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self build house ideas

The Walk In Shower Solution That Helps You Keep your Independence in Style.

March 26, 2017
walk in shower, buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, bathroom aging in placeaging in place,

Where can you find a non- slip, walk in shower that can be fitted quickly, in awkward spaces, without major disruption and LOOKS FANTASTIC? Have a look at the Fiora Elax shower trays that will surprise you as they aren’t actually a tray as we know it!

I recently discovered this Spanish shower room manufacturer – Fiora. I love their modern classic styling and high quality production and their company goal that sums up everything I look for in a bathroom product

“all our work must not lose sight of its main goal, which is that its use must improve the everyday life of people”

and I think that they follow through their belief that their range of bathroom products are designed to offer

“…multiple and diverse solutions.”

That’s exactly what I’m looking for in a walk in shower, good design, style, high quality and a product that is age proof and can be suitable for anyone with reduced mobility.

The Fiora Elax range looks fantastic, the styling is high end and very urban. It’s a shame that the catalogues emphasis glass walls and are focused only on the able bodied, there’s no reference to the installation of a shower seat or that they actually do cater for the needs of aging or arthritic joints.

It’s Not a Walk In Shower Tray – it’s a Mat!

I think that the Fiora Elax walk-in shower system is a solution worth considering for anyone looking for a shower tray that is non-slip, has a ‘give’ underfoot, warm to touch, and soft to stand on.

 

Bathroom, walk in shower, jola piesakowska, jolapiesakowska, walkin shower, walk in shower, bathroom trends, age in place, adapting a bathroom

copyright Fiora Elax

 

The shower tray is made of a flexible material that has a “give” making standing less tiring and it is warm to the touch – ideal for arthritic feet

 

 

 

 

bathroom makeover, walk in shower, aging in place, shower, adapting bathroom

Copyright Fiora Elax

 

 

The surface is rated at group 2 non-slip which means that it is a surface that is non-profiled (sleek) and has an even surface with a gritty texture.

 

Copyright Fiora Elax

 

 

 

and all of this is made possible because this tray arrives as a rolled up mat!

 

 

The shower tray mat comes in a range of tasteful colours which can be selected to contrast or blend in with the bathroom floor. Because this tray can be fitted level with the floor, which helps mobility issues, you can combine texture, warmth and a contrasting colour to help users with impaired vision.

 

The Perfect Solution for an En Suite Walk In Shower.

One of the problems about installing a walk in shower as an en suite without tearing the whole house apart, is that the shower needs to fit in with what space already exists. This is often a very big issue when you are installing a shower for someone who doesn’t want their home disrupted, and who isn’t feeling up to be part of a major building project.

This shower tray can fit practically anywhere. The material can be easily cut to size and shape using a knife. If you are planning to fit a shower seat you still need to look for a suitable wall to attach it to… but Fiora Elax shower tray mat can be cut and trimmed to size and shape that’s how it can fit most places.

bathroom renovation, age in place ensuite shower solution, jola Piesakowska, jolapiesakowska, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, Fiora Elax

Copyright Fiora Elax

Easy Access Shower Replacing a Bath?

It’s worth mentioning at this point that Fiora also make a range of matching and complimentary wall panels that take out some of the headache of ripping out the bath and installing a walk in shower.

Remove the old bath. Position the panels horizontally to cover the area where the untiled walls from behind the bath are exposed. Fit the shower drainage system and and lay the Fiora Elax mat to cover the footprint of the old bath.

Horizontal PANELS replacing a bath with an easy access shower

The Fiora Elax shower tray mat works like any other walk in shower tray, there are a range of stainless steel drainage grates and there are a lot of installation guides on their website. For more looks from Fiora have a look at my Instagram page buildmumahouse.

I would love to hear your comments, tips or your experiences of installing walk in showers, its such a popular thing to do these days and there are loads of people looking to share their experiences, do post them here on the Buildmumahouse blog.

 

 

 

5 Easy Steps to Make Your Garden Accessible and Enjoyable

September 18, 2016
Sunny garden living #london #tooting #balham #palm #interior #inspirationoftheday #Blissful #exterior #exteriordesign #textile #pattern #foliage #leag #green buildmumahouse Jola Piesakowska garden design

“I love my garden but I don’t have time for it.” “I miss my garden but I’m too old and too ill to go out there and do any gardening.”  At Buildmumahouse I’ve found that there are 5 easy steps that you can take to make your garden, patio or balcony more accessible.

It’s really important for anyone old, weakened by illness, depressed or less able …and their carers alike… to take a break, open up their horizons and enjoy all of the benefits of focusing on the wonder of nature. Doing a bit of gardening, helping plants thrive and picking the fruits of one’s patch is so good for all of us.

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring bulbs-buildmumahouse-jola-piesakowska

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring

These are 5 simple steps to make you garden more accessible and enjoyable…

Continue Reading…

How to cure a slow draining shower plughole – fast.

August 27, 2016
buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska,shower, cphart, jee-o, slow draining shower

Shower drain slow? I installed a low-profile  shower for my mum and I didn’t have a clue what to do when it started to drain REALLY slowly. My sister’s on holiday so it fell to me to sort this one out.

This is how I did it. Bought the miracle solution my mum told me to buy and poured it down the side of the plughole to cure the slow draining (and now smelly) shower plughole

….It didn’t work.

Looked it up on YouTube: how do I cure a slow draining shower plughole?  How to unblock a shower trap… firstly, it’s called a shower trap and that’s what it does, trap hair and soap scum.

Next, unscrew the chrome top.

buildmumahouse shower trap plughole

Lift and reveal. What I saw next has been banned so I can only tell you one thing: that trap had done it’s job over the last year, and it wasn’t pretty.

buildmumahouse shower trap

This shower trap has been cleaned as the original photo have been “banned” LOL.

According to YouTube I had to now unscrew the plastic trap from the chrome dome top and clean up the mess. But the bloke in the demo had only a few stray hairs to contend with, plus today was a very hot day.

Buildmumahouse shower trap screw Buster bathroom unblocker

That’s the screw you are meant to undo to release the blockage, when you can get to it.

Don’t Panic! I knew how to clean this up. Or should I say, Buster knows. I had been working on the Buster advertising account since day one and knew that it dissolves hair, skin and scum. All I needed to do was bring on the Buster!

No idea why I hadn’t thought of leaving a bottle for my mum to use before now? 

Quick trip to Sainsbury’s.. A basin, rubber gloves, a bottle of Buster Bathroom Unblocker and I left the tangled shower trap to soak and the hair and soap residue to dissolve. Time to relax in the sunshine.  This afternoon the shower trap was given a good wash with lots of hot water and a brush – all clear – and no need to dismantle the shower trap.

buildmumahouse Jola Piesakowska buster bathroom unblocker chrome shower trap blocked sink slow draining shower

I told you it was easy!  By this evening, I’m happy to say that trap was screwed back in its place and the shower waste is flowing fast and freely. I’ve left a bottle of Buster Bathroom Unblocker with my mum and if she squirts a bit down the plughole whenever the shower is cleaned, then I don’t think we’ll be unscrewing that shower trap until next year.

I’ve heard some crazy ways of cleaning bathroom plugholes in my time – how do you clean yours?

 

The right LED can change your life!

August 14, 2016
jola piesakowska pot luck restaurant cape town led lighting buildmumahouse Build Mum A House

Do you find that you can’t see as well at home in the evening? Do you need to ask for help to change light bulbs? Would you like to make savings on your electricity bills? Would you like create mood lighting in your home?

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 23.11.03

LED bulbs may be the answer! I think that the right LED can change your life. There’s been a lot of change in light bulb technology and loads more choice in the shops since ordinary light bulbs started to be phased out. That’s why it can be tough getting a clear idea of what LED bulb to buy.

Long Life

For me LED bulbs were a no brainer. My mum can’t reach her ceiling light bulbs and the thought of her being stuck in the dark while I raced over to change a light bulb meant that I was delighted to buy bulbs that can have 25,000 even 50,000 hours of life. These new LED bulbs have a long life but always check the pack for life span – look at the amount of hours not days, after all you don’t know how many hours consitutes a day for some manufacturers! It seems that there isn’t an official standard for LED bulbs and reliability does vary between manufacturers

Energy Saving

Elderly people living on a budget could be tempted to skimp on how many lights they have on at home to make savings on the electricity bills. A combination of low light and poor eyesight means that tripping can become a real hazard. The good news is that LED bulbs use 90% less energy than a traditional light bulb (incadescent)… so you can make a saving on your bills as well as lighting your home well. Look out for bulbs that have gills on them – LED lights are cool to the touch and need to be kept cool. That’s exactly what those gills are doing: allowing the heat to dissipate.

Choosing the right bulb power can be confusing – I made up a chart that helps me decide which bulb to buy:

buildmumahouse jola piesakowska led lights lumens

This applies to UK power supplies

Next question… I’ve seen it on the pack. What on earth is Lumens? I found the chart below on a fact sheet produced by the Electrical Contractor’s Association website and it explains that lumens measures the amount of light radiated by the bulb. There is a further measurement and that is lux – but it’s not often a bit of information that is printed on a bulb box.

Build Mum A House Buildmumahouse

Quality of Light

When I was building my mum’s house she only had a few ‘must’ s and having a bright kitchen was vital for her. She was adamant that only a florescent tube would deliver enough light. However the plans had an open plan kitchen / living area. Florescent tubes are are white and bright and light up all the area around it, not so good if you want to create mood areas. LED lights have been fantastic, they give a directional light. I found that I was able to choose not only the angle of the beam but also the colour of light that is given off

  • daylight bulbs for the kitchen area
  • warm light for the sitting and relaxing area.
source: www.eca.co.uk

source: www.eca.co.uk

and finally there is the question of CRI I found this chart on the Philips website and it explains it quite simply that you should look for a CRI of 80-90:

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 22.55.50

Yes, its confusing and you need to shop carefully… but these are expensive bulbs, they should last a long time and they can make a difference to your quality of light in your home.

TOP TIPS to help you choose the right LED bulb

  • Check for lifespan for estimated in hours not years/days.
  • Look for a well built bulb case with gills on it to keep the bulb cool and last longer.
  • Check out the angle of the light bulb – LEDs are directional so pick a wide angle for a good spread and narrow angle for highlighting.
  • Daylight colour bulbs are good for hobby areas or food prep areas. Warm lights are great for a relaxing area and are closer to the look of traditional bulbs.
  • For hobby areas where accurate colour can help the definition of what you are working on, look for a bulb that has a CRI of 80 to 90

I’m looking at mood lighting on my Instagram account Buildmumahouse and would love to hear from you if you who have any experiences or advice to share of setting up mood and task areas in your home

Colour is better than Prozac: Jane Cumberbatch’s Pure Colour book REVIEW

August 6, 2016

Woo Hoo! I re Tweeted @designrandb competition Tweet and won Jane Cumberbatch’s Pure Colour book. Yippee! And just like the R&B Designs blog, this is book is packed with pure inspiration …I haven’t been able to put the book down all week. Thank you Juliet and Amanda!

As soon as I set eyes on this chunky book – the front cover in bright blue, with lime green lettering and the edges of the book dipped in shocking pink – I began to get excited about colour possibilities.

Jola Piesakowska Pure Colour buildmumahouse jane cumberbatch book

 

Jola Piesakowska Pure Colour buildmumahouse jane cumberbatch 003Jola Piesakowska Pure Colour buildmumahouse jane cumberbatch 007     Jane Cumberbatch, is a blogger, a designer, author and an interiors expert who has been called the Queen of Simple…but this book is a wonderful cacophony of photos, notes, ideas, information, tips and memories plus annotated swatches of paint, fabrics, wallpapers and textures. Just up my street.

 

“Pure Colour is my visual and personal notebook of ideas and inspiration showing you how to furnish your life with brilliant hues. The garden the sea and landscape are my colour charts, my paintboxes of creativity. From the green beans of the vegetable patch to the eau de Nil wash of a calm evening tide, I store these images in my head like snapshots of everyday ideas to furnish my home with freshness and simplicity. The first pink rosebud on a May morning is as perfect a shade for one of my wallpaper borders as it is a cue for my lipstick colour or the fabric for a long swirly summer skirt.” Jane

 

Interior decoration, cooking , recipes, styling, travel notes: this is the perfect English summer book. On miserable, wet days this week, I’ve snuggled down with a cup of tea and read fabulous reminiscences about sunny Mediterranean markets, and I’ve revelled in Jane’s evocative photos.

buildmumahouse jola piesakowska 008

 

As is usual in the English summer, today the weather has changed again and we woke up to a heatwave.  This sunny Saturday afternoon I’ve been stretched out on my sunlounger in the shade and  I have joined Jane on a journey to find cooling colour inspiration in food, places and things.

Clouds, cool patios, crisp white sheets:

Jola Piesakowska Pure Colour buildmumahouse jane cumberbatchChestnut puree recipes

The Saturday market in Olhao Portugal,

Scandi style

Variations of white

…and how to use limewash

 

as I turn page after page I am shown how to translate this and bring the Pure Colour look and feel into my home. It’s useful to see scraps of fabric or wallpaper samples that Jane has gathered and added comments and ideas and it does help anyone starting out to see how a professional builds up a mood board and a design notebook. For people like me who are inexperienced in using colours in my home, there are paint references so you know what to buy to get the look. I found the chapter on listing supplies and suppliers very useful. Finally, to make it all easier to get an overview of the looks featured, in the last section of the book Jane has used small images of the rooms that were featured and added notes on what paint was used and what paint finish.

Reading through the book again before reviewing it for this blog post, I was wondering what the shortcomings are and I think the only thing that’s missing for me are the aubergine and copper colours that I love – but I’ve learnt so much about Jane’s style and have been introduced to a design language that maximises the impact of pure colour and I really have learnt something new.

Yes, I’ve read the book and have decided that I agree with Jane Cumberbatch’s view that yellow is

“Brighter than Prozac”

As from today, all this week I am going to fill my Twitter @buildmumahouse1 and Instagram @buildmumahouse feeds with my own pure colour, and if you follow me I know that it’s going to cheer us all up! See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

Seeing clearly now: 5 steps to a brighter, lighter home with Catherine Woram

July 31, 2016
jola piesakowska buildmumahouse hallway balham home

What on earth is going on ? I always had pin sharp vision. As a cheeky child I’d giggle as I was the first one to tell my mum what number bus was coming down from Gipsy Corner. Well, that’s not me any more. It all started when my arms weren’t long enough to read the menu in restaurants and then it progressed to squinting at train destination boards.

A rather blunt optician told me a few years ago: of course you need glasses you’re over 40.

Well, I’m over 50 and now I need to find my glasses when I’m hunting for things around the house …and it’s worse in twilight.

I’ve read that as we age, muscles that control our pupil size and reaction to light lose some strength. This causes the pupil to become smaller and less responsive to changes in ambient lighting.

Because these changes continue, people in their 60s need three times more ambient light for comfortable reading than those in their 20s

Ok, so what can we do to make our homes brighter and lighter so that we make things easier for our eyesight. without compromising on style?

I spoke to Catherine Woram about this, it’s in one of her houses that I found the spa bathrooms that were perfect for any age. I love the way Catherine’s locations have a magical sparkling atmosphere, and seem to be about gently reflected light, ambient light and bouncing light.

I asked Catherine for tips on how we can bring light into our homes, beautifully – as we age our eye sight weakens ( and for some people its not age related) and bringing as much light into your home as possible brings clarity into your life while also lifting your spirits.

STEP 1: WHITE

My style has always been about white – for some reason I am obsessed with it and have painted things white for as long as I can remember!

jola piesakowska white bedroom hopton road

“Even when we lived in Australia for a year and furnished our flat from local junk shops I still painted everything white. My husband thought I had gone a step too far once when I saw the trees in Greece with white painted trunks and decided to do the same in our tiny London garden at the time!

I now run three location houses which take up a lot of time. Needless to say they are predominantly white and a mix of my favourite styles – decorative French and Moroccan styles. We have just found a house in Spain that we plan to transform with an awful lot of white paint plus Moroccan furniture in white/silver and gold”

STEP 2: ADD GREY

“White of course in its many shades as well as soft greys – but you have to be very careful with grey as it needs to have a slight warmth to it otherwise it can look like undercoat.

I love carvedjola piesakowska buildmumahouse grey white carved walls furniture of any kind – from pretty French pieces to heavier Moroccan designs – providing I paint them white!”

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse grey and white shades

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 3: OPEN UP TO NATURAL LIGHT

When you are in any of Catherine’s houses you realise that natural light is part of her vision.

“Light is always important and we have always thought carefully about light whether it is putting a roof light in the top landing in a small Victorian terraced house or a large kitchen extension.”

Many of the doors have glass panels, are double doors and very tall how does that open a house up to light? By the way, your double doors and wide doors are great for future proofing a home – entertaining friends and family, children running around, guests and maybe oneself with walking frames or wheelchairs.jola piesakowska buildmumahouse living room doors

“We have repeated the tall glazed French doors in three houses now – I had always wanted internal glazed doors similar to the ones you see in many old Parisian apartments.

We copied the design from a set of garden doors in a Victorian terrace and had a friend from the North East of England make them up in a taller design and opened up the walls to fit them. We repeated the design in the dressing room and bedrooms but used mirror rather than glass in these doors. They are, as you say, great for the home and also wheel-chair friendly as they can both be opened up.”

 

 

Skylight on the landing – HOW DID YOU DO THAT!!!! – it’s beautiful.

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse hopton loft light“The sky light was already there but featured an old Victorian window that we felt wasn’t very safe. I have kept the old window for another project and we replaced it with toughened glass below a large Velux window to light up the hall.

Our next project in the same vein is to open the ceiling at our Ross Road house and put a ready-made conservatory on the top and install a metal spiral staircase to provide access to the roof top as well as lots of light to the landing.”

 

 

 

STEP 4:  KITCHEN BRIGHT, CLEAN LINES

 The kitchen at Hopton Road is clean bright, white worktops but so classy and elegant – how do you get light of a modern kitchen and cross pollinate it with a classic look?

“We reused some of the old kitchen at Hopton and had new MDF door fronts made and mixed them with IKEA cabinets where we were missing cabinets. The long shelves avoid that cluttered look that many kitchens have with rows of wall cabinets. We used IKEA wall brackets for the shelves and painted everything in the same shade of white. The worktop is fake marble – real marble stains badly although more beautiful.”

jola_piesakowska_buildmumahouse_london_large

Catherine’s very modern kitchen in Balham opens up the house to unfiltered light

 

STEP 5: WHITE MATT SURFACES FOR A TRANQUIL,  CALM LIGHT

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse shower

“Glass shower enclosures with white tiles blend with the room while walls in a bathroom block light. I avoid any fitted pieces and tend to use freestanding baths/ antique tables set with basins and ornate silver taps sourced in Marrakesh. Where wall tiles are necessary (as I don’t like them) we use large matt white tiles so that they blend with the walls as much as possible.

Having said that I do love some of the new patterned tiles around and plan to use them…at some stage!”

 

If you would like to see more details of how Catherine has opened her houses up to the light, and to see more of the details that make her style so magical, follow me on Instagram @buildmumahouse or pop over to the Pinterest board on @buildmumahouse.

For more information and to read more about how we can all help ourselves and our families to lower the risks of vision loss follow this link to Bold Blind Beauty for some simple but effective guidelines.