How to incorporate glass balustrades into any style home

Glass balustrades add a certain elegance and decadence to the space that they occupy. From an exterior Juliet balcony, to an important component of a staircase, glass has its place in some many properties across the country.

If you are thinking of including glass is your next interior design project, you may have many worries and concerns, some of which may resolve around age or ‘fitting in’ with the current design and appeal of your property.

glass balustrades

The good news is this: glass fits with any property, any age and in any place. And here’s why…

Glass as a material is not a new thing…

… in fact, naturally occurring glass known as obsidian or volcanic glass, had long been used by our ancestors before we start to learn to make it, around 1BC. However, we can go back even earlier in time to 3500BC and ancient Egypt to reveal what glass was first used for. Utilised for both weapons and decorative pieces, the fragility and strength of glass has long dominated out imaginations.

Glass blowing and the discovery of molten glass many thousands of years earlier meant that glass was seen as a precious material, that could invoke gasps of delight, and gasps of pain in equal measure a sharp fragment could cut the skin.

The glass industry grew rapidly but then declined as other materials were found to have better properties for certain applications. For example, metals were seen as better for both weapons and cutlery, two applications that had, up until this point, been made from glass.

It was not until the 20th century that safety glass was invented and thus, the applications for glass began to grow once again.

Although associated with clear, minimalist, cutting edge design it is also a material that is equally at home in the older style property and design.

Malleable elegance

The reason why glass fits so well in all types of design is because its elegance and beauty is highlighted by the materials that surround it. On one hand, you could see glass as a supportive piece of design and yet, in the right setting, it can be the star of the show.

And this malleable elegance is something that designers and homeowners love. In other words, glass balustrades can forma striking part of the design, or it can be a supportive pieces with its own understated elegance.


Of course, we all associate glass with fragility, who wouldn’t? All you need to do is drop a glass tumbler on the floor and you will be finding shards of tiny glass for weeks on end. The smallest piece of jagged, broken glass can cut us too.

That said, it seem a little ludicrous to talk of durability and robustness – and yet, this is exactly what you will get with glass balustrades. Glass in this type of application is tempered and treated. In other words, small thin layers of glass are packed tightly together vastly improving its strength.

Thus glass balustrades are actually quite hard to damage. And when they are, they rarely, if ever, shatter to a million pieces but chip. In some instances, it can be possible to repair it too.

The magic of mixing the old with the new

An interior designer worth their salt will understand the need to create magic, by mixing the new – glass – with the old – the age of a property.

In some ways, you may want the modern addition of a glass balustrade to stand out. Or, you may want to just ‘be there’. You may want a seamless transition between the old and the new, something which is achievable with glass.

Letting light play

Interior designs that take their pedigree from times many years ago tend to suffer from a lack of light. Woods could be dark, with small spaces feeling cramped and stuffy. The use of glass within a space, even a small amount, can alleviate this claustrophobic feeling, and the darkness of a space. Allowing the light to play in a room is important and just like the use of mirrors on a wall to bounce light around, glass balustrades can do the same.

In summary

Glass balustrades can match any home, any property and any interior design, whether this is a commercial application – just look at Apple’s flagship store in New York and its twos flights of glass stairs ad balustrades – or in the home.

Glass is timeless and elegant, fitting with any style, including those of old and modern, clean, minimalist designs.

Offering the highest quality stainless steel fixings and components is important when creating an elegant glass balustrade, whether it’s for a balcony or a staircase, or another project. Paul Startin of Balustrade Components Ltd knows that small parts can make the biggest impact to a project.


Synergy of architecture and gardening – living walls and roofs

green architecture

Houses whose walls are covered in green, with only windows sticking out, are definite eye turners wherever they exist. The same goes for those establishments whose roofs resemble a green garden and make you wonder what lies beneath. Are those merely aesthetical contributions or is there something else that inspired their owners to have them? Here is what this is all about.

Green walls are in fact sets of plant panels vertically growing on free-standing or structures attached to the walls. They are sustainable and very durable. Apart for aesthetic contribution, green walls are a great way to improve the quality of living.  They provide great thermal and acoustic isolation and represent a very successful air cleaner, especially the interior ones, and pollution barrier. Everything stated applies to green roofs as well. Now, important facts about their installment.

Green walls

green wallThere is much more to green wall systems behind the design. The most durable ones consist of a frame, waterproof panels, automatic irrigation system and optional extras, such as lights for example and plants, of course. The frame is attached to the walls on several secured points, without damaging the structure and leaving air between them to reinforce the insulation and prevent moisture. This is additionally secured by using waterproof panels, which hold the entire structure together. The most successful green walls are soilless, which makes them easier to maintain, more efficient and economic when it comes to irrigation and lighter, thus easier and safer to install. The choice of plants that can be used is practically infinite and this makes them highly customizable and allows creation of unique designs and patterns.

Green roofs

So, you put a lot of soil canisters on top of your house, plant different greenery in it, and let the rain and the Sun take care of everythinggreen roof else? Of course not. Installing a green roof, that is a successful one, is a complex task. If you think you will not be able to rise to the challenge, the best way to go is to let the professionals do it and here is why. First of all, the roof needs to be prepared and to have a pitch of at least one quarter of an inch for every foot it runs. This is something that flat roof homeowners should pay special attention to. Next, you need to be sure that your roof will be able to support the load, which can amount to 30 pounds of extra load per square foot.  If it needs strengthening, do not do anything else before you finish this. The next step is to isolate the roof surface, usually with rubber or some other waterproof material. Now you are ready for positioning of one by two foot planted trays and arranging them to cover the whole roof area. The trays are placed in rows starting from the bottom all the way to the top. They are connected to each other for stability and irrigation and raised above the roof surface, to allow runoffs. Finally, exterior grade screws are used to reinforce the whole and it is watered to allow the soil to settle down.  Unless there is a four week period of draught, you will not need to water it ever again.

Obviously, this synergy of architecture and gardening will not only make your house aesthetically appealing, but you will have a healthier and more pleasant living environment and a bigger home budget. A win-win situation.


6 Popular Trends in Today’s Architectural World

popular trends in todays architecural world

The architectural world is ever-evolving and home design trends that were hot last year may not be all that significant today. Here’s a look at the popular trends in today’s architectural world:

1. Passive Homes

The concept of the passive home emphasizes reduced consumption of energy and reduced emissions of carbon. The move is toward a greener, more environmentally-friendly home. A passive home can save up to 90% of heating costs. Most of the world’s energy consumption can be attributed to homes. Thus, this architectural trend, if widely available, can solve much of the world’s energy woes.

The features in a passive home are good solar orientation and a compact form, high comfort levels, low primary energy, ventilation with >75% heat recovery, airtight thermal envelope, super insulation, and PV panels.

This home design is meant for a sustainable future and better lives for our children.

2. Designed for Relaxation

It is commonly believed that people living in today’s era are forced to process much more information as compared to the average person living in the 17th century. What a person is exposed to in a lifetime (in the 17th century), a person is exposed to in one day (today). However, the kind of information that the person was exposed to in the 17th century was much different from the kind of information one receives today. Nevertheless, the point is that nowadays, people have to deal with information overload.

Most people find it difficult to sort out and methodically process the large volumes of information that they are exposed to on a daily basis. They are clueless about which pieces of information to absorb and which to ignore. Thus, people are looking for a retreat inside their homes, away from the mad rush of information. They are looking to set aside a part of their house for relaxation, peace, and calm. The home spa is the newest trend in home design.

More than 50% of the new builds in the United States have a whirlpool bath. This is testimony to the popularity of this trend.

In quarter 4 of 2013, the home spa industry grew by 10% as compared to quarter 4 of 2012. This increase of 10% is quite significant and this is a healthy trend that is destined to last.

3. Flex Rooms

Flex rooms are those rooms in a house that can have a variety of uses, and are not limited to a single use. The use of the flex room can be changed during any time of the year. In short, it is a multi-purpose area. For instance, the entrance hall of a house can also be used as a dining room.

There are three main factors driving this trend today: baby boomers, versatility, and income.

a) Baby Boomers

With real estate prices soaring, the elderly generation cannot afford to live on their own. Thus, they choose to live with family. Hence, architects are designing homes in such a way that elderly parents can live with the family in a unit that is segregated from the rest of the house and is self-contained. This helps preserve the sanity of the two generations – young and old – living in the same home. Also, the living space can be given out on rent, if required.

b) Income

Due to the crash of 2008, people have lost their pensions and have lesser disposable income, thus they are forced to live with their children. Retirement homes are no longer an option because they simply can’t afford it.

c) Versatility

People are looking to utilize a given space in as many ways as possible. Homeowners have a lot of choices now-a-days. Flex rooms enable maximum usage per square foot of living space and it allows you to change the use of the room as convenient.

4. Prefabricated Homes

Advances in manufacturing technology has brought the technology of prefabricated homes to the forefront, especially in China. This trend is not limited to home design, it can be applied to restaurants, hotels, office buildings, outbuildings, and end of garden builds.

The main advantage of this technology is that it offers plenty of savings. Expenditure on raw materials and manpower is less because of the repetitive manufacturing process. The walls and the furnished floor space is made previously in a factory, and are then delivered directly to the site. It is then assembled to reveal the final structure of the house.

Other advantages of prefabricated homes are that the build time required is less, the work force is reduced, and project management is easier. All these factors amount to saving money and this is why this trend is going strong today and does not look like it will wane any time soon.

5. Health Conscious Designs

When we are so conscious of what we are eating, designers and architects have also begun to pay attention to the materials used in building, furnishing, and decorating homes. Synthetic materials used in home design such as wall paint, insulation, wood stain, and upholstery may have hypoallergenic effects and cause serious health damage. Such material is being replaced with safer and healthier alternatives.

While these safe alternatives are always available, clients need to pay a higher price for them. Builders need to explain the reasons for the higher cost and the added health benefits.

6. Kitchens as the Center of The Home

Move over those times when kitchens used to be built in the darkest corners of the house, away from all eyes. Now, the kitchen is the focal point of the house. It is essential to everything we do as a family. Now, the kitchen is not just a place to rustle up the meals for the day. It is also a place to introspect, think, study, and work. The kitchen can also be put to so many other uses.

Employed this way, the kitchen is the room that brings the family together. Children do their homework, adults discuss matters of importance, and the family as a whole hangs out together. It helps build stronger family relationships.

Author Bio:

Derek Fraser is an online Blogger. He likes to write about various articles related to Home Improvement, Gardening and Eco Friendly Measures. Follow him on Google+.


New Home Builders Offer Modern Remodeling Ideas

When you want a change in scenery, you don’t have to look for a new home builder. Modern home builders encourage you to give your current dwelling a mid-century-inspired makeover that simplifies the space and makes it more functional.

About Modern Home Design

Modern Kitchen and Open Floor Plan New Home Builders
Designed by Reworks Architecture

Modern homes are all about form and function. Modern home design refers to the time when the style was created in the 1920s to 1950s. The style uses clean lines, natural materials, acrylics and polished metals. Modern home builders construct this style of home with large windows, unadorned interiors, exposed beams, neutral colors and open spaces. The outdoor spaces also seamlessly transition inside.



Famous modern architects include:

  • Frank Lloyd Wright: Falling Water in Mill Run, Penn.
  • Frank Gehry: Guggenheim Museum in New York City
  • I.M. Pei: Glass pyramid entrance to the Le Grand Louvre museum in Paris, France

An Open Floor Plan

One of the quintessential aspects of a modern home is an open floor plan. For a home remodel, this may mean tearing down a non-load-bearing wall or a wall that doesn’t have essential elements in it, like plumbing or ductwork. Walls that homeowners commonly remove are the ones between a family room and living room, a kitchen and dining room, a hallway and den, or a kitchen and family room. The best walls to take down are those in the spaces that you’re willing to share.

Ideas for a Modern Kitchen

  • Cabinets: Reface or replace cabinets so they’re plain, smooth and flat. Forego the cabinet fixtures or use ones that are simple. Go with a neutral color. Feel free to use glass cabinet fronts or simply take the doors off the frames.
  • Kitchen islands: If you have the space, give yourself room to work and a place for friends to sit. Instead of having a range and cover, install a stainless steel cook top in the island and a matching free-standing range hood.
  • Layout: The look of a kitchen doesn’t mean anything if the layout doesn’t make your life simpler. Think about things like how easy it will be to get a heavy pot of water from the sink to the stove, where you want to store frequently used ingredients and if you want to eat in the kitchen.

Ideas for a Modern Bathroom

  • Glass shower enclosure: A clear glass shower enclosure will make the bathroom look bigger and give it a spa-like feel.

    New Modern Homes Bathroom Design
    Designed by Reworks Architecture
  • Abundant lighting: A bathroom retreat shouldn’t feel like a cave. Use skylights, frosted windows, large mirrors, cove lighting coming out of cabinetry and shelves, and recessed lights.
  • Sinks: Consider free-standing sinks with the plumbing in the wall or in a sleek floating cabinet.
  • Toilets: There is no reason to have to look at a toilet tank. Modern bathrooms commonly just have a lid, seat and bowl; the tank is in the wall.

Modern Lighting Ideas

Modern homes love the sun. During a remodel, make it a point to maximize the natural light that comes into a space by enlarging windows, adding extra windows, installing a sliding door to the outside or adding a skylight. Then use lighting fixtures to functionally and artistically compliment nature.

Use pendant lights over dining tables or kitchen islands to add color or visual interest to a space. Large arching floor lamps double as art and task lighting over a couch, bed, desk, armchair or table are both modern and functional. Or, go more compact with a stylish arm lamp. Give the space a boost of light at night with recessed lights or track lights with a dimmer switch.

Modern Sustainable Living Elements

Modern home builders construct with the health of the environment in mind, and you can too. Here are some ways that you can update your home and help the planet:

  • Use sustainable, reclaimed or recyclable building materials.
  • Install products and appliances that save water and energy.
  • Shop for locally sourced products.
  • Tighten the building envelope of your home to save energy.
  • If appropriate, install solar technologies like rooftop solar panels or solar water heating systems.
  • Avoid products with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), lead, PVC and mercury.

While it was born in the early 1900s, modern home designs have staying power that will remain popular and have powerful curb appeal well past the 21st century.

Courtesy of George Hale, owner of H. Hudson Homes, a Portland new home builder that focuses on cutting-edge design and sustainability.  When it comes to purchasing new modern homes, buyers can rely on H. Hudson Home’s wealth of expertise in construction and modern building practices.


Using Metals for Sleeker Architectural Design

What are Modern Ways Architects Can Utilize Metals for Sleek Aesthetics?

archArchitects use stainless steel, chrome, and aluminum for sleek aesthetics. Aluminum is used in many modern downtown storefront looks, as well as in other sleek and sculpted looks. Cast aluminum can be used to create forms that steel cannot compare to. Although aluminum sometimes gets a bad rap for being a cheap metal, its aesthetic value cannot be underestimated. Aluminum is not a strong metal; for structural strength it is a poor choice. But aesthetic-wise, aluminum is a sleek winner.

How Can Metals Be Used Structurally?

Metals can be used structurally in architecture throughout many different facets. Buildings can be framed in metal rather than wood. The framing is done using steel I-beams or studs of stamp, galvanized steel. It is commonplace to use metal sheeting and various metal substrates for walls, doors, and other parts of the structure. Some structural designs require metals even in wood construction, such as the straps and brackets used for securing wood frames in walls and doorways.

Are Metals Only For Accents?

Metals are versatile depending on the design–metals can go from performing behind-the scenes roles in architecture to becoming the main attraction! It’s nearly impossible to state that metals are only for accents. They are a necessity in building structures; without the use of metals, wooden structures cannot meet standard building codes. Metals are a valuable resource and a necessary construction material.

Can Metals Be Used for Function?

Metals can be used for function; functional purposes may vary from home siding to the inner structure of a building. Metals are also commonly used in kitchen designs, garage doors, and building framing.

What Are Great Areas and Purposes for Metals?

Ideal areas and purposes for metals in architecture include both aesthetics and function. Varied types of metals can be used for artistic designs while strong metals can be kitchen designused to hold it all together. Roofing, structure, and kitchen design are all great areas for metals; their purposes are mainly to add flair and style as well as durability to a design.

What Types of Metals Are Used for Structuring?

Steel is generally used for structuring. Steel is an alloy that consists of a blend of iron, carbon, and trace amounts of other minerals. Steel is a very strong and durable construction material; it is the main metal used for structuring. The oldest use for steel is rebar in concrete. Concrete cannot be poured for walls or even for strong flooring without a built-in, steel skeleton. Corrugated tin roofing is also used in structuring.

What Types of Metals Are Used for Aesthetics?

Aesthetic accenting is much more diverse in types of metals used.  Sometimes rusty, corrugated roofing is used for trendy coffee shops or edgy boutiques. Copper roof accents show up in high-dollar neighborhoods and businesses as status symbols. Some religious centers and government buildings even use gold domes for show. Chains are used in some roofing designs to allow the water to flow down without a gutter to enclose it. Stainless steel, aluminum, and sometimes tin are used for aesthetic accents as well.

This article was provided by Chase Roberts, home and garden expert and design consultant. If you’re interested in a selection of metals for construction, Chase recommends you click here.

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