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August 23, 2017  |  by Rachel

Flooring - Part Two - Tile

Thanks for following along in our flooring series! If you haven't yet, check out Part One of this series on Hardwood Floors.

In this post we will be giving some great info from our designers on tile flooring: information on types of tile, installation tips, trends and more! Read on for more great info.

Tile is a great flooring option for areas of your home that might be exposed to water, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and entrance ways. It tends to be a durable flooring option that can withstand wear and tear, dirt, mud, accidental spills and more. 

There has been a huge surge in tile options over the last number of years. Shapes, colors and patterns, there are so many options available in today's market!

Tile Types

Porcelain is the type of tile we are seeing and currently using the most often for our homeowners. Not only does it have the most variety in color and pattern, it also is much stronger, less porous and less likely to crack than natural stone and even ceramic. Porcelain tile is actually a type of ceramic tile, but made with a much finer clay and fired at higher temperatures. It is more resistant to wear and abrasion and is also moisture resistant. Porcelain tile is often chosen for its consistent patterning.

Real stone (IE Marble, travertine and limestone) are beautiful, but are more porous and require sealing (and regular resealing). Due to the nature of real stone, the patterning will be more varied and have less consistency. However, natural stone does tend to be warmer, and will also distribute in-floor heating more consistently than its man-made counterpart.

Designer tip: If it's in your budget, consider adding in-floor heating with tile! In our cooler months here in the Greater Vancouver area, having in-floor heating is a nice luxury, especially for bathrooms such as the en suite.

Mosaic Tile

In the design world, smaller mosaic tiles are all the rage. They are great for small spaces like a powder room. They can also work well for a sloped shower floor due to the smaller tile size. However, they can be up to three times more expensive, and harder to clean as there are more grout lines, so keep that in mind if you love the look. Choose a small room or an area in your home where you can feature your favorite mosaic tile as an inset pattern, either in a front entry or bathroom.  Or like one of our homeowners did with these custom hand painted tiles beneath their kitchen island (see photo above!).

Cement Tile

We have had a few clients express interest in cement tile and we are seeing an increased interest in the design world for these beautifully patterned high end specialty tiles. You can find more information here from our friends at Villa Lagoon Tile on how these tiles are handmade, installation details and required maintenance.

These aren't in the budget for every homeowner, but there are some great porcelain tile alternatives, like these tiles in Dear Lillie's laundry room that give the look of cement tiles, but at a much lower cost:

Source

Shaped Tile

Tiles in various shapes have been gaining momentum in the design world, and shapes such as hexagon, scallop and arabesque are all popular choices. While these tiles aren't always used in flooring (more commonly used for back-splashes) they can be used similarly to mosaic 

Another popular trend we are seeing are larger format tiles (ie 18x36 or 24x48). These types of tiles not only tend to be easier to clean due to less grout lines, they also lend a clean and modern look to your space.

A current popular trend is to install tiles in a pattern such herringbone and chevron. While it is more expensive to install tiles this way, it can look stunning!

Source

Grout

Typically we recommend avoiding white or light grout. Light grout can be difficult to maintain and tends to discolor over the years. Match your grout to the tile, or go with a darker grout to create some contrast and make a statement. If you want to have minimal grout lines, consider choosing a rectified tile (a tile that has had the edges mechanically finished for a more precise size) that allows for a smaller grout line.

 

Thank you for following along on our flooring series, we hope you've found this information useful! We'll be back with one more post on some alternative flooring choices. 

August 9, 2017  |  by Jake Kostelyk

Homeowner Pinball

Here at Kenorah, we're a passionate about what we do: creating/transforming beautiful homes, built for generations. Since we began in 1980, one of the most fundamental learnings we've experienced is that separating the design and construction of any home project breaks down communication, complicates decisions and results in a lack of accountability from all parties involved.

Ultimately, The homeowner is stuck in an expensive (and stressful) game of "Homeowner Pinball"; being bounced from the Architectural designer to the Interior Designer, then over to the Contractor, then back to the designers, and suppliers, all who point the blame on another party, none of who want to take accountability. 

For example: 

Builder: "Well, I assumed the Designer would have thought of this beam placement when designing this!"

Designer: "I had no idea the Builder was going to build it THAT way?!"

Designer: "How was I supposed to know that the HVAC contractor wanted all that room for his ducting?"

Builder: "Didn't you ask the HVAC contractor first?"

Builder: "We need to underpin your foundation, as we've discovered there are no spread footings. This is going to cost you."

Designer: "My job isn't to hand dig to check for these things. These surprises are just a part of renovating."

Who is going to take accountability for all of these "oops" scenarios? Usually nobody, which puts the delays (and cost overruns) right back on the homeowner. 

But couldn't they have been avoided?

Why didn't the construction and design professionals COLLABORATE during the design phase to figure out the answers to these questions well before construction started? A small investment into investigatory work will pay of many times over as it identifies these issues during the design phase, resulting in less risk and a smooth construction project.

This is precisely why we provide an INTEGRATED Design + Build solution. 

Our design and construction team are in one office, working together daily. We show up to your home during the design phase to hand dig, if required, to ensure there are spread footings for your addition, because we don't like surprises, and we don't think you would either.

If we're concerned about the ducting, we bring in our trusted HVAC partners to provide valuable insight as we're developing layouto to ensure that what we're designing is feasible and practical. 

If we're wondering how we can open up your kitchen to create an open-concept layout you've always wanted, we bring our Infrared imaging equipment to see if if there are water lines in those walls, and call our structural engineer to tell us how we can eliminate walls and move load bearing points. 

Our goal is to ensure that the design phase results in a beautiful, stunning design that is tested, feasible and based on the unique elements of your home. Our tight alignment of Design and Construction allows us to move from Design into the Build phase with confidence that we know what to expect, and that we've eliminated as many of the questions and variables as possible.

 

Image source

 

August 2, 2017  |  by Trent Brown - Vandenberg's Landscape Design

Some Like it Hot...But Your Garden Doesn’t

A big thank you to Trent Brown from Vandenberg's Landscape Design for contributiong this timely and informative blog post with tips for designing and maintaining your lawn to withstand hot dry summer weather!



Keeping your yard looking healthy during extremely hot weather and drought can be a challenge. Below are a few tips to help your landscape look it’s best this summer.

Water Early in the Morning

Between 6am and 10am is the most efficient time because the sun isn’t too hot yet, and it allows time for the water to get absorbed by the roots before evaporating. Watering early in the morning also saves you from burning the plant foliage. Water droplets left on any leaves while the sun is at its hottest will heat up and almost act as sun through a magnifying glass, damaging your plants and leaving brown spots.

Mulch Your Garden

Maintaining a 2-inch layer of bark mulch on all of your gardens will help retain moisture longer, giving your plants the best chance to get the most water they can before the soil dries up. Don’t forget to water long enough to allow the water enough time to percolate through the soil to the entire root system, not just the surface roots.

Group Plants by Watering Needs

Drought tolerant plants are a great choice for the garden, but that doesn’t mean your entire garden has to be drought-tolerant plants. Instead, create drought-tolerant sections in your garden to localize your watering efforts and minimize waste on plants that don’t really need it. Lavender and Euphorbia are great mid-height selections. Sedums are an incredible groundcover with lots of variety. Blue Oat, Fescue, and Pampas are all different sized Grasses that thrive in this setting. Yuccas are another great option to create a strong, upright visual interest in a drought-tolerant garden, drawing your eye to its dominant form.

Your Lawn Space

A lawn's watering needs are the most demanding in your yard. If it constantly struggles during July and August, think about where you could cut back on it, and whether you really need that much lawn. If not, enlarging some of your gardens, creating a nice garden patio, or building a propane/natural gas fire pit area are just a few great ways to remove some of your lawn and replace it with usable, low-maintenance space. For the lawn areas that are kept, be careful not to cut them too short. Maintaining a height of 2.5-3 inches will help the roots grow deeper and retain more water, as well as create more shade for the soil to keep the temperature down.

Even though its these months when we all take off for summer vacations, this is when our yards are stressed out and working overtime! Help them out as much as you can by following some of these simple tips, and if it’s a little too much work than you want during the summer, don’t hesitate to call a landscape professional to take care of it.

Categories: landscaping