30 April, 2008

Interior Design and Decorating - Timber Floor Finishes

Different Types of Timber Flooring:

1. Timber Blocks

These are usually made of a hardwood species laid on a screed of concrete. They are laid in a herringbone or brick bond and basket pattern. They require a dry and stable atmosphere. The blocks are jointed with tongue and grove edges and fixed with an adhesive.

2. Floor Boards

These make up part of the construction of some houses; timber tongue and groove floorboards are fixed with nails to the floor joists. With the increased use of concrete substrate floors, a timber floorboard finish can be achieved by fixing battens into a concrete screed. Uplifting carpet and finding timber floorboards is a great coup as sanded and polished they provide a simple form of redecoration.

3. Parquet

This is used mainly for high quality domestic projects. It is available in square panels that hold all the timber pieces together. It is fixed by gluing to the base substrate, which is required to be level and free of lumps. The style of parquet is usually three fingers of timber facing vertical with three adjacent facing horizontal and so on. They are available with a prefinished coated surface or raw and require a polyurethane coating finish.

4. Chipboard

This is made of chips of timber combined with urea formaldehyde resins bonded to form a board. It is fixed by nailing to timber joists. It is a cheap product with a moderate wear ability. Its surface looks like cork when it is sealed.

5. Plywood

Plywood is made up of thin layers or plies of timber that get bonded together. Layers are laid face to face but each adjacent layer the grain runs in the opposite direction, which provides strength to the board making it stiffer and stronger than solid timber of the same thickness. It has a moderate wear factor as a floor product. It is nailed or glued to timber floor joists. A finishing coat would be required to seal the floor and protect it from spills, damage and wear.

6. Hardboard

Hardboard is made from soft wood pulp and is a cheap product. Generally used as a base for other flooring. It can be painted and sealed but it is not very durable long term.

28 April, 2008

Tile Installation - DIY, Clay Based Flooring Finishes for Interior Design and Decorating

Brick and Brick Paviours (Tile Installations & Laying)
  • Bricks are made from clay, which is formed into shapes and dried in a kiln.
  • Paviours are made in a similar fashion but they are thinner and often have special finishes on the surface.
  • They are both hard wearing and chemical resistant.
  • They are laid on a bed of mortar.

Ceramic Tiles - About & Installation Tips

  • Ceramic tiles are made from clay, pressed and tempered into the required shape and size and fired at high temperature.
  • They are available in a vast range of colors; sizes and some have textural designs on the surface.
  • They can be used a floor or wall finish.
  • Careful attention needs to be paid on selection in regard to wet areas, as they are very slippery when wet.
  • They have a high durability; they can be broken or cracked if heavy objects are dropped on them.
  • They can be noisy underfoot and cool, but they are excellent for using with under floor heating.
  • They require a level and solid substrate for laying, a concrete slab or plywood sheet.
  • Where there is a large expanse of tiling, expansion joints should be used to allow for expansion or contraction to reduce the risk of cracking. These joints are filled with a compressible sealant product

Quarry Tiles - About & Installation Tips

  • These are made from unrefined extruded, high silica alumina clay that gets pressed into the desired form and hard burnt.
  • They are hard and durable but have a softer composition than ceramic tiles.
  • They can be used with under floor heating.
  • The quality and price is wide ranged and varies depending on the size and thickness.
  • It is an unglazed form of tile, which comes in a natural color selection, red, brown and beiges.
  • They can be sealed but must be done immediately after installation.
  • Like ceramic tiles they are cold underfoot and will break any thing that you drop on it.

25 April, 2008

Landscape Elements - Hardscapes

A landscape is never complete if its soft elements are not completed correctly by its hardscape. Hardscape or “hardscaping” is composed of inanimate elements of landscaping, particularly the work of masonry or carpentry. For example, stone walls, concrete or brick patios, tile roads, bridges made of wood and wooden trees would all be considered as part of the hardscape. But hardscape goes beyond large-scale projects like these. Any non-life ornamentation in your landscaping is technically part of the hardscape.

Without the clever arrangement of stone and other components hardscape, the most artistic landscape is not a framework for disable plants tastefully and beautifully. When designing your garden, always start by permanent structures. Let the physical area and its surroundings dictate the form and shape of your design.

The wooden structures can be used in the garden to provide support for the plant material and define the elements of “outdoor rooms,” the truss becomes a wall, tree a door, a pergola roof - a gazebo combine all these. The design of these features should take into account the weight of loads probable plants, natural forces of wind, humidity and the sun and properties of the wood itself. Including wooden structures in the landscape offers us the opportunity to recycle materials “nature garden” to ours.

Sample 1: Pergola

Sample 2: Pathway

Sample 3: Patio with pergola

Hardscape materials are as varied as your imagination. But for weight construction, you are safer with proven materials such as stone, wood, cement, etc.. Most people like the shade patios and structures. But even these can be built with creativity, train them to the original design and choosing materials imagination. The cement can be colored, stamped or inlaid. Mosaics, paving stones, tiles, bricks, colored gravel, crushed glass, or a combination of materials can make flat surfaces turbulence with interest. Consider the addition of two structures use and beauty.

24 April, 2008

The Choice of Fabrics

It is most important that the fabric will drape or hang well. In general the heavier the fabric, the tighter the weave should be to ensure that the fabric will hang well.

The looser the weave the more prone it is to environmental factors like heat and moisture which will mean that you can physically see your drapes rise and fall.

The most common types of fabrics that are used for drapery are as follows: sheers and nets, most commonly synthetic, used for privacy.

Casements, which are made from loosely woven textured yarns and also used for privacy.

Prints, probably the most popular, these are generally made from tightly woven cotton or cotton polyester blends and are of medium weight and practical from most window treatment situations.

Satins and jacquards, mostly for formal applications, heavy tightly woven supple fabrics that hang very straight and formally.

Sheers or nets are a popular choice for casual uses of curtains, shown in this photograph, they are a perfect fabric choice for a difficult set of French doors. The fabric diffuses the natural light but you can still see out and access the door handles in the center.

There are no rules, you can use almost any fabric for drapery with careful thought about the application, as long as you can justify your selection with all your knowledge – go for it, dare to be different.

23 April, 2008

Curtains – The 'ins and outs'

There are only a few simple rules to follow here; the length of the hung curtain should be to the floor or the windowsill. Anything in between looks rather odd.

There is a trend today of puddling curtains, this is where they are made longer than the height required and “puddle” on the floor, this requires a skill in fabric selection, so that they sit well. It is used commonly in living rooms and bedrooms.

With puddle curtains on a hand drawn track, make sure that the width of the curtain is not excessive as they become heavy and difficult to draw back. They are also prone to picking up all the fluff from your floor, so a little bit more attention is required to keeping them looking smart.

The top of the curtain (the heading), for all curtains can be at ceiling height, above or at the top of the window frame or flush with the window reveal.

It all depends on the space that you have. Do keep your choice constant in your home as it can look very odd if some curtain heads are fixed at different heights to others, especially when you can view through from room to room.

The finished length of ceiling to floor curtains should leave a 10mm gap, so that they don’t catch the floor and are easy to draw back, the gap for finishing at a windowsill only requires 5mm.

For safety reasons, never cover radiator heaters with curtains, look for another solution, either stop the curtains short of the heaters or use a blind as an alternative style of window treatment.

Consistency in design of the window treatments allows for a symmetrical form to be created here in this photograph. The head of the curtains are all the same height and the window swag and tail valance details are all the same and they are all held back at the bottom of the window sill which provides a regular frame for the windows and creates a flow and rhythm to the window treatments.

22 April, 2008

Sheer and Net Curtains

Sheers or Voiles

Sheers, voiles or nets are fine translucent fabrics. They are used to cut down the amount of sunlight that enters a room and to create a small amount of privacy.

They can be used on their own or combined with heavier curtains to be drawn at night. For a long time they were only available in white or cream.

The selection available today is very extensive ranging from colors, beaded, textures, striped, rainbow effects, metallic, threaded with flower forms, embroidered with designs, sequined ... the list goes on.

So you can see that they are quite a fashion statement for your window. A very good alternative to blinds.

The use of sheers in this contemporary apartment allows diffused light to enter and makes a subtle design statement. They are ceiling hung on a track behind a pelmet in the form of a lowered ceiling and the curtains seem to float.

Sheers are a great way to add soft and subtle decorative curtains as seen in this photograph. The sheers diffuse the sunlight as under curtains, and then the gold decorative curtain to the side is pulled through a ring to act as a tieback, very clever design accessory.

The heading options vary greatly, from pencil pleats for a lovely fullness to inverted pleat for a more flat sophisticated look, to a simple gathered head that will be covered with a pelmet, valance, swags and tails or a scarf drapery.

They are also commonly threaded through rods or poles using a casement heading.

Nets or Net Curtains

Net curtains are similar to sheers, but the construction of the fabric is different. The strands of yarn are interlocked to form patterns of fine or large holes in the fabric. They can be fine or coarse, with varying degrees of complex patterns.

They are hung in a similar fashion to sheers.

16 April, 2008

Modular Sofa – Modern Contemporary Sofa

This sofa is a wonderful contemporary modular sofa that allows you to fully enjoy your imagination. With chunky rectangular modules and leading edges, it is possible to invent the exact couch you need to better fit your space. Absolutely modern bass, large sofa style is ideal for any type of relaxed entertaining. If you want to create a corner appropriate for intimate meetings, a forward-facing ideal to take place in a movie, or with a twist, a large curved line for a large part, you will find this incredibly adaptable modular sofa. The sofa comes to life in its various permutations, to be acknowledged again each day of use.

10 April, 2008

Expandable Dining Table - Adjustable Table Design

An innovative concept is beautifully presented to the adjustable table design, expandable dining table. Unlike other extendable dining tables, which tend to offer standard components on each side, the adjustable table design pulls out of the middle! This feature enhances the surface of the table, while offering a view of the design elements interesting, and can be done manually or through an option whisper-quiet motor.

The multiple uses in the area revealed the middle of the table can incorporate stainless steel plates, a box of cutlery or a cutting, depending on your needs. Another serious smart coordination of steel and wood trolley also exactly is the gap between the two sides. So this means can be a trolley wheeled out of the kitchen carrying a load of food, a vase of flowers, or perhaps a cooler of champagne and then carefully slotted into the adjustable table without too many ways.

08 April, 2008

Architectural Glass Skylights

Turn a simple skylight into an extraordinary characteristic of these architectural glass skylights. Always wonderful ways to let natural light, skylights are made in attention-grabbing focal point of architectural glass spectacular. The autumnal tones of the photo above textured skylight will add a warm glow - which is especially useful for brightening up dull corridors or passages.

If you are looking for something with a more traditional style, look no further than the glass skylight picture below. This elegant skylight is embellished with traditional motifs to bring an air of sophistication to your home. Leave a simple architectural element to express your taste in decorating with glass skylights.

07 April, 2008

Curtain Poles, Rods and Finials

A pole or rod is a rail or track which a curtain or valance is hung.

Poles or rods are available in many different materials – timber, brass, wrought iron, bamboo, powder coated steel, and painted timber.

They usually have coordinating rings that fix to the hooks on the heading of the curtains. Curtain Rods or Poles are a simple and effective way to add decoration to your windows.

They are easy to install and you can coordinate the finials with hold backs, and other pieces of hardware providing a fluid designer look.

Finials are the decorative fixing at the end of the poles. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some simple, some complex, from the traditional fleur de lys, and arrowhead to the fruity pomegranate and pineapple, and back to nature with acorns, scallop shells, along with the simple colonial turned wood balls.

Tab Top Curtains* on a decorative rod and Finial.

A more contemporary type of pole system is the tensioned steel wire, which doesn’t impose on the windows. This is used with a grommet top** style of curtain.

A simpler style of rod is a tension rod which gets positioned between the window frame, and is held there by a spring tension system. This is frequently used for shower curtains.

Rod and finial used here for casual scarf drapery***.

Add On:

* Asian Influenced Tab Top Curtain on a Rod with a Finial

Tab top curtains are a modern casual style of window treatment. This example of a curtain shows just how simple this form of window treatment is.

A standard rod and a spiral finial provide the form for hanging the curtain. The curtain is made like a large sheet but with a hem at the base and the head and has about an inch wide tabs fixed toto the head.

Is threaded through the tab and this is how the curtain hangs. The fabric used here is contemporary with an Asian influence of mirrors and beading to form the decoration. The color is bold and intense and the wallpaper in the background has a washed or aged look with gold motifs.

This type of curtain I class as casual as it hangs randomly depending on how it is drawn, also because they generally don't have much fullness and are seldom lined.

They don’t have a very long life if they are drawn frequently as the fabric rubs directly on the rod and causes wear on the tab.

They are a very good choice for a decorative curtain that frames a window of if used in a translucent or sheer fabric.

** Grommet Top Curtains

These are similar to tab top curtains but have metal grommets (eyelets) fixed onto the head of the curtain at regular intervals.

They can then be threaded through a rod, pole or the more contemporary look, tension wire.

They are often used with tension rods as shower curtains.

To create a nautical look in a holiday home, use stainless steel grommets with canvas, cotton duck, or drill, and use stainless steel tension wire.

They also work well when used on a supported rail around a bed, for example in a hospital, or rest home.

For a more traditional look, attach decorative hooks through the grommet, and use a rod and ring system.

*** Subtle Scarf Drapery over Rods in a Stylish Sunroom

This sunroom is light and breezy. The view is framed well by the double hung sash windows.

The furniture placement is formal and symmetrical. The rattan chairs are typical in a sunroom and the side table creates the central focal point.

The window treatment used softens the vertical lines of the windows.

A simple black rod is used with a decorative finial. A soft translucent sheer is draped in a swag and tail format over the rod which creates a formal softness to the room and adds an air of romanticism.

This window treatment works well in this room, it is subtle and doesn’t over whelm the room like traditional swags and tails can, this is due to is informal use over a rod and the choice of a light weight translucent fabric.

If a curtain track had been used with pencil pleated curtains for example they would have enclosed the room, blocked out the beautiful view and been too formal for the use of the room.

This room is used mostly in daylight hours so the choice of curtains is solely for decoration and this solution is well suited.

Other options could have been blinds on the windows, these works well for sunrooms as they can be used to direct sunlight when it is too intense, but they do take up space on the window. Nets or voiles could have been used in this situation; however they do permanently diffuse the view whilst reducing the glare form the sunlight.

To conclude this sunroom is a well balanced space with well considered window treatments.

04 April, 2008

Interior Design Fittings and Fixtures - Locks

An often forgotten area of decoration is a practical one, door hardware, and even more forgotten is door stops, these protect your walls from the door handle bashing through it. Ensure that the doorstop is long enough to stop the door before the handle reaches the wall!

There are many different types of locks, used for different purposes and situations.

Door Locks

Cylinder Night Latch

This is the most common type of door lock. It is essentially a spring-loaded latch opened by key from the outside and lever from the inside.

There are four parts; the staple that the latch slides into is attached to the door frame. The lock body that houses the latch is attached to the door; the cylinder and outer ring are also attached to the lock body through the door. This latch is surface mounted.

Deadlocking Night Latch

This is the same as the cylinder night latch with the exception that it can be key locked from the inside as well as the outside.

This helps if you are away from the house and it is broken into. The deadlock (if locked) stops the latch from being manually operated from the inside. This latch is surface mounted.

Parts of a lock - strike plate, lock bolt and latch bolt.

Mortise Lock

The mortise lock is very secure because it is built into the door i.e. it sits in a slot (mortise) cut into the door as does its striking plate which is in the door frame. It is a dead lock system, in that it needs a key to open it if locked. There is no spring-loaded lever. There are also no handles or latch system.

Mortise Sash Lock

This is similar to the mortise lock but has the advantage of a latch and handles built into it. During the day when the door is being used frequently it can be opened by turning the handles or lever, but when security is required then the locking mechanism can be turned by the key and the door remains closed and secure until unlocked.

Profile Cylinder Mortise Lock

This is very similar to the mortise lock but the locking mechanism is the smaller cylinder type of lock and has a smaller easier to use and carry key.

Window Locks

Casement Stay Locks

- Surface Mounted Lock for Casement. (Can be seen and be obtrusive).

There are two parts to these locks, one that is mounted to the casement and the other to the frame. A key usually moves the bolt into the staple.

- Concealed Lock for Casement. (A better aesthetic value as it is hidden).

This type of lock is like a barrel bolt, called a mortise rack bolt. The barrel slots into a hole drilled in the edge of the casement and turning a key moves the bolt into a hole drilled in the frame.

Sash Window Screw Lock

These are steel bolts that slide through a hole in the top rail of the inner sash through to the bottom rail of the outer sash. This prevents the inner and lower window from sliding up and the top outer window from sliding down. As a designer they have a good aesthetic value, as they can't be seen.

Two Part Surface Locks for Sash Windows

These fit on the two horizontal rails (i.e. one on each rail) and when in line, lock together with a key bolt. These are seen, as they are surface mounted.

Sliding Door Locks

These take the form of a bolt that slides into the frame and stops the sliding door or window from sliding along. The body of the lock is attached to the sliding part of the window or door and the bolt pushes or slides into the frame or reveal. A key is usually used to release the bolt.


02 April, 2008

Contemporary Glass Table - Frog Coffee Table & Dining Table

A perfect contemporary glass table is difficult to find. This glass tables have a gain of simplicity that will amaze and delight you. Really visually stunning, contemporary Frog coffee table and dining table are manufactured from a single sheet of glass! Molded into an exquisitely smooth, curved shape specifically, the coffee table and dining table are a pure expression of minimalism. Their tenacity belies their equipment - the curvature of the tables makes it extremely strong. Available in the beautiful crystal glass in picture, the table also Frog comes in a milky white, rich mocha and lacquer red. Make a bold statement with this contemporary glass painting.