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Is This a Bad Infomercial?

Sure looks like it. One side is black-and-white; the other side is sparkling color. Truth! How to accomplish this work of magic? DIY tub refinishing. First, let's be honest. Your first choice: new tub. Second choice: professional refinishing. Third: refinishing it yourself. Given that, it's surprisingly cheap and easy to refinish your own tub. And it's more durable than you might expect.

As If You Didn't Already Know Enough About Refinishing:

New Kitchen Floor In 1 Day? Seriously.

Lay Laminate Flooring - Laying Last Row

That's you, my friend.  It's Saturday, 4:30pm, and your hand is easing that last plank of flooring into place.  Amazing to think that you began flooring your kitchen only this morning.  Just last night, your floor was nasty and boring.  This evening, you'll be cooking dinner in a newly-floored space.  Let me walk you through it, step by easy step.

New Flooring Without the Hassle
Home Renovations Spotlight10

What Basic, Everyday Element Do These Kitchen Designs Have In Common?

Friday April 18, 2014

Wood, of course!

Decades ago, beginning in the 1930s, the movement was away from wood in the kitchen. That whole "better living through chemicals" era. Formica counters. Metal cabinets. Linoleum or vinyl floors.

It wasn't just that wood, being an organic thing, performs poorly when subjected to moisture and can rot. It was more the idea that wood was a vestige of the past. It was so...Victorian.

By the 1960s and 1970s, wood was coming back into the kitchen.

Today, wood belongs in the kitchen. It's no longer a pariah. While I'm still on the fence about wood countertops, I love things like the copious amounts of wood found in designer Jeremy Levine's kitchen, pictured here: recycled wood beams and joists in the ceiling; wood island; wood floor; wood doors; and so on.

See: 6 Kitchen Designs With Wood

CC-Licensed; Flickr User Jeremy Levine

Do You Know What Horrors Lurk in Your Cabinet Soffits?

Tuesday April 15, 2014

It's one decision of kitchen cabinet-buying that gets brushed over fairly quickly, but which I believe is highly important:

What to do with your kitchen wall cabinet soffits.

A cabinet soffit is that empty space between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling. It's a great place for collecting dust clods and mice turds.

In this picture, the soffit is eliminated by purchasing taller wall cabinets, running the cabinets straight up into the ceiling. No soffits, no accumulated junk.

That's only one option. Besides the open soffit, I list 5 others in this article about kitchen cabinet soffits.

Image: CC-Licensed; Flickr user Charley

Can I Paint Just One Coat of Paint or Are Two Necessary?

Monday April 14, 2014

Wiping down the kitchen counter a second time. Vacuuming the rug again. Running the computer virus checker right on the heels of a complete scan.

All examples of things you do that feel unnecessary, redundant. What about painting your wall with a second coat of paint?

Well, take a look at those examples in the first paragraph. Maybe that counter had bacon grease and it needs a second swiping. Maybe the rug was especially dirty and needed another vacuuming.

Even though the second coat of paint feels unneeded, it usually is needed. For one thing, imperfections--roller overlaps, brush smears, etc.--don't show well in ordinary artificial household light. Even natural light doesn't reveal these problems well. That's why professional painters use strong lights to check their work.

Here is a list of conditions where you'll want to use two coats of paint--or just stick with one coat.

Image Lee Wallender


The Sad State of Tile Calls For Designer Tile

Friday April 11, 2014

Recently, while walking through a local tile store and looking for a unique, fun, distinctive tile, I was struck by the charmlessness of 95% of the tile on the shelves.

The name of the tile store shall remain anonymous, but I will say that it was neither The Home Depot, with its paltry collection of four or five ceramic tiles, nor was it some super-fancy tile store that catered to high-end, million-dollar-plus new-construction homes. It was one of those stores that every community seems to have with names like The Tile Store, Tile Works, or Tile Mart.

Most of the tile was earthen-brown, ranging only a few degrees darker and a few degrees lighter. It was tile that said: Whimper, whimper...I'm inoffensive, don't pay me any attention.

Whatever happened to tile that stands out and beats its chest, saying, "I am tile, hear me roar!"

Enter the designer tile. Guaranteed you won't find either of the two pictured tiles, from Tabarka of Scottsdale, AZ, on any shelf at your Tile Madness store. Tabarka tantalizingly doesn't identify the left-hand tile, but the one of the right is from the studio's Maghreb Collection. And no, not all of their tile is Persian-inspired. They have collections styled after influences from all parts of the globe.

Just try finding those at your local orange or blue big box store.

Image: Tabarka Studios

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