JULY 18, 2010
n O s i t a e H e h T customers’ g n ti e e m to s e m When it co ific Islands c a P , s d e e n y rg e solar en ne to call o e th is n o ti c u tr s Con
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Letting the light shine on
Solar Energy Systems Customers need to be familiar with panels, inverters prior to installation
hotovoltaic (PV) solar energy systems consist of numerous components. The solar panels and the inverters are the two basic components that consumers need to know more about prior to making a purchase, since they are the backbone of the solar energy system. Inverters are the component of the system that changes the direct current (DC) produced by the solar panels or modules to alternating current (AC), which is compatible with the electricity used in the home or business. The two types of inverters on the market today are Centralized Inverters and Micro Inverters. Each type has positive and negative aspects, including:
I Centralized inverters are either
ground- or wall-mounted, taking all the DC power collected on the roof and converting it to AC through one box for consumption. Advantages include: long track record on reliability in the industry (very reliable technology); equipment is located in a protected area away from environmental exposure; and the larger the system, the lower the cost point
Save green. for the consumer. These inverters are easy to service, provide excellent performance with tracking information through the Internet, as well as not having as many exclusions on warranties, and are very quiet. The disadvantages include: a single point of failure may affect the whole system; a very slight loss of power in the conversion process; the need for a location to set the inverters in place; and the system designed based on
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I Micro Inverters are small inverters that are placed on the underside of individual panels converting DC to AC directly at the panel. Advantages include having slightly less loss of power consumption in comparison to Centralized panels. SEE PAGE 4
Carrier’s new Performance™ 17 Two-Stage Air Conditioner with Puron® refrigerant is so energy efficient it can lower your energy cost by up to 40%* and save up to $1,500† on your federal taxes. How cool is that. * Actual savings will depend on the efficiency of your current system compared to the efficiency of the new system. † Ask your dealer for details about how the tax credit program works and how much you expect to save on a new Carrier system.
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power produced, needs to be configured up front. Centralized inverters are very well understood and reliable.
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HK Construction Offers
Local professionals provide tips, advice at two “Building to Your Lifestyle” events
pdating your home or building a new one is about to get a whole lot easier. Oahu homeowners and landlords can get answers to all of their renovation questions at either of two “Building to Your Lifestyle” seminars being presented by HK Construction. If you’re thinking of building or remodeling for the first time, this seminar will help you understand the processes a homeowner will go through from start to finish.” These informative seminars are free, fun and open to the public,” says company vice president, Alan Twu. “If you’re thinking of building or remodeling for the first time, this seminar will help you understand the processes a homeowner will go through from start to finish,” The “Building to Your Lifestyle” sem-
inars will take place at Pearl Country Club, on Thursday, July 22, from 6 to 8 p.m.; and at Ward Warehouse on Friday, July 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. Many frequently asked questions or concerns will be covered, says Twu, including advice on the latest industry materials and design choices, do-it-yourself projects, how to work with a contractor, local building codes, and “secrets of the trade” that can save you time, money and a lot of needless frustration. “Most of all, we’ll get people one step closer to having the home they’ve always dreamed of for their family,” says Twu. At the end of the seminar, participants will be invited to meet one-onone with HK Construction design consultants for advice. “HK Construction is a kamaaina company that has built hundreds of quality homes and home improvements throughout Oahu,” says Twu.
“We have more than 35 years of experience in the construction industry. Our staff offers a full range of services with the knowledge and designing capabilities to build to your unique lifestyle.” Twu is the fourth generation of builders in his family. HK Construction staff members have honed and refined their skills to design and build quality homes and home improvements to meet the needs of Hawaii homeowners. HK Construction tackles projects ranging from new home construction and major additions to complete interior renovations. Team members guide and inspire homeowners throughout the design and building process. To reserve a spot at this week’s free “Build to Your Lifestyle” seminars, call HK Construction at 348-3111. Or to learn more about the company, log on to hkchawaii.com.
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JULY 18, 2010 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 3
FROM PAGE 2
A failure in one panel or shading occurring on a panel will not affect the power produced by each individual panel. It is easy to add more panels to your system since you will not be limited by system capacity of a Centralized inverter. System tracking information is available over the Internet as well. Disadvantages of micro inverters include: no long-term track record of reliability; the inverters are exposed to the weather, which means salt, heat, rain and biological factors can affect long-term system performance.
There also are many points of failure since each panel is equipped with an inverter. Access to repair may require removing panels of a failed inverter in the middle of configuration. The warranty also is very limited and is disconcerting when reviewed. Customers are responsible for labor to remove/replace the panel(s) but not the inverter cost. Labor cost could amount to a couple hundred dollars with each replacement. The warranty also does not cover damage when they are subject to fire, water, generalized corrosion, biological infestations, acts of Mother Nature,
or input voltage that creates operating conditions beyond the limits of the inverter’s specifications. Modules or solar panels are the component in the system that generates the DC that inverters convert to AC. Solar panels have no moving parts but are subject to the weather’s wear and tear. The consumer should know that the energy produced by the module decreases over time. Most manufacturers warrant that the energy efficiency will be at least 80 percent after 20 years. This is the energy efficiency warranty most vendors will boast of. Interestingly they never mention a second warranty given by the manufacturers that covers the construction part of the modules, which is usually only five years. Don’t be fooled by these warranties. The better manufacturers like Kyocera have proven performance where modules depreciated by less than 10 percent over 25 years. The fact of the matter is the better manufacturers have made the greatest improvements in module performance and reliability. The modules are stronger and the solar cells are more protected, extending the life and performance expectan-
“Quality and Integrity from the Ground Up.” • “With focus and determination, Chris resolved unavoidable problems that arose, i.e. 40-day rain. • He completed the job in a timely manner. • Chris’ completion of the project gave me t0tal satisfaction and happiness. • Paragon Builders is a reliable and trustworthy company which I would recommend to anyone planning to do any renovations.” Ann Keamo, Realtor, Aiea
cy. Module construction that is free of micro cracks, is what manufacturers desire. Micro cracks in modules become hot spots in the module, producing less energy. Micro cracks will eventually spread throughout the module. The best modules come from the manufacturers that have the best quality control. Finally, keep in mind that false or misleading claims are
for marketing purposes. Longterm warranties are statements limiting manufacturers’ liabilities, not guarantees. Some homeowners have been told they can put on a new roof and the cost can be put on the same bill as the solar system, allowing for a tax credit on the new roof. That’s false. Caveat emptor says, “Let the buyer beware.” Pacific Islands Construction has a license in general con-
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struction and also has licenses in roofing and waterproofing. The company is committed to installing the best system at the best price, and providing peace of mind to customers that their roof will not have leaks. If you’re in need of information and/or a free quote on Solar Energy (PV), and other roofing matters, call Pacific Islands Construction at 841-7756 office, or e-mail email@example.com.
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Magnets Restoring your tub and wall surround could be a great way to save the environment
sn’t it ironic that the bathroom is one of the most germ-infested areas in your house? When the surfaces of a tub, wall surrounds or counter top begin to look stained, worn, cracked or even rusted, they start to collect dirt and germs that begin to deposit on these porous surfaces. All Island Bath Remodeling (AIBR) specializes in the restoration of these surfaces and can restore them to a smooth synthetic porcelain surface that is easily cleaned and chemically resistant. Thanks to the many years of experience using state-of-the-art restoration technology, there is no need to tear out old bathtubs and wall surrounds that are stained, cracked, rusty or just worn. AIBR
can restore them to look like new. Reglazing is also the most costeffective way to restore your old bathtub. Over the years, AIBR has worked with hotels and property managers, who use glazing as a way to provide a clean new-looking bathroom at a reasonable price. Restoring your tub and wall surround instead of tearing them out and replacing the features could be a great way you can help to save our environment. AIBR has done more than 30,000 tubs during the past 20 years. If you were to stack them up one on another, it would be over five and a half miles high, and that’s kept a lot of waste from Oahu landfills.
AIBR’s goal is to give kamaaina cost-effective alternatives that can save money, including: I Bathtub and wall surround resurfacing that make worn or stained bathtubs look like new. Using an exclusive, non-porous formula, AIBR technicians can give “new life” to tubs and tile walls. The finished product will not mildew or mold — even in the grout lines. I Bathtub and wall surround liners. Only one day is needed to remodel a bathroom tub or bathroom walls with a new acrylic surface. I Walk-through tub conversion. It’s the most cost-efficient way to convert your tub to a shower.
Cut-aways make life easier for seniors and the disabled who may have difficulty stepping over the tub to get in. I Illisionite simulated stone. Transform your counters to look like stone at a fraction of the cost.
The family-style staff at AIBR can provide free advice and job estimates. Call 358-7780, send an email to Allislandbath@gmail.com or log on to Allislandbath.com.
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Master Material: The
Unexpected uses for ceramic tile in the master suite vinyl, and requires no special chemical treatments, the way many natural stone products do. Because of this easy maintenance and durability, consumers can realize lower costs over the life of the product. • It’s naturally hypoallergenic and releases no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. It doesn’t collect dust, dust mites, pet dander or other irritants and microbes. • Tile is readily available in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and design themes. In fact, you can now find ceramic tile that even mimics the look of other popular, more costly or less durable materials like wood, glass or even metal. So how can you use tile in your master bedroom? Tile of Spain branded manufacturers cite sev-
eramic tile has held a hallowed place in bathroom renovations for generations. Durable, easy to clean, and available in a wide range of color, format and design, tile just makes sense in a bath. But some enterprising designers and homeowners are finding a new spot in the home where tile not only works well, but can take center stage the master bedroom. Homeowners are choosing to incorporate ceramic tiles into master bedrooms for many of the same reasons the material has been popular in bathrooms and kitchens: • Tile is more durable than other materials, lasting up to four times longer than carpet or wood. Unlike wood, it will never need refinishing, restaining or sanding. It holds its luster better than
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eral trends in ceramic tile’s use in master bedrooms: To o create e a headboard Fabric, wood or metal headboards can make a powerful design statement, and solidify a bed’s stance as the centerpiece of a room. Ceramic tile, now available in large formats and in designs that mimic the look of other materials, is a sensible, cost-effective and healthier alternative to some popular headboard materials. Creating a fabric headboard, for example, can be a costly, timeconsuming process, yet you can get virtually the same look with ceramic tile made to look like fabric. And this is fabric that won’t harbor germs and microbes.
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design elements. Extending g the e life e off a paintt job b Paint is one of the easiest things to change in a room and can be one of the most difficult to clean and preserve. One way to extend the life of a paint job is to tile walls to the level of the chair rail SEE PAGE 12
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Generall design n touches If you love the look of wainscoting, wood paneling or bead board, but prefer a more durable, hypoallergenic material, ceramic tile can offer the same look without the disadvantages of wood decorator touches. Several Tile of Spain branded manufacturers produce tiles that look like wood
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HAWAIIRENOVATION Get more bang for your
Renovation Buck in the bedroom itchens and baths get all the buzz as the best rooms to renovate, whether you’re selling your house or planning to stay in it. But don't overlook the power of a great master bedroom — after all, it’s among the most frequently used rooms in your home. Whether you're renovating to attract potential buyers, or to improve your enjoyment of your house, sprucing up the master bedroom has multiple benefits. Buyers will likely pass through your bedroom to reach the master bath, so a great master bedroom helps set the tone for your master bath. And since most of us spend about eight hours a day (or night) in the bedroom, refurbishing the room can help us get better rest and feel better about our home. Investing just a few extra dollars to install luxury designer touches like good
linens or an eye-catching wallpaper mural can ensure you get the most bang for your renovation buck in the bedroom. Whether you have a few hundred dollars or a few thousand to spend, you can make the most of your money by adding high-quality, high-impact touches like these: Designerr (orr att leastt designer-look) linens.. The bed should be a focal point for a well-designed bedroom. The easiest way to make yours look fresh and powerful, even if it's the same frame you've had for 10 years, is to dress it up with great linens. Go for the whole enchilada here — skirt, accent pillows, duvet and shams. Linen designers have made it very easy to create a pulled-together, luxury look by providing ensembles that work together. Since you’ll spend several hours a day in contact with your linens, it's probably worth spending a bit more for comfort as
well as great looks. Look for all-cotton sheets that have a high thread count. Generally, the higher the thread count the softer and more comfortable they’ll feel. Thanks to designers' partnerships with popular retail chains, it's possible to score a good-looking, good-quality ensemble for
a couple hundred dollars. Throw in a few hundred more and you can buy name brand linens in a top-of-the-line department store. Wallpaperr murals.. Designers have been SEE PAGE 12
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Easy Entertaining Tips to
learned that any little knick-knack can come into play when decorating for events. I’ve made candle holders out of Mason jars, a menu with a chalkboard and centerpieces using old pitchers. I’m not encouraging clutter- just keep a stash of items that could be useful when entertaining and it may save you that extra trip to the store.
Shape Up Your Home for Any Occasion
o you love the idea of entertaining, but feel like getting your home ready for a social event requires too much time and attention? Not to worry, there are a few easy things you can do to make sure your home is always ready to host guests, and they may not be as difficult to accomplish as you think. First and foremost, decide what type of ambiance your event needs and embrace it. If you are having an evening party, indulge in deep colors, soft lighting and upbeat music to keep your company awake! If it’s a daytime event, go bold and bright with your color scheme. “I love to target my audience and add things to my table settings
8 | HAWAII RENOVATION | JULY 18, 2010
that inspire my guests,” says Angela Giannopoulos, a premier New York event stylist and owner of SC3 Group who has worked with brands such as Estee Lauder, Donna Karan and Missoni. “I recently decorated a birthday table for a group of grade school children. I used oversized Legos and bright candy to entertain them.” For unique ideas such as these, Giannopoulos has offered several tips for easy at-home entertaining. I Versatility is key. Make considerations when stocking your kitchen cabinets — consider cookware and serving dishes that can be used both for smaller and larger oc-
I Use nature to your advantage. When decorating, use sprigs and blooms grown near your home to add life to your table settings. Various shades of colors found in wildflowers often create an organic energy making a table setting more inviting for guests. Also, arranging flowers in different sized vases can be visually appealing on a long table while single, tall flowers work well with a table for two.
casions, as well as casual and formal ones. I also love expandable kitchen tables because you can accommodate a house full of guests and break it down for breakfast for two the morning after. My last bit of advice is to choose dinnerware that is versatile. Consider something that is durable enough for daily use and chic enough for evening occasions, such as Oneida’s Chef’s Table Collection. This mix and match collection was designed with a modern look and crafted in all white porcelain to complement any table setting. I Accessorize your home. I often hang on to things that I shouldn’t, but have
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I Accumulate a beverage collection. Nothing makes your visitors feel welcome like offering them a drink when they walk in the door. Rather than going out and stocking up on wine, liquor or soft drinks before you host, gradually accumulate a collection. Your guests will be impressed by your selection when you have an assortment to offer. Also, consider outfitting your home with drinkware for every occasion. Oneida.com offers affordable items such as their Angelina stemware that go from every day to every type of soiree. I Be prepared for overnight visitors. Always keep clean sheets on your guest bed and be sure it is made, as you never know when someone might stop by for an overnight visit. If you really want to make your guests feel welcome, impress them with soothing products in the bathroom or on their nightstand along with a sweet treat on their pillow. Courtesy of ARAcontent
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to make your new house feel like home ou know that moving into a new home can be one of life’s biggest stressors — the packing, the paperwork, the unpacking, finding the nearest coffee shop, etc. Still,there are many ways to make your new house feel like home sooner than later, according to interior design faculty at The Art Institutes. “Incorporating items with personal meaning, such as memorabilia or a special collection, can make your new place feel less like a stranger’s house and more like your home,” says Annette Lawrence, academic director of the Interior Design program at The Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati. Lawrence describes the concept of “adaptive reuse,” an easy, inexpensive way to create a “sense of place” — in other words, making your new house the place in which you feel most comfortable. Adaptive re-use involves bringing items from your previous residence to your new home, but with the twist of adapting them for a dif-
ferent or new use. Adaptive re-use is affordable, ecologically responsible and helps ease the psychological stresses that come with moving into a new, unfamiliar space. Adaptive re-use also involves using items from local design consignment shops. Such establishments can now be found in most towns and carry items ranging from furniture to window treatments and accessories. Examples of adaptive re-use include: e item,, same e use. The entry I Same rug from your old house goes in the entryway of the new house. e item,, differentt location. I Same Your living room furniture from your old home becomes your family room furniture in your new place. e item,, new w use. You use the I Same fabric from a window treatment to upholster your dining room chairs. “Mies van der Rohe’s old adage, ‘less is more,’ certainly holds true here,” says Jackie Barry, interior de-
sign instructor at The Art Institute of Houston-North, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston. “Select significant pieces of furniture and art to move. You don’t need to have or show everything you have all in one room.” Barry also advises incorporating a concept called biophilic design, which recognizes the inherent need of humans to interact and affiliate with nature to achieve and maintain optimum health and well-being. “Bring the outside in; don’t neglect good views to the outside, accentuate them,” she says. “Let your garden and landscaping work for you on the inside. Connecting with nature can also have a calming and a comforting effect.” If all of this still feels too overwhelming to you, consider hiring a professional interior designer to help you out. Lawrence suggests using personal contacts and references to find a designer who is right for you. Courtesy of ARAcontent
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JULY 18, 2010 | HAWAII RENOVATION | 9
to make your kitchen look new
f you’ve looked into kitchen renovation at all, you’ve probably heard some staggering numbers — it costs $15,000 or more, on average, to update one of the most important rooms in the house. In this economy, who has that kind of budget? Yet don’t we all deserve a kitchen we can love, not just live with? Updates that will help you love your kitchen don’t have to come with a heartstopping cost, or involve tearing out cabinets and replacing countertops. In fact, it’s possible to seriously improve the livability and lovability of your kitchen with some designer tricks that each cost $150 or less. Here are five do-it-yourself ways to give your kitchen a whole new look for
not a lot of money: 1.. The e softerr side Never underestimate the power of fabrics. The softer side of your kitchen decor can have a big impact on its overall look. The right window treatment on that utilitarian window above the sink can really make it pop. New cushions can punch up the appeal and comfort of mundane kitchen chairs. And the right tablecloth and/or placemats can hide a multitude of flaws in your kitchen table. Many budget-friendly discount stores now offer curtains and kitchen accessories that mimic much pricier designer versions. To get the most for your money, avoid the specialty shops and big depart-
ment stores and head to your local discount retailer. 2.. Take e itt to o the e walll Another powerful and budget-friendly way to upgrade your kitchen is to give it a fresh coat of paint and a designer-inspired wallpaper mural. A gallon or two of paint will cover most kitchens, and with some very good brands selling for less than $30, that leaves you plenty of money left over for a mural. You can find wallpaper murals for less than $100 at DecorPlace.com. Use your mural to create a focal point in the room, draw attention to an architectural feature or make a windowless space feel more open and airy. Wallpaper murals are easy enough to do it yourself, and save
money on installation. 3.. Metall magic Next, turn your attention to some of the easy-to-replace metal accents in your kitchen that might be looking worn or dated. These could include cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, electrical faceplates, even the kitchen faucet. All are easy enough to switch out for most do-it-yourselfers and you can easily replace all these items — including the faucet — for less than $150 if you shop wisely. Remember, to improve the look of a kitchen, these accents don’t need to be pricey designer name-brands, they just need to be new. New items will SEE PAGE 11
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Getting to the
FROM PAGE 10
look better than old and shabby, even if they don’t cost a lot.
ou water, fertilize and give your lawn all the TLC it needs, yet come late summer you still find unsightly brown patches scattered across the turf. If the turf in these spots can easily be pulled away from the ground, you most likely have a grub problem. To diagnose a grub problem, peel back a square foot of turf in a brown area. If it peels easily and you see more than six grubs, you have a grub problem. The best time to protect your lawn from grubs is when Japanese beetles are laying their eggs, when you still see adult beetles flying around.
Choosing the right treatment can mean you enjoy a summer free of grub worries. Scotts GrubEx Season Long Grub Killer kills grubs for up to an entire season. An exclusive, patented active ingredient offers improved grub-killing power with 60 percent less active ingredient. Best of all, there is no need to worry about your summer fun being put on hold, as soon as the grass has dried everyone can re-enter including kids and pets. To learn more about lawn treatment for grubs, or to watch a video on the topic, scotts.com.
4.. Furniture e fix If your old kitchen set just isn’t doing it for you anymore, there are a few things you can do to make things better. If it’s a good quality set that’s just seen better days, consider refinishing it yourself to remove the scratches, dents and scrapes of age. Or, hit used furniture stores, flea markets and yard sales in
to make your kitchen look new
search of a newer set that may be in better condition, or of better quality, than what you have. A third option is to check out a big box store that sells new, unfinished furniture and do the finishing yourself which brings an added bonus of allowing you to have complete control over the color and look of the finished product.
5.. Appliance e magic Your old washer may do its job just fine, but have some scratches in its fin-
ish from heavy use. Consider painting it. Check with your local paint store to find new, high-tech paints that bond perfectly with the metal or enamel on appliances to make them look like new. If your old stove can still cook up a storm but has some stubborn stains and scratches on the top, or has grills that have seen better days, consider replacing grills and drip pans, or adding decorative covers. Courtesy of ARAcontent
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More bang for your
FROM PAGE 6
FROM PAGE 7
using murals to make a major impact for centuries. You can achieve the power and appeal of a hand-painted mural for a lot less money and work when you opt for a wallpaper mural like those found online at muralsyour way.com. In a bedroom, a mural can be used as a subtle backdrop for a grand or posh bed and furnishings, or as a focal point to make a dramatic statement. You can create a soothing effect with a pastoral or floral scene or rev up your design with a modern, edgy black-and-white graphic. Or, personalize your mural by submitting your favorite photo to muralsyourway .com; they’ll turn it into a custom mural to fit your size specifications. Vinyl wallpaper murals are easy to install - well within the abilities of most doit-yourselfers. And now, you can really make a luxury touch by opting for a canvas wallpaper mural. Hide e the e high-def. When that massive flat screen TV is in your living room, you want it out there for everyone to see and
admire. In your bedroom, however, you might want it to look less intrusive. A TV has become a staple of bedroom furnishings, and more people are making the move to high-definition, flat-screen TVs. You could mount yours on the bedroom wall, but then it might draw attention away from other elements of the room that you want to emphasize. Consider installing a cabinet that allows you to lower the TV inside it — and hide the high-def - when you're not using it. Cabinets are available that look like high-end pieces of furniture, or even fireplaces. Another option is to purchase a movable mirror or piece of art. These items are specially designed to hang in front of the TV when it's not in use and move easily out of the way when you want to view it.
East Oahu Home Remodeling A Home Maintenance Service from fixing your screen to remodeling your kitchen.
— the portion of the walls that gets the most exposure to unsightly dirt, dings and scuffs. While some paints may require special cleaning solvents to remove dirt without damaging the finish, tile requires nothing more than hot water and some elbow grease. Creating g cohesion n between n rooms In master suites with large, open floor plans, using tile in the bedroom portion of the suite can help create a seamless transition between the sleeping and bathing areas. Or, it can help create cohesion between indoor and outdoor spaces — tile is one of the few interior design materials that can flow from inside to outside. Achieving g a look k with h added d durability You may love the look of hardwood, but know that wood doesn’t hold up well in rooms where it’s exposed to a lot of moisture on a daily basis - such as in a bathroom — or to a lot of wear and tear, such as in a
bedroom. While wood that’s exposed to water will eventually warp and wear, ceramic tile designed to look like prized hardwoods will stand up to moisture and water — even if the bathtub overflows. And ceramic tile that looks like wood will never develop the “worn path” appearance of wood that bears heavy foot traffic. When it comes to interior design, sometimes the unexpected makes perfect sense — such as finding creative ways to use ceramic tile in the master bedroom. You can learn more about ceramic tile and tile trends at spaintiles.info.
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