How Glass Balustrades can add that Extra Touch to your Loft Apartment

Loft living is a popular way for many people to live. On one hand, it offers versatility and flexibility within a space but, without clever interior design and use of space, it can be unappealing – after all who wants to live in a cold looking and feeling space?

Creating a warm, open plan living space is easy with a few simple hints and tricks that make the space work in compartments, without necessarily segmenting sections with walls. Balustrade Components are adept at working in interior and exterior spaces, making them the exact kind of space you want and need.

loft living

Loft living – what is it?

Once the preserve of artists and bohemians, loft living is now a sought after way of living in a space. Think open plan but with greater magnitude and impact.

In the 70s, many homes were built with this open plan feel. It was an interior design pattern that encouraged the flow of life through a space. Instead of the traditional separate spaces, such as a living room and lounge, the wall was no longer there.

The bricks and mortar interior walls were replaced with room dividers, such as bookcases and so on. The idea was simple – it offered some kind of barrier to a space so that you could denote the separateness of it. These room dividers offered a modicum of privacy in an otherwise open space.

Loft living is about having no divides. The space is open and cavernous. The kitchen is fixed; the bedroom may not be the secluded room you had always thought it should or needed to be. The space is maximised in terms of floor space, and height too in many cases.

Older buildings, abandoned warehouses and dock side buildings, once the hub bub of industry, have now been reclaimed, offering open space to everyone who enjoys living this way.

It is not to everyone’s taste. It can feel too vast, too open, too relaxed and informal. Some people feel safe in the tradition of shutting a door on a space, only entering that space when they want or need to.

For those that love loft living, there are many different additions and design concepts they can add to make their loft apartment truly their own.

Add sparks of interest with focal points

Loft living does not necessarily mean living on the surface of the moon. It doesn’t need to be minimalist, empty and barren. However, even with the biggest sofa in the world in it, if your loft apartment still feels empty and wasted then you need to add a spark of interest.

One way that designers suggest you do this, is to add a focal point (or two). When a space feels empty, it may be because the eye has nothing to fall upon or focus on. There are many ways of doing this:

  • Choose a material and make that the design centre piece

Glass, for example, is a versatile material that packs a punch in all situations, both interior and exterior. For loft apartments with more than one level, a glass balustrade for staircases and mezzanine levels is the perfect way of adding structure to a space so that the eye can focus.

Glass does not block light and neither does it create a barrier that is too absolute, like a wall or room dividers such as book cases.

By choosing one material and using it throughout the space, it creates a theme that was missing previously. Glass also fits with traditional or modernist, minimal design and unlike other materials, there is no need to use it sparingly.

  • Colourloft apartment

The biggest advantage of loft living is that the darkest, most dramatic colours work exceptionally well in this space. Some people prefer to keep their loft apartment devoid of colour but, if you feel it lacks warmth and focus, a dramatic feature wall can make all the difference.

Colour, of course, does not have to be for the walls only. The ceiling, if high, can be ‘brought down’ by the addition of colour and you can add plenty of colour to the floor space too. The use of rugs on hard floors is a perfect example.

  • Art installationsglass sculpture

Many people use sculptures and art to add interest and focus to an otherwise cavernous space. Glass sculptures, with their various colours and form, can allow light to bounce around a space, changing it from an ordinary place to something simply extraordinary.

Is your loft apartment lacking form and structure? Glass balustrades can add form and appeal to any space, but look great in a loft apartment.

Home Building 101: Definite Guide For The First Time Home Builders

When it’s time to build your dream home, you want the process to go smoothly. If this is your first experience with having a new house built, then you may feel overwhelmed by everything. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your new living space is everything you’ve been dreaming of.

Home Building 101 Definite Guide For The First Time Home Builders

The Detailed Plan

It’s important to be specific when you’re building a home. Deciding on the number of bedrooms is only the beginning. Take the time to look at different plans and options to see if you want more windows in certain areas, love the feel of window seats or really want a sunroom. Take the time to consider how much closet space you really need, where the laundry room should be and how much storage you’re looking for in the pantry. This is a major investment, and your detailed plan will ensure that it suits your needs perfectly. An inspiration board can be a great place to keep track of all the little features and ideas that you like. This way, you won’t forget to add a cool feature to your kitchen or bedroom when it’s time to develop the plans.  You can also find great ideas on Pinterest where you can design your inspiration board and start pinning great finds to it!

Realistic Budgets

One of the hardest things to work with is your own budget. This starts with determining how much money you can realistically spend on your new home. Speak openly with your builder about potential hidden costs, including the final clean-up, permits and scrap materials. As you work through the process, remember that any changes you make will typically drive the cost up. Ask your builder to tell you up front when a shift in the plans will cause an upward climb in the cost. Once you’ve determined the budget for your project, add 10 percent to it to allow for unexpected expenses. Based on your price range, you can either move forward or make adjustments as necessary.

Location, Location, Location

Choosing the right location can be challenging, but it’s worth the extra work. When you’re working up the detailed plan, your location should also be at the front of your mind. Ask yourself if you want to be out in the country or closer to the metropolitan area. The school districts can have a drastic impact on future values, so you should look for a good school district even if you don’t have children. When it comes to building a home that will hold its value, location is incredible important.

Safety Considerations

Building codes are in place to ensure that homes are safe, and the inspection process is in place to ensure that the standards are being upheld at all levels. However, you can make your log-homenew home even safer by adding smoke alarms, exterior lighting and security systems. Consider a built-in nightlight for the hallway outside of the bedrooms, and have LED lights put along exterior steps for ambiance and safety.

The Professional Experience

Building a house is not a job for the average do-it-yourself. In addition to building the structure, you also need professionals to deal with the wiring, plumbing, roofing, windows, and finishing work. While you could schedule and coordinate different people on your own, you may find that it’s faster and less stressful to simply work with a general contractor. When you go with one company to handle the entire project, you can sit back and relax while someone else deals with the timeline and coordination. Before hiring a builder, take the time to do a background check, speak with references and see if they have any complaints against them.

When it’s time to build your dream home, it’s important to know where to start. Your detailed plans can be used by the designer to create the perfect floor plan. The budget plays vital role, so be upfront with the various professionals about the level that you’re trying to remain under. Finally, work with a professional to ensure that the home is safe for your family, up to the government’s sustainability standards and built to last.



There’s a hot design scheme that embraces the symbols of a mighty age, even as that era is passing from the scene. The industrial age ruled North America and Europe for more than a century. Economists tells us that this era, the one into which most of us were born, has given way to the information age, a fact that can be supported very simply by counting the number of hours we spend on social media. But something inside many of us longs for the “good old days” of that period of muscular manufacturing and production.

The trending use of industrial architecture in residential housing is partly nostalgic. Industrial is now vintage, the new hip retro look.



This design scheme in residential architecture started as a cost-effective way to convert empty industrial space into residential housing. It was cheaper to leave the I-beams, pipes, commercial ductwork, concrete and bricks exposed rather than cover it all up behind drywall and drop ceilings. In time, the raw, utilitarian look became part of the allure for a younger crowd moving into converted industrial space. It became an essential element in the revitalization of urban centres in places as diverse as Seattle, Moscow and Melbourne.

What started as an economic necessity quickly became a fashionable design scheme even in new construction and the remodeling of housing that never had an industrial look. Soon, furniture, cabinetry, flooring and lighting were being produced with the industrial vibe, and the design style was complete!

Today, industrial residential architecture and design is a sought-after style in post-industrial cities throughout the world. More than a decade after it took hold, it is showing excellent staying power.

Pros and Cons of Contemporary Industrial Architecture in Housing

Every style has its pros and cons. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of industrial design in residential housing.

Let’s start with the advantages in industrial architectural design:

  • Remodeling industrial space into living space is cheaper than tearing down a warehouse or factory and building from scratch, and this should, at least in theory, produce lower rental and purchase prices

  • The structure of many warehouses and factories is in excellent condition, and many have useable ductwork, windows, wiring and plumbing

  • Many of these buildings are located in urban neighborhoods that are hot places to live and which offer walk-to-work proximity, an attractive feature for young urbanites concerned with reducing the use of fossil fuels

  • Industrial building materials such as brick and metal are recycled and recyclable and they last indefinitely, making this a green architectural style

  • With the production of industrial-style furniture as well as exterior features such as entry doors and garage doors, your comprehensive design comes together brilliantly

  • Wear and tear to materials and changes in appearance with age are expected, viewed as character and not as detrimental



There are a few disadvantages of industrial residential design to keep in mind:

  • Furnishings and décor featuring industrial design are produced in smaller quantities, and while this is seen as a plus by those who don’t want mass-produced pieces, it does make them more expensive

  • Remodeling your home’s exterior using the industrial architecture style is risky since your house may be the only one like it in your neighbourhood, and this could make it harder to sell

  • The danger with trendy styles is that they tend to fall out of favor with homeowners faster than more enduring styles like traditional, contemporary or French country

Where to Find Housing with Industrial Architecture

If you’re intrigued with the idea of living in space with a distinctive industrial feel, the place to begin your search is in a large city near you. Many buildings and factories are being converted into beautiful, functional housing units. You might want to lease a place with this design scheme for a couple of years before you buy to see if it is really what you want long-term.



Designers are also employing industrial architectural design when remodeling apartment buildings and homes in urban and near-suburban locations. If you own your own home or own rental properties, the nearer you are to an industrial hub, the more it makes sense to invest in contemporary industrial architecture. It’s not such a good idea away from the city in rural settings where industrial design might look out of place.

Contemporary industrial architecture embraces the spirit of a great age while employing a forward-looking philosophy of “repurpose, reuse and recycle.” There’s something to embrace there for all of us.

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+.


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.

How to Design (and Live) With Meaning

Design and architecture have the power to make the world a better place. These 10 instructions can help

Read more…

Live to design, don't design to live

Source:, By Jody Brown

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