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3 Things Bathroom Designers Want You to Know

bathroom designers

By Lisa Batson Goldberg, Houzz

Design professionals, who field the same questions from clients day after day, know that a little upfront knowledge on the part of homeowners goes a long way in smoothing the construction process. Here, designer Stephanie O’Donohue of smarterBathrooms+ in Port Melbourne, Australia, reveals the three things she wishes every client knew before starting a bathroom project, along with the answer to her most-asked question and a golden nugget of wisdom for the memory bank.

bathroom designer

smarterBATHROOMS+, original photo on Houzz

 

1. Minimalism (almost) never comes cheap.

“Clean, sleek lines” is what my clients ask for — think single sheets of material, no [seams], no handles and no grout lines. The most common misconception I come across is that this is a cheap look to achieve. People are fooled by the apparent simplicity of the aesthetic. But to achieve a truly beautiful minimalist look, the detail in the build needs to be precise.

Some of the simplest-looking spaces I have worked on have been the most expensive, due to the immense detail and meticulous planning required.

Specifying no cabinetry handles often means expensive opening mechanisms or hand-cut joinery. No [seams] in stone means buying oversized slabs and having an expert stonemason on hand to book-match the ends perfectly. And no grout lines means either huge, expensive tiles that take two tilers to lay (which doubles the labor cost) or porcelain sheets that can be cut and installed only by a stonemason — onto a wall that most likely has to be straightened instead of just packed.

bathroom designer

smarterBATHROOMS+, original photo on Houzz

 

2. Unless you’ve done it before, and done it well, don’t DIY the tile.

It’s just not worth it. Planning the tiling and tiling itself are both art forms. I have seen far too many new bathrooms that only look good when you’re not wearing your glasses. Once you see a crooked tile or uneven grouting, it cannot be unseen.

A tiler who plans the space, tile by tile, to ensure the placement of cuts and grout lines will be perfect is worth their weight in gold. You may be tempted to tackle a job that seems straightforward, but don’t do it. Especially if you have contrasting grout.

A good tiler will work more quickly than you could ever hope to, and they will be able to correctly use epoxy grout, giving you a superior and longer-lasting finish than you’d achieve yourself with a regular cement-based grout. They will also be able to disguise an uneven wall or an unsightly edge to a degree.

The tiles and grout are your first defense against water damage. Inferior tiling puts your whole room and subfloor at risk. Step away from the tiles and call an expert.

 

bathroom designer

smarterBATHROOMS+, original photo on Houzz

3. Tight budget or short on ideas? Go big!

This is one of my favorite tricks. Sometimes you can’t afford the Rolls-Royce of every element in your space. But if you can distract from your more economical, practical design decisions with a wow feature, you can save yourself thousands in upgrading everything unnecessarily.

Oversized handles, for example, can add a touch of drama and interest to an otherwise plain bathroom. Have you got a high bathroom ceiling? Find the biggest pendant light your electrician can lift, and fill the bathroom with an object so demanding of attention that it develops a personality of its own. You’ll find it gives your bathroom a real designer edge and detracts from the cheaper elements in the space.

You could also distract the eye with repetition, where you take one design idea and use it several times over in a space. Do you love penny round tiles? Pick a round basin, rounded [faucets], a round mirror and towels with a circular pattern. Repetition of a theme will give the space a cohesive, thought-out feel where every design decision is deliberate.

It will also help you shop better as you won’t fall into the trap of picking 10 things you love and finding none of them work together.

bathroom designer

smarterBATHROOMS+, original photo on Houzz

Most-asked question.

“How long does a bathroom renovation take?” Many people are surprised when they hear that a quality bathroom renovation takes about four weeks. Renovation shows are not reality!

Many people don’t have a spare bathroom they can use while the renovation takes place. If that’s the case for you, plan ahead. Hire a portable toilet or shower from a reputable builder, join a nearby gym (there are often free trials you can take advantage of) or consider renting elsewhere for a month while the job is done. None of these are ideal, but if you’re going to build a bathroom to last 20 to 30 years, that month of inconvenience will quickly be forgotten when you step inside your gorgeous new space.

bathroom designer

smarterBATHROOMS+, original photo on Houzz

Golden nugget of advice. Unless it’s a color other than chrome, a [faucet is a faucet]. Something basic will be fine, so don’t spend your hard-earned cash there. Funnel your money into custom cabinetry instead. Having a smart drawer that fits your lipstick collection perfectly, in a color you love and with a concealed bin, will be worth so much more than the bragging rights for Italian [faucets].

Related Links:

Bathroom Design Measurements Every Homeowner Should Know

Add This Shower Rod to Your Cart Now

How to Bring the Spa Home: Steam Showers 101

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How To Attract Quality Tenants To Your Rental Properties

By Mat Piche, Real Estate Expert and Author 

The key to being a successful real estate investor is to have great tenant’s living in your properties. Without customers (tenants) paying you rent – you don’t have a business! But we don’t want just any tenant. We want quality tenants!

I’m sure you’ve heard the many horror stories of bad tenants trashing homes and not paying rent for months on end. We don’t want these stories happening to us! As landlords, we only really have one shot to pick the right tenants. So how do we attract quality and responsible tenants the first time?

Great Area = Great Tenants

It sounds obvious but you’ll be surprised how many ‘investors’ are buying in the wrong areas! A big ‘rookie’ mistake that I often see is focusing solely on the purchase price of a property. For example, cheap properties are usually in bad areas. Bad areas tend to attract bad tenants. It’s not rocket science, but you may have to increase your budget if you want to sleep at night. So where should we be looking?

Quiet and mature areas near amenities, for starters. Quality tenants want to be living in quiet and safe areas where their kids can happily play outside. A neighborhood lined with big mature trees is really going to set your property apart. They also want to be close to amenities and grocery stores, but not too close! The rule of thumb I try and follow is within a three to five-minute drive to a plaza or shopping mall.

quality tenants

The third component of a great area is being close to highway access – but again, not too close. Our tenants don’t want to be listening to speeding cars all day. Being within 10-15 minutes of a major route or highway between other cities is key. Remember, we want hardworking and responsible tenants living in our properties – and these tenants may work out of town. Giving them the option of living in your property is the goal.

Paint the entire unit with ONE light color

You want your property to feel bright, spacious, and inviting. A great way to achieve this is by painting your entire unit in ONE light color. When you leave the bedrooms one color, the kitchen another and the living room another, you are not only making the space feel smaller by making the home feel choppy, but you are also personalizing the unit.

And while some prospective tenants will certainly appreciate your design choices, most will not! The whole idea is to attract AS MANY prospective tenants to fill out the application. From there, you can choose the best applicant. Everyone will appreciate a bright space that has flow. Investor tip: The color I use on ALL of my properties is called “Burnished Clay” by Behr.

quality tenantsCurb appeal

Curb appeal is the single most important tip that I can recommend to investors. If your property looks bad from the street, your prospective tenants will drive up for the appointment and keep driving!

When looking for new tenants, maintain your lawn and keep sidewalks and driveways clear during the winters. Make sure the exterior of your property is in good shape as well i.e. Roof, siding, windows, and doors etc. First impressions are everything and we want to ‘wow’ them as soon as they pull up.

quality tenantsConclusion for Attracting Quality Tenants

If you’re investing in real estate the right way, your business should be boring! It’s not supposed to be ‘exciting’ and ‘wacky’ like the T.V shows – sorry! The reason why we invest in real estate in the first place is to fund our lives so we can do the fun and ‘wacky’ things that make us happy. We don’t need to be chasing tenants for missed rent payments!

Implement these three tips into your business and start attracting QUALITY tenants in your rental properties!

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9 Tips For Taking The Most Stunning Home Photography Shots

home photography

By David Duncan Livingston, Houzz

Composition is key to creating beautiful photographs. While photography is certainly subjective, some views are usually more pleasing than others. Study other photos to see what views you like; your perspective will vary depending on your audience and interests. I often vary my compositions: diagonal, straight on and even asymmetrical to highlight certain details. Taking the time to compose a shot meaningfully will make a huge difference for the end result.

Use your frame to compose the mass of the building and show a room’s layers. The best photos explore the way spaces — and their materials — interact.

home photography

Heydt Designs, original photo on Houzz

Only frame what you want the viewer to pay attention to. Good composition makes a room look spacious and inviting and leads the eye around the entire space.

Tip: A wide-angle lens will create a certain amount of distortion. To lessen the “fishbowl” effect, make sure your camera isn’t too close to any furniture. It also can help to look straight onto your subject, like this photo.

People tend to like symmetry. The space should be balanced — not too many objects on one side or the other. Sometimes good composition is about what you don’t include.

Tip: Crop your photo after you shoot it to give you more options. Cropping can tighten up a composition and remove distractions.

home photography

Studio William Hefner, original photo on Houzz

Shoot from a low angle and make a path for the viewer to walk into the room. This low camera angle makes the planes of the counter and table smaller and puts the furniture in scale to the total room and scene. The composition invites the viewer to either sit at the table or walk outside; it has a nice, subtle dynamic.

home photography

D&D Interiors / Mikhali Dantes, original photo on Houzz

A strong, centered and weighted composition works well on small screens. In this photo, we see the detail of the table legs and the fullness of the chandelier without too much extra ceiling area. The invitation to the room beyond is a bonus that informs the viewer about how the fireplace floats within two rooms.

home photography

SchappacherWhite Architecture DPC, original photo on Houzz

A one-point perspective photo like this shows off the room’s graphic design and the elevation of the fireplace wall and demonstrates how the window grid subtly repeats outside. The photographer kept the height of the camera low.

Tip: Keep the styling simple and think about the placement of the styling elements. This shot looks clean and architectural but still inviting. An interior designer may have wanted to dress the sofas with pillows and throws.

home photography

Holly Marder, original photo on Houzz

Framing a view is a great way to add interest. In this photo, there’s a richer experience of the room knowing that a steel-framed doorway contrasts all of the wood.

Tip: For architectural shots, make sure the walls and doors are straight up and down; it makes the photo look more graphic and professional.

home photography

Neuhaus Design Architecture PC, original photo on Houzz

Dealing with big, dark pieces of furniture isn’t easy. In this photo, the piano, firebox and tall wardrobe balance each other in scale and placement in the composition to ground the photo. The photo is almost bookended by the dark objects on the left and right.

Tip: All of the lights are off in this room, so the viewer focuses on the natural light streaming in from the bay window. This is a trend in today’s interior and architectural photos.

The balanced use of negative space can work well to highlight the volume and architecture of a more modern space.

Tip: Repeating color throughout a room can have a nice effect.

Related Articles:

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