Habitar Design - Interior Design Blog
Check out our associate designer, MacKenzie Cain’s featured article on Angie’s List! This article will help you protect your furniture from sun damage.
Walk-in showers never seem to have enough storage. All your bottles end up on the floor or a bench where they’re in the way or can be easily knocked over. Niches are the perfect answer. They’re cleaner than many wire storage devices and don’t take up any room in your shower.
If you are in the process of remodeling your bathroom, here are a few things to keep in mind while you are designing your shower niche:
- When putting a shower niche in an existing wall, 12”w x 24”h is a good size. It allows the niche to fit between studs which are often 16 inches apart. With a glass shelf at 12 inches this creates 2 feet of shelf space.
- The typical depth of a shower niche is 3.5 inches, the width of a wood stud. In a high rise building, the steel studs may be 2.5 inches deep and this should be considered. This is still wide enough for most bottles.
- Niches should not be against outside walls if possible in cold weather climates. The niche space will replace valuable insulation. If you must use an outside wall, be sure to put in some form of polyurethane insulation or the tile may frost up on cold winter days.
- Niches can be larger in new walls where your contractor can adjust the width of studs and make sure any plumbing or electrical pipes are not in the way. Wider niches are difficult in pre-existing walls but still possible. Keep in mind that every time a stud is cut there will likely be cosmetic damage to the wall it supports, so expect a little patching and painting in other rooms.
- Keep the tile dimensions in mind when specifying a niche. It’s best for tile to be symmetric around a niche. The tile line can end right on the niche for a very clean look. One thing to avoid is a very small tile on one or both sides of a niche. One solution is to frame the niche.
- Remember your niche may require bullnose tile, particularly when using ceramic tile that don’t have color through the clay body. This may be problematic with porcelain but is rarely an issue with stone.
- Specify all sides and back of your niche. If the niche is mosaic resting in larger field tiles, it often works best for all 5 walls (back, sides, top and bottom) to be mosaic. If the tile is glass, it allows you to hide the cut edge behind the field tile which is often easier to work with.
- Make sure your contractor waterproofs the niche with a product like Red Guard and ensures there is proper drainage into the shower area. This is particularly important with mosaic tiles. A leak from a niche will cause substantial damage over time.
With proper planning niches are practical and create a great visual focal point in any a shower or bath area.
Hannah Tindall is an assistant interior designer at Habitar Design specializing in kitchen and bathroom design in Chicago. Mitchell Newman is principal at Stratagem Construction, a leading Chicago construction company focusing on high end kitchen and bathroom remodels as well as custom wood work, built-ins and cabinetry.
Homes are often constructed with just the minimum required amount of electrical outlets for each area.
Frequently those outlets aren’t strategically placed to cater to each homeowner’s specific needs. Given the opportunity, strategically located outlets can greatly enhance a home’s functionality and aesthetics. If you’re looking to increase your home’s electrical capacity, these six places to consider when installing outlets might spark your interest.
1. Entry outlets
A strategically placed outlet above a shelf or table or in a cubby provides a great place to leave your phones or other electronic devices to charge. This will help you keep track of where they are and remind you to take them on the way out.
2. Floor outlets
Floor outlets in the middle of a room reduce the need for extension cords and other wiring that will take away from your room’s overall aesthetic and can create a tripping hazard. Floor outlets are most often used for lamps, but they can also be used to power electronic devices. A well placed outlet can turn a dining room table into a work center.
3. Wall-mounted TV outlets
Prevent cord clutter with a wall-mounted outlet
A well-placed wall outlet for a mounted TV will prevent an unseemly cord running from the TV to the electronics on the counter or in the cabinet below. There should be an outlet in the area of the electronics to power them as well. Done thoughtfully, there will be no cords between the electronics and the TV. It’s optimal to run a conduit hidden in the wall. This can be used to pass an HDMI cable between the electronics and the TV. With today’s technology, the electronics can be hidden away, allowing for a very clean, uncluttered TV area.
4. Bathroom vanity outlets
An outlet should be placed on the side of every sink so that there should never be a cord crossing one sink on the way to a person using the other one. Toothbrushes and electric razors that require charging can use outlets in a medicine cabinet. Many medicine cabinets offer this option. Below the countertop, hair dryers and curling irons can make use of an outlet in the back of the drawer containing them. With inserts, a vanity drawer can organize hair care tools for quick use. Be aware that bathrooms have different electrical requirements because of the exposure to water. All outlets must be GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) to help prevent electrocution. Be sure to check all building codes before finalizing any outlet locations.
5. Kitchen appliance outlets
The large kitchen appliances will already have outlets, but many smaller appliances such as toasters, blenders and electric teapots require power as well. In addition, countertop outlets are used to recharge electronics and power laptops and TVs. A simple solution to increase the capacity of outlets is to double up on the number of outlets at each location. Two outlets become four very easily. A second solution is to install strips of outlets below the cabinets. This allows appliances to be plugged in anywhere. There should also be ample outlets in an appliance garage, a cabinet reserved for electronics or in cabinets containing appliances that will be used while still on a cabinet shelf. Excellent hardware is available from Hafele American Company to allow appliances to swing out of cabinets to countertop level.
6. Home office outlets
Computers, printers and desk lights may require outlets above the countertop, below the countertop and in cabinets. Knowing how a workplace will be used helps in creating an efficient plan. Grommets and other wire management systems can be installed to hide cords. Outlets can be placed directly in the countertop as well as integrated USB ports that make charging much simpler.
Check out our Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall’s featured article on Angie’s List! Learn how to pick the perfect white paint to highlight your living spaces!
Check out our assistant designer, MacKenzie Cain’s featured article on Angie’s List! This article will help you select the perfect coffee table for your condo or home.
Habitar Design Chicago is proud to announce that we have once again been voted by the Houzz community as a winner of the Best of Houzz award!
RE: Chiropractic & Wellness in Andersonville, designed by our very own senior designer Kapan Shipman, was chosen by Crain’s Chicago Buisness as one of the coolest offices in Chicago in 2015!
Habitar Design Chicago is proud to show you our newest video showcasing some of our clients in their newly renovated homes. They have some wonderful things to say about us!
Check out our assistant designer, MacKenzie Cain’s featured article on Angie’s List! This article will help you select which window treatment options will best block out the sun in your home.
Check out our Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall’s featured article on Angie’s List! Hannah’s insight on unique alternative wood types can help you to make a beautiful statement in your home.
Check out our assistant designer, MacKenzie Cain’s featured article on Angie’s List! MacKenzie’s tips will help you to make an educated decision on which type of fireplace is right for your home.
Check out our Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall’s featured article on Angie’s List! Hannah’s insight on art shelves can provide you with ways of styling prints, paintings, and more in your home.
Check out our Assistant Designer, MacKenzie Cain’s featured article on Angie’s List! MacKenzie’s tips provide you with helpful advice on how to achieve a beautiful and leakproof shower.
Check out our very own Associate Senior Designer, Hannah Tindall’s featured article on Angie’s List!
Her article will enlighten you on the three basic types of lighting and how they can be used to illuminate your home.
One of my favorite ways to bring life (literally!) to any living space is to add strategically placed plants to the room décor. Not only do they add texture and a pop of color to your home, but they create a healthier living environment for you and your family boosting oxygen and moisture levels and removing toxins from the air. Below are a few popular indoor plants that look great and are easy to care for!Read More»
A mudroom is usually used as a home’s secondary entrance; often the room adjacent to the garage or back door. Mudrooms aren’t always included in a traditional layout, but they are definitely a room that people desire. Having a mudroom is crucial in helping to keep your house clean and organized, especially in these winter months. Here are 7 elements to include in your mudroom that will maximize its potential and create a much more efficient space for you and your family.Read More»
If you are in the process of remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, fixture finishes will be a big part of your selection process. While Chrome and Brushed Nickel are two of the most popular options, there are many other beautiful finishes out there that can add the element of texture and interest to your home. In the past year or so, we have seen brass make a big comeback, while matte black has gained momentum as well. Oil rubbed bronze has always been an undervalued, yet readily available option, while finishes such as copper and white aren’t seen as often, but can really make a statement. Below is a list of some of my favorite unique finishes that are trending currently, along with the pros and cons related to them!Read More»
You’ve finally selected a paint color – a difficult decision in itself. You’re at your local hardware store ready to make a purchase and the cashier asks you what finish you would like. Maybe you hadn’t considered this or even know the difference from one sheen to the next. Here we break down the 5 different types of paint finishes so you will be fully prepared when asked this question in the future.Read More»