Space Optimisation Tips For This Summer

0

With August coming up shortly, many are the ones who want to rebuild or optimise their garden or outdoor space. This is naturally a hard mission to accomplish, especially if you're not an experienced designer or simply because you don't have a big budget planned for such renovation. In order to reshape your outdoor space, analysing which pieces are still working in your current picture is the starting point, unless you're going after a complete renovation. Let's break down 4 tips in order for you to achieve great results when it comes to space optimisation and general outdoor planning.

Number One: Small Spaces Are Easy To Organise

If you have a small garden, this may sound weird to you: given the fact that you don't have a big space, placing all your pieces of furniture in order to create more space or simply because you want to give them a cleaner look could be hard. By simply following a process known as "the central progression" you can overcome this obstacle: place your table/your bulkiest piece of furniture in the centre and everything else around it, in order to have more space for you and your guest to move. This could be a great starting point for optimising your outdoor space, especially since it naturally creates more space.

Number Two: Accessories And Decorations

If there's a simple tip everyone can follow when it comes to decoration, it is "don't exaggerate." No one, in fact, is expecting you to build a glass fountain in the middle of your small garden, so don't over complicate your life and just place something that truly describes who you are (framed pictures, for example, are a great hint) in order to create an "outside living room."

0-1

Number Three: Buying New Furniture

If your furniture is old or simply not so good looking, before changing it you should follow two simple steps:

  • Plan your budget. Regardless of the fact that you're going after this kind of outdoor living furniture, deciding the amount of money that you want to invest is possibly the most important thing.

  • Once again, don't exaggerate. If you are planning on inviting 2/3 friends once every two weeks, let's be real: you don't need any fancy looking piece of design. With that being said, the pieces don't have to be cheap looking, so try to get the best of both worlds.

0-2

Number Four: Lights

Is there anything better than having a small soiree between you and your friends after the sunset? Maybe with some chilled drinks talking about the most random stuff that happened to you during the week? I don't think so. In order to do so, especially when it gets dark, you must have a proper lighting system. This doesn't have to be expensive, but practical and stylish. That's why my personal advice would be relying on LEDs, especially since you can get them for cheap on Amazon nowadays.

 

Author profile pic

About the Author

Vicky Layton is a fashion designer, running enthusiast and occasional model. Fashion is and will always be her passion and she also loves sports. She is currently doing an internship but would love to open her own showroom soon.

 

 

 

 

 

partnered post • client images


Luxury, Real estate Market, Beats the Crisis

Screen Shot 2018-07-24 at 9.03.37 AM

The luxury marketplace is the part of the real estate market concerning properties approximately highly valued from one to 20 million AED. This very broad range consists of the highest quality properties which can be found in the marketplace. Research carried out on the average price tag of the houses that belong to this particular segment over a long-term period (10 to 20 years) explain that they're in a position to improve their worth more than the houses of the popular segment (i.e., the properties below a million AED). This feature makes them a fascinating property for people looking a safe and secure way to make investments.

Why Luxurious Properties Can Maintain Their Worth

The crucial reason why high-end properties maintain their worth better as compared to normal properties is that the particular offer of most of these properties is fixed with regards to the demand from customers and the demand is usually created by worldwide clients who make up quite a steady base. This helps to ensure that luxurious properties are not too difficult to promote. The buying price of most of these properties should, first of all, reflect their high quality and quality ought to be the first facet to be deemed by the buyer. The standard of a property can be established by many aspects, and they have to be carefully examined before choosing: the place is just about the first because the rest of the aspects are usually resultant to the particular location.

What is High Quality?

Allow me to provide you with a couple of good examples. A property of 10 rooms with a backyard, swimming pool area and so forth in an exceptional position overlooking the marine obviously hasn't exactly the same worth as the same property built in a remote hot place not even close to the ocean and from the city center. But no one (probably) would make a luxury property somewhere which seems like a desert. A condo of 3 bedrooms with frescoes in any palace way back to XVII millennium in hypothesis may have around the same price of a 10 bedrooms condo in the periphery, but exactly what can you prefer as a financial commitment? XVII millennium castles are uncommon, and they are usually located only in the famous cities. This allows that they'll still maintain their worth. What exactly I mean is that the finest properties have been in the best places: the historic centers of the cities, the hillsides, the ocean and the off-road resorts.

More About the Price Tag

A price covers anything from 1, and 20 million AED in Dubai may seem too broad. The truth is, the low end of this particular assortment is impacted by the popularity of the marketplace more than the top end. The typical price tag demanded by the buyers who flick through the specific global sites is about 3 million. On the other side, you can ask the reason why we put a top limit on the cost of this particular segment. This is because properties above a decided price (that is roughly fixed at 20 million) are exclusive pieces that get rid of the essential manifestation of a good investment asset: to be valuable.

What Stats Say

As one example of the way the prime property or home market is doing work well in this time period of ongoing crisis, we can consider the stats of the sites specialized in promoting luxurious properties in Dubai. Facts state that the pursuit of this sort of properties has raised by 2% within the last year and that one of the most active customers come from nations around the world such as Portugal, Spain, and the UK. Exactly what does it necessarily mean? Quite simple: the rich people from the nations around the world most impacted by the economic crisis are searching for safe and sound investment in another country.

Important Questions You Should Ask Before You Start Searching for Luxury Property or Home

Deciding Where you can Buy

When you start to check out the real estate market for higher properties, take into account that beachfront properties are likely to be the costliest that you run into. So many people are keen on traveling all over the world so they can make the most of estates, holiday villas, and properties with stunning sights of perfect beach locations. You can easily understand why such houses are extremely popular; having the ability to wake up every morning to a window looking over the course of water isn't a thing most people find to do. Because of this, while you start a search to keep the spending plan in your mind while selecting a location or contact www.luxuryproperty.com for free consultancy before taking any decision.

Deciding When you should Buy

Another significant idea to bear in mind while purchasing a luxury house is the growing season in which you buy it. A lot of luxurious houses are placed in perfect locations for example on seashores and along coastlines. While houses in these types of locations will tend to be higher priced as compared to properties in normal locations, the time of the season in which the houses are bought will considerably impact their selling prices. For instance, if you are planning to buy luxury property in Dubai, you'll likely spend a lot more cash in case you try to purchase the house during the summertime than if you try during the springtime or the autumn months.

Is Your Perfect Home Worth the Cost?

You shouldn't sign a contract to a property till you have had the house thoroughly checked by a property evaluator with considerable knowledge of that specific kind of high-end property. The thought of not purchasing a house without having it evaluated first is typical among people purchasing a regular house they want to live in, for example, properties and condominiums that retail for well within the million-dollar tag.

partnered post • client image


Start Saving Money Today Around the Home

5437898348_80273092f8_b

If you're like many people you spend money without giving much thought to how you might do better. That is until you come to the end of the month and you have nothing left over for personal enjoyment. Luckily, there are literally hundreds of ways you can start saving money today without making any huge sacrifices.

Pest Control

You may not think that pest control can save you money. However, if you have a termite or carpenter ant problem chances are what you see is only the half of it. Generally, you won't see them until they have done considerable structural damage which can result in thousands of dollars in repairs. Thankfully, regardless of your location on the map, there are companies that specialize in the safe and effective removal of insects and rodents. If you live in Central Ohio, begin by checking the listings for pest control in Columbus Ohio to find a service which can rid your home of these pests and save you money in the long run.

Lose the Brand Names

Food shopping can consume a large portion of your leftover cash.  In most cases, the generic brands work just as well as the higher priced brand names. The only difference is that brand names spend a lot of money on their publicity campaign and have fancy, eye-catching labels. If you're a bit squeamish about switching over all at once, try a couple each shopping trip. Within a year, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Utility Bills

If you have extremely high utility bills, you're consuming too much energy. A few simple changes like turning off the lights, timing your showers, installing a programmable thermostat, lowering the heat and raising the air conditioning and washing your clothes in cold water will help you work those bills down to a reasonable monthly payment. Regular maintenance of your heating and cooling system including changing out the filters every few months will also help you to save more and keep your equipment performing at its best.

Cable Television 

Television is something that most people enjoy. However, do you really need access to 200 to 300 channels? Chances are you don't even know how many you have. Contact your service provider and switch to a lower plan that has the channels you like and eliminates the ones you don't watch. If your cable company also offers internet and phone services you can also check to see if bundling the services together will save you more money.

Check for Coupons

Take advantage of 24/7 access to the internet and check for coupons before you buy anything. This can include things like dining out at your favorite restaurant, shopping for electronics and clothing, lawn care, pest control, pet grooming, and haircuts. Almost anything you need is on sale somewhere.

Buy Second Hand

If you are in the market for a table and chair set or a lawn mower check the local paper or websites like Craigslist to see if someone has something in good condition that they no longer need.

Pay in Advance

Some companies such as insurance agencies offer a discount if you pay 6 months or the entire year in advance. Before paying your next bill contact the company to see if they have any incentive programs for early payments.

Take Care of Your Health

Make annual visits to the doctor and the dentist for everyone. This will help you avoid costly expenses for progressed illnesses and cavities turned root canal that would otherwise not get to that level.

Keeping more of your hard-earned money should be the goal of everyone. Afterall, you work all week so that when your time off arrives you can kick back and spend time on the things you really enjoy. The good news is that it doesn't take long to turn around from penniless to funds available.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Steven Depolo


Designing and Building your own Eco Home

Have you ever considered designing or building your own eco home? It may be much more within your grasp than you may think. When looking to design and build an eco-home (or simply make your current home more environmentally friendly) there are a multitude of features which are not only easy to install but can help save the environment and save you money in the long run!

The four must-have features of an Eco-Home:

  • Solar Panels are widely recognised now as the perfect way to provide electrical energy to your home. They produce 0 emissions, can be fitted to almost any home and the best bit? They can save you upwards of £8,000 over the course 20 years!

  • As an alternative to traditional boilers wood burners are a great alternative. The wood used is renewable, carbon neutral as a fuel source and dependable.

  • Underfloor heating (not just for expensive hotels and spas!) when installed and used correctly it is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home and can increase energy efficiency by up to 40%.

  • The easiest introduction, smart technology. It’s possibly the easiest way to keep track of your spending and your energy usage and some people have recorded savings of around £200 from simply being more aware of their energy usage.

 

For more information on how to design and build your own eco-home, have a look at the infographic below…

Bespoke home

partnered post


Making The Most of Your Space

From the smallest of studio flats to family homes which need just that bit more room (perhaps to make way for a new member!) there are a whole host of tips and tricks you can implement to help maximise your living space. Why not try our top three tips?

  1. Low ceilings and limited storage space? Think vertical and try using floor to wall shelving or utilising the space above cabinets and room above doors for shelves and storage. Not only does this add places for you to store or your bits and bobs but helps to draw the eye upwards and create the illusion of height. Just make sure if you’re doing it yourself you use good quality materials and tools!
  2. Double-duty solutions are key, for everything! Your bed? There’s space under that mattress, Your dining room table? It’s also a perfect desk space and the area that’s collecting dust under your coffee table? A great bookshelf alternative…
  3. The most important tip is to have a really good de-clutter! Maximise space in any home by getting rid of those objects you don’t need. Every time you place your hands on an object ask yourself, ‘Do I really need this?’. (most of the time it will probably be a no!) If you do feel the need for a decorative piece go for some wall art or a mirror as this will add your own little touch of personality but also helps to create the illusion of a bigger room.

If you’re after more tips and tricks, have a little look at the infographic below…

Make The Most Of Your Space

partnered post


Keep It a Secret! Hidden Home Office Storage

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 8.53.51 AM

Many homeowners do not have the space for a home office or if they do, they fight through the clutter that has been created in the room. Whether you have a desk crammed full of office supplies or a room seeping out items from the closet, it is time to sit down and add some additional storage space to your home office.

There are ways that you can secretly add storage to your office to provide you with a place to stash some extra items you may have around the house and you never have to worry about your friends or guests seeing it. Below, we will go over some secret hidden home office storage options that will allow you to free up space, store items, and feel good about it at the same time.

Electrical Strip

If you need to use an electrical strip to plug in all of your home office’s equipment, then you probably know how unsightly it can be just plopped onto the floor. Not only that, the wires become a nuisance and you may trip over them as you try to get up from your desk or move around. To prevent this from happening, you can install a small basket to the underneath of your desk and place the electrical strip into it. This way, you can access it when needed and eliminate the potential danger of tripping.

In-the-Wall Cabinet

An in-the-wall cabinet is a great hidden storage location for some of your office supplies. Depending on your needs, you can have a single shelf for a printer or you can have multiple shelves that house and hide some of your office necessities such as files and books.

Velcro for Your Wires

If you have exposed wires, you may not want them in the view of other people and this is understandable. One hidden storage option for them is to Velcro them underneath your desk. This way, they are out of sight, but they are still accessible if you find yourself needing to unplug one of them.

File Drawer for Your Printer

Sometimes, the printer is the largest and bulkiest of the items within your office and you may want to keep it hidden and out of sight. You can quickly and easily place your printer inside of a file drawer and open the drawer as needed to use the printer.

If you are worried about wires when it comes to this option, you can either run them down into the file cabinet or you can get a wireless printer, which would not have any wires.

Keep Your Home Office Supplies and Equipment Out of Sight

Your home office should be a place that is free from clutter that allows you to work and accomplish the things you need to throughout the day. The above hidden storage ideas are perfect for any home office and will free up space. If you still need more space, you can rent a storage unit and keep your additional items stored away safely until you are ready to use them again.

partnered post • client image


Suffering from Allergies? How a Heat Recovery System Can Help

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 9.01.25 AM

When it comes to chronic diseases, many people are often surprised to hear that allergies are the most common of chronic disease in all of Europe. For some of these people, their allergy may be so severe that it triggers an asthma attack or worse, so it's not something that can be taken lightly. Breaking the stats down even further, it seems as though the UK is among those with the highest number of allergies in the entire world, which means if you happen to suffer from allergies, you are far from alone.

For allergy sufferers, the key lies in learning what they are allergic to first, and then finding ways to avoid that trigger. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy or possible, but in many cases, concessions can be made in your lifestyle, your daily routine, and even the environment in which you live. Since you tend to spend a fair amount of time in your home, this is one area of your life that is wise to examine closely and look for ways to make positive changes that will help limit your allergies.

One such change that can prove incredibly beneficial for allergy sufferers is to look for a new home with a heat recovery system, which is a type of ventilation system. This is actually one of the best solutions out there in new build homes if you happen to have allergies. Let's take a closer look.

A New Home Isn’t a Sure Bet

If you have a large number of allergies and/or severe allergies, then being able to get through a day without allergy symptoms or an allergy attack is typically pretty high on the list of priorities. Perhaps you have been looking for a new build home thinking this is the best way to go since there won’t be any allergens present. Unfortunately, allergens are something that can build in any home, regardless of age, so purchasing a new home isn’t a sure bet.

What it comes down to is the air that is circulating in your home. For those homes that are a bit older, they are probably very airtight – in fact they may be so airtight that everything is trapped inside including air that isn’t exactly fresh and could be filled with allergy triggers. With that air circulating in the home, with no means of escaping, you certainly aren’t doing yourself any favours.

Remove the Stale Allergy Laden Air

The key tends to lie in being able to remove that stale allergy laden air and making sure that the air you are breathing in is fresh and trigger-free as possible. This is exactly what a heat recovery ventilation system is able to do. This system actually works to ventilate the stale air and moisture out of your home, so that the air that remains is healthier, fresher, and free of any moisture. At the end of the day, this tends to create a much more comfortable living environment for allergy sufferers.

As for installing this system, it’s a good idea to talk to your builder and discuss how it can be incorporated into your home.

partnered post • cc-licensed photo


8 Ways to Increase Safety at the Workplace

8096899965_13b19b62d1_k

Maybe you're running a factory or warehouse. Maybe you just work in a really intense office. Whatever your reasons for considering workplace safety, here are a few ways to prevent accidents, injuries and tragedies.

1. Read the Manual

The good news about improving workplace safety is that there are already hundreds of resources at your disposal. You don't have to stumble around in the dark and figure things out on your own. OSHA has a searchable database where you can learn about everything from scaffold set-up to hazardous waste disposal, and there are plenty of guidelines available from places like the U.S. Department of Labor. The information is out there; you just have to track it down.

2. Train Your Employees

You can't stop crazy accidents from happening, but you can prepare your staff for when they occur. Make sure that everyone knows what to do in an emergency situation. Sit them down for written evaluations, and put them through physical drills where you asses things like reaction times and efficiency rates. Repeat this process every year or so. Don't let their skills get rusty, and don't let them slack off if they aren't taking it seriously.

3. Give Your Employees a Reason to Listen

Piggybacking off the above, it's important that your employees don't treat workplace safety like a game or a chore. You'll need to instill the right attitudes to keep them from behaving recklessly even when you aren't around to supervise. Think about both rewards and punishments. Can you give them a prize if they make it 100 days without an accident? Can you take disciplinary action if they accumulate more than three safety warnings in a 90-day period?

4. Buy the Right Tools and Supplies

There's no use in preaching about workplace safety if your heavy machinery is fundamentally unsafe. You'll need to practice what you preach when it comes to the equipment around your job site. Why should people care about following forklift protocols if your forklifts are 20 years old and throwing sparks everywhere? Find some room in the budget to give your workers safe and effective equipment so that they can get their jobs done without compromising their safety.

5.Invest in High-Quality Flooring

This is especially important if you work in an industrial setting. You'll want something like flame retardant surface protection or Aqua Shield to protect your floors from the damage of both environmental factors and everyday foot traffic. Don't be afraid to spend a little money on it, either. Cost-cutting measures should be saved for non-essential areas and not important things like floors.

6. Restrict Access to Dangerous Areas

People shouldn't be allowed to walk freely in places where they could get hurt. Start erecting barriers to keep untrained or unqualified personnel from compromising the safety of a potential hazard zone. If you can, try to do more than just hanging a vinyl sheet to block off the area; this can be easily ignored. You'll need things like doors, fences, swipe cards or access codes if you're truly dedicated to protecting the sanctity of a lab or construction site.

7. Start Emphasizing Safety

It's common for managers to pay lip service to the idea of workplace safely while also encouraging a "whatever it takes" mentality in regards to getting the work done. If you're rewarding employees who disregard rules and regulations in the name of productivity, you're undercutting your own message that safety comes first. Try to shift your perspective around this. Let your employees know that you'd rather have something done safely than quickly.

8. Be Open to Suggestions

If you're a supervisor, you probably aren't walking the floor like the everyday employees. You don't know about their habits, routines and struggles, and you don't know how these things affect daily productivity. The only way to educate yourself is to allow your employees to come and talk to you. Do they have suggestions for making the assembly line a little safer? Listen to what they have to say, especially if it involves an area in which you're ignorant.

These are just a few tips for making and encouraging a safer workplace. As you can see, it's not something that you can will into existence with the snap of your fingers. You'll need to invest some time and money into the idea. If you're serious about protecting the health and security of your workers, however, you'll find a way to get it done.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Seika


The Best Space-Saving Ideas for Small Rooms

5304157274_4b0a542195_b

Whether it’s a cramped kids room, or a claustrophobic kitchen, if you aren’t making full use of the space in your home it can start to take a toll on your life, as well as your house’s aesthetic.

Without the right organisation techniques you can soon find yourself having to pick your way through clutter in a small room, hindering your home life and giving guests a bad impression!

If you’re struggling with storage or the layout of one of your smaller rooms and need some tips on how to get your house back in order, then read on.

This article has all the space-saving ideas you need to turn a tiny room into a place you can be proud of.

Clever bed choices

If you’re struggling with a kids’ bedroom constantly being cluttered, leaving you tripping over toys whenever you enter it, then it may be time for a revamp.

Choosing a bed with a desk or storage underneath provides more floor space for the little ones to play with toys, and helps to create more space by having somewhere to stow them when playtime is over!

This benefits you by leaving everywhere much more clean and tidy at the end of the day, and gives your little one more space to grow.

Bathroom tips

A small bathroom can leave you struggling for storage solutions at first, but with a few clever tricks you can turn this space into your own personal paradise.

Corner sinks with vanity mirrors or cabinets mounted on top are great in small bathrooms, as they mean that there is more space leftover for storage and movement.

As well as this, shower enclosures can help in creating space for bathrooms of all shapes and sizes as they only take up a small portion of a room, without impacting their performance.

In addition, they help to keep the rest of your bathroom dry, reducing the risk of damp forming, whilst still creating privacy and comfort when showering.

Create storage in dead spaces

A great way to free up some space in your home is to ensure that no storage options are being overlooked or wasted.

Think about it, what’s under your stairs apart from a hoover and a recycling bin? Consider putting other items which aren’t a daily necessity in here, such as an ironing board, and you will soon find that you have more space than you originally thought!

Sliding shelves

One of the best storage solutions available for smaller rooms is adding sliding shelves.

Turning one side of these into a bookcase can help to free up heaps of room and also allows for more display potential, leaving your home feeling brand new!

As you can see, smaller rooms in your home don’t have to feel cramped. With a little bit of attention, they can cater to your practical needs or provide a cosy space that you enjoy relaxing in. Simply follow these steps, and see the difference straight away!

partnered post • cc-licensed image by bit of butter


Are Metal Buildings Eco-friendly? 5 Reasons They Are

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 9.33.03 AM

This is a question that people should perhaps ask themselves before embarking on a self-build project of their own. While the world at large appreciates that naturally-occurring materials provided by Mother Nature herself (think wood, mud and straw) are the most organic and environmentally sustainable as you’re ever likely to find elsewhere, that doesn’t necessarily mean all other man-made materials should be automatically ruled out.

As more and more people in the western world are struggling to get their foot on the first rung of the cost-spiralling property ladder, another type of ladder is being  sought by those individuals, couples and even families looking for alternative, cost-effective and above all else, environmentally sound ways to set up home.

Steel Every Bit as Sustainable as Straw

They’re turning back the clock to times when by and large the only raw materials available to housebuilders were cob (a mixture of clay earth, sand and straw), rammed earth (similar technique to cob, but forces wet material on to a wooden frame at high pressure as means of speeding up construction process), Adobe (adding water to a cob mix to enable brick-moulding held together using a clay mixture), cordwood (firewood stacked and filled with lime or clay-based material to tighten structure) and/or hemp (a blend of hemp, lime and water, also used as an insulating material in roofs).

Steel is 98% Recyclable

All this is very impressive and incredibly resourceful, of course, but also sounds like a great deal of labour intensive work to achieve an environmentally-savvy des res. But what about existing materials which might not have been around for centuries (and can be relatively brutalist in aesthetic and in stark contrast to the aforementioned eco-sensibilities), but do offer energy efficiency? After all, so-called ground-up builds don’t always have to have recruited materials which have physically grown to qualify as eco-friendly, do they?

Metal Buildings Can Compete with Traditional Methods

Steel is one of the materials which challenges this theory that modern is somehow bad and only old is gold, as people begin to learn that this very versatile commodity harbours many advantages of its own. And yes, one of them is offering an efficient means of contemporary living. And not just for domestic arrangements either, as pre-engineered metal building systems manufacturer, Armstrong Steel would concur. This firm creates a range of constructions covering all sectors, including agriculture, commercial, aviation, industrial, recreational and even religious!

1. Recycling and Waste Reduction – Steel is one of the planet’s most reusable materials within the construction sector, and is repurposed for a variety of alternative uses (new studs, joists and other components used in construction of new buildings), being acknowledged as 98% recyclable and therefore more sustainable than wood

2. Energy Efficient – Supports dense layers of insulation which means winter heating bills kept to minimum. On average insulated steel homes reduce energy bills by 30%

3. Can Support Solar Panels – Given rigidity of structure, steel homes can house solar panels with ease. And bear in mind that typical energy returns associated with solar panels stand at around 15-20%.

4. Environmental Resistance – Your home will never be susceptible to mould, decay or insect infestation if constructed from steel as it can’t absorb moisture. Ergo it can’t sustain bacterial growth. Plus its resolute construct protects against snowstorms, earthquakes and floods.

 

5. Adheres to Green Building Codes – Cold-formed steel meets highest sustainability standards, including the National Green Building Standard for residential buildings and the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design programme.

partnered post • client image


How to Start a Greenhouse

Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 11.03.56 AM

Our culture has seen a turn back toward organically grown, non-GMO foods that will better nourish our bodies. And while grocery stores have followed this trend, the majority of goods are not certified organic, which can make that weekly trip to the shop stressful when the vegetables you’re looking for aren’t available.

For someone so dedicated to putting healthy foods into their body, this is the time to start thinking seriously about starting your own greenhouse. You’ll spend less time and money at the grocery store, caring for your own food instead--food that you know is well cared for and unaffected by pesticides. So, how can you get started?

Plant Choice

Your motivation for starting a greenhouse may be the tomatoes and onions you go through super quickly, but don’t look over the other plant choices available. You’ll want to start out with plants you’re comfortable with caring for and can be sure will be used, but when you’re ready, branch out to more fruits and vegetables.

Consider things like leafy greens, herbs you love cooking with, mushrooms, lemon or peach trees, and even bamboo and wheat. With careful planning, you can have the perfect crop year-round to eat at the dinner table, and you can start selling some of that surplus to neighbors and friends who value good produce as much as yourself.

Don’t forget that a greenhouse is also a wonderful place for a year-round flower garden or exotic plants that you can’t typically grow in your home climate.

The Right Greenhouse for You

One of the biggest concerns you have will be the greenhouse itself. The three big questions you’ll need to answer before getting started are:

  1. How much space do you have for your greenhouse?
  2. What type of structure and production system will work best for you?
  3. Should you buy a pre-manufactured structure or build your own?

You might have the ideal yard to put in a greenhouse: tons of space with exposure to the perfect sunlight and proximity to water and gardening tools. But it’s more likely that you’re working with a unique space. Choose a structure size and type that will fit comfortably into your space. Depending on where you live, you may need to acquire a permit for your greenhouse.

There are many types of greenhouse structures to choose from, but a few basic types you can start researching are:

  • Cold frame – placed in your normal garden and accessible by an opening frame.
  • Attached – shares a wall with your home where water and electricity are easily accessible.
  • Hoop House – uses PVC pipes and is covered using plastic sheeting.
  • A-Frame – uses minimal construction materials and most commonly covered with glass.

Take a look at some different systems for regulating your greenhouse as well. Irrigation can be done with a drip system, ground and sprinkler systems, or hydroponics. You’ll want to pick a good soil and set up controls for ventilation, temperature, and pest control.

With so many options, you may choose to build some parts of the greenhouse on your own and purchase others.

Storage

With all this extra produce you expect to come in throughout the year, it’s a good idea to look into storage space at the same time as your building your greenhouse. You may want additional wheat storage or space to store canned fruits and vegetables. This is something to keep in mind from the beginning, making sure you don’t produce more food than you are able to eat, store, and sell cumulatively.

partnered post • client image


How to rent an apartment or home

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 10.33.02 AM

Since the beginning of time, big cities all over the world see an influx of people streaming in, each year, in search of better working and educational opportunities, and seeking the big city way of living.

With this comes more and more people looking for suitable accommodation for themselves or their families. Since the ’90s, there has been a drastic rise in the number of people that rent. Most people find it easier; as it doesn’t require one to make a long-term commitment to the property, the stress of maintaining the property lies in the landlord's hands, and for many, it’s a much more affordable way of living. Renting sure does have plenty of perks, but don’t be fooled, there is a risk of hiccups along the way, especially for first-time renters. First timers aren’t always familiar with the process and can be a little naive. This can cause some serious issues, especially if one is not aware of scams, or what is expected from both parties.

To save yourself from hassle, and finding yourself in a tricky situation, we have drawn up a list of everything you should know, and consider, as the renter. It’s a process that requires trust between two parties and calls for one to be fully aware of what they’re signing up for. It is still a contract, whether it’s for the long-haul or not, and for this reason it’s vital that you educate yourself fully on the renting procedure. If all parties know what is expected of them, it will make for a much easier, stress-free process.

Thoroughly Inspect the Apartment

Before even considering signing any documentation, and before you ask the big questions, thoroughly inspect the apartment. This will not only give you a good idea of the way in which the landlord handles situations (or lack thereof), but also gives you an idea of what needs attention before you decide to agree to a rental. Look for any broken plugs, light switches and bulbs, cracked tiles, faulty taps or shower heads. Keep an eye for any faulty windows that may not close or lock. Anything that would need attention from the landlord should be established prior to you signing on the dotted line.

What are the Costs Involved and is it Reasonable?

Other than establishing the cost of the rent-which is probably the first bit of information that you should find out, you need to understand a few other things. A vital aspect to establish is what the escalation cost is. This is the rise in the rental rate, the following year. In South Africa, the average escalation rate is around 7.5%. This will allow you to decide whether you’ll be able to afford living there, the following year, after your move-in date. No-one wants to be moving around like a nomad every year, so prepare yourself for the potential increases in the rental rates, to avoid the risk of looking for another property in the near future.

Another great question to ask is whether there is an upfront deposit that needs to be paid. Private renting parties often want an upfront deposit, that can sometimes be the total renting costs of 3 months’ rent. Any more than this is unusual and should be challenged by you, as the potential renter.

Establish the Small Details

It may help to ask whether you will get a parking bay, inclusive of the agreement, and if so, how many, especially if you will be staying in an apartment or flat. Other small details include your contract rights, with regards to the Consumer Protection Act  – these should be stipulated in your lease agreement, as well as the notice you’d need to give, should you want to move out. Find out what you can and can’t do to the property, such as painting or drilling holes. Perhaps you want to add a film to windows, for privacy or other reasons, especially if it’s a flat that faces other properties. You need to ask your landlord these questions, before making any sort of change.

What are Your Responsibilities as the Renter?

The responsibilities that you’d be signing up for, as the renter, would include; ensuring the home or apartment is maintained in the most basic ways. Such as maintaining the garden, washing the windows and so on. It’s your responsibility to let the landlord know of any major areas that need maintaining and attention. For example; cleaning and maintaining the pool, fixing up of troublesome appliances, such as electrical or plumbing issues.

Most landlords also make it the responsibility of the renter to forward the municipal accounts to them so that they can see to the payments in good time.

Opt for a Written Lease

Whenever there is a contract or a situation that requires commitment from both parties, one should always sign a written agreement, which would come in the form of a lease. This will ensure you are protected, should things go wrong, and will ensure you have a form of reference. If the landlord is unsure of how a contract is written up, it would help to advise that they call in a firm that offers legal services surrounding properties and contracts.

The lease should state the amount of time the lease is valid for, how many people can stay there, the responsibilities of each party, the rental amount, the deposit that is due and any other relevant information.

partnered post • client image


5 important things to know about watering your lawn

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 3.00.45 PM

Here is the 411 of watering your lawn properly.

For most people, watering your lawn may seem like a relatively easy task.

You turn your sprinklers on once a day, make sure it reaches most of the grass, and voila, you are good to go!

But in reality, if you want a healthy, green, and overall good looking lawn, watering your lawn isn't so cut and dry.

There are actually a couple important things to know when it comes to watering your lawn, such as how much water it actually needs, the times to do it, and a few other important tips.

So here are five important things to know about watering your lawn, allowing you to have a lawn that’s well-hydrated and thriving.

Know the best time of day

There is actually a time of day when watering your lawn is the best and most effective, and there is a time of day when trying to water your lawn is a complete waste.

For most of the year, watering between the hours of 12 pm and 6 pm is completely ineffective and will not deliver the adequate amount of water that your lawn needs. This is because, even though you may be turning on your sprinkler or hose at that time and watering all parts or your lawn, the heat can cause most of the water to evaporate meaning your lawn will actually get hardly any water.

The best time to water your lawn is in the early morning because its early enough that the sun won’t evaporate it but it also has the benefit of keeping the lawn hydrated throughout the day no matter how hot it is.  

Don’t go overboard 

Although your lawn needs plenty of water, it’s also good to know when there is too much of a good thing.

There is actually an industry standard for the amount of water that most lawns require to look and be healthy, and that’s about 1 inch per week or ½ an inch twice per week.

If you go overboard with the water, it can do a lot more damage than good and actually decrease the lifespan of your lawn.  

Don’t rely on the sprinklers 

Although your sprinklers may be pretty effective, it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure you aren’t relying on them alone to water your entire lawn.

Even the best of sprinklers cannot reach every part of the lawn, so it’s best to watch the sprinklers and pay attention and water the spots that are not getting as much water or spots that are in the sun more often than other parts of your lawn.

This will also ensure that your lawn will have a better, more even-looking appearance.  

Keep an eye out for rain 

Something that most people don’t think about is making sure to not water their lawn when it’s raining.

It may seem silly, but since most people keep their sprinklers on a timer, they don’t bother to turn it off when the rain comes. And when it’s raining and your sprinklers are on, it’s not only a waste of water, but it also might increase the chances of flooding your lawn.

Ask an expert

If it seems that you have questions about watering your lawn, that no matter how you water it there are dry spots, or that your lawn isn’t thriving the way it should, it might be time to call a lawn expert.

There are services like The Yard Butler who can come in and help identify the problem with your lawn and teach you the ways to properly maintain it. A quick search on the internet can also identify other professionals who can lend a hand in making sure your lawn is well watered and green.

partnered post • client image


Keeping the Lawn Weed-free

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 10.13.38 AM

One of the best things about warm weather is being able to spend time out in the yard or taking care of your yard, but when those pesky weeds keep showing up uninvited, it’s easy to focus on the eyesores.

Why do some lawns appear perfect while others collect stickers and dandelions? It’s all about the grass type you choose and the care you give it.

Grass Type

Maybe you have sat on the neighbor’s lawn a time or two and noticed their blades of grass are nothing like yours. You might have noticed that your lawn responds differently to weather changes than theirs does, too. Chances are they have a different species of grass.

In fact, depending on the warmth or coolness of the area that you live, there are several strains of grass that you can choose from which will thrive in your location. When starting a new lawn, you might have to choose between or combine grass types that are warm-season or cool-season.

You’ll also have to decide between creeping grasses or bunch grasses. Creeping grasses are spread by runners while bunch grasses spread out from the crown of the plant, meaning a short mow could do damage to the grass.

Care and Prevention

Now that you know what type of grass you have in the yard, you can determine the ideal height for cutting and how long to wait in between mowings. Staying attentive to these pieces of information can actually give your lawn the upper hand against weeds, making your job picking off fighters that much easier.

You should always prepare for the warmer months with lawn fertilization which should continue routinely for the rest of the season. If your yard is prone to patches of crabgrass or other unsightly weeds, you can also apply a crabgrass preventer just as it’s getting warm.

Once you’ve handled those pieces, you must remember to consistently water your lawn, address the invasion of new weeds, and fertilize it.

Common Lawn Weeds

What if you are already giving your lawn the best treatment possible and weeds are still a problem? It might be time to get serious about fighting back. You can always pull them by hand, making sure the young plants are dug out and any regrowth from remaining roots are cut. You might want to wear gloves though as some of these can poke and scratch in defiance.

There are three basic types of lawn weed, which are broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds, and nutgrass. You  may also come across the following:

  • Dandelions
  • Crabgrass
  • Thistles
  • Ragweed

If identifying and pulling them aren’t enough, you can use a weed killer to take care of the stragglers. Because there is a gradation of sprayers available, you can spot-kill individual weeds or target small patches. You can also go full-blown sprayer if the lawn is lousy with them.

Most weed killers are chemical weed killers that can be for a specific type of weed. Though there has been a push toward more non-chemical, certified-organic weed killers, most of these are not targeted, which means your lawn will suffer along with the weeds.

partnered post • client image


Does a Tiny House Come with Big Problems?

Screen Shot 2018-05-18 at 12.53.01 PM

By now, I’m sure you know what a tiny house is, or at least have an idea. This trend of building small so you can live big has swept through camping and nomad communities, wealthy circles with remote second homes, and television channels like HGTV and DIY network.

But now that it’s been a few years and some of the novelty has begun to normalize, we have to wonder if all the positive vibes are still valid. What are the downsides that have been discovered by the tiny house community, and is it worth it to join the fray?

First Impressions

A few draws for living in a tiny home are the assumptions that it will cost less to build, provide you flexibility, and do away with costs related to space and luxuries you don’t really need; however, many people report that tiny houses are just as expensive to build as regular homes.

It’s been noted as well that, yes, you’re opting for a smaller space, but maybe you didn’t realize just how small. Most tiny houses are meant for a small number of occupants, and if you want to have friends and family visiting or you have children to house as well, you’ll probably start to miss that extra space.

Going on the Road

If you’re like me, one of the most idyllic pulls a tiny house has is its ability to sit on a trailer and road-trip the length of the country. But with a closer look at specifics, it may not be so appealing. Acquiring a dependable trailer could be more of a hassle than you’re thinking, and do you have an appropriate vehicle for towing it around?

But these are minor inconveniences though compared asking, “where can I park?” This may be the biggest difficulty tiny-housers deal with. It’s all about zoning laws and regulations, which vary from town to town.

There are specifications for building homes classified as RVs or ADUs (accessory dwelling units), but these can dictate where you’re allowed to park, how long you can park there, and even the length of time you live in your tiny house – whether you own the land or not seems to be irrelevant.

Upkeep

Now it’s definitely easier to care for the housekeeping needs of a tiny house. There is less space to clean and fewer material possessions to move around, replace ... you get the idea. But if you have a lot to store and aren’t fond of the idea of passing it onto a second-hand shop or stacking it in a garage or hard-to-get-to space, this is only the beginning of your tiny house woes.

Because a tiny house does, in fact, have plumbing and appliances, so it will come with any related maintenance items you would have in a typical house. But what about additional maintenance for custom materials? This can be especially difficult to deal with if you’re on the road.

It Can Get Better

I love the idea of living in a tiny house, so I hate to say that most evidence directs us to look the other way. Then again, it’s all about how you approach your tiny house, your strategic planning, and your advocacy for relaxed or updated housing regulations. If you feel the pull of the tiny house lifestyle and have a knack for instigating change, then nothing will be able to stop you.

partnered post • client image


5 Creative Uses of Printed Lanyards You Didn't Know

5615107603_243bb44940_b

Lanyards have a lot of “typical” uses that we think about on a regular basis. Whether you’re thinking about college kids with their ID’s or someone taking their keys with them, you are likely looking at a lot of options that lanyards can be used for. That being said, have you thought about the other options that are available? Here’s a quick look at some other ways that you can use lanyards to make your daily life easier.

  1. Giveaways. When you want to get people excited about your business and what you’re doing with it, you’re likely looking at the options that are available for you to consider. Lanyards are really handy (as you can see here) and you’ll find that they can be a great prize for anyone who may go to events.
  2. Marketing and “Swag” At Conferences and Conventions. Is your business going to an event or convention? Do you want people to know that you’re there and ready to give them information? Handing out printed lanyards as swag can be a great way to market your business and what you’re doing without spending too much cash. They’re handy, useful, and affordable, so it’ll be well worth the effort.
  3. Holding Items With You As You Travel. Now, you know that, when you go on a vacation, you’re a lot more likely to lose things. That’s where lanyards can be a really helpful thing for you. They can act as a third arm when you don’t have pockets, and you can keep things like your keys, your cell phone, or your wallet attached to them with ease. Throw it around your neck and you’re ready to go.
  4. Hanging Tools in the Garage and Kitchen. Do you want to make sure that your kitchen and/or garage are organized? If so, then you may want to look at getting some lanyards in order to make that a reality. You can hang them in multiple places to ensure that, no matter what you’re doing, you have tools in reach and at eye level so that you know what you’re doing.
  5. Attached to Your Kids. When you want your child to have contact information while at camp, or you need to send a message to a teacher at school, lanyards can be really handy. They help your child to remember that they have something to give to someone and they help teachers and other adults to see that the child has something that should be noticed.

Take a look at the lanyards that are available and get ones that are reusable and will last a long time. Taking the time to look and see how you can use these creatively can go a long way and will help you to work out just what it is that you’ll need to do. Look for great lanyards and you won’t be disappointed by just how versatile that they can end up being.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Lenore Edman


5 ways to store things more effectively

Screen Shot 2018-04-23 at 12.32.48 PM

Because sometimes it’s not about having less stuff, it’s about how you store it.

Sometimes it can feel like you are drowning in your own belongings. Stuff seems to be piled up everywhere, and there are just not enough places to put it.

The hard part about it too is that it’s all stuff you need and use every day, not just miscellaneous objects you’ve collected over the years, all though those are probably floating around there as well.

Not to mention this can be even more difficult if you run a business from home or work at home and you have to worry about storage for your inventory or for work files.

The good news is however high this pile may seem to get, there is a solution to make it feel like you aren’t just a hoarder.

The way that you store things can also determine how organized you are, and the more effective the storage the more organized everything will seem.

Here are five ways to store things more effectively, that way your house feels cleaner, you know where everything is, and everything has a place.  

  • Label everything

One of the best ways to store things more effectively is to label everything. After all, nothing is worse than having everything organized in its rightful place but then forgetting where you put what and having to dig through it all over again only to create an even bigger mess.

Label the outside of your storage containers or boxes with clear and easily readable labels. Then also label the content of those containers on the inside, that way if you need to reach for something, you know exactly where and what to grab.

  • Divide and conquer

Dividers are also an organizer's best friend, because just like the labels, you will be able to easily grab and put things back without having to create a further mess.

Within your boxes or containers divide the contents to make things more accessible as well as helping to fit more things into the containers.

  • Quality and Quantity

No matter what your storage container needs are, what you store things in will greatly help in keeping it all organized and kept safe and clean.

Pick containers that are durable, but also look nice and can be stacked if necessary. A good idea is to also use clear containers when possible, that way you can see the contents and easily read any labels that you place on them. 

  • Think outside the box, literally 

Boxes are an easy go-to when it comes to thinking about storage, but there are many other container options out there that can be even more effective and also help to keep things organized and clean.

For larger objects or for several containers it might be a good idea to think about using something like wood pallets, especially if the objects you are storing need to be on top of one another or shipped in large storage containers.

This would be an especially good idea if you work at home and need to store your inventory or ship it. Also, there are many companies who could customize the wood pallets for your needs.

  • Go big or go home

Sometimes the key to storing things effectively and keeping it all organized is to admit that you don’t have enough space and you might need to find some more.

There are many options for this such as renting storage, buying a shed, or even an office space when necessary.

partnered post • client image


How to find the best college housing

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 11.53.04 AM

College is about learning and having fun, and where you are going to live is an important part of that.

You are embarking on one of life’s first greatest adventures – college.

It's super exciting to be thinking about leaving your home and being in your home, but also just a little bit frightening and overwhelming.

It’s pretty common for your mind to be brimming with a ton of questions at all the new possibilities.

Where will you live? What should you look for in a new apartment? What will your roommates be like?

To put your mind a little at ease and to give you a good head start here are a few tips and tricks on how to find the best college housing, housing that will ensure that your first couple years at college will be as fun and exciting as they should be.

Your first research

You will probably be doing a lot of research, and now is your chance to hone this skill by looking for an awesome place to live.

The internet and social media will be your friend when it comes to finding the best college housing, and it's as easy as searching, for example, if you are going to BYU-Idaho, "BYU-I approved housing" and see what pops up.

Another great tool to know the best spot to live is to reach out to people you know who are going to your same college and asking them where the best places to live are. It could also be an opportunity to find a new future roommate!

Up-to-date

One of the best things about going to college in the time that we live in is that most colleges have brand-new apartments and dorms on and off campus for students.

Having an apartment that is on the newer side ensures that you won’t have wonky or outdated appliances, so you can probably save some money and cook at home, which is great for most college kids who are on a starving-student diet.

Also, new apartments might have some cool features like built-in iPads or other cool techy systems to control the home, or brand-new washing machines and dryers, and trash shoots, which you will be grateful for on trash days with multiple roommates.

Take a tour

Something that is really important and a great way to ensure you find housing that you love, at a reasonable price, in an environment that you like is to actually go to the apartments that you are interested in and take a tour.

Taking a tour is a great way to make sure that things look as good as their pictures on the internet, and also a great time to ask about costs such as rent, utilities, and down-payments. It will also be a good time to see how big the room sizes are and if you want to have a roommate or not, or how many roommates you want to have.

Think about the small things

An important tip when it comes to finding what you want in college housing is to think about all the little details that are actually important to you.

Like, does it make a difference how close your apartment is to campus? Whether it is furnished or unfurnished? The type of neighborhood you live in?

If some of these things are important to you and you know they will affect how satisfied you are with where you live, make sure to incorporate them in your search for your apartment and ultimately the apartment you choose.

They say to not sweat the small stuff, but when it comes to college housing, you might want to.

partnered post • client image


3 Reasons You Will Fall in Love with Edina

Park-284859_1920

Edina, a small city located just outside of Minneapolis, is one of the most vibrant and affluent municipalities in the Twin Cities region. The median sales price for Edina Realestate was $437,000 in 2017 and the city is home to just over 49,000 thousand residents and 45 neighborhoods. The city is also a prime choice for families as well, so much so that Family Circle magazine featured them on their top towns for families to live in the United States. Here are some of the reasons you will absolutely love living in Edina.

Great Shopping

If you love shopping, Edina has you covered. Southdale center, which is known as the country’s first regional indoor mall, is home to over 120 specialty stores including JCPenney, Macy’s and Herberger. It also has a huge 16 screen AMC megaplex which makes it a great place for the family.

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale then head to Galleria on France and 69th. The luxury mall hosts brands like Louis Vuitton, Gabberts furniture and Tiffany & Co and distinct restaurants like Crave and Big Bowl.

The city’s bustling downtown is also a major attraction to the city and is ever expanding. Centred around 50th and France, it’s filled with great high-end boutiques and fine dining spots and counts over 175 different retailers. The district is well known for its outdoor arts fair which is held in June and features over 300 different artists, making it the biggest fair of its type in all of Minnesota.

Thriving Economy

The thriving job market and great schools are also two reasons why tons of people are flocking to Edina. The median income in the city was just about $87,000 in 2015 with a 7.6% job growth. The city is home to many headquarters including U.S Bancorp, Target and Best Buy. The healthcare industry is another major employer in the region.

Tons of Great Parks

If you’re active and enjoy green spaces or are looking for a great place to take the family, then the city has no shortage of great green spaces to offer. Centennial Park is the perfect getaway with its huge amphitheater, beautiful pond and 1.5 miles of paved pathway. The park also features a putting course, beautiful fountains, skiing and skating in the winter and fishing in the summer.

If you want to try something different, you can always go to Edingborhood park. The huge indoor park is the perfect place for a family time with its immense indoor playground, junior olympic size pool and its amphitheater.

Edina, like much of the state, loves its hockey and you can find tons of great inside and outside rinks throughout the city. The Backyard is a massive outdoor skating rink equipped with an arched dome, an environmentally friendly ice making system and heated players bench. It is perfect for families or for games with friends.

As you can see, Edina is a great city with tons to offer and discover. So, if you were thinking of relocating to the Twin Cities, you should consider Edina’s many benefits.

partnered post • rf-licensed image


5 Great Reasons to Add a Basement to Your Home

Household-862595_1920

We live in a culture in which everyone seems to be constantly striving to achieve perfection. No matter how unattainable this might be, whether it's our hair, our clothes or even our homes, we strive to constantly improve and perfect. Adding a basement to your home can make a big difference to the overall feel of your home.

Adding a basement will open up entirely new possibilities for storing valuable and delicate items. It isn't just storage space that you'll be getting though. Adding a basement to your home can give you the room to pursue hobbies and other interests that you would otherwise be unable to pursue.

If you haven't considered the possibilities that adding a basement to your home will open up, this article is for you. There are five things in particular that you can do with that extra space which make it a worthwhile investment.

Storage

Adding a basement to your home will give you somewhere to store all that extra stuff you've accumulated over the years. Basements allow you to keep your home clutter free and are also ideal for items that need to be kept away from sunlight and extreme weather, including very high winds and hurricanes.

Privacy

Whatever you decide to do with your basement, it will provide you with all the privacy you could want. Some basements have a window which allows them to be viewed from outside, but even so they offer total privacy. Whether it becomes a place to indulge your hobby or an extension of your living space, basement rooms gives absolute privacy.

Separate Living Area

Whether you want to add some guest space to your home, or you have a more long-term guest moving in, a basement is a great way of adding some living space to your home. A basement can be outfitted with a bathroom, bedroom and even a kitchenette.

Whether you are planning a new home build, or you are renovating an existing property, make sure to turn to reputable construction companies. Check out this list of the best home builders MN for some examples.

Accessibility of Major Systems

Adding a basement to your home can often give you much easier access to the pipes and other infrastructure in your home. Basements make a perfect location for water utilities such as pressure tanks, heaters and water softeners.

Hobbies

A basement provides you with a nice and secluded area in which you are free to pursue any hobbies that you have been meaning to but never got around to. Whether it is woodworking, brewing beer, arts and crafts, even yoga, the basement will provide you with all the space and privacy that you could possibly need.

Whatever the reason, adding a basement to your home can finally give you the space to pursue your hobbies while also removing unnecessary clutter from elsewhere in your home. Not only this, but it can even add an entirely new living area to your home, fully kitted out with the essential utilities.

partnered post • rf-licensed image


Four Things You Must Consider When Buying Any Older Home

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 1.55.24 PM

There are plenty of unique design opportunities in older homes, making them an attractive investment opportunity for those who don't mind a bit of DIY work. Some find the allure of an older home in the design aspects already present in the house, while others relish the chance to pick up an affordable home on the market and improve it over time.

While there are many older homes on the market that can be great investments, not all older homes are worth considering – especially if you're on a tight budget. Let's take a look at four specific home elements you should carefully inspect when shopping if you don't want to spend lots of money repairing and improving.

Roofs

Arguably one of the most important elements of any home, the roof helps protect both the home and its inhabitants. Designed to shield the home from excessive wear and tear, the roof can slowly become damaged itself, needing periodic repairs to guarantee the structural integrity of the home.

Northface Construction estimates that even basic homes can require $10,000 in materials and labor to replace an old roof. Larger homes and/or those with more complex designs can be even pricier. Ultimately, a cheap fixer-upper can turn into an expensive nightmare if you purchase a home with a bad roof. 

Siding

Just as important as the roof, the siding of a home helps shield it from unnecessary weathering and helps add an additional layer of insulation to the home. Many older homes were not built with the latter quality in mind, and even more have wear and tear on the siding that can compromise the structure of the home to the elements.

Replacing the siding and/or patching up damaged areas underneath the home's exterior can easily reach $10,000, making it a less-than-ideal repair for those looking to purchase an older home that needs minimal TLC. 

HVAC Installation

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning are critical aspects of any modern home – but they haven't always been in-demand. Older homes may be designed with inferior ventilation or no heating and/or cooling systems at all, meaning major repairs and installation will be needed.

The cost of a central heating and cooling system can easily cost a couple thousand dollars, but the additional labor of installing ventilation throughout the home will add up to even more. For a simple furnace installation, you could be looking at more than $5,000. Double that figure for a complete HVAC installation.

Plumbing and Septic Systems

Depending on where the home is located, you may have sewer access or require the use of a septic tank. In the latter case, older homes often need new septic tanks installed in order to be up to par and safe. A new septic system can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on a variety of variables. This is not necessarily something that can be assessed up-close and personal, but a plumber's evaluation prior to any purchase can determine the condition of the system.

Additionally, plumbing throughout the home can be an equally expensive issue. Old pipes corrode and seals break and over time, so these elements will all need to be replaced.

There are many expensive home repairs that inevitably must be made on all homes, but purchasing an older home can present multiple, complicated repair jobs all at once. To avoid biting off more than you can chew (or afford), be sure to inspect the siding, roofing, plumbing and HVAC systems intensively before making your decision.

partnered post • cc-licensed image


Why turf is the answer to your grass needs

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 10.19.10 AM

Tired of spotty, patchy, and hard to maintain grass? Well, turf is probably the answer for you.

When you hear the word turf you may automatically think of a football field or "fake" grass. While most football fields are lined with a certain type of turf, there are actually a few kinds, one of which is actually a plant and as real as can be.

But you may be asking yourself, what does turf have to do with me and my grass needs?

And the answer could actually be a lot. There are many benefits to turf, and to just name a few, there is its curb appeal, easy maintenance, and ability to withstand harsher weather than most grasses.

Here are a couple more reasons turf is the answer to what you need in your front and back yards and will have you singing its praises.

Turf is good for the environment

Not only does turf look good, but it is actually good for the environment.

According to a Turf Magazine, the USDA certified turf as a biobased material. This means they are produced not using petroleum, saving the environment and precious natural resources.

Turf also has the ability to suck pollutants out of the air such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, providing clean air. It also helps to keep the ground cool helping surrounding temperatures.

Turf also helps with water by helping it pass through it all while filtering it and absorbing it easier where it is needed as well.

Tons of curb appeal

Want to increase the value of your home? Turf is such a great way to do that. In fact, studies show that turf can increase the value of a property by 15 to 20 percent.

Not only will turf make your home easy on the eyes, but it will also make it easy on the mind.

According to The Professional Landscape Network, green spaces such as green grass promote improved physical and mental well-being, meaning those around them are more likely to be happier and feel more at peace.

Just looking out your window at your lawn could be the easiest stress reliever ever!

Low maintenance

Keeping your lawn fresh, green, and free of brown spots and weeds is no easy task - unless you have turf.

Regular grass can be prone to bugs, disease, and soil issues. Not to mention the harsh cold of winter and the high heat of summer.

Turf has the ability to withstand harsher weather and temperatures, meaning it will be more likely to stay green and nice-looking through all seasons.

Part of its low-maintenance status is that you won't have to invest a ton of money to maintain it, especially if it is artificial turf. You won't have to pay your neighbor's son to mow it, worry about the best soil and pesticides, or replacing the yellow patches.  

Even if you do have to replace certain parts for some reason, those parts can be recycled and used elsewhere, meaning you get your money’s worth.

partnered post • client image


5 apartment necessities for guys

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 5.07.35 PM

From entertaining your friends to the ladies, here are a couple ways to leave them impressed.

Man-cave, man-den, stomping grounds or however you want to call it, you finally have your very own bonafide apartment. Sure it comes with a couple of roommates, but other than that it’s all your own.You won’t have a mom or dad telling you to pick up your room or to do your laundry and you can put whatever posters up on your wall that you want.

But you also don't know where to start on the whole making it actually feel like a nice and livable space. You know that when you have people over you want them to think it's nice, and have fun when they come over.

Here are five apartment necessities for guys that will turn your space from basic to awesome.

  • Extra dishes

This probably wasn't at the top of the list, but if you plan on entertaining anytime soon it probably should be.

While many apartments (especially in college) come with furniture, they do not typically come with dishes and cups.

Sure it's good to have one for yourself, but if you want to make dinner for more than one person and don't want to encroach on your roomie's stuff, buy a couple extra plates and bowls, and nice cups.

Your guests will be impressed. 

  • Extra and nice blankets

Movie nights are just not the same if you don’t have some blankets to cuddle under, so it is a good idea to snag a few.

Also, they are a good thing to throw over a couch for decorating, upping your decorating skills in a super easy way.

Plus you never know when a friend will need to crash on the couch for a night or two. 

  • Candles, plugins, or anything else that smells good

Let’s face it, too many men together can sometimes produce a pretty ripe smell, so to be on the safe side it’s best to have some things on hand to combat that.

For the bathroom, it's a good idea to have some air freshener and probably a candle and matches, after all, you are not the only who is going to be using it.

For the living areas, it might be a good idea to get a plugin or again some more candles to keep the public areas smelling extra good.

If your BYU-I men’s housing doesn’t allow candles, there are also flameless candle options or wax burners as well.

  • Cleaning supplies

Nothing is more impressive than a well-groomed man, and it’s also the same with a well-groomed apartment.

Many college housing units do cleaning checks, so it is a good idea to have cleaning supplies on hand.

  • Board Games

Although it may seem a little old-school, some good old-fashioned board games and card games can actually come in super handy in an apartment.

It’s a great way to pull people away from their phones and computers and interact, and also a great excuse to hold a game night every week and meet some fun new people.

partnered post • client image


How to prepare to build your dream home

Screen Shot 2018-03-19 at 1.35.52 PM

Want to build your dream home but don’t know where to start? Then read on.

Have you always wanted to build and design your own home?

Building your own home is definitely the American dream come true, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Do you need a designer? An architect? How much will it cost? How long will it take?

These are pretty common questions, and the following will provide answers to a few of those as well as how you can prepare to build your dream home now or in the future.

Save, save, save, and then save some more

Building a custom home is no cheap endeavor, and the cost greatly varies from state to state.

For example the average cost of building a home in Idaho Falls, Idaho is about $111.45 per square foot for basic construction, which comes to around $220,000 for a 2000 square foot home, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Whether it’s an Idaho Falls home builder or any other state, it's obvious that it's important to save as much as possible if building a home is your goal.

Not to mention there are so many unforeseen costs that come with building, so having a nice savings to fall back on when things happen will make everything go a lot smoother.

Scout out several locations

Before you start hiring a contractor and designer it’s a good idea to know where you would possibly like to build and if the land is available.

Make a list of all the things you want near your house such as parks, stores, schools, etc. Also see if you want to build in an existing neighborhood where you could possibly knock down an old house, or if you would prefer a newer development. Also, something to consider is what location you want your lot, such as on a corner, in a cul-de-sac, etc.

Then drive around the city you want to live in and see what land or lots are available to start building your home.

Decide on a general contractor and designer

When it comes to building, although technically you can do everything yourself, it might be best to hire a general contractor and designer to help out.

The benefits of hiring a contractor are that they will be able to help adhere to any city codes or zoning codes, as well as oversee the workers building your home.

The benefit of a designer is that they can help you know how big you should make the bedroom, living, rooms, dining room, etc. based on the type of furniture and appliances you want.

They can also help to pick out all the things you will need on the inside and outside of your house, what paint colors, tile vs wood, carpet, and any other design specs that you want or need.

Make plans and be firm about them

Before you start building, plan for as much as possible.

Plan with your significant other and family about what you want and need, then plan with your contractor and designer.

This is important because when the actual building process starts everything will go a lot smoother if everyone, including you, has a clear vision of what is wanted and needed, which will also prevent any unnecessary delays.

Planning will also take away some stress, because building a home is just going to be a stressful experience, and lessening that in any way possible is the smart thing to do.

partnered post • client image


7 fun and affordable ways to spruce up your home

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 9.21.07 AM

Making your home Pinterest worthy doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg.

Home is where the heart is, and it’s also the place all your friends and family see when they come to visit.

You are constantly and consistently pinning things you wish you could do to your interiors to update it and make it look worthy of Joana Gaines, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time or money.

Well, there are many affordable things that you can do to your home without having to shell out a ton of money or be on a remodeling show.

Even small changes can make a big difference and be super affordable and chic.

Here are seven fun and affordable ways to spruce up your home and be more than proud to show off when people come to visit.

  • Change the knobs 

Something as little as switching out the knobs on your drawers and cupboards can make a big difference in enhancing the look of your home and making it look more modern and trendy.

The best part is you can look for interesting and unique knobs in all sorts of places, from yard sales to second hand-stores to thrift shops.

  • Paint the front door

Another fun and easy cosmetic change is painting your front door.

Painting your front door is an easy way to draw attention to your home as well as adding a fun focal point for it.  

  • Put up some fun prints or vinyl lettering

Nowadays it is pretty easy to find some inexpensive, but beautiful, prints and paintings.

Hanging some up in different parts of your home, above beds, in the bathroom, or even creating a gallery wall looks chic and modern.

Another aspect of your gallery wall or a great way to fill an unused space is vinyl lettering. Put up a meaningful quote in a pretty font and you are good to go.

  • Bring in some plants 

Nothing adds in life to a home like some fresh plants.

If you seem to have more of a black thumb than a green one, they don’t even have to be real. No one except you and those who live in your home have to know that beautiful green plant requires no effort on your part.

It’s pretty easy to find one in a size and look that would fit any room in your home.

  • Rearrange some things 

Sometimes all it takes to make a room feel new is re-arranging items and furniture that you already have.

Take something from one room and put it in another, or change where the couch and chairs are placed.  

  • Fill in blank spaces

There is such thing as having a room that is not decorated enough, and finding the right piece of furniture or wall-art can make a really big difference.

If there is an oddly empty space see what you can do to fill it, whether it’s placing a chair, some vinyl lettering, a tall plant, or anything else you see fit to take up that space in a visually appealing way.

  • You can always rely on the pillows

Never underestimate the power of a few new throw pillows, they can really turn a couch or bed from “meh” to “wow.”

Even having some extra ones lying around to switch out in different seasons can liven up your home décor.

partnered post • client image


Curtain hanging techniques to create the perfect look

7991013645_f096412654_k

Hanging curtains can set the mood for any room. Vibrant colors bring energy to a space, while pastels and muted greys or tans can help create a relaxing vibe. Patterns such as stripes and florals can bring both life and personality to a nook or window, and layering can create depth and change the dimension of a room. Your choice of curtain can help create the look of your home, but only if you hang it correctly. 

Whether covering a standard area or installing the perfect made to measure curtains, you'll want to ensure your window is properly covered with neat and even fabric.

Things to remember when ordering your curtains

With the variety of curtain options available, there's no reason to settle for ill-fitting or odd-shaped curtains. You can find many standard sizes available and in-stock at online and local retailers, as well as easily find made to order sizes at affordable rates. Apartment Therapy offers some wisdom when it comes to making your curtain purchase:

  • Make sure your curtain rod is wider than your window, or you'll have gaps on either side. A standard rule of thumb is at least 6" wider, although many people prefer an overlap of 8"-12" beyond the window frame.
  • Overlap your curtain fabric too. Don't get curtains the bare minimum width of your window, instead look for curtains that are 2-2.5 times larger than your window area.
  • Extend your measurements on height as well. Curtains are frequently hung above the window frame about 4"-6" from the ceiling. Standard curtains should fall to just skim the floor, or slightly puddle on the ground for a more dramatic look. Cafe length curtains should clearly extend past the base of the window for shade and privacy.

Strangely shaped windows may require a little more creativity. For octagon windows, the easiest curtain option is to base your measurements on the widest part of the octagon. As all sides should be an equal length, you can use the same measurement for height and width to create a fabric square for full coverage. 

The same idea applies to circular, diamond-shaped, or triangular windows, measuring from the largest area and covering the surface in a square. 

Fabric choices for curtains

Fabric choice is also a consideration for your curtain purchase. The fabric your curtains are made from will affect everything from your look to the weight and durability of the curtain rod and bracket you need for installation. Lighter weight fabrics often symbolize spring and summer, or a more casual vibe. Heavier fabrics can provide protection against the elements, and are often associated with formality and colder weather. Some common curtain fabrics include:

  • Polyester – an affordable and durable fabric, this material is stain resistant and easy to care for – available in a variety of colors, it is, however, flammable, and should not be used in kitchens.
  • Cotton – a natural material with a crisp clean feeling, commonly used in bedrooms and dining rooms as a light and affordable material. Linen offers similar qualities as cotton but provides a softer, more billowy look at a slightly increased price.
  • Silk – luxurious and light, silk is sought after for formal rooms. Difficult to clean and susceptible to sun damage, this material is best paired with a stronger fabric or in a low traffic area.
  • Velvet – this soft and heavy fabric can create a rich, gothic look. Beyond image, velvet can also block out unwanted noise or drafts.
  • Lace – this fabric offers more a hint of privacy than any actual protection against the outdoors. Lace curtains can come in both delicate and durable varieties.

How to hang your curtains

The curtains you buy will come in a package, and some of these items have been folded and stored for quite a while. Make sure you remove your curtains and hang them for a while before they settle into their final look. Most materials can take a light ironing if any wrinkles remain, but be sure to read the direction on the package. Check for pleats and strings for custom looks, and your curtains will soon be window-ready.

Use curtains to create a whole new look for your home by finding the perfect fit.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Anant Nath Sharma


Syncing Home Improvement with the Seasons

Are you working on your dream house one project at a time? Getting hands-on with home improvements can save you thousands and some projects can increase the value of your home when it’s time to move. But many homeowners end up losing their smart investment because they fail to time their handiwork around the unique challenges of each season. No one wants window replacements in the middle of winter, or heating and air conditioning upgrades in the sweltering heat of summer. Get a leg up on your next project by getting the timing right and making sure you’ve got the best home insurance coverage to protect you and your home. Here’s when you should plan for these popular home improvements:

infographic loading...

partnered post • client image


How to keep your home bug-free this summer

Screen Shot 2018-03-07 at 8.49.50 AM

Spring and summer bring sun and flowers, but that also means bugs and spiders.

No one likes the idea of bugs in or around their house.

But what can be done to get these pests under control?

Pest control is something all homeowners are on the lookout for, and there are actually several ways you can keep your house bug free yourself.

Warmer weather doesn’t have to mean an infestation for you or anything near your house.

Keep up with repairs

Bugs are small, so it seems pretty obvious logic that even the tiniest breeches in your house could be a way for them to get in.

Keeping up on the small repairs in and around doors, windows, or other places that touches the outside is a great way to make sure those pesky critters stay out.

Make sure to clean

A tidy home is one not only free of mess, but it stays free of bugs too!

One of the best types of pest control is to sweep, vacuum, and mop as much as possible.

Not only will you be grateful for a spotless house, but you will be grateful for the comfort of knowing you are living bug-free.

You can go natural

If the idea of using too many chemicals to help with your pest control keeps you up at nights as much as the thought of bugs inside or outside your house, rest easy that there are natural ways to keep them away.

One such way is using vinegar to clean, because not only does it naturally kill germs, but it’s a natural repellent for ants.

Some other natural repellents that you probably have lying around in your spice rack are mint, cinnamon, pepper, and turmeric.

Check out where the bug hangs out

They say the best way to beat your enemy is to know it, so what other way to beat bugs away than knowing where they hang out the most.

Check up on areas around your house where bugs seem to gather, and make sure to keep those areas clean and clear to prevent those areas from becoming an infestation instead of just a few pests.

Also, even if you see just one or two bugs in a certain area make sure to take action right away, because bugs such as ants send out scouts to scope out the good spots to come in and take hold. They will also leave chemical trails to lead their friends to their spot, so even just cleaning with soap and water will not only get rid of that trail but also keep the area clear from any other invasions.

Stay high and dry

Humans aren’t the only living things that survive on water; bugs also need it.

If there are places in your house that tend to have a lot of liquid, make sure to be vigilant about keeping them dry or you might attract some unwanted housemates.

Places that hide leaks such as pipes under the sink or in and around the bathtub are areas that should be monitored and cleaned as frequently as possible.

Do not feed the bugs

As funny as it sounds you may be unknowingly feeding your insect friends by leaving open food containers or food crumbs lying around.

Make sure all food is stored in a clean, easy to see area, and with airtight containers.

Although they might want to share your food with you, you know that’s the last thing they have planned.

Call a professional

Bugs can be tricky and sneaky and even when you do all of the above and more, they still find a way into your house.

This is probably the time to turn to someone who knows how to deal with bugs and knows how to properly and efficiently take care of them.

All it takes is a search on your phone or computer, such as “pest control Idaho Falls” to find your local insect removal specialist.

Pests come in all shapes and sizes, but by following these guidelines you can make sure the ones with six or more legs stay far away from you and your home.

partnered post • client image


ofuro: Japanese soaking tubs

 1

pictured above: a beautiful custom wooden ofuro designed & built by Bartok Design

A few years ago, I remodeled my bathroom, and removed a traditional shower/tub combo. In replacing it with a tiled shower stall and a tub, I faced a dilemma: how to fit these two new items in the same space? Luckily, my solution was Kohler's Greek Soaking Tub, substantially deeper, wider and shorter than their traditional tubs. However, I originally investigated building a custom Japanese soaking tub - or ofuro - before discarding that idea in favor of my lower-cost Kohler alternative.

My father is facing a similar project: he wants to turn the upstairs in his 1917 Craftsman home into a small apartment, with the 1/2 bath currently there becoming a full, albeit tiny, bathroom. Being that the entire upstairs of his house is finished in rich rough wood - mostly raw redwood planks and other woods - he wants the bath to be similarly subtle and consistent, so I recommended an ofuro.

One of the best resources on the subject is Bruce Smith & Yoshiko Yamamoto's Japanese Baths book - lots of eyecandy and ideas in it. But here are some other resources that may be useful.

  • Hydro Systems' 4040 round/square soaking tub
  • Neo-Metro's luxury baths
  • THG's Yoko
  • Neptune makes some larger whirlpools in a vaguely Japanese style
  • MTI has a huge line of luxury baths, including several space-saving corner models and a few deep soakers
  • online retailer Signature Hardware has a nice consolidated listing for several different makers of unorthodox bath & soaking tubs
  • I saw a Cabuchon tub recently installed in Portland, Oregon; it looked great but I couldn't exactly strip down and take a bath at the cocktail party where I saw it
  • Bathpro's Yubune are short and deep
  • TeakTubs look gorgeous but I'm not sure how safe they'd be on a second story, but as long as they're sealed well, I know teak shouldn't split or swell, so maybe they're fine
  • Robert's Hot Tubs makes some really nice tubs, several of which are bathroom-sized
  • Bartok Design's custom Japanese tubs are beautiful and minimalist
  • Driftwood Design also makes custom wooden baths
  • master carpenter Hiroshi Sakaguchi also makes custom tubs, all of which are absolutely gorgeous
  • of course, if the floor is strong enough, you can always frame & pour your own concrete tub to fit any possible shape or space
  • for less than $900, you can have a portable ofuro that will fit in a large shower stall or which can be placed above a drain on a tiled floor - something you can take with you, and one of the simplest solutions to this sort of problem. No reason you can't use a flexible filler, with a hook on the wall above it to turn it into a shower!

6 Effective Home Remedies to kill roaches

Nowadays, everyone is getting more concerned about the family health issues. More and more diseases are taking place in this era. One such reason for diseases is the overgrowing population of pests. German cockroaches belong to the same unruly. 

There are many over the counter medicines available to eradicate the problem. However, they are not safe for health and are inefficient as well. On the other hand, professional pest controllers are too expensive to hire. Furthermore, they cause a lot of nuisance and also not safe for your children. You may have to leave your home for 3-5 days which is a very cumbersome process. It is time to for you to try some DIY/home remedies to take actions against these pests. 

If you want to learn more about the home remedies to German cockroaches control. Take a look at the infographic below to learn more:

1519958589659

partnered post


5 DIY House Painting Tips You Think You Know (But You Really Don't)

Painting the walls of your home sets the tone of your home. And with these tips, you will be set up for house painting DIY in style!

1. Sand Before You Paint

Sanding is more important to perfectly painted walls or woodwork than it is given credit for. Sanding levels out spackle and flattens ridges around nail holes, giving you a nice, even canvas to start your painting.

Method:

Sand the walls from the baseboard to the ceiling with fine grit sanding paper on a sanding pole. Repeat this process horizontally.

 

Sand woodwork with a sanding sponge to get into crevices.

 

If this is taking more time than you anticipated, don’t worry. You are doing it right.

 

2. Protect your woodwork

 

Having paint leak on to your woodwork can add strain and time to your plans, in addition to giving you a very literal pain-in the-neck. How to avoid this? Pay close attention to adhering the tape before you start.

The method:

Secure blue painter’s tape over the wood, then run a putty knife over the top and press down for a good seal. This will stop the paint from bleeding without buckling.

 

3. Mixing color is not just for the kids

 

If you think the same color of paint varies in different cans, don’t book an appointment with your ophthalmologist right away. This is not uncommon and can be fixed easily.

Method:

To ensure color consistency, mix 2-3 cans of paint in a 5 gallon bucket.

 

If you don’t know how much you will need, add more rather than less. You can always pour the leftover back into cans.

 

For large surfaces, use the bucket and a roller screen rather than a roller tray to work quickly. Simply dunk the roller into the paint bucket, then roll it along the screen until it stops dripping.

 

If colour mixing seems to be challenging and you fear having inconsistency in your walls, go for lighter shades. Inconsistencies are far less prominent and they make rooms look brighter and bigger.

 

Still stuck for inspiration? Try using innovations like creating an idea wall for the kids’ room or for the office.

 

4. Pay attention to loading paint

 

You could land anywhere on the spectrum of ‘clueless and overwhelmed’ to ‘Picasa for the day’ when you start. Wherever you are, some tips on technique will definitely benefit your painting project.

Method:

Pay attention to how you load paint into your brush. Load the bottom 1½ inches of brush with paint, and tap each side against the inside of the container to knock off the heavy drips before you paint.

 

This is more effective than loading the entire brush and wiping off excess paint on the sides of the container since this undoes the action of paint loading to a great extent.

 

5. Painting technique 101

Painting a wall is nothing like painting on a canvas. The scale is larger, the paint is different and so is the technique. The most common problem you are likely to encounter is creating runs by applying too much paint in corners or along trim.Method:

To avoid running paint, start brushing about ½ inch away from the borders of the designated area. As the brush unloads, move over and slowly drag the brush along the corner. Allow the bristles to gently push the paint against the cut-in area. You will have to do this a couple of times to get complete coverage, but it'll avoid excess paint along woodwork and in corners.

 

The most important tools to have in your arsenal are patience and preparation. Visit your local hardware store and get some solid advice. Try out your hand with equipment and understand the correct method. Another way you can get prepared is checking out a painting blog. And all the best!

partnered post • cc-licensed image


What are the Benefits of Natural Stone Veneer?

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 10.04.40 AM

Natural stone veneers have been gaining in popularity lately for a variety of reasons. Stone veneers don’t use whole stones, which gives them the appearance of whole stones minus the cost. They may be made from concrete with pigments to make them look like stone after they come out of molds, or they may be made from ground up stone mixed with concrete. What are some of the other benefits of natural stone veneer?

Durability

One of the big advantages of natural stone veneer is durability. This is why stone buildings have literally stood for centuries. Compare this to having to replace vinyl siding after a decade or wood cladding in only a few years.

Depending on the stone that you select, the stone may be used for external cladding, structural support or both. For example, you can use slate for a walkway, or external cladding, but it cannot be used to support a load like the roof of a building.

Environmental

Natural stone veneers are environmentally friendly as well. You can level up the credentials by using local stone sources, and you’ll have the side benefit of blending into the natural landscape barring architectural hallmarks intended for the opposite effect. You can select from literally hundreds of sources. And when you use natural stone, there’s less man-made waste than with most manufacturing processes.

Once you put up the stone veneer, cleaning it is as simple as blasting it with water, or in some cases, sand. Yes, you can just wash it with a water hose in many cases. Keep acidic cleaners away from it, and many toxic cleaners aren’t necessary with natural stone.

Easy Application

Find a good mason, and the installation of the stone is a rather straightforward process. And you can put thin natural stone veneer over brickwork, so you don’t have to remove that brick layer to put a protective, attractive stone layer over it. This isn’t an option with drywall, though.

Thin natural stone veneers are similar to manufactured stone veneers in weight and ease of installation. They’re equally good for use indoors or out too.

Aesthetics

Natural stone veneers are attractive. The fact that every project ends up looking unique is a bonus. Note that natural stone work should be sealed to help it retain its original look as long as possible. However, if you want a weathered look, this step may not be necessary. Fake manufactured stone has UV inhibitors mixed into it in order to retain its color as long as possible. Natural stone won’t fade visibly in someone’s lifetime.

Another benefit of natural stone veneers is size selection. You can find large natural pieces up to 18” in diameter, whereas it is hard to find manufactured ones as large as 14” across. However, this depends on the type of stone.

Natural stone veneer is an environmentally friendly material that lets you potentially blend a building into the environment. It is rather easy to install, though the potential size of each face and possible applications depend on the type of stone you choose.

partnered post • rf image

 


25 Home Improvements to Make this Spring

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 10.58.32 AM

Springtime is just around the corner, so it’s time to start making the spring cleaning list! And along with it, think of all the home improvements you’ve been wanting to make but have been putting off in previous years. Well, now is the time!

CC Builders, a home construction company in Jackson, WY, helped us put together this list of easy home improvements for your to make to your home this spring.

  1. Paint the front door.
  2. Bring in some plants.
  3. Add character to your home’s entrance.
  4. Install a new kitchen backsplash.
  5. Build a headboard.
  6. Add new lighting fixtures.
  7. Accessorize cabinets with new handles.
  8. Paint your cabinets.
  9. Change the bathroom walls (wallpaper or paint!)
  10. Get new faucets.
  11. Paint a room.
  12. Add crown molding.
  13. Get new curtains.
  14. Get new furniture.
  15. Re-decorate the living room.
  16. Build new shelving.
  17. Do a photo shoot for new wall decor.
  18. Plant shrubbery outside for a natural fence.
  19. Add towel hooks to the bathroom wall.
  20. Get new door knobs.
  21. Reupholster old furniture.
  22. Turn a closet into a home office.
  23. Stain the front or back porch (or both).
  24. Organize your workbench.
  25. Add mirrors into your home decorating.

These are just a few of the simple things that you can do to spice your home up a little this spring. Plan now for the home improvements that you want to make, and when it comes time to make them, you’ll be ready to follow through.

We all need some good change every once in a while. Make that change start with your home, and feel good about it!

partnered post • client image


New Trends to Spruce up Your Home Exterior and Outdoor Deck Spaces

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 9.27.09 AM

With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to start planning your outdoor entertaining space. With exciting new renovation options, why settle for the same old plan of fresh paint? Create an idyllic setting that you’ll be proud to share with family and friends. Consider one of these new trends to spruce up your home exterior, and don’t be surprised when your neighbors beg for an invitation to your backyard parties!

Wood Decking

There’s nothing worse than having family and friends over for a backyard barbecue only to notice that the patio is shaky, uneven, splintered, or unstable! Your deck should provide a relaxing and safe atmosphere for gatherings with loved ones. Invest now in quality materials, and you’ll be reaping the benefits for years to come. One current trend to upgrade outdoor space is to integrate modified wood decking, which offers longstanding durability without sacrificing the gorgeous look of solid wood. Smart homeowners are opting for building materials, like modified wood, that have undergone specialized treatment to prevent the effects of damaging weather elements. Stunning and steady, this building trend is a sustainable material choice that is excellent for the patio, terrace, or wraparound porch at your homestead.

House Wrap

Some of the best upgrades available for your exterior are the ones that combine energy efficient solutions, cosmetic improvements, and health benefits — all while saving you money in the long run! One of the newest developments in exterior repair achieves it all!  Known as house wrap, this trend may be the most vastly efficient construction opportunity to strengthen the exterior of your home. As the name suggests, this method involves wrapping the home with a moisture resistant material that reduces air infiltration, making your home much more energy efficient and protected against the elements. This high-tech material is built with a specialized porous film that allows moisture to dry quickly, protecting the foundational construction of walls while maintaining internal temperature control. House wrap is not difficult to install, and the rewards are abundant, making this a wise investment for your home.

Steel Log Siding

A great way to spruce up the appearance of your home is with the addition of outstanding siding.  Serving double duty, steel log siding achieves the visual appearance of a traditional log cabin while possessing the advantage of smart material composition. Steel log siding has the stunning appearance of natural wood — your house will resemble a genuine log cabin!  However, this siding trend comes with all the benefits of building modernization, meaning the exterior will not require the maintenance of traditional logs. This new siding trend allows you to forego repairs associated with traditional wood siding, such as painting, staining, and log replacement from insect damage and rotting. If you’re looking for a way to upgrade the exterior of your home without setting yourself up for additional chores, steel log siding may be the touch of cunning creativity that you need!

Aluminum Soffit

Another feature that will greatly improve your home’s exterior is a transition to aluminum soffit. The importance of soffit is often overlooked, because it’s a tiny detail that links siding and roof edges. Although small in size, it’s certainly mighty in providing an extraordinary level of additional protection for your home’s exterior. Soffit provides proper ventilation for the attic while still protecting that space from weather infiltration.  Unlike traditional wooden materials, aluminum reduces the amount of upkeep required from repainting.  Furthermore, aluminum soffit is available in a variety of colors, so you’re sure to find a beautiful match for your exterior, regardless of color or material. This is an outdoor renovation trend sure to please and perform!

Take note of these new trends in exterior and outdoor renovations, and you’ll be thrilled at the possibilities!

partnered post • client image


Get A More Affordable Log Cabin Look With Steel

Over time, the cost of owning a traditional wood log cabin can begin to add up. It is one reason why as much as people love the look of log cabins, they do not get one themselves. But, these days there are new types of siding which can give you the look and feel of a log cabin without the outrageous cost of upkeep.

TruLog has developed steel log siding, which provides that log cabin look, but none of the hassle of upkeep. If you want to learn more about steel log cabin siding, take a look at the infographic below.

 

Steel-Log-Siding-0502 (1)

partnered post


30 Ways to Declutter Your Home

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 10.45.27 AM

As human beings, we always seem to be accumulating more and more stuff. No matter what we do, there always seems to be some useless item in our home that we don’t know how it ever got there in the first place. Don’t let the mountain of growing things in your home be a common source of stress. Clear out unnecessary items and feel free in your home again. 

Guardian Homes, a home builder in Idaho Falls, helped us come up with this list of things you can go through right now to declutter your home.

  1. Socks with no matches
  2. Unwatched DVDs
  3. Dried out markers and pens
  4. Condiments leftover from your takeout adventures
  5. Food storage containers with no lid
  6. Clothing that doesn’t fit
  7. Chipped dishes - like plates, cups, bowls, and mugs
  8. Expired food
  9. Old magazines
  10. Old paint
  11. Power cords with no home
  12. Expired medications
  13. Expired makeup
  14. Old perfume
  15. Jewelry you don’t ever wear
  16. Old bras
  17. Worn out shoes
  18. Old wallets
  19. Worn belts
  20. Partially used notebooks
  21. Old electronics
  22. Unfinished craft or woodworking projects
  23. Old receipts
  24. Old papers/documents
  25. Old pots and pans
  26. Dull knives
  27. Old mail
  28. Expired cleaning products
  29. Unused tools
  30. Worn sheets, blankets, and pillows

There’s no reason to keep any of these items in your home, and they are only taking up precious space. If you are worried about the amount of stuff in your home, take an hour or so when you have a time to go through your home and clear it of the items on this list.

partnered post • client image


How to Save Money with Expert Electricians

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 10.41.15 AM

Choosing an electrician is something which is difficult enough – choosing one that will allow you to save money overall is next to impossible. It can be done, however, and the tips below will show you some of the ways in which you can do it.

Compare Hourly Charges

Quotes normally come in a variety of ways – depending on the electrician, they can either be an entire quote, an hourly quote, or a quote by job description. There are advantages and disadvantages to either way of looking at the quote, but getting one which is done by an hourly contract can allow you more control than otherwise. Hourly contracts and quote also allow you to directly compare different electricians side by side.

Make the Most of Their Time

Everyone has had to pay through the nose at least once for some emergency repair work on their electrical systems or on their plumbing. We all know the pain that is the cost on these occasions, so it is best to try and avoid them as much as possible, and instead wait until their schedules allow for a normal visit.

To make the most of an expert electrician time, try and schedule them to take care of multiple projects around your home. This way, rather than paying for them to come out every time some electrical work needs done, you can them take care of everything in a single visit.

When you are looking into getting electrical work done, take some notes on what you want to ask your electrician when he comes; he might have time for an inspection when he comes, or he can give you advice, all of which save future visits.

A good way to try and save money is to walk around the house, survey your electrical systems, and see if there is anything else that needs done, so that you can have the electrician pay attention to them both while he is out at your house. You could even go so far as to find out how much extra it would cost to have some wiring installed for future appliances.

Remember To Pay For Quality

One way of saving money is a long term, oddly enough, in by spending more in the short term. Electricians do a very dangerous job – they handle live wiring and equipment which could very easily kill them on a regular basis, and they do this to make your home safe and comfortable and warm. You get what you pay for when it comes to electricians, so paying some more money for the first visit can ensure that you don’t need a second, either because the first one was enough to solve the problem completely, or because paying a certain amount of money can mean that you get an actual electrician, rather than someone playing a scam. Quality comes with a price tag, and in the case of electrical services it isn’t really one you should skimp on.

partnered post • client image


5 Things to Think about When Remodeling Your Bathroom

3513972237_0440068bf6_b

Bathroom remodeling can be daunting. With plumbing fixtures being the first to be chosen and the last to be installed, the upgrading process can even be confusing. Depending on the fixture sizes, chosen faucets and specifications, plumbing done behind the walls is defined at the start of the remodeling project.

As one of the most significant interior spaces that are often used, your bathroom should be both functional and aesthetic. Being organized from the start can help simplify the entire remodeling process. Giving your bathroom a new look allows you to have a space that reflects your aesthetic tastes, personality and preferences.

Whether yours is a master en suite or powder room, here are the 5 things to think about when remodeling your bathroom:

Top 5 Factors to Consider When Renovating Your Bathroom

  1. Determine Your Reason for Remodeling

When remodeling your bathroom, the first thing you must think about is your reason for embarking on such a project. Are you a new homeowner and want to add some personal touches to your bathroom with modern trends? Do you intend to sell your home? Do you need to upgrade your bathroom to address accessibility issues?

Whether you want to increase the value of your home through bathroom remodeling or just want space you can call your own, that’s reason enough to motivate your decisions during the project.

  1. Create a Budget to Work On

Create a budget to guide your remodeling project. Your bathroom renovation budget must never exceed 5% of your entire home’s value. Determine the amount you’re willing to spend on the remodeling project without straining your finances. Come up with a realistic budget and stick to it. Pick the three most important aspects of your project for prioritization.

Do comparison shopping for your top three priority remodeling components to ensure your remodeling project stays within the created budget and is geared towards meeting your needs.

  1. Bathroom Layout & Functionality

Do you intend to maintain your existing bathroom layout or change it? Plan your bathroom remodeling properly and take note of the additional plumbing and placement of pipes you might need if you intend to change the toilet or sink location. Note that changing fixtures and moving them around can lengthen the project duration and even increase your budget.

When making a plan and creating a budget, consider the need to develop a new bathroom layout if there’s need to address accessibility issues. Make sure your bathroom water flow and drainage system are functional. If not, they must be addressed during the remodeling project.

  1. Increased Value of Your Home/Property

What’s the likely return or outcome of remodeling your bathroom? Choose colors and fixtures that meet your personal tastes and preferences if you intend to stay in the home for the next five years or more. However, if you’re looking to sell the property or simply increase its value, opt for timeless, stylish aesthetic trends.

Consider the right options based on your neighborhood, current trends and what might not get outdated in a few years. This ensures your home sells fast in case you decide to put it up for sale.

  1. Aesthetic Appeal

Do you need to enhance your bathroom’s functionality or aesthetic appeal? Or do you need to work on both? Is there need to replace everything in the bathroom or just some? Are there things that can be improved to suit your taste? For instance, can existing tiles be reglazed instead of getting new ones?

Whether you want an elegant and attractive modern bathroom, a vintage room with a traditional touch or simply an eclectic-themed bathing room, choose your options right.

Also think about the bathroom details when remodeling. Think about the kind of lighting, ventilation, storage, plumbing, toilets, windows, floors and showers or tubs you want in your bathroom. Pick calm colors that go well with your personality and match your general design theme. Finally, determine whether you want the remodeling done by a professional or if you can do it the DIY way.

Contact Orange county bathroom remodel contractors to revamp your bathroom for a custom look and feel

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Cheryl Marland


Architectural Miracle: How a Loft Conversion will Transform Your Home

Loft-conversion-with-office-space

For so long we have limited our lofts to storage or as an excuse to hoard junk. Now, more and more people are revamping their lofts into more useful and trendy spaces.

Loft conversions come in different types and shapes according to the infrastructure in your home. In this article, I will give various design inspirations for different types of loft conversion applications. I will also talk about basics of loft conversion and what to expect.                    

Here are some of the designs that you could use in transforming your loft:

  1. Dormer Conversions

This is the most popular style of conversion simply because it suits a variety of loft types. Typically, a vertical wall is constructed from the sloping roof of a building to give maximum headroom to a loft. You can have a flat roof dormer conversion that offers maximum space or a shed dormer that will be sloped at an angle.

Since these conversions create more internal space, bigger rooms such as a bedroom or a comfy resting room will be more suitable.

  1. L-shaped dormer conversions

An L-shaped dormer is only carried out on certain properties such as the Victorian style where the kitchen and bathroom are additions to the properties’ rear. The loft conversion will hence fall right over this addition creating extra space for a nursery, extra bathroom or even a study.

  1. Hip to gable conversions

Here, a vertical wall replaces the sloping roof on the side of your property increasing the size of the loft. This type of conversion works best with the detached or semi-detached house since it requires a free sloping side. The hip to gable-converted space will accommodate spaces enough for master en-suite bedrooms, gym space or even a second living room. To access the loft, a full stairway is recommended.

  1. Mansard conversions

This conversion involves transforming the entire expanse of a sloping roof into a nearly vertical side to create space. Here, a substantial amount of work is involved in the conversion and may require planning permission.

This conversion creates massive space, in fact, it often amounts to a full new story.  With no space limitation, you can have an entire living area with lounge, living room and bathroom. Feel free to go crazy on designing.

  1. Double mansard conversion

A double mansard conversion is a combination of two mansard conversions. One at the front and one to the back of the loft. This combo greatly increases both headroom and floor space to the loft. This space will be large enough to accommodate an extra lounge, master en-suite and even a bathroom.

  1. L-shaped mansard conversions

An L-shaped mansard can only be carried out on properties, which have a back addition to allow the mansard’s extension over them. This extra space can be used as a study room if you consider getting sound-proof windows that keep the noise at bay, or even an extra bedroom or dressing room. For those who make wealth at home, this design can make for a great office away from a noisy living room.

  1. Velux conversion

Velux, also known as roof light conversion is the simplest and most cost-effective loft conversion without altering the existing roof structure. It involves adding a skylight window, a staircase, and a proper floor layering. However, it requires ample headroom to make good use of the available space.

Due to the slanted interior from this kind of conversions, having bathrooms and sleeping areas is ideal.

Basics of loft conversions and what to expect

Before you jumpstart your loft conversion project, you will need to take a look at a loft conversion guide to avoid common mistakes that most homeowners face. However, I will give you some basics on loft conversions and what to expect in the list below.

Basics of loft conversion

  • Assess if your loft actually qualifies for a conversion. An architect or a surveyor will inspect your home and give a verdict on that.
  • Choose a suitable design based on your structure.
  • Meet the necessary planning permission within your locality for converting a loft into a liveable space.
  • Have an idea of how you want the loft to look like at the end of the conversion and the features you want to be incorporated.
  • Keep in mind building regulations that concern the quality and safety of a structure.
  • Think critically about the position and shape of your stairway, as is a key determinant of a successful loft conversion.

What to expect on loft conversions

  •   For construction workers’ support, erecting a scaffold will be a requirement.
  •   There will be a roof opening for dormer construction.
  •   Wall insulation will need to meet legal requirements and inspection done.
  •   There will be electoral cabling for lighting.
  •   Interior fittings are necessary.
  •   Fire and gutter will need to meet legal requirements.
  •   There will be a stage-by-stage inspection by building control officer for fire regulations and building compliance.

A loft conversion can be quite intimidating at first especially if you don’t know a thing about how to go about it. However, with proper and adequate information, you are sure to have the best conversion experience.

However, having that said, create a lot of spare time, expect to encounter a lot of clutter and definitely be prepared to roll up your sleeves. At the end of the day, you will be grateful for the living space in your home and the value added.

partnered post • client image


Creating a Stress-Free Sleeping Space

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.18.50 AM

Do you struggle to sleep at night and you’re not quite sure why? Maybe it has to do with your sleeping arrangement. Your bedroom might be cultivating a stressful environment that prevents you from getting your best possible sleep.

Rooftop Rentals, an agency with homes for rent in Idaho Falls, helped us put together this list of things you can do to create a stress-free sleeping space.

Too Many Layers

As nice as lots of pillows and layered blankets look on your bed, they are not conducive to great sleep. Too many layers can trap unwanted heat and cause trouble sleeping. So, when you go to bed, clear off all non-essential bed layers.

Breathable Sheets

Bed sheets and pillowcases made from natural fiber. Egyptian cotton and bamboo bed sheets are both great options for cool, dry, and breathable sleep.

Clutter-Free Decor

Does your wall decor kind of take over? A lot of clutter on the walls or the floor is just stressful to our minds. Negative space is good. Each wall decoration should have a purpose, and each piece should bring positive thoughts.

Plants

Plants help clean the air, they remind us of nature and bring us back to our roots (pun intended). Aloe vera and peace lilies are both great for removing toxins from the air. And let’s not forget that plants provide us with much need oxygen.

Oils

Essential oils are becoming more popular and for good reason. All the different oils serve different purposes, some can relieve stress, improve sleep, or even reduce soreness in muscles. Try diffusing oils in your room for the purposes you need. Lavender is great for improving sleep and clary sage can help reduce anxiety and boost your mood.

Lighting

Avoid harsh lighting in your room. Bright fluorescent lights are hard on our eyes and therefore don’t help in alleviating stress. In lamps and bedroom lights, use soft yellow lighting. Put blackout curtains over your windows to draw shut at night to help you sleep.

Cleanliness

As far as mental stress goes, a dirty room is definitely not going to help. You shouldn’t be stressing out about going yet another day without cleaning your room by the time you crawl into bed.

Keep your room clean and organized to prevent that stress from distracting you. For easy organization, get a nice ottoman or covered organizer that you can place things into. Keep your closet tidy - or at least close the doors so you can’t see inside.

No Electronics

If you really want good and stress-free sleep, keep electronics out of the bedroom. Or at the very least, keep them hidden when you are sleeping. If you must have a phone or mobile device for your alarm, keep it on a nightstand more than an arm’s length away and face down.

partnered post • client images


5 Tips to Becoming an Electrician

12300651583_d327f8ef56_k

Becoming an electrician is a challenging quest. It requires a combination of skills that not a lot of people possess altogether. Their line of work isn’t exactly attractive, but they’re the guys who keep the city running, so to speak. So whenever you go home and turn the lights on, thank an electrician for setting up your wiring. If you’re interested in a career as an electrician, you’ve come to the right place. Here we’ll share 5 tips to becoming an electrician. From studying, and finally gaining hands-on exposure from electrical companies like Wesline Emergency Electrician, we’ve got you covered. Ready? Let’s go!

  1. Enrol in a trade school

Enrolling into trade school is a great way to gear yourself up to becoming a qualified electrician. These schools are designed to introduce you to the trade and offer subjects that are specific to honing your skills. It’s perfectly optional, of course. Some people choose to earn certificates from an electrician school, and some don’t. And yet both have equal chances of becoming excellent in the field.

It’s an advantage of course to learn from school. By studying hard, you get to learn the basics and improve your skills as you go along. Some important things you’ll learn in trade school are electrical theory, algebra, your country’s national electric code, power distribution, and machinery.

  1. Do your maths

You may have heard how engineers and electricians do a lot of math on and off site. That’s true, electricians do a lot of math, specially algebra. It’s important to hone this particular skill because it will show up in every licensing exam and is a prerequisite to any major electrical course. Apprenticeship exams are also usually very heavy in algebraic problems. So you really need to brush up on this skill. If you’re in high school right now and you’re already dreaming of becoming a journeyman someday, keep your algebra grades on top. Even trade schools look at your math marks.

  1. Develop your soft skills

While you’re busy mastering the technical side of your craft, don’t forget to hone your soft skills as well. Because electricians are mostly out and are interacting with clients, possessing above average soft skills is helpful in communicating with clients. It’s an advantage that’ll make it easier for you to navigate the workplace.

Be an active listener and be attentive to what your client says. Good listening skills is essential in diagnosing a problem. As you well know, it’s important to get a full understanding of the problem before attempting to solve it. Aside from listening skills, you also need to be cooperative and patient, as you deal with your team and try to resolve issues that may be challenging.

  1. Sign up for an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship pretty much works like an internship and is crucial to every hopeful electrician. It’s a very daunting yet rewarding experience to be able to finish some 3 to 4 years working on actual projects, side by side with experts who are there to guide and train you. It’s not easy to get an apprenticeship, you have to apply to several companies and pass and exam that has great difficulty. It’s almost like looking for a job, but with very little financial rewards. As an apprentice, you only earn a fraction of the standard rate of a journeyman. On the average it plays around $14 to $20. But don’t be dismayed, at the end of your apprenticeship you would have learned everything you need to know.

  1. Invest in your body

Being an electrician is both physically and mentally exhausting. After all those years studying and finishing your apprenticeship, what you want to do next is ensure you’re physically fit to work. As with anything, good health is paramount in succeeding at your job. Because of the nature of their work, electricians suffer from muscle pain, body aches, and back and knee pain all the time. So make sure you’re to be healthy always!

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Darwin Bell


4 Great Uses for Reclaimed Wood

Pexels-photo-172289

Reclaimed wood refers to any wood salvaged from any application and reused for another purpose. This has a time-honored history, such as the reuse of wood from ships to build buildings and furniture. This is why the last remnants of historic ships have been found in bars built by their former crew. Here are 4 great uses for reclaimed wood.

Flooring

Reclaimed timber lets you afford woods that would cost a fortune if harvested today, or they may be utterly unavailable today because of environmental factors. For example, the American elm is almost extinct. Reclaimed wood lets you use this durable, attractive material without ethical concerns. A side benefit of reclaimed wood floors is that no one will notice your scuffs and scratches because the wood is already adapted from some other purpose.

An easy place to put any reclaimed wood is on the stairs as treads, since you could either cut up large pieces or use salvaged wood flooring in this new location.

Walls

Using reclaimed wood paneling to make wooden walls gives your home rich character and a depth you won’t get with modern manufactured materials. The odds are that there are already holes from nails or other materials in it, so new nail holes and dings won’t stand out as they would on brand new panels. A side benefit is that reclaimed wood allows you to affordably stay within the building code for a historic home or create that same look in a newer home.

Remember that you can use reclaimed wood on the sides of new kitchen islands to make your new add-ons look like part of the original kitchen. Or redecorate your bathroom with reclaimed wood pieces assembled to create a wall behind your new mirrors.

Shelves

A popular use of reclaimed wood is shelving. It works particularly well because you don’t have to find much wood to make a distinctive mantelpiece or several shelves to mount on the wall compared to trying to find enough of the same type of wood to install on a wall or floor. One benefit of reclaimed wood in shelving is that you can find large, durable single pieces of wood for this application instead of gluing together several sheets and making it into a single piece.

Furniture

Reclaimed wood has been used to make furniture for all of history, and probably before that. When the table breaks, you use the materials to make an end table. If the bedframe wears down, the remaining wood can become a table, a desk, or shelves. Reclaimed wood doors are being turned into desks and dining room tables, though wooden barn doors are also being repurposed as interior doors. Old doors are also a shoe-in for a bed headboard. Reclaimed wood from other projects can be integrated into cabinets and used to build dresser drawers. Salvaged wood is an easy choice for framing projects, whether framing pictures or framing your new vent hood.

Reclaimed wood can be a great choice for a variety of uses and can give any room character while letting you use materials that may be hard to find or afford today. It is also a great way to save on new wood when reclaimed wood can do the job.

partnered post • cc-licensed image


7 Crazy Awesome Space Saving Gadgets for Your Small Apartment

Whether you’re a college student in a dorm room, married with a tiny house, or living anywhere in between, you’re probably constantly looking for ways that you can save space in your small living space. Never fear, we’ve got some crazy awesome gadgets here.

The Landing Apartments, student housing in Rexburg, helped us put together this list of great space saving ideas for your apartment.

  1. Toilet Storage

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.17.51 AM

Tired of your roommate asking you to get the more toilet paper? Or maybe you just need more space in your bathroom for decoration or reading material. Try out this handy gadget. Check stores like WalMart and Home Depot for some handy, over-the-toilet storage.

  1. Magnets

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.18.03 AM

Girls! This one is for you. Stop blaming your roommates for stealing your lost bobby pins, and pick up a magnetic strip to attach them to at the end of the day. Thank LifeHacker for this brilliant tip.  

  1. Swivel Cabinet

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.18.15 AM

Want a full-length mirror, coat rack, bulletin board, and shelf all in one? Then you have got to get this swivel cabinet by Coaster Home Furnishings.

  1. Hot Iron Holder

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.18.28 AM

Don’t have a place to put your curling iron when you’re done using it? Look no further than this Hot Iron Holster for your sink or bathroom counter. Save counter and drawer space with this neat gadget.

  1. Corner Dish Rack

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.18.43 AM

Save space in your kitchen with this corner dish drying rack. It helps you stack your dishes efficiently instead of laying them out on a towel on the table or counter.

  1. Cabinet Organizer

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.19.07 AM

Do you run out of space quickly in your cabinets and cupboards? Then you’ve got to try this cabinet organizer from Home Depot. It has nice sliding drawers that make it easy to grab things out of your cupboards.

  1. Shower Curtain with Pockets

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.19.21 AM

Save on shower space with these! Some showerheads don’t hold up a shower caddy very well, and this is a great alternative! Find this on Amazon.

partnered post • client images


5 Tips to changing your address before your next move

25783833626_00d7e487c2_k

When you are moving to a new residence, whether it is just across town or to a new country, you'll need to do a lot of things which can be very stressful. For one, you need to choose a moving company that can help you gather your stuff and reinstate it to the new place. And then you'll need to buy new things and do a few retouches to your new place. You will also need to unpack all your stuff and put them one by one to their proper places in your new home. But then one of the most important things that you should never forget in your checklist is the change of address. This may sound very insignificant compared to all the hassle and chaos you have to do when moving, but this step is extremely important to keep your life running smoothly right after.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when changing your address before your move.

  1. Call all your service providers.

Before you move, you will want to call all your service providers like water, telephone, and electricity. This is something that you have to do in order to avoid future problems that can definitely be avoided. You have to inform them ahead of time of your change of address so your services will be switched over seamlessly. After all the chaos and hassle of moving, you don’t want to end up having to deal with the disruption of services.

  1. Call your bank and other financial constitutions you are affiliated with.

Identity theft and other similar horrible things are a huge problem in our society in this digital age. Prior to your move, never forget to call your bank or any other financial institutions you are affiliated with so they will be notified ahead of time to your change of address. Not doing so will give them an alarm that your debit or credit card is being used in another state or across the country.

  1. Change the address registered in your subscriptions.

Another important thing that you need to do is to update the address in your magazine or newspaper subscriptions. This may be an insignificant part of your daily life but it can still cause problems along the way.

  1. Double check the details of your new address.

It’s easy to make a mistake with just one number or letter in your address. Before informing the moving company, always confirm the contact information, pick-up time, and most importantly, the exact new address. A wrong address can add up additional costs for labor so it is important that you provide the exact new address.

  1. Inform your friends and relatives.

It’s the easiest thing to do that you should not forget. You don’t want your friends to end up in your old door when you are already halfway across a new state or country. Inform them that you are moving and provide them your new address so they won’t be left behind.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Thad Zajdowicz


5 Tips to saving money on your next home repair project

261697809_be4f7444fa_b

 

If you have a home repair project in the works, you need to think about the strategies that you can take so that you can create some savings in the process. When it comes to home repair or home upgrade projects, you want to get the best deals. You do not want to spend way too much than is realistically necessary. Are there things that you can do on your own during the repairs? Are you willing to invest in a DIY project to help you save on the overall costs? Well, these are pertinent questions that can help you think of ways to make savings on your home repair projects.

 

Here are 5 tips that can help you make savings on your next home repair project:

1. Your budget should be realistic

If you need to repair or upgrade your roof, it is important that you conduct a roof inspection so that you can tell exactly what should be done to it. If it needs minor repairs, then you can budget for the minor repairs. Should you consider hiring a contractor, it is advisable that you do it in hourly terms. Get quotes from a few contractors and compare their quotes. Get to know all the costs that you will incur and budget for these. If not, you may get into costly oversights that will blur your plans.

2. Consider sales at home improvement stores

When you are sure of the items you need for your home improvement projects, visit the home improvement stores and review their various offers. Take your time and review the prices of the various materials that you will require for your project.  When you shop around, you are definitely going to find some supplies at lower costs and this will help you make savings. Buy in bulk and you will also save in the process.

3. Consider manufacturer rebates

In case you are taking care of the repairs on your own, you could benefit from manufacturer rebates. For the expensive equipment that you may require for your projects, check for flyers and manufacturer websites to find the kind of rebates on offer. You could also benefit by purchasing products and supplies that are environmentally friendly. Just search for the stores that have these offers.

4. Use of salvaged materials

If there are salvage yards or home rebuilding centers in your locality; you can get salvaged materials and use these to save you on expensive new building materials. When you use the salvaged materials for your home repair projects, you could then repurpose the use of your home furnishings for other projects. Remember that the salvaged materials could be the cheapest option you have for inexpensive and effective home repairs.

5. Negotiating with contractors

 

One of the best ways to save money in your project is through negotiations with the contractors that you may want to use. Negotiations will give you the best deals and this is definitely a good way to make savings. Get quotes from a number of reputable contractors and pick the most costs effective one for your project. In all your negotiations and bargains, ensure that professionalism of the contractors come first. If you have to purchase materials on your own to make savings, then go ahead and do it.

partnered post


How To Start Your Garden Before Spring

Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 9.02.13 AM

It’s the middle of winter, but produce is expensive and it’s so much more gratifying to plant and grow your own food. If only summer would get here sooner. But you don’t have to wait until summer to reap the benefits of a vegetable garden.

The Yard Butler, professionals in landscaping and weed control, have helped us put together this list of ways that you can start your garden in your home this winter.

  1. Choose what you want to grow.

The first step to starting your indoor vegetable garden is choosing what you want to grow. Do you want a salsa garden? Tomatoes, peppers, cilantro. Or maybe you want zucchini, broccoli, lettuce, and carrots. Whatever you want, decide on that now and go pick up the seeds for it. You might even be able to get some good deals on seeds during the off season of gardening.

  1. Get your containers.

You can make, buy or reuse containers for your little seedlings. The best thing to do is plant them in something that is either biodegradable or something that you can remove them from easily for transplanting when they get larger.

Egg cartons and empty yogurt cups are both great options for starting your seeds. Just make sure you use something that will let excess water out, so your seeds don’t rot and mold.

Later on, if it’s warm enough outside you can move the developed seedlings to your garden. Or if it’s still cold outside, you can transplant them into larger containers.

  1. Find a location.

If you’re going to have an indoor garden, you’ll need to have a space dedicated to it. This can be in a garage or unfinished basement, or maybe even an empty room in your home that gets good light and has a hard floor (for any messes that might happen). You’ll want to make sure that wherever you decide to start your garden, especially at the beginning, that stays warm. Large windows that let in a lot of sunlight or space heaters can help with this.

Be aware that many plants can get quite large, so if you are planning on keeping your plants indoors, you’ll want a large enough space for them to grow.

  1. Start your seeds.

Get some good soil (you can find this at most home and garden stores). Place the soil into your containers and plant your seeds. Most seed packages have the directions on how to plant them (how deep and the number of seed).

If you are going to transplant your seedlings as they start to grow, you will want to make sure the timing is right – planting them about 3-6 weeks before the last Spring frost is a good rule of thumb if you plan on moving them outside.

  1. Water your plants.

As your seeds are starting, watering them can be a fine art. It is extremely important, but you also want to make sure you don’t over water them. Starting with a spray bottle and making sure the soil is moist at all times is a good place to start. To help retain moisture, try covering the containers with plastic or damp newspaper. Just be sure to remove this once the plants break through the soil.

  1. Give them light.

Open up those windows if you were able to put your garden near some windows that allow the sun through (without letting in a lot of cold air). If you aren’t able to plant your garden near a window, then you can use artificial lights.

You can use fluorescent LED bulbs as a replacement for natural light. Keep the lights about 6 inches above the plants, moving them up as they grow.

  1. Watch your garden grow!

Continue to take good care of your garden, giving it plenty of water and light. If you plan on transplanting, do so before your plants start producing food and before they get too big.

Enjoy your garden!

partnered post • client images


How to Choose the Right Water System for Your Home

34870487656_1d1ec5853b_k

The water that is piped to our homes is hardly clean. This is because it gets contaminated as it goes through the pipes by metals, chemicals and disease causing bacteria. It’s therefore important for every homeowner to consider treating water before it’s used for domestic purposes. Treated water gives you the privilege of enjoying water that is crisp, refreshing and free from odors. You only need to invest in a water treatment system and you will never have to waste your money on bottled water. Most homeowners get confused when selecting a water purification system. This is due to the fact that there are several systems that are available in the market.

  1. Have Your Water Tested

It’s difficult to find a water treatment system that removes all the impurities. This is because different systems are designed to only eliminate certain kinds of impurities. If you rush into just buying any system, you might be shocked to find that it can’t remove the impurities that are in your tap water. To avoid wasting time and money, you should first have the water tested at the nearest municipal lab. If you are lucky, your municipal will give you results for tests that were carried out recently. You can also test the water at home. But you must buy a home test kit. The results you will get will guide you when shopping for water filters.

  1. Choose the Ideal System

There are basically three categories of water filters. The first group uses activated carbon to get rid of impurities such as copper, lead, mercury, pesticides and parasites. This kind of filter is commonly used in systems that are installed beneath the kitchen sink and water pitchers. If your water has been contaminated by chemicals that are used in dry cleaners, you have to get a system that uses reverse osmosis technology by making it go through a semipermeable membrane. However, if arsenic is present in your water, it can only be eliminated through distillation by boiling the water so that impurities can be left behind after evaporation. You should also by a system that has been approved by NSF.

  1. Select a Location for the Filter

You have to select where you want your system to be. You can install the treatment system at the point of entry so that the impurities are eliminated before the water reaches your house and storage tanks. If this is the kind of system that you want, you have to put your finances together because they are costly. Besides that, you must create extra space for such a system. You can also opt for point of use filters such as pitchers, faucet systems and undersink filters.

  1. Focus on Efficiency

Treatment systems that are installed below the sink are more reliable than filters that are found in pitchers. This is because there is a lot of pressure that’s pushing the water. The other advantage is that they don’t require any refilling because the water is purified as it flows through the tap. A pitcher has to be refilled on a regular basis or there will be no pure water when you need to quench your thirst. For more details on water treatment, please visit watersoftenergurus.com.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Kamil Kaczor


Stay Protected from Bugs All Year-Round with Experienced Pest Control, Terminix

002_Tech_Hero_Truck_2014

Pests can become a serious problem when they invade your home. Some bugs, like termites, can degrade your home’s structure. Others, like cockroaches and mosquitoes, can cause unpleasant bites or stings. Fortunately, Terminix can help protect you from bugs year-round.

Bugs and the Weather: There is a common misconception that people do not have to deal with bugs in winter. While it is true that some species of bugs are scarce, others, like termites, really do not care about the season. If you are in a warm location like Orlando, Florida, the bugs don’t go away, and you may need to call an exterminator in Orlando even during the winter months.

Terminix Guarantee: With over ninety years of experience, Terminix is a top-quality pest company in the nation. If you have a bug infestation in your home, the professionals at Terminix will not stop until your home is protected.  If the bugs return, your Terminix professional will come back at no additional cost.*

Terminix Protection: The best way to prevent problems from a pest infestation is to protect your home from invasion in the first place. In addition to exterminating pests, Terminix also has plenty of experience in pest prevention. The specific method of prevention can vary depending on the type of bug. For instance, if you are dealing with mosquitoes, Terminix will use a special compound that is designed to kill mosquitoes and mosquito larvae on contact . Another way to protect your home is by sealing off spaces where wildlife can enter your house.

You may need more or less protection depending on where you live. The first step to ensuring that you’re guarded against bugs year-round is calling a Terminix professional to help your home.

* If within 30 days after an inspection or treatment you aren’t totally satisfied, we will refund the applicable treatment or coverage charges and reimburse any prepaid services and cancel your plan.

partnered post • client image


5 Tips to making DIY home roof repair easy

34480859942_1d4b696785_h

Let's discuss the unvoiced perils first. Roofers have an instinct akin to what navigators call sea legs. Professional roofers spend a considerable amount of time on rooftops such that they skillfully and comfortably walk on the slickest roofs.

The ordinary homeowner hardly spends time on their roof, even if they happen to a skydiver or rock climber and comfortable with heights, crisscrossing a roof is a different animal. Being on a rooftop has an aspect of danger often ignored. An abrupt rush of wind out of nowhere can lead to a precarious situation especially if bearing an OSB panel. You may find yourself on the ground writhing in pain.

However, this isn't to mean you can't embark on your DIY home roof repair tasks, we will advise you on making the whole undertaking much easier.

Here are five tips for making DIY home roof repair easy.

1.    Clean up the work site  

Roofing experts develop approaches and equipment meant to keep the job site tidy. Tackling the task on your own may require you to embrace some of these methods as well.

Among the quick tips include sheltering and protecting plants and bushes that may be affected by falling debris from the roof by using a tarp to seize falling material.

Many a time roofing contractors run a magnet above the ‘drop zone' to recover nails that may have escaped.

2.    Handle materials the right way

When lifting weighty materials, use your legs never your back, to prevent injuries that would otherwise hamper the progress of your roofing project. The amount of material to be carried may overwhelm you especially if it's your first time. To ease the repair work, lessen fatigue and do more work, move the optimum load your body can handle.

Also, keep materials near the roof – the nearer to the roof, less energy and time is wasted fetching material.

3.    Use appropriate tools and safety kit

It's essential to employ the proper tools and safety gear when carrying out your roofing undertaking. Always acquire the right tools for the job.

Among the tools you require include:

  •         Chisel
  •         Caulking gun
  •         Clamp
  •         Air compressor
  •         Circular saw
  •         Carpenter's level
  •         Seaming pliers
  •         Hacksaw
  •         Electric drill
  •         Clean-up cloth
  •         Electric drill
  •         Roofing shovel
  •         Seaming pliers
  •         Magnet
  •         Framing Hammer
  •         Combination square
  •         Screwdriver set
  •         Wrench set
  •         Tape measure
  •         Sturdy ladder
  •         Shingle Remover
  •         Staple gun
  •         Tin snips
  •         Utility knife

Among the safety equipment needed, includes:

  •         Ladder stabilizer
  •         Eye protection
  •         Guardrails
  •         Work gloves
  •         Safety harness
  •         Scaffolding
  •         Rope
  •         Roof anchors
  •         Netting
  •         Lanyard

4.    Plan ahead

Any roofing project must comply with the building codes of your area of jurisdiction. Ensure that you obtain all the applicable building permits as required by your administration to avert suits and possible halting of your project.

An essential step in recycling entails pre-sorting debris falling from your roof. Nails, shingles and asphaltic underlayment get recycled. Pre-sorting saves you money as it makes things simpler for the recycler.

5.    Identify and repair damages or leaks early on

The earlier you detect impairments, the easier it is to fix your roof. Damages or leaks left unattended may lead to more significant problems that may necessitate the need for a roof replacement which is expensive, and you may not have the expertise to handle a restoration.

For more on DIY roof projects, visit our site via https://www.diyroofs.com/roofing-cost-estimator.php.

Partnered post • cc-licensed image by Alex K


5 tips to choosing the right home insurance

8098046967_9166062737_k

There are so many home insurance companies out there that choosing the right one can be a challenge for most people. That’s because most of them offer almost the same services, but differ on details such as prices and the level of coverage. To help you out, here are 5 tips to choosing the right home insurance.

  1. Understand what the policy will cover

This may sound surprising but most people have no idea what their home insurance covers. For you to choose the right home insurance, you need to understand what is usually covered. That’s because when you understand this, you will be in a position to negotiate for better terms, as well as get a separate insurance for the things that are not covered. Besides, with a good understanding of what the cover is about, you can choose an insurance company that offers you more services for every dollar invested with them.

  1. Have an estimate of your home repair costs

When shopping for a home insurance provider, ensure that you have a good estimates of your repair and items replacement value in mind. This allows you to choose an insurer who offers you comprehensive coverage relative to the premiums you have to pay on a monthly or annual basis. For best results, avoid companies that offer blanket coverage that may not be sufficient to cover your home needs in case the need arises.

  1. Check the yearly policy cost increases

The cost of most home insurance policies increases on an annual basis. For you to pick the best home insurance policy provider, have the company you are looking at clarify their annual percentage premium increases. This way, you can have a clear idea of which insurer to go for, based on the annualized cost of their service. To make the most of your insurance, go for a company that has lower annual policy cost increase. This way, you won’t have to struggle with increasing insurance payments that may harm your finances in the long run.

  1. Check the claims history of different home insurers

Before signing up for home insurance, check the claims history of the companies you are looking to sign up with. Checking their claims history can help you understand the issues that the insurers focus on when determining their problems, then work on them. For instance, if from their claims history you find that fire security is the insurer’s area of concern, you may choose to go for an insurer that lowers premiums if you install a sprinkler system.

  1. Get to understand what your insurance covers

There are home insurers that cover special damages such as those caused by earthquakes, floods among others. Depending on the location of your home, find a home insurer that covers special needs that might arise in your locality. This is the best way to ensure that you never have to incur extra costs out of pocket, in case of any eventuality.

partnered post • cc-licensed image by Rob Swystun