Saturday, December 2, 2017

How to Choose a Bathroom Mirror

by Yanic Simard

See yourself in the best light with a bathroom mirror
that’s properly sized, placed and illuminated

It’s easy to overlook a mirror. After all, when we look at one, we see a reflection of so many other things before we even see the mirror itself. But a good mirror is an essential component to many rooms, especially your bathroom. There are many options for size, style and shape to choose from, so I’ve put together this guide to help you put things into perspective and get your bathroom mirror just right.

Sizing Your Mirror

When choosing the size of your mirror, you should consider not just function, but also proportion. To create a balanced look, think about the size of your mirror relative to that of your vanity.

Typically, vanity mirrors are not wider than the vanity itself, with some exceptions we will discuss a little later.

A common approach is to make the mirror exactly as wide as the vanity so the two line up perfectly.

Of course, this is much easier with a custom-sized mirror because you may not happen to find a pre-made mirror in the exact width of your vanity.

If they are not the same width, another solid approach is to make the mirror about 70 to 80 percent as wide as the vanity so the mirror appears a bit smaller, but not shrunken.

With respect to height, a functional mirror needs only to reach about a foot above and below the eye line of the people who will be using it. But the more height you can get, the better, because it will provide more viewing angles and a more open look to the space. Try to reach at least 4 to 7 feet above the floor.

Single vs. Multiple

If you have a wide vanity, especially one with multiple sinks, you have the option of using multiple mirrors or one single mirror wide enough to service both.

Using several tall and skinny mirrors can give a room a more vertical look, emphasizing the height of the space (especially effective when you have high ceilings). Of course, using a single large mirror opens up the room by reflecting more of the opposite walls. Ultimately the choice comes down to personal preference.

Using multiple mirrors can still work even when there is only one sink. 

In fact, centering a mirror on the sink and then adding a second mirror symmetrical to the first can make the whole composition look more pleasingly balanced, compared with using just a single mirror.


Another reason to use smaller mirrors is, of course, to allow some room for sconces to sit in between. Vanity light can be located in various places, but placing it to the sides of the mirror lights the face well, so it is both beautiful and functional.

When leaving room for sconces, choose a mirror that is closer to 60 to 70 percent of the width of the vanity (divided by the number of mirrors if you have more than one), so the sconces have room to sit above the vanity rather than hanging beyond the edges.

Wall-to-Wall Mirrors

For a different approach to sizing your mirror, you can ignore the size of the vanity on its own and instead use the mirror to fill the whole wall, often running above the toilet as well. This approach gives you a larger mirror, which can go a long way toward making a compact bathroom feel twice the size.

In this case, you can run the mirror literally wall-to-wall (and typically up to the ceiling) or extend it from one end of the vanity to the end of a nearby fixture.

In the latter case, though, it should still fill most of the wall to avoid looking like it’s simply the wrong size. And it should line up neatly with the objects below.

On one hand, having a custom-sized mirror cut to fit perfectly wall-to-wall is a higher investment than purchasing a prefab piece.

On the other hand, compared with running tile or stone behind or around a smaller mirror, it is often a relatively budget-friendly choice.

Depending on your budget and goals, it may make a lot of sense to use a custom-fitted mirror paired with a little splash of a splurge material below.

Framed vs. Frameless

Frameless mirrors are a popular choice in bathrooms for a few likely reasons. One is that they tend to be less expensive while often still quite stylish. A second is that they give modern appeal, and bathrooms even in somewhat traditional homes often run a bit more modern to achieve a clean, airy, “spa-like” look.

Frameless mirrors work most easily in contemporary or modern and minimalist spaces without a lot of busy decor. Mirrors with elaborate frames tend to suit traditional spaces where the other elements are also very detailed and decorative.

For a nice balance that can suit nearly any space, try a mirror with a simple frame that is a few inches wide and in a textural material that isn’t too busy.

This beachy weathered wood frame is a good example. It gives a pleasingly finished look without appearing heavier than the vanity itself.

For an eclectic sensibility, an ornate mirror can look magnificent as a statement piece in a modern bathroom.

Getting the mix just right will take a good design eye, but the unique result will bring a lot of personality and drama to the room.
Inset Mirrors

A clever way to get the modern look of a frameless mirror and the sense of polish of a framed mirror is to inset the mirror into tile so it’s essentially framed by the surrounding material.

As you can see in this example, the mirror is flush with the wall tile, which gives the whole wall a very finished look but with a minimalist twist. Layering floating shelves over the top gives extra additional modern flair and some useful storage.

Round Mirrors

We’ve mostly looked at simple rectangular mirrors so far, but of course there are many other shapes.
Round mirrors can be a great way to bring some softness and relaxed appeal to a bathroom, which often has a lot of hard surfaces and crisp lines.

A mirror like this one that hangs by a strap or chain from a central peg gives a very nonchalant vibe, bringing a bit of fun.

Round mirrors are a great companion to pedestal sinks, as they often have curved lines themselves.

Round mirrors generally leave more negative space at the “corners” than a rectangular mirror would, which makes sense because pedestal sinks leave some negative space around the pedestal base.

A round mirror is also a great choice if you have an interesting wall finish to show off, such as this beautiful, exotic wallpaper print. It gives you enough mirror to see your face, but it leaves a bit more wall exposed, and the curved lines will pick up the organic shapes in a leafy or floral print.
Medicine Cabinets

Sure, all of the previous mirrors were attractive, but what if you need some serious storage space?

Medicine cabinet mirrors are best when inset into the wall — that way they won’t be so in-your-face. A professional can guide you during a site visit as to whether your wall cavity can house some inset or partially inset cabinets.

Otherwise, try using a few tricks to avoid letting that cabinet visually shrink the room.

A cabinet with little or no frame will avoid feeling in-your-face, while adding some under-cabinet lighting (just as you might in a kitchen) will bring a glow that cancels out any dark shadows and makes the whole sink area feel more open.

Suspended Mirrors

If you have an unusual bathroom layout or an inconveniently placed window or obstacle, don’t forget that mirrors don’t absolutely have to hang flat on a wall.

Suspending a mirror from the ceiling or a window frame, or mounting it on rails rising from the counter, can allow you to place a mirror in a new, functional spot.

Keep an open mind, and you can really open up some beautiful views.

Ready to remodel your bathroom?  To get started, stop by Cabinet-S-Top located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH 44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~ 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Design Recipe: How to Get a Farmhouse-Style Kitchen

by Yanic Simard

Discover the essential materials, colors and finishes
that make this popular style beautiful and functional

Looking to give your kitchen a dose of down-home charm? Few things capture that aesthetic better than a farmhouse-style approach. To get the look right, here are some of the top signature elements of a farmhouse-style kitchen, reinvented for today.

The Basics

Farmhouse style in today’s kitchen is all about creating the look and the atmosphere of a traditional kitchen found on a family farm, with casually mixed ingredients that add up to a special style recipe with lots of humility and a welcoming attitude.

Despite being somewhat modest, these kitchens are also incredibly beautiful, carrying a style that exists entirely outside the trends. Plus, they’re quite functional.

Essential: Freestanding Furniture 
Maybe the No. 1 defining feature of farmhouse style is the use of freestanding furniture, rather than the typical built-in type of cabinets, islands and appliances you expect to see in more modern kitchen styles.

In this kitchen, for example, you can spot a rustic table for an island, a tall pantry cabinet and even a charming Smeg fridge all standing on their own, which avoids a matchy-matchy look and lends a casual atmosphere.

A furniture-style island, in particular, gives a farmhouse kitchen some of its essential casual appeal. It offers the sense that the room was built over time and has its own personality, rather than having been constructed all at once from a cabinetry catalog.

A leggy furniture piece that you can see through, like this island, also helps the space feel more open, so even the most humbly sized kitchen can feel big enough to do some real home cooking.

The Palette

Farmhouse kitchens can come in a range of palettes. After all, the style is meant to show lots of warmth and personality. However, a typical farmhouse kitchen draws from colors and materials you would expect to see in an actual country or farm setting, like brick, stone, wood and soft welcoming hues.

When dabbling in bursts of color, look to heritage hues that suit the timeless air of this style, rather than ultra-saturated, trendy hues that can feel too modern. Of course, if you prefer a contemporary take on farmhouse style, then feel free to go wild. 

The yellow shown here is Good Morning Sunshine by Benjamin Moore. 

Essential: Milk Paint

In Colonial America, paint mixed with milk was a popular choice for dressing walls and furnishings, and it gave a special, soft matte finish. These days, actual milk paint is often prized for being environmentally friendly, but even when the real thing isn’t being used, the matte finish and muted colors make great inspiration for farmhouse style.

Matte finishes give a softer sheen that is friendly to imperfections, but they aren’t always easy to wipe clean, so make sure to choose a “washable matte” or something similar. To match this surprisingly happy blue-green hue, try Sherwin-Williams’ Waterscape.

Material: Beadboard and Paneling

Farmhouse homes are rich with inviting texture, and nothing brings rugged tactility to your walls, floors and cabinets like beadboard and wood paneling. Whether painted or stained — or clear-coated to show off as much natural grain as possible — the appeal of this simple stripe pattern shines through.

This kitchen repeats the beadboard that faces the sides of the island as a backsplash material, for a beautiful look that feels contemporary and historic at the same time. 

Use a looser paneling, as shown in the previous photo, for a woodsy, cottage-like appeal, or a tighter beadboard, as shown here, for a subtler and more polished take.

Detail: Humble Hardware

Many kinds of cabinet hardware can work with farmhouse style, but a top choice is the cup pull, shaped to be perfectly functional and not flashy. You’ll also notice latching pulls on the upper and lower cabinets, which give a historic air and satisfying click when opened and shut.

To avoid having fingerprints show on the hardware, I suggest using a brushed or antiqued finish. For pleasing sparkle to balance out other matte surfaces, use a polished steel or brass, as long as you’re ready for just a little more upkeep.
Fixture: Apron-Front Sink

Another small signature of farmhouse style is the apron-front sink. These sinks come in porcelain, steel, stone and other materials, and they bring this material to the forefront rather than just inside the cabinet.

This turns the humble and functional sink into a decorative feature, celebrating the hardworking spirit of true farm homes. 

An apron-front sink needs a special type of cabinet to house it, so if you want to include one, make sure to plan for it early in your renovation process.
Essential: Warm Wood

Whether on the floor, the cabinetry or in little touches like dining stools or a freestanding hutch, warm and inviting wood is practically a must-have in a farmhouse kitchen.

Knotty, local woods add lots of rustic character to ensure that your kitchen is unique yet classic. Look to subtle, slightly red or orange stains to bring out the inviting warmth of the wood and reveal the knots and grain.

Material: Weathered Metal

There are few better foils to warm wood than crisp metal — and, of course, true farmhouses contain many a metal pail or tool — so it makes sense to find touches of metal in a farmhouse kitchen.

Using too much sleek, polished metal in your space may push the look toward a more modern or transitional sensibility, but don’t be afraid to work with weathered or antiqued metals like galvanized steel, antique brass or blackened bronze. Add these through light fixtures, storage bins, accessories and brushed-finish appliances.

Splurge: Timeless Appliances

If you’re going to splurge in your farmhouse kitchen, one of the best places to do so is on the oven and other large appliances. If you choose too many typical contemporary models, they may seriously interrupt the timeless look.

A generously sized and traditional-looking stove like this one suits such a space beautifully.

Detail: Open Shelves

Although they may feel like a modern trend, open shelves are actually a classic staple that is both beautiful and functional.

Simple floating shelves, or a hutch or island with an open cabinet, give you a spot to display beautiful everyday essentials like pitchers, glassware or storage jars, along with collectibles or the “guest china,” so you can still enjoy these items every day even when they aren’t in direct use.

Essential: Vintage Elements

Speaking of displaying treasured heirlooms, a farmhouse look benefits from the inclusion of some vintage furniture pieces as well. Colorful chairs with worn paint, an antique light fixture or a well-weathered table bring a sense of history that gives your kitchen a lived-in feel.

Detail: Eat-In Kitchen

Not every kitchen has room for a full eat-in space, but if you can work in a small table or even a place to dine on your island, it will bring that perfect sense of welcome to complete your farmhouse look.

For extra style, mix and match your seating, and let your guests pull up the chair of their choice.

Looking to remodel your kitchen with the farmhouse style?  Let Cabinet-S-Top help you.  Stop by and speak with one of our expert designers to get started.  Located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~

Monday, October 9, 2017

10 Quick and Easy Cleaning Hacks

by Leslie Reichert

Save time and money with these tips for keeping your microwave,
toilet bowl, garbage disposal and more in tiptop shape

1. Microwave manager. Leftover food inside your microwave can be a real pain. It becomes burnt on more and more as you continue to use it. To give it a quick clean, try microwaving a bowl of lemon juice until the juice starts to boil. It can take anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes depending on the power of your microwave. Once it steams up, wipe all the walls of the microwave with a microfiber cloth. The natural acid in the lemon juice will work to remove buildup.

2. Ring remover. We pour every nasty chemical we can find into our toilet to remove that ring in the bowl. Instead, try using a pumice stone on the stain. The ring is actually a buildup of minerals on the porcelain, and it can be removed by using such a stone. The pumice is harder than the minerals yet softer than the porcelain, so it removes the stain without scratching. Most large retail chains now sell pumice stones specially designed for cleaning toilets.

3. Fresh bowl. Now that you’ve removed the toilet bowl ring with a pumice stone, it’s time to freshen it up even more. Pass on expensive cleaners and simply pour a few capfuls of mouthwash into the bowl to remove buildup and smells.

4. Beat the stink. Garbage disposals have food buildup that tends to get left behind even when you run the disposal for an extra moment. Leftover food starts to rot almost immediately, which leads to a smelly kitchen sink.

Fight this buildup by cleaning off the blades of your disposal. Just throw a few ice cubes down inside, add a few tablespoons of salt and run the disposal for a few minutes.

5. Razor’s edge. A simple way to remove burnt-on food from glass-topped electric and induction stoves is to use a flat razor. If you place the razor at a 45-degree angle, it will get under the buildup without scratching the stove-top.

6. Squeegee time. Using a squeegee in your shower will remove most of the soap scum on the walls and glass doors. If you get into a routine of wiping the shower down with a squeegee, you may never have to clean soap scum in your shower again.

7. Bathroom buddy. Need an extra hand cleaning things in your bathroom? Enlist your dishwasher. You can pop things like the soap dish, toothbrush holder and drinking cups into the dishwasher so they will get cleaned and sanitized.

8. Fairer faucet. Minerals building on your shower faucet? They can easily be removed with distilled white vinegar. Look for bottles labeled “cleaning vinegar,” which is more acidic than cooking vinegar. Place the vinegar in a sandwich baggie and wrap it around the faucet head with a rubber band for the evening. The mineral buildup should be gone the next morning.

9. Throwing shade. One item that often gets overlooked when cleaning are lampshades. You can quickly clean them with a lint roller. By rubbing the lint roller over the flat areas of the shade, you will remove built-up dust. If there are crevices or seams that are missed by the roller, use a clean paintbrush to remove the extra dust.

10. Keyboard cleanser. Keyboards are a haven for germs and rarely get cleaned. You can quickly clean them with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol. Just dip the Q-tip in the rubbing alcohol and rub the keys and in between them. Make sure the Q-tip isn’t too wet to avoid excess rubbing alcohol dripping into the keyboard.

Cabinet-S-Top, 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256
330.239.3630 ~