Don’t skirt the de­tails

The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - The Market - Denise O’Con­nor

There are so many things to con­sider when do­ing up your home it’s not sur­pris­ing that some of the less prom­i­nent de­tails can fall through the cracks. But with a lit­tle for­ward plan­ning you can en­sure the lit­tle de­tails are ex­actly as you want them to be.

1. Skirt­ing boards

These are not some­thing most peo­ple tend to fo­cus on when plan­ning a ren­o­va­tion. Un­less they have been specif­i­cally de­tailed early on in the de­sign process, they tend to be left to the con­trac­tor to sup­ply.

Be­lieve it or not, there is a lot of choice when it comes to skirt­ings, from the very tra­di­tional to much more con­tem­po­rary – all of which come in a wide range of heights. This seem­ingly small de­tail frames ev­ery room so it’s worth mak­ing sure it en­hances the over­all scheme. Ask your con­trac­tor to bring you sam­ples to ap­prove be­fore he buys any­thing or visit a lo­cal builders’ sup­plier to look at the op­tions avail­able.

2. Ar­chi­traves

The same goes for ar­chi­traves, the tim­ber mould­ing that frames your doors and, of course, the doors them­selves. Prices and styles vary mas­sively so un­less you’ve agreed from the out­set what you want it’s worth be­ing spe­cific here.

3. Iron­mon­gery

This is an­other area which can go un­no­ticed un­til it’s too late. Think of the han­dles as the fin­ish­ing touches to your doors – so again spend a bit of time mak­ing sure the style is both in keep­ing with your de­sign and com­fort­able to use. Lever han- dles are a bet­ter choice than door knobs for any­one with con­cerns about mo­bil­ity in their wrists or hands. Front doors of­ten come with stan­dard iron­mon­gery so it’s im­por­tant to know what you’re get­ting and make any changes in the early stages of plac­ing the or­der. One prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tion is whether to go for a key-op­er­ated or thumb-turn lock­ing sys­tem on the inside of your door.

Safety with chil­dren can be an is­sue here – if they can reach the thumb turn it’s very easy for them to open the door, so a key would be a bet­ter op­tion.

4. Tiles

Be­fore your tiler starts, ask them to lay out the tiles as they plan to fit them. Think about how the tiles will flow from front to back and from side to side. In a bath­room, it’s good to cen­tre the floor tiles on the WC and get the floor joints to align with the wall joints.

Keep grout lines as small as pos­si­ble and de­pend­ing on the kind of tiles you are us­ing, think about how to fin­ish any ex­posed edges. Stone, for ex­am­ple, can be pol­ished or bev­elled avoid­ing the need for any kind of trims. Ceramic and porce­lain tiles, how­ever, will need a tile trim. I would rec­om­mend a square-edge chrome trim over the plas­tic ver­sion; they are more ex­pen­sive but ab­so­lutely worth it.

‘‘ Be­lieve it or not, there is a lot of choice when it comes to skirt­ings

5. Junc­tions

Fi­nally, when it comes to com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent floor fin­ishes, try to keep junc­tions as clean as pos­si­ble. A lit­tle for­ward plan­ning will mean you can have a seam­less joint be­tween tim­ber and tiles, avoid­ing the need for any kind of metal or tim­ber trim. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant in an open-plan space with dif­fer­ent floor fin­ishes where you want to main­tain a seam­less flow be­tween the dif­fer­ent ar­eas. Denise O’Con­nor is an ar­chi­tect and de­sign con­sul­tant

In a bath­room, it’s good to cen­tre the floor tiles on the WC and get the floor joints to align with the wall joints.

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