Monday, October 28, 2013

Your New Bathroom Suite – Essential Items

I’ll level with you straight away, as I’m sure I won’t be alone: I’m not that organised. Being sorted out and scheduled is not something that comes all that naturally to me, and unless I go out of my way to fit some structure to my life I would spend most of my days aimlessly walking around the wrong workplace, more than likely in the wrong clothes.
This is why I tend to make lists for everything. It’s a habit picked up from my sister in law, who is like one of those ruthless military planners who run everything to unrelenting clockwork. 

With this inspiration, I want to help alleviate any stress you might be having putting your new bathroom together. To this end I have chucked together a quick list for you below to refer to as you wander, shell-shocked, around your local store or website. 

Fixtures & Fittings

Let’s start at the finish, with the finishing touches that are fixtures and fittings. Taps, for instance, require careful selection to match both the style you need, while getting the correct connectors, screws and other similar items makes for an installation that is a doddle. 

Ceramics

The main items that will immediately catch the eye are your ceramics. Make time to research ceramics units, as some materials are different to others. Toilets generally are styled as close coupled or back to wall, the latter far more contemporary due to its concealed cistern – this makes for a gloriously minimalist look. If you are given the option, do go for a dual flush toilet, as the conservation of water will help reduce your utility bills. 

Shower

The first thing to get out of the way is whether you are going to go with a thermostatic or standard mixer valve shower. The predominant difference is that a thermostatic shower maintains a constant temperature, whereas a standard mixer needs your input to manually keep the temperature you want. Your budget and system will dictate which you opt for here, so look into the pros and cons of both types before committing yourself. 

Furniture & Storage

The bathroom has the same needs as any other room, and  this includes storage.  Solutions include vanity units, mirror cupboards or freestanding or wall-mounted units. MDF boards and/or stainless steel are the key materials to look out for here as both are durable and strong. A number of different finishes are available too, so there is no need to worry as there will be something to match your room’s theme.  

Heating

Electric radiators are items of serious utility to install in your bathroom. This is because –whether electric or dual fuel through the addition of an element – you can switch on these radiators in isolation. Even if you want to stick with tried and tested central heating power, all shapes and sizes are catered for, from curved models to designer vertical units.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

From Back Porch to Fab Mud Room Part 1--The Pantry


 
 
 
We've been helping a friend for the past few months on her mudroom.  It started when she wanted to install a new back door.  We helped her pick one up and after spending the day with her, we were as excited as she was about the changes she wanted to make.  The best part was that she really wanted to learn how to do everything so she could make changes to other rooms later on. 

The room started off as pretty much just a room between the driveway and the house. 

 
 

She wanted a pine tongue and groove ceiling.  We added 2x4 supports and insulation prior to adding the tongue and groove.  We painted it with watered down white paint before hanging it.
 
 
 
 
 

 



She really wanted a stained concrete floor.  We worked and worked on it to prepare it for concrete, but it turned out that it was going to cost $850 and the guy wouldn't be able to come out for 6-8 weeks...  Onto PLAN B....








 
 


 



 Next came the pantry.  New doors,  new tongue and groove ceiling, lots and lots of shelves... 




 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We put everything in here yesterday and there's still a ton of extra room! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We found these knobs at Hobby Lobby.
 
 
The glass in the door looks beautiful with the sun hitting it.
 
 


 

 

 
 We have had so much fun helping her make this into a beautiful room.  Stay tuned for my next post on the rest of the renovation!
 
Thanks for your visit!
 
Pam
 
 
I am linking to the following parties:
 
 
 


 
 
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Portable Heating: Fan vs. Oil

As the cold winter nights start rolling in, now is the best time to get your home ready for the arrival of Jack Frost!

Central heating is often the best solution for heating your home throughout the winter months, but if your home is not fitted with a permanent central heating source or you have certain rooms in the home that are difficult to heat, it may be worth investing in a portable heater to keep your family warm this winter.

With so many different types of portable heaters on the market, it can be difficult to decide which will not only heat your home the most efficiently, but also which will make the smallest increase to your heating and electricity bills. With heating the home accounting for more than 50% of the average household energy usage, choosing the best portable heating solution for your home is essential.

We’re taking a look at the pros and cons of fan heaters VS oil heaters, the two most common portable heaters available on the market. Ranging in price, both heaters are ideal for warming up the home quickly, but how do they compare?

Oil Filled Heaters

Pros

• Oil-filled heaters are usually the cheapest to run out of all ranges of portable heaters, as they stay warm for a long time, even once switched off.

• They generally have a larger surface area, so they are ideal for heating larger rooms in the home.

• Oil-filled radiators are reliable heat sources, quiet in the home and most importantly are long lasting.

Cons

• Oil radiators reach extremely high temperatures, therefore they can be dangerous if you have children in your home, and could cause great harm.

• Some oil-filled heaters can take a very long time to heat up after switching them on, as most are fairly heavy and cumbersome.

• Many models don’t always achieve the power and heat claimed by manufacturers; therefore you might not get the heating power you expect for your home.

Average Cost per Hour

• Oil-filled radiator = 12.2p per hour (Price varies by wattage and electricity prices)

Fan Heaters

Pros

• Fan heaters are relatively quick to heat up and cool down, which makes them perfect for smaller rooms in the home.

• Fan heaters have the added advantage that they blow the heat around the room, which means heat circulation is aided and the air in the room can heat up quickly.

• Fan heaters are light and compact, making it easy to move them from room to room if necessary.

• Many fan heaters have a thermostat and timer, which allows you to adjust the temperature and length of time the heater, is circulating hot air in your home.

• Fan heaters are the best choice for home owners with children as hot air can move freely in and out of the heater – therefor the heater itself does not get too hot.

Cons

• Given that portable electric heating devices use electricity, they are generally not as cost effective as central heating systems running on gas or oil.

• Fan heaters are guaranteed to make noise as the hot air in blown out – the noise level will vary with different fan heaters.

Average Cost per Hour

• Fan heater = 24.2p per hour (Price varies by wattage and electricity prices)7

Online discount store www.tjhughes.co.uk stock a wide range of portable heaters starting from only £7.99 - shop online today or visit one of their nationwide stores.

8 Basic Property Updates to Address Regularly




Today I have Tali Wee of Zillow sharing an article on 8 Basic Property Updates to Address Regularly.  She has some great ideas listed here!

Thanks Tali!


 
 
8 Basic Property Updates to Address Regularly 

By Tali Wee of Zillow

 

Becoming a homeowner requires a great deal of additional responsibility. Homeowners must pay their monthly principals, interest, taxes and insurance to pay off their purchases, but also need to attend to the general maintenance of their new properties. When homebuyers search for their perfect homes they often don’t consider the added maintenance responsibilities of extra bathrooms, larger yards or luxury home features such as pools or hot tubs.

Regardless of high maintenance properties, all homeowners should regularly address these eight standard updates to ensure their health and safety while preventing damage to their homes.

1. Test Smoke Detectors

Every home should have multiple smoke detectors to alarm at the first warning signs of a fire. Smoke detectors protect residents and their properties when functioning properly. However, testing smoke detectors can easily slip a busy homeowner’s mind. It’s recommended by smoke detector manufacturers and fire departments to test smoke detectors each month and replace the batteries each year. Begin a routine; test the detectors on the first of each month when calendars are turned over and refresh the batteries each year on a birthday celebration.

2. Sterilize Washing Machines

Another common issue in many homes is the washing machine grows mold and causes the homeowners clothes to smell dingy. The solution is to sterilize the washing machine at least once each month. Begin a wash cycle so the drum fills with hot water. For top load washers, add a quart of bleach and let the cycle agitate but stop before it drains. Let the bleach water soak for one hour and then finish the cycle. Next repeat the process with a quart of white vinegar. For front load washers, add a quart of bleach to the dispenser during a hot wash cycle. Next, run a new cycle dispensing three cups of white vinegar. To avoid the process, grocers sell washing machine cleansing tablets to replace the bleach and vinegar. Some front load washers even have built-in cleaning cycles.

3. Replace Air Filters

To avoid the expensive cost of hiring a professional to clean out the home’s air ducts, the homeowner can prevent dust build-up by regularly cleaning the air filters. Heating and cooling systems have either disposable filters or a reusable filters. Simply clean the filter or replace the old with the new once every three months. Old filters have collected dust, mold spores, insects, pet hair, dander and other airborne debris. Without frequent replacement or cleaning, the debris and germs are forced through the ducts and blown back into the home.

4. Spray Insecticide

Another quarterly project is spraying a barrier of insecticide on the exterior of the property. Homes with known bug issues should spray once each month when pests are most common. Simply spray the foundation and adjacent soil surrounding the property, as well as the window and door frames, vents, spigots or any other easy entrances to the home. Whether the pests are ants, spiders, cockroaches, termites or beetles, a perimeter spray every three months should prevent invasion.

5. Condition Countertops

Most kitchen and bathroom countertops must be sealed or buffed with mineral oil regularly to maintain the natural colors of the stone and protect it from staining. Marble counters require sealing every three months and granite counters once or twice annually. More trending countertop options such as butcher blocks require frequent applications of mineral oil and concrete counters need recurrent sealants to prevent absorption of liquids and acidic damage.

6. Clean Gutters

Homes in wooded areas are more prone to collecting fallen leaves, needles and other debris in their gutters. When gutters get backed up with debris, they become havens for unwanted pests and water doesn’t have a clear pathway to run off the home. Properties become susceptible to water damage as the run-off finds alternative routes off the house. Without purchasing high-end, protected gutters, homeowners can keep their gutters clean by clearing them twice each year. The best times to clean gutters are once each spring and fall.

7. Re-Caulk Showers

Caulking along the edges of the bathtub, shower and sink should be removed and replaced once annually. Caulking dries out, cracks and grows mold and mildew. Damaged caulking allows water to seep into wood, drywall or other structural materials that should not be moist and can cause serious mold growth in moist areas. Fresh caulking acts as a sealant. Simply use a utility knife to cut long the edges where the old caulk meets the wall or tub, and then pull it out. Apply a small bead of fresh caulk in the gap and wipe with one finger to spread for an even, thorough finish.

8. Unclog Drains

Shower drains clog frequently, especially when most home residents have long hair. When loose hair slips pass the straining drain cover it collects around the stopper and can be extremely difficult to remove. When the drain is backed up, shower water with soap residue has difficulty draining. Tubs and showers can overflow causing water damage and slow drainage can leave a slick residue in the tub, creating a dangerous hazard for showering residents.  

Homebuyers certainly take on more responsibility as homeowners, managing all the upkeep for their new properties. However, with a little routine, these eight basic updates can become simple do-it-yourself projects for homeowners to take pride in the condition of their properties and improve their health and safety.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Extend Your Home Rather Than Move

Seems like this recession (depression feels like a better word) has been dragging on for years. But we still have our lives to live, our families to raise and our dreams and ambitions to fulfil - whatever the prevailing economic weather.

One of the obstacles that many us of face in the current climate is what to do when we run out of space in our homes. A few years ago the answer was simple - you moved house. These days with a difficult housing market it can be very difficult to sell your existing house and even more difficult to get a bigger mortgage. And besides who wants to take on extra financial risks and burdens at the moment? Not me for sure!

That's why more and more people are choosing to extend their homes. Compared to moving it is a far more cost effective solution and you don't have to suffer all the stress and bother that comes with moving. What's more if you do it right you can actually end up with a house that's specifically right for you rather than accommodating a series of compromises and one that is worth considerably more than you spend on the extension.

For example, one of the key considerations is how to blend your new space in with the old. If you are having a loft or garage conversion this can be straightforward but if you are going for something more substantial it can be more complicated. Sure, just sticking a red brick box at the side or back of your house will do the job but it won't look great and far from improving the value and saleability of your home (when the time does come) it can reduce it. So make sure the extension matches or compliments the existing property. Moreover, you should make sure that your extended home blends in with the area and doesn't stand out like some sort of monstrous carbuncle that will offend you and your neighbours as well as Prince Charles.

And then there's the issue of scale. You probably don't want to over extend your house. There are rules in the planning regulations that would prevent you from doing this but notwithstanding these having a house that it is out of kilter with the properties around you could mean that your property will be difficult to sell on in the future and you won't see the gains in value that you may be expecting.

For me getting it right means proper planning. Understand what your space requirements actually are (and what they are likely to be in a few years time as your family grows). Consulting an experienced architect or builder at an early stage is a no brainer. They can help you understand what is feasible and how your space requirements can be met. They will help with some of the practical considerations so that your dream house extension doesn't become your property millstone. Make your architect or builder your friend and it will pay dividends in the future.

For more information on home and house extensions see 3D Builders Stockport.

No More Icicles--Adding Heat to the Roof and Gutters


Last winter was especially snowy here.  Icicles were almost hitting the ground!  Look back in that corner-- the icicles are almost touching the ground.  Time for some serious preventative measures so that our gutters didn't fall off from the weight of all of that ice!
 
Even with most of the snow gone, there was still this icicle.  Pretty, but obviously showing a problem with the drainage...
 
 
We ordered these cables from Amazon.  It took my husband about an hour to install everything.




 

 




 
 
One cable goes in the gutter, then the other cables are zigzagged up the roof (and into the corner where ice really causes problems).  We have it on a timer in the house, so once the snow starts flying, we'll be ready for it this year.
 
 
 
Thanks for your visit!
 
Pam


 


Why use Pine Wood in your Home?

If you are looking start a new home improvement project –materials will be something you consider.

Glass, concrete, brick or wood are key materials that spring to mind.

Wood is often favoured because of its beauty and flexibility. But when it comes to the decision of which wood to use - do you really have any idea which wood is right for your home?

You’re generally spoilt for choice when deciding which wood you want your bookshelves, furniture or cabinetry to be - do you use maple, oak, cedar?

The Timelessness of Pine

Pine wood is very popular for homeowners these days because more of us are aware of how our choice of material affects the environment.

Pine wood is being sourced from forests which are grown sustainably.

Not only this, but it is one of the most affordable and versatile options for wood. For those working with wood, pine is favoured as it is easy to work with during the building process; it holds any fasteners tightly, it is easy to cut, is fairly inexpensive and finishes very well! Pine is one of the most affordable and versatile options for wood. And it’s timeless.

But have you ever thought about using pine wood as the theme for the overall design in your home? Let’s break down some of the benefits:

Stylish

When it comes to your home d├ęcor, pine wood can be mixed with other furniture pieces in a room or you could even make it the theme! For instance if you prefer a warm rustic look – then aged pine might be the way to go for you.

Pine is also very beautiful to look at – with its natural patterns and knots; it contributes to a unique look. Therefore you can retain the natural beauty and texture of the wood with minimal staining.

Customisable

Pine wood is very flexible which is very desirable for do it yourself enthusiasts who enjoy painting or quite possibly incorporating personalised designs within the actual wood.

If you’re looking to decorate your pine furniture, it couldn’t be simpler – paint takes very well to pine wood because of its open grain, therefore you can paint pine easily to match your scheme. And if you change your mind – you can always re-paint it again and again!

Easy to work with

Although pine is classified as a soft wood, it’s still very durable and long lasting and therefore is a favourite of furniture makers because it’s a lot easier to work with –- making sawing a pleasure!

The open grain in the wood gives a better grip for adhesives and so it readily absorbs preservatives, stains and paints.

Because it is very durable and long lasting – it can take on areas with high foot traffic, perfect for flooring or decking in your home.

Whether you want something tasteful and understated, rustic and welcoming or modern and sleek, pine can create the look you want.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cut Down on Water Waste in the Home

In Britain we use 9 billion litres of water per week! With such a high water consumption, the need to cut down on water waste in the home has never been so paramount. A recent report by the Energy Saving Trust revealed that the main culprits for water waste in the home were those taking long showers and even those running taps while waiting for the water to heat up.

Water waste not only has a major impact on the environment, but it can also place added strain on those already pricey water and heating bills. Here are a few ways that you can cut down on the water waste in your home…

Take Shorter Showers 

The Energy Saving Trust report found that the majority of us take seven and half minutes to shower. They advised that simply cutting 60 seconds off this average shower time could collectively save homes in Britain £216 million a year in water and energy bills – with potential great savings, that extra 60 seconds really does affect those pricey bills!

Install an Adaptive Circulator Pump 

Waiting for water to run hot is one of the biggest causes of water waste in the home, and a typical household of three pours up to 16,000 litres of clean water straight down the drain, simply because the water was not running warm – this wastes approximately 1.5 decilitres of water per second.

To remedy this long waiting time, an on-demand circulator pump such as Grundfos Comfort circulator pumps can adapt to your home’s hot water consumption patterns, this means that you only get hot water when you need it, and hot water is readily available for these instances - Find out more about Hot water pumps here.

Fit an Eco-Shower Head

While it is common fact that taking showers over baths can help reduce the amount of water that a home uses, some showers such as power showers can actually waste more water than an average bath. To ensure that your shower is eco-friendly, an eco-shower head can be installed to mixer shower or power showers and can save up to 75% water without compromising on your overall shower experience.

Friday, October 18, 2013

This Guest Room is for the Birds

 
 

I recently updated the bedding in our guest room.  I've been admiring the Sparrow duvet and shams at Pottery Barn for some time.  Last week they had them on sale, so I splurged.
My husband made the picket fence headboard about 20 years ago.  I still love it!


 
The bedding I replaced was ok, but needed an update.
 
 
 


I'm on the lookout for another little pillow for the bed.
 
 

I found this little green pillow at Pier 1 yesterday.  I think I like it!
 

 

We found this bird lamp a few months ago.  I really like the rectangular shape.


 
This is one of my Mom's creations.  I love this little footstool, but can't really imagine putting my feet on it.  :)
 
Now I just have to keep the cat off the bed...
 
Thank you for your visit!
 
Pam


I am linking to the following parties:
 



 
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumnal Inspiration: The Regency

Ready to begin transforming your home for autumn but stuck over where to begin? Thankfully, we have some great style inspiration for you to take advantage of and our current focus is on the regency – a fantastic collection of bedroom accessories and furniture that are sure to help you put your own unique stamp on your home.

What’s the style?

The style of the Regency is one of indulgence and luxury – and isn’t that what we all deserve in our bedrooms? Take a look at the luxurious silk materials and dusky, muted colours which exude class and sophistication at every turn to get everything you need to transform your bedroom.

These thick and comfortable materials are perfect for autumn when the weather begins changing and colder climates start to make their presence known.

What colours?

The colour of the regency range has two functions – to be cosy and warming in the colder weather and to represent an idea of opulence. This is why dusky purple, dark grey and other muted or pastel tones work best. They’re great for conjuring up a clean and luxurious look whilst offering more warmth than white, cream or magnolia.

These colours also work well with accents so why not choose accessories in darker or deeper shades for a multi-tonal look? Dusky purple paired with vibrant violet is always a strong style choice but there are other things you can do too.

If sticking with a base colour of grey or muted brown then why not introduce traditional autumn colours as your accent? This fantastic article from DigsDigs offers 31 decorating ideas that centre around using autumnal colours in the bedroom and is a great source of inspiration for anyone looking to use the regency range in a new and interesting way.

What furniture?

Of course, the regency style isn’t all about the colours and there are certain items of furniture which are must-haves for this sort of design. Ultimately, you want to opt for traditional, classic designs which are associated with royal or regal palaces and homes.

This means items such as a chaise lounge are essential – as are large beds with plenty of dressings including luxurious throws and scatter cushions made from materials such as silk or velvet. Curtains are also an essential ingredient although fabric roller blinds may be suitable if used correctly.

Another must have is a luxurious headboard. These can really make a room but you want to choose something traditional with classic charm rather than a modern, metal configuration. There are plenty of suede and leather options available, as well as the traditional Damask, but we recommend opting for something quilted or subtly patterned for real impact.

Finally, remember that the rest of your furniture needs to match the style. This doesn’t mean touring antique stores for large, chunky pieces of furniture but rather means keeping the rest of your decor simple.

Plain wood storage squares and tables are ideal so opt for something with smooth, straight lines with no decoration and ensure its left in its plain wood state or lightly varnished for ultimate impact.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Fall in the Dining Room

 
Although I love summer, I can embrace the warmth of fall and the beauty of the changing seasons.  I just wish that cold, snowy winter didn't follow beautiful fall!

 
I was in HomeGoods recently and found this bushel of wheat.  I love that it has some height and texture. 

 
 
I put it in this grower's box that I bought at Barb's sale this summer.  I added leaves, gourds, cobs and acorns to the box. 
 
 
 
 
 
Also at HomeGoods, I found these great bowls in the shape of a leaf.  Add in some plaid napkins and my fall table is ready to go!



 
 
Thanks for your visit!
 
Pam
 
 
I am linking to the following parties:



 
 
 Inspire Me Tuesday
 
Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

LED Lighting


As the winter approaches electricity bills are beginning to soar with the creeping in cold weather. The cold weather means more homes are keeping their heating on for longer periods and as a result people dread to see their electric bills. You may ask how can you save on electricity? Well the answer is energy saving LED lighting.


LEDs have been around for many years and are best known for lighting things such as Christmas lights, traffic signals and power on signal on devices such as our TVs and laptops. However LED lighting in our household has become more popular and is rapidly replacing standard incandescent light bulbs. The most popular LED lighting that can be seen in homes today are LED spotlights and LED floodlights.

LED lights have a small chip and when voltage reaches this chip the current creates the light. The advantage of this is that the LED bulb lasts longer meaning less cost in the home as the bulbs wouldn’t have to be replaced as often making them earth friendly too! LED lighting requires less electricity than a standard light bulb making them more efficient and will reduce energy bills.

LED lighting can use up to 80% less energy than the standard house bulb meaning a huge cut in costs and they are known in some cases to last up to 100,000 hours. However, they do carry a disadvantage, a higher initial purchase cost, which is why at Meteor Electrical we are aiming to keep them affordable for you!