Top 5 ways to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreat

Top 5 ways to turn your bathroom into a spa-like retreatToday’s busy lifestyles leave many of us craving a quick recharge. And there’s no place like home to relax and unwind, so why not create a spa-like sanctuary where you can do just that? Here are some top tips on how to make it amazing.

Start with what’s behind the walls. There’s nothing less relaxing than dealing with a mould problem –– a common issue in bathrooms. The wrong type of insulation can be especially vulnerable, so look for one that contractors trust just for this purpose. I recommend an insulation called Rockwool Safe ‘n’ Sound. It’s made from stone, so it repels water and won’t promote mould, mildew or rot. It’ll also help create a peaceful retreat, thanks to excellent sound absorption.

It’s all about the water feature. Whether it’s a multi-head rain shower set against a backdrop of luxurious stone tile or a large, free-standing tub, nothing melts tension away and relaxes the muscles like water. Options abound and can be pricey, but remember, the water feature is the centrepiece of the space, and you’ll use it every single day for years.

Create a warm space. A cold floor can abruptly end your calming experience. Radiant in-floor heating is one feature that, once you have it, you’ll never know how you lived without it.

Let nature inspire. Recreate a spa aesthetic with natural materials like teak, bamboo or stone.

Lighting and music. Incorporating waterproof wireless controls for music and lighting let you set the mood and tone for the ultimate unwind. If you’re on a budget, add a pop of elegance with a beautiful light fixture on a dimmer and complement with aromatic candles.

Accessorize. From plush towels and robes to fresh flowers or greenery, add some elements that make your bathroom feel like a five-star hotel. Reduce visual clutter by storing toiletries or other items in decorative baskets or jars.

My advice is to relax, unwind, and tune out the world for a little while. Make it a guilt-free indulgence, because after all, we take better care of others when we take care of ourselves, too.

Scott McGillivray is the host of the hit HGTV series Income Property and Moving the McGillivrays, a full-time real estate investor, contractor, author, and educator.

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Major changes coming to new home building methods

Major changes coming to new home building methodsAcross Canada, home builders are adopting new approaches to construction to create greener homes with better resale value. One major change that’s tackling energy consumption and rising fuel costs is the use of an air-tight, solid concrete system to replace inefficient wood-framing. Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) erect a building with an interlocking system, similar to Lego.

“It’s a switch for builders, but those who have switched over tell us it’s quite easy to build with ICFs,” says Natalie Rodgers of Nudura, a leading name in the field. “Customer demand has driven this change and builders are now seeing how green construction options can have a positive impact on their business.”

The ICF system is now the number one choice of wall-building methods for “net-zero” construction projects south of the border. The term net-zero applies to buildings that are so energy efficient, they don’t tap into any public utility fuel supplies. The goal is for as many homes, schools and public buildings as possible to be designed to be net-zero. Here are some advantages of net-zero construction using ICF.

Building guide. Underscoring these proactive measures, the non-profit organization, LEED also reminds us that constructing a green home leaves a much smaller carbon footprint due to less demand on natural resources. It will create less waste and be healthier and more comfortable for the occupants.

Fuel savings. Walls built with ICFs are proven to reduce energy bills up to 60 per cent; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and reduce or eliminate exposure to mould, mildew and other indoor toxins. The net cost over time is comparable to owning a conventional home and the resale return is generally assured.

Durability. Concrete is strong. Due to high-impact resistance, these concrete walls assure maximum safety in high wind areas. Fire resistance is also reported to be maximized at four hours.

Comfort. Unlike in conventional wooded frames, air gaps are eliminated in ICF, minimizing the potential for mould growth and draft. The end result is an airtight structure enabling the mechanical systems to heat, cool and ventilate the structure more efficiently, creating a healthier living and working environment.

Responsibility. The materials are recyclable and the system is designed to create less landfill waste during the construction process. Combined with other eco-construction methods, this concrete system will significantly reduce carbon emissions by lowering the amount of fossil fuels needed for heating and cooling.

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