Focus Your Bathroom Remodel With a Striking Visual Statement

(BPT) – There is nothing more inviting than a luxurious, well-appointed bathroom, but no matter how ambitious the remodel, there are unique challenges that come with every project. Whether updating the guest powder room or redesigning the master bathroom of your dreams, from plumbing and lighting to budget and space limitations, there is a lot to be considered. One way to approach a project is by defining the space through singular choices that will move an everyday interior into a space to remember: an extraordinary marble vanity, exquisite lighting fixture, classic vessel sink or deep soaking tub – pivotal pieces can set the stage upon which all else revolves.

How you choose that signature piece to take your room to the next level can be intimidating. Here are some approaches to help make your dream space a reality.

Make a statement

Once you’ve decided on that one stand-alone piece, it’s time to draw in all the secondary players to complete the interior and fit your particular style. What do you want to visually highlight or contrast to bring the design center stage? Is it a particular color or family of colors that are more welcoming than others? Are there certain textures that naturally appeal to you – smooth and polished, or organic and irregular to the touch? Do you prefer classic design elements or those with a modern edge?

Innovations in the bathroom have revolutionized what’s possible. Large bathrooms have the space to create inspired retreats, from scene-stealing freestanding bathtubs to spacious glass-enclosed, walk-in showers equipped with multiple showerheads and the very latest in technology.

Another stylish alternative is the vessel sink. Whether making a grand statement by pairing them or as a singular statement in a smaller space, a vessel sink is a beautiful addition to any bathroom. Most require the same standard footprint as a drop-in basin, and there are quite a selection of vessels to choose from, including designs handcrafted from glass, carved from stone or cast from bronze and other metals.

One of the latest designs is the KALLISTA Myam Decorative Vessel. Crafted from solid bronze, the Myam Vessel has an interior of satin bronze, polished bronze or white satin bronze, contrasted by a textured eggshell exterior of matte black or matte white. With its classic lines and rich finishes, the Myam is just one example of how a vessel sink can visually impact your interior in a significant way.

Color and texture

Neutrals remain a confident, versatile choice, allowing you to layer varying shades to create depth and weave in pops of color to add visual excitement. If you do select a vibrant color, highly veined marble or elaborate detailed flooring allow it to play a larger role within your interior design. Mix in metals or other neutrals to complement and support those key design elements.

Texture also adds character and personality to a room. Fixtures featuring hand-rubbed multi-layered finishes create warmth, highly-figured marble and stone add dimension and irregular patterning only nature can provide, while natural wood lends an organic component to the interior. Playing with textures and surface finishes has never been more interesting – and today’s choices are more varied than ever.

Know the limitations of the room

If you have a small room to work with, you do not want to overwhelm the eye with too many elements. Keep lines clean and simple, and let the one signature piece command without competition from other design elements.

If there’s limited natural lighting, consider adding mirrored effects to enhance the lighting within the room. Antiqued mirrored cabinet finishes and wall tiles such as recent innovative designs by Robern and ANN SACKS reflect light within the room, adding dimensional depth and glamorous sophistication.

For rooms with high ceilings, a chandelier can center and balance a room while adding dramatic flair. Choose a traditional or modern chandelier that suits your style. If ceilings are lower, decorative flushmount ceiling lights or wall-mounted sconces provide a beautiful addition to an otherwise unremarkable room. Switching out lightbulbs with vintage Edison-inspired bulbs can completely change the character of a light fixture, adding charm by giving the lighting design an acquired feel.

What’s Next In Outdoor Living? Top Trends for 2020

(BPT) – The appeal of all things al fresco has never been higher with homeowners across the country investing more time and money than ever before into their outdoor spaces. Based on insights from decking contractors, retailers and home design experts, industry leader Trex Company has compiled its annual outdoor living forecast, predicting the top design trends for 2020 and beyond.

“It’s always fascinating to compare the trends reported by our customers with those projected by the industry at large,” said Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex. “This year, we also engaged celebrity designer Alison Victoria to take our forecast to a whole new level.”

According to the latest report, the following five top trends will influence outdoor living in the new decade:

Mixed materials

2020 is the year to mix it up. Add visual interest to an outdoor space by juxtaposing materials such as concrete and composite, wicker and aluminum, copper and stone. Integrate nature-inspired materials that maintain cohesion with the natural surroundings, and infuse color and pattern with pillows, cushions, furnishings and decorative accents.

Sizzling kitchens

As the foodie phenomenon continues to thrive, outdoor kitchens will continue to evolve. Picture fully appointed culinary centers complete with specialty appliances such as smokers, pizza ovens and integrated refrigerated storage – all housed in stylish all-weather cabinetry. Capturing this trend is the new Trex Outdoor Kitchens collection, featuring stainless steel cabinetry solutions in color and style options that allow homeowners to create functional spaces that rival interior spaces.

“A good kitchen is essential – whether indoors or out,” emphasized Victoria, host of HGTV’s “Windy City Rehab” and DIY’s “Kitchen Crashers.” “A well-designed and well-appointed kitchen becomes the heart of any space. It’s where people gather. It’s where memories are made. So, make it memorable!”

Industrial inspiration

There is a growing shift toward sleek, contemporary designs and materials for interior and exterior spaces as homeowners are increasingly finding inspiration in commercial settings like hotels and restaurants. Outdoors, this trend is manifesting in more industrial aluminum railing styles with sleek profiles and contemporary rod, mesh or glass inserts designed to optimize sightlines and deliver a modern flair.

Fire and water

“Fire and water are all the rage right now for outdoor spaces,” Victoria noted. “These elements not only take a space to the next level; they connect it to the natural surroundings. Even in an urban setting, these elements add a sense of tranquility that can make you feel like you’re a million miles away.”

Fire pots, such as those in the new Trex Outdoor Fire & Water collection, can be positioned almost anywhere to create a cozy gathering spot – or combined in a series to provide an ambient boundary for larger outdoor areas. For even greater visual impact, a fire table can serve as a focal point and elevate the luxury and comfort of an outdoor space. Likewise, the soothing sound of trickling water from integrated spillways, bowls or other features can instantly conjure calm and set a relaxed tone and atmosphere.

Bonus space

If you have a raised deck, there is undoubtedly some open space underneath. While, historically, this space has been used for storage, the design trend for 2020 is to turn it into bonus living space by installing a deck drainage system. Designed to divert water away from a deck, systems like RainEscape create a dry space that can be outfitted with everything from furniture and accessories to lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and entertainment components.

For more outdoor living ideas and inspiration, visit

Hottest Kitchen Trends From KBIS 2020

(BPT) – Today’s home chefs want – and expect – more from their kitchens than ever before. To optimize their culinary and entertaining skills, they seek exciting new ways to push the boundaries of what they can do at home. These forward-thinking cooks also aim to prepare meals efficiently, using the best high-tech advances available. In fact, a new study conducted by The Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence reveals that kitchen designers have seen increased demand for dual-fuel appliances in the past year and that convection and induction cooking are on the rise.

Kitchen innovations on display at North America’s premier kitchen design show, the 2020 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, offer a window on the latest technology to help home chefs achieve their culinary dreams.

As best-selling cookbook author, educator and host of the “True to Food” film series, Mark Bittman observes, “The more people cook, the more interested people become in their kitchens. When you’re interested in your kitchen, you’re exploring: What can make this easier? What can make this more fun? What can make me a better cook? Appliances are certainly a part of that.”

Top appliance makers are bringing elements of professional-quality kitchens into the home, with some now catering to a new generation of forward-thinking home chefs known as “Technicureans.”

Sous vide cooking

Once limited to professional chefs, sous-vide is a cooking technique that utilizes precise temperature control to deliver consistent, restaurant-quality results. Sous-vide has been the go-to method in some of the world’s best restaurants for years, and for good reason: it brings food to the precise temperature chefs look for and delivers perfect doneness, edge-to-edge, every time for a variety of foods like steak, chicken, fish and more.

Luxury kitchen appliance brands are bringing sous-vide to home chefs. For example, Signature Kitchen Suite offers the industry’s first pro-ranges with built-in sous-vide right on your cooktop – in addition to induction and gas – culinary game-changers for today’s foodies. With these 48- and 36-inch dual-fuel pro ranges and even new rangetops with built-in sous-vide, more individuals can bring restaurant-quality results to their home kitchens.

Cutting-edge food storage options

The best chefs start with the freshest ingredients. That’s where the importance of food storage comes in.

Don’t want cool air escaping while finding what you want in the fridge? With InstaView technology from LG, knock twice on the glass panel to see inside before opening.

You can also store frequently used items in an adjustable bin; the Door-in-Door design lets you keep cold air in while quickly selecting them.

Mixology mastered

Whether you love crafting cocktails or just want unique ice options, the InstaView Refrigerator with Craft Ice is the first to create automatically large, slow-melting spherical ice, without the hassle of molds. At two inches in diameter, Craft Ice enables you to keep your drink at the perfect temperature without watering it down. You can also choose cubed or crushed ice.

Its new water dispensers also accommodate just about any size glass or bottle. Use the Measured Fill feature to dispense exact amounts of filtered water (4, 8, 16 or 32 ounces).

Smart technology

A top trend seen in many KBIS 2020 kitchen appliances, including dishwashers, refrigerators and ovens, is more precision in terms of automation, plus connectivity to consumers.

Top appliances today use the latest technology to calculate the exact amounts needed for each task, whether that means specific detergent amounts, humidity or temperature controls.

Thanks to Wi-Fi connectivity, many manufacturers make it possible for you to control and monitor your smart appliances from anywhere, using your virtual assistant or phone.

Sink innovations

Kitchen designers also showcased innovations to help home cooks clean up and access water quickly and easily. The Best of KBIS 2020 includes everything from the latest in pull-out or pull-down faucets, faucets that respond to voice commands, advanced water filtration systems and sinks that double as work stations.

Outdoor cooking options

Another trend celebrated at KBIS 2020 is the elevation of the outdoor grill. Certainly not your father’s grill, the latest models for outdoor cooking are not only elegant and sturdy in construction, but also allow for cooking at different levels, with the ability to vary the distance between the food and the heat source.

To learn more about 2020 kitchen innovations, visit and

Tips To Stay Warm and Safe From Carbon Monoxide

(BPT) – As temperatures drop and we crank up the heat or turn to alternative power sources, the risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning significantly increases. Often dubbed “the silent killer,” CO is an invisible and odorless gas that is impossible to detect without a CO alarm.

Recent surveys revealed more than 40% of American homes do not have CO alarms, and nearly two-thirds of homes do not comply with established CO alarm recommendations. According to the National Fire Protection Association, CO alarms should be installed on each level of the home, including the basement, and near every sleeping area.

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, so it’s vital to be prepared and aware! As one of America’s favorite TV first responders, actor Taylor Kinney knows the importance of practicing and maintaining proper home safety precautions, which is why he is partnering with First Alert to share important messages about home safety.

“You never think your home will be the one to catch fire, but then it happened to me,” said Kinney. “It’s the same with carbon monoxide, which is why educating the public about CO is so important. The danger CO can cause in your own home is real, and the only way people can protect themselves is with an alarm.”

Here are tips on how to avoid this preventable risk:

Hidden threat

Carbon monoxide can be produced from any fuel-burning device, such as furnaces, boilers, stoves and even cars. It is important to have appliances inspected annually and never use a generator indoors or anywhere CO can collect. Also, be mindful of the garage. Never leave a car running in a garage, even if the door is open, as fumes can leak into the home.

Know the symptoms

CO poisoning is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Because you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, you might not recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning, as they can be confused with those of the common cold or flu, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness and weakness.

Take action

Equipping your home with working CO alarms is the only way to detect this poisonous gas. For premium protection against both fire and CO, install combination alarms for 2-in-1 protection, such as the First Alert 10-Year Battery Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, which eliminates battery replacements for a decade. Once installed, maintenance is key. Remember to test your alarms regularly and replace alarms at least every 10 years. If CO symptoms appear, or if an alarm sounds, move to fresh air immediately and then call 911.

Establish a family emergency plan

Knowing – and practicing – what to do in the event of an emergency is crucial. Develop a plan in case of a fire or CO incident. This includes designating an outside meeting place a safe distance from the home and, once safely outside, calling 911. If CO symptoms appear, or if an alarm sounds, get everyone outside to fresh air immediately. Once out, stay out until the home is cleared and safe to re-enter.

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