Is Your Business Franchise-Able_

Is Your Business Franchise-Able?

A lot of business advice is focused on the franchisee. It doesn’t seem to have a lot of downsides. You have a business template, there’s already a brand position, and you get support from your franchisor. But what happens on the other side of the equation? How do you know when (or whether) your business is ready to become a franchise? It will usually start as a passing comment by friends and relatives, and the more you hear it, the more viable it will seem. It can certainly be lucrative, and it’s a good retirement plan.

 

But franchising your business isn’t the holiday it appears to be. Yes, you can put your feet up and let others do the work … eventually. It’s very hands on in the beginning though. Remember how hard you’ve worked to build your business? You have to put that much effort into the first few stores. And even after that, you’ll have to oversee every new branch, keeping a keen eye on it. And that’s the first question you should ask yourself … are you capable of taking a back seat in the ‘raising’ of your ‘baby’?

 

Is Your Business Template Franchise-Able_

 

Delegation Overload

Franchising your business is a dual risk. You have to let someone else take the reins, knowing that if you mess it up, it’s on you. After all, it’s your name on the door, not theirs. So when you open a franchise in a new town, customers won’t say the manager is bad. They’ll say the brand has lost it. They’re probably going to the store because of their (pleasant) experience at your original premises, so if they don’t get the same standards, their negative opinion will extend to your own original branch.

 

You have to trust your franchisees to do things exactly as you would. And you have to maintain this quality by teaching them yourself. Passing on your systems and skills is sometimes more laborious than doing it yourself. Just ask any parent that tried to get their kids (or spouse) to do chores and ended up (re) doing it themselves. As a franchisor, you have to hold their hands while keeping a safe enough to distance, because if you smother them, they’ll give up. After all, they signed up as an owner, not a subordinate.

 

Cost Assessment

Which leads to the second question – can you afford it? One of the benefits of franchising is the financial support you get from your ‘home brand’. You buy a license, and you share profits with your franchisor, but they frequently offer loans and/or financial backing. As a franchisor, do you have the funds for that? You have to pay a franchise lawyer, and you probably have to pay start-up costs for the new branch.

 

This includes merchandise, staff training, transport of products, and possibly rent, because some franchises require the lease to be in the franchisor’s name. Your franchisee will pay your ‘royalties’ but only after their branch picks up. Before then you’ll largely foot the bill. And if their branch fails, all your money and effort goes down the drain, as well as your brand name in that location. It can be hard to recover from that, both financially and business-wise.

 

Customers who had a bad time at your franchise may shun your original business too. In this age of social media, that can be bad. Nobody ever tweets ‘*Insert Name* Hotel in Toowoomba Sucks.’ Instead they make a video with your brand logo featuring prominently, it goes viral, and suddenly you’re being picketed and boycotted around the world. Are your pockets and your patience deep enough to take it gracefully, and will you recover?

 

Clones and Replicas

Are you clear about why and how your business succeeded in the first place, and can you do it again? Your franchisee is entirely dependent on your ability to extend your success to them. And you have to do it … without yourself. In the sense that everything you personally did to push your business forward is absent. Your legacy may be present in the new branch, but you won’t. So if you succeeded because your 537 cousins blackmailed all their friends into visiting your store, your franchisee is out of luck.

 

Before you on-board new ownership, you need to develop a very clear system. It has to be something they can replicate, with or without your active participation. After all, as much as you can guide them, you can’t quit your life for six months to go launch their business. Eventually, after ten or fifteen stores, there’ll probably be a stencil they can trace, but for your first few branches, can you afford teach by doing? Start by developing that tutorial. If you can do that effectively, it could be time to call a franchise lawyer.

 

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My Fairytale Wedding

My Fairytale Wedding

I had heard countless stories from people telling me how hard it was to find their perfect wedding dress. Friends and friends of friends reaching out to me on social media, from out of the blue, empathising and suggesting possible dresses to try and designers to look at it. It was weird and I was really stressed about it although the constant messaging from people was making me question my own judgment. Should I stress about it?

 

I kept coasting along, putting off buying a wedding dress until the last minute because that’s my style and that’s the way I roll.

 

So on my lunch break at work, I walked past the bridal shop and 10 minutes later I had purchased a beautiful Maggie Sottero dress. It was absolutely stunning and there was no doubt in my mind that this was the dress for me, I was going to look absolutely stunning. All eyes on me on my special. Reow

 

Like many people these days I chose my career before marriage and I finally got to a point in my career I was happy with and ready to share the rest of my life with that special someone. So I’m at that point, the question was asked and I said yes and the plans were underway for the big day. I was always the person who said that I didn’t want my wedding to be a big dramatic affair, just something low key with friends and family about, kind of like a party to celebrate our future life together.

 

Me being my non-chalante self-left all the planning up to my husband’s sister. I gave her the basic rundown of what I wanted and she took some notes and was on her way. I would have paid someone to do it or got someone outside the family but she seemed to relish in the idea of planning a wedding. I mean she was more excited than I was and started rattling off about flowers and seating arrangements. I just nodded and smiled and was like yeah yeah sounds good.

 

I tried to stay away from the planning as much as possible. I was constantly bombarded with messages and questions from my husband sister Kelly. Asking me if the white roses are ok for the flowers or if Aunty Maureen can sit beside Uncle Ben or would that be weird because they split up.

 

Eventually, I got sick of the constant barrage and snapped. I said “Kelly, I don’t need to know any of this. You wanted to plan the wedding. So plan the wedding. If you can’t handle the decision-making process Ill hire someone to do it”. Kelly sheepishly said that she had it under control and wouldn’t bother me with any other questions.

 

So by the time the day actually came I knew about the time and the venue. My husband Paul knew more about the arrangements than I did. Whenever it was mentioned he always had a devilish grin on his face. My husband is the quiet type but he has been known to be a bit cheeky and weird. So I suspected there could be a few surprises.

 

The day came and the girls and I were getting ready in the hotel room. I put my beautiful Maggie Sottero dress and I instantly transformed into a princess. I was swanning around the room with grace and poise and oh my champagne glass in hand the whole time.

 

Time was ticking by and then the hairstylist finally rocked. She was half an hour late but assured us she would have us looking beautiful well before the start of the ceremony. I sat in the chair and without any instruction, the hairstylist starts doing her thing. She was working some serious magic. Then I noticed that she was doing these two weird bob things on each side of my head.

 

Hang on a minute. I was starting to look like Princess Leia from Star Wars. Not that I was a fan or anything. Paul was the Star Wars nerd. Then my mind started ticking over. Would he actually turn my wedding into some Star Wars themed ceremony? I started frantically asking Kelly questions but she did her best to avoid answers. She said that she planned the wedding to my specifications. A low key affair with a party atmosphere.

 

I hadn’t seen Paul in a day because he and his wedding party were staying at a separate hotel and doing some preparations of their own.

 

Anyway fast forward to the ceremony on the beach. As my father walked me down the aisle along the red carpet, all eyes were me and I was looking stunning if I do say so myself. Then Paul and the boys came into my line of sight. They weren’t wearing your traditional suit and tie. He was dressed up as in some weird brown suit. Then it hit me. He was dressed up as Han bloody Solo and his groomsmen we Luke Skywalker and Chewy.

 

The only thing I could do was start laughing, thinking “you idiot’. Here I was looking like a princess from the royal family and he was in his galaxy glad rags. After we said our vows the celebrant even said: “May the force be with you”. As we walked off down the aisle and off to the wedding car, there must have been at least fifteen of them. Kids dressed as Ewoks following us showering us with rose petals.

 

Well, folks, I did learn a lesson from my wedding. Well, maybe two. Take the time and get involved in the planning or your weird husband will pull some trickery. Number Two is that your wedding dress should not only look good it should feel good on the body and that day I felt like 2 million bucks and nothing could rock my confidence, not even a bunch of Ewoks showering me with rose petals.

Read More:

Dress For A Day? No Way!

My Favourite Winter Wedding Dress Options

Your Hardwood Flooring Options

Your Hardwood Flooring Options

Hardwood floors are one of the most beautiful additions you can make to your home. They are not only ooze class and style, but also serve the dual purpose of being functional. This makes them an ideal choice when you are building or undertaking any sort of home improvement project on your house. They dramatically improve your house, improving the overall appearance and raising the value of your home so it becomes easier to sell. They are also friendly for people with dust mite allergies, since unlike carpeting, dust mites cannot find a home or nest on wood. They really are an interior decorator’s dream addition.

 

These floors are a breeze to maintain. The cleaning process only requires that you have a soft brush, a mop and occasionally polish. Day to day cleaning is as easy as sweeping away the dust and debris, and you are only required to mop once a week. The mopping should be done along the grain to maintain the integrity of the wood. Polishing is done once in a while, also running along the grain. The main reason for this is that the polish acts as protective layer to prevent damage to the flooring from various things such as furniture scuffs and accidental spills. If you are considering upgrading your flooring to hardwood, here are the options that are currently popular around Australia;

 

Your Hardwood Timber Flooring Options

 

Site Finished Floors

The proper definition of site finished hardwood is unfinished. It is brought from the lumber yard in its raw wood form, and then installed. Once it has been put into place, it is then sanded, a process which takes quite a bit of time to finish depending on the square meters of floor. The next step is texturing, which is done one of three ways; distressing, hand scrapping, or wire-brushing. The texturing process is laborious and can take more than a few days since every board is done by hand. After this, the desired colouring is added to the wood through a process called staining. An appropriate amount of time should be allowed to ensure the wood absorbs the staining agent and no moisture is trapped beneath the poly-finish.

 

This type of flooring is desired by most home owners because it gives them some form of autonomy into what the floors of their home should look like. It also scratches their DIY itch and makes them feel like a part of the process.

 

Pre-Finished Hardwood

With prefinished hardwood floors, all the processes of getting the flooring material ready for installation are done at the factory. This means that the only process that will be carried out at the house will be the installation. This type of wood is desired for two main reasons, with the first of which being that it is hassle free. Since you do not have to sand, texture, or stain the wood, time is saved. A typical installation takes about less than three days depending on the area being worked on. The other major benefit to pre-finished floors is that they last longer when compared to the site finished kind. They are between 7 and 10 times hardier since when it is finished in the factory about 6 or 7 coats of poly-finish which is then oven baked with Aluminium oxide.

 

Engineered Hardwood

This is a type of hardwood flooring made from several boards of both plywood and hardwood that are bonded together. Even though it is made using different layers, each one is laid facing a different direction in order to prevent the engineered flooring from warping and sagging when installed in humid or moist environments. They leave the highest quality of wood at the top to ensure that it has the appearance of solid hardwood.  This type pf flooring is gaining popularity as an alternative to solid wood thanks to its two redeeming qualities. The main reason ties in to the construction process, which makes this type of flooring in most levels of the home including the basement once a protective moisture barrier is installed. The other reason is that this type of flooring, like all the other hardwood floors, is easy to maintain.

 

Custom Made

This is a relatively new concept in hardwood flooring in Australia, when compared to the better known options. What makes this an alternative is that you imagination comes into play when creating a custom wood floor. All you have to do is come up with an idea and if it is workable, then it can be actualized. This is the only type of flooring that lets you play around with what you can do, including specific installations like a basket weaving design or using eco-friendly material. This endeavour is going to cost you a pretty penny to set up, but the results will have both you and your guests impressed for ages.

Read More:

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Why Engineered Timber Could Be For You

Dress For A Day_ No Way!

Dress For A Day? No Way!

One of the biggest complaints any groom makes is the price of the wedding dress. Few men understand how anyone can spend so much on a one-time dress. Until they have daughters of course, then they realise they’d gladly spend thousands to make their little princess smile on her big day – even if it involves dressing their innocent angel as a sexy white vixen.

 

Some brides have a more practical approach to things. Instead of traditional ball gowns and extravagant trains, they pick something simpler that they can get more use out of. It could be a cocktail dress or a flirty party frock. Others prefer to rent a dress, or to redesign the dress after their nuptials, turning it into an outfit they can get more wear out of.

 

Wedding Dress For A Day_ No Way!

 

Picture Perfect

In the past, some brides chose to keep their dresses as a shrine, hoping their daughters, sisters, or granddaughters would wear it on when they eventually wedded. However, fashion changes swiftly, and unless you’re blessed with retro-loving offspring, they’re unlikely to want your dress. They may redesign it to their tastes, but that kind of beats the purpose. Also, rats and moths can get into wedding dress storage. Just saying.

 

So … start the discussion by assuming your dress is solely yours, and that you won’t get another chance to wear it – even if it’s not a rental. Plus, you’re probably looking prettier and/or hotter than you ever have, so you want to capture that moment and memorialise your big day or posterity. That means photographing your show-stopping dress. A lot.

 

Back Shots

Many photographers will shoot the dress hanging on a hook, before she puts it on. Unless you give specific orders, that’s as much attention as your dress will get. The rest of the day, your camera’s focus will be on your hands and face, with any accent on your dress being incidental. Do your research and make a list of essential shots you’d like.

 

For example, if you come from a culture that appreciates derrière, give the camera some healthy back shots. If your dress has a deep back, get a sexy shot of your dress being zipped up. Generally, a tasteful shot of your mum or sister helping you into the dress offers a wealth of emotion. If it shows off the small off your back and nape of your neck, even better – these sensual body parts are underrated.

 

All About The Base

Similarly, if your dress was selected to highlight you best feature with cinched ruching, a hip-hugging silhouette, or the mermaid tail on your Rebecca Ingram Zelda, then show it off with a flirty photo of you leaning out of the window. Get the lighting right to accent your bottom. You can also have separate shots from the waist down (and from the shoulders up) to emphasis a dramatic skirt or intricate neckline.

 

When you were buying your dress, you were wowed by details that your guests might never notice. Your list should include these tiny touches. Get the photographer to capture pretty buttons, jewelled zippers, embellished hems, embroidered sleeves, and illusion lace. You don’t have to figure out the ‘how’. Just express your desires and leave it to the experts.

 

Find The Right Light

It may help to have a rehearsal with the camera and the dress though, just to be sure. The beauty of modern photography is the camera person can snap the shot and show you sample immediately, to be sure they got what you wanted.

 

The rehearsal is all about lighting and composition, so it could be done with a smartphone and pocket lights. No need to hire all that expensive equipment until the big day. Plus, it gives you a chance to create a rapport and build up some photo chemistry with your crew.

 

Tops And Toes

Shoes are a big feature as well, but nobody ever gets to see them because most wedding dresses trail the floor. Ask your photographer to get a few ‘peep shots’ as you lift your dress to show off your magical footwear. Similarly, the camera should grab the moment when your groom lifts your veil. That one has no do-over, so be sure they get it right. After all, no one really sees that angle except the wedding officiator, and you might want to see your own expression in that precious moment.

 

A matching shot that is almost never captured is the lowering of the veil, when your mum or dad helps you put it on before the ceremony. These two moments can be even more powerful than the rings or the first dance, so give them the spotlight they deserve – and keep your make-up waterproof. Finally, don’t forget the ‘pensive bride shot’ that hints at giddy brides … or cold feet … but really just shows off your dress.

 

You could be standing alone in the church, or at the start of the aisle, brushing your hands over seats. Or you could be seated, skirt unfurled around you, shoes on display, chin in your hand, showing innocence and muted excitement, on the boundary of girlhood and womanhood. For best results, wear a flirty smile and don’t face the camera.

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My Favourite Winter Wedding Dress Options

Keeping It Traditional

My Favourite Winter Wedding Dress Options

My Favourite Winter Wedding Dress Options

They say that having a wedding in winter is really brave. Um, people, hello? Do you even know the definition of brave? Brave is facing the crowds out shopping on Boxing Day. Brave is heading out into the water when that shark alarm is going off (or wait, maybe that’s just plain stupid).

 

Anyway, having a wedding in winter is hardly brave. Sure, it might be cold out (baby), it might be raining. But there are easily built in contingency plans that can ensure a winter wedding runs smoothly. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a Risk Analyst in my day job. A Risk Analyst planning her winter wedding next year.

 

My Favourite Winter Bridal Wedding Dress Options

 

I’m one of those people who takes care in planning everything out to the last inch. No, I’m not a control freak bridezilla, I take on other people’s opinions and suggestions. However, most of the time my friends and family leave planning big events like international holidays and Christmas u to me simply because I love planning and I always put things off with panache. I’m that chick who has the Christmas pudding for mum and grandma, chocolate pudding for the kids, salted caramel flan for the foodies, a low-cal dessert treat for the dieters… You get the picture. I’m great on knowing everything that’s needed and going hard on the details.

 

That’s why I thought I’d share with you what I’ve been researching out winter wedding dress options over the last few months. Obviously, I haven’t actually nailed down my choice yet, but I do have a few that are definite contenders so far. So, if you too are planning a winter wedding, or trying to decide whether a winter wedding is going to work for you (trust me, it can with the right planning!) then check out these babies.

 

Boat Neck, Long Sleeve Lace Slit to The Waist at The Back, With Flowing Skirt in Cream

Obviously, if it’s winter it’s going to be chillier than a summer wedding. What this means for your dress is that you can do the long sleeve thing. I really love long sleeve dresses as I think they can be particularly elegant – while not being too stuffy, prude, or matronly. Long sleeves and higher necklines can still look particularly sexy.

 

That’s why I love this look – the boat neck with long sleeves. As a woman with small boobs this also works particularly well for me. I don’t have much to show in the chest area so a neckline like this really suits me. If you have larger breasts, i.e. C cup plus, then you might like to try a modification on the neckline here, perhaps a scoop or V neck, otherwise the boat neck can tend to make you look a little bit too top heavy.

 

The fact that a dress like this is slit to the waist in the back makes it still super sexy. Go for a larger lace pattern with some illusion netting between some of it in a cream colour to brighten up a drab winter’s day.

 

The Dress With The Optional Top To It

How about a convertible wedding dress? If you go for a sleeveless lace number like the Provonias Onia, then you can purchase an optional lace over top with long sleeves. This is the perfect winter dress if you aren’t sure what the weather will be like, or if you live in Melbourne where it could very well be four season in one day!

 

When you are wearing the long sleeved lace over top, it looks like it is a part of the dress, however when you take it off it looks like your look is complete! I always did love me a convertible. Extra points for this one for being so darn versatile.

 

Winter Wonderland – Very Structured, Thicker Fabric

All those dresses that you couldn’t wear in summer, those ones that could make you sweat too much, you have the option of going for in winter! This means that you can get your mits on a highly structured dress with thicker material, which also has the bonus of really pulling you in and accentuating your body.

 

Some of my all-time favourite winter bridal wedding dresses are from the Ashi Studio SS 2015 Couture line. They have some simply amazing structured wedding dresses that are truly winter wonderland. Now, I could never really afford one of these dresses myself but I might be able to find myself a talented tailor who could whip up something similar – especially since I have a year lead out time!

 

So remember, in winter, you have access to a lot more fabric choices than you would in summer and let it work to your benefit. Highly structured tailored dresses are a great alternative to having to lose 10kgs, too!

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Keeping It Traditional

How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

Keeping It Traditional

Keeping It Traditional

Not every bride wants to go the modern or out of the box route. A lot of brides still choose to go the traditional way by having their wedding in the church their parents got married in, not seeing the groom at all before the big day, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue also almost always makes the traditional list. And when these brides go dress shopping they want their dresses to also look the part so they can have a complete and holistic traditional experience.

 

Thank goodness there are still incredible designers out there who design dresses for exactly this type of wedding. They keep it simple and beautiful without creating gowns that are too over the top and modern for these old school brides.

 

Keeping It Traditional Wedding

 

Here are some incredible traditional dresses to consider:

Maggie Sottero’s Luanne

A gorgeous strapless sweetheart neckline that fits the body like a glove then flares when it hits your knees. This stunning dress is as traditional as they come, with beautiful lace motifs and tulle.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Jayleen

This dress can be considered modern traditional with a bodice that is brought to life with beaded lace motifs right up to the bateau neckline and straps. A fit-and-flare-skirt made of tulle and lace godets decorating the sides of the dress. And to finish it off a gorgeous Aldora crepe belt.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Dana

This is a real princess dress that is delicately decorated with beaded motifs on the bodice, the skirt billows down into a beautiful ball gown effect. Pockets is a cheeky extra and we know how much women love pockets on dresses. Straps are beaded and the neckline plunges down creating the all-time princess favourite sweetheart neckline.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Ariella Marie

This gown is vintage-inspired and is gorgeous with its extra cover. Embroidered lace motifs accentuate the bodice. The dress drops down into a beautiful tulle-fit-and-flare skirt with beaded trim.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Petra

This is a traditional dress with a twist if you’re looking for that extra glad factor. The gown is is adorned with vintage style beading, pearls, and also Swarovski crystals. Cap-sleeves create a little coverage and then the keyhole back creates a gorgeous illusion that is accented with even more beading.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Morocco

A traditional dress that is bang-on-trend, this A-line gown has a stunning beaded lace bodice and spaghetti straps. The sweetheart neckline drops down beautifully accentuating this gorgeous gown.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Adalee

This form-fitting dress screams glamour, it follows your shape accentuating your curves, while the bodice is embellished with corded lace and drops down into a beautiful and magnificent full tulle skirt.

 

Maggie Sottero’s Lansing

Lace hugs the bodice of this dress that is fit-and-flare. It falls into a gorgeous and dramatic tulle skirt that is edged in beautiful delicate lace. The gown is finished with a sweetheart neckline and a corset.

 

As you can see all the gowns have been designed by Maggie Sottero, and rightfully so because they really can do traditional that makes jaws drop everywhere. Some of these gowns have a bit of a modern feel to them but they still stay true to the dresses that made were back in the day. We cannot look into the future by keeping one foot in the past, but we can give it a nice nod and smile as we make our way into an incredible tomorrow.

 

When you decide on your traditional wedding dress I hope you get everything out of it. I know it will make your mum and grandmas so very, very proud. And remember to look back but not for too long, because everything you want is lying right on the horizon.

 

Read More:

How to Choose Your Wedding Colors

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How To Use Marble Tiles On Your Walls

How To Use Marble Tiles On Your Walls

For centuries, marble has been used in building and construction to add that element of elegance and a certain tastefulness. It is used for walls, floors and even accenting foyers and patios. This mainly because no two marble tiles are alike, and the patterns, texture, and colour variation is very appealing for adding regal stylishness to a house.

 

How To Use Marble Matters Tiles On Your Walls

 

When used on walls, marble tiles have a spectacular effect, and in certain instances completely transforming the house. The limits to what you can do with this amazing stone in your house are as far as your imagination goes. When executed right, marble on your walls is truly incomparable to any other stone.  If you are considering working with marble in the walls, here are some of the ways you can use marble to completely change how it looks:

Simply on a wall

This works best in open spaces such living rooms and house entrances. It can be used to convey different things, depending on the colour of the tiles, its finishes and vein definition. When looking to add an illusion of space for instance, it is best to work with light coloured tiles from the Carrara and the Calacatta marble. These add a particular airiness with their gleaming white facades and unique grey veining. Fir best results, the tiles should be large or even in slabs, with minimal grouting distance. This gives a sense of continuity in the tiles which is essential. The reflectiveness of the tiles when hit by light is what gives off this desired effect.

Tiles with darker hues are used to give a room an element of calmness. This is why they are ideal for bedroom walls. Tiles with darker shades of brown for instance give a welcoming feel and in the bedroom, reflect off the warm lights typically used there to create an atmosphere that lulls you to sleep instantly. In the kitchen, tiles with hues of green and emerald are popular. These give off a feeling of sophistication, transforming your kitchen into a magical place.

As a splashback

Marble splashbacks are all the rage nowadays. The beauty of having a marble splashback is that it is easy to clean and does not require a lot to maintain. It is also resistant to staining in case of any spills, whether in the kitchen or the bathroom. It also lets you play around with the great variety in design, with the option of either matching the existing colour designs, or playing with contrasts. Against a white backdrop for instance, using a strongly coloured marble tile will have your kitchen looking chic. The splashback’s effect looks like something which should be on a magazine cover.

In the bathroom

Marble tiles have different applications on a bathroom, such as being used as a splashback on the sink, and most importantly on the bathroom wall. They are used as tiling, since marble is not known for its porosity. This makes it perfect for the bathroom, which at all times will be heavy with moisture and condensation. Marble is also a very easy material to clean, a quality that is very desirable since bathrooms require regular cleaning.

It can also be used to bring about a splash of colour in a room that is regarded as a utility room and in most cases, not considered when thinking about beauty. Depending on your end game, you can either use lighter shades of marble or the darker ones. Lighter shades of marble are used to add a layer of sophistication to the bathroom, while darker shades bring about an element of relaxation.

As decoration

Over the years, interior designers have come up with various ways of using marble as decoration. Among the most popular uses are feature walls and accents. With feature walls, marble is used as a decorative centre piece, and it pops out best in a room where the rest of the walls are made of a different material. The best contract is when it is used in a room with slate, as it adds flair to the room without being garish.

Marble is also used to accent different parts of the house. It has been used to create intricate patterns around window sills and murals in a house, especially one with a rougher finishing. It has also been used as a border to accent a fireplace, as it reflects the dancing flames to create a hypnotic effect.

 

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Marble Adds A Lot Of Value To Your Home

Floorboards VS Tiles in Your Living Areas

Why Choose Oak_

Why Choose Oak?

While for many players in the construction and design industry in Australia the saying “wood is wood” holds true, that mantra just doesn’t float everyone’s boat. In my experience, many clients are short changed when it comes to surfacing their spaces with wood products. The use of cheap substitutes in place of high quality hardwood has saturated the market resulting in great dissatisfaction amongst both the clients, and providers who are trying to get their customers value for their money. It is very difficult to go wrong with oaken products. Inspired by feedback from the market, some providers opted to engineer our own oak boards that are guaranteed to transform any space into an elegant, luxe suite.

But why choose oak for wood flooring over other types of timber, engineered or otherwise? Well, there are many benefits of using oak, but I will only touch on a few.

First, there is the guarantee of durability and strength that comes along with use of such sturdy materials. Unlike most engineered timber in the region that makes use of layers of ply, some manufacturers go out of our way to source only real European oak to build their products. This goes a long way in ensuring that the end product is durable and strong unlike cheap quality generic timber. Some also have also included a 6mm wear layer in their products that allows for you to re-sand the boards as many times as you would traditional solid timber boards.

Oak also has the benefit of bestowing an air elegance to whatever space you apply it to, be it an office or your home. With its bespoke character and patina, it’s difficult not to love the material, no matter where it is applied. Whether on the floor, or on the walls, oak is sure to spruce up your space. And unlike most materials, oak, just like wine, gets better with age.

One cannot disregard the versatility of oak products. Boards can be used on all sorts of surfaces, be it on the floor, walls, or even the ceiling of your home or premises. They can be applied to concrete, wood, acoustically treated floors, as well as heated concrete flooring. This makes it one of the most adaptable materials in the industry and thus a great choice when it comes to interiors.

Oak products are also very low maintenance. They are naturally resistant to the adverse elements such as extreme temperatures, fires, and rain. In fact, you are probably safer in an oaken structure than a concrete structure during a fire as it is a very poor conductor. Oak is also resistant to rot, as well as damage caused by insect infestation. With a few good care practices, you can greatly reduce the amount time and energy spent on maintaining an oaken surface. Simple tasks such as frequently sweeping and dusting the surface and making use of a damp mop or purpose-specific oak cleaning formulations can go a long way in ensuring that the oak is looking as good as new for a very long time.

 

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Why We Love European Oak

Why We Love European Oak

Oak products are highly sort after, especially when it comes to flooring. To the untrained eye, all oaks look the same, even though this is not the case. Some people commonly mistake between the European oak and the American oak, due to their similar appearance which could easily deceive.

Although European oak floor is used to make a variety of things in the house, its most prevalent use is in construction. It is used in making stairs, window sills, curtain boxes, doors, panelling and most of all, for flooring.

 

Why We Love European Oak Flooring

 

As the name suggests, it is native to Europe. It is a temperate wood that grows quite tall and therefore yields longer planks. These are highly sort after, for their incredible range of uses. It is a white oak, and is known far and wide for its durability and longevity. To show you just how good of wood this is, here are a few reasons why we love European Oak:

Beauty

One of the reasons why we love this wood is its striking beauty. Unlike its American relative, this oak has warmer colours and tone. It is easily identifiable to the trained eye, due to its golden honey hues, and the appearance of annual wood rings. It also has a high definition of the grain, which makes it stand out. This oak has a more even tone between boards, something other oaks, such as the American Oak for instance, lack. Some of these show a higher contrast between shades, with the difference between lighter and darker hues becoming more prominent in the grain pattern.

Versatility

The European Oak produces a highly versatile wood. One the reasons it is such an all-round wood is down to the grain pattern. This oak has a wavier pattern that is a lot more defined. This open grain pattern makes it more accepting of sanding and brushing, vastly increasing its texture. It also absorbs stain, lacquer and oil more readily and in an evenly distributed manner. This quality comes from the high tannin content and the diminished presence of sapwood, both of which are essential for the absorption of stains. It is one of the main reasons why we prefer this wood for our flooring projects. Other than that, it can present in a variety of appearances which gives you a wider range to choose from.

It is strong

Since this is a slow growing tree, the wood is more packed onto itself. This gives the European Oak its legendary strength, since the cellular structure is denser as compared to some of the other hardwood and softwood timbers. As such, when used in flooring, this oak endures and can withstand great weight without creaking. When well cured and dried, it does not shrink and maintains its shape for years. It does not present evidence of cracking that occurs in other woods especially furniture is placed on them.

Very little maintenance

Another reason why this type of wood is a favourite is that it is easy to clean and requires very little maintenance. All you are required to do to keep the flooring looking fresh is a good sweep. Occasionally, you might be required to give it a quick mop, which should not be detrimental to the wood if it is properly cured ad varnished. This will keep the floor in great condition for years. Once in a very long while, you will be expected to sand and varnish the floor, which will have it looking as good as new. This process takes care of any dents and scratches that might have accrued over years of regular use.

Value for money

It is incredible value for money. First and foremost, having floors made from European Oak automatically raises your property value immensely. This is why most people consider it as an investment, rather than a cost. The fact that it requires very little maintenance is also an appealing quality in terms of the overall cost as compared to other options that will require re-carpeting every few years.

This wood is also naturally warm, which makes it very comfortable and pleasant to walk on even barefoot. This is because it is a great natural insulator, a quality which comes from having thousands of tiny air pockets per square inch. These tiny pockets are what holds the heat, keeping the floor warm to the touch.

 

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Why Should You Choose European Oak Wood Flooring?

Bring nature into your home with timber flooring