By Roelf Nel

Design your home around natural light

Sunny South Africa, a reflection of a country that generally enjoys a warm climate and sunshine for many months of the year.  The cold winter days are characterized with sunshine inviting you to be outdoors.  Why not take advantage of the natural light and outdoor living when planning your home?

Using large windows and glass doors creates the seamless indoor-outdoor flow, maximizing your exposure to nature and natural light. Not only will you save on electricity, but being exposed to natural light and sunshine improves your mood.

The room lived in the most is the kitchen. Having large windows and doors allows the sunlight to stream in making a cheerful place. Create a breakfast nuke where you can bask in the warm sunlight is always a good way to start a lazy Sunday. Traditionally kitchens have a back door and a window above the sink. Why not have windows running the length of your counter-tops to shine natural light on your work space? Instead of the traditional stable door blocking the light, install French doors leading into the backyard.

Using large windows and patio doors in your lounge maximizes the natural light flowing into your living area. Create the indoor-outdoor flow with stack-away or fold doors creating more space when they are open.

Sandblasted glass in large bathroom windows helps with the privacy issues, and invites the natural light to stream through. Vegetation in front of the windows, blinds or sheer drops are other ways to maintain your privacy.

Technology has improved so much, that it is possible to have large windows and doors throughout your house, while keeping your home insulated. The energy efficient windows of today facilitate lower heat loss, less air leakage and warmer windows surfaces. Speak to window experts such as Swartland’s and learn about the range of window and door options available to create a home that flows between indoor-outdoor seamlessly.

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By Roelf Nel

Colour my Bedroom

Your bedroom is the one place in your home where you should feel totally relaxed, and peaceful. It is the place to get a good night’s sleep to rejuvenate for the next day.  So how can colour help create a sanctuary that matches your style, personality and create a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the world?  Beautiful House asked designers to offer paint colours for the bedroom.

Here are some ideas of colours to use:

  • Colour with a bit of grey in them are more sophisticated. Depending on the time of day, it will look blue, grey or green.
  • Dark Brown green is peaceful and green, especially if you live in a hot climate. Using white or cream bedding makes a beautiful contrast with this colour.
  • Having a lavender touch with a grey tint – feels good for the early riser. Avoid using floral patterns with this colour, unless of course, granny will be sleeping in this room.
  • Camellia Pink – a soft, graceful colour that will make any woman feel beautiful and alive.
  • A green-blue-grey colour reflects a cloudless sky offering calm, relaxing and a peaceful environment.
  • Joa’s White – has hints of grey, brown, cream and white. This colour offers calm and simplicity.
  • Blue Bonnet – offers a classic feel that is light and airy and the strong white undertones keeps the fresh look.
  • Ballroom Blue – Not quite green, and not quite blue but rather like the ocean. A perfect colour to feel like you are being swept off by the waves and waking up refreshed.

Of course, these are just the colours on your walls. Designed to create a calming effect to stimulate relaxation and rest. On their own, they cannot create tranquility. A healthy lifestyle and stress management will lead to a better night’s sleep. Your bedroom is the haven created to drift away.

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By Roelf Nel

How to choose a Kitchen Worktop

Are you planning a makeover for your kitchen? You have the design configured, the finish for the cupboards selected, but you are still considering what worktops you could use. There are so many options available including stone, quartz composites, corian and glass, and some old favourites like wood and stainless steel. Here are 3 options to consider.

If you are considering a traditionally styled kitchen, then consider oak, maple and beech. Bamboo, wenge and Iroko helps create a more contemporary style. Since it is a natural material, each piece will vary in grain and tone. Wood worktops develop a patina and character with use. Wood requires more high maintenance than other materials, as it will require regular oiling (at least every three months), but the results are certainly worth it. Wood surfaces are best used for food preparation and dining areas, for example, islands and breakfast bars. Iroko and teak are ideal for using around the sink as they have a high oil content and are water resistant.

A popular choose is Granite worktops because they are both strong and durable. For the keen bakers, these cold surfaces are perfect for pastry making. Each slab of granite will be unique, as it is a natural stone, so expect different veining and colour from the samples you see. Granite tops are best used in any area of the kitchen, including next to the hob or oven and around the sink. It’s a luxury material that never falls out of fashion and suits traditional and modern styles. Choose from a classic polished finish, or a honed matt for a more contemporary look.

Consider using glass countertops if you want to create a clean, modern feel. The reflective surface makes it useful as a feature worktop in small kitchens to increase the feeling of space. Glass tops are durable and are extremely sanitary because glass is nonporous and easy to clean. It is best used around the sink or for focal-point breakfast bars.

Kitchen tops finish off the style you are creating. You want a top that is durable, attractive and easily maintained.

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By Roelf Nel

Do you want a green minded home?

A green minded home is characterized by five main categories:

  • Materials and resources
  • Sustainable site
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Quality of the interior air

Some ideas on how to implement a green minded home:

Solar Panels

With Eskom’s load shedding schedule and woes having solar panels may become a solution to the constant load shedding that South African’s experience.  Solar panels use the sun’s energy to power your home.  Solar energy can be used to heat water, provide electricity to appliances and lighting.

Build to your advantage
Consider building your house in a place that uses the surrounding environment and its positioning to your advantage.  This passive design strategy focuses on using an ambient energy source; include daylighting, natural ventilation and solar energy.

LED and Natural Light
Using LED lights or natural lighting is cheaper and lasts longer than ordinary light bulbs. Natural light is, obviously, the best choice, since it has no negative effect on the environment, causes no waste and actually uplifts the psyche of the home’s inhabitants significantly.

Here are some advantages of using LED Light Bulbs:

  • LED lights are more durable and robust than conventional light bulbs, they can also be made significantly smaller than conventional bulbs and can be used in flashlights and other small devices
  • LED light bulbs are energy efficient – producing more light per watt than incandescent bulbs which results in cheaper LED lighting costs when compared to regular lighting
  • LED lights don’t contain the toxins found in incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, such as mercury
  • LED light bulbs last longer than incandescent bulbs. Normal light bulbs have an average life span of 1,000 hours but an LED bulb has a life span of between 40,000 and 60,000 hours.
  • LED lighting operates at a lower temperature than incandescent light bulbs, less energy is wasted in heat production and subsequent heat loss

Green Your Walls and Roof
Have you considered growing plants on your walls and roof?  This offers many beneficial effects such as:

  • They insulate the building,
  • prevent noise pollution,
  • emit healthful Oxygen and absorb Carbon Dioxide

Growing vegetables on your roof will also ensure that you have organic food available to you at no extra cost or effort.

Grey Water Systems
Grey water is reusing your water; you can read more about grey water on our recent blog.

What does your green home look like?

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Design your home around natural light
Colour my Bedroom
How to choose a Kitchen Worktop
Do you want a green minded home?