Lana Hawkins

Bio: Lana is a student of Architecture and a food lover from Sydney, Australia. She loves writing about interiors, but her specialty is landscape design. She enjoys playing in kitchen and cooking for her friends and family, spending time in nature and learning about other cultures by travelling.

One of the most important decisions in your home is choosing the right flooring. It’s the biggest choice of all, some floors fit in rooms and not in others, so it’s important that you choose exactly the right one for you. This blog is going to take you through some of the rooms in your house, and hopefully, help you to make a decision.

Living Room/Bedroom

Your lounge and your bedroom are the places where you’ll spend most of your time at home relaxing and kicking your feet back, so it’s important to make sure that you have ultimate comfort and a superb sense of style. Your living room is essentially your pièce de résistance, and a room that is used for relaxing, but also hosting dinner parties so it’s important you find the right middle ground. Your bedroom, however, is the ultimate relaxation zone, so it is important your flooring reflects that.

For your bedroom we’d recommend hardwood flooring, in particular, engineered. Warm colours add a lovely aesthetic to your room, and make it feel incredibly homely, especially as the winter months roll in! It can also have underfloor heating installed. Living room wise, we’d recommend parquet because it has a beautiful style, but is also incredibly practical. It’s a very traditional zig zag style flooring, so adds a really stylish addition to your house. It is also incredibly practical and durable.


One of the most difficult places to choose in your house is your kitchen and bathroom. Both rooms are exposed to moisture and water, so it’s important to ensure that whilst getting the style is important, it’s also imperative it’s practical.

Laminate flooring is our recommendation, it is sturdy and water resistant, and can still look stylish, it is also the most cost effective. Hardwood flooring has a tendency to expand in wet conditions, so it is best avoided in these rooms. They will also be areas of high traffic and heavy footfall, and laminate handles the pressure well.

Dining Room

The final main room in your house is the dining area. You’ll find with this room sometimes style is a little more important the practicality, so a classy and elegant design is what we would recommend to ensure you impress your parties and guests.

The two best options are hardwood and Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT). LVT is a practical alternative to hardwood and is an all-purpose solution. It has great durability features and would fit perfectly in your dining room. It comes in a number of different designs, and can easily cope with these stress of scraping chairs and any spillages with considerate ease!

Article was written by Ben Duke from

When the time comes for you to choose a finished surface for a walkway, you will almost certainly opt for one that is cost-effective, durable, and aesthetically pleasing. Many homeowners in Toronto, Ontario, for instance, are seeking stamped concrete walkways because it can easily mimic high-end materials such as limestone, flagstone, and other types of stone patterns at a fraction of the cost.

Synergy of Walkways and Plants

Garden walkways beautiful additions to a luscious front lawn or backyard, but they also enable you to freely walk in the garden at any time of the year, without having to worry about tripping on uneven greenery or dirtying your shoes. A beautiful pathway can also boost the aesthetic value of your home, encouraging in a higher resale amount when or if you eventually choose to sell. In addition, they keep garden plants and grass safe, since movement in the yard is guided, protecting the vegetation from extensive foot damage.


Ensuring the safety of you and your plants is a lot less complicated than you might assume. While installing stamped concrete driveways, patios, and walkways can seem quite challenging, with the proper preparation and guidance, what was once daunting can become an enlivening project bound to bring new life to your home. To be sure, this is a permanent and costly undertaking, which means that there can be no room for error.


When proceeding with the project, the patterns must be properly laid down and installed; in this sense, it’s best to hire professionals who know what they are doing. Additionally, the process is relatively stress-free if you can find a single company with which to work for the entirety of the construction. If you’re living in or near a large metropolitan area, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of companies who will guarantee your satisfaction, but only a few will effectively and efficiently follow through every step of the way, such as Elite Concrete in Toronto  – notorious for their dedicated work ethic, they’ve become one of the city’s top architectural concrete specialists, and, no not only that, they can aid you every step of the way.


Choosing The Right Material

Installing a walkway starts with subgrade preparation, something that needs to be properly compacted to prevent drainage and soil erosion. Reliable companies will likely use wood, metal, or plastic forms of preparation to contain the concrete within the desired area. Reinforcements should be made using welded wire mesh or steel bars to boost the capacity of the structure and its impact resistance, which helps prevent cracking. After stamping the walkway, give it time to dry up before having it sealed.


If your home experiences extremely cold temperatures, as Toronto frequently does during the winter, you should also consider sealing the concrete to reduce freeze thaw damage. This condition is the main cause of surface flaking and cracks in walkways and driveways found in cold areas. It is brought about by the penetration, expansion, and freezing of water in the pavement, but sealers prevent the penetration of water and should be used on paths that have heavy human traffic. Normally patios, pavements, and walkways are subjected to conditions that may cause stains to form on the surface, but the use of sealers prevents these elements from penetrating the surface. Sealing new walkways – be it in the musky urban center or the sprawling surrounding suburbs – prevents the build-up of white powdery materials on the surface from the concrete.


From aesthetics and wear-and-tear, all the way to the unpredictability of climate, there are a lot of factors to consider. One thing that is certain is the right company can and will provide the guidance and care required for such extensive work; all it takes, then, is a little bit of research and you’ll find yourself on the sturdy ground in no time at all.

Lighting is one of the most important elements to consider when planning the design of your kitchen. Not only does it add a touch of magic and personality to the space, but it can complement and even transform the overall feel and energy of your kitchen. Options range from fluorescent lights to modern-day LED ceiling lights and chandeliers. All which you can use in different parts of the kitchen to create visual appeal and increased efficiency.

Hanging Lights

These conversation starters are ideal for an open plan kitchen, especially if you have high ceilings. They attract attention and add a dramatic feel to the whole space. You can even have them colored to suit your décor palette, or keep them simple if you’re going for a clean aesthetic.

There are plenty of options to choose from here, with the most popular being glamorous chandeliers and colorful pendants. Whichever style you go for, just make sure to match the size of the light fitting to the scale of your kitchen so that it looks aligned and attractive.

Task-specific Lights

As I mentioned earlier, you can mix and match lighting options in your kitchen for efficiency and aesthetic appeal. However, the most important thing about task lighting is that it’s meant to make life easier for you in the kitchen. That’s why you’ll find task lights in places like above the hob area, over the sink, below cabinets and over the central island.

These are the areas where you’ll be preparing your food, mixing things, washing up or just eating and hanging out with loved ones. You can even add lights inside your pantry as well, as this will make it easier to find things when cooking at night. Sensor lights work great for the pantry, while fluorescent tube fittings and strip lights are stunning options for the other task areas mentioned.

Accent Lights

Accent lights can be a sensational addition to an entertainer’s kitchen. They’re typically utilised to highlight or bring attention to beautiful objects like artwork and sculptures, but you can also use them to emphasize other areas like the stairs leading to your pantry or wine cellar (if you have one).

Accent lights come in different styles, including wall scones, wired lighting and directional eyeball fittings. All of these create a 3D effect on the object, transforming your kitchen into a completely different space during the evenings.

Ambient Lighting

If you want your kitchen to feel light and cheerful throughout the day and night, then ambient lighting is the way to go. Ambient lighting carries the tone of natural light which comes into your kitchen, often incorporating ethereal looking LED strip lights or cheeky puck fitting under the cabinets, to create a buoyant atmosphere.

Using semi-flush and recessed light fixtures is ideal for achieving ambient lighting in large areas, while LED tape lighting provides non-invasive light to smaller areas like under the sink and cabinets. My personal favourite is to just let nature do her thing, by incorporating natural light from the sun through glass doors and skylights.

Decorative Lights

Decorative lights in my opinion, are great for accentuating particular details that you’re most proud of in your kitchen. Like that marble countertop on the island, or special fixtures on the cabinets. Either way, decorative lights can add some serious whimsical effects to a kitchen when done right. Your options here include striking chandeliers, a mixture of differently shaped and colored pendant lights, as well as flush mounts or beautifully designed lamps.

Layered Lighting

With layered lighting, you can use a combination of ambient, accent and task lighting solutions to create an effortlessly comfortable space. Having a combination of lighting solutions is the way to go if you want to get the most out of your kitchen, and the idea here is to ensure that the fixtures you choose actually complement one another.

Era Specific

You can easily incorporate a light fixture from the roaring 20s to a contemporary kitchen, not only to create an interesting contrast, but also to pay homage to that particular era. This detail also brings an eclectic feel to the kitchen, while the fixture itself can easily become a conversation starter in a space with otherwise clean lines.


As you can see, the devil is in the details when it comes to kitchen lighting. There are plenty of options to choose from to help transform an ordinary kitchen into ‘the heart of the home’, where everyone feels welcome and comfortable.

Our homes are our refuges. They’re providers of respite from external stress and chaos. Home is where we retreat after a long day, to sit back and watch our favorite series or cook a healthy dinner. In an age when we’re constantly plugged in, it’s crucial to have a physical space in which to breathe and mentally unwind.

Attaining peace of mind is difficult, though, when our would-be havens are actually anything but. This is also an era of accumulation, after all, where impulse buys are available at the tap of a button.

As a result, clutter has an unfortunate tendency to conquer our homes and transform our surroundings. Dwellings morph from sources of relief to causes of anxiety. It’s difficult to cook a nourishing meal when the fridge is crammed with wilting veggies. And you can’t exactly recline on the sofa when it’s covered with last week’s laundry.

Sounds familiar?

Maybe it’s a fear of letting go that’s preventing you from donating unworn items in your closet. Or perhaps you’ve accrued a morning blindness to a collection of chipped mugs in the cabinet. Either way, piles of stuff can quickly convert to clutter, preventing you from attaining total tranquility.
Not convinced that stack of tissues is standing between you and mental clarity?

Have a look at this intriguing infographic from full-service storage company MakeSpace (here’s their website). It details the hazards of over-accumulation, which range from safety threats to relationship stressors.

For all of you remote employees and freelancers out there, finding a nice working space can be harder than finding a job. Sure, you can work from home, but you will need a hell of a discipline for it. After all, who can resist the magic of TV, sofa and popcorn?

Your next option is a coffee shop. Yes, it sounds cute and classy, really gives that Carrie Bradshaw vibe, but you will spend a lot of money on drinks (one latte is approximately $6 or more), your seating is limited, it is noisy, and of course, Wi-Fi is just awful.

You now realize that the best option is definitely a co-working space. For the amount of money you would spend on that fancy latte, you can enjoy the comfort of an office every day like you are a regular employee. You will have people to talk to, you will get a daily routine and just when you think it can’t get better, you will realize that you don’t work in the same place as your boss.

With all this being said, here is a list of the coolest modern co-working places you should definitely check out.

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Bat Haus, New York

If you are a New Yorker who loves that laid-back atmosphere and a cool environment, Bat Haus is a perfect place for you. What makes this place beautiful is the fact that it doesn’t look like an office at all. It is a 2000 square foot open quirky space with various unusual ceiling decorations and a huge backyard. Some people even had their wedding here. They offer you a Monday through Friday access to the office, and the best part is that you will never be able to work overnight. Why? Well, at about 7 pm, a party starts (wink) – literally. For example, there’s a weekly theme party called Drink n’ Draw.

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WeWork, San Francisco

Oh my, where should I start? Should I start with happy hours? Parties? Friday brunches? Maybe cupcakes? Wait, I know, I’ll start with its simple and straightforward structure and pleasant minimalistic interior. There are huge portal windows that let sunlight in, and we all know that sunlight can increase our energy. The prices are more than affordable, and not just that – they also organize summer camps (with rock climbing and everything, just like the ones you went to while you were in primary school!).

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Paramount, Sydney

It is probably the most beautiful co-working space in the entire Australia, for sure. It was once the home of the Paramount Studios and now, it keeps everything in place with its 22 private suites for up to 5 people. You can also find boardrooms for up to 8 people, meeting rooms for up to 5 people, a centralized kitchen area with a brass bar etc. The interior is classy and luxurious and fulfills all the requirements of an office space.

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NeueHouse, New York

This is the place where a social club meets co-working space. It is a modernly designed place which is suitable for every taste. Why? Well, first of all, it is really spacious. Second, it is packed with books and the interior is really pleasant because of the countless shades of warm brown, which give you a homey feeling.

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Aeona, Sydney

It is located at the top level of a beautiful part of Devonshire Street. Although the interior design isn’t as glamorous and flashy as other ones on the list, this place has something that other places don’t have – a rooftop terrace which gives you the best Sydney skyline view you will ever see. However, you could make the interior a little bit better by getting yourself a sturdy desk, like one of these fantastic office desks. It is perfect for corporate parties, barbecues, weekly gatherings and happy hours. Not to mention that it is a perfect place for at-work relaxation and thinking. Aeona also provides you with showers, boardrooms and private offices.

Knowing that 40 percent of US workforce consists of freelance workers, the need for co-working spaces has become much bigger over the last few years. If you want to know more about these workplaces, have in mind that many of them offer tours and free trials where you’ll be able to experience that environment first hand.

Drawing and painting can be quite an intense activities that normally begin with enthusiasm. They are supposed to be a great escape from boredom,a relaxing several hours you take only for yourself and a great thing to do when you need to take a break from everyday life. However, as one gets deeper in the craft, things may become more demanding, so challenging in fact that people forget to have fun while doing it. In everything we do, it is important to work with an open mind and enjoy it in order to get maximum results. With more experience we get better and we progress faster, starting to enjoy more the process of creating.


Play with Colours and Techniques

One of the things you can do in order to make drawing or painting more fun, is to play with new supplies, new painting surfaces and new ideas. Start by using only basic colours and slowly learn how to mix up tones and create transitions. Don’t be afraid to try out different types of paint, painting techniques and accessories. Experiment by combining classical painting techniques with a brush with some other objects in order to create unusual textures. Combine acrylics, water colours, chalk or even a spray paint with newspaper, yarn or glitter if sparkle is what you prefer.Use stencils to create a unique art which you can display in your home afterwords.

The other thing you could do is play with pastels and try out new things like having a limited colour palette. Challenge yourself and make the experience of creating a whole lot interesting. You could also just open your box of pastels and try using as many colors as possible. At times, the painting will come out fantastic but other times it won’t. However it is, as long as you are excited to try out new things and enjoy the experience of creating, chances are that you’ll be successful at it.


Create in a Good Atmosphere

Filling the studio or the room where you draw and paint with music can emphasize the whole creative experience. A colorful setting, a lot of natural light and a cozy atmosphere will put you in a happy mood. One thing is sure: it is when you are having the most fun that you create some of the best works of art!

If in the middle of painting or drawing you get tired, demotivated or feel lack of inspiration, there is nothing to worry about. Permit yourself to have fun and play with paint or even the subject matter. You can put green or blue in the faces of the portraits you are creating, which might transcend into something surreal, infinitely creative and interesting. In case the subject matter becomes predictable, try selecting one section of the piece and have fun with new textures and materials. Don’t over think the process, just be spontaneous and you will find new creative possibilities emerging.


The same goes for drawing where you could use colouring pencils and experiment with new things. Try drawing abstracts as they can be very exciting, as well. Be sure to use quality colouring pencils that are smooth and pigmented and that will make the whole drawing process easier and more enjoyable.

Push yourself into the dimension of infinite creativity and allow yourself to get lost in it. Through combination of colours, textures and patterns, the thrill will follow.

Like everything else in 2017, it is expected that kitchen design trends are about to undergo a proper revolution when it comes to design. While in the past, glamour and aestheticism were all the rage, in the following year the focus is going to be on simplicity and practicality. With this in mind and without further ado, here are a few kitchen trends that are bound to make the biggest splash in 2017.

Modern Kitchen Decor

Niche Appliances

As we already mentioned, one of the greatest focus shifts is going to concern practicality. One of the ways to achieve this is by placing your kitchen appliances in niches. In this way, they will still be easy to access while leaving your kitchen with more free space. This means that you will have enough room to add a dining table in the kitchen and make a crossover between the kitchen and the dining area. It simply doesn’t get any more practical than that.

Equipment is What Matters

Unlike living room or the hallway, kitchen has one practical function that overshadows all else. It is a place where you prepare food for you and your family. Therefore, anything that adds to its functionality is a welcome addition. This means that you should be more concerned with the specific characteristics of each appliance than its appearance. It also means that you should heavily invest in multi-purpose devices like toaster ovens. In order to find out which fits your needs the best, you might want to check out some blender reviews, toaster oven reviews as well as microwave reviews prior to making a purchase.
Grey Kitchen Elements

Shades of Kitchen Gray

For as long as anyone can remember, white was the favorite color of kitchen decorators all over the world. Because of this, it comes as no surprise that most kitchen appliances come in white by default. Frankly speaking, white does look impressive while everything is clean, but in the kitchen things get messy in no time. This is why, it might be a better idea to go with grey instead. In this way, you make your kitchen much easier to maintain without sacrificing its elegance. One of the rare win-win scenarios there are. Grey kitchen ideas are quite numerous, which means that you can find plenty of inspiration online.
Modern Kitchen

Maximizing Storage

Finally, you may want to maximize your kitchen storage capacities and therefore clear up the countertops. Believe it or not, no matter how much clear space you have in your home, the neatness of your countertop is something that makes the strongest impression on anyone who steps into your kitchen. There are several ways to solve this and one of them is going with multi-tiered drawers. If these drawers seem too big, you may want to add few drawer dividers to the mix and adjust them to your needs.


As you can see, while none of these ideas are 100 percent new, they all represent an important step towards increased functionality of your kitchen. In other words, when decorating your kitchen, all you need to do is ask in what way is this innovation going to improve my kitchen-experience or make my job in the kitchen easier. It really is that simple.

When it comes to interior and exterior design everything has a role in making it successful, from large surfaces such as walls and floors to the tinniest pieces like knobs and light switches. On the other hand, as the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. The first thing everyone will  notice when entering your home is the front door and anything you did in making your house not-so-basic will be in vain if the entrance is not representative, as well. These are the front door paint trends that guarantee you the ‘wow’ every time.

Stone gray and a contemporary surrounding

When it comes to contemporary exterior and design in general, the choice of color plays an equally important role as it does with traditional environment. Still, from a somewhat different angle. Since contemporary design tends to be somewhat harsh, a proper choice of color will soften the intensity without taking anything away from the aesthetics. Stone gray with its untimely elegance will do the  job. Adding matte black hardware will further harmonize everything and reinforce the overall effect.
Stone gray door

Eclectic design solution

Mixture of various styles that the eclectic design successfully embodies is often the choice for people who want to own a not-so-basic house. Sporting all of the various design influences without taking away any of them or emphasizing a single one at the expense of the others can be rather tricky. The safest bet when it comes to front door paint would be to opt of a soft yellow paint. Its low-key finish will be perfectly neutral and at the same time contribute with a freshening and welcoming effect.
soft Yellow door

Red brick emphasis

Making a difference when it comes to homeowners fond of red brick facades or living in a row of ones surely is challenging. The usual mistake that is made is trying to do something bold with the front door design and color which ends up in a complete mishmash in the majority of cases. Taking just the opposite direction promises more success. A calming shade of charcoal gray is the perfect color to impart the traditional red brick exterior making it stand from other houses in a row, without ruining the neighborhood compactness.
charcoal gray door

Ivy exterior

If you happen to own a house that is fully covered in ivy, choosing a suitable front door color is another specific task. Narrow your choice to contrasting color palette. Even though ivy changes its color throughout the year, for the majority of time it has one of the shades of green. Having this in mind, the best choice would be either full white or black. The proper choice depends on the rest of your exterior design and the message you wish to send. White is more inviting and warm, while black radiates elegance and distance. Reinforce idea with the hardware in the same color.
Black froont door

Rustic looks

Sometimes the best paint is no paint at all. If you own a traditional design house that has a wooden front door, rustic looks will feel perfectly at home. Peel the paint off the wood all the way down to its natural paint. Then apply a protective layer of transparent wood lacquer. It will protect the door and at the same emphasize the natural grain and bring out the patina, adding a touch of class to the entire house.

Rustic wooden door

The proper choice of the front door paint will have a strong positive impact on the overall outlook of the house and make your not-so-basic house even more extraordinary. Still, the style dictates the choice of color and it is strongly advisable to follow the standards. Being too bold will only take away from the house instead of contributing to it.

A star on the rise in the world of interior design, Caleb Anderson, started expressing his affinity towards all things beautiful and mysterious even as a young Texan boy. Flowers were the first thing his artistic child’s hands obsessed about. Also, some of the first signs that his career in adult life is going to be something special and unique arose from his early devotion to spend his allowance on shelter magazines and accessories for his room, instead on toys and gadgets that most other boys spent their money on. It seems that Caleb was blessed with clear understanding of what he was meant to do in this life as soon as he was able to talk.

Caleb Anderson in his masculine vignette

Image credits: Loony

First steps to success

As he grew up, he became a student of interior design at Texas State and a refined young man whose soft and gentle appearance left a lot to be imagined compared to his wild and extraordinary designs. Not a lot of time has passed until his talent was spotted by the designer Jamie Drake. Caleb got the internship with Drake in New York which eventually turned into a full-time job and great cooperation. At the end of 2015, they announced the opening of their new firm, called Drake + Anderson.

Anderson and Drake join forces

Image credits: Architectural Digest (left – Anderson, right – Drake)

Anderson’s peculiar style

One might have trouble putting into words the expression and style Caleb provides in his designs. Sophistication and elegance are a clear part of his work but that is not nearly the end of description. Anderson loves to add a mix of antique in the modern elements of today’s world. Even though he enjoys vivid colors he tends to combine different textures instead of patterns. Also, his incredible eye for detail allows him to incorporate pieces of furniture that would look completely misplaced at the first glance. But he uses this as an interesting twist and a dose of originality that perfectly melts in with all other pieces. Together with Drake, he is set on adding some more avant-garde details to the future work while keeping the unbreakable flow and harmony of the entire room.

PicMonkey Collage

Image credits: Franklin Report, Caleb Anderson’s Portfolio

Ability to listen and create

Anderson’s great success is definitely not some kind of fluke since he has years of experience both as a designer and architect to show off his skills perfectly and catch the essence of people’s hearts thus providing them with exactly what they want even when they themselves are not quite sure what that is. This is one of the most valuable characteristics when it comes to hiring people for this kind of job. For example, he managed to persuade conservative clients to add sculptural Oggetti coffee table in the living room of their beach house and even though they were unsure at first, now they love this piece the most.

One can expect a lot from this inspiring young man, especially with joint work and guidance of Jamie Drake. Together, they are bound to make some beautiful and unique interiors in their perfectly uniformed matchless style.

Given the market price on homes a lot of first time buyers look for fixer uppers to save on the purchase price or do up and flip. No matter what your reason for doing up your home, this is a great way to take stock and see what improvements you can do to make your home more energy efficient.

Follow the list

  • Ensuring the shell of your home is prepared for whatever the season will throw at you would be the first step. Check and see if your walls and roof are insulated, this is the first step to trapping in that warm or cool air.
  • Next check your windows and doors, if you can feel air coming through the gap your warm/cool air is leaking out. Air leakage can account for up to 10% of your heating and cooling bills. You don’t always have to replace the windows and doors in your home, simply sealing up these gaps and cracks will prevent the air escaping. It can be as simple as getting the right sealant from your local DIY store and applying it yourself. Ensure you do your research and use the correct sealant for the material you are working with. If your applying it outside ensure that the sealant you are using is water proof.
  • Once your walls and windows are taken care of look through your home and ensure any loft hatches or fireplaces are correctly sealed up. Fire places are great in winter but can end up costing you during the warmer moths when all the cool air is being sucked out.
  • If you don’t have them already, install celling fans and ensure they have a reverse function so you can use them to circulate cool air in summer and push warm air down in winter. While you’re on the renovating journey get all or your appliances serviced annually to ensure they are working efficiently.
  • Any appliances you find haven’t aged well should be replaced for a more energy efficient model. Save Energy, Save Money (SESM) allows you to not only compare prices on thousands of electrical appliances, you can also compare the energy consumption at the same time. If you’re in doubt you can use the SESM website to compare the annual running cost of your old appliance and the new appliance you wish to buy.

Seek help from experts

If you’re luck enough to be building your own home you should consult a sustainable builder who can talk you through your options for passive cooling and other great design attributes you can incorporate into your new build.

Good Luck renovating and reducing those energy bills!

Julie Moore director of Save Energy Save Money