26 November 2013

Stay warm this Winter without spending a fortune

Winter is pretty much here, and a lot of us has started using the heating already. I know I have! 
The world is frosting up, and the snow will soon be here...
Coming from Sweden with its cold winters, I’m used to houses with very thick insulation. English winters are milder, and therefore houses are only built with a thin layer of insulation. But on those really cold winter days, this means we have to put the heating on full blast, which can turn out to be really expensive.

The best way of heat securing your house is of course to invest in triple glazed windows and a better insulation (many houses don’t have insulation in the attic, so you might want to look into this as well), but that’s obviously very pricy. It’ll cost you a small fortune to install, but it’ll really benefit you in the long run.

Instead, here are a few tips on smaller things you can do to keep your house warmer during the colder months;

As simple as it sounds –yes, carpets help keep your house warmer as it works as floor insulation. You may not notice a massive change in room temperature, but your feet will thank you!

Thermal curtains
If you haven’t got double glazed windows, then keep the heat in this winter by putting up some thermal curtains. These aren’t as ugly as they sound, but come in on trend colours as well. I've personally got some plum coloured ones in my bedroom (similar to the above image), and I believe they were bought from B&Q.

Energy blinds
Did you know that energy blinds improve insulation by up to 21%? Amazing, isn’t it!? The VELUX blinds with honeycomb structure really make your home more energy efficient, and are definitely worth investing in for a more eco-friendly living. You can check out their offering here.

Under door draft stoppers
Just as we don't want the heat to escape out, we don't want to let the cold in! A simple trick to avoid drafts is to add draft stoppers under the doors. Super simple, and really cheap!

Sounds simple, but did you know that candles don’t just add to that cosiness, but they can increase the room temperature by 1 degree an hour. A cheap and cosy way to stay warm! Why not head over to my Swedish "mothership" IKEA and pick up a multipack? ;)

25 November 2013

A handy glossary of bathroom taps

‘You learn something new every day’ is one of those typical sayings that you unfortunately tend to hear every day. I suppose cliché is cliché because it’s popular and because it contains at least a pinch of truth.
When myself and my boyfriend redesigned our bathrooms last year I definitely learnt something new, and that was about the endless types of taps there are to choose from out there! 

You might think that taps are just a useful thing in order to get access to running water… wrong! When designing a bathroom it is essential that the taps are stylish enough, and that they go with the rest of the interior. I have put together a rough glossary on just taps. Have a read…

Those of you who’ve nailed those ancient languages will be able to figure the meaning of this tap design. Monobloc means ‘of one piece’ and refer to taps that consist of one solid pillar, not two separate handles or knobs. These are good for minimalist designs or rooms where space is at a premium.

These are one of my favourite taps, as I think they’re extremely stylish. With something as straightforward as a tap, it can be hard to put a fresh twist on things, but these manage to achieve it. The water is delivered as a beautiful waterfall, which is a great feature for a bathroom. It feels kind of luxury, somehow.

Pull Out
A pull out tap features a separate hose that – you guessed it – pulls out. These are most popular in the kitchen, as they give extra scope for cleaning both pots and pans and the surrounding area itself, but can of course be used in a bathroom as well. 

Swivel Spout
At the risk of being patronising here, the title is again very much explanatory. Come on, we’re not talking about a towel radiator or shower here, taps are pretty unfussy! A swivel spout is, like the above, most suited to kitchens, where you can move the spout between separate sinks or drains. These tend to have high drooping heads, and look quite elegant and modern.

Mixer taps combine the two streams of water to produce one flow of the correct temperature. These have two separate adjustment handles so you can balance your competing flows. These are very much the go-to bathroom taps, as they come in a wide range of attractive styles.

I realised I actually never featured my new bathrooms after we designed them, but don’t worry – I promise you can have a sneak peek at them soon.

22 November 2013

Small but essential bathroom items

Nothing is too small to ever make a difference. This principle applies in terms of design too, and especially in the bathroom. It is one of the main rooms in the home where practicality and looks clash forcefully, demanding a delicate balancing act with respect to design.
Below are three things which, though understated, I feel are essential to the proper operation of a quality bathroom. 
No, not great swathes of open ground, but the items fitted to your baths and showers. They have an unglamorous but important role; a proper waste will ensure your power shower doesn’t drown your bathroom floor, while the models fitted with a special basket can catch not only hair but also rings and other expensive bits and pieces that you’d rather not see disappear off down into public plumbing. 

Yes, I’m well aware that taps, such as they are, are not necessarily given a low billing. The extra point I’m trying to make here about taps is how much of an impact they can have on the overlook aspect of a room once installed in place. For example, buying a sink of a contemporary design is great for your modern bathroom, but not if you team it with clunky traditional taps. Try a waterfall tap for something truly cutting edge instead. 

Radiator Valves
Utility and aesthetics also need to meet when it comes to radiator valves. These come in two different types; standard and thermostatic radiator valves, and they differ in terms of how they operate and look. Put simply, a thermostatic radiator valve will maintain your temperature for you, activating and deactivating the unit as needed. A standard valve will merely act as a tap, and will ensure the radiator pumps out the same heat regardless of temperature. Standard valves are also much smaller than thermo models, making them ideal for clutter-free minimalist bathroom designs. 
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