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How To

10 Tips for Designing Your Home Office

If you are among the growing ranks of those working from home, the one thing you are probably interested in is a way in which to set up your home office to increase productivity. While working from home does have its advantages, there are some setbacks that can be easily remedied once you have a workspace created that enables you to work efficiently. Here are 10 tips for designing your home office to help you maximise your productivity.

home office black desk beige chair lamp wood floor

1. Keep Your Home Office Removed from Distractions


One of the biggest detriments to being productive when working at home is the distractions you may be subjected to. Try to set up your home office in a location that isn’t too near where the family will be interacting and if you have a garden building, a loft or a room in the garage, those might be ideally situated to convert quickly into a home office.

white office desk mac notebook glasses cup

2. Use a Proprietary Computer for Work


Never use your home computer for work. There are a number of reasons why, but the biggest being that it is easiest to safeguard your files and client information if no one has use of your computer but you. Don’t let the kids play online games on your computer and as a matter of fact, you shouldn’t do anything but work-related tasks as well! It’s altogether too easy to get a virus that would compromise your sensitive client files, and that would be a nightmare in the making.

man with glasses using laptop on wood table black walls

3. Set up Space to Receive Clients or Peers


Most professionals working from home need to meet with clients, sales reps or even peers from time to time. Always ensure that there is a place for clients to sit comfortably when visiting you at your location. You do want to keep this as professional as possible and that would include designing your office with a professional level of appeal and functionality when receiving work-related visitors.

mac screen with time white table white wall black lamp wood bookshelf

4. Keep Wires Neat and Tidy


Always ensure that wires are tucked away and/or run in a neat and tidy manner. You don’t want to be tripping over them and nothing is as unappealing as wires running everywhere. Look back at the offices you have worked in and you will see that most have wires hidden from view or neatly bundled together and run along a baseboard.

wood themed office table chairs shelves cabinets

5. An Ergonomic Chair Is an Absolute Must


If you will be sitting in front of a computer for long periods of time, it pays to invest in an ergonomic chair. This puts less strain on your back which, in turn, will enable you to focus on working rather than running out for a quick kip on the couch.

office desk computer monitor phone keyboard be creative sign

6. Invest in a Large Flat Screen Monitor


No matter what style of computer you use, always opt for a large screen monitor. This will enable you to have several windows running at the same time so that you can keep multiple files and/or tasks opened simultaneously.

wood table mac air glasses white mouse white chair

7. Two Desks Are Better than One


Some interior designers advise you to invest in a standing desk. While this is a good idea for those who tend to get drowsy after extended periods sitting at a desk, it wouldn’t be good for someone working from home for eight to ten hours a day. A second desk that allows you to stand for a period of time would be the better choice but an adjustable height desk, if available, would be the best option of all.

white themed office table chair mac windows wall speakers

8. Use Natural Light as Much as Possible


While natural lighting can help reduce your power bill, that isn’t the only reason you would want to take advantage of natural light. The truth is, your vision improves under natural lighting and there is something invigorating about sunlight if it isn’t too overpoweringly bright. Studies have shown that working in natural light increases productivity.

person on office desk mac ipad dark glasses iphone

9. Keep Regular Office Hours


While many people claim that working from home enables them to ‘make their own hours’ around their otherwise busy schedule, this could be a serious error in judgement. If you are going to work from home, you need to be no less professional than you would be at a nine to five. This means, keep your hours of operation as regular as possible and this might even include being ‘closed for business’ one or two days a week. Everyone deserves a weekend, don’t they?

man on desk holding pen with mac screen lamp headset window

10. Never Use Your Home Office for Anything BUT Work


Finally, never use your home office for anything BUT work. If you can’t step into your office with a mindset ready to work, you will be defeating the purpose of having one. After all, you don’t step into your office at a place of employment looking to play an online game of poker or two, do you? Keep work and home tasks as separate as possible to be your most productive when ‘on the job.’

There you have 10 tips for designing and using your home office. If you think of this office as your place of employment and set it up in a way that enables you to work as efficiently as possible, you will find that it really is a joy to work from home!

 

Author’s Bio

Alex Morrison has been a digital marketer in Melbourne for over 10 years. In this time he has worked with a range of businesses giving him an in-depth understanding of many different industries including printing, graphic and web design. As the owner of Integral Media, he is now utilising his knowledge and experience with his rapidly increasing client portfolio to help them achieve their business goals. Social Profiles: Facebook Google+ Linkedin Twitter

 

Blocked Drains: How to Unclog Your Kitchen Sink

Fix that clogged kitchen sink fast before it becomes a real annoyance. We’ve gathered here several ways to unclog those blocked drains, which you could try in the order presented.



close-up of kitchen sink with flowing water

WORK SAFE: Before You Begin


These DIY tips may not work if your main sewer line is the problem (that is, all drains in your house are affected). In that case, you’ll need a plumber.

⚠ Warning: Do not proceed if you've just poured drain cleaners into the sink, as the chemicals they contain could cause serious burns to your skin.

protective gloves and goggles on wooden board construction

Otherwise, slip on those rubber gloves and wear your goggles for protection, then let’s get on with it. Ready?

detail of the plumbing system under a modern kitchen sink, with a plumbers tool tray and equipment

Drain Unblocker #1: GARBAGE DISPOSAL FIX


If the garbage disposal is clogged, follow the steps in the instruction manual that came with it. If the blockage remains, try these steps:

  1. Shut off the power switch of the garbage disposal.

  2. Shine a flashlight into the unit and use pliers to try pulling out any stuck object.

  3. If no object is removed, use a long dowel or wooden spoon to move the garbage disposal blades side to side.

  4. After removing an object or being able to move the blades, wait around 15 minutes for the disposal motor to cool.

  5. Turn the power back on then push the reset button.


blue hanger isolated on white background

Drain Unblocker #2: BENT HANGER TRICK


This could be your magic spell if you have a double-bowl kitchen sink.

  1. Get a coat hanger wire and bend a small hook on its end that will fit through the basket strainer.

  2. Push the bent hanger hook first into the drain.

  3. When you feel the clog, twist and pull the hanger wire until you have it out.

  4. If you are not able to remove the obstruction, try steps 2 and 3 one more time. If it still does not work, read on for other solutions below.


plunger in the hands of a plumber

Drain Unblocker #3: PLUNGE, PUMP, AND POP


Here's how to use a sink pump or plunger on your clogged sink drain:

  1. Clear the area over and around the drain, ensuring that nothing is blocking it.

  2. For those with a dishwasher, clamp the drain hose first. Fill the sink with up to 8cm to 10cm of water. Seal the other drain opening tightly with a wet rag.

  3. Plunge the sink pump vigorously over the drain for several times, forcing water (rather than air) into the drain. Make sure you’ve got the whole drain covered.

  4. On the last pump, pop the plunger off the drain for a sudden added pressure.

  5. If the water does not flow down or moves slowly, repeat the steps above. If the water still does not drain after a couple of tries, move on to the other solutions below.


double-bowl-granite-kitchen-sink

Drain Unblocker #4: STUFF A SNAKE IN THE SINK


You can use a drain auger or plumber snake in this manner:

  1. Uncoil the auger and extend it down the drain.

  2. When you feel a resistance, move the coil up and down to remove any blockage.

  3. Remove the drain auger.

  4. Turn on the tap to check if the drain has been unclogged.

  5. If the clog remains, repeat steps 1 to 4.

  6. When the blockage has been cleared, pull out the snake and rinse off with running water as you do so, then wipe with a rag.


p-trap and plumbing under a kitchen sink

Drain Unblocker #5: CLEAN UP THE P-TRAP



  1. Clear the area under the sink and place a bucket directly below the P-trap.

  2. Wear a pair of plastic or rubber gloves.

  3. Loosen the slip nuts and wiggle the trap free. If the nuts are hard to loosen try to gently use pliers.

  4. Remove the P-trap (the curved part). Your bucket should catch any flowing water.

  5. Thoroughly clean the interior of the trap using a straightened coat hanger wire or a large bottle brush.

  6. As you clean, check if the washers are still soft and supple. If not, you may need to replace them.

  7. If the trap was clear and did not have any clog to start with, insert a small drain snake into the pipe in the wall. Move the snake in and out with a clockwise twisting motion.

  8. Remove the snake.

  9. Reassemble the P-trap, making sure you don’t tighten the connections too much.


 

After all the DIY solutions are done and your sink drain is still clogged, it’s time to call in a plumber. But if you’ve succeeded with one of the fixes, we’ll be happy to hear about it. Got other ideas for blocked drains? Just send us a quick message below.

How to Install a Towel Rack on Ceramic Tile

Updating your bathroom involves new fixtures, lights, taps and rails. Now when most of us know, by common sense, that there are just some jobs that require a tradie. There are also some DIY tasks that we may do on our own, like installing a towel rack on ceramic tile. Just make sure to practice safety at all times.



two folded towels on towel rail

Step-by-Step Instructions:


1. Measure


Measure the wall where you wish to install the towel rail and place masking tape on the areas to be drilled. The tape will help the drill stay in place, keeping it from slipping on the tile glaze.

yellow measuring tape

2. Drill Bit


Selecting the drill bit is an important step.  You need to consider the hardness of the material you are drilling through. In many cases, a carbide drill bit will do the job.  Hardware stores usually have "glass and ceramic spade bits" and "diamond" drill bits too. Our testing on normal spade bits highlighted they get very hot and do not last long. The diamond drill bit is probably the best for very hard tiles - although it requires a bit of skill to use.

Ensure you use the correct size drill bit for the anchor plugs you are installing.  It is better to be half a millimetre less than more as you can always shave a bit off the anchor.

using a cordless drill on wall

3. Drill


Make a pencil mark on the tape where you wish to drill. Place the drill bit on this mark and drill slowly into the ceramic tile.  It is usually best to pick a point away from the edge of the tile or the grout line, as it is more likely you will shatter or chip a tile if drilling on its edge.

Do not drill too quickly, or you risk overheating the drill and removing too much of the tile from the drill site.  And do not use the "hammer" setting on your drill or you risk shattering the tile.  It can be helpful to spray a mist of water on the drill hole while drilling - this is essential for a diamond drill bit.  For a diamond drill it is also helpful to start the hole with the drill bit at 45 degrees until it pierces the outer layer, then straighten the drill.

aguzzo-heated-towel-rail-round-matte-black-with-three-towels

3. Anchor


Push plastic screw anchors into each drilled hole to firmly secure the screws inside the tile, and keep the towel rail from slipping out once installed.

4. Balance


Line up the rail and screw directly into the rail's escutcheons evenly on each side, if you're installing a one-piece towel rail. Do not tighten down the screws until all screws have been inserted at least part way and the rail is balanced.

montangna-double-towel-rail-brushed-900mm

5. Brackets


If installing a rail with brackets, screw each bracket into the wall, tightening them down securely. Look at the side of the towel rail's escutcheons for a small grub screw, and unscrew it until it clears the inside of the escutcheon.

Place the escutcheon over the bracket and use a screwdriver or supplied hex key to tighten down the small grub screw on the side. This will attach the escutcheons to the brackets. Leave the escutcheons slightly loose.

Insert the rail into one escutcheon at a time, tightening each one down completely once the rail is in place to hold it securely.

 

Happy Renovating!

 

(If you would like to know how to choose a heated towel rail that's just right for your bathroom, read these Tips For Choosing A Heated Towel Rail.)

Fix a Leaking Tap Easily in 4 Steps

Don’t let this day pass without repairing that leaking tap! A drip rate of 10 per minute means more than 20 litres of water wasted in a month, so now is the time to get that fixed.



dripping stainless steel tap

Why is your tap dripping?


The most likely cause of the leaking tap is foreign material that has lodged in the internal cartridge and could cause damage. Debris could come from the water supply, which is common where the water lines have not been properly flushed during installation or if the property does not have filtered water.

What can you do to fix the leaky tap?


In that case, it is merely a maintenance issue that can be done without a plumber. It can be resolved by simply cleaning the internal cartridge or replacing it if necessary. The Products Team at Renovator Store provided these steps to let you access, inspect, and clean the cartridge inside a mixer tap:

removing the lever handle of a mixer tap using a hex key

1. Remove the lever handle.


Start by turning off the water supply to your leaking tap. Then remove the lever handle using a provided hex key or similar tool. Sometimes the grub screw is located behind the small button/cap located underneath the handle. You can simply remove this using your nails to pull it out.

removing the metal collar of a mixer tap

2. Twist off the metal collar.


Beneath the lever handle is a metal collar that you can easily twist off with no tools required. You will see a second collar that's hex threaded. Get your shifting spanner to take this one out.

removing the hex-threaded collar of a mixer tap

3. Remove the cartridge.


The cartridge can now be removed, and you can rinse the exposed cavity with water. The flow restrictor (if present) can also be cleaned or removed to maximise flow. Inspect the cartridge for blockages or splits in the rubber rings and flush it with water.

the flow restrictor of a mixer tap

4. Replace the cartridge.


Check that no foreign material or debris remains in the cartridge or within the cavity. Fit the cartridge back in, then do steps 1 to 3 in reverse. Test your tap for leaks, and if there's none you’re finally done!

cartridge of a mixer tap

What if you need a new cartridge?


In case your ceramic cartridge has been damaged by debris or sediments, you can always get a new mixer tap or just purchase a replacement cartridge from wherever you bought your tapware, or from Renovator Store if you've got a brand we stock.

Quadro-single-lever-basin-mixer

Other leaking tap issues


Maybe you’ve cleaned up your cartridge or replaced your tap and still experience dripping issues. The problem could be with the valve seat, or your water pressure is too high, or you may have some damaged pipes. In those cases, it’s time to call in a professional plumber.

If you have any further questions feel free to email us at service@renovatorstore.com.au and our friendly Customer Service team will gladly assist. You may also call (03) 9544 3003 or 1800 RENOSTORE from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm AEST on weekdays.

How to Blend Natural and Modern in Your Home

Can you mix natural and modern in your house? How can sleek appliances match natural elements? What can you do to harmonise nature with geometric shapes?



modern interior rendering of living room with green sofa coffee table plant shelf

Natural and modern styles can actually look swell together. You can integrate these two design types and enhance your home in the process. In fact, you can use contrasting styles (or what seems that way) in a single room and achieve an impressive look. It’s just a matter of how you do it.

So how do you bring nature into a modern home? Here are some ideas to spark your imagination.

fabrics with earth hues and patterns

Use Fabrics with Earth Hues and Natural Patterns


Black, white, and other neutral colour schemes are common in a minimalist house, but it’s highly advised to add a few highlights here and there. Some experts would suggest bright and bold accents, so how about orange floral throw pillows on a plain black sofa? Or a carpet with leafy patterns?

You may also consider these:

  • Upholstery with earth tones like raw sienna, deep Indian red, or forest green

  • Natural fabrics like a jute rug in a room with plain white walls

  • Curtains with animal-inspired patterns (think giraffe spots or zebra stripes)

  • Bed covers designed with seashells or aquatic animals


You can surely come up with a few more ideas! Just remember to use these on accents, as they are meant to beautify and not to distract or dominate.

hammock with plants in background

Choose Pieces That Bring Peace


Studies show that spending more time with nature lowers your pulse rate, blood pressure, and concentrations of cortisol (a hormone released during stressful situations). Think of each room in your house and ask, “What can I add here that will give me a more calming and relaxing feeling?” It can be as simple as family photos on your living room wall, or it can be a cosy bed that brings you restful thoughts even before you lay your body down.

elegant egg shaped limestone bath tub freestanding_preview

In a contemporary style bathroom, you could consider a handcrafted, egg-shaped bath. The one shown here evokes comfort and luxury as you imagine yourself taking a soothing bath. It is made from limestone and painstakingly hand-sanded down to get a smooth textured matte white surface. Freestanding stone baths from Aguzzo even come with basins to match, in egg, oval, rectangular, or square shapes. These minimalist artstone baths and basins are perfect for your own peaceful bathing sanctuary.

Aguzzo Brennero rounded rectangle limestone white bathroom basin on black benchtop

You can also add natural home furniture to your house like a grass-coloured sofa in the living room, wicker dining room chairs, and nature-inspired Zen-style furniture.

mosaic of a vine leaf with white and black pebbles

Display Stone Decor or Landscape Art


Rocks and stones provide a solid connection with nature. It’s convenient that these are now readily available and there is a range of ideas to add these to your decor. Here are some:

  • Rocks or pebble as knobs on cabinet doors

  • Natural stones on your bathroom floor

  • DIY painted rocks picked up from the river or beach

  • Different kinds of unique stones on a display shelf


painting of sunset on the Dnieper

Shells, sand, driftwood, and other finds from nature can also be part of your home decor. Of course, you could also hang landscapes, pretty sunsets, and other wall artwork depicting nature if that’s your preference.

You can also expand on this idea and use rock doormats, stone mosaics, or even white brick walls.

Jazz D200 black granite kitchen sink one-and-one-half bowl with reversible drainer

Use Modern Fixtures Made from Natural Materials


Another simple way to get nature into your home is by installing fixtures that are actually designed for a modern home but made from natural materials. There’s handmade contemporary lighting, bamboo bathroom basins, or a hexagonal mirror with a wooden frame.

A granite kitchen sink with a contemporary design is another such fixture. The sink above is made from natural quartz granite and a very hard acrylic resin, making it eco-friendly and a natural bacteria repellant. Many such granite sinks in the market are specifically designed for modern kitchens, like those made by Cino. They design premium Italian-made sinks that use environmentally safe, composite materials. These are available in black and in white, any of which will match a minimalist or modern kitchen.

If you want to include just a subtle hint of nature amid contemporary, you can also do it with your tapware:

  • A matte black waterfall bath spout,

  • A rustic tap with stone or wood parts,

  • A square rain shower head, or

  • An animal-shaped tap.


Terrus Waterfall Spout Black

Feature House Plants


Plants are for all home design styles, and they blend especially with modern interiors. You can either work with a single large plant or several smaller plants.

For a feature plant, you can choose from the following:

  • Bird of paradise (strelitzia reginae)

  • Fiddle leaf fig (ficus lyrata)

  • Madagascar dragon tree (dracaena marginate)

  • Weeping fig (ficus benjamina)

  • Norfolk island pine (araucaria heterophylla)


house green plant succulent Senecio serpens or Blue Chalksticks in bathroom close up

For smaller plants, try these:

  • Air plants (tillandsia)

  • String of pearls (senecio rowleyanus)

  • Chain of hearts (ceropegia woodii)

  • Rubber plant (ficus elastica)

  • Maidenhair fern (adiantum)


table top indoor decorative miniature garden in clear glass bubble with cactuses and succulents. Decorative glass vase with succulent and cactus plants glass interior terrarium with succulents and cacti

The great thing about plants is that you can have them in many different ways — potted, hanging, or in a vase. Other wonderful ideas for houseplants are:

  • Terrariums, which are very low maintenance and a favourite of creative people,

  • Indoor vertical gardens (living wall) or framed succulents,

  • Hanging eucalyptus on a shower head, which is good for aromatherapy, and

  • High-quality artificial plants that look like the real thing, if you don’t have a green thumb or have no time to take care of real ones.


oak floorboards interior living space

A Billion Ideas for Blending Natural with Modern


If you just look around, there are really a billion things you can do to introduce natural elements into your contemporary home. We’ll add here installing wood backdrops or floorboards, using environment-friendly and sustainable products, or simply by letting natural light into the room.

Anything you want to pitch in? Leave a comment below if you have other ideas, something that you’ve already done in your house, or if you need some advice.

How to Build a Family Room Addition to Your Home

Is there anything better than spending time with your family and friends? Only maybe spending time with your family and friends in a bigger, airier and more comfortable space!



So, if you think your home is lacking some space for quality family time or friend entertainment, consider building an additional family room. This addition will provide you with extra space, boost comfort and fun, and even increase your property's value. Here are some great family room addition ideas just for you.

home-living-house-windows-view-family-room

Bump-out Room


One of the most common ways people choose to enlarge their interior is to add a bump-out room. An average bump-out usually adds around 4 to 5 square meters (50 square feet) to your existing space which is perfect for introducing bigger furniture, extra entertainment or simply providing you with a bit more elbow space.

This is without a doubt the most affordable way to add a room to your home, though still not cheap. However, since the final square footage isn't very big, the costs will not skyrocket!

family room white ceiling walls wood floorboards grey carpet

Basement Remodel


Another quite practical way to add living space to your home is to repurpose and renovate your basement. That is, if you already have a basement that doesn't play a significant role in your household, of course.

It's quite affordable since you're not exactly adding extra space, you're just repurposing your existing space. You don't need new foundations, new roofing, or new walls.

However, basements are often full of moisture and mould that needs to be taken care of before you start putting up drywall. Also, basement insulation is very important. Exterior walls and ceilings should be properly thermally and acoustically insulated.

sunroom as family room

Sunroom


Sunrooms can be an amazing way to add living space to your home as long as they are built in the right way. In the past, sunrooms have usually been too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. However, today, with prefabricated elements, insulation is much better and sunrooms are getting more comfortable and practical.

New frames are cut more precisely than ever and the whole structure can be much more stable. There are plenty of steel frame options for all sunroom sizes and types and they can help create a really amazing addition to your home. And when you combine these frames with thermal-resistant glass, proper ventilation and good lighting, you'll never want to leave your new family room.

teamwork and people concept - group of smiling builders in hardhats with tools indoors

Garage Addition


Another addition that can be super practical (and resembles a sunroom in a way) is a garage repurpose. The most important part of this addition is definitely insulation. Garages are usually not built as living spaces, so you need to add proper thermal and acoustic insulation. However, many people choose to leave the garage doors during the remodel, so that they can open up the space in the summer and create a cool atmosphere.

period family room with pool table yellow walls tiled floors winding stairs

Think Multipurpose


A good family room is definitely versatile. So, make sure to add plenty of storage for your collections, introduce a few entertainment elements you've always wanted, and invest in comfy modular furniture that can be easily arranged and rearranged according to your needs. Another great way to multipurpose is to use one corner of the family room as your home office or kids' study area.

family room with bookshelves tv sofa sculpture lamp blinds carpet wooden floorboards

Cherry on Top


Once you know how you will use your additional space, it's time for the best part—decoration. For instance, if you're planning to use the space for late-night movie watching, you can invest in a comfy fireplace that will create just the right ambience. It's a beautiful touch, especially if you live in a colder climate.

If you love to read, you can install plenty of bookshelves and create a little reading nook. Put up a comfy chair, add a warm throw and a stylish reading lamp. If you wish to use your room for entertainment, first decide whether your aim is mingling or dining. There are furniture arrangements that allow people to socialize and those that allow plenty of seating for comfy dining. Parties with a lot of action can greatly benefit from a wet bar with a counter, sink and some storage for glasses and drinks.

So, if you're ready to provide yourself and your family with some extra breathing space, make sure to consider one of these additions. These can make your home more comfortable and interesting and also make it more attractive for buyers and renters.

 

Author Bio

Derek Lotts is a Sydney-based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business — he thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.

How to Upgrade to a Modern Outdoor Kitchen

The popularity of outdoor kitchens is continuing to rise. Over the years, there has been an increase in quality furnishings and appliances available for open-air eating, which has made it possible to create fully-functional outdoor kitchen spaces. Well-appointed outdoor kitchens can now provide the same practicality and convenience as their indoor counterparts. You can keep your modern outdoor kitchen design can be as simple or luxurious as you’d like. It all depends on your budget, the size of your section and of course your own personal taste. Here are some key ways to upgrade to a modern outdoor kitchen.



[caption id="attachment_14581" align="alignnone" width="1200"]outdoor kitchen in backyard patio Photo Credit: Pixabay under CC0 Public Domain License[/caption]

Update Outdoor Cooking Appliances


Outdoor cooking goes far beyond the classic charcoal barbecue. From wood-fired pizza ovens to stylish freestanding gas barbecues, the availability of quality outdoor cooking appliances is constantly growing. Purchasing a new high-quality cooking appliance is a worthy investment that transforms both your kitchen design and outdoor dining experience. Just make sure to do your research on the different types of grills before buying a new one.

stainless_steel_sink_kitchen_laundry_strong_modern_contemporary

Use the Right Materials for a Modern Outdoor Kitchen


The materials you use to design your outdoor kitchen play a critical role in its durability and style. In particular, the right type of flooring can really take the whole space to the next level. Tiles are a popular choice because they come in a variety of colours and so can be easily matched to the indoor flooring of your home. Porcelain is a good material choice for outdoor tiling, as it doesn’t absorb much moisture. No matter what type of surface material you use, you will need to ensure that it is specified for outdoor use.

Every modern outdoor kitchen needs a surface area for food prep, complete with a functional sink and faucet. The best materials for outdoor kitchen countertops include stone, tile and concrete. Concrete is fairly popular due to its clean, contemporary look. When you first install concrete, you must make sure that it is sealed properly – and subsequently reseal it regularly. If it’s not installed correctly, it runs the risk of cracking.

swedia-isak-sink-mixer-polished-stainless-steel

Sinks and faucets come in many different styles and are made from a range of materials. For an outdoor kitchen, high-grade stainless steel sinks and taps are ideal. Stainless steel is stylish, easy to clean and made to stand the test of time. The thickness of the steel is a key factor to consider. Thicker steel offers better resistance to heavy objects placed in the sink and will last longer in outdoor environments.

[caption id="attachment_14582" align="alignnone" width="1200"]outdoor dining setup Photo Credit: Pxhere under CC0 Public Domain License[/caption]

Create an Outdoor Dining Area


You can create a fantastic outdoor dining area perfect for BBQs and parties by adding some simple furnishings to your kitchen space. Keep in mind that any outdoor seating you use needs to be heavy and durable enough to withstand changing weather environments. Fortunately, today’s outdoor furniture offers a great variety of stylish, weather-tolerant fabrics.

When you create your outdoor dining area, take ambience and lighting into account. Most outdoor lights are easy to install – and a few well-placed outdoor lights will let you and your guests see better at night and also illuminate your outdoor kitchen with a romantic glow. To save money on your electricity bill, opt for LED lights instead of incandescent lights. They last longer and require much less energy to operate. However, if your outdoor kitchen space has no electrical source, solar power lights are a good alternative. The combination of tasty cooking, landscape lighting, and a comfortable dining area will offer the perfect balance of function and ambience.

 

About the Author

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who loves discussing travel, home and lifestyle topics. She enjoys spending her free time working on her DIY home improvement projects or hosting backyard BBQ parties for her friends. Find more of her work https://johannacider.tumblr.com/

How to Choose the Right Plumber

Choosing the right plumber doesn’t have to be a complicated task. Simply follow our guide to make sure your plumbing installations, repair and maintenance issues are treated with care and professionalism.



plumber working under the sink

Make a List


If you’re organised and know exactly what needs fixing around your home, it will create a smoother interaction between yourself and the trades professional. Make a list of everything that isn’t functioning properly around your home and show your list to the professional. A list will not only prevent little jobs from slipping through the cracks, but it will let the business know that you have your ducks in a row and are serious about having the work done pronto.

contact a plumber using your laptop on desk with coffee pen paper

Professional Online Presence


With the growth of technology in business, credible businesses tend to have a strong online presence outlining their services and featuring real customer reviews. Make sure the business you’re considering features high-quality professional images, correct spelling and grammar, and professional verbiage about the business.

find a plumber with online presence

Online Interaction and Engagement


Businesses with good practices will answer customer enquiries with diligence and professionalism online, by phone, email, and in person. Many businesses with an online presence will clearly respond to customers on their Facebook page and feature reviews on the Facebook, website and other online platforms. Take a look at how these businesses interact and engage. Do they respond to their customers’ comments in a professional manner? Do they have professional content for their customer’s to read? All these elements give you a snapshot of how a particular plumbing company conducts their business.

find a professional plumber

Credibility: License and Insurance


Credible businesses tend to feature their valid ABN, licensing and insurance online. If they don’t have this information visible online, make sure to request that the professional you’re dealing with has this information available to you. Don’t be afraid to request proof that the plumbing professional is, in fact, a plumbing professional with proper licensing and insurance. Every business has an obligation to provide proof of their trade credentials.

find a plumbing professional with license and insurance

Check the Reviews


The best way to predict the future is to examine the past. In order to verify that the work the plumber performs is of high-quality materials and workmanship, check out the reviews of their previous customers. Reading these reviews will give you a better sense of how the trades
professional conducts their business. It is wisest to trust reviews on large directory platforms as big directories do the work to ensure all reviews are real and authentic.

reviews for plumbers

Get Multiple Quotes


Get multiple quotes from local plumbing businesses in your area. Speak with multiple professionals in the industry to make sure you go with the right business for you.

When choosing the right plumbing professional, take into account the services you’re requiring, the online presence of the business, the interaction of the business with its customers, credibility, reviews, and get multiple quotes. This will result in holding a strong position for choosing the right plumbing professional for your needs.

kitchen tap

About the Author


Kaylyn Jeffrey is the Web Content Manager for Service.com.au, a trades and services platform that connects everyday homeowners to local tradies. When Kay isn't writing articles with ♥ from the Gold Coast of Australia, she is spending time in the Hinterlands with her fiancé and researching eco-friendly and sustainable homeowner tips.

How to Install a Floor-Standing Bath Mixer & Spout

A floor-standing bath mixer best complements a freestanding bath, as together they make a stunning impact in any modern bathroom. This floor-mounted mixer is easier to install than it looks—just follow the guide below and see for yourself how simple it can be!



floor-standing mixer with freestanding bath

Before Installing Your Freestanding Bath Tap


Take note of the following as you prepare to set up that floor-standing mixer:

  • The floor-mounted mixer must be installed by a licensed plumber.

  • Be aware of the mixer’s maximum water temperature and the ideal operating pressure.

  • When cleaning, just wash with soapy water then dry with a soft cloth. Never use solvents, alcohol, chemicals or abrasives that may ruin its surface beyond repair.


The installation procedures below are a general guide. Follow the installation instructions that come with your floor-standing spout, if present.

 

multi-function floor mounted bath spout matte black finish

Floor-Mounted Spout Installation Tools and Materials


Have the following tools ready:

  • Philips screwdriver

  • Pliers

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Hex wrench


The following materials will be useful in installing your freestanding bath tapware:

  • Plumber’s putty

  • Pipe tape

  • Safety goggles

  • Flashlight

  • Cleanup cloth floor-mounted bath spout polished chrome complete package


Steps in Installing a Floor-Standing Bath Mixer & Tap


After preparing the tools and materials that you will need, unpack the mixer set and make sure that all the parts are complete. Now shut off the water supply valves to avoid getting wet and sprayed all over.

A floor-mounted bath spout can be installed with either the concealed under-floor box method or the above-floor connection method. The concealed box method is advisable before the flooring is installed, and has the benefit of a lower profile floor plate, which is preferred. The above-floor method may be done where the first approach is not possible.

Method 1: Concealed Box Installation


 

diagram and parts of floor standing bath mixer

Let's do this!

Step A: Attach the inlet tube to the faucet by twisting firmly. Twist the straight tube on to the top faucet and make sure it's tight enough to avoid leaks and loosening.

installing a floor standing bath mixer

 

Step B: Place the concealed box on the ground and use the level to make sure that it is perfectly level with the ground. Screw the concealed box on the ground.

screw plate for installation of floor standing bath mixer

diagram screw conceal box

Step C: Unscrew and remove the plate. Knock out the level from the back of the plate.

Step D: Your licensed plumber installer should connect the source of the hot water and the cold water to the inlet of the concealed box. Wrap the threads on one end of the pipe with pipe tape or Teflon tape, then screw the adapters into the female fittings.



 

Step E: Screw the plate on the bottom of the faucet base with hex screws, then insert the whole faucet body to the concealed box. Insert the inlet pipe to the hot and cold outlet tubs of the concealed box.

diagram insert faucet to conceal box

Step F: Tighten the plate to the concealed box and place the cover.

 

 

 

conceal box and screw plate for installation of freestanding bath mixer



Step G: Install the hose to the hand shower and the tub filler.

diagram install hose to hand shower

Your floor-standing bath mixer is good to go!

Method 2: Above-Floor Connection


Follow these steps if it is not possible for you to install using the concealed box method.

Steps in Above-Floor Installation of Freestanding Mixer

Step A: Insert the floor escutcheon (3) into the straight tube (4).

conceal box installation of free standing mixer

Step B: Connect the fixing seat (5) to the straight tube (4).

Step C: Tighten on the flexi-hoses (6) to the body (7).

Step D: Lock the straight tube (4) onto the mixer body (7).

Step E: Let your licensed plumber installer connect hot and cold water by attaching the flexi-hoses exiting the bottom of the tube to the water supply outlets under the floor bracket.

connecting the cold water and hot water flexi hoses   screwing the cover plate to the floor

Step F: Fix the unit to the floor using strong fixings through the screw holes in the base. The floor bracket is then covered by the cover plate.

Step G: Connect the hand shower and hose.

That’s it — we’re ready to try it out!

After Installation


After installing your floor-standing bath mixer, check the water flow and function of the tub filler spout and of the hand shower. If there is any leak, make sure that the parts fit tightly together. If there are none, your floor standing bath mixer and spout is ready and you’re good to go for a bath!

Renovator Store has a variety of freestanding bath mixers to suit your needs. Our Customer Service team is ready to assist you, via email at service@renovatorstore.com.au or call us on weekdays at (03) 9544 3003 or 1800 RENOSTORE from 10:00 am till 4:00 pm AEST.

Staying Current with Construction and Design Trends In 2018

Good news! Next year’s trends are both beautiful and practical! Don’t you love it when it happens? Here is how to make your home fit your lifestyle and your sense of fashion.


Green as a state of mind


This is an important thing to point out before we move further into the topic. Everything eco-friendly and energy-efficient is a trend in the next year, and probably every other year to follow. This includes everything from building materials to solar panels. One of the major and most commonly found construction trends in this area is making a sustainable home. This means that it is energy efficient and has windows and insulation that prevent energy losses. As well as, that it harvests reusable sources of energy such as sun, wind and geothermal energy. A construction trend which impacts the décor the most is using natural and reclaimed materials for the interior.

planning your renovation

Function over luxury


Not being wasteful, is yet another way of preserving the environment. This forms a unique set of mind. That and the current economy together, have led many people to live frugal lifestyles. We now tend to have smaller and more functional homes. You do not necessarily have to downsize your living space on account of privacy and comfort, but simply cut out the space that serves no purpose. Instead of having a large entranceway, treat your home with an inviting hallway and a mudroom. A mudroom is practical and perfectly suited for families with children. They will also help you get clutter and dirt further away from your hall.

functional kitchen

A functional kitchen


Big kitchen islands are another upcoming trend. I am sure that a lot of you already have it, but here we are talking about kitchen islands that serve the purpose mentioned in the previous paragraph. An island is both decorative and multi-functional. The first function is that of a work surface. The second is storage, as you can install cupboards and drawers in it. The third is the dining table. A lot of small homes do not have enough space for a dining room. This is why having an island will increase both the functionality of the kitchen and the overall use of space. You can even make an island bar with bar stools and use it as a barrier between an open kitchen and the lounge area.

Patterns


Moving slightly away to the field of décor, there are certain interior trends you need to know about. Geometrical shapes and patterns are the next year’s must.  You can have them present on your walls, furniture and furniture upholstery, lights, plant hangers, shelves and pretty much anywhere you can fit them. Apart from the geometry, an everlasting trend of using floral patterns still on. The only difference is that next year, instead of using gentle, soft and complementary hues, you need to focus on creating contrast.

materials and colours for the home

Materials and colors


To adhere to the green lifestyle, natural materials are the following year’s trends including wool, wood, stone, and hemp. Leather is also very fashionable but note that most people will opt for using fake leather. You can now use mixed metals but brass is the dominant one. Innovative advice from experienced renovation company can help you apply the trends and combine these materials.  Natural materials go with natural colors so earthly hues are the ones to go for. However,   some of us, including your children need vibrant colors. The experts at Pantone have announced that Ultra Violet is the color of the year 2018. As a color, violet gets its warmth from red as well as the calming effects of the blue. This particular hue is neither too dark nor too light. It is a perfect accent for any room but it can also be a perfect choice for a teenager’s bedroom or a playroom. Enjoy it as colors are now allowed everywhere, even your kitchen.

High-tech homes for millennials


As millennial generation is maturing into homeowners, technical advances are becoming an important part of every household. This is something you should also keep in mind if you’re looking to adapt your real estate for rent to millennials. Devices that control your lights, appliances, heating, security cameras, doors, windows and everything else you possess and can imagine, are the type of modern-day-change you can expect in the following year.

Lights, fixtures, and amenities


Big vintage pendant lights are something you need to try in your home. They are perfectly suited over your coffee table, dining table or a kitchen island. Again, look for geometrical shapes, something that belongs outside, or 1950s vintage. The sinks in both bathroom and kitchen are no longer out of your way, but in your face and practical. This means that they are wide and deep. Also, you should move on from the classical steel look and use heavy duty materials such as granite and stone combined with copper.

2018 is a year to look forward to, as it brings some changes that will stay around for a long time. Happy holidays and enjoy the decorating!
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