Tonawanda News

Features

October 21, 2013

DESIGNS BY DANA: Updating bathroom doesn't have to be expensive

Tonawanda News — Question: You always have great ideas; do you have any on some inexpensive ways to spruce up a small bathroom?/Our main bath is so outdated but we can’t afford a total rip-out; can you help?

Answer: We often hear that kitchens and bathrooms are the most costly rooms in a home to update and, when it comes to a total remodel, that can be true. These areas include more permanent fixtures than other rooms do — appliances, tubs, counter tops, cabinetry, etc.

Updating a bathroom doesn’t necessarily mean you have to tear everything out and start over; there are plenty of ways to achieve a fresh, new look and stay within a friendly budget.

I’ve said it before and I can never say it enough, anything can be painted when it’s prepared properly. Simply adding a new color to the walls can create an entirely different look and mood. I like to use a semi-gloss finish in a bathroom because it repels moisture and cleans up easily.

Outdated cabinets? Paint these too. Choose a color that fits your style, change the hardware and see the difference.

As a rule, vanity tops are fairly small in size; scout local stone retailers for scrap pieces of granite, marble, etc. You can usually purchase them at a huge discount.

Rather than buying a new, pricey bathtub, consider having your existing tub re-glazed. This process is very affordable and a professional can have it completed in less than a day. You can select almost any color and when it’s done, you’d swear it was brand new.

Is the tile surrounding your tub looking dirty and you can’t seem to get it clean? Nine times out of 10 your tile is fine, it’s the grout that’s the problem. Grout is a porous material that must be sealed often. Unsealed, it will grow mildew and can even dissolve completely from water hitting it. Contact a tile installer to remove and replace the existing grout; your surface will look like new at a very minimal cost.

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Features
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    This past week, our lovely neighbors went to the beach for their annual weeklong vacation.

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    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

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    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

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