Category: Home Improvement

Process of pool installation, Step wise

The following is a step-by-step guide on installing your swimming pool, from start to finish. When you meet with one of our designers for a free consultation and estimate, they may go through each stage in further detail.


The pool designer will then take the information you provided and create a drawing of the pool in the area you specified on your property.

Layout & Excavation

This is the first step in the construction of your salt water pool The layout as well as the excavation are completed on the same day. The  construction manager and excavation crew will meet with you to plan the pool’s layout. They will begin excavating the pool after you have approved the location and elevation of the pool. This day will be used to remove any surplus soil that cannot be graded into the yard.

They will simply remove soil from the yard at this time. The location of your filter equipment and light junction boxes will also be confirmed by the construction superintendent. If you haven’t finalised your coping and tile choices yet, you’ll need to do so now to avoid any delays in  construction process. This is the day that your excavation instalment is due.

Steel Reinforcing

This is where your pool’s support structure is built. Our gunite shell gains structural strength from the steel setting. Once the steel is installed, the township will be contacted for a building inspection and a partial bonding inspection.


It is at this point that the pool’s shell is constructed. For this part of the project, we’ll need to use your outdoor water supply. You may be required to stay for a few moments to approve the placement of any benches and your steps. This is also when the gunite instalment is due.


The pool plumbing and filter equipment will be installed and pressure tested on this day. This step does not require your presence because the equipment and light junction boxes were installed during the layout and excavation. If an electrician and a gas plumber are required, you are now ready.

Coping and Tile

It is now that you will see that your saltwater pool is getting finished. Your raised wall’s coping and tiling, as well as, if necessary, the facestone, will be installed. You do not require to be present for this stage once again.

Electric and Gas

The electric and gas lines must be connected after the pool filter equipment has been installed.


The decking installation can be planned after the electric and gas connections have been examined.

If you hire your own decking contractor, it is your decking contractor’s job to ensure that the decking is not completed until all necessary inspections have been conducted, such as gas and electric trenches, and bonding. It is also your concern that the installed decking does not surpass or impact on any township setbacks or limits and that the amount of decking does not exceed any lot covering totals. Backfilling any ditches that may be in the way of installing the deck is the responsibility of whoever is performing the decking.

It’s also crucial that the decking system, concrete, or pavers have adequate expansion, with at least a 12″ x 4″ ethafoam expansion connection between the deck and the pool coping and shell. If you don’t get this installed, you risk damaging your pool’s coping, tile, and gunite shell, which won’t be covered under warranty.


After the decking is finished, the fencing around your saltwater pool should be built. They can’t start filling your pool until the permanent fence is in place due to local building laws. They request that one portion of the fence be removed so that They can access the saltwater pool to plaster it.


This is the right time to start planning your pool party. This is the last step in the saltwater pool construction process. We leave the pool to fill with your water supply after the plaster is done. DO NOT end the water from filling the pool during the filling phase. Where the water was turned off, a stain or ring may appear on the pool plaster surface. Stop filling the pool after the water reaches the centre of the tile and call the office to schedule the start-up. This is the moment to pay for the plaster.

Did you miss our previous article…

8 Days in Italy: What I Packed

It’s been a few days I’ve been in Italy, visiting Venice, Florence, and Verona. In the past ten years I’ve visited a lot of European countries but I haven’t been back to Italy in almost two decades so I’m thrilled to return! If you follow my stories on Instagram, I’ve shared some images of what this week has been like so far.

I’m not a fashion blogger, I travel for the experience and to take a lot of pictures of the landscapes and scenery. I value comfort but I don’t want to look sloppy either so I will bring clothing that make me feel good while I walk around town. I travel light, wear layers, rewash and rotate my outfits. I stick with classic styles but I prefer to mix feminine and edgy.

Today take a peek at some of the separates I brought with me on my trip to Italy and the travel gear I bring with me too!


long sleeve swing dressfaux leather jacket

black camo leggingsred lace camiblack combat boots

mustard crewneck sweaterlace trim topstretch ripped jegging

satin leopard print skirt (similar heregold sneakers

marble leggingsblack v neck sweaterblack sneakers

tie dye sweatshirt  / red midi skirt (similar

packable puffer jacketlightweight moto jacket

black floral blouse (similar) / black jeggings/  black stretch rayon dress

I brought clothing that can be mixed and reworn in different combinations. Comfy leggings or jeggings, a few dresses and skirts, patterned or colorful tops and super comfortable shoes!


samsonite spinner / this lightweight duffle (sale price here

jewelry bagblack crossbody (night)

marble cosmetic bagssmall backpack (day)


A few tips that I follow that help me pack super light:

1. Roll instead of fold your clothing, it’s amazing how much this saves space!

2. Stay in a vacation rental with a washing machine mid way through your trip so you can wash and rewear clothing. Keep in mind some places only have a washer not a dryer so budget 24 hours of time for clothes to dry.

3. Try every outfit on! I’ve skipped this step before and realized I’d gained or lost a little weight or I brought the wrong version of something and smacked my forehead not doing this. Especially since comfort is so key!

4. Stick to a basic color palette, mix in one or two patterned dresses and a few colorful tops/sweaters/skirts.

5. Shoes: comfortable is essential but cute is important too! I like leather sneakers plus a pair of boots in colder weather or sandals in warm weather. The one thing you don’t want is blisters so break in any shoes before you leave, but bring blistercare gel bandages just in case.


I’ll be in Italy a few more days! I’ll share the regular weekend post on Sunday and back to blogging when I get back to the States next week.

Ask any questions you have and I’ll get back to you in the comments. Ciao!

Did you miss our previous article…

3 Historic Buildings You Should Visit for Design Inspiration

A lot of buildings that have beautiful interiors and exteriors are older houses that have withstood the test of time. There is a huge variety ranging from Tudor dwellings to modernist masterpieces, all of which could be very helpful when it comes to giving you inspiration for your own home. This list will discuss these buildings in more detail so you can go visit and start getting inspired. 

Adlington Hall 

There is a long history that surrounds Adlington Hall, which is why people from all over the country head there to visit on group tours. It started its life as a simple Saxon Hunting Lodge, which acted as a base for Earl Edwin and his men. During the Norman conquest, William the Conqueror threw Earl Edwin off the land and took it for the Normans, who held it for years until it was eventually passed onto the crown in 1221. 

As well as it’s interesting history, another reason why they go to visit is because of its sheer beauty and magnitude. Thanks to its enormous gardens, gorgeous exterior and moving interior, Adlington Hall truly is breath-taking, which has, and will continue to inspire decorators for years to come. 

2 Willow Road 

If you are looking for something that is a little more modern then you will absolutely love this gem of a row of houses which is located in Hampstead. It was originally designed in 1939 by Erno Goldfinger, who upon completion decided that he wanted to make No.2 his place of residence. This home has been furnished by Goldfinger and still contains a lot of his original possessions, such as his furniture and artwork. 

The home is now owned by the National Trust and so can be visited by everybody. It’s really surprising that a home that was decorated so long ago can still look as modern as it does. There really is nowhere else that you could get some inspiration for your own interior design. 

Eltham Palace 

Two styles that you will be surprised go well together are art-deco and medieval splendour, but Eltham Palace proves they were always meant to be. This palace is somewhere that will appeal to history buffs as they will be able to dive into the back story of the fantastic history that surrounds this area. The interior design of this palace truly is something to be marvelled at as there is a series of different art-deco pieces that were built by both Stephen and Virginia Courtald in the 1930s. Not only this but the palace is surrounded by beautiful gardens and has a nice tea shop. As such, this makes for a great day trip and great inspiration for your own home. 


There is such a huge array of trends that come and go in the realm of decorating your property and as such it can be difficult knowing exactly what you should be doing. If you are looking for some inspiration, visiting historical houses can be a great way that you can work out what you want to do moving forward. 

Did you miss our previous article…

October Mood: Dark Walls

What is it about October that makes us all want to hang out in dark cozy spaces. I believe it’s the combination of Halloween and candlelight flickering against the walls that casts alluring shadows plus the cooler weather and daylight savings time that brings the night faster.

What I notice with dark painted walls is that gold or brass glisten beautifully, wood textures come alive, and shadows are more dramatic. These examples will tempt you to paint your walls  a shade of deep green, blue, charcoal, or black.

villa betula 

the future kept

arazi levine design 

source unknown

colette wallpaper – the pattern collective 

shop mohd 

ideal home uk 

studio mcgee 

eche martinez 

hotel st vincent 

deuce city henhouse

vernich interiors


apple and oak

Did you miss our previous article…

Oregon Road Trip Highlights

I spent the first week of August exploring the state of Oregon, a place I had never been to before even though it’s my neighbor to the north. On my road trip, I stopped in Ashland, Portland, Hood River, and then drove the entire Oregon coast home all the way back to California.  It was a lot of driving but I wanted to visit my northern neighbor by car to see the mountains, rivers, and explore the towns.

I had to make my way through several northern counties in California before crossing the border. The golden plains turned to hills and then mountains covered in forests as I made my way toward the Pacific Northwest. It was almost dusk as I crossed the border into Oregon where I stopped on the side of the highway to photograph the “Welcome to Oregon” sign as semis whizzed past me at high speeds almost blowing me over.

At sunset I arrived in Ashland, Oregon and I had just enough time to make a last seating for dinner downtown. I dined under globe lights in an outdoor cafe and while I ate I struck up a conversation with a local theater manager. She offered me a quick walking tour of the town after dinner, pointing out various sights I should see during daylight. Friendly locals always have the best tips and remind me of the kindness of strangers.

The next morning I set out on foot to explore the town in daylight and snapped a few photos with my phone. Ashland is known for its theater productions but I will remember it for its small town charm. Highlights: the interior of the historical Ashland Springs Hotel which will transport you to another time, and the very cute shops and restaurants next to Lithia Park.

After soaking up the parks, cafes, and shops I headed north to Portland. I didn’t get to spend anytime in Bend, which I’ve heard is really wonderful and in hindsight I wished I’d budgeted an extra day to see it.

Arriving in Portland my immediate impression was the opposite of Ashland. It was big, crowded, and confusing to navigate. I checked into the Hoxton hotel and headed to the rooftop bar to relax with tacos and sunset views.


I loved the interior of this hotel, its decorated with a cozy mid century vibe (see more pictures here) and it was a cozy place to relax and have morning coffee.


I explored Portland on foot for two days. They take pride in their local motto “Keep Portland Weird” and I had mixed feelings about Portland downtown, but I found some spots that were cool like Pioneer Square and the Pearl District.

In Portland I discovered (and I had been warned) that the city struggles with a serious homeless population. The downtown areas are covered in tents and there were a lot of transients walking around. It’s tragic and those of us who know San Francisco are acutely aware we have the same problem. I don’t know the solution but I do know it impacts the vibe of a city.

The highlights of Portland for me were popular Powells Books, the Saturday Portland market, and my outdoor lunch at Luc Lac kitchen. My most favorite stop was my hike through Washington Park to the zen Japanese garden, it was so beautiful and worth the long walk to that side of town and uphill hike through the park.


I left Portland and headed east to Hood River, a town I’d been wanting to see since reading about it. The drive east is beautiful, winding through the Pacific Northwest along the Columbia River, it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road with such natural beauty all around!

Hood River looked like a place where they’d film a Netflix series. You know they type: a few charming downtown streets filled with shops, cafes, and breweries, surrounded by craftsman style homes, where life moves slowly and it feels like everyone meets for coffee every morning and knows everyone in town.

I rented a private room at the best Airbnb that was decorated with such cute and quirky furnishings and decor.

I had two amazing experiences in Hood River, the first was whitewater rafting with ZooRaft. So much fun! As a solo passenger I was partnered with a really cute family and spent a few hours riding rapids and drifting down river with them. It was one of the most pleasant travel experiences I’ve ever had, being on the water riding through a canyon surrounded by beautiful forests.

Hood River is a place where there are a lot of outdoor adventures: windsurfing, kayaking, and hiking, no wonder it’s such a happy place to be!

Another highlight was the Gorge White House, a stop recommended to my by my cousin. This farm had orchards and flowers and delicious hard cider, I highly recommend this place if you’re ever in Hood River!

I left Hood River and followed the Columbia River to the coast. What a beautiful drive!

I took two days to drive the Oregon coast home, it was a long but another extremely scenic drive. I started in Astoria where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean and turned south down Highway 101. Astoria has a really cool maritime museum and a really cute downtown where I stopped for an early dinner at a great brewpub.

I stayed for a few hours then headed down a gently winding highway to stop in Seaside for dinner and to sleep for the night.

I could tell why Seaside was a vacation destination. It had a very cute downtown and beautiful beaches! I stayed at the chic Saltline Hotel for the night and was lucky to catch a beautiful sunset.

I stopped in Cannon Beach for a quick walk along the beach and to check out the famous rock. It was crowded with tourists and I could see why, Cannon Beach felt like it was straight out of a movie with its shops, manicured gardens, and seaside homes with stunning ocean views.

I stopped briefly in Depoe Bay to check out the views and grab some coffee. Wow what amazing vistas!

My final stop was Newport where I had dinner by the waterfront where all the locals enjoy amazing seafood.

My favorite coastal towns along Highway 101 were Seaside, Cannon Beach, Depoe Bay, and Newport! Thank you Oregon, my neighbor to the north, for showing off your scenery!

My  trip to Oregon had highs and lows. Travel isn’t always rainbows, but knowing that I still do it for the new experiences and vistas. Travel always teaches me something and I come back with stories to tell, like the motel where I was scammed! I made the mistake of not checking reviews and ended up at a total dump that used fake pictures to advertise and had no room available when I arrived. Thankfully I got my money back but that wasn’t a pleasant experience.


This road trip was a solo adventure. I’m lucky that Matt is the kind of person to say to me “go, explore, have fun!” while he handles the family obligations. When I travel solo I have a lot of freedom and solitude and I gain clarity being alone with my thoughts. I also have an opportunity to meet locals and strike up conversations with strangers I might not talk to if I was traveling with others.

Exploring new places makes me feel alive, and I always return from a solo trip as a relaxed, inspired, more evolved version of myself.

Did you miss our previous article…

Sculptural Mirrors in Organic Shapes

On that model home tour I shared earlier this week, I spied an amazing live edge wood mirror on the wall in the dining room of one of the staged homes. (I was also happy to see my favorite small round dining table also used in this client’s dining nook.)


Rounded edge rectangle and circle mirrors with pencil thin or wood trim edges have been popular in the past few years but I love that we’re seeing more organic flowing edge mirrors.

These live edge and asymmetrical mirrors mimic more of the shapes you’d see in nature. They make great focal points and as always, mirrors are that perfect solution for bouncing light around a room.

live edge 36”custom live edge

wood live edge48” live edge


rectangle live edge

wavy woodhickory swirl mirror

organic ovalmidcentury wood

48” brass rough edge

black wavy edge (also gold) / edgebark

black irregular edge (also brass) / brass set of 3

asymmetrical set – irregular shape

flowing woodibiza gold

gunmetalchampagne organic shape

gold asymmetrical mirror

Do you love these more organic shapes too?

Did you miss our previous article…

Hiring a Home Remodeler

When a family is thinking about making improvements to their homes, they may be thinking about hiring a home remodeler to do the work for them. It seems that everyone needs a home to remodel at some point in their lives. For many families, this includes the kitchen. Remodeling the kitchen can be a fun project that will let you add new flooring and wallpaper or new cabinets and appliances.

home remodeler

Before hiring a home remodeler, you should have a preliminary design for the new look of your home. A home remodeler can offer assistance to get you a preliminary design. A preliminary design will give you an idea of the costs involved in the renovation and give you an idea of how much time you have to complete the work. It will also give you an idea of what the costs are likely to be.

In general, remodeling contractors charge depending on the size of the job and the amount of work that needs to be done. A simple remodeling might only cost a few hundred dollars, while a two-story addition could set you back several thousand dollars. Be aware of contractors who ask for upfront payments and do not provide a lot of information. Ask plenty of questions before you allow a home improvement company to start work. Home improvement companies should be happy to provide you with a written estimate on the cost of the work.

One reason for using a home remodeler is so that you don’t have to take on the responsibility of doing the construction yourself. There are contractors who will come in and complete the entire job for you. These are called framers and are very popular in homes because they take a lot of the work out of constructing a new home. A contractor can quote you a price for your services, but it’s still your job to complete the construction on your own. This is usually why most homeowners hire a contractor. However, you should be aware of some potential problems with hiring a contractor:

The first thing to consider when hiring a home remodeler is the skill level that they have. Some contractors are experienced in only one particular aspect of the construction process, such as bricklaying or flooring. However, more specialized services may require additional training and licensing. Always ask the remodeling contractor what type of training they have and complete any educational courses that they may have before you agree to have them perform a specific service. Also, make sure you look at any licensing documents that they have.

Another important thing to consider is the style of the home remodeler. While a large-scale renovation might be better suited for experienced construction workers, smaller renovations can require the skill of a smaller renovation company or even a do-it-yourselfer. As you are working with a contractor, remember that they will have their own vision for what they want to accomplish through the construction process. The design and cost of the overall renovation may change along the way, which will make your original initial budget no longer applicable. Be sure that you agree to the new final quote and keep all documentation pertaining to both the original and final quotes.

One thing that many homeowners do not consider is that the work of the home remodeler is not just about getting the parts together. They have to use their skills in carpentry and electrical work as well. For example, the contractor might have to install a new roof, drywall in a basement, or replace kitchen cabinets and other interior fixtures. It doesn’t make sense to pay for the job when you don’t get to see how the work is being done, so ask for photographs of every step of the renovation process. You also need to request paperwork and written estimates for everything from beginning to end, including any remodeling material costs.

Even though you may have everything planned upfront, sometimes it’s wise to bring in a home remodeler to pull a few unexpected things into the mix. A professional contractor knows how to handle a few surprises like this, which is why they are so often called in for remodeling projects. They can also take care of hiring the raw materials you need, and oftentimes they are the only source for certain items like nails, concrete, plumbing, and ceiling tiles, since some DIY’ers may not have them in stock.