Preparing Your Yard for Winter

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 3.51.25 PM

Brown — sometimes that’s all you see after an especially cold, long winter. Your yard is one of the parts of your home that can be a place of refuge and rest, so having to bring it back to life after every winter season may not be your idea of fun. Fortunately, you can protect and preserve your yard by preparing for the cold winter with some simple steps. 

Mow Your Lawn

It is important to keep mowing your lawn until the ground freezes. If your lawn is too short, you run the risk of roots dying and seeing dead patches when summer rolls around. If your lawn is too long, you run the risk of fungus damage.

Drain Water

Pools, ponds, and other water features around your lawn should be drained of any water. In order to make sure that the features are properly drained, it’s important to hire specialists to check as the water features could end up being destroyed from freezing in the water lines. Sprinkler winterization can also be done by some companies to keep your sprinklers safe through those long winters. Draining water also goes for small containers or other areas with water, as you do not want to provide breeding grounds for mosquitos. 


Adding fertilizer during the fall can help your lawn survive the long winter when it won’t receive any nutrients. Choosing winterized fertilizer can help your lawns grow thicker roots and help it survive through the winter. 


As it gets colder, your grass will focus more on growing its roots instead of the blades. It will greatly benefit your soil if you aerate the ground to promote the growth of these roots. When you aerate your lawn, there is better water drainage and it also gives your grass more oxygen. Adding new seeds in thinner areas is also a good idea as you will want to compensate for the winter months and have your lawn green in the spring.

Decrease Watering

When it gets closer to winter, it’s best to water your lawn less as your lawn will not need as much water as it gets colder. However, it’s important that you do not stop watering until the ground freezes as your lawn is using the water supply to get nutrients from the soil. Your lawn will need all the time it can get to prepare for winter. 


Whether you like it or not, you will have to do something about those leaves piling up in your yard. If you already have, good on you! Leaves on the lawn will smother the grass and you will end up with dirt instead of grass come springtime.  Luckily, you have options when it comes to dealing with the leaves. Mulching the leaves can be the easiest, as you simply must cut the leaves into smaller pieces with a lawnmower. Raking is the default option and is best when the leaves really pile up. If the leaves pile up too thick, it’s best just to grab a rake and get to work.

With these steps, your lawn will be green by spring despite all the snow and you’ll have a sanctuary to rest, relax, and admire. 

partnered post • client image

5 Essential Moving Tips and Tricks For Your Family


Today, it is not uncommon for the entire family to pull up stakes in one city and move to another state or country. The moving experience for every family can be vastly different based on the plan that they create and the parameters in the time that is available. In some cases, the family may only have a month or two to get everything thing done properly. However, they may have enough lead time that gives them six months or more to prepare for the move that needs to be made. In either case, here are some great easy tips that can help your move go very smoothly and on time.

1. Save money on moving by looking for moving boxes at your neighborhood's recycling drop-off point

Moving can be very expensive to the family’s budget. Even if the move is being funded by the company that you are moving to, you may need to cut corners wherever you can to reduce the amount that will be paid out. Thankfully, you can cut part of the cost by looking for alternatives to paying for every expense that is incurred. For instance, one of the first places that you can save is on the moving boxes. You can save money by checking with your local neighborhood recycling drop off point for free boxes. Boxes are often available that have been dropped off by neighbors and the number that is available can be what you need and much more.

2. Reuse original boxes for electronics and appliances

If you happen to run short on the number that you can obtain from these drop off centers, you can use other methods to gather the moving boxes that will be needed to. For instance, if you have boxes in the home that have been previously used for your old appliances, electronics, and other items that you no longer have in your possession, you can use these boxes to begin packing your possessions for the move. Talk to family members and friends about your move to see if they can help you obtain all of the boxes that will be required.

3. Hire a moving company to assist with making the move

To prepare for the move, you need to know who will be moving all of your possessions to the new location. When making the choice, you have more than one option that you can make your selection from. Based on the timing and how much you have to move, you may want to hire a moving company and let their movers do the work for you. You will not go wrong by choosing North American Van Lines for your moving needs. For instance, the moving company can benefit from having a new customer and you can benefit from the added help for the move that needs to be made. For instance, when the moving company's representatives arrive at your home, they will not only be prepared to box every item up but also to move every box into the moving van. Because of their expertise, they can get these jobs done quickly, safely, and without breaking your valuable possessions while in transit.

4. Make a checklist of things that need to be done before the move

As you make plans for the move, you need to make sure that you are creating a list of things that must be done before you drive your van from the old location to the new area that you will be residing in. This checklist will help you in planning each step of the way and will give you the details that are needed to ensure a smooth transition. For instance, the checklist that you document will help you determine which furniture you will take with you and what needs to be purchased to furnish the new home. This is a very important part of the move since you may want to save on the cost of moving all of the old furniture into your new residence.

5. Want to save additional money? Move mid-week

When you have the option to choose a specific date that you want to move, it is important that you take into account the high traffic times. The highest demand for a moving company is on the weekend, so you want to choose the middle of the week for your best option.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Nicholas Huk

4 People You Can Hire to Make Property Ownership A Lot Easier


Owning property seems like it is a super simple way to make money. You have an apartment, charge rent, and watch your income increase. 

While property ownership can be a great source of income, it can also be a lot of hard work. There are enough needs of the apartment and tenant that can keep you busy like this is your full-time job. 

There are a number of people you can hire that will make this process easier for you and that will cause you to spend less time at the rental property.


If you are strong with math and bookkeeping, this may seem like a waste of money. You should definitely put every effort you can into saving money by doing things yourself. 

If you have a lot of property, it may be worth it to hire an accountant to help you manage your finances. They know how to manage these situations and make sure you are financially in good shape. Plus they are a huge help once tax season comes around.


Your rental property only does you good if someone is living in it and rent is coming in. In order to do that you will need to make sure people can find your rental property. 

Hiring someone to market your property can really help find tenants. 

If done well, you won’t ever have to have a month when you aren’t having rent paid on the living space. Marketing can be as simple as posting to a Facebook group of people looking for housing, but hiring a marketing professional team will help you find versatile ways to keep your property filled. 


If you are good with tools, maintenance is an easy thing to do on your own. If you aren’t so handy or own a lot of property, it can difficult to do all the required upkeep.

Hiring a maintenance team can help ease your burden. They can quickly and effectively solve problems and keep your property looking and working great. Hiring professionals can cost more money but can be worth it because they can handle a higher volume of problems, as well as the harder ones.

Property Manager

Property managers are the superstars of the rental property world. They can do just about anything you ask to help your property run smoothly. 

They can work in the front office, take payments, maintain the property, handle evictions, and find new tenants. Many property management companies offer all these services and more.

They are your Ace. They can do it all, including all of the functions previously mentioned. 


Managing property can get to be a lot of work. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself though. By hiring good professionals to handle some of your tasks, you can cut down on your workload and still get quality results. If you own property, I would definitely recommend looking into property management professionals, they will make your life so much easier, and let you get back to your free time.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Étienne Beauregard-Riverin

Process of Installing a Concrete Driveway

Screen Shot 2019-08-21 at 10.32.39 AM

Installing a concrete driveway requires a lot of planning and heavy labor. When well done the drive you will offer service for along time. Below is the process of installing a concrete driveway.

The most critical requirement of a good solid concrete driveway is the sub-base beneath. Too soft and wet soils make the bearing rock shift, leading to the failure of the concrete. If the substrate is dry or has had proper under drainage installed, placement of a leveling course of a suitable material is then required. 

After the sub base is set, ensure the angles of the slopes are what you want on top of the concrete. Make sure the grade slopes away from buildings and do not cause any ponding areas and that all the captured water runs to the area you wish it to go.

Layout the finished driveway using your pins and string line. Set the string to the top elevation of the concrete for the driveway. Once all the string lines are in place, take a look at what you have created. Do the curved areas have neat and smooth lines? Are the square areas square? Are all the slopes correct? If not, make the adjustments. Now install your wood forms, making sure they can handle the pressure from the concrete.

Once that's done it's time to plan the concrete pours. If the driveway is large, pouring it all at once is not practical and you won't have time to properly install it. A sudden rain shower or broiling sun can cook the concrete or destroy the finished surface. Carefully watch the weather for the day of the pour. Concrete panels should not be poured larger than twenty or twenty-five feet in length and fifteen feet wide.

A joint expansion material is used after every panel to cater for the expansion and contraction. Sealing the joints prevent water entry to the slabs, controls any weed germination in warmer days and curbs ice forming that may crack the slabs when the climate is cold.

You can use reinforcing bars on the driveway to prevent ready-mix trucks from accessing the form.

 A good concrete Driveway should be about 3000-pound to 4000 pounds to sustain more weight. Roadway edges should be double-reinforced with bars to block any chipping or cracking. 

After the concrete is done, smoothing the surface is next. Power trowel gives a smooth surface which is not polished. Other people may prefer a broom to finish the surface.

If you intend to use colored concrete, all the concrete must be purchased from the same seller. Even if two suppliers use the same dyes, the same stone, and the same water supply, different sands will cause different shades in the finished product. Different brands of dye with the same color name will cause ugly shading in the finished product as well.

Making the right choice of a concrete contractor for your project is an important stage to help you achieve what you want. There are several key areas that you should focus on as a homeowner.

Years of Experience

A contractor like Concrete contractors Bellevue WA with at least five years of experience has been in the business long enough to know the dos and don'ts. The damage is minimal as they are less prone to mistakes. If you are unsure of something, they can guide you on the right path. No one wants a contractor that will end up damaging your property.

Proper Insurance and License

The right insurance coverage and licensing are of more importance than experience years. In case an accident occurs to a person or the property is damaged by the contractor, it will be safe for you. Consult with the insurance company to know whether their insurance is valid for the time they will be working for you. 


Ask for at least five client references from the past two years. Past clients are often a good source for the concrete contractor's past work. You'll find out more information about them from a third-person point of view. A contractor with more positive references shows they are credible.


The type of service that a concrete contractor offers is very vital. Some contractors are of specific service others are general in their work. Note carefully what the contractor is specialized in and hire those who are in the line of your project. Those that perform concrete driveway installation should be highly experienced in it.

partnered post • client image

Simple Residential Repair Jobs


You don’t have to assume that all repair jobs are always difficult or time-consuming. You don’t have to be a bonafide handyman in order to tackle basic home repair projects at all. If you notice any issues that pop up around your living space, you may be able to tackle them all by yourself without recruiting the assistance of a professional. Don’t assume that handling D.I.Y. projects around your home has to be as complex as managing Mars forklift repairs. It does not. There are actually quite a few residential repair jobs that the vast majority of individuals can take care of independently, believe it or not.

Hardwood Floor Refinishing

Hardwood floor refinishing is truthfully something you can manage without having to request outside assistance. If you want your hardwood floors to appear as good as new, refinishing work doesn’t have to seem out of reach for you at all. You may want to even think about doing a bit of sanding. 

Garbage Disposal Cleaning

Garbage disposals are household appliances that are spotted in the vast majority of kitchens. If you have a garbage disposal that's taken on a rather unpleasant stench, then you do not have to go into panic mode. That’s because clearing out garbage disposal muck tends to be a total piece of cake. Cleaning can also extract persistent odors. If your splashguard calls for replacement, you’re A-OK as well. That’s because this is a job that doesn’t even call for half an hour total. Garbage disposal replacement tends to be a cinch for individuals who are detail-oriented and thorough.

Wallpaper Extraction

Wallpaper can lead to an interior design scheme that’s elegant and pleasant. If you have wallpaper that’s on the old side, however, it may actually interfere with the look and vibe of your home. If you have tired wallpaper that’s peeling and that’s negatively influencing the way your home appears to everyone else, then you don’t have to hire a professional to do away with it for you. That’s because wallpaper extraction work is actually pretty straightforward. It’s something that doesn’t demand a substantial time commitment at all.

Flooring That Makes Squealing Noises

It can be so exasperating to walk on floors that, simply put, just will not shut up. If your floors constantly produce high-pitched squealing sounds, though, you don’t have to set aside a lot of money to call a professional for repair work. If you want to manage a floor that's loud and irritating, you can coat it lightly with a bit of talcum powder. Push this powder into any splits you notice. If you plan on handling floor refinishing work, then you need to make a point to meticulously eliminate all remnants of stubborn powder.

Fixture Painting

You don’t have to buy costly new fixtures for your home. If you want them to appear better than ever, you can think about painting them again. Fixture painting isn’t tough. It’s also a pretty swift job.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Marco Verch

Furniture Plays A Crucial Role In The Home

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 9.59.11 AM

The essence of a home is felt by everybody who steps foot in it. Whether one is a hermit or not, the quality of a home comes from its many layers. Furniture finds a place in these layers. This place is of no small importance and a homeowner wants to be mindful with how they go about choosing furniture for the home. One of the most important parts is the mattress.

Whether it be a mattress, bed frame, dresser, or any other part of the bedroom, a consumer is going to want quality when searching for furniture. Quality comes not only from craftsmanship but through materials. There's much to be processed when someone looks to buy furniture. Needs matter.

Enhance The Space

Furniture enhances the space. Choosing furniture can be difficult. Without the right guidance, one may get stuck with a product that will last a little while before falling apart. One should take a real assessment of the space in his or her home before deciding what furniture will best enhance the look. It's about quality and comfort and how the occupants can be best served. Good furniture will give utility with durability. Paying for products that won't last simply becomes expensive and wasteful.

Finding Pride In What You Buy

Whatever furniture one decides to put in their home, it can be said that there is an artistic element to a well-built specimen. Those responsible for building furniture should take pride in the work. A good builder invests in the product by taking the time to do it right. Just as a table made by an artisan is something that was crafted to withstand time, a mattress that was built right means that it will last longer. Lasting longer will mean it will serve one's health while simultaneously helping their bank account. This is only one factor when looking for a mattress. From mattress sizes to the quality of the materials outside and in, a pragmatic consumer has to reflect on the options.

Size Matters

Space is simply limited. The way one designs the furniture in their home can directly impact several factors about the living environment. One has to be mindful about maximizing the flow of the home. Creating a maze with ill-placed furniture can be frustrating. You will have to adjust the furniture to the size of your room.

If a mattress takes up the whole space in the room, it isn't functional. One needs space to stretch, walk, and live. Needs should drive a purchase decision. If one has a need for a queen mattress, they would be wise to look for quality in that size. Quality comes in size, but it also comes in material used.

The Very Best Sleep

One can spend copious amounts of time thinking about how sleep helps them. Good sleep has many health benefits attached to it. A gateway to good sleep? The right mattress. Maybe you are allergic to the material of a mattress. If spending eight-plus hours on something you are allergic to sounds like a healthy thing, you must be from another planet. Comfort is something that ought to be synonymous with a quality mattress. What is comfortable for your uncle may not be comfortable for you. Think about your needs.

Your Needs

Remember who you are buying for. This is something that should never get lost in the purchasing process. It is easy to get distracted when choosing a mattress. You may hear somewhere about a particular type that is superior to the rest. If you are buying a mattress for yourself, manage the buying process right by looking for quality mattresses that meet your needs.

Don’t use your mattress as the sofa and office chair. A mattress is meant to be a safe haven for a person to get proper rest. Proper rest allows a person to nail the exam, perform well at work, or give an important speech. Life starts with rest. Human beings need it. Furniture is about meeting needs. There is a lot to be said about a chair that enhances a space or a mattress that was made with quality materials that last. A consumer wants to maximize an investment, not waste it. Furniture is important for many things in life. One can help themselves by electing quality to serve them.

partnered post

The Craftsman's Skills Create Experiences


A craftsman is a maker of goods that are usually formed using an artistic ability. This makes the craftsman's work very valuable. Craftsman's pieces can be made with tools or with their hands. The skills that they use to create the pieces are often of professional quality. Craftsmen often have to receive some form of education or training to perform these valuable skills. There are lots of different craftsmen in different industries today.

  • Woodcraft
  • Jewelry
  • Pottery
  • Glass
  • Metal

People who master these handy crafts are usually very good at helping others appreciate their surroundings and environmental perception. Craftsmen have the ability to make something simple look expensive. They create pieces that have the potential to add value and purpose to property.

The Value of our Craftsman Works And Moving

Every well-developed system or facility should be able to demonstrate the ability to adapt, change, or even move. Have you ever heard the saying, "You can take the boy out of the streets, but you can't take the streets out of the boy?" This same concept can apply to a building. Oftentimes, people wish that they could change their location without changing their home.

After discussing the topics about furniture and purpose, you will realize that people could have developed a connection to these pieces and places. This is why it can be helpful to hire Allied Van Lines to ensure that your craftsman pieces keep their value and sustainability and that moving is done correctly.

This will help to allow your new place of residence to give you a feeling of comfort. If your old pieces do not fit their old purpose, then you can also use some craftsman skills of your own to give them other uses!

Craftsman’s Furniture and its Capabilities

When a craftsman successfully makes the perfect furniture, everything that furniture comes in contact with looks more expensive in a sense. Think of it like this, a nice patio can give someone a beautiful view of the world around them. Now, imagine if the perfect patio table were there to compliment every moment that someone spent on that patio. Or, even better, imagine if there were outdoor couches and Martinique sofas available to help throw the perfect get together or meeting? This is only one of the craftsman's capabilities that he can use to provide an establishment of positioning and level of comfort.

Architecture Made by Craftsman

Architecture is another fascinating factor that craftsmen can manipulate. Yes, we can sit on couches and squat on chairs but what about architecture? Our ceilings, walls, doors, and floors all have the ability to enhance or deplete the quality of our surroundings as well. The architectural pieces and structures of society are very influential components that represent our status of development and cause.

Professional craftsmen or architects can design the perfect building that encompasses a particular use, or purpose. This is a very important component that can influence the amount of productivity and positivity that is exerted in that area. For example, a school would most likely be more effective or productive in an area that is designed to promote concentration and learning. This means that the ideal school would have lots of classrooms but no features that would promote distraction or chaos. This would be the complete opposite of a night club or any other area that thrives by promoting lively activity and fun. This type of place would benefit from architectural features like a dance floor with a patio or even a ceiling that also has a patio based design.

When architects incorporate these types of concepts into their designs, they help to set the mood for the facility's use. Architecture or real estate is also one of the leading businesses around the world. It is highly effective in influencing factors and perceptions about areas. For example, there is a dramatic difference in the way that people perceive a huge city compared to an underpopulated rural area. People may see the tall pieces of architecture of the city and think of convenience or even opportunity. On the other hand, a rural area may be associated with isolation, limited opportunity, and even poverty.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeff Kubina

5 Non-Decor Uses of Pallets


I’m sure you’ve been online and seen many articles written that detail the many uses of pallets in home decor. Nothing wrong with that, people have made some really cool stuff that way.

I wanted to suggest a handful of uses for pallets that get outside the home decor arena. Some of them fall into the category of home improvement projects, but not as decor. 

Fire Wood

If you have ever decided to start a fire to sit around and cook with, you will know that it requires a lot of wood. A pallet is a perfect item to use. It is big enough that you have a lot of wood to use. The smaller boards can have parts shaved off to use as kindling, and then can be broken to meet the needs of your growing fire. 

The bigger boards would be for when the fire is growing strong. Whatever your need in firewood, a pallet is a great option.


You can stack pallets easily, that is what they are made for. If you have a need for some extra shelves, then look no further than pallets. All you would need to do is build small posts in each corner to give some space in between the pallets, and voila! You have some easy shelves to increase your storage space.

Again, I consider this home improvement rather than home decor. 


Storage is much needed. Many homes just don’t have enough. Pallets are great for storage, as noted above. The reason I separated this from the shelves category is that pallets are versatile in their storage capability and don’t need to be made into shelves. Plus, there are lots of things you probably wouldn’t put on a shelf. 

If you have some heavy items you are worried about putting marks on your garage floor, a pallet is a perfect answer. It is low to the ground, so it makes for minimal lifting. Pallets are strong and can hold heavy objects. They also won’t be as easily moved as if you put a mat or pad down. 

It can also keep things off the floor in case of flooding. You can avoid damage to your possessions without spending a ton of money. Pallets for the win. 

Scrap wood

I can’t tell you how many times I could have used a piece of wood for something around the house. The last time was when my AC unit didn’t have a plastic guard to make sure the window was covered. I really just wanted a couple pieces of wood to put on either side of the unit so bugs couldn’t get in.

There are many uses for scrap wood around the house. A pallet is great because it provides a lot of wood that can be used in that way, and it isn’t terribly hard to tear apart with the right tools. 


I have known some people that will get a pallet, tear it apart as they need it and keep the nails. It works great for them as they just hang onto those nails and use it the next time they need a nail or two. 

It may not make a huge difference unless you consistently buy pallets, but it is a plus. Some pallets are held together with staples which may be less effective for your next home improvement project. 


Pallets are versatile, handy things to have if you like doing your own home improvement projects. You can easily contact nearby businesses and see if they have any used pallets they will just get rid of, or if not a search for “pallets near me” can help you locate a pallet supplier. 

partnered post • photo by Brent Keane at Pexels

5 Things You Need to Know Before Building a Log Home

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 9.02.28 AM

Have you ever dreamt of building a log home? Many of us dream about living in a beautiful, towering log cabin somewhere, surrounded by nature and cozy wooden walls. 

Building your very own log cabin isn’t as simple as it may seem, however. There are many things that people who dream of building a log cabin aren’t aware of. Financial factors and other unforeseen variables can derail your dream before you’ve even begun the building stage if you aren’t informed on the process. 

Let’s go over 5 crucial things you need to know before building a log cabin, so you can put forth your best effort at turning your dream into a reality.

  1. The Cost

On average, it costs about $35 per square foot when using a kit to build a log cabin. That’s not all, though! You’ll also need to take into account the cost of labor, utility lines, site preparation, permits, and the land itself.

One way to estimate the approximate cost of building your log cabin altogether is to take your building kit cost and multiply it by 2.6. If you are handy enough and decide to build yours straight from scratch, the cost will be a lot lower (though it will probably take much longer). For example, one man built a log cabin from scratch in a month for somewhere in the neighborhood of just $500.

You should factor in log home restoration costs as well as general log home repairs.

  1. Shrinkage and Settling

Even a log cabin built with kiln dried logs will shrink and settle a bit. This is due to the wood losing its moisture content once felled. To plan for and adjust to this, you’ll need to use chinking, caulk, and the appropriate finishes to prevent the cabin from experiencing air leakage. 

  1. Maintenance Will Be Continuous

Like a regular house, your log cabin will require maintenance. You should inspect it at least 2 times per year, in the spring and fall. This will involve inspecting the chinking, looking for any pests infestations, and assessing the overall condition of your log cabin. You should wash your cabin at least once per year to clean off all the surface level dirt. You’ll also need to stain it at least once every 3 years. It’s extremely important to stay up to date on your log home maintenance.

  1. Location is Vital

Depending on where you build your log cabin, there will be different planning laws, zoning laws, and other varying factors to consider. In addition to this, you’ll also need to consider amenities and resources. You need to be close enough so that you can have things like running water, power, phone service, and access to emergency services. Unless, that is, you want to live completely off the grid. 

  1. The Energy Efficiency of a Log Cabin

Log cabins are notoriously energy inefficient unless properly insulated. If you insulate the floor and the roof while sealing up all air leaks, your log cabin will likely be more energy efficient than the average residential home. This is because logs absorb and radiate heat.

Consider Everything Before Building a Log Cabin

If you take into account everything in this article and plan accordingly, you should have no problem building an energy efficient, sturdy log cabin that’s well within your budget. 

By considering all the various factors you need to, you can build the log cabin of your dreams without running into any unexpected roadblocks. 

partnered post • client image

Farmhouse Flooring Ideas for Your Home

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 8.59.31 AM

There are many different flooring materials to choose from to achieve the look you want for your home. Today, farmhouse styled design is at an all time high. When it comes to your flooring, homeowners can use rustic materials to bring their farmhouse design to life.

There are several ways to get a rustic look with your flooring, including hardwood and wood planks. By adding farmhouse flooring to your home, you have a base in which to create a rustic design. Learn more about the flooring options below to get started on your new farmhouse styled home. 

  1. Distressed Hardwood

One of the most popular options for farmhouse flooring is distressed hardwood. Manufactured and created from reclaimed wood, this flooring type will be durable for many years to come. Such wood is found in old barns and buildings then reconfigured to be used as flooring. With distressed hardwood, you have the perfect backdrop for a farmhouse style in your home.

Distressed hardwood can be installed in a variety of wood types as well as coloring. Choose to go dark or light, or even have wood planks that vary in color for more visual appeal. Easily find a style you like and have it installed in your home. The wood pieces will add character to any room, adding to the overall design. 

  1. Whitewashed or Grey Wood Planks

For a lighter and brighter look, whitewashed or grey wood floors are a great option to consider. This type of flooring is created with planks of wood that have been painted in a particular way. The whitewash look is a painting technique that involves watered down white paint. The flooring creates a light base for your room, perfect for that farmhouse look. This option can be installed in any room and give you the foundation for a newly designed home. 

  1. Neutral Carpet

If you enjoy a plusher flooring type, choose to install new carpet throughout your home. Many homeowners like the comfort carpet has to offer, especially in the bedrooms. You can still achieve an overall farmhouse look with carpet. To maintain the farmhouse style, choose neutral colored options. Opt for a beige or gray tone to compliment the overall style of your property. 

  1. White Tile for Bathrooms

In the bathrooms of your home, tile is the best flooring type. You want to use a material that does well in a wet environment. Tile is durable and can easily last for many years to come. When choosing tile for a farmhouse style, white is the top choice among homeowners. White tiles can be added in a solid with no pattern or with texture or pattern to create interest. 

Choose to add larger tiles or smaller settings depending on the size of your space. You want to add tiles that will make smaller rooms look larger or create the right foundation for a larger space. 

These are just a few ideas you can use when it comes to flooring and creating a farmhouse style home. Consider the rooms in your home that need flooring and how you can integrate any of these options to achieve your overall design style. 

partnered post • client image

Clever Insulation Tips to Improve Your Energy Efficiency

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 8.47.17 AM

In terms of improving your energy efficiency, there are few more effective ways to do it than by adjusting your insulation strategy. Every home has basic insulation in the wall cavities and other spots, but that leaves something to be desired for many homeowners. In case you need a boost in energy efficiency and want to accomplish it by upgrading your insulation, let’s go over a few easy ways you can do just that.

Check your HVAC Ductwork

Your ductwork has no insulation in it, which is why it’s very crucial that it doesn’t have leaks, either. Unfortunately, many homeowners DO have leaks in their ductwork, meaning the only way to shore up that drain on energy efficiency is to get them patched. HVAC patching can be done in DIY duct sealing fashion, but you might not be able to reach holes or leaks that are tucked away in the far corners of your ductwork.

Using a professional air duct cleaning team is the best option because they will seal up your ductwork, identify the leaks, then use patented technology to seal all of them up without you ever having to get your hands dirty. They can even provide you a before and after snapshot of how much energy you’ll be saving once your HVAC energy efficient ductwork is fixed.

Install Roof Insulation

Roof insulation like ACFoam polyiso insulation is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency. Much heat is lost through the roof of a home, making an underlayment a critical part of energy efficiency. Foam roof insulation will boost your energy efficiency while providing extra moisture protection for your roof, which could save you money down the line as well.

Use a House Wrap

A house wrap works much like a roof underlayment does. It’s an added layer of continuous insulation that goes beneath just about every other part of your exterior walls. A house wrap will help to seal up some of the tiny gaps and cracks that normally aren’t bothered with. This can boost energy efficiency by a great deal since even these small little cracks and gaps are enough to let warm air out and cold air in, or vice versa.

Insulate Your Attic and Basement

Attics lose a lot of heat if they aren’t insulated properly. This is because they are located above the rest of the home, and heat rises. Use sheets of unbacked insulation in between every one of the floor joists in your attic, or apply a new layer on top if there’s already some there. Insulating exposed hot water pipes is a good idea too.

If you have a basement, proper insulation is important. Consider a below grade continuous insulation for your basement.

Improve Your Energy Efficiency with the Right Insulation

As you can see, the number of ways to improve your energy efficiency through insulation is almost endless. Whether you want to try insulating your attic, installing a roof underlayment or house wrap, fixing your HVAC ductwork, weatherstripping doors and sealing up windows, or any other method, you’ll run into no shortage of new tips. Try using multiple tips at once for an even more air-tight strategy.

partnered post • client image

Tools Every Homeowner Should Have for Small Projects & Repairs

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 8.44.27 AM

As a homeowner, you know that keeping your home in order is not easy. Your house can seem like there’s one problem after another--therefore, being prepared to fix any problem when it occurs as fast as possible requires the right tools to tackle them in short order (or at least knock out the projects until the professionals can handle them). Let’s take a look at the basic tools for home repair that every homeowner should have on hand. 


If there’s one tool that you’re going to need, it’s a hammer. Make sure to get a clawhammer so that you can remove nails and pry materials apart easily.

Vise Grips

Vise grips can help you get a grip on tough surfaces or hold something in place while you work on the other end. By adjusting the screw at the end, you can widen/narrow the open end and stabilize all sorts of materials hands-free. 

Tape Measure

There are plenty of construction measuring tools out there so it’s important to find the right ones for your needs. You’re going to need to measure materials sooner or later, so a diameter tape measure makes it a cinch. Make sure to purchase an easy-lock tape measure that measure at least 12 feet or more. If you need something a little bigger and more visual, consider a wide blade tape measure. Pocket rods are also good to have depending on how much DIY you actually plan to do.

Combination Pliers

For all manual applications, pliers come in handy (pun intended) in nearly every situation in your home. Whether you are tightening bolts, twisting/cutting wire, removing screws, and more, you’re going to need combination pliers to get a grip.


Screwdrivers are mandatory when it comes to most small projects and repairs around the house. Make sure to have a variety of screwdrivers of different head sizes and types, such as the common Phillips and flathead varieties, but also Pozidriv, Torx, Hexagon, and Security T which are included on new products and appliances.


Symmetry is the name of the game when it comes to making perfect fits and a beautiful home. From leveling your kitchen counters to hanging a picture, a bubble level is the perfect tool for the job. For more involved projects, invest in a laser level for enhanced precision. The type of level you want depends on the projects you plan to do. For more masonry focused crafts, choose the best level for masons

Power Drill

When you’ve got a lot of materials to bring together or tear apart, there’s nothing like a power drill to handle most tasks around the house. 

Utility Knife

Don’t sacrifice the silverware. By using a utility knife, you can make precise cuts and scores on most materials (i.e. drywall). 


There are few things as indispensable as tape for semi-permanent repairs. Gather a wide variety of tapes of different strengths and applications, such as electrical tape, duct tape, plumbers tape, teflon tape, and more.

partnered post • client image

Tornado Safe Room Under Stairs: How to Reinforce

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 8.41.41 AM

If you live in an area that has even a remote chance of experiencing a tornado, it’s probably a good idea to have a safe room. A strong enough tornado can completely devastate your house and cause serious bodily harm or even death to you and your loved ones. 

Many people think that building a tornado safe room is complicated and will take up a lot of time, energy, and money, but this simply isn’t true. You can create a simple, yet effective tornado safe room right under your stairs in just a few basic steps. 

Building a Tornado Safe Room Under the Stairs is Easier than it Looks

The space beneath a stairwell is actually one of the most naturally safe places to build a tornado safe room. The structure of the stairs provides overhead protection, while the lack of windows or nearby water pipes provides added protection against flying debris. There are, however, a few ways you can make this space even safer for you and your family, turning it into a full-blown safe zone in the event of a tornado.

Adding Protection to your Tornado Safe Room Under the Stairs

If you want to really solidify this space, try using thick planks of solid oak to reinforce the stairs themselves. You can add them to the tops of your stairs as well as the underneath area where you’ll be hiding. Putting planks beneath the stairs can create an even stronger framework for added protection from falling objects.

Adding layers of protection on the floor is a good idea as well. Not only will this increase your comfort level, it can prevent minor injuries if anybody should accidentally fall down. Use some rubber tiles as the base for your flooring material, and then add some extra layers of memory foam on top of them. This can turn a hard cement floor into an extra comfy safe zone. 

Keeping Your Safe Room Airtight is Not Ideal

Although you don’t want any windows or open spots for rain or debris to come flying in, you don’t actually want your shelter to be airtight. You need to leave some space for vents that can let air in but which are not big enough to let debris in. 

As far as the door to your tornado safe room is concerned, it should open outwards and not inwards. You should also keep this area stocked with hand tools in case you need to dig your way out of a mess when the tornado has passed. The regular essentials like first-aid kits, food, water, flashlights, and more are also crucial to ensuring you can safely make it through the storm.

Tornado Safe Rooms Under the Stairs Are a Great Idea

If you’re lacking a tornado safe house, there’s no need to worry. Having a safe room under the stairs is the perfect solution for two story homes. This area is naturally reinforced, and with a little extra work, you can turn it into a completely fortified safe zone for you and your family to wait out any tornado in comfort and security. 

partnered post • client image

Fair Oaks Workshops

H&h brother rabbit 2

I’ve always liked this online shop – lots of great items from a wide variety of designers (Dard Hunter, Tiffany, Sullivan, William Morris, Laura Wilder, FLW and more) and vendors – but I think this recently-redrawn 1882 William Morris pattern is one of my favorite designs. I think it’d look especially nice on pillows on a sofa, or maybe a tablecloth. Beautiful!


8 Decorating Errors That Make Your Home Look Cheap

Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 8.06.17 PM

One of the best things about moving into a new space is the opportunity to redefine yourself as you decorate your home. When decorating however there are a few mistakes that people commonly do that make their homes look cheap and out of date. Here are 8 home decor errors to avoid.

  1. Pictures 

Pictures are such a large statement in your home, but many people commonly overlook their importance. Here are three major things to consider before you begin hanging things on your walls. 

  • Quality of Pictures – Even people who aren’t art experts can and will judge the quality of the artwork that is hanging on your walls. The doesn't mean you need to spend an arm and a leg on fancy art. Instead, take the time to choose the correct piece for each room in your home. A picture can help a room come together, so take the time to select the right one. 
  • FramesNothing makes your home look like a college dorm room faster than unframed pictures. Unless the picture is mounted it should always have some kind of frame around it. 
  • MaterialNot all frames are created equal. Make sure your pictures are in matching frames. This doesn’t mean they have to be identical, but you want similar materials and styles for all the frames in each given room. 
  1. Curtains

Believe it or not, the placement of your curtains can have a tremendous impact on the overall quality of your room. Many people make the mistake of placing their curtain rod too low and accidentally cramping the space around the window. Your windows are one of the main features in your home that will help your rooms appear larger than they actually are. To capitalize on this remember to always put your curtain rod about six inches above the window. This will help the window look larger and allow more light to come into the room. 

  1. Lighting Fixtures

Old and outdated light fixtures can make a home look cheap and uncared for. A simple and relatively cheap fix is to update the lights and make sure you have bright light bulbs. No one likes sitting in a low light yellow room unless the room is intentionally lit by a lamp. 

  1. Rugs

Rugs in and of themselves do not instantly add class to your room. If the rug is the wrong shape or too small it actually gives the impression that you couldn’t afford the right rug for the room. You want your rug to touch all of the furniture in the space. This helps bring all the pieces together for one cohesive look. If your rug is too small, but you’re married to it you can always choose to layer rugs on the floor so you can still have that pulled together look. Another option is to opt out of the rug entirely.  

  1. Bathrooms

A bathroom can really date a home. If you have a toilet seat cover or toilet rug you might want to get rid of that immediately. They have fallen in popularity largely due to how unsanitary they are. A bath mat is just fine so long as you place it in an appropriate spot, for example in front of the vanity. A quick swapping out of towel hooks and shower rods can bring up the overall look and quality of a bathroom in a matter of minutes. 

  1. Hangers

This is a simple thing to keep in mind with your closet. If you have mismatching hangers, throw them away. It is only a few bucks to have a full set of matching hangers in your closet and it looks so much more organized and cared for than multiple styles of cheap hangers floating around. 

  1. Knobs

A quick and simple way to give an old dresser, door, or table a facelift is to update their hardware. A quick search online or a trip to the store can have your home looking much nicer for just a few dollars. The swap is simple and the results are instantly noticeable. 

  1. Less Is More

When decorating, always keep in mind that less is usually more. This doesn’t mean you have to live the life of a minimalist, but you definitely don’t want a room to come across as cluttered. Try and keep similar things clustered together, whether that is on a shelf or a coffee table. Having things spread around gives the appearance of being too busy and will take attention away from the major statement pieces in your home. 

Whether you’re renting or buying, good luck as you make your new house feel like home. Remember that there isn’t any rush. Take the time to make it look the way you want so you can feel comfortable and happy for years to come. 

partnered post • image by Kari Shea on Unsplash

Can You Get Rid of Bed Bugs DIY?


Does DIY Bed Bug Treatment Work?

You find that your home is infested with bed bugs Winnipeg. There are products you can pick up at supermarkets and other venues. Do they actually work? The answer is yes, but with some qualifications. In fact, the results may be more of a waste of your time than a help. Here are some reasons why you should set the do-it-yourself approach aside and call a professional exterminator.

You Don’t Know All the Places to Look

Many people are surprised at how many places bed bugs can infiltrate. In spite of the name, the bugs can end up in your closet, the carpeting and area rugs, and even furniture upholstery. While you may not be sure what needs to be treated and what’s safe, you can bet that an exterminator knows where to look and what to do. That’s one reason why that professional will be one of the most important of all Winnipeg's bed bug solutions.

Bed Bugs Extermination Over the Counter Products Aren’t That Strong

Thing thing about over the counter bed bug products it that they can only accomplish so much. Some of them are effective, especially products designed to use when cleaning clothing that may be infested. Others leave much to be desired. Since you’re not sure how severe the infestation happens to be, it makes more sense to have bed bugs exterminators inspect the home, settle on the best mode of treatment, and then provide you with some advice on what sort of over the counter products would help with the laundry and similar tasks.

They’re Not as Cost Effective as You May Think

If you decide to go the DIY route for getting rid of bed bugs, be prepared to administer a series of treatments. They may have to be administered every few days for a few weeks. In the meantime, life around the home will be disrupted. Along with the inconvenience, you keep spending more and more money on those products. By the time you’re done, the amount spent may equal or even exceed what professional pest control treatments cost. Even sadder, they aren’t likely to produce the same results that a professional heat treatment would accomplish.

A Professional Produces Superior Results in Less Time

Time is of the essence when you’re trying to deal with a bed bug infestation. Those eggs hatch quickly, so the number of bugs is constantly on the rise. Since over the counter products are only addressing part of the problem, it will be some time before the infestation is truly a thing of the past. By contrast, professional bugs extermination using heat or other treatments kills eggs as well as adults. That effectively stops the progression of the problem and makes it easier to bring it under control sooner rather than later. If you notice an infestation in the home, don’t waste time trying to deal with the issue on your own. Call a professional and make arrangements for professional bed bugs treatment in Winnipeg. In the long run, you save money, avoid damage to furnishings, and avoid the itching and other problems that continual exposure to bed bugs create.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by the AFPMB

3 Things You Need to Know About Flipping Houses For a Business


With so many different ways to make money, the choices can be overwhelming. Therefore, if you want to find the best fit for you in the business world, you need to identify a business idea that will not only pique your interest but also provide you with the income and profits that you expect to earn. Thankfully, there are some unique business investment ideas that can completely transform how you can make huge amounts of profits today. One of the most notable involves flipping houses. Before you begin to branch out in the area of flipping houses, it is important that you have a solid idea of how you are going to launch your strategy.

  1. Use Your Own Profitable Strategy for Flipping Homes

The strategy that you use to flip houses can make a significant difference in how successful your company will be. For instance, you may want to incorporate the Tortoise House Flipping strategy in starting out with your first profitable venture. The basics of this concept focus solely on deploying a flipping houses strategy that is considered to be slow but steady. With this concept, you will accomplish these 3 goals at a time and that is to make money relatively quickly first, offer the house of everyone’s dream, designing the appropriate plan that will legally help to avoid tax penalties.

Avoiding tax penalties is essential to making a large profit because there are traditionally taxes that can be associated directly with flipping various kinds of properties. As you get started with this plan, however, you should make sure that you have not quit your day job since you will need the extra income until your profitable ideas can be seen in the real world.

  1. Pros and Cons that Need to Be Considered

If you decide to start flipping properties for a living, you need to know that you can expect both pros and cons. Just like anything that you want to do, you may have lots of advantages but you cannot dismiss the fact that there are downsides too. Hence, for anyone who has their eyes set on getting, here are some of the more common pros along with the cons to flipping properties as an investment and profitability plan.

Pros to Flipping Houses:

  • Allows You to Use Your Creative Ideas to Renovate: While there are many different advantages to flipping homes, some of these reasons can be very exciting to individuals who have a lot of creative ideas that they can use to renovate their property. For instance, if you are good at making small rooms look larger, you can use a wide diversity of renovation concepts to these jobs. Hence, for those of you who enjoy this kind of work, it can be very rewarding and profitable.
  • You Will Learn More About Real Estate in General: Once you enter the world of flipping property, you can also benefit greatly from many of the things that you will learn. For example, you will gain a wealth of knowledge about the real estate business and how it functions overall. As you enter in your first short sale transaction or your first foreclosure, you will automatically begin to learn both the ins and outs of what these processes entail, including information about refinancing.
  • Network Will Expand: Another benefit to flipping houses involves the networks that you will be dealing with. For instance, your network of professions will include contractors, lawyers, real estate brokers and more.

Cons to Flipping Houses:

  • One of the biggest drawbacks to flipping houses is the high possibility of losing money instead of making a profit. Regardless of the number of houses that you flip, you can always lose more money than you make. So, this is one of the biggest drawbacks to enter into this type of business venture.
  1. What You Need to Know About Tax Liabilities

Once you have had an opportunity to completely renovate the home that you have purchased and have sold it, you should always be familiar with the tax liabilities associated with it. To find out more about the tax liabilities that will be connected to the purchase of this property and others, it is important that you contact a tax professional who knows how tax laws work in these situations.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Jeff Turner

5 Garage Organization Tips to Consider


Organizing your garage can be a big job but once it’s done you’ll be amazed at how much more space and function your garage has. When your garage is organized it will be easy to find anything that you need from seasonal clothes to sport equipment and you might finally have room in the garage for your car again. Here are five garage organization tips from organization and design professionals that will help you get a handle on that garage clutter once and for all:

  1. Hang Everything You Can

The best way to make use of all of the space in your garage is to hang everything that you can hang from the walls. Hanging racks can hold storage boxes as well as individual items so that you can hang things like holiday decorations or out of season clothing and get those things off of the floor. Construction measuring tools, ladders, rakes, and other yard equipment should be hung in specially designed organizers that hang on the wall. Bikes, skis, and other large sports equipment should also be hung up to maximize the space available.

  1. Utilize Ceiling Space

The ceiling is a space that many homeowners overlook in the garage. But even if you have an automatic garage door opener there is space up there that you can use for storage. Cleverly designed storage units that are made to fit into the ceiling of a garage over an automatic garage door opener will give you lots of room to store boxes full of old things or seasonal decorations that you only need to access once a year.

  1. Hardwood Plywood Cabinets

Custom built hardwood plywood cabinets that are made to fit your unique garage will really increase the amount of storage in your garage. Some people might think that the cost of custom cabinets isn’t worth it because the cabinet will be in a garage but there is no way to put a price on proper organization. Custom built cabinets in the garage means that you can use the garage as a workspace, a hangout space, a building space, and in other ways. You will have the storage necessary to keep all of your hobby equipment organized and safely put away in the garage. Custom cabinets that are designed just for your garage will ensure that you are using every square inch of the garage that’s available for storage.

  1. Proper Tool Organization

Once your cabinets are up you can organize your hobby space by putting in a custom workbench and a pegboard that can hold your tools. Hanging your tools and measuring wheels on the pegboard will safe space while keeping your tools easily accessible.

  1. Downsize and Organize

Hold a yard sale and get rid of all the items that you just don’t use. Sell those old bikes or the skis that never got used after the first winter. Old tennis racquets and tools can be sold too. Get rid of anything that you don’t absolutely need. Once that’s done take the items that are left and divide them into categories like hobby equipment, sports equipment, and so on. Organize each category and hang the items or put them away in the new storage solutions in the garage.

Once the garage is organized you will be able to keep it organized easily and you will have easy access to all of the things that you might need, like your child’s winter coat or a special tool that you need when you’re working on the car. Take back your garage and tame the clutter by getting organized.  

partnered post by Corey Tyner of Phoenix Fast Sell Home Buyers • client image

The Different Types of Heat Recovery Systems


image: wind cowls provide passive ventilation and heat recovery

With climate change on the rise, finding ways to provide us with energy that is renewable, efficient and kind on the environment is becoming more important by the day. However, heat ventilation systems are there to help, by making sure that we get the most out of our heating systems. They do this by utilising the heat from the stale air extracted from our homes and combining it with fresh air that enters via ventilation systems. Today, we will be having a look at the different types of heat recovery systems available to you.

Thermal Wheel Heat Recovery

Thermal wheels are usually the biggest out of all the ventilation systems. They’re thought to be the most efficient when it comes to air recovery. These systems consist of two big wheels which have a honeycomb arrangement. One half draws out the stale air, whilst the other half draws in outdoor air. Energy that comes from the stale air is passed on to the incoming air, which heats up the fresh air. The speed of the wheel rotation, plus all of the energy that is transferred, can be regulated to increase or decrease the air temperature of air fed back inside the building.

Plate Heat Technology

This type of heat recovery system, that can be provided by companies like BPC Ireland, is more common than its thermal wheel competitor. This is because plate heat technology can be utilised on a lesser scale. It is made up of a box that has a range of parallel plates that have been made from plastic or metal, and this allows extracted air to pass the air coming into the building. The passing air transfers energy and heats it up. The plates separate the air stream and don’t touch. How conductive and thick the individual plates are, are key factors in how efficient any system is.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps harness heat from one area and pass it to another. The way they operate is similar to that of a refrigeration unit. Heat pumps can be used to heat or cool air. There is an array of different types available. They all draw in heat from the air outdoors as well as the ground, which requires a network of pipes.

Closed Loop Technology

Air handling systems can have a run around coil introduced to them. A circuit of pumped pipes connects the two coils together. To charge the unit, water is used and the supply air coil has heat transferred to it from the heat picked up from the exhaust pipes. This type of heat recovery system is only used if the two air systems aren’t near enough to each other for a more efficient system.

Heat Pipe Technology

This kind of technology requires the least maintenance, but can only be used when air handling is done in an individual system. A tube system with a refrigerant (that extracts heat from exhaust air to pass on to the fresh air), is used. Evaporation from vertical pipes is used, due to them being more efficient compared to horizontal pipes.

As you can see, there are a variety of heat ventilation systems available. The one that works best for your home will be dependent on a number of factors. Making sure you do your research before you purchase a system is essential, so it would be wise to contact a professional and possibly get a few quotes.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Tom Chance

Larger Living Rooms: Easy Hacks to Trick the Eye


It doesn’t matter what people say, bigger is always better. Particularly when it comes to living room spaces, this couldn’t be truer.

Unfortunately, most of us don't have unlimited pockets. Or, we don’t have any more land to extend our existing living room into.

It means that we’re left with two options; either move home or try and trick others’ eyes into thinking that this room is larger than it actually is.

Suffice to say, it is the latter which we will be focussing on today, as we look at some easy living room hacks to make this space look a lot bigger than it really is.

spread the light

One of the easiest ways to trick the eye is through the use of light. A big mistake made by homeowners with a small living room is to just have one central light, hanging from the ceiling.

Instead of this, try and opt for several. Some of these might be on the wall, while you might have more than one on the ceiling as well. It might require for you to find a drywall repair service in Jersey to patch over some of the old fittings, but the results are completely worthwhile.

the art of contrast

Another really effective way to make the room look bigger is simply by painting it. The golden rule is to not use any “medium” shades. In other words, you have to opt for light or dark colours.

The reason behind this is simple; you need to create contrast. This creates the illusion of depth, which is all you need.

go from head to toe with curtains

It might not be the style that suits some rooms in your house, but when it comes to a small living room you need to make an exception. This comes in the form of curtains that stretch from floor to ceiling. It might seem as though you are hiding some parts of the room, but it just makes the eye move upwards and it’s this effect which can again make the room seem a lot bigger than it really is.

In a similar vein, if you are really against the idea of long drapes, consider putting shelving or other furniture high on your wall. This has a similar effect – the room suddenly looks bigger as furniture is placed in varied positions.

make a big statement with furniture

We’ve just touched upon furniture, but if you are looking to make the biggest impact the rule of less is more couldn't be more true.

While you might think you are doing the right thing by having lots of little pieces of furniture, this can just make a small room look cluttered. Instead, turn to a feature piece - one that will draw all eyes to it. In doing this, you not only eliminate clutter, but you also detract attention from the fact that your room is smaller than you would like.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Peter Hess

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House is for sale!

From Architectural Digest:

Welcome to the Ennis House, one of the Los Angeles Hills' most legendary homes. At $23M, this Mayan revival Frank Lloyd Wright house has been featured in movies like 'Blade Runner' and is full of furniture designed by Wright himself. Join real estate agent Rayni Williams as she takes you on a tour of the entire house.

How to Choose the Best Heating & Cooling System for Your Home


Let’s face it, buying a new heating and cooling system can be a stressful situation. Choosing just the right units is a big decision that will impact your family’s comfort for years to come. So, before you jump into purchasing the first system you see, we recommend you take a little time to determine exactly what your home comfort needs are, and how to correctly address them. The key factors to the ideal HVAC system for your home are system type, unit size and, of course, budget. Read on for help in identifying these factors and choosing the best system for your needs.

Be Specific About the Space

The first step to determining what system to purchase is to define the type and size of space that will be cooled and/or heated. Being as specific as possible will help you avoid selecting units that will not fit your home’s climate control needs. By answering the questions below, you can more accurately define your space, making the final purchase decision much easier.

  • Is the space residential or commercial?
  • If it is residential, is the home traditional stick-built or mobile?
  • How many total square feet is in the space (including basement)?
  • How many total floors is in the space (including basement)?
  • Is the space new construction or an existing structure? If it is an existing structure, where is the current furnace located? (attic, crawlspace, utility room?)
  • Does the space currently have adequate insulation?

Now that you have nailed down the specifics of your space, you can move on to deciding what type and size of system you need. Read on for details.

Select the Right Type of System  

This step is actually quite simple, and it boils down to just a few points. In fact, the type of system your home requires may have already decided for you. If your goal is to upgrade your current AC/furnace units, then you’ll need to choose new units of the same size, type and air flow configuration of those currently in your home. For example, if the home currently employs a 3.5-ton AC/80,000 Btu upflow gas furnace system, and you have no plans to add on to the home, you’ll need to choose new units with the same specifications.

In the end, whether you go with a different type of system or not can be determined by asking yourself these three questions.

  • Are you happy with your current unit(s)?
  • Do you like the way your home is heated/cooled?
  • Are your current utility bills affordable?

Using the answers to these three questions, as well as the guidelines below, you should be able to easily decide whether your current heating/cooling system is the right size for your home. If it is, congratulations! You now know exactly which units to buy based on size, type and configuration. If the current system does not match your needs, we suggest consulting an HVAC specialist for help with sizing the new system.

Starting from Scratch

Selecting AC/furnace units for new construction, or an existing home that you will be adding on to, takes a little more thought. However, the process is still fairly simple when you break down the factors that go into it.

What unit(s) do you need for your home?

  • AC only
  • Furnace only
  • Package of both units

If you are purchasing a furnace, what type of fuel source will it be using?

  • Natural Gas
  • Oil
  • Electricity

Which fuel source your new furnace will use comes down to three things: what is available, what is most cost-effective, and what you prefer.

Natural Gas is the most efficient fuel source available and it provides a cleaner burn than oil. But you must have access to a natural gas line in order to use it. Creating new access to a natural gas line is a very expensive and time-consuming task.

Oil furnaces are cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts, and oil produces a higher Btu heat than gas. However, oil must be ordered from a third-party supplier. Plus, an external tank is needed to store the oil once it has been delivered.   

Electric furnaces are less expensive to install and offer ultimate control over heating zones (rather than the “whole-house” approach of gas or oil). But electric furnaces are not an energy-efficient option as they operate at a much higher cost than gas or oil furnaces.


If you are purchasing a furnace, what direction do you need the air flow to take?

  • Up
  • Down
  • Horizontal

The direction of the air flow is an important factor in selecting the right furnace unit for your home. That’s because the location of the furnace directly determines the direction the warm air will take through the ductwork. Typically, you will find furnace units that use one of three air flow directions — upflow, downflow, and horizontal (pictured below).


If you plan to locate the furnace in a basement or on the main floor of your home, choose an upflow unit. These are the most commonly purchased units and you’re sure to find several choices in this configuration. If you are installing the new furnace in a mobile home, you will need to purchase a downflow unit. (NOTE: Some traditional stick-built homes do use downflow units, but this is not the norm. Be sure to check the direction of air flow on the current unit if you are upgrading an existing furnace.) If you plant to install the new furnace in a crawlspace or attic, you will need to source a unit with horizontal flow.

Be aware that some newer furnace models employ a multi-positional air flow feature that allows them to vent warm air in all directions — up, down and horizontally. You may also find units that feature two air flow directions (i.e. upflow and horizontal, downflow and horizontal).

Important: If you are upgrading a furnace in an existing home, be sure to check the current unit’s air flow direction — up, down or horizontal. Your new unit will need to have the same air flow configuration.


A Note About Mobile Homes

The typical mobile home uses a heating and cooling system that is different from those found in traditional structures. This is mainly due to the mobile home’s duct system, which is considerably smaller. Therefore, a mobile home’s furnace or air handler uses a smaller-capacity blower to accommodate the small ducts. So, when choosing a new HVAC system, be sure it is compatible with mobile home ductwork.

Choosing the Right Size System

The last thing you’ll need to do before purchasing your new heating and cooling system is to determine what size you need for your space. Though common sense tells us that choosing a system that is too small for the home is a bad thing because it puts too much stress on the units, resulting in unnecessary wear and tear and higher utility bills. But, did you know that choosing a system that is too big can also drive up your utility bills? Oversized units are known to routinely turn on and off in short cycles, which not only causes excess stress on the system, but also inefficient heating and cooling. A system that is perfectly sized for your home provides constant, comfortable air and even small temperature fluctuations will go by unnoticed.

To find the correct size AC unit for your home, find your geographical zone on the map below. Then use the corresponding color-coded table to determine the number of energy tons it takes to cool a home with your total square footage.




1.5 Tons 600 - 900 sf 600 - 950 sf 600 - 1000 sf 700 - 1050 sf 700 - 1100 sf
2 Tons 901 - 1200 sf 951 - 1250 sf 1001 - 1300 sf 1051 - 1350 sf 1101 - 1400 sf
2.5 Tons 1201 - 1500 sf 1251 - 1550 sf 1301 - 1600 sf 1351 - 1600 sf 1401 - 1650 sf
3 Tons 1501 - 1800 sf 1501 - 1850 sf 1601 - 1900 sf 1601 - 2000 sf 1651 - 2100 sf
3.5 Tons 1801 - 2100 sf 1851 - 2150 sf 1901 - 2200 sf 2001 - 2250 sf 2101 - 2300 sf
4 Tons 2101 - 2400 sf 2151 - 2500 sf 2201 - 2600 sf 2251 - 2700 sf 2301 - 2700 sf
5 Tons 2401 - 3000 sf 2501 - 3100 sf 2601 - 3200 sf 2751 - 3300 sf 2701 - 3300 sf


Heating Square Footage per Zone

For the best-sized furnace unit for your needs, refer to the zone map again. Then use the color-coded table below for the BTU necessary to heat one square foot of area. Next, simply multiply the total BTU from the table by your home’s total square footage. (Example:  40 BTU x 2000 square feet = 80,000 BTU). This is the ideal furnace size needed to efficiently heat your home.

30 - 35 BTUs/sf 35 - 40 BTUs/sf 40 - 45 BTUs/sf 45 - 50 BTUs/sf 50 - 60 BTUs/sf


Purchasing a new heating and cooling system shouldn’t be an overwhelming task. With the right information at your fingertips, you’re sure to choose the perfect system for your family’s needs.


Still not sure which size and type of heating/cooling system you need?
Use our handy System Selector.


partnered post • client images

4 Cooling System Options For Your Home

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 9.15.11 AM

Have you ever been through a summer without any way to cool your home? It’s miserable. The sun beats down on the wall and ceiling, turning your home into an oven.

Luckily, there are several options available to help cool your home. There are different advantages and disadvantages to all these types of cooling systems. It is important to do thorough research on what will be the best option for your home. Remember, this is an overview, not an all-inclusive list.

Central AC

This is probably the most common type of home cooling system. If you can walk to the wall and adjust a thermostat, then you have central cooling. Central AC works by having a unit outside of your home that blows air through ducts all throughout your home. Coils filled with refrigerant cool the air. A pump pulls the heat absorbed in the cooling process out of the home.

Central AC units can work everywhere. They can be expensive to install, especially if you don’t have sufficient or any ducts. Central AC provides stability in temperature year-round, but can also lead to higher energy bills and may need maintenance on its ducts.

Swamp Coolers

You might be unfamiliar with swamp coolers unless you have spent time in places with a hot, dry climate. Swamp coolers are evaporative coolers. They are large units placed on the top of a home. They have reservoirs that hold water and keep interior pads moist. Fans blow air through the pads, creating a cool moist breeze throughout your home.

Swamp coolers are most beneficial in the hot, dry climate type. Swamp coolers are making the air moist, and those of us who have lived in humid climates know that there is no need for that. They are cost-effective, though this can be tricky if there are droughts and therefore water restrictions, which is not uncommon in areas where swamp coolers are effective. Paradoxical.

Portable/Window AC Units

These type of AC units have the power to cool one room per unit usually. They sit in or near your window and have the same function as a central cooling system, all packed into one little box. They put cold air into your home while dumping the heat outside. Portable units are called that because they can be moved around, but they do have a hose that goes out the window. That hose pumps the heat outside, so if you don’t have it in a window, things will get very warm very quickly. These units aren’t terribly expensive but are limited in their ability to cool, as it is really only going to work for one room. They can be moved to areas that need more attention, however, and that is a huge plus.


Mini-splits are a modern way to cool individual rooms with the same system and without the use of air ducts. An outside unit fills the same basic role as the outside unit of central AC but instead uses tubes to control temperature and remove heat and moisture.

These are beneficial because you can have different temperatures in different rooms. They can be installed in a number of places, and have different looks as well. They do cost more than installing central AC, but are very energy efficient.

You need to stay cool. It is so important on warm, and then hot, summer nights. If you need help looking into air conditioning installation, make sure to call an expert. It will be simple, don’t sweat it.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by ElasticComputeFarm on Pixabay

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House


Have you been here? If not, and you're in or near the LA area, try to make it for one of the extremely rare tours / open houses. Although really, it’s worth just driving by to see it from the street. Here’s what the LA Times printed about it in 2011.

When Frank Lloyd Wright completed the Ennis house in 1924, he immediately considered it his favorite. The last and largest of the four concrete-block houses that Wright built in the Los Angeles area remains arguably the best residential example of Mayan Revival architecture in the country. When The Times' Home section convened a panel of historians, architects and preservationists in 2008 to vote on the region's best houses of all time, the Ennis house ranked ahead of the Modernist Eames house, the John Lautner spaceship-on-a-hill known as Chemosphere and the Arts & Crafts beauty the Gamble house.

That the Ennis house garners so much reverence from the architecture community makes its current status all the more remarkable: for sale since June 2009, price reduced from $15 million to $7,495,000. Prospective buyers have shown much interest, according to listing agent Jeffrey Hyland, president of Hilton & Hyland, Beverly Hills, but as of yet, there have been no takers.

Why Taking Care of Your Roof is So Important

Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 9.08.06 AM

As a homeowner, you take some things for granted, such as the roof will be reliable. The maintenance of the roof should be thought of as a necessary part of owning a home. Should it fail, rainwater will leak into the attic or loft and begin to cause new and future problems, both due to immediate water and subsequent moisture-related problems.

Here are some reasons to maintain your roof.

Protection from Extreme Weather

While we may worry about rainwater penetrating an old roofing structure, the reality is that the weather conditions in the UK are becoming more extreme. The strong belief is that it’s been caused by the effect of global warming, which is causing changes to the oceans, heating up the atmosphere and thereby modifying our weather.

We tend to think of tornados hitting the ground as an American phenomenon with one hitting Oklahoma in 2013 being over two miles in diameter. However, they’ve occurred in the UK too. There are as many as 40 tornados that hit British shores annually. With shocking speeds of over 100 MPH, they can devastate homes. With that said, a home with a good roof will usually only suffer the loss of some roofing tiles due to high gusts of wind in its vicinity when not directly in the path of the tornado.

Protection from Regular Weather

Our homes also get battered by heavy rains, strong gales, and occasional hailstones just to keep things interesting. The roof seals in the home prevent any water from getting inside the internal structure. The rainwater runs down the side of the roof, into the gutters and into the drainage system. At least, it should…

When roofs take too much damage, they deteriorate and lose their ability to protect from regular weather patterns. Tiles start to get dislodged more frequently and the total protection that a roof usually provides begins to breakdown.

This is why it’s worth completing an annual inspection of your roof to look for anything out of place, missing tiles, and areas where they seem less secure following a windy season. Most roofs should last many years, but with maintenance, they’ll last longer and provide greater protection too.

Do You Feel Comfortable Getting Up on the Roof?

If you’re scared of heights, then it’s just not worth doing it yourself. Even climbing up a ladder could give you pause. It’s one thing to do a bit of DIY at ground level but quite another to try to accomplish it while suspended in the air. Too many accidents occur when using a ladder to make it worth risking a broken arm or leg and having to be off work for a period of several weeks.

When you don’t feel comfortable performing a roof inspection or making repairs, then try out Belfast Roofing Services. They understand the issue and know how to perform both inspections, advise on what repairs are needed, and get them completed for you. This provides peace of mind so you can get busy with other DIY tasks still on your To Do list.

Don’t make your roof an afterthought until it’s too late. Maintain it well to get the most years out of it before it must be replaced.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Mike Bird

8 Ways To Make Your Backyard More Appealing


Is your backyard bland and lackluster? If that sounds familiar then you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t take much to make your yard pop. An added fixture here or a little landscaping there can make your home the envy of the neighborhood. Here are 8 hardscape features to help make your backyard more visually appealing.

  1.   Trellis/arch

Adding a simple trellis or arch in your yard can quickly add a bit of charm to your landscape. It doesn’t take much effort or space and will add a lovely place for picture taking. Because it tends to tower above the rest of the yard it also will help add depth to a small space.

  1.   Stone Walkway

A few stone steps or a rock walkway help to create visually appealing leading lines in an otherwise bland area. Before digging up the yard to put in your walkway, make sure to draw up a game plan and map out exactly where the stones will go so you will be sure to have enough material.

  1.   Pond

Putting a pond into your outdoor area is another great way to help with increasing the depth in an otherwise small space. There are premade ponds available at most home improvement stores or there is always the option of designing the pond yourself. Maintenance of your pond will all depend on what you choose to put inside. You could go simple and just have smooth stones or add a little life with a few hearty Coy fish.

  1.   Bridge

Most people don’t think to put a little walking bridge in their yard so this added feature will make your space feel unique. It will create added dimensions in your yard, making your space feel more open. Under the bridge, you could have a small pond, stream or even a pretty little flower bed.

  1.   Leading Gardens

If you are wanting to make your garden look more like a painting than a plot of grass, then a leading garden is definitely a good idea for you. A leading garden is small sections of your yard that you turn into patches of gardens to help direct eyes from one point in your yard to another.

  1.   Fireplace

You could have either an outdoor fireplace or a nice built-in firepit. Whichever you choose to go with, it will provide a cozy place to gather with friends and the stone or rocks used to build your fire spot will create an aesthetically pleasing, welcoming atmosphere in your backyard.

  1.   Outdoor Pavilion

An outdoor pavilion isn’t just lovely to look at, but it is also useful. It serves as a great place to entertain friends when the weather is nice. String a few lights in your pavilion and you’re ready to host the neighborhood barbeque.

  1.   Rock Fixture

One very convenient thing about rocks is there is little to almost no upkeep. All you need to do is make sure you don’t have weeds growing in your design, and since you aren’t trying to keep other plants alive in that area, a quick spray of weed killer will keep your rocks looking fabulous.

If you have the time and don’t mind putting in a little elbow grease, then you could add one of these hardscape features to your yard in just a weekend or two. On the other hand, yard work isn’t for everyone. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a reliable crew to help your plain patch of grass turn into something that catches people’s attention.  

partnered post • photo by Erin Wilson on Unsplash

Why Soffit Is So Important

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 9.01.06 AM

The roof of your house has many functions. You may think that it’s only there to stop the elements from getting in, but it actually serves a couple of different purposes other than that. For example, the underside of your roof where it hangs over the edges of your house is actually crucial to mold and moisture prevention.

In case you weren’t up to speed on the importance of this area, known as a soffit, let’s go over a few of the reasons why this little-known part of your roof can have big implications on your home and all who live in it.

  1. Mold Prevention

If you have an attic in your home, having a good soffit is vital to preventing mold. Especially during the winter months when warm air from your furnace tends to rise and collect in the attic, proper ventilation is necessary. A ventilated soffit has tiny holes in it which let warm air escape without letting cold air into your home.

Without a soffit for the warm air to escape through, it can lead to mold growth which could end up costing you a lot more than the cost of a ventilated soffit. Spores from commonly found molds such as black mold can circulate through your home and do untold amounts of damage to you, your children, and especially any pregnant women in the household.

Unchecked mold growth can even lead to neurological symptoms and lung infection, making it extremely important to prevent it from growing anywhere on, or in your home.

  1. Structural Integrity

The increase in temperature in your attic will lead to other problems as well, like ice dams. An ice dam is when the snow on the top of your roof melts, then refreezes at the bottom. This builds up over time and can lead to destructive amounts of ice which could collapse your roof eventually.

Another thing that can happen as a result of this nearly year-round temperature increase is a weakening of the wood in your attic itself. The unnaturally high temperatures can lead to rotting and warping much easier.

  1. A Lower Energy Bill

All that warm air getting stale in your attic will eventually make its way back down into your house if it has nowhere to go. Especially in the summer, this added heat can raise the overall temperature of your house and cause your cooling bill to go through the roof (no pun intended).

Soffit Plays a Big Role in Your Roof’s Success

When it comes to keeping your family safe and preventing mold growth, increased temperatures, ice dams, and the overall degradation of your home, ventilated soffit is vital. Luckily for you, there are plenty of porch soffit options to choose from. This will help keep your home protected while still achieving the design elements you want.

Not only could having a good soffit lower your energy bill throughout the year, but it could also prevent you from having to deal with potentially nasty and long-lasting health issues as a result of mold growth in your attic. Making sure that warm air has a place to go is made much easier by installing a good soffit.

partnered post • client image

Fire Resistant Design Considerations for Your Home

Screen Shot 2019-04-20 at 9.45.50 PM

Nobody wants to experience a fire in their home. If serious enough, it can burn your house to the ground and potentially even cause serious harm or death to you and your loved ones. Thankfully there are a variety of ways you can make your home more fire resistant. From the actual construction of your home itself, to additions like siding, house wrap, and smoke curtains, you have a plethora of options when it comes to keeping your home from being ruined by fire damage.

Let’s go in-depth on some of these right now so you can make the best choice for yourself and your family in terms of fire resistance.

  1. Fire Resistant Siding

Steel siding is a great option for fire-resistance. Not only does it require almost no maintenance, it lasts an incredibly long time and is super resistant to damage as well. Steel is almost completely invulnerable to fires, weather events, and other disasters. Fire resistant house siding also has the added benefit of being extra resilient against high-heat exposure, meaning it won’t even melt or burn if you happen to get sparks from a grill on it, for instance.

  1. ICF Construction

Having your home built with an ICF system is another great way to prevent fire damage. ICF fire resistance is next to note. ICFs are known to be extremely resistant to fire and can help stop the spread of flames. They are also completely air-tight, making it hard for a fire to breathe and grow larger if one does happen to break out.

  1. Smoke Curtains

It’s a well-known fact that most deaths in house fires occur from smoke inhalation, rather than burning. This is why smoke curtains are crucial to helping ensure you and your family’s survival in the event of a fire.

Smoke curtains are stored in the ceiling of your home, and they only drop down in the event of a fire. These curtains can be placed in such a way that they completely block doorways, elevators, stairways, and atriums from smoke getting through.

Though, they can be easily walked through. The four main types of smoke curtains are perimeter curtains, draft curtains, vertical smoke curtains, and elevator smoke curtains. You can install one or multiple types, depending on the level of protection you want.

  1. Proper House Wrap

House wrap is another great way to add additional protection against fires. Some house wraps are made from material that is resistant to flames, or even fire-retardant. This is a great option for those of you have flammable siding but aren’t willing or able to replace it with fire-resistant siding. Comparing house wraps like typar vs tyvek is important when deciding which is best for your home.

Having a house wrap installed beneath your siding will create a sealed-off barrier that keeps flames from reaching the siding of your home and sending it completely up in flames.

There is No Excuse to Let Your Home Burn Down

As you can see, there are many great choices for giving your home extra protection against fires. Whether you choose to install a quality house wrap, smoke curtains, fire-resistant siding, build your home with an ICF wall system, or use some combination of these four strategies, there is no reason you should ever be in danger of burning alive should your home catch fire.

partnered post • client image

The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist


Spring is in the air and everyone is beginning to have those “out with the old, in with the new” urges. One way to remedy this is to dive into your spring cleaning. Whether you live at a cute little American Avenue apartment or a spacious house it can be difficult to keep track of all you’re spring cleaning needs. Here is a helpful list to follow to make sure you get everything feeling shiny and new or, at least clean.  


While you’re in the mood to get rid of things, you should start with the places that need the most decluttering. If you have things that haven’t been used in years it might be time to say goodbye. Just think, if you throw out that random useless item now, that will be one less thing to clean out next year.

  • Bedroom Closet
  • Hall Closet
  • Under the stairs
  • Cupboards
  • Under the bed
  • Attic
  • Basement


After months with the doors and windows shut tight against the cold, there is plenty of unnoticed dust build up in the corners and cracks of your home. It is time to say farewell to the dust bunnies and get all of the dust out of your home.

  • Baseboards
  • Ceiling corners
  • Crown molding
  • Ceiling fans
  • Light fixtures
  • Lamps
  • Kitchen cupboards
  • Picture frames
  • Bookcases
  • Window blinds


The urge to buy all of the new things is strong in the spring, but before you go spending an arm and leg on stuff try helping your old things feel new. A bit of wood polish and some elbow grease can do wonders for a dusty piece of wooden furniture.

  • Furniture
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Bathroom cabinets
  • Kitchen table

Remove dust

You’ve dusted but you haven’t necessarily removed all of the dust from your house yet. In some cases, you just transferred it from one place to another. Now it’s time to get the dust out of the house.

  • Beat rugs outside
  • Vacuum air vents
  • Schedule chimney sweep (if you have a chimney)
  • Change air/furnace filters


At some point, you knew you’d have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub. Well, that time has come. Your floors need attention and you’ll want to embrace your inner Cinderella so you can have the most thorough cleaning completed.

  • Move furniture to vacuum/sweep everything
  • Scrub gout in tile
  • Shampoo carpet
  • Deep clean linoleum
  • Deep clean/polish wood floor


It is a rare person that actually enjoys doing laundry, but even if you aren’t one of those lucky souls, that doesn’t mean you can just ignore it. Whether you decide to do all your laundry in one day to get it out of the way or space it out through your week you’ll definitely want to do some spring laundry.

  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Towels
  • Curtains
  • Spot clean pillows
  • Spot clean fabric furniture

Deep Clean

To help your home feel extra clean and ready for spring you’ll want to give a little bit of extra attention to the things listed below. They will be the difference between a tidy home and an actually clean home.

  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Stove
  • Oven
  • Bathtub
  • Shower
  • Microwave

With your cleaning list in hand, you are ready to tackle your home and get it fully ready for spring. Throw open your windows, tie back your hair, and blast your favorite tunes while you finally get the winter grime out and allow the fresh spring breeze to sweep through your home.

guest post • photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Rustic Design Trends For Your Home


While some home trends that have been popular for the last few years are definitely on their way out some are still going strong. Rustic home design is one of those trends that is just getting stronger this year. While rustic home accents have been on design blogs and social media for years the rustic farmhouse design with modern elements is one of the hottest trends this year. Homeowners that want to give their home a timeless look and a chic upgrade are embracing rustic elements that give their home a cozy country feel. The best ways to add rustic design elements to your home are to upgrade your home with:

Distressed Hardwood Flooring

Distressed hardwood flooring adds character to your home while still giving you the beauty of natural hardwood flooring. Because distressed hardwood flooring is made from recycled wood it’s sustainable and good for the environment and it also gives your home a gorgeous rustic look and feel. Aged wood has a unique look that comes from the patina that builds up on the wood over the years and the wear pattern that is created over time. When you have distressed hardwood flooring installed in your home your floors will be totally unique with an individual personality that can’t be duplicated. The warmth and charm of your distressed hardwood floors will transform any room.

Rustic Kitchen Countertops

Rustic wood countertops are the perfect finishing touch for a modern farmhouse look in the kitchen. If you’re tired of your granite countertops and want a truly unique look for your kitchen replacing your countertops with reclaimed wood countertops will make your kitchen one a kind. The warm tones of reclaimed wood will make your kitchen truly the heart of the home. You can also install new rustic countertops to give a light rustic feel to dark kitchens that need brightening up. Light wood countertops that contrast with black, dark navy, or gray kitchen paint make the kitchen seem warmer and move inviting while maintaining that sleek modern look that comes from colored cabinets.

Faux Wood Beams

Faux wood beams installed in a living room, family room, dining room, or kitchen give the room a dramatic rustic look without the weight of real wood beams. Wood beams are a fantastic design element that can help make a room seem more inviting. They can also help frame the space in a room with very high ceilings. Real wood beams can be very expensive to hang because they are exceptionally heavy but faux wood beams that are hollow inside are light and easy to install. They give you the wonderful rustic look you want without all the expense and hassle of installing real wood beams for decoration. They also are practical because wiring for lights, smart home devices, and other projects can be run through the beams to keep them out of sight.

Rustic Siding

If you have always wanted your home to have the charm and appeal of a log cabin, replacing your existing siding with rustic siding can give you the look that you want with easy maintenance and installation. Wood look siding that mimics the look of real wood will transform your home into the cabin you’ve always wanted without requiring a lot of effort to keep it looking great. Low maintenance modern rustic look siding gives you the best of both worlds.

guest post • client image

An Alternative Material For Your Cabinets


Plywood is the best choice for your cabinets if you want cabinets that are going to look great but also hold up to the wear and tear of daily use. For kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, or custom cabinet storage in a playroom, sewing room, office, or in the garage plywood is the best choice. That’s because plywood is stronger than medium-density fiberboard or MDF and will last for years even with heavy use. Plywood cabinets can also resist moisture and perform even in high humidity environments like in the bathroom or in some garages.

Plywood Kitchen Cabinets

Plywood kitchen cabinets might cost a little more than MDF or particle board cabinets but the money is an investment in durability. Kitchen cabinets are used every day throughout the day and need to be strong enough to withstand years of constant use without warping, cracking, or falling apart. Plywood has the beauty and strength to create kitchen cabinets that will look great and be sturdy enough to stay strong no matter how much wear and tear they take. Plywood kitchen cabinet designs are worth the extra cost because they will last longer and stay looking great longer than MDF cabinets. You can also customize the look of plywood cabinets to get the look that you want in your kitchen.

Choosing the Best Plywood

When it comes to choosing the best plywood for your cabinets you should consider both the strength of the plywood and the veneer that gives the plywood the decorative look used for cabinet fronts. If you are choosing plywood for your garage or shop cabinets you might not need to spend extra money on a highly decorative plywood because strength is more important than the appearance of the plywood for work cabinets. But in the kitchen the appearance of the veneer might be the deciding factor and not the cost. When you are choosing the best plywood take into consideration where the cabinets are going to help you make the right decision about which plywood is the best plywood for the job.

Prefinished Plywood

Traditionally kitchen cabinets and other cabinets have been made of unfinished plywood and then finished after construction. However, using prefinished plywood can be the right choice for custom plywood cabinets. Using prefinished plywood might cost more up front because the cost of the materials for the cabinets will be higher but using prefinished plywood has a lot of advantages that will make up for the extra up front cost.

One of the biggest advantages of using prefinished plywood is that it will shorten the time needed to create and install the cabinets. When your new cabinets are made from prefinished plywood they can be completed fairly quickly because they don’t need to go through all the finishing steps to get the look that you want. If time is a factor when you are getting new cabinets made you should consider choosing prefinished plywood.

Prefinished plywood is also available in a wide range of colors, finishes, and coatings so that you can choose the exact color or finish that you want for your cabinet and you will get a uniform look because all of the cabinets will be made from the same prefinished material. You won’t need to waste time worrying about stains or paint colors and making sure that all the cabinets match when you choose prefinished plywood for your custom cabinets.

Choose Plywood For Your Cabinet Needs

Plywood is a great material for any room of your home. From stunning and unique kitchen cabinets to extra storage in your garage or shed for your tools such as levels, nails, or even just craft necessities like paint. Cabinets made out of plywood can give you extra storage that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Be sure to consider plywood as a material for your cabinets for your next renovation or upgrade.

guest post • client image

Behind the Scenes in DIY Home Renovation


Have you ever imagined a home renovation to totally change the look and appeal of your home? While there are many reasons homeowners seek renovations, the two leading reasons for a DIY project are cost and enjoyment. Believe it or not, some of the coolest DIY home renovation projects have been undertaken by homeowners who could easily afford the services of professional contractors but simply enjoy a hands-on approach.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand all that is involved when working beyond their area of expertise and this is where problems can arise. Whether you are considering a home renovation project to your current home or a ‘fixer upper’ you’ve found on the market for a good price, let’s take a look at what goes on ‘behind the scenes.’

The Dangers of Airborne Particles

Have you ever wondered why even contractors will buy planks and boards which have been cut and sanded at a lumber mill as opposed to working on them on-site? Many times, even with face masks, the dust inhaled is a very real health hazard. That’s just a simple example of airborne particles you might be subjected to. Companies that manufacture many of the products you will be working with have what they call ‘clean rooms’ in which particles are evacuated through complex filtration systems.

If their airborne particle counter reads above a certain safe level, steps are taken to eliminate the hazards to workers. Obviously timber is a very basic example, but what about compounds being used such as certain epoxies which need to be worked with under specific parameters? It’s vital to know any dangers which might not be readily visible to the naked eye before working with any harmful substances or materials.

When Permits and Licenses Are Required

Unless you are in the business, it can be difficult to know when zoning in your area requires special construction permits or professional licenses. Electrical wiring is a good example of when you might be required to have the work completed by a licensed electrician. Some wiring can be overseen and signed off on by a licensed electrician, but other jobs may require the actual work to be done by licensed and insured professionals. Then there are building permits you may not realize you need. Some zoning ordinances are more stringent than others.

For example, you will almost always need a roofer if doing an attic conversion into an apartment or extra living space if the roof line is to be altered, but you wouldn’t need a roofer if the area just needs interior finishing. Don’t get slapped with a code violation and a hefty fine, so always be aware of those seemingly ‘little’ things which can land you in a world of trouble.

When Repairs Cost More than the Original Labor

The final thing to consider is when you aren’t really sure what you are doing but are trying to save a buck or two. Some homeowners have found that repairs to their DIY work cost more than a professional job would have cost. Some things are simply better left in the hands of a pro.

Are you looking to get your hands on a DIY home renovation project? If so, always know what you are getting yourself into before starting any project whatsoever. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

guest post • royalty-free photo by pixabay

How Reclaimed Wood Is Recycled

Using reclaimed wood is a fantastic way to add some unique style to your home and it’s environmentally friendly. Wood that is reclaimed from old homes, barns, and other sources goes through an extensive recycling process that gives it new purpose without diminishing the beautiful aged look and charm that it already has.

In order for reclaimed wood to be ready for use in modern homes, first, the wood is taken from demolished homes, barns and outbuildings, and old factories along with other buildings. All old nails, staples, ties, and other items are removed from the wood by hand to make sure the wood is free of anything but the actual wood.

Then it’s cleaned with simple soap and water to wash off any dirt, debris, or oil that has built up on the wood over time to reveal the wood’s true color and natural beauty. After that the wood is milled to break it down to the right thickness for whatever project it’s going to be used for. It’s also then planed and ripped to make it functional wood.

After that it goes through a kiln drying process to kill any mold that might be on the wood from years of exposure to the elements or to water. The kiln drying process also gets rid of any insects or pests that have taken up residence in the wood.

The wood is then molded into a new shape that’s suitable for whatever purpose it’s going to be used for and it’s cross-cut and processed so that it can be turned into flooring, cabinet doors, stair treads, wood paneling walls, and other accents that can be used in any home. The color of the wood and the natural grain lines remain and make each piece of reclaimed wood a unique treasure that brings style and warmth to any home.

For more information on reclaimed wood, check out the infographic below:

Elmwood Infographic

5 Ways to Improve Your Backyard

Screen Shot 2019-01-22 at 8.58.01 AM

Your backyard is a place to relax and unwind. It should be your family’s own little slice of heaven after a busy week of work, school, and stress. Before it can become your perfect oasis though, you’ll probably need to put a little time into it. Here are a few things you can do that will make a large impact on the look and feel of your yard.

A Privacy Fence

To make your backyard your own private getaway you should consider adding a privacy fence. This will make your backyard feel more personal and comfortable. If you have children this will also limit the stress of sending them outside to play. You’ll know where they are and that they are safe and sound. says that it will likely cost between $10 - $45 per linear foot to construct your wood fence, depending on the material you choose to use.


If your backyard is just a dirt mound or grass pad then you might want to consider adding a few trees. They may not be impressive now, but in a few years you’ll be grateful you have them. Trees add privacy to your back yard and shade for those hot summer days. There are also so many things you can do with trees; hang hammocks, build a tree house, put in a tree swing, the options are endless!

Outdoor Lights

Whether it is one large spotlight on your back porch or a string of lights hanging between your trees, lighting is a nice touch to any backyard. The lights will especially come in handy when your children want to play outside as the sun sets or if you decide to host a neighborhood BBQ. Lighting your yard doesn’t have to cost you an arm or a leg either. Check out Electrical Wholesale to find great deals on outdoor lighting options.

Add a Hammock

If you aren’t in the mood for a big project but want to increase the overall appeal of your yard, just add a hammock. The amount you want to spend on the hammock completely depends on you. There are some for as cheap as $20 online. The nice ones that will last longer will be close to $100. Either way, the setup isn’t time-consuming and the hours of enjoyment you will get out of your new tree swing are well worth the effort.

Create a Fire Pit

A fire pit is a nice addition to any back yard. You can always purchase a fire pit. This makes an easy setup and the option to move it around the yard at your leisure. If you're confident of the placement of your pit and have the time then building your fire pit right into the ground is always a lovely option, and it adds some semblance of permanency to your yard.

It doesn’t take much to make a remarkable difference to your backyard. A little time and effort can go a long way in providing for the privacy and comfort of your family. Good luck on your next project, and have fun!

guest post • photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Why are high-quality workwear and PPE so important?


Investing in high quality workwear and PPE is important if you are an avid do-it-yourselfer or conduct manual work. Workwear such as work trousers can improve productivity whilst PPE such as knee pads can help protect from injury. Many novice DIYers neglect their own safety by not wearing the correct clothing and equipment to keep them safe.  The purpose of this article is to highlight the importance of PPE and workwear at home or in a workplace.


PPE, otherwise known as personal protective equipment, is designed to keep the wearer safe and reduce the risk of injury. PPE is a broad category of protective equipment. Equipment such as hard hats and goggles can provide head and eye protection and are therefore classed as PPE.

Injuries and fatalities are thankfully on the decrease due to a stronger emphasis on health and safety in a workplace due to law. People working on their own personal building projects often do not wear all the appropriate equipment. These people are running the risk of serious injury.

PPE should always be worn when there is a potential risk present. For example, loud noises from machinery may cause hearing damage and therefore ear protection must be worn. Falling debris can cause head injuries, which means hard hats should be worn. A construction site will conduct risk assessments before any manual work begins. The same risk assessment is not always applied when at home. Not identifying risks in the first place makes it harder to prevent them. In addition to this, some people have the attitude that they will be fine without PPE. This attitude is dangerous and can increase the chance of accidents occurring. PPE is one of the most important components of DIY and should not be overlooked.


Wearing high quality workwear will provide both comfort and convenience. Protective workwear such as hi vis clothing can help increase the visibility of the wearer. This dramatically decreases risks of injuries from cars or people operated machinery. Flame resistant clothing will help reduce fire hazards and reduce damage closed by fire. Everyday workwear such as jackets or trousers can make manual work easier. Some work trousers and jackets are equipped with multiple pockets to provide easy access to tools and essentials. In addition to this, knee pad work trousers are equipped with knee pad pockets, which allows for knee pads to be slotted in. This can help prevent long-term damage to knees.

The quality of the workwear and PPE is extremely important. High quality workwear can help protect the wearer from harsh weather. PPE must be of high quality to meet safety standards. Cheaply made PPE may not be suitable for use and could put the wearer in danger. It is important to ensure that both workwear and PPE is in great condition to ensure safety and comfort. Another benefit of high quality workwear and PPE is that it will be a lot more durable.

In conclusion, you should always wear the appropriate workwear and PPE to prevent risks, no matter how big or small the task is. The higher the quality, the better it will be in terms of durability and safety.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Tom Fowler

6 Simple Steps To Create A Pallet Porch Swing for Your Home

Screen Shot 2019-01-11 at 4.14.10 PM

Every good porch or large old tree is just begging for a swinging bench rocking in its shade. If you only have a little time to dedicate to a project than this is the activity for you!

Do you have any old wooden pallets laying around? For most people, they see these scraps of wood as fuel for a bonfire or another trip to the dump. Fortunately for you, this is the beginning of your swing.

Patio Bench Swing

Before doing anything else you’ll want to make sure you have the right materials. You will need:

  • 2 large wooden pallets
  • Corner Metal Fasteners  
  • Metal chains
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Hammer
  • 4 U-bolts

This type of project is one you can take as much or as little time as you want getting it done. If you just want something to sit on, but not to look at, you’ll have this thing done in no time. However, if you’re going for looks then you’ll probably want to sand and paint or stain your wood to give it that finished feel.

Just follow these 6 simple steps and you’ll be swinging on your porch in no time.

Step 1

Cut your seat and backrest. This is as easy as cutting one pallet in half. Cut the pallet so the top and bottom wood are laying horizontally across the pallet.

Step 2

Make your armrests. You can just rip off a few pieces of wood from the other pallet to form your armrests. You will use this wood (the armrests) to help you secure the backboard to the seat.

Step 3

Connect the backboard to the seat. Use your corner fasteners, screws and screwdriver to attach the back of your bench to the seat.

Step 4

Attach the armrests to the bench. Using your screwdriver attach your armrests to the bench that you made.  

Step 5

Screw the u-bolts to the top front and top back of the armrests. The u-bolts will be where your chain will hold the chair so be sure your armrests are secured tightly to your bench.

Step 6

If you were going for super easy then you are now finished. All you have to do is decide where you’re going to hang your bench.

If you wanted to make your bench a little nicer, now is the time to sand away and then paint or stain your bench.

Step 7 (optional)

I would suggest getting an outdoor-friendly cushion to place on your bench. Not only will this make your bench more comfortable but it will also help it to be more inviting.  

As simple as that, you have made something useful from those wooden pallets and created something that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come. If you still have a few more pallets laying around, you might consider a few other simple projects like a standing park bench, coffee table, bed headboard or even a lounge chair for the yard. All you’ll need are some pallets, screws, and a bit of creativity.

guest post • photo by Max Lakutin on Unsplash

Curb appeal: 4 must-implement tips to abide by


Ask any real estate agent worth their salt about curb appeal and you’ll be met with the same answer. This is the holy grail and if you are serious about selling your home, you need to master this down to a tee.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be in the market to sell your home. Let’s not forget that while curb appeal might be a term mainly utilized in the real estate industry, in truth any homeowner can use it to their advantage. Suddenly, your home becomes the envy of neighbors and even if you aren’t the jealous type, this is certainly something that is nice to have.

Following on from the above, we will now delve into four tips that you simply must implement if you want to perfect your curb appeal.

Look after your lawn

Nothing quite shouts out “neglected” to potential buyers than a brown and patchy lawn. This is something that is all-too common nowadays though; lawns are difficult to maintain at the best of times and it can feel like an uphill battle to keep them in pristine condition.

The solution? Well, there are two. Some people will buy some lawn paint as a hack to make their lawn look lusher than it really is, while others might go a step further and replace the grass altogether. This creates something of a maintenance-free front yard, which alleviates some pressure when it comes to curb appeal.

Don't dismiss front yard lighting

Once upon a time installing external lighting was something of a pain. Now, with solar lights so popular, there are no excuses.

Not only do they aid from a security perspective (what thief wants to be watched in the glitz and glamour of garden lights?) but they can make your home feel a little more premium. Whether it’s to light up a path, or to symmetrically illuminate your front door, this is one of the easier ways to make your front yard look a lot nicer on the eye and ultimately impress suitors or neighbors.

It's not all about the garden; stay on top of your windows

A lot of the advice through today’s guide has been about the garden, and rightly so. However, curb appeal really can venture much further than this. This suggestion is about your windows and specifically, how dressing them appropriately can give the best impression to passers-by.

Of course, the premium option here is shutters, but not everyone can afford such luxury. Blinds are perfectly fine, and with so many different types now available you really can dress your window to your hearts (and homes) desire. Installing them is surprisingly simple as well although for those looking for a helping hand, handyman services across WA will always cover such a task.

The dreaded dirty front door

Something that a lot of homeowners always fall foul of is their front door. This is something that can cost a small fortune to install, yet as so many homeowners then opt to neglect it. It quickly gets covered in dirt and all of the other debris from the outside elements - leaving anything but the example of perfect curb appeal.

All it takes is a regular clean, and you'll be shocked at how the first impressions of your home transform.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Leslie Archard

How to turn your fixer-upper to your dream home

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 9.45.27 AM

It may seem like you have a lot of work ahead of you, but soon this fixer-upper will turn into your dream home.

When deciding to buy your fixer-upper you took a huge leap of faith that with a lot of blood, sweat and probably some tears you could turn it into the place you always wanted.

You were ok with the idea that you had to be a bit of a visionary to imagine the potential of everything it could become because you knew you were the person that could do it.

But now that you actually have it and are ready to start the transformation you are probably feeling pretty overwhelmed and don't really know where to start.

Luckily, with one foot in front of the other and one step at a time, you can begin the process of turning your fixer-upper into your dream home, and here are a couple suggestions on where you can start.

Go bottoms up

When it comes to a fixer upper it’s best to start with the bottom and then work from there.

It's important to check to make sure the foundation is strong and up to code, especially since you are most likely going to add a lot to the house and want to make sure it’s structurally sound.

From there you can fix what you need to and then go room by room, and then you can do the roof and the exteriors.

Consult a professional

If you don’t know where to begin and how to check if things like electrical, gas, and even the foundation are sound and up to code, it’s definitely a good idea to consult a professional.

In fact, that may be the first thing you want to do right after purchasing your fixer-upper and before you move in and start any repairs because they can be the ones to advise you about permits, insurance, electrical wholesale for the wiring throughout the house, cost efficiency, etc.

Make a plan

After you talk with a contractor or designer about your dreams and goals for your home you can then lay out a plan on how you want to get it done.

You can take into account how much time you have, how soon you want to be in the house, how much work actually needs to be done, and of course your budget.

Fixer-uppers are not always going to be like you see on TV and will take time and a lot of effort. You may have to pick and choose what’s most important and most practical at first versus what you were envisioning.

But eventually it will all come together and you will be glad you came up with a plan along the way.

Know you can do it

A fixer-upper can seem super overwhelming, and while you are in the middle of it all it may seem like next to impossible.

But understand with these types of projects everything looks much worse before it actually comes together and you just have to keep your vision of what you want in mind and persevere through it.

guest post • client image

Five Landscaping Trends to Help Sell Your Home

Selling your home is an extensive process. Preparing the proper documentation can take weeks or even months. While you’re waiting, you can pursue a few landscaping trends that will make your home a perfect choice for future homeowners. Let’s explore a few factors that will turn your home into an ideal purchase.

  1. Efficient Drainage Solutions

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.23.33 AM

Standing water can potentially damage the home and soil around the landscape. To prevent flooding install a patio drainage system onto the landscape. More than likely, you’ll need a combination of drainage systems. Here a few types of drainage systems that’ll help increase your chances of selling your home:

Types of Drainage System

  • French Drain Systems – Installation of French Drains require grading and digging channels into the landscape. These channels are filled with pipes (corrugated or PVC) that follow a gradual decline in elevation to push water away from the home. A catch basin is installed at the center point where water will flood. Use gravel rock over drainage pipes to hold the installation in place then cover the gravel rock with the soil you initially dug up.
  • Trench Drains – These are ideal for pathway, patios, and driveways. Measure the length and width of the designated area. Dig a trench into the soil according to the measurements of the outdoor flooring structure or the edge of a pathway. Install the trench drain. Be sure that the trench drain design sits a little lower at the edge of each structure, this will allow the water to drain much easier. Like catch basins, trench drains come with a grate to filter out debris.
  • Balcony Drains – If your patio or deck is built high above ground, you may have to use a balcony drain. Balcony drains have a much smaller catch basin with a slim piping channel to funnel water from the area. They can be used for patios as well.
  • Rock Drainage System – Take it a step further and use the elements to show a great cosmetic design of your home with river rock drainage. It may take some grading on your landscape, but there will be creative display that will awe potential home buyers.
  1. Revamping Outdoor Wood Floors

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.25.00 AM

Years of innovation have given us better material for outdoor wood flooring. Homeowners are leaning more toward composite decking solutions. Composite wood floors are much more durable against the inclement weather and are likely free from insect damage. Use this opportunity to turn classic hardwood decks or patios into composite outdoor wood floors.

Give your home a design and turn the classic deck design into multi-directional steps complemented with matching railing. Or trade the stone patio for outdoor wood floors that transition from the outside to the edge of your home.

  1. Adding Flair during the Night

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.26.14 AM

Most buyers won’t see your home at night. Invest in some eco-friendly lighting to show off the landscape during the evening hours. For those who love the outdoors, you can add a fire pit on the patio or create a benching area beside the pool. Speaking of benching, consider some under seat lighting for your patio or deck chairs.

You can find eco-friendly lights such as lights powered by solar panels at local retailers. Set up lights to bring a twilight feel to your landscape. Don’t forget to take photos.

  1. Use Simple Garden Designs

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.27.32 AM

You want the landscape to be neat and spacious. This will give the home buyers ideas they can envision about the home. Of course, make sure the area is clean. Trim the hedges, mow the lawn, and extract leaves that may be on the landscape. Next, add these factors to help your chances:

  • Select Pine Straw as a Ground Cover– With lawn and garden beds clear, find a ground cover that’s both cost-efficient and cosmetically sound like Pine Straw. Pine straw is much cheaper than mulch and can be installed much faster.
  • Plant Annuals – As you approach home tour days, think about planting annual flowers in garden beds to bring vibrancy to your landscape.
  1. The Advantages of a Pergola

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.28.33 AM

Pergolas are majestic structures that supplement any patio, deck, or pathway. Combine a pergola with lighting to illuminate the imaginations of homeowners who enjoy home social events. If you’re a new homeowner looking to sell in the future, plant a Wisteria vine and twine it above the pergola. Over the years, the vine will create a natural canopy.

Also, you can install a swinging bench on a pergola. With the right structure and placement, it’ll give your landscape a community feel that’s inviting for any guest.

How these Trends Better Your Chances

In terms of landscape, you want to give potential buyers a clear canvas of the area. Be sure the lawns and garden beds are well kept. Maintenance it every week until the home is sold. As you maintain the residential landscape, assess any issues that may occur around the landscape. Improve the cosmetics of the landscape the first chance you get.

guest post • client images

Home Improvement Trends To Up The Value Of Your Home

Owning a home is an investment that grows in value as the years go by. Of course, keeping your house up to date is important to ensure the highest value possible when you may be prepared to sale your home. That’s why implementing the newest home improvement trends can be pivotal towards adding more value to your home. In this article, we’ll cover some of the newest trends that will safeguard your home’s value and increase its value for the future.

Choose A Low Maintenance Siding

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 9.56.52 AM

If there’s one thing that adds value to your home, it’s the ability to add low-maintenance materials that avoid the constant upkeep that homes require. Potential homebuyers appreciate this, so using materials like steel log siding and fiber cement siding brings a visual appeal and ecological benefits. There are plenty of siding options to choose from that are low maintenance allowing you to achieve any look you want whether it’s rustic, modern, or chic.

Install A Durable Countertop

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 9.58.07 AM

Considering that your kitchen is one of the most widely used spaces in your home, installing a countertop that can withstand years of potlucks, parties, spilled coffee, and all of the inevitabilities that come with home cooking is a wise decision to boost your home’s value. For durability, nothing beats stone, as it is a non-porous material that can be resurfaced inexpensively as needed. This is why black and white quartz countertops and quartz that looks like marble are the go-to for adding to your home’s appeal. After all, when potential buyers come to view your home, they want to imagine what will eventually need to be replaced and what adds an “earthy” quality to a kitchen, bathroom, dining room, and so forth.

Brighten Up Your Home With New Windows

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 9.59.21 AM

Health-consciousness and personal wellness are some of the key trends in the 21st century. Getting your daily dose of natural vitamin D from the sun isn’t just restricted to a brisk morning walk. Instead, brightening your home with new windows can have holistic benefits to its occupants—something that prospective buyers are sure to take into considering (especially in sun-starved areas, like the Pacific Northwest). Plus many people prefer more natural light in their homes as this can help decrease their overall electric and utility bills.

Incorporate Wood Accents

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.00.27 AM

Adding wood accents to your home is not only visually appealing, but can also subconsciously boost the mood of its occupants. Therefore, adding decorative wood wall panels to an accent wall or wide plank wood flooring to outdated carpet or tile can create a more inviting ambiance to your home’s interior, while also being extremely cost-effective. This can be a great improvement for modern homes that may be poorly constructed or have a “one size fits all” look. With some tasteful placements throughout your home, wood accents can add immense value to an otherwise ordinary home.

Invest in Energy Efficient Appliances

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 10.02.15 AM

Thanks to our modern technology, energy efficient appliances are a trend that homebuyers deeply consider when purchasing a property. First, using energy-efficient appliances uses less energy, making them more ecological and sustainable for the environment. But there’s also a correlation just for the benefit of the money saved which is attractive to many homebuyers. To make your home more modern, look at replacing washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, etc. and incorporating appliances with Energy Star appliances (which are certified by the U.S. Department of Energy). Additionally, homebuyers may be pleased to find out that there are tax rebates for using energy-efficient appliances, something that any homebuyers is keenly interested in.

There are many ways to improve your home and ultimately up the value if you’re looking to sell soon. Keep in mind what potential buyers are looking for and try to fit their wants and needs. After all, if the buyer likes your home they will be willing to spend more to ensure they seal the deal!

guest post • client images

6 Things to Do Before You Move Into an Old House


Congratulations! You found the perfect fixer-upper that you can turn into a home. It’s important to find out if the home is safe and has passed all inspections before moving. You may also want to add some additions, like a stair lift, to your old home to make it more appealing.

Moving can be a chore. The last thing you want to do is to add more tasks to your to-do list. If you put off these tasks, it’ll make it harder to enjoy your house in the long run. Do each of these tips before moving in, and you'll be able to enjoy your home.

Change the Locks

First thing is first. If you’re moving into a fixer-upper, you need to get the locks changed. It’s important for you and your family to stay safe in your new surroundings. You don’t want the former homeowner or some other stranger with access to your front door.

Changing the locks on your exterior doors is the first task that you need to complete. As soon as closing is complete and you got the keys to your home, install new locks or have a locksmith change them out for you. Do this as soon as you move in and you'll prevent yourself from staying up and worrying late at night.

Clean the House

While most homeowners leave the house clean for you, that’s not always the case. Even if they claim they do, you'll want to clean everything down yourself. You can hire a housekeeper or cleaning service to do the work for you. If money or time is tight, you can do it yourself. When you do it yourself, you’ll feel better about moving into an old house.

Set up your area with a few cleaning tools to get the job done: brooms, buckets, mops, vacuum cleaner, and cleaning products for each type of surface. Don't forget to use a pair of rubber gloves. Wash down your kitchen cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, toilet, and clean the flooring and carpeting. Taking this extra step will make you feel better about the house.

Check for Leaks

Your home inspector may have said your new home doesn’t have any leaks. But with a second check, you can give yourself greater peace of mind. Check the water meter before using the water. Wait two hours and check the water meter once again. Make sure your family doesn’t use the water during this time.

The water meter should read the same within these two hours. If it doesn’t, it means you have a leak. While you may not want to deal with it right away, this will keep you aware of the condition of your pipes. It’s easy to check your water meter when everyone’s out of the house or busy packing.

Change the Toilet Seats

This is a must if you’re moving into an old house. Changing all of the toilet seats will make your house feel like a home. It’ll prevent you from worrying about what happened to the toilet before you moved in.

Get a detachable toilet if you want greater peace of mind. No matter how many times you scrub your toilet seat hinges, you’ll feel that they’re never really clean, making for an uncomfortable situation. A detachable toilet seat allows you to remove the entire thing and clean every part.

Install Switch Places and Other Devices

Many older houses have dirt or discolored switch plates and electrical outlets. Replacing these creates uniformity in your home and makes your home feel newer and cleaner. While replacing switch places only requires a screwdriver, keep in mind that replacing electrical devices shouldn't be considered a DIY project. It’s always best to hire an electrician for these small tasks.

Have the Mechanical Equipment Cleaned and Serviced

You should get this done as soon as you purchase the house. Getting your heating and cooling system cleaned and maintained is an important part of the move-in journey. Get a service contract if your system stops working in the dead of winter, so you don’t have to worry about paying to have a technician visit your home. Ask your friends, family, or neighbors for references if you’re not sure which company to choose.

Paint the Walls and Ceilings

Sometimes this job can be more time consuming than moving process itself. You may want to hire painters to come to your home. This is also a desirable option if you never painted a house before.

If your walls and ceilings have holes and cracks in them, a new slab of paint isn’t going to do them any good. Unless you have a friend or relative who can help, save yourself time by having the professionals do it. If you're short on time or money, opt for neutral colors. This will give your home a much-needed update and make it more cohesive.

Once you get some of these tasks out of the way, it’s time to move into your home. That old house you bought will feel like a new home once you’re settled.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Michael

Tips for Landscape Design for Beginners


For new landscapers, finding the right design can be a challenging feat. Lack of experience can lead to serious mistakes as it relates to creating an appealing design. Here's are some tips you should take into consideration when designing a landscape for the first time:

Make Sure that the Lawn, Trees, and Shrubs are in Good Condition. Prior to starting any design element be certain to check the health of your lawn, trees, and shrubs. If any trees or shrubs need to be removed do so with care. If need be, employ the services of a professional arborist to conduct a tree survey to assess the health of your trees. Decaying trees can be extremely dangerous to your person and to your property.

Decide Which Elements the Outdoor Space Requires. All lawns are not created equal. Considering the specific needs of your family or business when landscaping is the essential first component to creating a great design. For instance, if you have children or pets you may need a significant amount of green space. On the other hand, an elderly couple may need a low maintenance yard that has very little green space. You have to be prepared to design a space that reflects your lifestyle and your specific needs.

Find a Focal Point. Place the largest or most significant object in an appropriate place, then establish your design based on this focal point. This will create a balanced landscape design. This focal point can be natural such as a tree or shrub. If there is no natural focal point, you can add a bench or a water feature. Make sure this focal point is appealing and adds interest to the landscape.

Add Flowerbeds, Mulch or Rocks. Flowerbeds add instant color and character to any lawn. Be sure to use native plants and flowers to ensure their health and growth. In addition, material such as mulch and rocks are essential for proper drainage so that flowers and plants can thrive. Rocks and mulch also provide a lovely aesthetic and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Be Aware of Scale and Pacing. Even for established landscapers, scale and pacing can be one of the most challenging elements of landscape design. Scale and pacing have to do with the scope and size of the materials that compose the landscape. For instance, many landscapes have tall trees and short plants. In addition, the presence of flowers brings in the element of color. All of these materials need to be balanced to create a landscape that is aesthetically pleasing.

Employing each of these tips will greatly assist you in designing a landscape that looks beautiful and also satisfies your needs. Keep in mind that becoming a great landscaper takes a great deal of time and practice. Be patient as you attempt to use these design elements and learn from any mistakes you make during the process.

guest post • cc-licensed image by Michael Cheng