One of the areas of your home that best exemplifies the notion of both function and style is the flooring that you choose for each room. The functional aspects of flooring should be obvious, while the style you choose is often one of the most visible elements of the character of your home and the look and feel that you want your home to convey to everyone that lives there as well as the many visitors that will walk on and admire your floors for the many years that you live there.
The type of material that you choose for the various rooms of your home should be based first on how the room is used, and then on the look you want for the room. For instance, you’ll want a flooring material in your bathrooms that is water resistant and easy to clean. In this case ceramic tile comes to mind. In the foyer or vestibule you have a lot of choices, but this is also a heavily traveled area of the house so hardwood or tile are also good choices here – perhaps with a beautiful throw rug or area rug on top. But remember, this is a high traffic area where people could be tracking-in dirt, mud, and whatever else is on their shoes so think function over gaude when it comes to flooring in this area.
The kitchen is one room in the house where you have a lot of choices for flooring that work well; meaning that they will look good and will be functional. For instance, many people opt for ceramic floor tiles in the kitchen because like the bathroom they are water resistant and durable. If your kitchen is a show kitchen and your counters simply act as a place to serve takeout, or if your oven is little more than a big toaster oven for reheating yesterday’s takeout you can skip this section because it really doesn’t matter what material you choose for your kitchen floor. However, if you actually use your kitchen for the purpose for which is was intended, read on! Ceramic tiles are a great choice, but they are cold and they can chip pretty easily if something heavy falls on them. A working kitchen is one room that has to stand up to something of a beating and that goes double for the floors, so while ceramic is a good choice, remember it isn’t the only choice. Other options are composite tiles made from heavy resins that resist cracking and chipping and are softer and easier on the legs and feet than ceramic. Another option is wood but again this is a good but not a great option for kitchen flooring. Wood can be damaged by water over the course of time (again, we are talking about working kitchens here and in a working kitchen water hits the floor about as often as pasta goes into the pot) and it also gets chipped and splintered over time. I’ve seen rugs in some kitchens, but I’ll reserve commentary on that for another time and in another blog titled, “Never Let This Happen To Your House.”
A Different Look For Every Room
Other than those rooms that are considered high traffic or working areas of the house, the rest can be covered with the flooring of your choice without much concern for function, at least to some extent. The dining room and living room of your home are both areas where ideally you should think “beautiful” when choosing a flooring material. While some people might opt for wall to wall carpeting for every room other than the kitchen and bathroom (Lord please tell me that you don’t have rugs in your bathroom), the dining and living rooms are ideal for hardwood floors, which can be “warmed” and accented with area rugs that really make the floors standout while offering some protection from scrapes and scuffs. These days almost any wood material is available to homeowners. Whereas years ago most hardwood floors in the typical home were oak, now you have a wide choice including maple, cherry, Brazilian cherry, and walnut, to name but a few. The difference between them will come down to the look you would like for the room and of course the price of the material. Some more exotic woods can be a little costly and cost a bit more to install and finish but if you have the means, they are well-worth the price.
For the bedrooms I’ve always liked carpeting. I know some people have wood floors with throw rugs but to me the warmest and most functional flooring for a bedroom is carpeting. A few simple guidelines and your carpeting should hold up for as long as the manufacturer’s claims. For the kids room you’re gonna want a rug that is tough, and spill resistant – though it might be a good idea to ban food and drinks from the bedroom but good luck with that. For your room get a high quality rug, that feels good on your bare feet and looks beautiful in your room.
My take: Flooring is often an overlooked aspect of the home and that’s too bad because just as someone gets an immediate impression of your from your teeth (sorry Mike Tyson but it is what it is) the same holds true for the flooring in your home. Dark, rich looking wood in the living area, plush carpets in the bedrooms and shining clean ceramic or composite materials in the kitchen and bathroom say that you care about your home and how it reflects your personality and style.
The garage of your home can be more than just a place to keep your vehicle warm at night and protected from the elements. For many homeowners the garage is a great storage area as well as a spare room for a second refrigerator, freezer, washroom for your washer and dryer, or just about anything else that doesn’t quite fit or look right in the other rooms of your house. Too often, both the interior and exterior of your garage can fall into disrepair and remain in that condition because it is indeed separate from the rest of the house and therefore is easily ignored; ignored that is until the leaky roof allows rain water to drip onto your new car, or your garage doors no longer function properly. Taking care of your garage as you would any other room in your home is a good idea and will preserve the overall value of your home.
Garage Door Choices
The garage doors of your home are as visible, or almost as visible as any other part of the exterior of your home so you’ll want to make sure that you keep them looking good and functioning properly. If you need to replace the existing doors on your garage you will be choosing from two types. The two main types of garage doors are roll-up doors, which are by far the most popular version, and those that tilt up or swing up and then recess just below the ceiling of the garage. Roll-up doors cost a little bit more than tilt-ups, as much as 30%, but they are well-worth the additional expense because they are safer and much easier to operate. Both types of garage doors are available in a variety of materials and finishes. If your preference is wood over steel or composite material you’ll find a wide selection to choose from and both types also feature flush, raised panel, or recessed-panel looks for the face of the door. And don’t worry about remote control garage door openers or other security options when deciding on the style and material for your garage doors as all styles, designs, and material doors can accommodate any of the latest access and security systems.
Repairs versus Replacing
As long as your garage doors are in decent working condition, you might want to consider repairing them rather than getting into the much more costly option of completely replacing them. Most garage doors these days are of the electric opening type rather than manually pulling them up and down and chances are that your repair issues will start here, with the proper function of opening and closing the door. If your garage door opens fine manually, chances are that your problem is with our electric opener. If this turns out to be your problem, pull out the manual that came with the doors and start troubleshooting or give a call to a professional repairman.
Sometimes doors will have problems with the tension on the springs that these mechanisms use to raise and lower the door. Be very careful in playing with the springs on your garage doors because they are under heavy pressure and tension due to the extreme loads that they handle so perhaps it is also best in the case of problems with your springs to call an experience repairman to fix this problem. Locks can also be and issue because of all the wear and tear as well as being exposed to sever weather. More often than not, issues with the locking mechanism can be fixed simply by loosening the screws and the lock itself and then realigning it properly.
As mentioned, if yours is the typical garage, chances are that it doubles as a prime storage area for everyone in your home. From kids bikes, blades, and bouncing balls of every sort, to hubby’s tools and mom’s winter storage for planters and bulbs, the garage is the central storage area for just about anything that you don’t want inside your home. At the same time, if your’s is anything like 90% of the garages in America, it isn’t quite as efficient as it could be for properly storing your various items. One of the best ways to fix this problem once and for all is with the use of modular storage systems that are available in almost any home building supply outlet such as Home Depot or Lowes. You can also build your own shelving and storage bins but unless you are handy, buying the pre-fab versions are probably a better option for you. These systems can help you to organize and store seasonal items conveniently and easily. These units come in a variety of styles based on form and function. You’ll find your choice of cabinets, shelves, wall-mounted racks, and plastic containers large and small for storing almost anything you can stack inside.
Taking Care of the Garage Makes Sense
Taking care of your garage makes good sense and it will also save you money. The next time you are in your garage, take a quick look around an estimate the value of all the things stored there and then think about how you would feel if any of these things were ruined because your garage wasn’t doing its job in protecting them from the elements. You’d probably cry if your convertible top was torn or your ATV seat ruined, or expensive fishing gear destroyed because of a leaking garage roof, tumbling old wood shelves, or insect infestation in a garage crying out for a little help. Take care of your garage and it will look after the things entrusted to it.
This is not my garage, it’s actually TJ’s over at QI. I use my garage for everything from storing canned and pickled vegetables, cleaning fish, storing yard and garden tools, and for my beer refrigeration; and those are only a few of the functions I can think of at the moment. The garage is a vital area of the home and one that is only noticed or appreciated when it falls into disrepair. Take care of your garage and it will take care of you.
There are a lot of home repairs, remodeling, and renovations that will beautify your home – and cost you quite a lot of money in the process. On the other hand, one of the best ways to completely change the look of your home without breaking the bank to do so is by repainting any room that you think needs a little sprucing-up. Too often homeowners will look for ways to renovate a room or rooms in their home and after realizing that their budget and schedule can’t accommodate the changes they envision, they utter a Winne the Pooh-like hurumph and put the project on a shelf. There is another option that takes much less time and way less money and that is to repaint the room(s) using fresh new colors, textures, and perhaps a combination of both approaches, which will transform the tired old look of your house into your own Better Homes and Gardens layout. Repainting your home can be the a face that your home so desperately needs, and you can afford.
The first step in repainting the interior of your home is to choose not only the color scheme but also the type of paint that you are planning on using. In years past, all paint was oil based and contained thinners and other toxic components that emitted pretty heavy, and not-so-healthy fumes. On the other hand, these paints had and have a beautiful finish and they really take to the surface you are trying to cover. The oil based paints used today are made with synthetic resins and they have much less thinner so the fumes and toxicity of the paint isn’t quite what it was, but it’s not 100% safe either. To avoid any issues about toxic fumes you might want to use latex paints, which are much safer and come in variety of finishes such as flat, satin, and glossy. Save the oil-based paints for your moldings, where they will stand out and stand up to the beatings that moldings can take.
How Much Paint?
Painting will be cheaper than remodeling but it will cost you some money so you’ll want to be able to estimate the proper amount of paint you’ll need for a particular project. To do this you’ll have to measure the total square footage of the room being painted and verify the amount of space the particular paint you are using can actually cover, called the spread rate. The typical latex paint will cover approximately 400 square feet per gallon. Two important things to remember when estimating how much paint you’ll need – 1.- if you haven’t painted the room in quite some time, the walls can really absorb paint so if you’re in between say 2 versus 3 gallons, go for 3. And this speaks to 2. – always allow for at least 10% more paint than you calculate for touch-ups and repairs once the job is done and for the future.
Other Helpful Hints
With just a few more helpful hints you’ll be ready to put that fresh new face in your home that you’ve been putting off….till now that is.
Preparing the room completely ahead of time will save you time, headaches, and will preserve your furniture and any other appliances, electronics, artwork, and cherished family knickknacks. Remove all the light furniture from the room completely as well as any electronics (TV, stereo, computers) that you can move. The same for anything else light enough to be moved. Take everything off the walls i.e. paintings, electric outlet covers etc. The heavy furniture that can’t be lifted out should be moved to the center of the room and covered with plastic drop cloths to keep it from getting spattered with paint. Next, after removing area rugs, cover the entire floor with a drop cloth or plastic sheet. Last but not least, if you have a hanging light fixture, cover it with a large plastic bag and tie the end closed. You’ll want to repair any cracks in your walls or ceiling before painting, which is easy to do with a little joint compound and a piece of sandpaper. Simple fill the cracks and smooth them with a Spackle knife and then sand to a smooth finish after the joint compound dries. For larger repairs you might need to apply the joint compound a couple of times.
If you’re planning on staining or clear finishing any moldings or trim around the windows or fireplace you should do that before you paint the ceilings or walls. Once they are done you’ll want to cover them with plastic and then tape around them so that the ceiling and wall paint doesn’t turn your beautifully stained trim into a freckle-finished mess. Consider using a primer on the walls and ceiling even if the paint you are using says that it covers in one coat. For a better job, and one that will last longer and hold up longer, to say nothing of getting a much better finish from the color you’re using, prime the walls and ceiling and then cover with one or two coats of paint. Cover the ceiling first and then the walls.
If you are painting rather than staining the moldings and trim, do these after you’ve painted the walls and ceiling. Rolling the paint onto the walls and ceilings should be done after you’ve already cut in around all of the trim, corners, and baseboards. It is a painstaking part of painting, and the part that will probably take the longest, but it is a necessary step that will go a long way toward a professional looking finished product.
Once you’ve got the entire room painted you’re almost done, but not completely done. Before you seal up those cans of paint, take a close look at every surface on the walls, ceiling, and trim and with a small brush and the lid to the paint can for each area go back and look for what the pros call “holidays,” or to the rest of us, spots you might’ve missed or just didn’t quite cover thoroughly enough. Once you’ve touched up, cleaned up and moved all the furniture and decorations back into place the job is done, and your room(s) will have an attractive new face.
My take: Painting is one of the best ways to refresh the interior of any home. And unless you are a complete spaz, anyone can do it. You just have to take your time and follow all the necessary steps and even the most uncoordinated home repair amateur can do a professional looking paint job. The only difference is that it will take you twice as long as a pro. But then again, it will also cost you half as much, provided that you don’t break too many things.
Just about anyone who does some basic research into investments and retirement planning knows that a diversification of the various financial investments that one makes over the years is important to make sure that those investments last for a long time and that sudden economic changes aren't going to wipe out an investor's entire portfolio. Usually such diversification is simple and requires nothing more than an investigation into various levels of investment where risky and safe investments are defined and considered. By knowing which investments are safe and which are not, an investor will know how to allocate his or her funds.
Growing one's own vegetable garden can be extremely rewarding, but it does take more effort than simply tossing some seeds into the ground and hoping something worthwhile comes up through the soil. Utilizing items such as tomato cages and stakes along with various natural pest control options will allow the plants to grow healthy and strong throughout the growing season. It's also important, however, to make sure that too much attention isn't given because plants can be overwatered and stressed if they are cut or messed with too often when they would just as soon survive just fine without such over-attention.
It\'s usually important to make sure that the paint utilized in a specific room has been mixed and chosen in such a way that it is appropriate for the general use of the room. For example, Auburn Hills 360 Painting would likely need to put some glossy paint on the walls of a bathroom or a kitchen so that the surface could be washed easily without stains adhering to the freshly painted walls. In a bedroom for an adult, a simple matte finish would probably be sufficient as it would be unlikely that stains would appear on the walls.
If your home is anything like mine, or that of most of my family, you would probably agree that the kitchen is everyone’s favorite room, and if not favorite, at the very least it is the heart of your home. Think about whenever you’ve had a family party or get-together. Where does everyone congregate? The kitchen, and they do so with big smiles. It is the one room that always seems to convey a sense of the life of the house to all who are in it. So, if you feel like most people do about their kitchen you’ll want to keep it in great shape and ready for the next family gathering. The only problem in doing so is that like repairing or remodeling the family bathroom, it can be quite expensive, especially if you have good taste and you do indeed look at your kitchen as the functioning heart of your home.
Remodel And Keep Costs Down
If you’re ready to put a new face on your kitchen, or perhaps go into a little destruction, you’ll be happy to know that a new emphasis on keeping the project under control while working within a modest budget is what most families are opting for these days. And given the state of the economy, no one is surprised. Believe it or not one of the first things that you used to replace in any kitchen makeover, your appliances, are now being repaired more than replaced. And not only are they being repaired but many are also being refaced. Depending on the style of your kitchen, your refrigerator and your dishwasher can be resurfaced with a look that will match your cabinets. And as long as any repairs that might be necessary aren’t too complex, this might be a good option. If your appliance is still under warranty you’ll obviously want to get it fixed, or if the cost of fixing it is less than half the cost of replacing it, you might also want to consider the option of having it repaired.
Many contractors say that when it comes to the cabinets in the kitchen, many of their clients are opting for function over glitz, meaning that they care more about storage than shine and elaborate decoration. For example, rather than spend a great deal of money on extravagant moldings, they are putting their dollars into roll-out trays, organizers, and pantry accessories. Small scale is big with many opting for new cabinet hardware, refacing rather than replacing cabinets and other upgrades that don’t cost as much as complete renovations.
The KISS Method
We all know what the KISS method is (keep it simple stupid) and now it applies to kitchen remodeling as well as other the many other parts of life to which this axiom is applied. The new look of kitchens is an old look, a throwback to a time when function was everything. Streamlined cabinets and counter tops without all of the decorative woodwork and supports are making quite a comeback and stacked moldings are becoming more passe than bundt cakes. The woods being used in kitchens are also looking more and more like yesteryear than last year with darker, warmer walnut rising quickly on the popularity charts.
Believe it or not, laminate counter tops are also making a comeback, and I never thought I’d live to see it. However it must be said that the laminates available to contractors and homeowners today are a far cry from the Formica counter tops from the 70′s and 80′s. Today’s laminates are European-inspired offering more textured and natural finishes than ever before. And these same finishes are also available for cabinets as well so even if you can’t afford new wood cabinets, these finishes are within the budget of most families and offer a beautiful and unique look for about one third the price of new cabinets.
Kitchen Is High Tech Central
Many of the high tech gadgets we have all come to depend on are making their way as permanent parts of the modern kitchen. Appliances that are equipped with USB ports and digital screens are becoming commonplace while smart, induction built-in cook tops are also becoming much more popular. Finger touch response for things like sliding doors might be something of an extravagance, especially if you are trying to save a few dollars, but they are available should you decide that this is a new kitchen feature that is worth the money.
Last but not least are the latest in microwave ovens, many of which now come in models featuring convection cooking and even steam features that give owners of relatively small kitchen spaces more high-end cooking options.
My take: The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms and certainly the one that we spend most of our time in when we’re not sleeping. However, remodeling a kitchen can be very costly, especially as you shop for the various components, all of which look great but can be quite expensive. It is best to consult with a contractor that your trust and stay within budget and your makeover will be both functional and attractive.
There are few countries in the world and few people in the world that enjoy gardening and landscaping as much as the American homeowner. The British are renowned for the gardening prowess and their magnificent gardens. In fact, the gardening show in London is one of the most celebrated and best attending of any show of it’s kind in the world. However, many other people from around the world would be quick to point out the degree to which their countrymen enjoy toiling in the garden and tilling the soil of their backyard patch and their front yard shrubbery. However, this isn’t a gardening contest or some other such means of grabbing bragging rights for the greenest thumbs on our big blue planet. Suffice it to say that many people enjoy gardening and that Americans continue to love the outdoor parts of their homes as much or more than anyone.
Americans Love Their Gardens
Despite the depths of what has been one of the most severe recessions since the Great Depression, recent surveys seem to indicate that American homeowners are still planning on spending a healthy portion of their household budget on gardening and landscaping in 2012. And as the summer months are already upon us, many construction and landscaping firms seem to be confirming the results of these reports. These firms note that more and more Americans are turning their outdoor patios, decks, lawns into entertainment spaces, and along with doing so comes some bit of landscaping and replanting for the makeovers. Many people will recruit the help of landscape architects to help them get the most out of their space. These experts are key in helping a homeowner to create gardens and landscaped spaces and outdoor living spaces (kitchen and living spaces). Industry experts say that among the most demanded components of a backyard makeover were outdoor grills, low-maintenance landscaped areas, fireplaces and fire pits, outdoor dining areas, and outdoor lighting and fixtures.
Economy Definitely Hurts Spending
Household spending on upgrading your outdoor living area is certainly one of those discretionary spending items so it comes as no surprise that the economy is taking a little bite of what landscapers and construction companies had hoped would be a big 2012 season for them. These industries have been hit particularly hard by the recession (now into year 5 of the the slump and not looking like its ready to leave anytime soon) so another dismal building and gardening season would be quite a disappointment. However, things aren’t looking all that bad as some in the business note that despite the fact that the economic recovery continues to struggle along, spending on residential design has remained stronger than most other construction spending and 2012 is expected to be even better.
In a survey about some of our favorite outside toys Americans continue to rate pools and spas very high while outdoor waterfalls and bubblers are gaining in popularity. There is also a growing movement in the U.S. among those that homeowners installing outdoor fish pools in their yards and on the sides of their homes. Koi ponds and pools have always been popular with Asian peoples, especially those living in warmer climates where it is much easier to care for the colorful fish year round. Now it seems that these decorative pools along with their attractive residents are making their way into yards across the country and among many other American families, not just Asian Americans. Koi are ornamental, brightly colored fish and are a domestic form of the carp. It is not unusual to see a Koi pond in your favorite Asian restaurant but now you may very well see one in your neighbor’s yard the next time you are over for a summer barbecue.
Indoor Comes Outdoors
Many more American families are taking indoors to the outdoors, and not just the lucky few living and enjoying the grand weather of southern California. Contractors and landscape architects note that more and more of their customers are requesting that they design and build outdoor seating areas and furniture, outdoor dining areas, and screened recreation areas so they can enjoy the fresh air but still keep the pesky flying insects that come with the pleasant weather on the outside looking in.
Gardeners with a little know-how will also advise homeowners to make their houseplants year-round plants by making sure to take them into the house long before the cold weather can damage them, and back outside again after the risk of frost in the latter part of the spring. Indoor plants moved outside when the weather gets nice is a great way to beautify any outdoor living area, to say nothing of the savings the follows from nurturing and growing your own rather than continually buying new plants every season, only to let them die when the cold weather comes. Simply keep them in pots on your deck or patio and just make sure that the pot is large enough to allow the plant to grow and expand a bit in the warmer months. You’ll be glad you took care of them the next time your landscaper tells you how much it will cost to buy new ones.
Some things aren’t as popular as they once were with American homeowners and these include turf lawns, outdoor television, showers, solar-powered lighting, hammocks, heated pools, and outdoor sleeping spaces.
Spending on the yard is hard when you don’t have a job or if you’re trying to get kids through college. But there is an enormous amount of enjoyment that comes from a well manicured yard, tending a vegetable or flower garden, and of course, a cold cocktail on your deck. This is probably why, despite the crappy economy, spending on outdoor landscaping and gardening items won’t be hurt as other areas of the construction industry.
Many people focus on how their home's lines and architecture appear before there's any furniture within the space, but it's definitely possible to offer a type of beauty within the home through the furniture as well by utilizing something with strong, clean lines such as an Eames lounge chair where the concept of a strong design is meshed with the overall idea that a piece of furniture, like a house, can be something that is in and of itself architecturally pleasing regarding its lines and visual appeal and especially in how it might enhance the look of a home.
Planting a garden can be very rewarding for individuals who haven't tried such projects before and usually getting some simple assistance for such planting projects isn't hard at all and this might involve being able to use something like tomato stakes or a special cage that will mean that the plants will be properly supported as they grow. Vegetables and especially those that are placed in pots instead of within the ground will usually require that someone use special stakes and other sturdy items to make sure that none of the plants fall over when they start to grow their vegetables.
There are definitely some beautiful homes out there who have had all sorts of work done on the exterior to create a complex and interesting yard, but just because someone isn't otherwise spending a half million dollars on the yard doesn't mean they can have some very neat things in the outside space. For example, should the home owner want an interesting element for a focal point in the backyard, he or she might want to consult with an Ohio gazebo builder to see about whether such a building might be placed in the backyard as a beautiful centerpiece amidst a flower garden.
Obtaining new residents who are a benefit to an apartment community takes time and effort and since getting the right resident can be a terrific financial investment for any apartment manager or property owner, utilizing the best tenant screening services is important during the application process. An element of such screenings which can reduce the amount of time and money spent on such services is the standardization of certain tenant requirements which must be met even before any checks are made. These requirements can cut down on applications that are made from potential residents who would be ineligible for residency.
Getting a new dog is always an exciting moment for a family and anyone who is looking to train their puppy quickly with the basics of proper behavior might wonder how long standard Monmouth County puppy training might take. Usually the lessons learned by a dog are based upon repetition and the ability to actually ensure the dog has retained the lessons over time. One of the most important elements of dog learning is repetition and often the only way to confirm lessons have been retained is time spent for several weeks for lessons and training.