Month: November 2019

Cielo Design Centre

December 1st will see the opening of a dedicated, exclusive and one of a kind Cielo design centre within the C.P. Hart flagship Waterloo showroom. The ‘showroom within a showroom’ concept is the first of its kind in the UK and second globally only to the Cielo design centre in lower Manhattan, New York.


Opening in time for Advent in the UK’s largest premium bathroom showroom, the design centre will showcase a colourful new range by Italian artisan ceramic and bath manufacturer, Cielo. The design centre will become a destination for anyone wanting to purchase or specify Cielo in upcoming projects. Interior Designers can meet clients within the Waterloo showroom to show them at first hand the inspirational palette of exclusive baths and basins, a rainbow selection in 16 colours.



Cielo is steeped in contemporary design heritage. Based in the heart of Italy, the founder and master craftsman, Antonio Coramusi, first began producing sanitary ware in the early 1900s. But from these humble beginnings, Cielo now creates exclusive collections of sanitary ware, washbasins, shower trays, baths, toilets and urinals revolutionising the bathroom experience with unprecedented shapes, sizes, thicknesses, surfaces and colours.


To quote Alessio Coramusi, Cielo CEO, “I wanted to rediscover and pay tribute to our roots. Our company is what I call a real laboratory of ceramics.  The production is characterised by a sartorial approach and a strong link with the values of craftsmanship.  Through constant stylistic research and an innovative approach to the choice of materials and shapes, we place the quality of our product and design at the centre of our research”.


The Cielo design centre in Waterloo covers nearly 750 square feet, exclusively.  It features 5 key room sets and 2 cameos, plus a central basin pedestal display.  Each of the following different designs within the Cielo collection will be on display:



I Catini – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

The I Catini collection features the Catino Tondo (round), Ovale, Doppio (double) and Recttangolare basin systems that create a unique and signature look in a stylish contemporary bathroom setting.  Each basin shape gives the opportunity of combining a simple structured steel stand in 3 finishes with a choice of 16 coloured matt ceramic basins and the added advantage of a marble shelf or storage drawer.   The collection can be completed with a selection of accessories, mirrors and mirror cabinets.


Narciso – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

Narciso brings the dressing room into the bathroom.  The large vanity basin console has an innovative “beauty” case with a convenient mirror in the lid and plenty of storage, ideal for makeup.  The new Doppio (double) and mini version can be enriched with a full range of accessories including a side mounted towel rail, leather laundry bag and drawer combinations.  The steel frame is available in 3 finishes to compliment the 16 colours of matt ceramic basins.


Elle – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

Available with Tondo (round) or ovale shaped bowls, Elle has a classical linear style that expresses the innovation and craftmanship of Italian made ceramics.  The basin appears suspended and features a practical splashback, available in 16 matt ceramic colours framed in a metal structure in 3 finishes including popular matt black.  


Siwa – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

Siwa is a majestically refined basin console that offers a unique balance of mirrors with structured storage.  The washbasin is available in 16 matt ceramic colours that gives a striking combination with the 4 wood finishes for the stand.  The stand can have a simple shelf or storage drawer.



Plinio – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

When it comes to an extra-large basin, Plinio delivers generous functionality with finesse.   The soft lip around the ceramic basin, available in 16 matt colours, adds balance and harmony whilst appearing to float, almost on stilts.  The wooden stand offers customised storage including natural leather baskets and matt lacquered drawers.    


Delfo – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

Delfo makes a powerful statement with both ceramic and wood. The ceramic washbasin sits on an oval shaped ceramic tray, both available in all 16 matt colour finishes.  The wall hung cabinets feature either a classic smooth front or an elegant ribbed design in 5 light to dark finishes, including Eucalyptus.   


Multiplo – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

Multiplicity is what makes Mutiplo such a dynamic and versatile collection.  It can start with a simple design of a ceramic top combined with a variety of ceramic basins, to a more complex solution with a mixture of open and closed storage.  The design possibilities are infinite. 


La Bacinella – designed by Andrea Parisio & Giuseppe Pezzano

La Bacinella is about deep, shallow or spacious bowls in captivating shapes.  Within the collection there is the curvaceous Tina and Tino bowls, the open shallow depth Eco, the practical design of an integrated tap ledge with the Handy bowl and the latest minimal design Era.   All the bowls are available in the 16 matt ceramic finishes to complement any contrasting or matching surfaces.  



Pop along to see the collection, book an appointment with a designer at C.P. Hart Waterloo and enjoy the shapes and colours on offer – a different colour for each bathroom, downstairs loo and en-suite in your home!

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A Basement Remodel Turns into a Happy Family Room

A New Jersey basement transforms into a spot for music, lounging, and laundry

In 2015, Cristiana and her husband fell in love with a beautiful old house in New Jersey’s Bergen County. Original details from 1918 had been preserved, and the space was just right for the family of four. While the above-grade spaces were solid and charming, the basement needed some serious TLC. It featured outdated finishes from the 1970s, low ceilings (a big problem for Cristiana’s tall husband!), and a damp, musty feel.

Cristiana knew that the valuable square footage could be turned into a family room, with space left over for wine and pantry storage as well as an updated laundry room. They posted their project and turned to Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors, and found this contractor to convert an uninviting cave into a comfortable spot for the whole family.

renovation Essex CountyGuest post by Bergen County, New Jersey, homeowner Cristiana

Two years ago, we were moving from a 750-square-foot apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey, which felt like it was bursting at the seams. When we purchased our early Craftsman Colonial home, we knew there would be lots of work to do. But it felt solid, had the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms and great, livable space. Plus, the original unpainted chestnut moldings and leaded glass built-ins throughout the new house made any renovations that we needed to do seem bearable.

beforeduringrenovation Essex County

Before we were able to move in, we needed to completely rewire the entire house because it still had knob-and-tube wiring. This meant demolishing the ’70s-style finished basement. We weren’t that upset about losing the brown paneling, damp rug, and linoleum-tiled laundry room, and we were saving a lot of money by allowing the electrician free access to the walls and ceiling of the basement. The space had to be refurbished before it could be used for anything besides storage.

After a couple of months of rewiring, patching, and painting, we temporarily relocated the toy storage and our TV to the enclosed front porch and began working with an architect to rethink the space. We came to Sweeten to find a contractor to execute our architect’s vision.

Our plans included moving the laundry room to free up the main living area for toys, creating a craft area, and carving out a wine room. An old phone booth left behind by the previous owners was relocated. We hoped to move as many pipes in the labyrinth hanging from the ceiling to provide more headroom for my 6’ 4” husband and our two future six-footers—our sons, currently ages six and eight. New windows were installed and additional waterproofing was added throughout the space.

renovation Essex Countyrenovation Essex County

When we got started working with our Sweeten contractor, we tried to determine where waterproofing was necessary and figured out what pipes could be moved and what had to stay. We ran PEX pipes for water in the walls and were able to run all electricity through the ceiling. We had to leave our steam pipes for our original but completely functional heating system because it was cost-prohibitive to move them.

Our contractor also created easy access points for a (hopefully not so distant) kitchen renovation. In the end, the ceiling in the basement was raised from under six-and-a-half feet to over eight feet tall—a huge improvement and a crucial part of the renovation.

Once the not-so-glamorous phases of waterproofing, plumbing, and electric were completed, we began to see the new rooms take shape. We were surprised by the space that needed to be left between the block walls and the drywall for fireproofing but decided to incorporate built-ins for board games as well as arts-and-crafts supplies. Our contractor also built a custom shelving unit under our TV to help prevent kids from walking into the corner of the TV when it was pulled out from the wall. The area under the stairs turned into a fort for the boys.

For the walls, we chose a warm gray paired with a soft white trim. The floors are COREtec, which looks like walnut but is actually an engineered plank that’s perfect for below-grade spaces. This was one of our contractor’s best recommendations—a floating floor that is easily replaced if it gets wet, feels great underfoot, and looks amazing. We love it, and have gotten a ton of compliments on it!

renovation Essex Countyrenovation Essex Countyrenovation Essex County

We installed IKEA kitchen cabinets and laminate countertops in our laundry room, which were big cost-savers and resulted in a sleek and lovely place to do laundry. A wall-mounted drying rack is one of my favorite features. My kids and husband have turned the storage room into a music room, but as long as they don’t mind playing next to our second freezer and extra Cheerios, it works for me!

That’s about it for the first phase of our basement renovation. Of course, there are still items on the to-do list. We are planning to turn the wooden phone booth at the bottom of the stairs into a fun space for the boysit has working electricity, so we are hoping to wire it with wifi or as a charging station. We will also either paint it red (Londonesque) or blue (Doctor Who!), and add a plaque on the top with our last name. Next to the phone booth is a door that leads to our unfinished wine room, another project for the future.

For now, though, we love spending time in our new basement—and getting dedicated storage for the toys, drums, and storage off the main floor! It’s become a great family room for us to hang out in, and for the boys to play with their friends. Working with our Sweeten contractor was an amazing experience. He was cooperative, made great suggestions, and brought the project in on budget.

Thank you, Cristiana, for showing us the fabulous transformation of an often-overlooked space! We can’t wait to see what you do next.

BASEMENT RESOURCES: Blackstone Oak COREtec flooring: COREtec. Laundry room cabinets and countertops: IKEA. Dolphin Fin wall paint: Behr. White Dove trim/ceiling paint: Benjamin Moore.

Watch video:

Here’s what you need to know when turning your basement into a living space.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

The post A Basement Remodel Turns into a Happy Family Room appeared first on Sweeten Blog.

A Chef Remodels His Family Kitchen

A cook space functions for entertaining, resale, and, of course, cooking

Blue kitchen remodel

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

Project: A builder-grade kitchen refreshes for a work-from-home chef and caterer

Before: After temporarily living in a large flat in Europe, Arnish and Brenden returned to New York City with a hankering for more space. They found it in Downtown Brooklyn in the 1929 BellTel Lofts landmark building. Unhappy with the experience of an earlier bathroom renovation (done by a non-Sweeten contractor), Arnish, a chef, waited until he had a very clear idea of what he wanted to do in the kitchen before posting the project on Sweeten, a free service matching renovators with vetted contractors. Arnish chose this contractor to execute his entire vision for his dream kitchen.

kitchen renovation before

Aesthetically, the style of the kitchen was not to Arnish’s taste – the combination of the work surface and cabinets was too dark and the countertops were prone to staining. Functionally, there were many deficiencies that he wanted to remedy: the kitchen sink was too shallow for large pots, and the cabinets not deep enough for all of the equipment, gadgets, and dry goods. He also wanted to improve the flow of the space. 

After: Arnish uses the words, “sleek, modern, and high-end” to describe his new kitchen—and it is exactly that! “I dislike clutter and I love keeping my kitchen and home organized,” he shared. He didn’t want it to be too taste-specific for resale purposes, so they chose bright white, smudge-proof cabinets. And instead of handles or pulls, their contractor suggested ”tip and touch” for a cleaner look. 

chef in his kitchen

minimalist kitchen

The veins in the quartz countertops add a bit of drama, as does the peninsula. As a chef/caterer and everyday cook, Arnish planned for larger appliances, a pantry for dry food storage, an appliance garage, a pull-out spice rack, a hidden trash/recycling drawer, and a large, deep sink. 

He also moved their peninsula a foot closer to the stove and closed up what had been two feet of unusable “dead space.” On top of the “must-have” list was a huge peninsula that would accommodate his catering and cooking prep as well as for big parties. “We set up a bar on the peninsula and guests gravitate towards the kitchen,” he said. “Sometimes we have up to 80 people in the space.” With the piece of furniture also holding a wine fridge, he got everything he wanted. 

Kitchen pantry storage

Wine fridge in peninsula of kitchen

Throughout the remodel, the contractor had a specific team member in his office assigned to their project who kept in constant communication. “His office also used an app called Buildertrend that kept me updated on the status, including scheduling, deliveries, “to-do’s”, and material selections, which was very helpful. I never felt left in the lurch,” Arnish explained.

When asked how his new kitchen made him feel, Arnish replied, “Thrilled is an understatement. I feel so fortunate that I get to cook for my husband and entertain our friends in a space that I love. As a chef, I spend so much of my time in the kitchen and I believe that my food tastes better in my new kitchen. This space truly reflects my taste and style and whoever comes into the space can tell that this kitchen was designed by and for me.”

Pull-out spice drawer

Dog in remodeled kitchen

Arnish’s tip: Now that his project is done, his advice, “Remember, the renovation process is only temporary. It will feel overwhelming at times, but after the dust settles, the end result will be worth it.”

Thank you, Arnish, Brenden, and Jungli, for sharing your new kitchen!

Style finds: White base and upper cabinets, Vintage Blue peninsula cabinets: Miralis. Countertops with “waterfall edge,” backsplash: MSI Quartz. 32″ sink: Kraus. Faucet: Delta. Built-in refrigerator, Professional Series range with griddle and convection oven, microwave drawer, wi-fi dishwasher: JennAir. Pop-out ventilation hood: Miele. Dual Zone wine fridge: G.E. Monogram. Paint in Misty Gray: Benjamin Moore. Onda by Stua bar stools: Design Within Reach.

Ready to schedule your remodel? Here’s how long it takes for a kitchen renovation.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

The post A Chef Remodels His Family Kitchen appeared first on Sweeten Blog.

Add a Dash of Pink to Your Bathroom with Benjamin Moore’s Color Of 2020

Add a Dash of Pink to Your Bathroom with Benjamin Moore’s Color Of 2020

Add a Dash of Pink to Your Bathroom with Benjamin Moore’s Color Of 2020 : When it comes to premium paints and stains for your home, Benjamin Moore has set the standard for excellence throughout the years. The famous company has just revealed its Color of the Year 2020 as a warm, rosy pink named First Light.

Continue reading Add a Dash of Pink to Your Bathroom with Benjamin Moore’s Color Of 2020 at Maison Valentina Blog.

Bring Those Holiday Vibes to Your Bathroom with Maison Valentina

Bring Those Holiday Vibes to Your Bathroom with Maison Valentina

Bring Those Holiday Vibes to Your Bathroom with Maison Valentina: The holiday season is coming and you need to make sure that your luxury bathroom is as trendiest as it gets. Reinventing your bathroom decor for this season can be a challenge, however, Maison Valentina has gathered a few trends for this festive season, in order to help you elevate your bathroom holiday decor.

Continue reading Bring Those Holiday Vibes to Your Bathroom with Maison Valentina at Maison Valentina Blog.

How To Choose The Right Pieces For Your Bathroom

When it comes to creating your dream bathroom, the choice can seem overwhelming. From basins to baths, taps to toilets, it can be hard to know where to start. So, to break the process down into more bitesize chunks, we asked C.P. Hart’s Head of Retail Design, Yousef Mansuri, what to consider when selecting the perfect elements for your space…

Q. With so much choice on offer, how do you decide what you need in your own space?

A. As Head of Retail Design at C.P. Hart, I always advise customers to think about who will use the space. For example, in a family bathroom you might want plenty of storage to keep the room uncluttered, but the priority in a master en-suite might be to have twin basins. We are also seeing more demand at the moment for twin shower heads in one big walk-in shower area, which suits couples who get ready at the same time in the morning.

Q. What is the best way to choose bathroom products?

A. There’s no substitute for going to visit a showroom to help you identify the styles you like and to see products in the flesh. Do you prefer traditional and classic looks, or do you have a more contemporary and cutting-edge mood in mind? At the moment, there is a fantastic level of choice available – from entire collections primarily designed to suit compact spaces, to the latest innovations including bespoke sauna-hammam systems.

Q. Can you tell us about some of the key points to consider?

A. Is has been great to see so much clever and joyful use of colour and pattern coming through, along with the variety of bathroom wallpaper and furniture-style products that are being influenced by living area design. Try to bring some of the ‘softness’ of bedroom design into the bathroom with walls painted or papered, rather than tiled, and decorative lighting and mirrors. Why not include an upholstered chair or chaise longue, if you have the space? Floors are best tiled, but a washable rug can add some warmth and texture. 

Q. What is your top tip for ensuring a successful project?

A. Make sure there is enough storage! We have so many lotions and potions these days that it makes sense to have drawers and cabinets to help keep surfaces uncluttered, but with just enough storage for nice bottles of fragrance and accessories you want to have on display.

If you're looking to renovate your bathroom and transform it into your dream space, then our Professional Design Service could be for you. Make an appointment from any of our 15 showrooms and you can start working with a dedicated, fully qualified C.P. Hart interior designer to guide you through the process.

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How to Protect Your Home Before Winter

Prepare your home for cold weather conditions, from the roof and pipes to masonry

“After” photos by Miao Jiaxin for Sweeten

Much of the U.S. is experiencing an unseasonably freezing fall as winter barrels towards us. It’s a chilly reminder to shore up homes for the winter. During the coldest season, homes are under intense pressure—to keep inhabitants warm and dry. The good news: it’s not too late to tackle winter-prepping projects by adding them to bigger home renovations already in the planning stages. Here’s what Sweeten recommends to ensure your apartment or house is a pleasant place to wait out the winter:

Patch your roof

It might be a little late in the season for a full roof replacement, but patching up holes to hold you over until the warmer months is recommended. “If ice builds up on your roof, when it thaws, that leak is going to be nasty and you won’t be able to patch it properly until after the rainy season [spring],” said Sweeten general contractor Chance. “You could have months of rain coming into your home.”

As Chance points out, it’s not just the cost of the project that you need to worry about. It’s the internal damage water can have in your home.

Patching a pitched roof could be a simple one day job and cost less than $600, Chance estimated. If you’re in need of slate shingles, that cost could go up. For someone with a flat roof, say a New York City townhouse or brownstone, patching a small leak could be patched with caulking. Larger holes might require some asphalt cement. The cost of patching a flat roof should cost less than a pitched roof, since the access is much easier, Chance said.

A roof replacement typically needs to happen every ten or so years. And for a good chunk of the US, it needs to happen in the Spring, Summer or Fall. The national average for a roof replacement with fiberglass asphalt shingles in 2018 was $20,000, according to Remodeling’s Cost Vs Value report. Much of that can be recouped with the average $14,000 that is added to your home’s value. As for a timeline, a roof replacement can be done in under a week.

Maintain or repair the boiler

Putting your boiler through a maintenance check each year could save you from a mid-winter disaster, advised Sweeten general contractor Richard. “If your boiler shuts down, that likely means no hot water and a cold house,” he said. Maintenance should only take a day and cost under $300. That cost starts increasing if repairs are needed, such as replacing a filter or an igniter.

Insulate the attic and pipes

Pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures can explode and a drafty attic without insulation can add to your heating bill and carbon footprint. Both have a quick and relatively cheap remedy. An attic insulation involves patching areas where drafts enter as well as adding insulation, such as fiberglass. A pipe can be insulated with a foam pipe sleeve or electrical tape.

Sweeten contractor Richard estimates that insulation of both attic and pipes costs between $1,000 and $4,000. It can be completed in one to four days.  The great news is, the project typically adds more to the value of your home than it costs to perform, according to the Cost Vs Value report. In 2017, the average cost of an attic insulation project in the US was $1,343 and added $1,446 in value.

Waterproof your home’s masonry

Is your home is a masonry structure, such as stone, brick or concrete block? It’s worth investigating if any water is infiltrating your walls. “Water is the most powerful thing on earth and it can cause a lot of damage over time,” said Sebastian, who works with Sweeten contractor Richard.

Sometimes the fix can be as simple as spraying a wall with waterproofing, according to Richard. Like all price estimates, the only way for a truly accurate figure is to get a quote from a general contractor. However, Richard estimates that waterproofing will start at around $2,000. “The overall height and size of the property and area that is going to be treated as well as the waterproofing material used will all impact the price,” he said.

If a more substantial amount of water is seeping through, than the offending area of the wall might need to be redone or water-proofing added behind the wall, according to Sebastian. Minor repairs, such as replacing a few bricks could be a few hundred dollars. The cost of replacing much or all of a wall will likely send your budget into the thousands.

Seal up a draft

Fall is the perfect time for a draft stocktake, according to Sweeten contractor Chance. He advised to dip your hand in water, walk around the house and dangle that hand near windows and doors. Any drafts coming in will be extra chilly on the wet hand. This could also be done with a match. “If you see the flame really dancing then you have a draft,” he said. “If it blows out, then you definitely have issues.”

There are a few cheap and easy remedies to this issue that can save you money on your heating bill. Adding weather stripping, a strip of foamy plastic, around windows will stop a draft, said Chance. Rope caulk is another material that can do this job and be removed at the end of winter. Either can be purchased for a few dollars from any hardware store and installed in minutes.

Getting your home ready for winter doesn’t have to be a strenuous affair. However, it’s important to stay up to date with maintenance for your house or apartment to avoid major disasters during the peak of winter. Thinking of a fuller renovation plan after the thaw? Check out our posts on what to expect from a general contractor; renovating for resale; and the dos and don’ts of DIY.

Sweeten outlines what you should know before renovating an old house. Click here.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

The post How to Protect Your Home Before Winter appeared first on Sweeten Blog.

Get Ready for 2020: A Sneak Peek of IMM Cologne and M&O Paris

Get Ready for 2020: A Sneak Peek of IMM Cologne and M&O Paris

Get Ready for 2020: A Sneak Peek of IMM Cologne and M&O Paris – As 2019 comes to an end, design lovers look forward to new trends and fresh ideas. What better way to discover it all than visiting two of the top interior design events in Europe? IMM Cologne and Maison et Objet Paris will both take place in  January 2020 and Maison Valentina’s team want you to know all the details!

Continue reading Get Ready for 2020: A Sneak Peek of IMM Cologne and M&O Paris at Maison Valentina Blog.

A Traditional House Remodel Offers a Dose of Modern

Good bones bring new life to a kitchen, bathroom, and a central foyer

Renovated dining room

“After” photos by Michael Hnatov for Sweeten

“I’m shocked by how long it took us to renovate,” the owner of this Westchester, New York, home said. “You know what they say about having kids, though: The days are long but the years are short.” The house, at 5,500 square feet, was also large, and in great, if not quite stylish, condition. It felt livable, and that’s why these finance execs-cum-parents of now high-school-age daughters put the finishing touches on their renovation nearly a decade after buying it. 

They did it by listing the project on Sweeten, a free service that matches renovators with vetted general contractors, combing through bids and hiring this design-build firm. The result: an eclectic redo that delivered this trad home straight into the 21st century.


The single-family house, built in the early 1960s, is like many in this Westchester County suburb. Its layout featured a formal entry hall and a dedicated dining room, plus a finished basement that boosts the total square footage. When the family of four and their pets moved into the home, it had just received a round of pre-sale renovations. 

The kids were in elementary school. “We always knew we’d update it and make it more our style at some point,” the owner said, “but we weren’t in a rush.” They’d lived happily in Manhattan for 15 years, and then in a rental in Scarsdale for three more before committing to the new home. “We wanted,” said the owner, “to live in our home long enough to find a clear vision.”

When the goal of the project crystallized, it was fairly simple: They wanted to preserve the home’s great bones and traditional features—including old hardwood floors, large windows with a diamond grill pattern, some stained-glass touches—and blend in a modern-classic feel. Some plans were solely functional.

The bathrooms, which had not been renovated since the home was built, were outdated and slated for a full redo. But the rest of the house would get a gentle, progressively modern update that would play off and enhance what was already there.  

Foyer stairs

We now have three rooms with different patterns of wood floor.

“We were excited about the job as a whole,” the owner said, but “relieved to know we could do a lot just by just adding a few touches.” In the end, they did a bit more than that. The home’s spacious foyer, already a stunner, got a dramatic makeover, featuring daring large-slab marble tile and a deco-style beaded chandelier. Those bathrooms got their gut-jobs, redone with glass-walled showers, gleaming fixtures, and statement lighting.

The mudroom received a sleek redesign, with functional storage, and whimsical bright-blue penny-round floor tile. And the kitchen received a playful update, with a painted hardwood floor, a boldly mirrored backsplash, and a wraparound marble overlay on the existing peninsula providing a stylish second life for the high-end cabinetry that was already there.

The process, the owner warned, was grueling at times, especially since the family of four lived in the house throughout. “We expected some inconvenience—especially since we have a dog and a cat—but it was a big challenge,” the owner said. “Towels and blankets under doors went a long way, but dust found its way around.”

Despite inconveniences, the project also bore happy surprises, like the ugly, thin carpet in the office that lifted to reveal a beautiful parquet floor. The Sweeten contractor cleaned it up and stained it white, which markedly opened the space. “We now have three rooms with different patterns of wood floor,” the owner says. While to some this might sound like a nightmare scenario, these little-bit-of-everything-loving homeowners find the mixed-up style “very cool.”

Because one never knows when a gorgeous discovery will save the contractors a few days’ effort, this homeowner suggests taking time to map out the renovation process in detail, with contingencies. And ask for the tough love you need to maintain your timeline: ordering deadlines for materials so you’ll have them before they’re needed; assignments for moving things around the house as work carries on.

“Our contractor,” the homeowner says, “was patient and thoughtful about what needed to be ordered. More important, he completed work on time, if not early. He was easy to work with, responsive and flexible. We also knew that, should that attitude change, Sweeten had our backs.”

Opportunities for efficiency and satisfaction can be found by playing an active part in the project, the homeowner said. Living in the house throughout the process, he says, allowed the family to see it day-to-day. “My favorite part,” he said, “was watching the rooms finish one by one and seeing the larger picture slowly emerge.” 


In the end, he said, the family stayed close to their budgeted figures and felt real satisfaction in the job’s completion. “It’s great to be done and the house finally feels like our home,” he said. “The vision we had came together, and now we can build on it with details like family photos and objects we love.”  

Thank you for sharing the new face of your family home!

FOYER RESOURCES: Astra Turchese Blue High Honed 23”x23”x3/8” floortile: Artistic Tile. Stair paint: Fine Paints of Europe

DINING ROOM RESOURCES: Eternity (AF-695) wall paint in semi gloss: Benjamin Moore.  Sterling (1591) trim paint in high gloss: Benjamin Moore. Wall paneling millwork: Custom by contractor.

LIVING ROOM RESOURCES: Great White satin wall paint: Farrow & Ball

OFFICE RESOURCES: Long Floating Shelf System Unfinished Maple:

KITCHEN RESOURCES: Cloud 9 wall paint: Benjamin Moore

Small Toledo silver polished with mosaic gloss mirrored backsplash tile: Artistic Tile. Semi-Pro Single Handle Standard sink faucet: Grohe K7 Medium. Elkay Dayton 16’ single basin undermount island sink: Pescara single-handle pull-down island sink faucet: Franke

Royal Danby Honed 4″ overlay peninsula stone: ABC Stone. Ellumi Antibacterial LED white under-cabinet light: Home Depot. Ebony medium gloss finish floor stain: DuraSeal

BATHROOM WITH SHOWER RESOURCES: Brush Stroke Nickel Textured 12”x24”x3/8” floor tile: Artistic Tile. Arctic White Polished 12”x24”x1/2” wall tile: Artistic Tile. Kohler Moderne Brushed Gold Purist faucets and right-angle shower arm: Best Plumbing. Vanity: Custom by contractor. Sartorial Herringbone Caxton Oval sink: Kohler. TOTO Promenade 2-piece 1.6 Single flush round toilet: Home Depot. Purist Drawer Pulls: Kohler. Fluted Cylinder Brass/Clear Glass sconce light: West Elm. Shower glass doors: Custom. Mirror: Custom. JazzGlass Ice White Gloss Mosaic, Xanadu Falls Calcutta Gold Polish Mosaic: Artistic Tile.

BATHROOM WITH BLUE VANITY RESOURCES: Nikki 48″ Single Bathroom Vanity Set by Breakwater Bay: Wayfair. Victorian 2-handle widespread bathroom faucet with diamond seal technology and metal drain assembly in champagne bronze: Delta. TOTO Promenade 2-Piece 1.6 single-flush round toilet: Home Depot. Aero Pure Slim Fit Ceiling LED light fixture with exhaust fan: Home Depot. Hermes H Pointille in Galet Wallpaper: Hermes

MUDROOM RESOURCES: Penny Round ¾” Blue Eye mesh-mounted mosaic floor tile: Best Plumbing. Bench seating built-in: Custom by contractor. Skylight pulls: Hickory Hardware. 8 Hook Flip Rack: Umbra.

Thinking of buying a house? This blog post will lay out what you need to know about owning one.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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A Guide To Buying Brassware

Choosing the perfect bathroom suite poses many questions, and although the choice of brassware may not be the first thing you decide on, it is important to the overall look. It’s the finer details that can really add to your space and so choosing the right tap that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional is crucial when perfecting those finishing touches.

There’s a wide variety of styles on the market, from traditional through to contemporary Art Deco designs, and everything in between. From functional basin taps to floor-standing bath fillers, the perfect tap is out there to complete your bathroom. Our handy guide points out everything you need to consider before you choose.

First things first – check your water pressure

Before you begin perusing the various designs available, you will need to determine the type of water pressure system you have in your home. Most UK households operate from a low pressure gravity system, which consists of a water tank filled with cold water (usually stored in the loft) and a hot water cylinder (usually stored in the airing cupboard).

The level of pressure the water outlet has is determined by height and gravity – in short, the higher your tank is stored, the greater the pressure. The majority of taps will work just fine from this kind of system, but if you’re after a powerful showering experience, you will most likely need to explore other options.

A combi boiler will heat cold water from the mains supply as soon as the tap is turned on, meaning a powerful burst of hot water can be achieved without the need for a separate tank. A cold mains supply is ideally suited to electric showers, as the heat of the water and pressure is determined by the choice of shower unit. The higher the kilowatt, the more powerful your water flow will be.

If you need some help and advice as to what type of water system you have installed then you can speak to one of our design experts who will be happy to help.

Styles of brassware

The method by which your bath or basin is plumbed can help narrow down your search for the right brassware. A bath or basin with two pre-drilled holes will require a pair of pillar taps, whilst those with just one hole will require a basin mixer that runs both hot and cold water.

From Art Deco-style three-piece basin mixers, to contemporary freestanding bath fillers, there are many styles of brassware available, all in a wide selection of finishes. The variety of choice is perfect as it means you can individualise your bathroom, but can also be a little overwhelming. Below we explain the different types of brassware available, as well as any practical considerations, so you can make an informed choice on which type of brassware will best suit your needs. 

Pillar Taps 
This is the most traditional option. It has two separate taps that require either a two or three-hole basin, where the central hole is occupied by a taphole stopper or a pop-up waste lever.

Three-Hole Basin Mixer
This mixer has separate tap valves that feed water through a central spout. These mixers often incorporate a pop-up waste lever.

Monobloc Basin Mixer
This type of brassware occupies a single taphole and is available in both traditional and modern styles. Traditional monobloc mixers incorporate separate hot and cold handwheels, whereas the contemporary alternatives are more often in the style of a single lever that controls both flow and temperature.

One-Piece Bath Filler
Fitting two standard tapholes, this single classic unit features separate controls and a central spout. Adjustments can be made to enable mounting behind the rim, on floor legs or onto the wall.

Three-Piece Bath Filler 
Two tap valves and a spout can be mounted either on the side or end of the bath, or on the wall. This flexible configuration gives the option of mounting the pieces in unconventional positions, providing the projection of the spout is sufficient to go over the rim of the bath. In a contemporary setting, the spout could even be replaced with an overflow filler.

Bath/Shower Mixers
Available in traditional and contemporary styles, these offer a versatile bathroom solution, with a diverter switching water flow from spout to shower head as required. Traditionally, the shower handset rests in a cradle above the taps. Selected ranges can be fitted onto decorative, freestanding floor legs for use with freestanding baths or may be converted to mount on the wall. Contemporary freestanding versions are also available, typically as an all-in-one unit with a single lever mixer.

Four-Piece Bath/Shower Mixer
This type of mixer consists of two tap valves, a spout with a diverter and a hand shower, and requires four separate tapholes. This means that the bath will have to be specially drilled to order.

Five-Piece Bath Shower Mixer
Offering the same features and benefits as the four-piece mixer, this set requires an additional taphole as the diverter is a separate unit.


Whether you opt for pillar or mixer, both types have a number of styles, ranging from Victorian chic right up to more cutting-edge looks. Getting the right style of taps is important to completing your space and will help emphasise the look you want to achieve.

There are traditional designs of both pillar and mixer taps, some of which are perfect if you’re going for a vintage style, whereas others combine old and new styles.

For a contemporary suite that’s going to be real feature in your house, you are spoilt for choice as there are a number of designs on offer, from sleek minimalist looks to more unusual, avant-garde styles to get that off-the-wall look.

If you fancy that ‘home spa’ feel, then you might want to consider the luxury of a waterfall bath tap, which adds a touch of class to your suite for the ultimate indulgence.


Alternative plated finishes are available on some ranges, but the options do vary. Plating is undertaken to the highest standards to ensure the longevity of the finish. Care must be taken when cleaning plated finishes to avoid damage. We recommend you do not use abrasive or chemical cleaners.


To co-ordinate with tap finishes, we offer a range of wastes in chain or pop-up styles for basins, bidets and baths, where the waste is not incorporated or supplied. We also offer decorative metal exposed wastes and waste kits for use with classic roll-top baths.

Practical considerations:

• Make sure you choose brassware in a style that’s in keeping with the overall look you want to achieve. 
• If you choose a wall-mounted tap, it should be positioned so the water flows directly onto the plughole.
• Brassware is available in different materials, so consider how much maintenance will be needed, as this may affect your choice.
• There are many types of taps, so bear this in mind when choosing a basin or bath. For example, if you have an inset basin you are likely to need a wall-mounted basin mixer.
• Check your water pressure to make sure you get the most from your bathroom, as different brassware will work best at different water pressures.

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