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Home Repair

Tips To Make Your Home Stand Out This Fall

Fall Deserves Full Attention As It Decorates Your Home’s Exterior – Enjoy the season while tackling Fall home care.
As we leave summer behind, there are so many good memories of the times family and friends came to visit and take in summer events, the fair, the markets, picnics – home has been a haven for all of it. Now the seasons forge ahead to cool, crisp winds tossing the colorful autumn leaves around the house. Fall deserves the full attention that leaving summer behind grants it. Mother nature is decorating our home’s exterior in shades of red, orange, gold and amber as a backdrop from every angle. It is breathtakingly bold. The colors don’t seem a bit shy to venture every fling before settling into the more subdues shades of the coming winter.
Fall has just begun as summer ends, with the fate of leaves about to fall. Today they are gleaming in the sun, jumping as if to invite children to jump and play with along. Forming a quilt on the ground and creating that perfect compost material for next summer’s blooms. Feeling of the brisk air blow in your face as you rake and tidy up the garden.
Get Ideas For A More Enjoyable Fall Yard
Build a fire pit and roast up some of the last of the garden’s veggies. It is amazing what grilling out can do to the flavor of food. What a perfect opportunity to pick all the twigs and branches that the past months have tossed and hidden behind the green curtain of leaves and shrubbery. When you pick up that rake next time, it will be an easier task of gather leaves if the twigs have already been collected and used to prepare treats for yourself. It is worth it to spend lingering moments by your fire pit to dance with the flickering flames in thoughtful reflections of gratitude and engage in meaningful conversations with those that are dearest to you.
Build A Three-Season Porch To Enjoy Last-Minute Fall Colors
Plump up some new cushions and pillows matching falls colors as if to complement them. Turn your three-season porches and outdoor dining areas into last-minute comforts outdoors. It is a great time to wipe down ledges, screens, and wash the windows to prepare a sparkling view during winter’s months. Perennial stems need clipping that offered summer’s blossoms now spent.
Install A Walking Path To Enjoy Fall Walks
While you are enjoying your yard this fall, add to those opportunities to love life at home by choosing a project that will also increase your curb appeal this fall. Lay a path walkway built form nature’s own offering of natural stone and turn a swath of lawn into a ribbon of elegance in just one weekend. Consider edging it for a tailored look.
Plant Resilient Shrubs For Fall Colorful Displays
Local garden centers know which resilient, colorful fruiting shrubs can provide glorious fall color in each garden zone. The right choice will grant the best chance to enjoy their charm for years to come. Consider compact shrubs, like a Alder-leaved serviceberry, Coarlberry Bush or Annabelle hydrangeas.
We do so much to make our home’s welcoming and a great place to live. It is worth taking care to maintain its property value and stopping the rush of a day to enjoy Fall in your back yard.…

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Home Renovation

How to Do a Good Bathroom Remodel

When you come right down to it, remodeling or redesigning a bathroom is simple. What you are doing is redesigning a plain box to maximize attractiveness, efficiency, and usability.
Don’t think of a bathroom remodel as starting over. In fact, many of your fittings and fixtures can be used in your new design. Instead, think of how to change the overall design, incorporating items that you currently use if appropriate. This article describes how to remodel your bathroom without starting from scratch.
Start by picking your theme or style. This is the first and most important element to redesigning a bathroom. Generally you will want to choose either a contemporary or a traditional design. You will then use this first choice to guide future choices, such as what colors and fabrics to use.
Part of choosing style is to consider what type of feel you want to evoke. Do you want a calm space, an elegant space, a romantic space, a relaxed space? Having a sense of the overall effect you are trying to achieve, while still early in planning, helps ensure that you will be successful in your design.
Pay attention to scale. Not only do you want to choose the right items for the feel and style of the room, you also want to choose items that fit and are easily usable. All furniture and fixtures in the bathroom should fit without making the space feel crowded.
If you have a smaller room, don’t use huge pieces of furniture. For instance, filling a small bedroom with a king sized bed is a mistake. Similarly, you don’t want to use as much furniture as you possibly can in a room. It is better to leave room to walk around. More space in a room makes for a more relaxing feeling.
The next element you’ll want to consider is color. Colors have different feels that they bring. Some colors, such as reds or bright blues, are energizing and vibrant. You would not want to choose one of these colors if you were going for a relaxing or soothing feel in the room. In that case, a better choice might be a pale color or earth tones.
Pattern and texture can add visual interest to the room but don’t overdo it. For instance, a jacquard weave on a bedspread can add texture without being garish and overwhelming. Too many competing patterns and textures can be tiring on the eyes.
Accessories. With accessories, go for impact rather than volume. A single, stunning piece can often have more effect on the overall look of a room than can a collection of smaller items.
Artwork. Don’t go overboard here. As with accessories, you want to have maximum impact with minimum clutter. One well-chosen piece of art is a better investment than several mediocre pieces scattered on the walls.…

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Home Improvement Contractors

Top 5 Kitchen Remodeling Questions

By now we are all well aware that a kitchen remodel is not only one of the most popular home improvement projects – it’s also a great way to invest in your home. To give you an idea of how important kitchens are to the value of a home – here in the US, the kitchen remodeling industry is a $15 billion dollar/year business. And even in today’s market you could expect to yield a return on investment of 75-100%.
So weather I’m designing a major kitchen renovation or a moderate upgrade for my clients our initial conversation and the questions that follow are often the same.
1. Q: Where do we start? – What comes first? A: Educate yourself and focus on the styles of kitchens and interiors that speak to you. Grab some kitchen design magazines and tear out the pages that inspire you in some way. Start an inspiration file and share it with your designer during your initial meetings. It’s also a great idea to begin researching appliances at the same time. The options available are endless and you definitely need time to do some research in that arena.
2. Q: How much should I expect to spend on my kitchen? A: Obviously the cost of a new kitchen is dependent on many factors. The scope, size and complexity of each project varies – but typically you should expect to spend anywhere from 10 – 25% of your home’s current value. For example: If your home is valued at $500,000 (and you plan on living there for another 5+ years) then budgeting 75-100K would be considered a reasonable investment.
3. Q: What makes a kitchen more or less costly? A: Your selection of cabinetry, appliances, counter tops, flooring, as well as the electrical and plumbing will determine the cost of your kitchen remodel. Cabinetry alone accounts for close to 50% of the total cost of the project – eating up half of your budget before you even blink. Stock, Semi-custom and custom cabinetry each have different price points, so making that selection will be based on your home’s value and your budget.
4. Q: How do I ensure my kitchen won’t become dated? A: Investing in the services of a professional designer will definitely help guide you – by planning the space, designing the details and selecting materials and finishes that best suit the architecture of your home and your family’s personality. Selecting timeless door styles and specifying quality products will extend the life of your dream kitchen. Just realize however, that all high traffic and well-used kitchens will eventually wear 10-15 years down the road.
5. Q: How long does a kitchen remodel typically take? A: Depending on the overall scope of the kitchen remodel the time commitment will vary. It could take anywhere from 4-6 weeks for a light and simple face lift or upgrade – or 4-6+ months for a major kitchen renovation where major construction is involved. With large kitchen remodeling projects, there are a series of stages to progress through. From the planning and development phase, through the bidding process – it could take weeks or months before your contractor even picks up a hammer.
Just remember that a quality kitchen remodel will give you and your family years of enjoyment and increase the overall value of your home.…

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Home Maintenance

Remodel Or Upgrade Your Kitchen, Bathroom, Or Entire Home

As time passes, every homeowner begins to get tired of some aspect of their house.  “The kitchen’s too small” or “The bathroom is not a place for a relaxing bath” are some of the common complaints.  Every home could always be better; more attractive and functional.  How does one achieve the results they desire?  Which room or rooms should be given priority for remodeling?
Most real estate agents and builders will recommend that remodeling a kitchen and bathroom will maximize any increase in the home’s value, especially if selling the home is a potential reality within the next five years or so.  Even if the homeowner is not planning to sell, it still makes perfect sense to improve the home just for their own enjoyment.
With all the new and exciting kitchen and bathroom upgrades available on the market such as whirlpool tubs, imported tile, efficient green light fixtures, and so on, it’s not surprising that people are itching to spruce up their own abodes.  Currently the trend for upgrading and remodeling a home has been with a strong focus on efficiency and the use of “green” materials.
As more builders recognize individual’s concerns regarding the environment and future generations, options for remodeling any part of the home are opening up.  What once was viewed as impractical or expensive is now acceptable due to individual lifestyle changes being made by homeowners in order to be more efficient and cost effective.
Many of the more common place “green” items available for bathroom remodels are dual flush toilets, LED lighting, and recycled tiles. Pedestal sinks have been making a comeback as well, as more homeowners are trying to achieve a more classic feel.  Many such fixtures can be reclaimed from older home sites that have been demolished or remodeled themselves. 
By reusing older fixtures and recycled materials, landfills are being spared the increased burden of more needless waste and pollution and many of these salvaged elements can be found at great savings to the homeowner.  Finding these treasures isn’t always easy though as builders tend to have more resources to find them for clients than the individual homeowner. 
That doesn’t mean an individual can’t perform their own remodel, but having a builder working for the homeowner will save a lot of time, hassle,  and frustration.  Many homeowners simply lack the knowledge, skill, and experience regarding remodeling or building a bathroom, kitchen, or even a simple stairway.  The large benefit of utilizing a builder for a stairway or a more complex remodel such as a kitchen remodel or bathroom remodel is that the project will be completed in a timely fashion ensuring a minimal disruption to daily life.…

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Home Contractors

Stone Countertops Honed

Granite and marble countertops have become the classic choice for the kitchen and bathrooms. For an updated, fresh twist on stone countertops, select a honed finish.
Granite
Since there are so many color options with granite countertops, only the most popular or better looking colors are available in a honed finish. A highly popular granite color for the last two decades has been black. It is available in a wide range of options from the solid-looking Absolute Black granite to the glitzy variety Black Galaxy with gold flecks. Other more exotic black granite options are the largely veined Eclipse that looks like zebra stripes or even Magma Extra with its swirling contrast of black and gold. Any of these stones take on a whole new look with a honed finish. Highly polished Absolute Black, for example, has a modern appearance when installed in a sleek kitchen with stainless steel appliances and maple cabinetry. The same Absolute Black granite with a honed finish in the same kitchen gives the space a more organic or natural feel. By simply using a countertop stone with a honed finish the entire space will feel more casual and comfortable. Countertops have a large impact on any space, whether it’s in the kitchen, bathroom, or media room.
Travertine
Travertine and limestone countertops are more commonly available with a honed finish instead of a polished finish since it is a more popular selection. These stones are often the countertop of choice for bathroom vanities and utility rooms since they naturally appear more casual than granite or marble. However, a honed marble can have the same relaxed feeling as travertine when done in the right color. There are fewer color options with travertine and limestone than with granite or marble. The color range is light neutrals including beige, tan, and gray, but the patterning in the stone can range much more. Travertine is a type of limestone, which is found in the earth with natural pits or holes that can vary from dime to greater than fist sizes. When the stone is quarried and cut into slabs, these pits are filled to make a suitable countertop. These fills vary greatly in size and shape that determines the overall style of the stone. The large fills have a more rustic appearance, especially with a honed finish.
Soapstone
Soapstone and slate are almost exclusively available in honed finishes. Another popular finish with these stones is a subtle texture called leathered or flamed. These textures have the same eggshell sheen as a flat honed finish, making them suitable for casual and nature-inspired spaces. Soapstone is typically a solid charcoal or gray with little movement or patterning. Although this stone is solid, it has a great deal of character with a honed finish. Slate has more movement and color variation, but has a similar feel as soapstone. These stones are softer to the touch than other natural stone countertops and have an ease about them that greatly compliments other natural materials like wood and metal. Honed natural stone countertops have a softer and more casual feel in today’s homes than the classic polished surfaces.…

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Home Remodeling

Create YOUR Dream Bathroom With Duravit

For a spa-like experience, make each new day a holiday with a Duravit bathroom.
Duravit fixtures are sought after worldwide. High quality and beautifully styled, they are also timeless. Their clean, elegant lines make a grand statement when used to embellish a bathroom (or kitchen). Whether you are remodeling or doing new construction, it’s time to visit your nearest Duravit showroom. Here you will find immaculate designs by such famous designers as Philippe Starck.
While there, check out the sinks, toilets, tubs and more and ask for help with your planning from the knowledgeable showroom staff.
In describing a bathroom equipped with its handsome products, Duravit states, “A spa for the home where you can enjoy beneficial water and wellness treatments. A dream bathroom that, with ultimate fusion of aesthetics and practicality, makes life a little more comfortable – and that can be as relaxing and refreshing as a mini break.”
The manufacturer uses high-end materials and a special manufacturing process to serve up its top quality products to the consumer. And, we already mentioned the timeless designs. Your living space will surely age gracefully when furnished with Duravit products.
One interesting product is the ‘whirltub’, which is available in versions ‘Sundeck’ and ‘Blue Moon.’ These ‘pools or whirltubs’ as the manufacturer calls them, combine sophisticated spa technology with comfortable design.
Sundeck whirltubs are equally appropriate for indoors and outdoors. Designed by EOOS, Sundeck can be set up wherever there is a hot water connection. Think about the living room, terrace or bathroom.
The Blue Moon whirltub is the ultimate in feel-good bathing, combined with modern design. It can also be utilized indoors or out.
This elegant style offers a square body and circular tub and an immersion depth of 510 mm. It allows the bather to immerse himself or herself completely in water COLORED WITH LIGHT.
The Esplanade series is both luxurious and visually impressive. Designed by architect Sergei Tchoban, the series includes a toilet, bidet, bathtub, tall cabinet, washbasin and mirror. A homeowner is able to outfit the entire bathroom with this series to create a cosmopolitan look.
The ‘2nd Floor’ series can help create the ideal bath space. This series is functional and friendly, with warm wooden elements set in contrast against the white fixtures. The 2nd Floor series of bathroom furniture and fixtures includes shower trays, bathtubs, toilets, wall mounted and floor-standing bidets, washbasins and more.
The idea behind this series is that the bathroom is no longer thought of as a singular isolated space, but can be part of a larger space that encompasses the surrounding area or areas, creating a more open and inviting living environment.
2nd Floor can accommodate virtually any space, thanks to the variety of options and dimensions that are available.
If you are building a home or remodeling an existing one, Duravit fixtures may be the right choice. For more product information and ideas on styles to use for your project, you can visit our recommended sites. You’ll find lots of photos there to get your creative juices going.…

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Home Remodeling

Keep Your Appliances and Your Wallet Healthy: Small Appliance Care Tips

Here are some tips for your small appliances in the kitchen and laundry as well as a few tips and tricks on cleaning.
Do you rely on coffee in the morning to get you going? I sure do, and if the coffee maker broke down I’d probably go look for a 24 hour convenience store so I could have my 6am charge. We tend to take our appliances for granted until they break. However, a coffee maker just declines gradually until we wonder why it takes so long to brew, or the coffee tastes bitter. You guessed it – it’s time to clean it! What happens is that the sediment and scale build up in the lines, vents, and tank. To get rid of this build-up, run the coffee maker through a cycle with a vinegar solution comprised of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Now turn off the unit and let it sit for 30 minutes. Next, empty the solution down the drain or put it in a spray bottle and use it as a cleaner in the first round of some of your dirtier jobs (vinegar is a terrific cleaner, and gentle on the environment). Now run two cycles of water through the machine. Wipe the outside with the vinegar water solution and dry. You’ll think you have a brand new coffee maker. Some sources say to do this every week – but unless you’re running a boarding house, every few months should do it.
What else can you clean with vinegar? The possibilities are endless, given vinegar’s acidic and naturally antibacterial cleaning power and it’s relative chemical safety. In fact, those of you who know how to keep your air conditioner’s condensate line unclogged with bleach – switch to vinegar and it works just as well, and is much more environmentally friendly. All of the HVAC (heating and cooling) techs I have spoken to have now gone to vinegar, saying it is not as rough on the equipment.
Is your steam iron slowing down? Fill the water chamber with equal parts of white distilled vinegar and water. Set it upright on a safe surface and let it steam for 5 minutes. Let the iron cool. Now refill the iron and shake it in an old towel. Next time you fire it up, make sure you iron an old cloth for a few minutes to exit the rest of any remaining vinegar before moving on to your clothes.
To see hundreds of other uses for vinegar, just type “cleaning with vinegar” into your favorite internet search engine, and see the endless advice that comes up.
Luckily, most of our kitchen appliances keep going with no maintenance or help on our part. So keeping them clean is probably the most we need to do, along with following safety tips. One of the things most us resist is reading the manual that came with the device. “No time!” we exclaim, but then wonder why the device is not doing what we want it to do. Then we actually waste more time looking for the manual than it would take to have read it in the first place. So, do yourself a favor, grit your teeth and READ the first few pages of that manual, and then put it in a drawer or box with ALL the other manuals. Admit it – I will – all the manuals are NOT in one drawer, they are scattered all over the house – in the strangest of places, like the bills drawer or the magazine drawer, or the tools drawer; the garage, the attic, even in the car. If we all start now, we might be organized by Christmas 2050.…