Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

The Ultimate Laundry Room

Do you like to do laundry? Nope…didn’t think so. Most of us do not prefer to spend much time on house chores, especially the ones that require us to spend an ample amount of time in a usually cramped and boring space. While great laundry room design won’t necessarily change your life, it can help make the task a little less painful. Here are some do’s and don’ts for designing and decorating your laundry room, and some inspiring photos to get the creative juices flowing!
DO have counter top space. Even if your space is small, investing on front loaders can allow you to install a counter above the appliances. Believe us, it’s worth it.

If space allows, DO install a sink. A built in sink. This is quickly becoming standard, and a adds value to the room and your house.
DON’T have a carpeted floor. Tile is best, wood and vinyl also work. Do have a nice rug in there to warm the feet. And if you must have carpet (for instance, a master closet install), be sure and have an automatic shut off valve.

DON’T build around your old appliances. Like the kitchen, they are the actual working piece, and nothing is worse than a great designed room around out of date appliances. If updating the room but not ready to invest in the w/d quite yet, be sure to allow space for upgrades in the future.
DO have plenty of storage, whether its cabinets, baskets, shelves, etc. Usually a combo works best. Again, even the tightest of spaces can have good storage is properly thought out.

Do have a place for hang drying clothes. Get creative, but be sure there is a place to hang the delicates.

DON’T be boring. The laundry room is a great place to be creative, and even kitschy. Fresh, clean feeling colors are great, and be bold in experimenting with pattern. Some painted cabinets are a quick way to add detail.



Lighting Your Bathroom

One of the most common problems I run into when remodeling is lighting the bathroom. While it can actually be simple enough, it seems almost every bath I walk into doesn’t have sufficient lighting. First of all, consider the use of the bathroom. A powder room can have dim lighting – which can actually add to the mood of the room. Powder rooms are often artistic jewels in the house, and too bright of lighting can be detrimental to the ambiance.

Powder Room with Ambiance

A powder room with ambiance

In the master bath, however, it is imperative to have good lighting. The vanity is of course the most important area to light – as this is where shaving, make-up, and hair are done. While most baths seem to have bright overhead lights above the mirror – this is simply inadequate. Even if the lighting is bright, if it all comes from overhead sources it is going to create shadows on the face that will interfere with shaving and makeup application. Overhead lighting is good to have to create general light- but side lighting at the vanity mirror is very important for daily tasks.

Sconces Add Lighting

Sconces add lighting at the sides of the face

Overhead lights combined with side lighting

Overhead lights combined with side lighting

Task lighting in an enclosed shower is also very important. In a shower the light fixture must be fully enclosed – a can light with a frosted lens is perfect for this. Keep in mind that the lens acts as a diffuser and will make the light quite a bit dimmer – so error on the side of caution and use two if necessary. If the shower does not have a lot of glass, say in the instance of a steam shower, I use two cans for a 3’x6’ shower. If there is a lot of glass and the shower gets a fair amount of general light from the main bath area, then you can opt for one.

Ample shower lighting

Lighting is one of the most innovative specialties in interior design – and new products are constantly flooding the market. Shower systems with integrated lighting and shower heads, body sprays, and even integrated music are now available. Mirrors for the vanity with built in lights help keep a clean aesthetic around the vanity, and also provide great light for the face.

Shower Lighting

Shower lighting

Built-in mirror lights

Built-in mirror lights

Taking care of your marble and granite

With stone becoming more and more affordable every day, it is important to know how to maintain your various types of counter tops, flooring, and other stone products. Often used on table tops, shower stalls, and other areas – granites, marbles, lime stones and the likes are becoming part of everyday home care. Here are some basics for your stone cleaning.

Basic everyday maintenance:

• Regularly dust the surface
• Clean the surface with a few drops of neutral cleaner, stone soap, or mild liquid dishwash detergent and warm water
• Use a clean rag
• Rinse the surface thoroughly after washing with a soap solution and dry with a soft cloth
• Too much cleaner or soap can leave streaks or cause a film
• Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar, or other acids
• Do not use cleaners that contain ammonia
• Do not use scouring powders or liquids: these products contain abrasives that could scratch the finish
• Blot up spills immediately
• Sealing is recommended every 6 months to a year, depending on your stone and type of use. Follow manufacturer’s instructions

Polished floor care:

DO damp-mop your floor regularly. Don’t use just water: it won’t cut through soil and will leave streaks. We recommend using a solution of water and “Mb-1”, Marble, Granite and More Floor Cleaner, in the proportion indicated in the bottle’s back-label. DON’T rinse. The formulation of Mb-1 includes specially selected inorganic salts that are meant to be left on the surface of the stone and act as moisturizers, as well as optical brighteners. When used in the right proportion and with the right means, Mb-1 will leave your floor totally streak-free and it will actually enhance the shine of your floor!

DON’T damp-mop your floor using a solution of water and stone soap. Like any other soap, stone soap WILL leave a hard-to-remove deposit on the surface of the stone. Always use a pH neutral floor detergent, opposed to soap.

DON’T damp-mop your floor using a solution of water with a commercially available cleaner, unless its label specifically indicates that its use is safe on natural marble (cultured marble is not marble: its manmade plastic material). Worse yet,

If your floor is in a foyer, or any other room with direct access to the outside,

Shower stall care:

DON’T use any cleanser, either in a powdery or creamy form.

DON’T use any generic soap film remover, such as ‘TILEX SOAP SCUM”, or “X-14 SOAP SCUM”, or the likes on your polished stone shower stall.
DON’T use any generic mildew stain remover, such as “TILEX MILDEW STAIN REMOVER”, or ‘X-14 MILDEW STAIN REMOVER” or the likes on your polished stone shower stall.
DON’T use any magic self-cleaner, such as “Scrub-FREE” and the likes, or any harsh disinfectant, such as “LYSOL”.
Clean your shower stall daily. The easiest way is to use one of those windshield-cleaning tools (the one with a scrubbing net on one side and a squeegee blade on the other side). When eventually you notice an accumulation of soap film (especially on the lower part of the walls and on the floor pan) that looks and feel like wax, use “Mb-3” Soap Film Remover. To clean it off, Mb-3 was specifically formulated to be effective at doing the job of cleaning soap scum and hard mineral deposits, while not interacting with the chemistry of natural stone.
DO clean the mildew stain with “Mb-9” Mildew Stain Remover. This product, too, has been formulated to be safe on natural stone, while very effective at removing mildew and other biological stains.