose to have their first, middle, and last or first, last, and middle initials embroidered. For married couples, a popular choice is the initials of the couple’s first names on either side of their married last name.

Happy Dining!