Eco-Friendly Kitchen Redecorating

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

More and more in our everyday lives we are aiming to lower our impact on the environment. From carrying reusable water bottles to simply turning off the water while brushing our teeth, small changes can add up to help the earth. There are also many small changes we can make within our homes to reduce waste that also happen to double as décor options! If you plan on revitalizing your kitchen this year, consider these eco-friendly décor tips:

  • Mason Jars: The use of mason jars for DIY décor has become incredibly popular in recent years. For your kitchen, you can use mason jars to replace plastic storage bags and for drinks on the go, but they can also turn your kitchen into a rustic-looking, decluttered space. Remember, you can weigh your jars and take them with you for a package-free trip to the bulk section of the grocery store!
  • Reusable dish rags: Why spend money on sponges that carry germs and need to be replaced often when you can clean your dishes with cloths you can wash right at home? Use less material by purchasing dish rags that fit the style of your kitchen. They will look nice, and you will spend less by not using as many paper towels and disposable sponges.
  • Energy-efficient appliances: If you’re ready to replace your outdated refrigerator or dishwasher, opt for an energy efficient option. These options are great for the environment and your electric bill, but they also come in different styles to fit your décor.
  • Low VOC paint: The easiest way to change the entire look of a room is to paint it. When choosing your paint color, look for one with a little to no VOC (volatile organic compounds) content. Low VOC paint is better for both your health and the atmosphere! Of course if you’re painting, it may also be time for a new countertop or backsplash, and we can help match your style.

While these are just small changes you can make in your kitchen, you can always look for similar options for other areas of your home. If you are remodeling your kitchen, contact us today at (610) 344-7700 to speak with one of our specialists about our large selection of stone and tile products.

Categories : Blog

So, you’ve finally gotten around to finishing your kitchen and bathroom renovations. October is around the corner, and you’re still not satisfied with the way your home looks. You might be wondering, “Now What?” Often, we complete projects that change the entire look of our home (for the better!), and realize that now none of our décor matches with the rest of the house. If you need some quick fixes to unify the look of your home, here are a few:

Color Scheme: By changing the color scheme of items in your home, you can change the entire look! Items that can be easily switched out through the seasons include towels, rugs, bedding and curtains. This fall, try adding darker colors that accent your flooring and counters.

Lighting: Changing some of the lighting fixtures in your home makes a big difference. For instance, low hanging lights over dining areas or kitchen islands can create a more comfortable and cozy atmosphere. In a room with ceiling fans that feature a harsh overhead light, try adding floor lamps that you can set to your exact preference. If you have darker flooring and countertops in your bathroom, you can install lighting around the mirror to make the room appear more open.

Wall Art: If you have frames on your artwork that matched the previous style of your home, switch them out for new ones. If your walls are bare, look for pieces that will match your renovation. This could be artwork and family photos, or even something as simple as a wall clock or shelving. Take a photo or sample of counter and floor colors for your frame shop to match or accent.

Other small items can be added to change the feel of your home as well, such as plants, candles, books and ceramics.

If you still haven’t started your remodel but are ready to today, contact AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile at (610) 344-7700 to speak with one of our specialists!

Categories : Blog

Get Projects Done Now for Holiday Enjoyment

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

 

Have you been planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation but keep putting it off? September is the month to get that project started. The holidays are approaching, and they always have a way of sneaking up on us. After September, you’ll have a holiday every month until the end of the year, meaning family and friends coming and going, shopping to do and travel plans. Whether you’ll be too busy to complete an endeavor or need to get it done in time to impress guests, start now to enjoy your home more this fall and winter.

If you’re thinking of renovating your kitchen and are ready to take the leap this September, imagine the upcoming holidays. Does your floor attract dirt and scuff marks easily? Is it tough to see and remove food from your countertops? Is there enough space for preparing holiday meals or laying out food for guests? These are questions that you may not worry about during the summer months, but will need to address soon, and we can help. Be sure to ask about our different countertop and flooring options, and how we can help you customize them for your specific needs!

Aside from your kitchen, the downstairs bathroom is perhaps the most important area of your home, whether you use it or not. If you are having family over or a party this holiday season, you’ll be pointing guests in that direction! A newly renovated bathroom will show how much you care about your home by making sure all aspects look great. Custom countertops and flooring consistent with the rest of your home will create a charming, balanced look. When paired with artwork and an ornate mirror, your bathroom is transformed into something more.

AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile has skilled craftsman and a large selection of materials guaranteed to transform your home! If you’re ready to get your project finished this month, call us at (610) 344-7700.

Categories : Blog

Despite what you may think, taking time out for yourself is not selfish or self-indulgent.  Research shows that people who regularly and intentionally set aside at least 20 minutes a day to take care of themselves lead happier, healthier, more balanced lives, which in turn positively affects personal relationships. If you don’t take care of yourself due to a misplaced sense of guilt, make the change today. Take the time to do something you love, or try out one of these ideas: 

  • Splurge on a massage. Most people don’t realize that our bodies live in a constant state of tension, with tightness in the muscles and stiffness in other parts of the body. If you have ever been fortunate enough to get a full-body massage, you know what complete and total relaxation feels like. It’s something that everybody who has ever been stressed should experience, so if it’s been awhile since you’ve focused on your own well-being, a massage is the perfect place to start.
  • Take a breath of fresh air. It’s amazing how quickly a little time outdoors can boost the spirits. Whether you prefer to take a brisk walk or find a quiet spot to clear your head or read a good book, time spent outdoors is never wasted.
  • Listen to upbeat music. Music does wonders for the soul. Lively music with a cheerful beat is sure to get the toes tapping, even if you’re tone-deaf or can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Upbeat music can improve even the sourest of moods, so if you’re feeling down, make sure you’re listening to the right music.
  • Check out something cute and fuzzy. As silly as it may sound, looking at pictures of adorable baby animals is a great way to raise the spirits. Add in some funny videos of lovable pets, and you have the perfect combination to make you feel warm and fuzzy in no time.
  • Move your workout outdoors. Exercise is an excellent stress reliever. But rather than staying chained to a stationary bike or treadmill, take your workout outside! Find a nearby trail to ride or jog on, and use the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and take in the world around you. Exercising outdoors is great for your mental health, especially if you’re feeling angry or depressed.

Another way to focus on you is by making the space around you beautiful. If you are ready to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom countertops or transform a dull fireplace into a thing of beauty, contact AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile at 610-344-7700.

Categories : Maintenance

With summer vacation winding down and more and more students heading back to school, it’s time to start the shift from long nights and late breakfasts to the early morning rush of the school year. If you want to make your life a little easier this school year, follow these tips for making a smooth transition into the school routine. 

    • Prepare the night before. A little prep the night before can make a huge difference on a busy morning. Help the kids gather together all their essential school items the night before: lay out clothes, set out shoes and socks, and make sure important papers and homework are put into backpacks. To make breakfast move a little faster, go ahead and set the table, and set out cereal boxes and other breakfast items that don’t need refrigerated.

 

    • Write down the family schedule. With work and school schedules, sports practices, and after-school activities to coordinate, family life can quickly become stressful and hectic. To help keep everybody in the loop, hang a family calendar in the kitchen. A white board calendar makes it easy to add and make changes as necessary – just make sure it’s kept out of the reach of little hands that can erase important information in one quick swipe!

 

    • Plan out big school projects. This doesn’t refer to doing the project for your child – it simply means that you help them map out what supplies are needed and when certain parts of the project need to be completed. This will help you avoid a late-night run to the store for glitter or posterboard. Also make sure to reference the family calendar when coordinating the project to help avoid conflicts with other activities.

 

  • Control the paperwork. Piles of homework papers, practice sheets, informational flyers, and pieces of artwork will quickly bury your beautiful kitchen countertops. Try to keep only the important stuff, like tests, grade cards, and progress reports. Sort through artwork and let your kids choose one or two of their favorites pieces to display, then store the rest in a closet or desk.

If your kitchen cabinets or countertops stand in desperate need of an upgrade, AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile has the best materials and the most experienced craftsmen and installers in the West Chester area. Give us a call today at 610-344-7700, and we will help transform your ugly, utilitarian kitchen countertops into a thing of beauty.

Categories : Maintenance

If you’re like most people, by the time July rolls around, the lofty resolutions you set back in January have fizzled out like fireworks on the Fourth. Fortunately, July is the perfect time to pick yourself up, reassess the goals you made six months ago, and come up with a plan to accomplish them!

Whether your resolutions had to do with getting your body – or your home – back on track, let’s take a look at where things often go wrong when making New Year’s resolutions, and what you can do this July to avoid the same mistakes.

The January Problem: Allowing leftover holiday treats and goodies to sabotage your efforts to get back in shape.

The July Solution: Separate yourself from unhealthy foods. Make a fresh start by clearing out sugary treats, junk food, soft drinks and anything else you want to avoid, then resolve not to bring them into your home again. After all, it’s much easier to resist temptation when you’re hit with a sudden craving if you have to drive to the store to get what you want instead of merely walking to the pantry.

The January Problem: Biting off more than you can chew.

The July Solution: Take it one step at a time. Oftentimes we get a little ahead of ourselves when it comes to making resolutions. You hit the ground running in January full of optimism, sure that this is the year you will finally get your house decluttered, only to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and give up. Instead, decide what you want to end result to be, and break that one big goal into several more manageable smaller goals that are not as intimidating. For example, start by cleaning out and organizing a closet, and use the sense of accomplishment you get from that to stay motivated as you move on to the next goal.

The January Problem: Going it alone.

The July Solution: Create your own fan club. Everybody needs support when going through a tough time, and nothing is tougher than trying to kick a habit that it’s ingrained in you, such as drinking, smoking, or overeating. So put together a support team that can not only keep you motivated, but also help in other ways such as avoiding smoking around you or not inviting you out for drinks.

The January Problem: Being too hard on yourself.

The July Solution: Keep on trying. Don’t let the fact that you failed before stop you from trying again. And this time, to make it a little easier, take the time to give yourself a little reward along the way. Lost a couple pounds this week? Celebrate by going to a movie. Cleaned out the shed in the backyard that you’ve been meaning to get to for years? Allow yourself to take a day off to relax. Go on a hike, spend the day watching movies with your kids, or spend time with your favorite person. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you give yourself a reward to look forward to once you reach your goal.

If one of your resolutions this year was to freshen up your outdated kitchen, our skilled craftsmen at AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile have the custom solutions you need to make it stand out. Just give us a call today at 610-344-7700 to schedule a free in-home estimate, or stop by our showroom at your convenience.

Categories : Maintenance

For many people, January’s resolutions are long forgotten by the time July arrives, so they just shrug and resolve to do better next year. Instead of giving up totally, why not wipe the slate clean and make a fresh mid-year resolution? If this is the year you promised to get your house in order, take the time to dust off January’s resolutions and make some new goals to work toward. Here are some ideas:

  • Start an indoor home improvement project. If you have an ugly kitchen backsplash you’ve hated for years, or a bathroom vanity that looks like something out of the seventies, take the initiative and do something about it. Even minor indoor remodeling, such as updating plumbing fixtures or cabinet hardware, can lift the spirits and make you more motivated as you move on to your next goal.
  • Beautify your landscaping. Nothing makes a home’s exterior look dull and boring like a lack of landscaping. If your home is deficient in this department, spend some time and money on your landscaping this summer. Try planting some flowers, adding a few shrubs, or putting down fresh mulch. Even a few hanging baskets or potted plants around the entrance can make a big difference.
  • Look for ways to increase energy efficiency. If you want to lower the sky-high energy bills that come from keeping your home cool and comfortable in the summer, take a look around your house to find ways to save energy. Start by checking your attic to make sure you have enough insulation to keep hot attic air from leaking into your home, and add more if necessary. Consider replacing aging, leaky windows with new energy-efficient ones, or upgrading your decades-old HVAC system with a newer, more efficient model. Either are a considerable investment, but the amount you save in energy costs will make it worth it in the long run.
  • Upgrade your outdoor space. If your budget has a little more wiggle room, you can’t go wrong by expanding your outdoor living space. Whether you want to do more entertaining, or just need a backyard oasis to retreat to, improvements to outdoor gathering areas are always a good investment. So go ahead and add that in-ground pool, build that covered porch, or install that sunroom that you’ve always wanted.

At AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, we have everything you need to build a beautiful indoor fireplace, upgrade kitchen or bathroom countertops, or create a stunning foyer. All it takes is a quick to call our remodeling specialists at 610-344-7700, who will help you design something amazing while making the remodeling process smooth and stress-free.

Categories : Maintenance

If you own a home, at some point in the future you will have to replace your water heater. Many homeowners still have conventional storage or tank-type water heaters. These are comparatively inexpensive to purchase and install, but are not the most energy-efficient. Fortunately, advancing technology has resulted in several more energy-efficient options to choose from when it comes time for a water heater replacement.

Tankless Water Heaters
The purchase and installation cost of this type of heater is high, but it does have a long lifespan of 20+ years and is 8 to 34% more efficient than a tank water heater. With this type of heater, which doesn’t have a storage tank and heats water only when it is needed, you can have an endless supply of hot water. There is a drawback, however. Tankless heaters have a limited flow rate of 4-5 gallons per minute, which may not work for you if you frequently operate the washing machine and dishwasher at the same time, or run several showers simultaneously.

Heat Pump Water Heaters
If you want an energy-efficient water heater, a heat pump water heater is a great choice. It uses electricity to move heat from place to place instead of producing it directly, which is 2-3 times more energy efficient than a storage tank heater. It does exhaust cool air, so you will want to install it in a warm room or exhaust it to the outdoors. Heat pump heaters perform very efficiently in warmer climates, but do not operate well in cool spaces. This heater’s life expectancy of 10-15 years is the lowest of the three options.

Solar Water Heaters
The upfront cost for the purchase and installation of a solar water heater is not insignificant, but luckily today’s units are much more affordable and reliable that earlier models. They tend to last about 20 years, and are 50% more efficient than standard electric or gas water heaters. Solar water heating works in two different ways. With direct circulation systems, which work well in climates where it doesn’t freeze often, water is taken from collectors and circulated directly into the house. Indirect circulation systems, on the other hand, are best for climates where temperatures often dip below freezing. It uses a pump to move a non-freezing heat-transfer liquid through collectors into a heat exchanger, which then heats the water that runs into the home.

Deciding which kind of water heater to use is just one of many decisions to be made if you’re purchasing a new home or updating your current one. If you have other areas that need improvement, such as your kitchen or bath, you can find an excellent selection of stone and tile products in a variety of styles and colors at AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile. Contact us today at 610-344-7700 for a free estimate, or stop by our showroom to see these wonderful products firsthand.

Categories : Maintenance

Why Two Sinks?

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

If you have decided to update your kitchen and are trying to work out what you want to add or change, now would be a good time to consider the merits of installing a prep sink. Many homeowners who do a lot of cooking or entertaining consider a second sink essential, and more and more people are adding this feature when they remodel their kitchens. Some people don’t see the need for a second sink, but that is often because they don’t understand its purpose.

Cleanup Sinks vs. Prep Sinks

The cleanup sink. This sink is pretty self-explanatory. The cleanup sink is where all the pots, pans, and dishes that don’t fit into the dishwasher are washed. Having two sinks is extremely convenient if you cook a lot because you can set the dishes you use for food prep in it to soak, or get them out of the way while you prepare the rest of the meal. It also works well for families, because kids can be washing dishes while parents are finishing up dinner, which reduces cleanup time later. In addition, one person can wash the dishes without having to stop to let someone rinse off the vegetables or wash their hands after working with meat.

The prep sink. If you do a lot of work in your kitchen, a second smaller sink, often referred to as a prep sink, can be a godsend. A prep sink is intended to be used to wash off and prep fruits and vegetables, as well as poultry and other meats. Ideally it should be located close enough to the stove and refrigerator to be easy accessed when cooking, and there should be a work surface next to it with plenty of room for prep work. Prep sinks are often added to islands for this reason.

Placement. The placement of the sinks is really up to you. The cleanup sink is usually situated away from cooking and food storage areas somewhat, which keeps dirty dishes from overflowing into the cooking area and getting in the way of food prep. Prep sinks, as mentioned before, work well when added to a kitchen island. Many people prefer this placement because it allows the cook to talk and interact with family members and guests while they work, though others like the reverse, with the prep sink on a perimeter counter closer to the stove and refrigerator, and the cleanup sink on the island.

If you are ready to make your life a little easier by adding a prep sink to your kitchen, why not upgrade your counters at the same time? Your new sink will look lovely paired with beautiful granite countertops from AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, and if granite isn’t your style, we have a variety of other high-quality materials to choose from that may be just what you’re looking for.

Categories : Kitchen remodeling

The kitchen is an integral part of family life, and as such sees a lot of heavy use (and abuse) over the years. This is why it’s so important to choose materials for your kitchen counters and floors that are tough and durable. Otherwise, in just a few years’ time, they could be an unsightly collection of stains and scratches. To help you out, here are a few tips from AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, Inc. on the best counters and floors for busy kitchens.

Kitchen Counters That Can Take the Heat
In a busy kitchen, kitchen counters need to be able to stand up to heat, cuts, spills, and stuff falling on them. Here are your best options when it comes to those key factors:

  • This low-maintenance material that looks like stone is actually man-made, a combination of crushed quartz, resin, and coloring. It can take whatever you can throw at it and doesn’t require sealing, though the corners and edges can chip if you’re not careful.
  • It’s easy to see why granite has been the go-to material for kitchen countertops for the past 15 years. The natural beauty of this stone shines through in any style of kitchen. It’s important to remember to seal granite regularly, or oils will be able to seep down into the stone and stain it. Granite’s rugged surface is resistant to heat, cuts, and scratches, though like quartz, edges and corners can chip.

Kitchen Flooring That Stands the Test of Time
If you want the absolute toughest, longest-lasting flooring material that will hold up against heavy kitchen traffic, ceramic tile is the way to go. Ceramic tile has been extremely popular for many years because it’s strong, durable, attractive, and available in a wide range of styles and colors. You can now even find tile that looks like hardwood! But beware installing it yourself; if not laid correctly, tile is much more likely to crack. It also must be grouted and sealed correctly in order to resist kitchen spills without staining. If in doubt, hire a professional.

With one stop to AAA Hellenic Marble & Tile, your kitchen needs could be furnished. Give us a call today at 610-344-7700 and talk to one of our talented designers, and they will be able to help you find just what you need from our wide selection of granite, quartz, and tile, along with our other fabulous materials.

Categories : Uncategorized