Naomi Hartman & Leah Brenner
5 Things Nobody Tell You About Remodels
You can’t always trust the conventional wisdom when it comes to remodeling. Here are five things the Remodelista editors think you should know before you get started:
1. Lemon juice will etch marble.
Marble is beloved as a timeless and classic material, adding a note of luxury to any room, however think twice before you install marble countertops in a kitchen. Marble is not known for being low maintenance: it’s not heat resistant, it etches easily, and it can chip if you accidentally whack, say, a heavy stockpot against it. If you have marble countertops in your kitchen, make sure you use cutting boards and lots of care when preparing acidic foods like tomatoes or lemons, as these can react with the marble and leave it “etched.” Or, select honed marble to help prevent etching and scarring (and give it a matte finish).
2. Zellige tiles are tough to clean.
Handmade clay Zellige may be the trendiest tile of 2019, but these tiles have imperfect edges and uneven surfaces. Because they’re hand-molded, hand-cut, and hand-glazed, no two Zellige tiles are exactly the same. Installed on a wall, the tiles appear more fluid or rippled than flat; corners and edges protrude rather than laying flush. This adds charm, but can make the tiles trickier to wipe down—and can also create a prime place for fabrics to snag.
3. Clawfoot tubs are space hogs.
When we think of clawfoot bathtubs, we think of luxury: deep baths you could spend all day in, with candles and maybe a glass of Champagne. If size is a consideration in your bathroom, keep in mind that older, freestanding baths tend to take up more space: they’re often bigger than built-in models, and are generally installed with some space between the bath and the wall. One consideration you may not have thought of: if you opt for a footed tub, you’ll need to clean beneath it (and around the feet). Even freestanding tubs that sit flush on the floor will leave a gap between the wall and the bath that may be tough to reach when cleaning.
4. Painting laminate kitchen cabinets is a waste of time.
Unfinished, painted, and stained wood all work well, as does MDF, compressed/faux wood. In truth, any material that you can scuff up with sandpaper so that paint adheres is viable. That’s why laminates aren’t a good choice–you can paint them, but it won’t be long-lasting.
5. To make a room look big, install shiplap vertically.
Shiplap likely gets its name from a style of shiplap that was once used to make ships. Shiplap is associated with seaside cottages and cabins for a reason: historically, it was used in punishing climates as a way of keeping wind and water out of houses, thanks to the overlapping joint between the boards. Most people think of shiplap installed horizontally in a room (which itself can help carry the eye around the space, making it feel larger). But installing the shiplap vertically helps emphasize the height of the room, making it feel larger; or, to really turn shiplap on its head, try installing it on the ceiling to draw the eye upwards.