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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Why All The Questions?

Can you believe we're on the doorstep of February?  December and January have been brutal, "survival of the fittest" kind of weather, and we are glad to see them go! When the Valentine month is here, Spring is just around the corner, and very welcome. But meanwhile, we have a few more weeks of the cold stuff, and no better time to make plans and daydream a bit about some of the changes we want to make in the coming months, while we are snuggled up in front of the fireplace.
Of course, there are the "I'm gonna be a better me" kind of changes: eat better, do more charity work, spend more time with our families. But for most of us, changes to our environment are more realistic, and a lot more fun! How would you like your home to look? How will that change the way it functions? What really works for you and your family? Are you more concerned about looks? Saving money? Spending less time cleaning? These are echoes of the questions we ask folks when they come  into the store.

We are trying to determine what product will be the best fit for our client.  Sometimes a customer will come in with a picture in the head (or in their hand) of what they think they want. And sometimes that is exactly what they get. But there are times when the want is just not what will really work best for them and their family. Smooth grain, beautiful maple floors, for instance. Gorgeous, yes. With two big dogs that you adore? NO! You'd regret those floors in a few weeks, and we would have done you a disservice to sell them to you. With big dogs (or with active children) you need a floor that won't show every little ding. Because, really, dings are gonna happen. So, rethink your vision, and let's look at a floor with better wearability for active families and big dog lovers. A nice distressed hickory floor, or a beautiful laminate, or one of the gorgeous luxury vinyl planks. There's your sweet spot!

And carpet! If you have been in the store lately, you've seen how many choices there are: textures, patterns, colors, weave, pile, fibers..... it can be overwhelming!  We ask a LOT of questions, trying to steer you towards the best decision for you and your family. There are so many different situations, so many carpets.  Relax, we've done this before.  Once we understand your lifestyle and what you are trying to accomplish, we will recommend the right product for you.  

This should be your mindset whenever you are making a purchase for your home- what works best for me and my family? Is this a realistic purchase, something that will really serve you and the kind of life that you want for yourself and your family? Who lives in your house? Who will live there in 5 years? Are you an empty nester who may be downsizing in the next few years? Less responsibility, more fun! If so, congratulations! Then consider, when redecorating, what will make your house more attractive to potential buyers in the coming years.

Less Is More
As you're thinking ahead, go ahead and unload some of your unneeded possessions. Start small-- go through kitchen tools. Throw away the ones that have been limping along for years, the tongs without a spring, the cake pan that always sticks, that hand can opener that never worked right. Toss 'em! You will find it is like losing a bit of weight! And it is addicting! When you realize how liberating it is to get rid of stuff, you may become a Minimalist!
There are a couple of great books with guidance on decluttering and letting go of the possessions that weigh you down. Sometimes we don't throw something out just because we've always had it. Sometimes we have an emotional attachment to things, or perhaps an attachment to the memories they bring. Yet there are so many good reasons to give things away-- that benefit you and the recipient.

Read "The Life-changing Art of Tidying Up" by Kondo for some help for the emotional part of letting go.  Also check out "New Minimalism"by Fortin and Quilici. They offer some real and realistic methods for getting rid of things and keeping clutter at bay. Fortin and Quilici have some good ideas for organizations that would be grateful for the items you are looking to give away:
~~Local libraries for books and periodicals
~~Preschools for paper, art, and office supplies
~~Church organizations that accept unopened toiletries and unexpired non perishables. (Here in Marietta we recommend Must Ministries)
~~Pet rescue centers are always grateful for worn but usable towels, sheets, and blankets.

Meet Rosy Robin
If you have been in the store recently, you probably know that we currently have a canine visitor. Rosy is a sweet pit/boxer mix who is a foster through Angels Among Us Pet Rescue. She is looking for her forever home. Rosy is the latest visitor in our "foster facility." We are all dog lovers, and work in rescue on our days off. We are always happy to talk about dogs!

Design Tip   
When designing a room, many people tend to stick to the comfort and ease of neutral colors. While an all neutral palette creates a space that is easy on the eyes, warm, and sophisticated, the neutrals can begin to wash out and the end result is a bland space. How can you successfully execute a neutral color scheme? Read on to find out.
 ---Use variations of the neutral hue:  If you're afraid to design with color, try using different shades of the neutral color throughout the room.  Yes, you'll want to take a monochromatic approach, but use several undertones of the color. For example, in a greige living room, you might use the darkest of the shade on the windows treatments,  a lighter shade for the couch, and other beige or grey tones for your pillows and accessories.

---Contrast with textures:  Utilizing just one texture in a room of neutrals is guaranteed to make the design fall flat.  If you have a microfiber or suede couch, then try adding hints of leather and matte textures. Light absorbs and reflects various textures differently, so always use a mixture of weave or coarseness.

---Create interest with shapes:  Since we've removed the color element from the design, it's time to play around with shapes to really catch the attention of your guests. You might use side tables or an ottoman that features a unique shape. Chairs and sofas with details on the arm and legs also work.

---Play with patterns:  Don't shy away from patterns. A large-scale pattern on the upholstery that features colors from your neutral palette allows you to stick to the theme while creating some visual interest. You can also use pattern pillows and textiles. Use pattern pieces of different composition, some with a shine to them while others that are matte.

How Much Does It Cost?
What's hot in hardwoods?  Wide planks and low gloss finishes. And lots of wood---we are doing entire main levels of homes in wood floors.  We are installing a 5" butternut oak with a matte finish in almost every room of the home for a Marietta client.  Living room, dining room, three bedrooms, hall and foyer:  almost 1600 square feet for a little over $13,000.  This price includes removing the existing flooring (wood and carpet), moving all the furniture, new shoemold and transition strips.  As our client told us:  this will be the last floor she has to purchase for her home.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

What's Your Issue

We get a lot of questions about vacuum cleaners--so here is a short educational treatise on them, and how to decide on the right one for you. There is NO one size fits all when it comes to vacuum cleaners, because there are many different types, many different functions, and many different issues. SO--pick your issue, and then decide which vacuum cleaner will work best for you. We are not going to discuss specific machines or their ratings. There are plenty of comparisons and ratings available on the internet. We just want to help clarify how to decide what fits your needs the best.

Here are some issues we will discuss:
Hardwood vs. carpet
Animal hair
Bagged vs. bagless
Upright vs. canister
Ultra soft carpet
Cord vs. cordless
If you have mostly hardwood, or any hard surface floors, your needs are obviously different from those of a homeowner with lots of carpet. Hard surfaces, which include wood floors, luxury vinyls, laminates, and tile, need to have those floors cleaned of dust and grit on a regular basis, but without a beater bar. Many vacuum cleaners, both uprights and canisters, allow the beater bar to be turned off, so look for one that does.

Carpet as well should be vacuumed on a regular basis, whether you can see the dirt or not. Grit is detrimental to the integrity of your carpet fiber, so keep it vacuumed frequently, especially in high traffic areas. A beater bar is helpful on carpet, as its function is to bounce all those little particles loose and into the path of the suction. If you have been lucky enough to buy one of the new super soft carpets, you'll need a couple of specific features on your machine. Look for a vacuum cleaner with a setting for high (tall) carpet, larger wheels, and/or venting to prevent a suction lock.
If you are a pet owner (or owned by a pet) you'll want to look
for a vacuum cleaner that specializes in getting up pet hair from carpet and from hard surfaces. There are many on the market. An additional tip: We at Enhance are dog lovers, and some of us have found it helpful to spray an anti-static product on the carpets before vacuuming.

The upright versus canister has been a debate for years. Twenty years ago, canister vacs did a better job of picking up because they could form a better seal and create better suction. This is no longer an issue with improvements made in recent technology. There are some very good uprights out there. Your needs and preferences should dictate this choice. Canisters have the advantage of being able to reach farther up under furniture, but may be more cumbersome to store. Uprights in general are less expensive than canisters, although there are exceptions to this. Senior citizens or petite women may prefer a canister so as not to have work of operating the heavy upright. This is a choice that you make based on preference, not need.

The same is true for another feature--automatic cord windup is a convenience but certainly not a necessity.

The last feature to think about is about the end user, not the performance of the vacuum cleaner--bagged versus bagless. Bagless seems great--no more bags to buy or worry about putting in or taking out. However--a bagless vacuum cleaner means the collection cup will need to be emptied. And if you have pets it gets nasty!  For folks with allergies or asthma this may be an issue.

So, the end story is decide which issues are your priority, read the many reviews available, and choose the vacuum cleaner that fits your needs.

January Is The Time To Buy
***Sound Bars---prices tend to drop as Super Bowl Sunday draws near
***Televisions---Discounts are almost as good at the end of January as they are on Black Friday
***Treadmills---Fitness items, even big ones, get deep discounts this month

Design File
We are just a couple of weeks in, but it seems like so long already since the New Year began! There are articles every day on what is trending for 2018, and what is not. White kitchen cabinets are out. Light to medium wood cabinets are in. Beautiful bold geometric tile designs for the floor are in. Succulents are so 2017. Bar carts are over.

What is in are warm neutrals and matte finish hardware. Marble looks are in, and we carry many, in floor tile, wall tile, and countertops. Lately we have remodeled three bathrooms in all marble looks, so gorgeous and classic! So, toss out those succulents, roll those bar carts to the curb, and come in to see us about installing gorgeous new wood cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom, along with some fabulous new geometric tile floors! We are so IN!

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Lisa in Sandy Springs writes "Enhance put in laminate for me, replacing some old and dirty carpet.  My favorite enhancements, though, are the solid oak treads they put in. They are simply beautiful!  All work was extremely professional and completed in two days."
Thank you. Lisa! We know that you quickly sold your home, and we are sure that the new floors and staircase helped the buyer fall in love with the house immediately.

How Much Does It Cost?
The cost to makeover a staircase tends to surprise our clients.  Staircases work is all custom---you can't use a big drum sander on a tread, everything used on the staircase is custom, and the finishing work is done by hand.  But wow! they turn out beautiful!  We recently installed an updated staircase for a client in Marietta.  11 treads plus one larger tread with a return, 13 oak risers, and the finishing detail---sand, stain and urethane coat the new treads and risers for $2400.  (This did NOT include new balusters, handrails, or newel posts.)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Well, friends, it's that time of year again. Time for us to vow to do better, be healthier, start that IRA account.  How many of us will actually follow through? The numbers are dismal. We have the best of intentions, but then... reality intercedes.

There are some things we need to do for real reasons--to protect our investment in our homes, for instance. There are lots of lists available for annual chores that are important to proper upkeep. Some of those are so unrealistic. Others are inappropriate for Georgia, such as inspecting your tire chains.

What are some of your annual to-do's? Are you preparing for winter weather? Do you have a seasonal checklist of chores to be done? We have compiled a list of some of the jobs we think are the most realistic for an Atlanta area homeowner while being important as well:

~~Inspect and change your HVAC filters. I know, you've been meaning to get around to it. Me too. I wish it were more accessible! They are so darn inconvenient! Wouldn't it be nice if these could be in your laundry room? I sure would change mine more often if I didn't have to climb up into the attic to do it. And by the way, lots of research suggests that it is better for your HVAC system to use cheaper filters and change them more often (monthly), than to use the expensive filters and change a few times a year.

~~Inspect and update your fire extinguishers. Make sure
that you and other family members have easy access to them.
(We find it more of a challenge to put out the fire when you are digging through the bottom of the broom closet for the extinguisher!) Your extinguishers are dated and show an expiration date. Also, be sure they are properly pressurized.

~~Test and change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Did you take the batteries out of your smoke alarm because you were burning a lot of candles at Thanksgiving dinner, because the alarm kept going off? Time to replace them!

~~And while you are replacing batteries, gather and test all the flashlights in the house, and replace any batteries that have died. The next power outage (and there will be one) you'll be so glad you did this!

~~Inspect the weather proofing around doors and windows and replace it where needed. This will cut down on those cold drafts, and save on your heating bill.

~~Is it time to reseal the grout in your bathroom? Be sure and get it clean and dry before applying the sealer. And next time you have a project done involving grout, ask us to use Fusion Pro grout. It is a single component grout that resists mold and mildew, and never needs resealing. We highly recommend it!

~~Flush your hot water heater and remove the sediment. I confess I have never done this and would not know where to start. All the lists have this as an important annual chore, so I am including it. Time to check You Tube videos for a How To!
~~One chore that I have done (maybe not once a year) is to vacuum the coils under the refrigerator. This helps the fridge run better, saves power, and makes you feel productive. Not to mention, you may find something that's been missing for a while.

~~As it is the end of the year, you should also keep the dreaded T word in mind.....Taxes.  As you are cleaning and sorting, remember to gather and sort all your stray receipts. As good as your intentions and attempts have been all year, there are always a few that didn't make it into the box or files where you normally keep them.

~~Purge a few closets in the house so that you can make a donation to a charity that collects for those in need. Did you
buy too many French cut green beans when they were on sale? Some food pantry would be happy to have them. They help so many people, and are always in need, so please- clean out your pantry and donate! And did you get a new winter coat this year? There is always a need for coats, warm clothing, blankets, and especially socks. Animal shelters are always very appreciative of sheets and towels, too.

So, if you are ready to part with anything, if your closet needs to be pared down, remember someone can use your cast-offs. As Marie Kondo says, if your possessions are no longer serving you, allow them to serve someone else.  

And keep checking off the chore list. There will be some of these that you don't need to do, others that you may want to add. If we have missed something, we'd love to hear your input! For your home's safety and well-being as well as your own and that of your family, tend to these annual "honey-do's" and then go play. You will be happier for having done it.
Design Tip
Circles will be increasingly popular in 2018.  Look for this geometric pattern in accessories like pillows, rugs, mirrors, and wallpaper.

How Much Does It Cost?
We just installed 319 square feet of top-of-the-line luxury vinyl (COREtec HD) in a kitchen with breakfast area, foyer, and half bath.  This easy to care for waterproof floor was installed for $3000, which included removal of the existing floor coverings, moving appliances and toilet, new shoemold and transitions.  Our client is thrilled with this worry free new floor.

I Was FLOORED By Enhance
Damon in Marietta writes that "Enhance Floors was professional and on time, and they did excellent work. I purchased new hardwood floors for the entire main level of my home and it was a really great job. They did what they said they were going to do when they said they would do it, and they cleaned up afterward. We have pets, and there were no issues with keeping doors closed. They were just very reliable and easy to work with. I'd use them again in a heartbeat."  Thank you Damon---enjoy your new distressed wood floors.  The low gloss finish was a smart choice to hold up well with your boys and animals.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What to Look for in 2018

Who Knows How to Hygge?
There are lots of articles out currently about Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) which is a Scandinavian word for coziness. Those folks know all about comfort and relaxation. Let's take some of our winter clues from them---stopping and spending a few minutes with a neighbor, having a cup of coffee or tea, or simply enjoying doing nothing for a few minutes.

A lot of the trends that we are seeing for 2018 seem hygge-inspired. There is a warmth, a coziness, a harking back to easier, less hectic times. Here are a few:

Green will continue to be big, but we will see more of the deeper, richer greens- emerald, olive, and avocado. Beautiful. 

Along with green, there is a resurgence of warm wood tones in wood furniture, warm and gleaming wood floors, and in an overall turn to neutral and more natural earth tones.

In keeping with that vibe, house plants are coming back, and windows are getting bigger and filling our homes with light and warmth. Plants add such a nice real-life feel to a home, as well as being helpful to the air quality in your home. Just be careful watering them, and protect those floors underneath!

Porcelain tile floors are a perfect option if you have a green thumb and love to enjoy your plants indoors. They are totally impervious to water, and stain and scratch resistant. Lots of natural wood looks are available now, some so realistic, visitors will think they are real wood! Porcelain floors are extremely low maintenance (particularly with a stain resistant grout) and completely inhospitable to bacteria. These new wood looks also compliment the natural woodsy earth tone feel of a home. Porcelain can be used indoors or outside, on floors or in a vertical treatment. If you are in the market for new flooring, and need a floor that excels in performance and durability, come in and talk to us about porcelain!

Textures are important in the new trend forecast as well. Velvet is making a comeback after being out of style for years, and we love it. So rich and soft! 

Golden metallic hues are being welcomed back in fixtures, knobs and handles, and furniture, in a glowing, brushed look.  

Coffee bar space is now trending in our homes. A special corner dedicated to the coffee maker, mugs, maybe a place for breakfast pastries, and all the coffee accoutrements. Sound cozy, huh?

Do you have a library in your home? We are told this is a "thing!" I grew up going to the library weekly and always found it a comfy welcoming peaceful place. I feel a little sorry for today's generation who are all about e-books and digital information and will never know the smell of a card catalog. Having a library in your home now is all about the look and vibe of an old-school room for a comfy warm drink and some downtime. I hope that it will include sinking into a big soft overstuffed chair with a great book in front of a fireplace. That's my idea of hygge.

How Much Does It Cost?
Unfortunately, nothing is ever the price as we thought it would be it- always costs more! This is true in my life and I am sure it is true in yours, too.  We just worked with a client that is updating her master bathroom before putting her home on the market.  The cost came in almost double what she hoped for.  The bathroom is on the smallish size, but our client is totally tearing out her shower (including the walls) and the bathroom floor.  The tear-out and disposal, new tile (approximately 200 square feet) and complete installation is around $6000 total (this includes new shoemold and transitions and some plumbing work) and the new shower glass door is $1000.  This may seem like a lot of money, but updated bathrooms really boost the value of your home.  Neutral choices appeal to almost every prospective buyer and this is one project they will not have to undertake once they move in.  Sometimes you truly have to spend a little money to make a lot more money!  The Enhance Design Consultants will advise you on making the best choices possible when resale is your main consideration.

I Was Floored By Enhance
Pat in Smyrna tells us: "Enhance Floors did a great job. They did wood floors, ceramic tile, and carpet, and it all turned out great. The employees were great-they were professional and respectful. At first, I had called another company I saw on TV. They came out, and they refused to quote me because my husband wasn't on-site. So, we went to Enhance, which was right up the road from us. I'd give them an A-I had no complaints at all. I would use them again in a heartbeat."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Easy Holiday Survival Tips
This is a crazy busy time of year.  Here are a few of our favorite ideas and tips to help you stay calm and enjoy the holidays:

~~Keep a couple of packages of frozen cookie dough on hand to pop in the oven when you have unexpected guests.

 ~~Yummmm, we all love the smells of the holidays.  Keep a simmer pot going with cloves, nutmeg, and other spices to give your
 home a fragrant holiday smell.

~~Set aside a single place to collect receipts throughout the season for returning or exchanging items. Update your budget list as you make purchases so you do not overspend.

~~Once school is out, the kids will be bored.  Create an inexpensive family tradition---purchase a ready-made wreath of greens and then gather items to decorate it. Use pine cones, ribbons, crystals, feathers, beaded garland or homemade paper snowflakes.

~~Use lots of candles. Nothing makes a room feel warmer and more inviting than candlelight.  Plus if unexpected company arrives, it is not as easy to see the dust in a dimly lit room!

~~Have pets?  Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to-complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their crate or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

~~Shop when others don't.  To avoid getting your bags-and your holiday spirit-crushed by throngs of weekend shoppers, take advantage of retail stores' extended weekday hours. For example, toy stores, which can be a nightmare during the day and early evening, are wonderfully quiet after most kids' bedtimes.

~~Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.  Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallow the pieces. Stick with chew toys that are basicallyindestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or an interactive cat dancer-and tons of play sessions together.

~~Feeling cozy is as mental as it is physical. Add a touch of nostalgia to create coziness. 'Tis the season for sentimentality. Put out some Santa pieces or other family "heirlooms" on a buffet, and keep treats, sweets and cookies out so that the casual nibbler can enjoy themselves. Make a pot of hot cocoa to welcome your family into the kitchen.

~~Many of us have a relative(s) with dementia.  Persons with dementia may experience changes in judgment. This behavior may lead to confusion, frustration, or wandering. Consider these tips from The Alzheimers Association to reduce the risk of injury and situations that could be confusing to someone with dementia.

**Assign a "buddy" to watch out for the person to ensure their comfort.

**Arrange ample space for walking side-by-side, for wheelchairs, and walkers. Keep walking areas clear.

**Consider seating options so the person with Alzheimer's can best focus on conversation and be least distracted.

**Don't serve alcohol, which may lead to inappropriate behavior or interactions with medications.

**Accommodate changes in vision. Place contrasting-color rugs in front of doors or steps.  Avoid dark-colored rugs that may appear to be "holes."

**Limit access to places where injuries occur, such as a kitchen or stairwell. Check temperature of water and food. 

**Create even level of lighting; avoid blinking lights.

**Keep decorations simple; avoid using candies, artificial fruits/vegetables, or other edibles as decorations.

**Supervise in taking medicine.

**Keep emergency phone numbers and a list of medications handy.

Colors to Look for in 2018
The paint companies are announcing their 2018 Color of the

 Year. Funny how they never agree, right?  Here are the colors 
to look for: 
~~Behr has chosen In The Moment ---a cool, tranquil, spruce blue that is inspired by nature.  This comfortable color (a combination of blue, gray, and green) evokes a sense of sanctuary and relaxation and is ideal for traditional, modern, coastal, and global décor.

~~Benjamin Moore has selected Caliente---a strong red that pairs well with warm weathered woods, misty ocean blues and greens, and deep grays.

~~PPG announces Black Flame as their color of the year-a statement-making black, infused with an undertone of the deepest indigo.  This timeless neutral "acts like a black curtain, allowing your other décor elements to take center stage," said Dee Schlotter, PPG senior color marketing manager. "It's a fantastic blend of black and indigo, two classic hues. Black creates the silence we crave in an information-heavy world, while the indigo offers possibility and a deep hopefulness. The blend of two colors makes it incredibly versatile - use it on a statement wall, with a matte finish on a ceiling, with high gloss on a naturally-lit staircase, on cabinets, interior and exterior doors and in many more places. The versatile hue can also provide strength and a modern luxe vibe to spaces with a lot of whites, blush pinks and soft pastels."

~~Sherwin Williams is almost in agreement with Behr with its selection of Oceanside, a collision of rich blue with jewel-toned green. Oceanside's multi-dimensional, marine-inspired look can create a welcoming statement as a lively color for a front door.  It's green-meets-blue tone can also boost creative thinking and clarity of thought in a home office, or invite meditation and introspection into a bedroom or reading nook. Oceanside is universal when it comes to design style from mid-century modern to Mediterranean-inspired, traditional to contemporary.

I Was Floored By Enhance
Allison in Marietta loves her new carpet.  Here's her review:
"I liked the workers, I liked the product, and they were able to fit into my time schedule. I liked the person I worked with when selecting the carpet. We did two different kinds of carpets, and they helped us figure out what we needed. They helped us with the color coordination, and they helped us decide what would be best for our house. I would absolutely recommend Enhance Floors!"

Friday, December 1, 2017

Telling You Our Secrets

We remodel a lot of bathrooms. We work with customers to achieve their goals, and we always try to give them the bathroom of their dreams. Sometimes this is realistic, sometimes not. Sometimes a customer knows exactly what they want, sometimes they just know it needs to be new, different, updated, or changed. We work with our clients from whatever their starting point is. Along the way, we have learned a few things, which we'd like to share.

First. Remove all of your belongings from your bathroom yourself. Do not have someone else do this. Trust us. You will be looking for those extra razor blades in a couple of weeks and cursing yourself ( or someone else.) I tell customers the same thing I do to anyone planning a move: Pack a suitcase, as if you're going on vacation, with everything you will need for the next few weeks. Toiletries, meds, cosmetics. All the stuff you use on a daily or almost daily basis. Then you won't be scrambling for  aspirin and clueless about where it might be. You can thank us later.

Never demo the bathroom until all the new materials are in your hands, opened, and inspected. Something is going to come in wrong. If you anticipate it, you'll be a lot less stressed when it actually happens. There are a lot of "moving parts" to a remodel, so take a deep breath and plan for something to go if not wrong, then at least slightly off-track. Everything is fixable. Demo is messy, dirty, and exhausting. It is NOT fun like they say on HGTV, and nobody likes to do it, but it's gotta get done, so move things, cover things, and protect things that are nearby.

When you are still in the planning phase, here are some things to think about: 

Use graph paper to accurately diagram the tile installation and any borders and accents.  Be detailed.  Do you want the 4" x 12" field tile installed vertically or horizontally?  Exactly how many rows of the 1" mosaic do you want, three rows or four?  How high do you want the accent strip and how many rows of tile do you want above it?  Houzz and Pinterest are great sources of ideas, and showing us a visual of what you want is very helpful to our estimator and installers.  Please be aware that any changes made after the installation has begun will delay the project.  Many of our specialty tiles are not stocked locally.

Plan extra electrical outlets. You always need more. One is never enough. Hairdryers, toothbrushes, shavers, and cell phone chargers are just a few of the things we have on the vanity.

Niche space is great, but where are you going to put all the other stuff in the shower? Razor, loofah, soap, special soap, other special soap, and so on? And where are you going to hang your washcloth between showers?

Go ahead and plan every little detail, no matter how trivial it seems- robe hooks, towel bars, the toilet paper holder.  If you don't plan a space, there may not be a space! Here is a list of things traditionally kept in the bathroom. Put some thought into where they will be in yours: Extra toilet paper, towels, washcloths, a bowl brush, and unfortunately, a plunger. It seems like in recent years, medicine cabinets have gone away. But they are available, lots of them! Great styles, sizes, and other options. We love a medicine cabinet- so much great storage for lots of things you need!

If you are going to have a bathtub, do some research. Go to the showroom, and climb in! Not every tub fits every body. This is the ultimate relaxation tool, so get the one that works best for you. Will it be a soaker tub, or a tub with massage jets? Make sure it is long enough or deep enough. Again, get in the tub yourself. If you go to a showroom and they won't allow you to do this, find another showroom.  This is an expensive purchase, and it's important to get it right.
BTW if you don't use your bathtub, it's ok to not have one, as long as there is one somewhere else in your home. At least half the master bathroom remodels we do involve removing  the tub permanently to increase the size of the shower and/or to add a larger vanity.
When planning tiles on shower walls, make it easy (and less expensive) for you and for the tile guy. Have the wall built so it is an even measurement with your tile size. This way, the tile will not have to be cut (at least for the height) saving time and money.

Lighting is important in the bathroom. For powder rooms, a vanity light only is ok, but in a frequently used full bathroom, you'll need more light than that. Can lights work well in the bathroom.  And if it is the room where cosmetics will be applied, consider sidelights for that as well.

By the way, be sure your electrician remembers to offset the wiring to the vanity lights so that the plumber can install pipes behind that wall. He should know that, but....

Paint a large sample of your color on the bathroom wall and observe it at different times of the day to be sure you're getting exactly what you want. (Actually, this is a good thing to do an any room.)

The last tip we're going to mention is the one that you will hear over and over: Put some extra money in the budget. Frequently something comes up that you forgot, or decide to upgrade, or didn't plan on. So set aside a little bit for the unplanned. And then if you don't need it- Great!

It all may seem a bit intimidating, but we are here to help. We do bathroom remodels on an ongoing basis, so we can foresee problems, help you make decisions, and guide you in making the smart choices for you, your family, and your budget. Come in and tell us about your bathroom project today!

The Right Light
Seasonal lighting can bring big cheer to your home throughout the holidays.  Don't let smiles turn into frowns because of accidents involving unsafe use of holiday lights.  Keep these tips in mind when decking the halls, walls, and more this season.

1. Inspect light strings. Discard any light strings that are damaged, frayed or cracked.  Worn electrical cords or broken sockets are leading fire hazards during the holiday.

2. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Limit the number of lights strings you connect to three.  Adding more can cause lights to overheat and create a fire hazard.
3. Replace burned-out bulbs promptly.  Replace burned out light bulbs as soon as you see they've burned out. Don't leave a light socket empty. Empty light sockets can cause the entire string to overheat.
4. Don't use outdoor lights indoors.  Outdoor lights get too hot for interior use.  For the coolest bulbs and the greatest energy efficiency, try LED lights, which comes in a wide range of styles and colors.
5. Make sure outdoor lighting is UL- rated for exterior use. Exterior lights, unlike those used inside the house, need to be weather-resistant. The same goes for any extension cords used outdoors.
6. Don't attach light strings with nails or staples. Use UL-approved hangers when hanging light strings.  Nails and staples can cut through the wire insulationand create a fire hazard.
7. Take exterior lights down within 90 days of decorating. The longer exterior lights stay up, the more likely they are to suffer damage from weather and critters chewing on them.
8. Store lights safely.  Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets.  After the holidays, take the time to coil each string of lights loosely around a stiff piece of cardboard. Protect the bulbs by wrapping them in paper or plastic. Store everything in a sturdy container until next year.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You
My Home Improvement Magazine has announced the "Best of 2017"contest winners and we are thrilled to announce that we won Best Place For Flooring.  We had some very stiff competition; most of the companies we were up against are much bigger than us, and thanks to YOUR votes, we won!  Thank you for voting and letting all of Atlanta know where to come for new floor coverings!