Friday, January 30, 2009

How to Transform a Simple Corner Shower Enclosure Into a Mini-spa

Just when you thought that your corner shower enclosure is just another essential fixture in your bathroom, think again. You can actually transform it into a mini-spa. All you need to do is to equip it with different accessories. This way, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars every month for few hours of relaxation. You can do it at your own home, in your own bathroom, right inside the corner shower enclosure.

Make Sure You Can Have These

Try to prep up your corner shower enclosure with the following bathroom accessories:

1. Monochrome Towel Ring. You basically do not need to move closer to the door just to get your towel. You can simply buy a towel ring and place it near the corner shower enclosure, perhaps mounting it on the wall. A lot of them are extremely easy to install since they can either have tile rubber or have screws to go along with them. Chrome or stainless steel is also ideal, because of its constant exposure to water. You do not want it to corrode very quickly.

2. Ultimate Bathroom Set. If you want to minimize the costs of your bathroom accessory expenses, you can go for those sets that are being sold in home depots and in the World Wide Web. One of the best ones is the Ultimate Bath set, which can be composed of a bath caddy and reading rack. You can place the bath caddy inside the corner shower enclosure, while the reading rack can be put a little outside the enclosure.

3. Shower Chair. If you are thinking of spending countess hours inside the bathroom, you might as well have a seat, where you can really sit straight on your back and allow running water to massage your entire body. You can also use a shower chair when you want to convert your corner enclosure into a sauna. It normally prevents water vapor from escaping, so the steam will be more than enough to keep those toxins out your body. In the meantime, grab a magazine or a book from the rack.

4. Shower Radio. There are times when you want to share a shower with someone. However, it is not all the time that there is someone who can be there with you. At times when you needed your partner and she is not there, you can just turn on your shower radio. A number of them can contain both AM and FM signals. It can be directly mounted into the wall of your corner shower enclosure. Good music can also help you relax especially when you are treating yourself to a home spa.

5. Clog Protector. Whether you like it or not, you will have falling hair when you are going to be taking a bath, which can cause some clogging into the floors of your corner shower enclosure. A clog protector will be a good addition to your fixture then. It is commonly made of stainless steel, so it does not rust right away.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Top Home Remodeling Tips

1)Here's a home remodeling organization tip: If you are being your own General Contractor, keep an expandable folder (“redwell”) with individual folders inside for each trade. For example, I have an expandable folder for each house that I’m working on, and inside are manila folders labeled “Plumbing”, “Electricity”, "Tile", etc.

2)Local building codes require a certain number of electrical outlets in a room. However, some electricians will slap the receptacles into the walls in an unattractive configuration when you consider where the phone and cable jacks are going. Tell your electrician exactly where you want the outlets and jacks to be (and how high you want them as well). This is especially true if you have an idea where you want your furniture to go and you want to hide the outlets and jacks behind the furniture.

3)Here's one of my favorite home remodeling tips that's easy to forget: Be sure that your painter saves you some paint in the cans for touch-ups and duplication later.

4)Before the plumber (or any contractor, for that matter) digs into the ground, you need to call your local utility locator service to come out and mark the underground utilities. This will prevent your contractor from accidentally digging into and damaging the existing services. If you neglect to have the utilities marked, you could face very large repair bills that the utility companies will require you to pay.

5)One of the classic home remodeling tips is to maximize resale value by spending your money "where the water is". This means kitchens and bathrooms. Also, having a good trim carpenter install fine crown molding, etc. can really dress up your house.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Home Remodeling and Improvement Advice, Contractors Review and DIY Tips

Remodeling Your Home
Remodeling a home can be as simple as changing your interior decorating scheme, or as complex as a major construction job. It can revolve around the ideas and tastes of just the homeowner and his or her spouse, or require the talents and skills of professional architects, designers and contractors. It can be a quick and painless process, or it can involve weeks or months of living in a virtual construction site – it all depends on the planning you do in advance. Planning:Key to a Successful RenovationFor simple remodeling jobs, like, for example, changing the color schemes in a room or a group of rooms, planning might be a simple task. Put together a simple list of needed supplies, block out the time, and visit the local home center for paint color charts and suggestions. Most homeowners can figure out what’s needed: paint, brushes, rollers, a tarp to protect against spills – and even one of those cute little paper hats to keep you from inadvertently changing the color of your hair. This can be a do-it-yourself project, or you might be more comfortable hiring a handyman to do all the prep work, painting and cleanup. Either way, planning for this job is relatively simple, and the successful execution of a project like this is one most homeowners can handle.
The Bigger the Job, the Tougher the Choices
Other home remodeling jobs might be a bit more involved. Perhaps you want to change the entire look of a room by changing not just the color of the walls, but also the drapes, furniture, lamps and floors. This type of job requires more input from more people, and more visits to more stores. It still may be a do-it-yourself job, but you can see that as additional elements start to become involved, additional planning and coordination become necessary for the successful completion of the job. The more decisions that are required, the more complicated things become. Do you want hardwood floors and area rugs, or wall-to-wall carpeting? Do you want painted walls, or an exotic wall covering? Should you treat your windows with drapes or blinds? What color? Which texture? Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Hiring a Pro - Expensive But Worth It
Larger remodeling jobs, such as building an addition to your house, are major projects that require professionals of many stripes, and may include architects, engineers, licensed contractors and applications to the local government for construction permits. Such jobs can be difficult to coordinate and plan, and these are obviously not only more expensive remodeling jobs, but also ones in which costs can become unpredictable. Such home remodeling jobs require meticulous planning, but even then, with so many different tradesmen and professionals involved, lack of coordination can lead to a nightmare of cost overruns and jobs that might take days, weeks, or even months longer than anticipated.
What We Can Offer You
This site exists to give you a brief, but comprehensive, overview into the world of remodeling. Some of the advice we will offer may be obvious; many things you might already be aware of. That’s okay, because if you gain even a single piece of information that you didn’t have before, you’ll leave here just a little bit smarter – and hey, it didn’t cost you a dime. Heck, we may even save you one. We’ll take you through all aspects of the remodeling process – from the big stuff, like room additions, through the small stuff, like picking out a bathroom sink. We’re not going to overload you with lots of complicated do-it-yourself tips, but we will try to point out the who, what, when, where and why of home remodeling. Our site is loaded with links to pages that are packed with information on all aspects of home remodeling, so we invite you to relax, educate yourself and most of all - enjoy!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Design lesson: Playing with pattern

How to use pattern in a small space without being overwhelmed.

Drapery, cushions, upholstery and bedding -- we surround ourselves with fabric. It's how we soften the hard edges of the world. Although the textures and patterns you choose depend on personal taste, awareness of their impact allows you to make selections that will contribute to overall harmony. That's especially important in small spaces, where an abundance of pattern contributes to visual clutter. So, consider these strategies for incorporating pattern into your home.

How to choose pattern
Living room
To allow for visual breathing room, it's best to use simple designs and combine them with solid fabrics. Robust patterns can be distracting, shifting attention from focal points, and creating a confusing backdrop for works of art.

Dining room
Frequently more dramatic than other public rooms, this room is used mostly in the evening. For that reason, it's perfectly warranted to choose bolder patterns. In addition, patterned upholstery and carpets are highly practical.

In the kitchen, where most of the available wall space is devoted to cabinetry, pattern can be a welcome relief. A pictorial wallpaper or scenic drapery fabric can create interest and set the tone for other decorating in the room.

The pattern you pick is dictated by the mood you want to create. If the bedroom is used only at nighttime, consider a minimum of pattern in a restful palette. For those who use the room during the day, a more adventurous mix of pattern may appeal.

Powder room
The powder room provides a real opportunity to enjoy high-impact pattern, as it's a transitional space used for short periods of time. Choose a scenic or geometric design, classic floral or large abstract pattern, and use it abundantly.

Dos and don'ts
DO evaluate the scale of furniture before choosing a pattern for upholstery. A dining room chair seat can't handle a large pattern. In contrast, a three-seater sofa doesn't suit a tiny motif.

DO review the existing patterns in the room's background. For example, a herringbone floor adds energy, while a coffered ceiling brings order to a space. The crisp, heavy lines of shutters contrast with the minigrid of a mosaic backsplash. These architectural cues may influence the selection of other patterns.

DO combine patterns that share a similar feeling or expression. For example, an exotic paisley blends easily with florals or stripes if they have an exotic feel as well. Formal damask works with shimmering silk, but may clash with rugged leather.

DO use vertical stripes, like those provided by floor-to-ceiling wallpaper or drapes, to emphasize the height of a room. To accentuate a room's width, opt for horizontal stripes, using wallpaper or artwork hung in a row as a frieze.

DON'T ignore the rug, since it's one of the most influential patterns in any room. Because it's a major purchase, many designers begin with it when building a design scheme.

DON'T use more than one large-scale design in a small interior, as it can overwhelm. However, you can use several small or medium patterns if they are varied in scale. Layering patterns lends a sense of depth, vital to a small room.

DON'T overdo vivid pattern in small spaces. Remember, a fabric with pattern has more visual weight than a solid one.To include a variety of patterns, stick to a colour palette with tone-on-tone or two-tone fabrics.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Silk Window Treatments

Silk window treatments are an easy way to add luxury and style to almost any room. Silk has that natural sheen and texture that compliments almost any décor. You may be surprised to know that any window treatments offer silk material; silk is not just reserved for curtains.

Of course, any article about silk window treatments needs to start with the most popular application: silk drapes, specifically dupioni silk. What is dupioni silk? Dupioni silk is a shimmering silk created by weaving silk threads of two different colors. That’s what gives it that shimmering effect but also adds to a slightly uneven texture. The silk itself is produced when two or more silkworms spin their cocoons close together. These slightly tangled cocoons produce filament that is rough and uneven. Dupioni silk is perfect for drapes because it resists wrinkles, has a dull sheen, holds a pleat and is totally reversible, meaning that either side of the drape can be visible.

Beyond drapes, you can find silk used in roman shades. Roman shades, which are sometimes called fabric shades, are often compared with drapes because they offer the look of curtains with the ease of use of a window shade. Roman shades come hobbled (folded) or flat but they all “fold-up” when opened. Roman shades can be purchased with optional liners, including blackout liners, room darkening liners and even thermal liners to add insulation to your window. If you want to add elegance, beautiful textures and rich natural colors, silk roman shades are an excellent choice.

When it comes to silk window treatments it is important to note that although silk is a very durable material and will last for a long time, it does not stand up well to direct sunlight. Therefore it is highly recommended that you purchase a liner. So if you are purchasing silk dupioni drapes, you should select a liner. The choices are generally cotton, polyester and sometimes a thermal interliner for added insulation. You can also choose interliners that add room darkening to blackout depending on your light control needs.

If you need to clean you silk window treatments it is generally recommended that you dry clean them. That said, it is possible to hand wash dupioni silk drapes – let’s face it silk has been around a lot longer than dry cleaning. If you need to clean silk roman shades, you will need to have them dry cleaned or use a spot cleaner using a dry cleaning spray or fluid.

“Dupioni silk can be hand washed if the seams have been serged [also called overlocking, overedging or merrowing] and you don’t mind the fabric losing some of its firmness or color. Although low-quality silk may become rough or dull after hand washing, better quality silk tends to looks better and last longer when hand washed. The natural coating on silk fibers reacts well to warm water, so hand washing also has the advantage of refreshing silk and giving it a better drape. Silk can be hand washed in cool or lukewarm water using a mild detergent such as Woolite, Ivory soap, or shampoo dissolved in the water. Because silk resists dirt and stains, only a small amount of soap should be used. Silk, like most natural fibers, doesn’t tolerate abrupt changes in temperature very well, so stay with one water temperature throughout the wash. Avoid soaking silk as this may fade the dye.” M. Langton, July 29, 2005.

So there you have it, a short primer on silk window treatments, which can be window curtains or roman shades. It’s too bad that more window blinds and shades and don’t incorporate this beautiful fabric.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bathroom Renovation Tips

So you have decided to renovate your old bathroom? There are a lot of pitfalls that you can fall into if you are not careful. As a result, you will find that there are a few bathroom renovation tips that will definitely help you get the best bathroom out there for you.

Face it, if you are going through all the trouble that comes with renovating your bathroom right now, you will not want to have to deal with it again for years. While not all bathroom renovation tips will apply to you, it is important for you to get an idea of what you are going to do before you start.

Measure everything

When it comes to bathroom renovation tips, the most important one is to measure, measure, measure. Make sure that you know exactly how much room you have for each fixture, and measure several times. You will need to know the different dimensions for each fixture, and that includes height, width and depth in order to make sure you have enough room.

After you have measured the amount of room that you have, you should keep in mind that you are almost always better off leaving more space empty than filling it. The exception here is for your bathtub, unless you are going to be putting in a claw foot tub.

Keep Everything Dry

The next in our set of bathroom renovation tips is just to make sure that everything stays as dry as is possible. If you are renovating an old bathroom, you should probably rip out as much of the old fixtures as you can, unless you know that they have not leaked or gotten wet. If you do not start new and dry underneath the new fixtures you are putting in today, you might end up just pulling them all out again tomorrow.

You should also follow the bathroom renovation tips that involve what types of walls and flooring to put in. Tiled floors are a great idea, especially if you are looking for something that is going to last for a long time. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you will need to make sure that the floors are perfectly sealed, and keep them that way. Once the sealant wears off, you will end up with a lot more work to fix it.

Choose Fixtures that Work Well Together

For bathroom renovation tips specific to the fixtures you are putting in, make sure that you choose fixtures that will go well together. This does not always mean that you are looking for fixtures that are from the same collection, but you should make sure that nothing in your bathroom is going to clash. You can do this by taking pictures of everything you want in your bathroom and trying to imagine them all in their right places.

When it comes to bathroom renovation tips, one that you should always consider is that if you cannot see it, do not do it. If you are not sure what it will look like to put that vanity and that bathtub in the same bathroom, then do not do it. While it is sometimes a good idea to take a risk, that time is not when you are planning the renovation of a room this important.

Lighting can Make or Break a Bathroom Design

Finally, the last in this collection of bathroom renovation tips is just to make sure that you like the lights. If you do not have enough lighting in your room, then it is likely that you will end up with a room that is hard to work in, and that you do not enjoy using. No matter how well you plan out your new bathroom, bad lighting will make it look terrible, so take the lighting into account while you are planning.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to: Make a bed

From carefully placing sheets and blankets to choosing the right duvets and pillows, get some easy pointers on how to beautifully make a bed.

Crisp, clean linens, a fluffy duvet and perfectly plump pillows: These are the makings of a divinely dressed bed and you can achieve one in minutes with a little know-how, some attention to detail and a touch of care. Here's how to beautifully make a bed.

Alex Newman, author of Hot Property: Easy Home Staging to Sell Your House for More Money in Any Market (John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd., 2007) recognizes the power of a beautifully made bed. She believes every room needs a focal point and in the bedroom, the focal point is the bed. "The more beautiful and lavish, the more people will be stopped in their tracks," Alex says.

Whether you want to impress prospective homebuyers, wow your visiting mother-in-law or challenge the domestic goddess in you, take some pointers from Alex and your bed-making efforts will result in true beauty. Before you begin, work with bedding that matches or complements the colours in your bedroom and consider whether or not want to show off your bed frame or conceal it with a bed skirt. Hide a metal bed frame with a bed skirt. "Tailored skirts are generally more in vogue, but that doesn't mean the gathered kind can't look good," says Alex. "If you have a sleek Roche Bobois-style bed, definitely no skirt."

With bedding that complements your bedroom's decor and a foundation that's skirted -- or decidedly not -- you're ready to make up a perfect bed.

How to make a bed: Bed sheets
Your bed sheets make up the base layer of your pretty bed. For maximum appeal, use clean, crisp sheets either fresh from the dryer or freshly pressed. "If you wash your sheets, the dry cleaners will iron them for less than $10," says Alex. She recommends opting for classic white sheets because it "always looks good" and avoiding dark or intensely hued sheets that tend to look dated.

Place a fitted sheet on your mattress, tucking each elasticized corner under each mattress corner. Tuck any loose edges under the mattress while smoothing wrinkles as you work. Next, place your flat sheet and blanket, pulling up the flat sheet far enough so there's enough length to fold over the blanket. If you're not using a blanket, Alex suggests folding back the edge of the top sheet anyway for a crisp look. Smooth out any wrinkles and visually check to ensure the overhang on each side is about equal in length.

How to make a bed: Hospital corners and decorative blankets
To fold a "hospital corner", tuck in the sheet and blanket edge along the foot of the bed, pulling the fabric taut so it lies smooth. Next, take a corner of the sheet and blanket, pull it taut and angle it towards the headboard as you tuck it under the mattress, leaving a neat angled edge. Repeat on the other side. Don't obsess over perfect hospital corners, but avoid any bulky lumps and bumps. "As long as it's neat and trim, and carefully tucked in, you're fine," says Alex. "We can't all be nurses, now can we?"

There are some blankets that are just too gorgeous to remain hidden under a duvet so go ahead and display these beauties. "Blankets are nice folded at the end of the bed," says Alex. "That suggests a place to relax and read with a cup of tea, while not having to actually climb under the covers." She recommends texture-rich blankets like mohair, cashmere or good polyester facsimiles.

How to make a bed: Duvets, comforters and quilts
You're almost done. With the sheets and blankets dressing your bed, it's time to fluff up your duvet, comforter or quilt and lay it on your bed for its final layer of bedding.

Tip: Choose your bedding's top layer according to your room's decor. "Quilts are nice with anything country -- French, Canadiana, Americana," says Alex. "Duvets can go with any decor and have a more modern look, but comforters work just fine."

Do a visual check to ensure the duvet, comforter or quilt's overhang is equal in length and no loose blanket or sheet edges are left hanging.

How to make a bed: Pillow talk
Pillows are the perfect finishing touches of a beautifully made bed. Fluff up your pillows and place them at the head of your bed, either propped up against a headboard or laid flat. Use an assortment of pillow sizes for visual interest but don't go overboard. The pillows shouldn't make the bed look too top-heavy or bordello-like, Alex warns.

That's it, you're done!

When you make up a beautiful bed, your reward is a welcoming retreat where you can revive and restore your energy. According to mattress retailers Sleep Country Canada, you spend one-third of your life sleeping, so devoting time -- and effort -- to make your sleeping area comfortable and pretty is well worth it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to Choose Suitable Furniture for yourself

In order to choose a suitable furniture for your `Lovely home` the pieces of furniture should always work well according to the spacious outlook of small or large room. The capacity of the room must always come up with enough storage shelves and capacity and should efficiently be `Mobile` to move upon. `Versatility` or adjustments made for the arrival of the furniture into the home projects the nature and demand of a specific individual to make `Furniture` as the noble custom of his home tradition and appreciation from the arrivals (visitors/Guests) in day-to-day lives and for further implicating more changes in the future with adjustments done to acquire `Furniture items` in other forms and quality so that exact or final result be achieved out of different colors, patterns, shape and design.

The different tips on choosing Furniture is as follows:

1. Availability of small furniture accessories for small house do wonders as small houses lack sufficient space or aren’t spacious/Roomy from inside in order to house as many items if possible therefore, they fit remarkably well with confined spaces of the room and are `Mobile` by nature to be dragged easily from one place to another.

2. Acute shortage of `Storage` is found upon in the entryway from the door or inside the corners of the room. Select furniture drawers or hanging space like for ex: chest of drawers or an armoire (cabinets). One can install it in a bedroom, foyer, living room and mudroom.

3. Furnishing up of a living room (Dining Hall) may include `Latest fashioned` loveseats than a `traditional sofa`. As they are `Mobile` in nature they usually forms a corner seating area of the hall and might consists of an opposite conversation spot arrangement in an hall or individually in many other rooms of house. Decorative items are always handy such as lamps, vases, cushioned chairs, and pillows with matching mattresses in pairs. They call upon a form of continuity to a room premise with a subtle touch of expertise of furniture management.

4. A soft and pleasing natural/neutral color such as tan, camel, navy, dark green or black are used as upholstered furniture pieces. These colors are named as "anchor" colors. Durability of fabric of the furniture is the key to enhance the color contrast from the surface of the item automatically as it gives softness to the ambience of living.

Harmonizing a specific anchor color demands perfection of the background of the room.
Seasonal changes of the furniture provide a fresh paint smell throughout the year. For ex: On a green loveseat you might choose yellow floral pillows for summer and camel tapestry pillows for fall winter season. Slipcovers can be used to change the outlook matching with the `Furniture`!

5. Creativity with tables: Try to choose interesting base and plate glass for the top of the table or have a side table (round or rectangular) of plywood and then cover with an under cloth (for softness) and a decorative tablecloth of coordinating fabric as well . It can be used in a living room or as nightstands by a bed. A classy touch of furniture matching.

6. Color scheme: Selecting an anchor color and complimenting the same with the `Color scheme` is every person’s desire. Complimenting a color with mobility to bring different colors to different areas of the house is easy and indeed! Suits the taste and demand fulfillment of matching them one by one.

7. Built-in storage closets are meant for those who demand extra storage shelves or cabinets in a side corner of the hall or room such as a coffee table with drawers or a cabinet at the entryway instead of an open table at any corner of the room. You'll be amazed what a difference just one drawer or shelf makes to that closet.

8. Arranging furniture: Thinking outside the box: Use furniture or accessories in unexpected ways, such as a loveseat at the end of a bed, a TV hidden away under a tablecloth, or a big dresser that holds video tapes in bulk.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Feng Shui Home - How to Create a Happy Home with Feng Shui

Feng Shui Home - Learn to Create a Happy Home with Feng Shui

Feng Shui teaches us that everything is energy, and we are in a constant energy exchange with everything around us. Thus, it is it very important to create a feng shui home that has a happy and healthy energy. Feng Shui has a variety of tips for a happy feng shui home, all based on the fact that if you live in a healthy and happy feng shui home, your own energy will inevitably become healthy and happy!

Have you noticed how happy people change the energy of the room when they come in? And how you become happier and more optimistic when you hang out with your happy friends? This is happening because you are in a constant energy exchange with everything that surrounds you - people, animals, buildings, trees, etc, etc.

Now is the best time to do yourself a big favor and use feng shui to create the ultimate happy feng shui friend - your own home.

The more you know about the anatomy of your space, i.e. feng shui, the more you can achieve in terms of establishing a healthy relationship with your home.

This new relationship will beneficially reflect in all areas of your life: your love life, your career, the relationship with your children. If you are just beginning to explore feng shui and are curious what can it do for you, here are two essential feng shui starting points:

1. CONNECT to your home just like you would connect to a person. Ask, listen and pay attention.

Look and see which feng shui areas of your home "hurt." By "hurt" I mean they are not working well, not looking good, you don't like to spend time there, etc, etc. Just like the pain in one part of your body stops the energy flow in the whole body, the same happens with the feng shui of your home. As every part of your home is connected to a specific part of your life (for example, the East feng shui area is connected to your Health & Family) ; low energy in a specific feng shui part of your home will start reflecting in lower energy or blockages in specific areas of your life.

2. ACCEPT whatever state your home is in without a strong emotional response, just try to get to the bare essence of it.

Let's say you hate to see that bathroom upstairs, but you are also resistant to deal with it. No matter what the reason is, be it time, money, low self-esteem or all of the above, just accept it! Sit down and write several feng shui steps you need to go through to fix the bathroom and make it look beautiful. Again, try to define it with no emotional attachment, just as if it is a job you have to do, a little (or big!) project you have to manage.

Strong emotions will most probably come to the surface, and you will have to be ready to let them flow, but do not let them stop you from what you are doing to use feng shui to heal your home, thus specific parts of your life.

After you have experienced these two feng shui essentials, get started with these basic and practical feng shui steps and know that your life will change!

Feng Shui for Home is one of the most efficient therapies ever - you work on the house, but what you are actually doing is healing your own life - your past hurt, pain, sorrow, blockages, whatever it is that you have accumulated over the years; and are now creating a fresh new feng shui space to happily manifest your dreams.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips for Building an Outdoor Deck

An outdoor deck is one of the most popular home improvement projects. Whether you want to do it yourself or use the services of a qualified contractor to build it, an outdoor deck can add beauty, additional outdoor living space, and value to your home. As with any other home improvement project, there are many things that need to be taken into consideration so that you can ensure that your outdoor deck system is successful.

Size – The size of your deck should be taken into consideration for several reasons. First, you’ll need to accommodate your outdoor area and building a deck that is either to big or too small is a decision that you can’t take back. Second, you can save a lot of money if you plan your deck dimensions around standard board lengths. This will reduce the number of cuts and the amount of waste.

Location – You may automatically think that your deck should come off the back of the house, although this may not always be the best idea. Consider such factors as privacy and sun exposure when considering the placement of your outdoor deck.
Choosing a spot that receives both shade and sun at different times of the day gives you the best of both worlds: a time to soak up the rays and a time to relax in the shade.

Consider privacy when mapping out the location of your outdoor deck. Is it in direct view of your neighbors or the street? If positioning your deck in a private spot is not possible, consider a privacy fence, privacy hedge or shade trees to block prying eyes.

Home’s Exterior – Take into consideration your home’s exterior when designing your deck. It should compliment your home’s style, size and exterior color. For example, a Victorian home may have a deck with ornamental columns and turned balusters to compliment the architectural details of the home.

Existing Landscape – Consider your existing landscape when designing your deck. Don’t view landscape or terrain features as negatives when planning your deck design. Instead, view them as opportunities to create an interesting deck plan. For example, you can create framing around a large shade tree or boulder and simply integrate it into your deck design. A hill can also work into your deck design, as you can simply create a multi-level deck design to accommodate the slope in the terrain.

Local Codes – Regardless of whether you hire a contractor to build your deck or whether you do it yourself, you’ll want to check local codes and ordinances regarding outdoor deck structures. This can save you a considerable amount of time, money and frustration. For example, some municipalities require the use of stainless steel or galvanized screws; if you use any other type of screw, the local inspector will surely make you switch them, which will cost you a considerable amount of time and money.

Deck Protection – Don’t stop with just the installation of your deck. Protect your investment by cleaning it regularly and applying a deck coating system at least once a year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Top 5 Bedroom Design Tips:

We all get stumble across the dreaded decorators block now and then, finding it difficult to make decisions despite wanting a change. Get inspired and back into the swing of things with our 5 simple tips for bedroom interiors.

Use a neutral colour scheme.

A well-constructed colour scheme helps bring a room together. Plan your colour scheme using a palette of three colours. Work with one main color in a room to create the base. Add a secondary color to be used in a smaller quantity, such as for one wall. According to designer, neutral paint colours in medium values will help to create a room that lulls you to sleep

Save your brightest hue for the third accent colour. Use this colour in smaller amounts – on artwork, luxury bedding, throw pillows, wall hangings, flower vases and other accessories.

Invest in classic pieces.

Allocate the largest portion of your decorating budget on bedroom furniture that will have a long life such as solid wooden beds, dresser chests and bedside tables. Keep these investment pieces in good condition and they will provide a solid foundation for your bedroom. Use your decorating prowess to complement your bedroom furniture with luxury bedding, throw pillows and accessories working around your décor scheme.

Choose versatile bedroom furniture.

Versatile pieces are worth their weight in gold. Whip off a throw or summer slipcover to reveal your classic upholstered accent chair, ready for fall or a new décor scheme. A chest of drawers or blanket chest can take on many roles – in many rooms -- as your needs change or you move from home to home. Likewise, an upholstered ottoman can function as a coffee table or extra seating. These pieces will work hard and give you more than your money’s worth over time.

Update with Accessories.

A well planned interior can take you from summer to winter with just a few simple changes. By keeping your walls and furniture simple, you can update the whole look of your living room or bedroom just by changing accessories.

Classic bedroom furniture, neutral walls and upholstery in plain textured fabrics will allow you to decorate around them as you change your mind, update seasonally, or move homes. Simply update your scheme by swapping throw pillows, duvet cover sets, wall hangings and curtains.

So, you can choose a handmade wooden bed for the long term, and complement the rich wood with ruby red throw pillows in the winter and vibrant yellow for the summer. Get creative!

Keep it Simple.

Clear out the clutter from your bedroom by using clever storage techniques such as under-bed drawers and concealed storage. Use a blanket chest to function as a coffee table as well as a place to store your bed linen. Remember, your bedroom should be a sanctuary where you can relax, switch off from the day and get a good nights rest.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Renovation & Design Tips

If you're thinking of remodeling your bathroom, consider adding elements of comfort and elegance . Transform your bathroom into your own personal sanctuary . While many home interiors are becoming more simple, bathrooms are getting the royal treatment. Elegance, softness, and sophistication are the keywords for bathroom decor..

In general, bathrooms are getting larger . In many renovations, homeowners are tearing down walls, eliminating small bedrooms, and creating giant bathrooms. combined with dressing areas and walk in robes. Add to that, oversized bathtubs, and double showers, telephones and televisions, a bathroom is becoming the retreat.

Custom cabinetry is designed to provide maximum storage, eye-appeal, and convenience. Tall cabinets on either side of the sink area, offers eye-level storage for bathroom necessities. Electric plugs installed inside the cabinets help hide ugly appliance cords. Extra-deep drawers offer out-of-site storage for tall bottles. Even a small bathroom will look larger with mirrored walls or cabinet doors. To add floor space to a narrow room, consider having cabinets cut shallower, and recess the sink area. A bathroom will look more interesting without a long, straight line of cabinets. If your space has room, consider having the countertop installed at two heights. The lowered area can serve as a dressing table. You might even have a whole wall of cabinets built in to store towels, and bathroom necessities.

While many bathrooms have laminate or solid surface countertops, tiles of all shapes and styles are the choice of the day. For any variety of looks and durability, choose glass, ceramic, stone, or metal tiles. Even in ceramic tiles, there are many painted or embossed styles to choose from. These are especially useful to create a border around an area, or to frame a mirror or cabinet. You can also scatter hand-painted or embossed tiles at intervals on a wall to create texture and color.
A word of warning if you're decorating on a budget:, decorative tiles are sold by the piece. Before you go shopping, measure the space you're going to tile so that you know how many tiles you'll need. If you're doing a shower enclosure or countertop, the number adds up. And then multiply the number of tiles by the price per piece, and the number gets big quickly. Remember to add in edging pieces, corners, and borders . An extra dollar per tile could mean a lot of dollars extra for the whole room! Additional labour is required to lay porcelain, marble, granite and unsheeted mosaics, and therefore extra costs incurred.

For extra floor space, you might select two elegant pedestal basins in either traditional or contemporary designs. If using pedestal sinks, you must provide extra storage space. For busy bathrooms , you'll definitely need two sinks. You can place them next to each other on a long countertop set on top of a beautiful customised cabinet. Each person will be able to use their sink without rubbing elbows. Another look in bathroom basins shows a large bowl mounted on the top of a bathroom counter, or installing the sink in front of a window to take advantage of the natural light. Install a drop-in basin into a marble or solid-surface countertop is a classic look. To theme your bathroom, you can choose traditional knobs of glass, brass, pewter, or crystal.

Lighting is very important in your bathroom. Both artificial light and natural light should be considered when redesigning your bathroom. There should be plenty of light directed at work areas. Soft lighting is great above a soaking bath & can be achieved with the connection of a wall dimmer. Be sure to confirm your plans for lighting with an electrician or lighting designer before the ceiling and walls are closed up after remodeling. You'll want to have the wiring all installed behind the walls so no cords or wires show.

Mirrors come in various styles including polished edge, framed or beveled edge. Mirror shaving cabinets are best for hiding storage ideas, besides giving the room a bigger feel.

Taps Depending on the style of your bathroom, decorative taps are available in brass, chrome, pewter, or satin chrome. There are many types of taps available, please consider their make, place of manufacture and warranties when you make your choice. Taps come in sets or mixers. Tap sets include 2 handles whereas Mixers have one handle. Mixer taps are more streamlined and light on the hand. Should you be considering putting mixers in your bathroom, expect higher installation & component costs.

Accessories selected especially for a bathroom can help to take away the cold, hard look often found in bathrooms. You might want to select elegant window coverings, artwork, or flowers to add warmth to your space. In place of a simple towel rail , consider a heated towel rack that will have your towels nice and warm. Towel ladders can also be used to fill up a large wall and allow many towels to be hung at once.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tips For Building Your Own Garage

Home improvement projects increase the value of your home, while building skills and giving you a hobby to relax with, making something worthwhile with your hands. One of the simpler home improvement projects to tackle this coming summer is building a new garage.

Before building, you need to figure out how big you need the garage to be. Think about not just putting your car in the garage, but what other commonly stored items will be placed there. Checking out floor plans will give you a good estimate to work from.

Garage Building Materials
Once you've determined the size of the garage, it's time to determine what materials you want to use to build it, whether it's pre-treated or pressure treated wood or a metal frame and siding arrangement. Both metal and timber garages come in pre-fab construction kits, making the selection one that's driven by your needs.

If you're in a colder climate, the timber garages will generally have better insulation than the metal ones. If you're in a climate with a lot of sunlight, the metal garages will hold up better to the extremes in temperatures.

The first step in construction is getting a concrete slab laid down. This will be the anchor point that your garage is built on. Do yourself a favor and hire a good contractor for this - pouring cement is harder than it looks and it's very easy to ruin your garage with a badly poured slab and the consequent poor drainage that results.

Assembling your garage from a kit is mostly a matter of following the instructions. With some help from your friends, it's not unreasonable to put up a pre-fab garage or other building inside of a weekend. It'll take some quality time with hammers and a nailgun, but the end result will raise the value of your property and give you grist for stories along the lines of 'Yeah, remember when we put up Bill's garage?'...

Types of Garages to Build

While we mentioned that there are pre-fabricated kits for building your garage, it was understating the extend of these things. A brief internet search on 'types of garages' will give you an overwhelming number of answers about this type of construction.

While we mentioned choosing space requirements early on, look for garages that have some expansion ability. In particular, several vendors make garages that are modular components, allowing you to customize the covered area to suit your needs directly and even add on to them later.

If you're building a timber garage, always go for pressure treated lumber. This is lumber that has had a good coating of protective agents applied by high pressure jets of steam, making it resistant to rot, water, mildew and insects. Even better, it doesn't need an annual coating of preservative treatment every spring, doing so roughly every three years is good enough.

For a more form follows function construction method, nothing quite beats the benefit of pre-fab metal buildings. They're often enamel coated and built from high grade steel and aluminum and will last for years with no real effort needed to maintain them. Further, unlike a lot of wooden buildings, they usually have cable mounting brackets allowing you to run wiring for power tools or a small office into them and can be insulated in their void space with spray-in insulation. While this is a bit more involved than throwing up a garage, it can have its merits as well - as families or home-based businesses grow, you'll eventually need either an office or storage space for your records and backups.

Final Garage Building Considerations
Finally, for appearance, look at how the garage will situate in your yard - will it provide shade, a convenient place to hang a basketball hoop? Do your intended color schemes match your house or complement them? Does your local homeowners association have regulations and guidelines for this sort of building?

Always look, when working on improving your property, for the things that will add the most value for the least amount of effort and investment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Feng Shui Tips

Feng Shui is an ancient system of balancing the good and bad, the Yin & the Yang. This Chinese philosophy believes that the arrangement and positioning of things in our surroundings can affect the flow of energy, which can produce either a favourable or unfavourable effect on one's health and wealth. Below are some Feng Shui tips to improve the flow of good Chi (energy) in our homes:

● Clear the way leading to your front door. Do not leave any objects including shoes in front of your doorway, this will block good Chi that will flow inside you house.

● Put a pair of Fu Dogs in front of your front door they guard your home or business against bad elements. If space is not enough outside your front door, you can place them inside the front door.

● Plants which has thorns or spikes like the cactus is inauspicious, leave it outside your home. Instead of the cactus, use round leafed plants, wind chimes and crystals. All these are auspicious and will bring good chi inside your home.

● If you have your front door or front window open directly to a window or door at the back of your house, place a big screen or furniture to block the alignment to prevent good Chi from entering and leaving your house straight away.

● Find a way to brighten long and dark corridors. They trap bad chi inside your home and prevents the good chi from entering and circulating inside.

● It is good luck to place an aquarium or a fountain inside your home. Good Chi is attracted to water. A good place to place your aquarium is facing your front door inside the house to invite good Chi to come in. Other good places to put an aquarium or fountain: On the south-east element of your home for wealth, south-west for marriage, east for health, west for friends, north for career and north-east for education.

● Don't place your kitchen directly below a bathroom, nor place your kitchen in front or the centre of your house. Ideally, the kitchen should be located at the back of your home. And if you cook by open flame, it is best to cook outside the house.

● Inside your kitchen, do not place your cooking stove directly in front of the sink, water dispenser, refrigerator or washing machine, this creates conflicts between household members. Water and fire elements don't mix.

● Open your windows and curtains daily to allow sunshine and fresh air to come in. Good Chi will not come in if your windows are always closed. And health wise, our lungs need that fresh air to stay healthy. Also, if you have a vacant bedroom, do not leave it always closed and dark, bad Chi will linger in that room if it is left closed and dark for a long time.

● Don't put mirrors that reflect your bed. Put your mirrors in bathrooms, inside closet doors or anywhere else but not in front or the sides of the bed. In Feng Shui, it is bad luck to have your bed reflected on the mirror.

● It is bad luck to have a table, chair or bed with a beam hanging over. A beam is a heavy object that pressure you down. If the ceiling is high enough it is best to cover the beam by putting up a flat ceiling. Also, don't put your staircase in front of the main entrance. It facilitates volatile and negative chi to go straight to the upper floor.

● Generally, choose smooth and rounded objects, corners, tables, counters as against sharp, jagged and knife like objects. Rounded things encourage the flow of good energy.

Feng Shui is all about the balance energy and enhancing the environment. For thousands of years, the Chinese have utilized Feng Shui to enhance harmony, peace and prosperity. We may still benefit from their ancient knowledge of Feng Shui today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Interior Designing Tips: Bedrooms & Dens

● When interior designing your bedrooms, make sure the rooms are cozy and restful in appearance. Avoid bright colors like orange. Bright colors won't induce you to sleep. Neutral, pastel and warm colors are best suited for bedrooms.

● If you are starting your interiors from scratch, you can start by choosing fabrics first and base the color of you wall from it, then you can select furniture that compliments the color of walls and the fabrics that you are going to use.

● Save on expensive wall decor, go through magazines, art books or even your child's art work at school and have the picture framed. Not only will you save, you will have a unique picture that is not found on commercial home decor stores.

● Consider an extra cabinet or storage space inside your bedroom or den, they are areas that usually invite clutter. It is important to always have your room neat and clutter free.

● Use warm flooring on bedroom floors like wood and carpet. Don't use ceramic tiles, marble or granite on bedroom floors. It is not pleasant to get out of bed in the morning and step on a cold floor. If a cold flooring material is already installed, put an area rug beside the bed.

● If you can, use the same fabric, design and color of the bedcovers as with the curtains. The room will have that "Interior Designed" look.

● If your room is small, use mirrors on the walls. It gives the room an illusion of space (If you are a Feng Shui believer, see the tips on mirrors).

● For bedrooms and specially dens, put an exhaust fan on the ceiling or wall farthest from the window. It will suck-in the cold air outside and keep the air inside the room fresh and cool. This can even save you electricity bills by not using your air conditioner during cool months.

● Some of us wants our bedrooms to be dark even late in the day specially when we sleep late. Thus some of us put up very dark curtains. Deep colored curtains against a light colored wall comes very strong. It is better to have your walls a shade darker and the curtain a little lighter to lessen the contrast. An alternative is to use two layered curtains instead one that is very dark.

● Aside from the typical center light on the middle of the ceiling, use lampshades, pin lights and up lights for mood lighting. These type of lighting gives dark and light patterns of light in the room.

● 1/3 of you life is spent on your bed. Invest in a good mattress, pillows and cotton or linen sheets -they absorb perspiration better.

● The bedroom is your private space, among all rooms in your home, your bedroom's look and atmosphere should be the most relaxing and reflective of your personal taste and style.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Feng Shui Tips for Renovating and Remodeling

Are you thinking of renovating or remodeling your home? If you do, I strongly suggest you look into feng shui for remodeling and renovating and take some time to assure the success of your renovation by applying feng shui principles. Think how this renovation will change the flow of energy in your home and employ feng shui to achieve the best results for you and your family.

Feng Shui knowledge is about your connection to your immediate environment and its influence on your health, well-being and overall quality of your life, thus, feng shui for renovating and remodeling should be high on your list of priorities when planning to remodel. If you are renovating because your family is growing, here are some feng shui tips to consider:

Allow for a balanced space for each family member, i.e. if you need two additional bedrooms for your growing family, create bedrooms that are somewhat similar in size, versus a bigger and a smaller one. You want you children to feel equally loved and taken care of, versus fighting who has the bigger bedroom and why.

With all the importance we place on the kitchen as the heart of the house and the area strongly connected to abundance, you do not want to change the flow in a way that you see the kitchen right as you come home, or right from your bedroom, as this is not good feng shui.

Do not overlook the importance of lighting, especially in areas where there is little natural light, do discuss and plan the lighting options in advance with your architect or contractor to be sure your needs are covered.

Familiarize yourself with the basics of the Ba-Gua, or the energy map of your space, as well as the interaction of the five elements, to be sure you have a good foundation for the energy flow in your space. For example, let's say you are adding to the South area of your House and you are selecting materials and colors, etc. Knowing that South is connected to the element of Fire, you will avoid selecting materials with a predominant black or blue color scheme, as these are Water element colors, and Water puts down the Fire, thus these colors will weaken the energy in the South area of your space.
Keep exploring feng shui; start with the basics and then move on to more complex levels. The decision to apply feng shui knowledge in your life might be one of the best decisions you ever made for your own happiness and well-being.