Essential Advice for Changing the Look of Your Kitchen

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Would you like to change the look of your kitchen? This is one of the most important rooms in your home where a lot is always happening. Not only is it the place where you will spend all of your time making meals and snacks for your family, but it’s also a central location where family and friends come together.

For this reason, you naturally want this room to be perfect. Just remember that if you are planning on remodeling your kitchen, this is a huge undertaking. You’ll want to take careful action to make sure that the process goes smoothly. The following is a list of essential advice for changing the look of your kitchen to make it easier to function in and more cozy and comfortable for you and your family.

1. Make a list of the things that you don’t like.

You can’t know what you want to change unless you understand what you don’t like. Study the kitchen that you have right now to decide what aspects of it annoy or frustrate you, and these are the first things that you should tackle in your remodel.

2. Read up on the best appliances.

The most expensive and important parts of your kitchen will likely be appliances. Make sure that you don’t simply pick any appliance that you like the look of at the store. Instead, read up on the best brands to find the perfect appliances for you.

Higher grade, luxury appliances may be more expensive, but they may provide you with conveniences that make your life a lot easier as well. On the other hand, if you’re looking to save as much money as possible on your remodel, you’ll want to get basic appliances that still operate smoothly and won’t have problems down the line.

3. Ask for professional help.

Most people do a remodel of their kitchen once or twice in a lifetime, so it’s understandable if you don’t have a lot of experience in this area. There are some people who do have experience with kitchen design, however, And they can be an immense help throughout this process. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help when arranging your redesign.

Finally, don’t forget that it’s important to have input from your family members as well. Often with a remodel project, there’s one family member who organizes everything. This makes sense for logistical reasons, but remember that everyone in your family will be spending time in your kitchen, so it’s important to get some feedback from the other members of your family.

If you do work together and plan ahead, you’ll be sure to create a lovely place where you and your family can spend time and eat great food together for years to come.

Practical Ways to Make Moving Stress Free

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Every day individuals have cause for stress. This is true for those who are planning to move from one home to another. To take off some of the stress from your shoulders, you have to call in a professional moving service. Here is how you can find them:

  1. Go online. Look at some websites and compare what they offer in terms of services and prices. Then if you can, get information from at least three companies. You can compare their services and corresponding charges.

  2. Check if they have a licence to operate. If you can, check the registration in government or industry regulatory bodies. If you get bad information from these, the best thing to do is to scratch them from your list.

  3. Once you have made the big decision, be sure to record all the details of the things you are going to move. If the mover sees a grand piano which you failed to mention, they will charge you for this. To avoid these problems, let the moving company know what the things are that you are going to move.

  4. To know which moving company to trust, you could ask for feedback from friends. Referrals are important but you can also check the customer reviews for further feedback. You can log in to websites that review service oriented companies. The higher the rating of the company, the better.

  5. Create a checklist of what services you need from a professional mover. Here you can include packaging, air and water transport. All the services should depend on your needs. It is better that they do the packaging themselves since they know how to pack any item. It does not matter what size it is, they can pack it. This is an important thing because it protects your things from getting destroyed.

  6. Moving is a bit pricey for an average British person. But sometimes it is unavoidable. This is the reason why it is important that you try to get several estimates from some movers. By doing this, you are able to find the lowest priced mover within your budget.

  7. Get a mover that offers all the works. The good thing about these companies is that they take all the worries away from you. They clean your property, offer self storage and pack your things.

  8. There are movers who withhold information even if you request it. The trick to doing this is to ask all the questions you need to ask. If they avoid a question, try to go around it by asking other questions.

  9. One thing you need to ask is – what protection they offer you and your things.

These are some of the things you need to know and do for a smooth sailing move.  If you’re unsure of which company to turn to, you can always trust Cheltenham removals for the best service.

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3 Things to Consider Before Buying Vintage Lights

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There is no doubt that vintage lights are amazing. They can light up the room perfectly. They look amazing and they will drastically transform the place where they are installed. If you have decided to give them a try, you are heading in the right direction. Before shopping, there are a few things that you might want to consider first.

  1. Number of lights. If you are buying vintage lights, it is best if you buy a lot of them at once. This will make it easier for you to decide how much to spend for each light. It could also give you discounts. Some stores offer lower prices for people who decide to shop for more items. Besides, it is not like you are not going to buy more of these lights in the future. If you can buy them all at once and get a lower price, it would be a great deal.

  2. Availability of replacement parts. The good thing about vintage lights is that they look amazing. The down side is that you might not easily find replacement parts. You have to check first what bulbs were used in the fixture. You should also check how much it would cost you to have the said part replaced. It is possible that some of the bulbs would explode or encounter some other issues. It would be best if you know in advance what to do to have the lights replaced.

  3. Price. Vintage lights are quite pricey. This is due to the materials used as well as the intricacy of the designs. Some designers take days just to finish off the smallest details on the design. You might not appreciate it from afar, but you will realise just how difficult the process is up close. Hence, it is justified if the lights are sold at a higher price. Therefore, you need to know how much you have to spend to bring home the items you want to buy.

The good thing is if you are targeting industrial lighting available online, there are a lot of stores to choose from. Some of them even sell their items at a price lower than the regular store price. You can also earn points with some stores. This means that if you collect a lot of points, you can get bigger discounts the next time around.

Hopefully, you choose the right lights to make your house look amazing. Just give it a shot and you will realise how it could alter the ordinary look of your house and spruce it up. You won’t regret your decision to invest your money in these delicate but beautiful lights.

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Your Top Quartz Worktop Guide to Help You Decide if this Material is Right for You

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There are several materials to choose from if you want to get a dependable, practical, beautiful, and elegant worktop – the one you select will depend largely on your budget and personal taste. It should come as no surprise that quartz is very common, and kitchens around the world are proud to have such a piece of splendor. But what exactly is quartz? How is it fabricated, and what are the benefits? What about the drawbacks? If you’re thinking about getting a new worktop and considering one made of quartz, then this one’s for you: here’s your top quartz worktop guide to help you decide if this material is right for your needs.

What exactly is it?

It’s a point to consider, and it’s an important point. Quartz is not always what the label says it is. It really depends on the manufacturer, so before you purchase it, check with them first. Quartz is mined and then crushed in a factory, where it’s mixed with resin to create a beautiful and strong slab of stone. The mixture is usually 93% stone to 7% resin. That’s where the preference of different manufacturers comes in: not all quartz is 93% true quartz – some are less and other stone fragments are used. Price is often an indicator.

Appearance

All quartz is from Italy, if you care to go that far back. The Italian company Breton patented the process, and all other companies that came afterwards are essentially using Breton’s patented method of quartz slab making. It’s useful to know, because the Italians do know a thing or two about style. The appearance of quartz worktops is wonderful; elegant, beautiful, and timeless.

Some advantages

With quartz, you are assured of:

  • Great looks that surpass time and remain elegant

  • Hardness and strength, made for durability

  • Cleanliness and hygiene, due to its non-porous property

  • The ability of made-to-order production and installation

What to watch out for

Quartz is a wonderful material but you need to be sure about the percentage of true quartz it contains, considering it can be quite pricy.

Here’s one other aspect you should know about quartz – it’s not a slab of pure, natural stone. It was upholding that image for a while (mostly as a marketing scheme) when trying to compete with granite (which is really a natural slab of stone). Luckily, they are not trying to fool anyone anymore, and marketing efforts have been in place to promote quartz, rightfully, as less porous, and therefore easier to maintain, easier to clean, and healthier when it comes to moulds and bacteria. Nevertheless, it’s as close as you can get – with added advantages, as confirmed by both granite and quartz worktop London experts like J.R. Stone.

Image attributed to photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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How to Pack for Your Move Like a Pro

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It’s easy to see why many people underestimate the process of packing – and packing well. After all, it’s easy to think of the tasks as simple; what’s so hard about putting a couple of things in a box, after all? However, anyone who’s ever had to move from house to house understands that the whole adventure is harder – and more tiring – than originally anticipated. It’s not as simple and straightforward as most would guess. On the other hand, there’s some good news. It’s not as difficult as you may fear, either, for as long as you follow some simple guidelines and do it in an organised way. Wondering what the best methods are? Here’s how to pack for your move like a pro.

Don’t delay

It’s a basic rule: don’t leave it until the last minute, because you might not make it. Often it’s fear of the project itself, often it’s laziness, often it’s not knowing where to start. The fact is that you probably own a lot more than you think, and it’s easy to get delayed because of reminiscing when you find an old album or ancient photos. Start now. Don’t delay.

Follow professional guidelines

Check with the company and see how they like to have the things they must transport packed. They may have special requirements, and these requirements are probably there for good reason. Chances are their guidelines are simple and straightforward, so make sure you stick with the rules and regulations of the removals company.

Decide what to pack first

Not everything will fit into boxes – generally speaking, large things such as furniture can be transported without packing, provided they are properly wrapped. Do an inventory and get an idea of the project first.

Get the right boxes

It’s important to get the right boxes – don’t merely get just any box that comes in handy. Be prepared to spend some money for the right materials.

Other supplies

It’s not just the boxes that are important – you should also be able to purchase other things. Proper tape, good labels, pens, things that will make packing a lot easier. Don’t forget bubble wrap, foam, and other necessities, as removals Gloucester experts like Andrews Removals confirm.

Here’s another hint – and it’s an important one for several reasons. Label your boxes and label them well. Firstly, this will ensure a smooth transportation and will help the movers identify which boxes contain breakable items and which are generally safe. Secondly, it will help you decide which needs to be moved first, and which can wait. And thirdly, it will save you lots of time when it’s time to unpack. Label them professionally – buy stickers and use colour coding. The bigger the label, the better. Happy moving! The adventure has begun!

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Home Insurance 101: Learn the Basics

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It has been said that home is where the heart is. I’d have to say that I do agree. At one point of time my

job involved a lot of travelling, and whenever I was away, I would always miss home like crazy. This was even before I was married and had kids, I lived alone, so it wasn’t my family I missed – just to clarify. No matter how amazing the room is in the hotel that you stay at, it can never compete with that feeling of familiarity you get when sleeping in your own bed.

When you’re way, you realize the little things about your house that truly make it your home. The fact that you can navigate your way around without turning on the lights (or stubbing your toes – at least most of the time). You know which piece of furniture has a sweet spot where, and you can hit it in one attempt every single time.

The big one though is undoubtedly the fact that at every few feet around your home, you can just close your eyes and sink into a memory. Good or bad, happy or sad, stuff has happened there, our homes aren’t just a roof above our heads; they’re pretty much a part of our life. It makes sense to protect something that’s so important right? Which is why, it’s my opinion that home insurance is a must have, and if you don’t know what exactly you get in a home insurance policy, worry no more.

What you get in a standard home insurance policy

  • Home or dwelling coverage. This aspect of the policy covers the physical structure of your home itself. This means that if your walls fell apart or a column cracked down the middle due to something like a fire or a hurricane, or a hailstorm or even lightning, you’re set, because the insurance will cover it. This doesn’t cover all natural disasters though, if you want protection from flooding and earthquakes that’s an optional extra, and costs more.

  • Detached buildings and other structures. A home isn’t just the four walls that make up your main structure though right? There are auxiliary buildings that are as much a part of your home as your bedroom. Stuff like outhouses, cottages, garages, sheds and the like. This particular aspect of a home insurance policy refers to these buildings, and makes sure that they are also taken care of by the insurance policy on the same terms as the home or dwelling coverage.

  • Personal Property. Not just what is physically your home i.e. the roof, the floor, and the walls, are covered under a home insurance policy. The stuff that in it is also usually taken care of according to the terms of this type of policy. This means items such as furniture, fixtures, electronics, sports gear and a whole bunch of other things are protected. These aren’t just protected from the usual fire, hurricane, lightning and whatever else you opted for or is part of your policy, but also theft.

  • Coverage for loss of use. If disaster does strike, and your house is damaged to such a degree that it can’t be lived in at all, and has lost all possible chance of inhabitability, this aspect of the policy kicks in. If such a situation does crop up, the loss of use coverage means your hotel stay and restaurant bills will be taken care of until your house is in a habitable condition again, meaning during the duration of your houses repair, you won’t have to move in that one relative who you don’t really like that much anyway, or ask for favors from anyone else.

 

  • Personal Liability. Say you or the members of the family living with you are the cause of bodily damage or harm to someone while on your property, this policy protects you in case a lawsuit is filed in this event. This part of the policy, even covers pets! It’s a great help in case a case is filed against you in court, because legal fees can be extremely steep these days.

  • MedPay. Short for medical payments, this aspect of the policy follows from the previous one. If someone is injured on your property by someone from your family that is covered by the policy, the injured person’s medical bills will be covered by this policy. This benefit is only extended if no lawsuit is filed, however, so that factor should be kept in mind.

 

This is a generic, average sort of list of clauses, but certain policies offer less or more coverage than others, so the contract should be read with due diligence before you scribble your name at the end of it. For example, certain insurance firms offer limited coverage and individual add-ons, while some of the bigger insurance houses, such as The Hartford’s Home Insurance offer a more comprehensive package too.

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Window Treatment Design Ideas to Keep Out the Summer Heat

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imagesIn the summer months, as the temperature climbs to extreme heats, it is often tempting to blast the air conditioning. Unfortunately, not everyone has air conditioning, and even if you do, using it too often can become a huge, unaffordable expense. No one wants to be in a home that feels as hot as the outside air does. Another way to keep your home cool during the summer months is to use window treatments to block out the warmth. Here are a few effective ways to use window treatment design ideas to keep out the summer heat all season long.

Instead of wasting money on your energy bill each month, Contacting a company such as Colorado Roof Toppers can help you with your window treatments strategically so that they are practical as well as design forward. One helpful idea is to hang long, heavy window curtains. Heavy window curtains have been used for centuries to trap heat away but also as décor. While heavy materials may make you think or warmth and heat, in reality, heavy curtains work best to trap heat that comes through your windows so that it doesn’t reach your living spaces. Closing these heavy curtains during the daytime will keep the hot sunlight out, trapping it between the curtain and the window so it is not able to impact the internal temperature of your home. Keep these curtains design forward by choosing a great color or pattern that will compliment the rest of the decor in your home.

Another idea is to purchase blackout shades. These shades are significantly more effective at keeping out light than regular, slatted window blinds. Blackout shades are neutral and discrete. They will also block out all sunlight, keeping your rooms cool. Plus, they are awesome when you want to take a mid-day nap, since you can have instant darkness!

You can also install exterior window blinds. These are typically made from a variety of materials including vinyl, wood, steel, or aluminum. They will attach to the top of the window and the channels will guide them so you can raise or lower the blinds as needed. When closed all the way, the slats fit together to block all light. When slightly closed, they allow some sunlight through without overheating your home.

Window awnings are another effective way to keep cool in the summertime, plus they add a great, unique effect to the exterior of your home. They will also provide shade on the inside and the outside of your home so they are multi-purposed! Awnings can reduce heat gain in your house by anywhere from 65-77% with proven results!

There is also a new way of preventing heat from coming into your home called Smart Windows. This still allows you to get the sunlight you desire, but without the heat. These windows are made by a nanocrystal glass that allows users to adjust how much sunlight or outside heat they want. This invention can decrease the amount of electricity used, ultimately reducing the use of air conditioning!

Clearly there are endless options available to homeowners who want to utilize windows treatments to block out heat and keep their homes cool during the warm, summer months. Window treatments like blinds, curtains, and architectural louvers are sure to present an effective as well as cost efficient way to keep cool in the summer in an eco-friendly and affordable manner without wasting energy necessary to crank up the air conditioning. Not only do these window treatment options work, but they are also design savvy, so they will look great with the decor of the rest of your home, on both the inside and the outside.

 

Top 5 Pest Extermination Tips for Homeowners

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imagesIf there’s one thing that all of us have in common, it’s the fact that we don’t want pests in our home. Whether it’s ants, flies, roaches or mice, we all what to do whatever it is that we can in order to make sure that they stay as far from the rooms in our house as possible. And while one thing that can be done to keep pests at bay is to hire an exterminator, the reality is that they oftentimes use very harsh chemicals that can prove to be toxic. Plus, they cost money too.

That’s why we wanted to provide you with a list of pest extermination things that you can do on your own; ones that are cheap, eco-friendly and still just as effective as if you had hired a professional. Check these out below:

Vinegar. It’s pretty amazing, all of the things that vinegar can do in your home. One of them is remove pests like ants, cockroaches and even ladybugs (that tend to hibernate in homes during the wintertime). All you have to do is spray some in the areas where you see ants moving about, cockroaches climbing or ladybugs flying around. Vinegar works in a matter of moments.

Boric acid. Something that’s considered to be toxic for most insects is boric acid. The best way to apply it is to purchase the powder form, put on some gloves and then sprinkle it along the opening of your doors and also your windowsills. This will not only kill the insects that are already in your house but prevent others from coming in too.

Cornmeal. Although typically we associate cornmeal with baking, you might be surprised to know that it’s actually an ant’s enemy. That’s because their bodies are not meant to digest it and so once they eat it and it gets into their systems, it’s just a matter of time before they expire as a direct result. This is also something that you should sprinkle anywhere you’ve seen ants before.

DIY fly paper. Flies are not only annoying, they also tend to carry a lot of germs. So, if you see a couple flying around in your house, that’s your cue to make some of your own fly paper. All you need to do is mix ½ cup of corn syrup, one tablespoon of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of brown sugar into a bowl. Mix it all together and then put strips of brown Kraft paper into the mixture. Allow the strips to soak overnight. In the morning, poke a small hole into the top of each strip and then hang them on a string in the areas where you’ve seen the flies. In a couple of hours, you should notice less buzzing and more flies on your strips.

Peppermint oil. Two kinds of pests that tend to get the biggest reactions out of people are spiders and mice. And while you might feel like when it comes to both of them, it would be best to call a place like Forsyth Exterminating to get rid of them, you might be surprised by the fact that all you need is a little bit of peppermint oil. Although it does not necessarily kill these pests, if you spray some on the areas where you see spiders or their cobwebs or if you douse some cotton balls in them and place them wherever you’ve noticed a mouse, because they loathe the scent, it’s a good way to keep them from dwelling in your house. For more information on other natural ways to control pests, visit One Good Thing By Jillee and pet “pest control methods” in the search field.

 

Common Warning Signs of Home Foundation Damage

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imagesThe foundation of your home is imperative to the integrity of your overall structure, so if anything goes wrong with the base for your house, you want to catch it as soon as possible and nip it in the bud. We all know what can happen to our homes if we don’t have a strong foundation. Not taking notice of our home’s foundation can result in a lot of damage. The unfortunate truth, though, is that the foundation on which your house is built is hidden under several layers, including a vapor barrier, insulators, concrete slab, subflooring, padding, carpeting, and so on. In short, you’ll have a hard time doing annual inspections or getting a look at it if you think something might be wrong. So you need to be sure that there is existing damage before you start tearing up the floorboards in your basement. And it just so happens that damage to your foundation will likely result in a few telltale signs and symptoms. Here are some that could give you the clues you need to take the next step.

The most common signs of foundational issues tend to present themselves as cracks, and there are several areas around the house where you might notice cracking and separating in relation to issues with your foundation. For example, the average crack you might see creeping up a wall or across the ceiling won’t necessarily indicate that your foundation is to blame. If, on the other hand, you start to notice cracks forming around window and door frames, or the frames begin separating from the walls, there’s a good chance your foundation could be to blame. Cracks in the grout between tiles or in the mortar between bricks could also indicate foundation problems, and if the siding begins to separate from the wall of your home or you see walls starting to come apart at the seams, you have a serious problem on your hands.

By the time cracks and separation start becoming apparent, you can pretty much guarantee that the foundation is the root of the problem. But there are some less noticeable signs that could offer even earlier warning, before real damage to your home begins. For example, a foundation that is sinking or shifting may do so uniformly rather than cracking and breaking. In this case, you might find that once-even floorboards now tilt to one side, something you can determine simply enough by placing a marble on the floor and seeing if it rolls. You may also find that you suddenly have trouble opening and closing windows or that doors are sticking in their frames when you previously had no such issues. Of course, these signs are not definitive, but they may be enough to prompt you to call in a specialist to take a look and render a professional opinion.

Whether your foundation is sinking or the walls are starting to lean in or out, you want to catch the problem as early as possible so you can spare yourself the time and expense of further damage, or worse, having your house condemned as unfit for habitation. Detecting the problem at an earlier stage not only will it save you money, but it will save damage from occurring. With the services of qualified professionals from a reputable company like Dura Pier foundation repair on your side, you should be able to uncover and repair any foundation issues your house may have. But first you have to spot the warning signs. So don’t be blind to the cracks and shifting that could signal problems starting in your foundation.

 

5 Common Repairs to Plan for When Purchasing an Older Home

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For prospective homeowners that don’t like the idea of moving into a cookie cutter tract home, even if it means getting brand new construction, older homes will likely hold a certain appeal. Not only do many older homes have the character that newer homes lack, thanks to architectural details, stylistic elements of the time, and often the inclusion of a lot of wooden surfaces, but they also tend to feature amenities like large yards and distance from neighbors (although this really depends on the area and the home in question). And there’s no denying that the builders who created structures that have been standing for decades clearly did something right. That said, older homes are, well, old, and that means that you’ll likely have to deal with some level of deterioration, unless previous homeowners have recently renovated or upgraded essential systems. Here are just a few common repairs that you should probably plan for when you purchase an older home. Continue reading “5 Common Repairs to Plan for When Purchasing an Older Home”