New Year, New Laundry Room

Erin Marshall of Live Pretty on a Penny gives her laundry room a 2019 makeover. Incorporating her design sense with the small space needs, Erin designed a space that is functional and chic at the same time.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been

One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been the area of my that serves as a drop and go. The storage was not adequate, and I really never liked that the only shelving that we had in the space was a long wire one, that allowed everything that we use in the space to be visible. Additionally, with the older machines, the lack of efficiency was evident in utility bills. With this setup, it didn’t allow the space to be very functional, which in turn did not make coming into this space visually appealing. For 2019, a new laundry room was definitely in order.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
We decided that for the new year, this space had to take on a new face with new machines, paint, storage, and a few simple décor items to make it feel just as important as any room in our home. As a catalyst for this space, we visited the Home Depot online and began shopping for new, more efficient machines. We ended up going with the Whirlpool High Efficiency Stackable
stack our machines this time around because the room is so small, and we knew it would grant us more space.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
What appealed to me about these machines was the dark and modern graphite gray color. I knew it would immediately update the space.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
I also love the fan fresh option on the washer, which keeps clothes smelling fresh inside of the machine, in case you can’t put them in the dryer right away (ahem, raise your hand if you are guilty like me!) The load & go feature keeps me from having to pull out a bulky detergent bottle each time I wash, as this feature allows me to load enough detergent for up to 12 loads in one
compartment, hello convenience! There is also a color last feature which allows for longer wear of our clothing without the possibility of fading in the wash. Just so many features to help make my life easier, what’s not to love!

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
I absolutely love that my dryer is able to evenly dry large and small loads. It also offers an advanced moisture sensing option which helps to prevent damage caused by over-drying. The steam option is also a big help, especially with my busy schedule, it helps to fight wrinkles that I normally would have to combat with ironing. The delivery of our machines was timely and the delivery men dropped them off and set up the stack kit and made sure that everything was in working order prior to leaving. Once our machines were delivered, the blank canvas was the perfect motivation to start. We painted the space, using PPG Timeless paint in Raindrop White. It’s a beautiful soft white color. We then built a “casing” for our washer and dryer to give it a built in look using Sanded Plywood and small corner brackets and added some additional storage using some recycled cabinets. We added crown molding to the ceiling to give it an even more custom built in look.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
Since, I’ve always loved the look of subway tile, we installed MSI Bianco Subway Tile ourselves down the wall on side of the washer and dryer.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
We then installed some DIY stained wood shelves that was cut from 1-in. x 10-in. x 6-ft. common board and installed them 5-inch metal corner brackets. We had the shelves cut into the size that we needed at our local store.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
Functional storage items such as this rectangle braided rush basket, that holds items such as dryer sheets, etc, and the white gloss glass ceramic vase for clothes pins were great functional, decorative additions.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
We also added a Mustee Utilatub Combo that we find useful for washing out items that we consider to be more for industrial use, like paint brushes, dumping buckets, etc. I spray painted
the legs gold for a touch of glam and customization.

New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been
We also updated the lighting. The original light was an old florescent rectangular fixture. I knew something more modern would be more fitting, so we added this Fifth and Main Versailles  Light Fixture.
New Year, New Laundry Room Makeover One of the most neglected areas of my home has been my laundry room. I never liked doing laundry, so it has mainly been

So, there you have it! We are so happy with how our new laundry room turned out. While laundry is still not my favorite thing to do, being in a space this pretty and functional makes it a whole lot easier.
Plus, with a little time, and elbow grease, we gave ourselves a space to love on for years to come!

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The latest innovations in lower-toxic pest control

The latest innovations in lower-toxic pest control

New methods of pest control are based on low-tox solutions that can be more sustainable and effective than harsh chemicals

In recent years, several critical factors have driven the pest control industry and business towards low-tox solutions.

Stringent legislation, such as the FDA Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA) and the EU Biocidal Products Regulation, now regulates the use and development of new biocidal products, driving the innovation of low-tox alternatives.

Businesses, meanwhile, are reacting to rising expectations from consumers, many of whom are more aware of the effect of overuse of pesticides on the environment and health.

The pest control industry itself has also matured significantly. Like many other sectors, we are constantly researching and solutions that are more sustainable, effective and are better for the planet overall.

These are all compelling reasons why pest control is changing. What’s also fascinating from an innovation perspective is that these driving forces are emerging at a time when advances in technology are also enabling low-tox solutions that are more targeted and effective than many of the chemical solutions that are still used today.

The four benefits of lower-toxic pest control

The advantages of connected technology and the Internet of Things

Many new developments are based on the automation of pest observation. Currently, for example, the pest control industry is embracing the Internet of Things to change the way facilities are monitored. We can now install connected traps and devices to carry out remote monitoring 24/7, so technicians don’t have to physically visit a site to see if pests are present. When they do visit a site, technicians don’t need to spend time checking traps. Instead they can focus on developing low-tox, preventative risk mitigation strategies instead.

In the agriculture space, we are also experimenting with bespoke monitoring solutions, such as drones  fitted with thermal imaging technology, that can survey large areas of crops. The technical capability of the thermal heat and hyperspectral imaging software fitted in these drones is so high that they can view microscopic details and find localised infestations. This enables us to treat small areas and pest problems with low-tox solutions before they spread.

Prevention through predictive analytics

Another major advantage of these new monitoring methods is that they provide us with new data, much of which was not available before. The drones mentioned above, for instance, can monitor the chlorophyll level in plants and predict the damage a plant will sustain before it happens.

We don’t just collect data from these devices and use it in isolation. We can now overlay it with public data sources, such as weather records, to start predicting pest behaviour based on different variables. In turn, this is fuelling sophisticated predictive analytics that enables us to apply targeted, low-tox treatments in localised spots, rather than blanket treating facilities with chemicals.  In many cases, when you have the right support with innovative applications of technology, there is no need to use any harsh chemicals at all.

New developments in non-toxic heat treatments

Ironically, some of the recent innovations are enhancements of ideas that have been around for centuries. In the 18th Century, early settlers in Australia developed rudimentary ways to use heat to eliminate insects. Today, modern technology is now being applied to the idea to scale it up into a commercial model.

Rentokil’s Entotherm, for example, is a new solution that eradicates bed bugs and cockroaches. Rather than using sprays, which often don’t penetrate the hard outer shell, the heat delivered by the Entotherm system kills insects from the inside through dehydration and damage to essential physiological processes. This method avoids any risk of the insects developing resilience to spray chemicals and passing on resistant genes to future offspring.

Another benefit is that the heat effectively kills all the life stages of insects – egg, larva, pupa and adult – without needing go higher than 56-60 degrees Celsius. This temperature is high enough to kill pests rapidly, but it doesn’t cause structural damage to buildings or objects.

New advances in biopesticides

It’s not just hardware and data that is driving low-toxic innovation. Rentokil’s Global Science Centre is also currently developing new organic-compound solutions that can repel or destroy pests. One solution we are currently developing, for example, uses fungal spores that attach to the external body surface of cockroaches. The spores then germinate and bore through the outer shell to reach the insects’ body cavity, after which they multiply and kill the insect.

Solutions like these have zero mammalian toxicity and only low volumes are needed. Another significant benefit is that unlike chemicals, pests can’t become resistant to the spores. This means that we’re able to get closer to solving a long-standing problem with how insects learn to adapt to chemicals and pass on resistant genes.  It’s a clear illustration that many of the innovative chemical-free solutions being developed today combine higher levels of efficacy with reduced environmental impact.

The future of low-tox innovation

A word about the future. What would happen if we could communicate with pests like mice, rather than just monitor them? This is something we are experimenting with at Rentokil now using ultrasound technology. It is an idea borne out of frustration with the fact that current ways of monitoring mice (e.g. connected traps, or fluorescent gels) only pick up activity when the mouse interacts with the solution and activates it. If the mouse is merely nearby, then no pest activity will be recorded.

We’re currently developing a solution to this problem that can listen to mice by picking up the high frequencies they emit, which are higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing. As we continue to develop and analyse the potential of this innovative solution, we will also be exploring the possibility of sending messages back to mice to repel them from the area.

Communicating with mice may sound like science fiction for now. But how often does today’s science fiction become tomorrow’s normal? What we can be sure of is that the need and demand for low-tox pest control is going to continue to increase – driven forward inexorably by rising consumer demand and increasing regulation. We can also be certain that new, continually evolving innovations will help to effectively meet those demands with safer, greener solutions for pest control.

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#172: Ask Paula – Should I Buy a Nice Car or Save My Money?

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Should a 25-year-old homeowner with healthy savings and no debt (other than his mortgage) upgrade his car? Should he make this choice if his current car is fine, and upgrading puts him into new debt?

Should a couple without access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan put their savings into a taxable account, or should they save for a downpayment on a rental property?

The market is fluctuating like mad; if someone has a lump-sum of cash, should they invest it now or should they slowly meter it in?

Should someone without an emergency fund enroll in an HSA-qualified health insurance plan? Or should they stick with a plan that has a smaller deductible?

How should a husband-and-wife team that’s self-employed and running a company together handle their health insurance?

Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I answer these five questions on today’s podcast. Enjoy!

Small Bathroom Design Ideas

When it comes to design, a small bathroom presents an opportunity to have some fun. Consider that you typically only spend a few minutes in a small bathroom or powder room. As long as you get the bathroom layout right and provide all the necessities, you can really go in any direction with your bathroom decor.

We were excited by that idea when we finally decided to tackle our small main floor powder room over holidays. In just over two days, we transformed it from a red and sombre space to one that is pleasant and surprisingly pretty. You can get a whole new look without a costly bathroom renovation. Here’s my best tips for a quick budget bathroom remodel and designing a functional small bathroom with style.

*Affiliate links are used in this post

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

Before I dig into the changes we made in this bathroom remodel, let’s take a look at what this bathroom looked like before. We moved into this house two years ago and we hadn’t touched this space. Here’s a few things that had to be fixed:

  • the bold red paint that made this room feel dark and small
  • weird ceiling angles emphasized by the paint treatment
  • a window with blinds that were constantly closed to provide privacy
  • modern dated fixtures that didn’t fit with the warm and traditional design scheme we had in the rest of the house
  • no towel holder, art or accessories and a lack of style
So how did we remodel this small bathroom on a budget?

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

1. Keep Existing Fixtures and Furnishings

The biggest costs in a bathroom renovation are incurred when you make changes to the existing layout and furnishings. Things like moving the toilet or faucet placement, changing the vanity, or making structural changes can significantly increase your budget. In this budget bathroom remodel, we didn’t have to make any costly alterations. The toilet worked fine (though it was wobbly and needed to be re-installed) and the vanity and countertop were adequate. The floor tiles really weren’t our style but they continued into the connected kitchen so we decided to live with those as well.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

2. Use Inexpensive Molding to add Character

One great thing about small bathrooms is that you don’t have a lot of square footage to cover. We decided to keep this project at a minimal cost by relying on inexpensive paint and moulding to bring about a dramatic transformation.

To bring character to the space, we decided to continue the wall moulding treatment into the bathroom. The moulding outside the bathroom was installed a few years ago by the previous owners but we were lucky to find trim pieces to replicate the look. We had leftover trim from our living room project that exactly matched the chair rail. We did purchase additional picture moulding which was super inexpensive, about $8 for the entire room, and we kept the existing baseboard.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

3. Expand Your Space With Paint

How can you make a small bathroom look bigger? All it takes is the right paint colour and a few reflective accessories. By painting the wall above the chair rail and the ceiling the same white paint colour (Simply White by Benjamin Moore), and using a darker colour on the bottom (Stonington Grey by Benjamin Moore), we were to make the room feel taller. Having the ceiling the same colour as the walls also helped to minimize the weird angles. The small door on the right above the vanity is a door into the laundry chute which runs from the floor upstairs to the basement downstairs. It’s pretty handy for tossing down dirty tea towels but it creates this strange curved ceiling in the bathroom!

Another space-expanding trick is to use mirrors. This round mirror fills up the area nicely and reflects the sunlight from the window, making the bathroom feel bright and airy. I also like how the round shape plays against the hard edges of the vanity and towel bar and the minimal design doesn’t overpower this small room.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

4. Be Creative With Your Privacy Options

Privacy is something you need to have in a bathroom but that doesn’t mean everything needs to be closed off and dark. Window film is a great option that is not only functional but helps to make your small bathroom feel bigger. We lined the entire window with this window film and I added a simple tension rod, curtain rings with clips, and a cafe curtain I sewed out of scrap fabric to the bottom half of the window. This way, you let in natural light but don’t feel exposed when you’re in the bathroom.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas, bathroom privacy film, cafe curtain

5. Choose Clean Lined Decor Elements

Although the mouldings and trims are very curvy and traditional, I balanced them with more modern and streamlined toilet paper holder, towel rod, and knobs. Their minimal design doesn’t draw too much attention or compete with the moulding. Keeping everything in a matte black finishe also helps tie the entire look together.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas, bathroom wainscot

6. Make a Statement With Light

Light fixtures are one of my favourite ways to bring style and impact to a room. Typically, you might only have one or two light sources in a small bathroom. Make the best use of that opportunity by choosing a light fixture that combines both functionality and design. This Permo Industrial Wall Sconce comes in 5 different colours and was less than $35! With it’s mixed brass and metal finish, it packs a lot of style in it’s small form. I love the swivel head and the extended arm which allows light to be cast downward in a nice cone shape.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas

7. Use Art in the Bathroom

It might seem counter-intuitive, but I would encourage you to use a really nice piece of art in your small bathroom. Art can elevate the feel of an entire space, make it feel ‘fancier’ and, well, less like a bathroom! I’ve had this modern print for years and was just waiting for the right spot to display it. Who knew it would end up here. I love that it’s unexpected and how the art picks up on the black, white, and cream tones found in the room.

small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas
small bathroom remodel, bathroom design ideas
I was extremely happy with how quickly this room came together. How long does it take to renovate a small bathroom? It depends on the complexity of changes you are making but this budget bathroom remodel took us only 2.5 days. If you have a small bathroom in need of a makeover, make a few select changes and you and your guests will be sitting pretty in no time!

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Looking for more small bathroom remodel ideas? Check out these past projects:

Small Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom Floor Tile Layout

Black & White Vintage Bathroom

Bathroom Tile Ideas

My Newly Refinished Wood Bathroom Countertop (And A Peek At The New Cabinet Color)

I’ve been spending the last couple of days working on my hallway bathroom makeover that I mentioned earlier this week. I should have it finished up this weekend and be ready to move on to other projects. But y’all, I’m pretty excited because after years and years of struggling with staining pine, I think I’ve finally found the magic method for getting rid of those hideous (to me) orange and yellow undertones that come through when you put stain on pine. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with pine for well over a decade now. I love it because it’s cheap and abundantly available. But I hate it because getting it just the right color with stain is virtually impossible. But my pine-staining woes may be a thing of the past! This bathroom countertop is one that I built from 2″ x 3″ pine lumber four years ago when I remodeled this hallway bathroom. I had such a hard time getting the finish right and getting rid of all of those orange and yellow undertones in the wood that I ended up with a really dark, almost opaque finish on the countertop. It definitely wasn’t what I had envisioned when I […]

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