One more thing…

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Vinegar in the shower… just say no!

The vinegar used for cleaning eroded the grout of the shower floor exposing the spaces between the tiles

The vinegar used for cleaning eroded the grout of the shower floor exposing the spaces between the tiles

Many of our clients strive to use chemical-free cleaning products when it comes to household maintenance and some web sites tout a solution of vinegar and water as the only cleaner one needs. While that may be true for many things, it is absolutely not true for your shower! According to the web site of the Tile Council of North America, “grout is based primarily of cement and sand. Sand, like glass, is unaffected chemically by most cleaners. Cement is not – rather it is alkaline based and is dissolved by acids. As baking soda and vinegar react, so do grout and vinegar.”

We saw this first hand when a great client called us to take a look at something strange that was happening with her shower tile. Her grout was literally being eaten away! When I asked what product she used to clean her glass shower door, she responded “just a solution of vinegar and water.” The vinegar kept the glass door spotless, but wreaked havoc on the floor grout. In the end, we had to re-tile the shower floor completely.

The Tile Council of North America recommends homeowners use alkaline based cleaners for grout (they mention Spic and Span and Mr. Clean by name). Additionally, cleaning products that are specifically formulated for grout and tile are available at most hardware stores, home improvement centers and tile distributors.
For more information on how to maintain your tile and grout, visit the Tile Council of North America’s very informative web site at:

Fify Shades of (you guessed it)… Gray

Gray—the color you usually associate with elephants and your grandmother’s hair. Today, it’s one of the most versatile and trendiest neutral colors in home décor—and that’s the real news! Gray is a neutral color. It is a quiet, calm and sophisticated color that works well with natural or painted woodwork—-and is gender neutral! With gray, you create a blank canvas on which to paint those “statement” colors that give a room its personality. You can introduce bold, bright colors (in nearly every hue) with your upholstery, pillows, artwork, kitchen accessories, bedding, rugs, etc.

But how do you choose the right gray for you?
Most people know what is meant by “warm” and “cool” colors; but many find it difficult to identify those properties within a specific hue—such as gray. What does a warm gray look like, in contrast with a cool gray? The difference can be subtle; but, for some, it makes the difference between feeling comfortable in a gray room or feeling cold in that room. One clue is to think about the difference between pewter and stainless steel. Pewter has a subtle, yellow undertone; and stainless steel has more blue. Yellow=warm color; blue= cool. To illustrate, the next time you are near a paint store, look at the coolness of Benjamin Moore’s #1461 STERLING SILVER, contrasted with the yellow cast of #1464 LIGHT PEWTER. See the difference? But don’t stop with those two— the real genius of gray is that it can have the whisper of many different undertones; such as in #1445 PIANO CONCERTO (red) or #1473 GRAY HUSKIE (green). Which tone best suits you and works with the other colors you want to use in the room? Play with the color chips and go for it! There are at least FIFTY shades to choose from. . .