How Home Designers Improve Your Quality of Life

When looking to increase the comfort of their lives, lots of people make upgrade’s to their cars, furniture, and other small amenities, but most people write off making a change to their house because they believe it will be too expensive or it just doesn’t cross their mind. However, getting a designer home, whether it be a new purchase or remodeling their current residence, is one of the biggest ways to help add a feeling of luxury to a place and increase overall happiness. While it may seem like a daunting investment to make a permanent change to your household, it is one of the most satisfying ways to improve your outlook and well-being.

A designer home is unique from other manufactured housing in the sense that it is designed with your own individual tastes in mind all along the way from conception. While other homes are built to appeal to the lowest common denominator, a designer home is built only with your preferences in mind, helping to create a dream house factor to it. By having a residency that is tailored to your own desires it makes a feeling of a domain that belongs only to you and creates a sense of beauty that is made individually.

This level of splendour is not only a status symbol but also helps to increase the automation in your day to day life. By having a house tailored to your every need, it creates a sense of everything being in the right place which will help to create a better sense of organization as you go about your routine. While other homes may be designed with rooms in a layout you personally find unintelligible, a designer house can be laid out in a way that fits your usage and lifestyle.

Since a designer home is able to be built with your best interests at heart, the level of craftsmanship throughout the project is able to be much higher than other prebuilt homes. With a greater level of care being put throughout the whole project, fewer corners will be cut creating a much more durable household that is able to withstand a lifetime of use. While it would be impossible to entirely remove the element of repairs from the home owning process, due to the higher grade of work placed into the project, the need to fix faulty craftsmanship is nearly entirely removed, lessening the stress of the home owning experience.

For people looking to increase the quality of their lives, the hunt for what to improve may be closer to home then they think. By making the transition to a designer household, you will notice an increased level of comfort and care that makes every day inside your house feel like a luxury.

7 Home Improvement Tips For This Winter

The winter is approaching, and you need to be ready for it. You need to get your home ready for the cold season, which is important if you want to make your home energy efficient and comfortable. Check out the following home improvement tips that will make a difference this winter.

Go For an Energy Audit

You can hire a certified professional to get your home rated. The energy rater will conducted an “audit” and test your residence for possible energy losses and other safety issues. Based on the detailed report he will give you, you can make important repairs and make your home more energy efficient.

The professional will also give you some tips to address the common issues with your home. You can then take necessary steps to solve the issues.

Seal The Walls

The seals in the walls allow the air in, which causes fluctuations in the temperature inside your house. You can make a plan and use a tube of caulk to address the problem areas. Aside from this, you should seal the areas where you can find electric boxes on the drywall. Make sure all the tiny holes on the backside of the boxes are sealed.

Seal The Can Lights

Air leaks can occur in the ceiling as well, especially the area on the ceiling where the recessed lights are located. Some can lights are vented so that they don’t get overheated due to the light bulb. What you need to do is remove the can and then seal the perimeter of the can with quality caulk. In the same way, the internal area of the can should be sealed with aluminum tapeto or caulk.

Fill The Insulation Gaps

To find insulation gaps, you should check the outside faucets and air vents for big gaps. These gaps will allow the air to escape from the room in winter. You can use expanding foam to seal these holes.

Your Heating System

Before the arrival of winter, you can get your furnace tuned up. According to experts, the energy costs of an average house are affected by the heating. If your boiler system or furnace is inefficient, your heating bills may rise. Make sure you buy a quality filter.

You can replace the filter to make the boiler more efficient. While this may seem an unnecessary expenditure, it will pay back down the road.

Check Your Windows

Your windows should be suitable for the climate of your home. For instance, if you live in an area where it’s very cold in winter, you may want to invest in windows that feature double-paned insulated glass.

Buy a Smart Thermostat

You can consider installing a smart thermostat. Some advanced models can be operated with a smartphone as well. Programmable thermostats are available in different designs and price levels. These devices allow you to enhance the energy efficiency of your home.

So, you can use these 7 tips for home improvement before the arrival of next winter season. This way you can save some real cash on your heating bills.

Top 7 Home Improvement Tips You Should Know

Do you have a condo or an apartment? If you have one, you need some home improvement tips. These tips will help you maintain your home or apartment saving you some real cash in the long run. Aside from this, it will also increase the value of your home. Read on some of our tips for improving your home.

Tackle the Important Projects

Some home repair projects are urgent. If you do them in time, you can prevent a lot of damage. But if you ignore these projects, you may end up paying a huge sum to fix the damages later on. Therefore, don’t wait for the winter to approach and get these projects done as soon as possible.

Consider Professionals

Even if you love doing DIY projects, not all home repair projects should be done by you. Some repair jobs are better left to professionals. You have to be in your limits. If you are a beginner, you should start small. If a project needs the expertise of a professional, hire a professional.

Hone Your Skills

Whether you are going to work on a small or big project, you can learn some good home repair skills. You can make use of some good resources and start off from some projects. With the passage of time, you will be able to handle bigger tasks as well.

Find Inspiration

If you want inspiration for your home repair tasks, you can head to Pinterest. Over there you can find a lot of profiles showcasing project photos along with cost estimates. This will give you a pretty good idea of how you should go about handling these chores.

Get the Tools

You can’t do all your home improvement tasks with your hands. You need to have some essential tools at your disposal. They will help you with both minor and major tasks. For instance, for plumbing jobs, you need some essential plumbing tools in your tool box. So, you should invest in some common repair tools.

Choose the Right Contractor

Finding a good contractor is as important as finding a good doctor. In other words, you may want to hire only a reliable contractor or handyman. Hiring an inexperienced professional can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.

Save Money

If you save money on one project, you can spend it on another. What you need to know is to decide on the project that you can save some cash on. For instance, you can spend a bit more on items that can’t be replaced so easily, such as your bathtub. On the other hand, you can spend a bit less on the faucet. Another good idea is to head for a reuse center to save some cash on appliances and other stuff.

So, if you follow these simple home repair tips, you can get the projects done more easily while saving some cash. Remember: never try to do a project that you know will cost you thousands of dollars if done the wrong way. In this case, you had better look for a good professional.

Top 8 Home Improvement Tips

When it comes to home improvement, you have a lot of things to do, such as upgrading fixtures, adding on your existing square footage and so and so forth. No matter what improvements you have on your mind, you can use the following tips throughout the process.

1) Look at the Condition of Your Home

First of all, you need to have a good idea of the existing condition of your home. This will help you come up with some bright ideas that you can implement. You can make a wish list by walking through your home.

2) Get inspiration

For inspiration, you can check out local magazines, color swatches and your local paint stores. Don’t just think that it is a waste of time. As a matter of fact, spending a good deal of time for planning is a great idea.

3) Set your budget

Don’t worry if you are on a budget. You can spend a few months in order to plan your budget and then set a budget. As a matter of fact, planning your budget ahead of time can save you a good deal of money.

4) Ask for help

You can make your home improvement project inexpensive and easier by asking your friends and family members for help. So, you should not waste your time and ask for help instead. You have no idea how helpful they can be for your project.

5) Seek out permits

If your project requires plumbing, electricity and structural that may include permits, you should get them ready beforehand. You can hire a general contractor if you have no idea what permits you need to get.

6) Be flexible

For instance, if you want to get your project completed in 2 months, you may want to be flexible and extend the deadline to a few more days. The same applies to the resources and budget as well. This will save you a lot of headache later on.

7) Talk to Your partner

In the start, you should talk to your partner about the project. Make sure he or she knows the roles they have to perform. Next, you should allow them to do what they want to do. You don’t have to assign duties. The fact of the matter is that this will take the pressure off of both of you.

8) Use safety precautions

Like any project, you have to use some safety precautions in order to make sure you and your home don’t get hurt or damaged. All you have to do is follow the instructional manuals on each tool you use throughout the project. Aside from this, you may want to use tutorials and advice from the rental store for help prior to starting the project.

So, we suggest that you follow these tips while planning your project and working on it. As a matter of fact, if you get inspiration and tips beforehand, working on the home improvement project will be a lot easier for you. All you have to do is bear patience and keep moving.

Planning Your New Staircase – 8 Great Tips

Although we tend to take them for granted, stairs can have a surprisingly big impact on the look and feel of our homes. An attractive, well-designed staircase can give the whole property a lift, adding instant appeal and even increasing its resale value. Shabby stairs, on the other hand, are likely to have the opposite effect.

But how do you go about planning for a new staircase? Follow these simple steps:

1. Measure the height

Before ordering your stairs, you need to determine how much space is available. Start by finding out the floor-to-floor height. This involves measuring from the top of the finished lower floor to the top of the finished upper floor. The term ‘finished floor’, by the way, refers to the surface you walk on and includes any floor covering such as carpet or laminate. Once the staircase manufacturer has this information, they can work out how many steps are needed to create well-proportioned stairs that comply with UK building regulations.

2. Measure the width

Having established the height, you now have to find out the width. This comprises the total measurement across the strings and steps combined. (Strings, also called stringers, are structural supporting boards running along each side of the staircase.) Unless you’re designing a house from scratch, the width of the stairs will be determined by the current space available.

If you have any choice, go for the widest steps that will fit. A broad staircase is safer, easier to use and more practical, particularly in large family homes. While there is no legal minimum width in the UK, the standard figure is 860mm, so try not to make your stairs narrower than that.

3. Straight or winding?

As for the layout of the staircase, a single straight flight of stairs is the easiest and most economical option, as long as you have enough floor space. L-shaped and U-shaped stairs that twist back on themselves are widely considered to look more attractive. However, they tend to be more complicated, and therefore more costly.

To create a turn in the staircase so it can change direction, you will need winder treads or a landing – or a combination of both. A winder is a kite-shaped or triangular tread which is used to create a turn in an otherwise straight staircase.

A landing is an intermediate platform set between floor levels to join flights of stairs together. It might consist of a quarter landing (the width of a single flight of stairs) which makes a 90 degree turn in the staircase, or a half landing (the width of two flights of stairs) which creates a turn of 180 degrees, giving a U shape.

4. Treads and risers – open or closed?

The steps are made up of treads – the part that you walk on – and risers – vertical boards that form the face of each step. Risers can be open (with gaps between the treads) or closed (encased with solid boards). Open risers are particularly popular in modern homes as they increase the flow of light. However, young children and elderly residents may find them a little challenging.

Many people like to add one or two feature steps at the foot of the stairs for extra impact. Various combinations are available, including single or double D end shapes and more softly rounded bullnose steps.

5. String style

The strings, or stringers, can be closed or open. A closed – also called solid – string runs up both sides of the staircase and completely envelops the treads and risers, concealing the edge of the stairs from view. An open, or cut, string has the upper edge machined away so that the outline of the steps is visible from the side. This style is more complex to make, and therefore more expensive, than a closed string design, but is widely considered more desirable.

6. New newels?

Newel posts are upright supports that anchor the handrails, treads and strings of the staircase, forming an essential part of its structure – so don’t rip them out unless absolutely necessary. They come in a variety of designs and may consist of a single post, known as a plain newel, or a shaped piece of timber (a newel turning) attached to a separate base. If you are only revamping your stairs rather than installing new ones, you would be wise to retain the existing posts and just change the newel caps for a fresh look.

7. How many spindles?

Spindles, or balusters, are the vertical supports that connect the handrail to the rest of the balustrade. As they are such a conspicuous feature they can have a huge influence over the look and feel of a staircase, so give your selection plenty of thought. You don’t necessarily have to stick to just one style of spindle – try mixing and matching two designs for something a bit different. Glass panels are also a great way of creating a light and airy feel.

As a general rule of thumb, you need two spindles per tread, or one where there is a newel post on a landing. Most stair manufacturers will be able to help you work out how many spindles or panels are required.

8. Handrail hints

Under UK rules your staircase needs a handrail on at least one side if it is narrower than 1m, and on both sides if it is wider than this. Many people prefer to fit one anyway, for ease of use. Most handrails run between the newel posts (known as a post-to-post system), but on some stairs you can choose to have them flowing over the tops of the posts (an over-the-post system). You may also want a wall-mounted handrail, particularly if you have children.

Staircase Design – Five Top Trends

Home interiors, like clothes, shoes and even cars, tend to evolve with the times as particular styles fall in and out of favour according to the fashion of the day. The same can be said, up to a point, of staircase design. Obviously, you can’t change your stairs as easily as your decor, so it’s important to pick the right style first time.

So what’s hot and what’s not in stair design at the moment? Here are five trends to look out for:

1. Glass

More than any other, this feature has seen a huge surge in popularity lately. Glazed stair balustrades are becoming increasingly sought-after as people look to maximise the feeling of light and space that they can bring to their surroundings. Although glass stair panels used to be mainly the preserve of modern homes, nowadays they are often used in traditional interiors to give a contemporary twist and boost the flow of natural light around the property.

Of course, you don’t have to stop at the balustrade. If you really want to make your neighbours jealous, you can have the treads and risers made from glass for a stunning 21st century effect.

2. Clean lines

The general consensus in the field of interior design at the moment seems to be that less is more. In my line of work I have noticed a recent shift away from decorative stair balustrades to simpler, cleaner shapes. While ornate turned spindles, newels and caps are still selling well, there has been greater interest in sleek, minimalistic designs such as square and stop-chamfered styles.

3. Curves

As manufacturing techniques have improved over the years, the demand for curved stairs has been gradually rising. These staircases need quite a bit of space but can provide a wonderful focal point. With their classic flowing lines, they are suitable for modern and traditional homes alike. Spiral stairs, too, are proving popular – especially with owners of smaller properties, and those looking for a secondary staircase. They can still look stunning, but don’t take up as much floor area.

4. Mix of materials

Another rising trend is blending different types of material together for an individual look, known as fusion (also popular with foodies!). When choosing a handrail you are probably best off sticking with timber, as this is the most comfortable material to grip. However, when it comes to the balustrade infill there is much more choice. As well as glass panels, you can experiment with spindles made from metal, wood or a combination of the two – and mix and match with glass if you want.

Metal spindles have become particularly popular lately, thanks to the wide variety of designs now available. Most are made from mild steel shaped to resemble wrought iron, which helps to keep both production costs and spindle weight to a minimum. You don’t have to stick to just one style of metal spindle, either. Alternating two different designs can be a great way to give your stairs an individual touch.

5. Storage

As the square footage in new homes has generally shrunk over recent years, storage space has become an important issue. It’s no surprise, then, that more home owners are asking for integral storage to help keep clutter out of sight. This can be achieved by fitting shelves or cupboards underneath the staircase, or even by incorporating drawers into the actual steps.

Building the Best Home Office for Freelancers

Freelancing is the new definition of grind in today’s modern workplace. Gone are the days when all the person can do is work in an office to make a living – today they can offer their services right at the comfort of their own home. However, there is more to working at home than meets the eye. As a designer, there is a need to really create the area to ensure that they are able to meet their business objectives and deliverables on a timely basis.

Here are some pitch ideas to win freelancer clients:

1. Create the overall look from the get go

The thing about freelancers is that they are more into getting the job done as usually, they are paid by the hour by a client from a different time zone. To maximize their time, always be ready with your visual pegs and plans. Using 3D rendering software can quickly make this happen and make the edits easier as well. For example, if they choose to go for another shade for the walls, you can both edit it on the spot to speed up the decision process. Remember, these people do not have time on their side.

2. Be clear when it comes to the budget

No matter how great the overall look is, there will still be a problem if the client cannot afford it. Discuss the design and the amount of money to help in getting there. From there, you can set expectations and already focus properly on the items that will really add value to the freelancer as far as the project is concerned.

3. Make it really conducive to working

Once the design and budget are out of the way, it’s time to talk productivity. Ask the client as to the nature of his business. Is the person a virtual assistant? Then it is important to make sure the person has easy access to calling implements. The internet connection should also be kept strong so there should never be barriers that should get in the way.

Is the person a writer? If so, the table and chair combination is important as well as the source of light. More so is the case if the freelancer is an artist since he or she will be spending a lot of time seated and the level of comfort or discomfort will have a big impact on their productivity. The lighting can also help the freelancer save on energy costs. Is there a way for air to come in naturally too? All these will play a big role in the ability of the freelancer to do his or her duties.

4. Think of the little things

When it comes to working at home, the little things really count. For example, putting a fridge or water dispenser nearby lessens the need for the person to go up to the kitchen just to be able to eat a few bites. Placing a lock too on the doors can ensure privacy or having sound proofing can help in keeping the atmosphere professional during calls.

Always think of the ways to make the design work for the client and it will be a sure win.

Quick Home Maintenance Tips

If you have been looking for some home improvement tips that won’t take more than a few minutes from your precious time, you are on the right page. This article is for you, especially if you are a busy homeowner. Read on.

Fixing a chair

Are you trying to fix an old chair? If so, we suggest drilling pilot holes and driving screws via the rungs bottom and into the chair legs.

Vinyl Door or Window

If your vinyl doors or windows don’t open properly, the channels may have accumulated gunk. At times, even clean doors and windows may bind. You may spray dry spray lubricant on the target areas and then use a rag to wipe it off. Using oil lubricants is not a good idea as they can catch dirt damaging the vinyl.

Repairing a Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff value is faulty, you can get it replaced. But if you can’t, you should go to the nearby hardware store to buy a good replacement washer. Remove the grit from the valve and fit the new washer. This will fix the problem.

Loose Showerhead

If you want to fix a problematic showerhead or a wobbly pipe, you can use some expanding foam. With the foam, you can encase the pipe and fix it. This will remove the wobble.

Use a Smoke Detector

If you don’t have enough time or money, you may want to cover the ceiling hole with a smoke detector. You don’t need to patch the hole.

Cabinet doors

If your cabinet doors don’t stay shut, all you have to do is use a magnetic door catch. You can also go for a roller-style one.

Squeaky Floors

If you want to repair a squeaky floor, use a stud finder to find the floor joists. Next, you can drive in a screw via a pad, carpet and the subfloor to reach the floor joist. Just make sure that the upper part of the screw has no threads. Ideally, you may want to use trim screws since they have bigger heads. If this is the case, you may want to pull up the screw and then tighten it again.

Remove Water Stains

Before repainting the ceiling, you may want to try out this trick. You can use a mixture of water and bleach and then wait for a few days. If the stain is old, you can try a mold and mildew product. The stain will be gone within 24 hours. This trick may work both on textured and flat ceilings.

Wallpaper Seams

To fix a wallpaper seam, you can soak a rag in lukewarm water and then apply the paste around the seam. You may want to hold the rag for a couple of minutes and then open the seam a bit for more space for the seam sealer. Put the liquid into the gap and then push the paper against the wall using a roller. Then you can use a sponge to remove the sealer.

So, these are some quick and easy home improvement tips.

8 Tips to Consider Before You Buy Plantation Shutters

If you want to buy plantation shutters, you may want to consult an experienced professional. They will help you buy the best plantation shutters to help you meet your needs. However, if you are going to purchase plantation shutters for the first time, you may want to consider the following tips.

1. The type of wood

Since poplar wood is light, straight, and smooth, it’s a great choice for plantation shutters. The average height of a poplar tree is 160 feet and the trunk can be as much as 80 feet in diameter. So, it’s a good idea to opt for this type of wood.

2. Poly or Wood

Most of clients go for wood shutters because of their advantages over the artificial material known as poly.

As far as strength goes, wood is stronger and lighter. So, wooden shutters can be up to 37 inches in width. So, you won’t need more than a few panels for the window openings. Aside from this, wood gives you a lot of other benefits as well.

3. Louver Size

The size of most of shutters is 3.5 louvers. But there is a rise in demand for louvers that measure 4.5 louvers due to sliding glass doors and bigger windows. Actually, people want modern interior design as well as openness.

4. Midrail

If you don’t know, midrail is a horizontal plank. Over the midrail, the louvers open and close without relying on the louvers that are under the midrail. Many buyers like midrails since they leave the upper section open to let more light in and leave the lower section shut for privacy reasons. Moreover, a midrail is an ideal choice should you have metal casings.

5. Vertical Tilt Bar

You will find shutters that feature “hidden tilt”. In this type of shutters, the frontal wooden tilt bar is missing. In its place, you can see a metal tilt bar, which is almost invisible. So, you can have more visibility and open space.

6. Sliding Glass Doors

As far as sliding glass doors is concerned, plantation shutters are an ideal choice. For a consistent feel and look, your house should have shutters. Actually, plantation shutters are fixed on a track to let the panels open without any hindrance.

7. Cost Of The Shutters

Usually, plantation shutters are sold by the square foot. However, by paying a bit more, you can benefit from other options, such as hidden tilt, stain finishes, and specialty shapes. You should be ready to spend a good deal of money to get the required shutters.

8. Procedure

Plantation shutters are also made to order. First of all, the sales representative will visit your house to measure the doors and windows to give you a proposal. Then the installers will do a detailed measurement. Once the product is made, it is handed over to the finishing department. In this department, the product is sanded, primed and painted. Finally, they are installed.

If you are going to buy plantation shutters, consider the tips given above.

The Important Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

If you are on the market for new home siding, it is no surprise that you are considering vinyl. Vinyl plastic exterior has been a long-time favorite for both residential and commercial properties, and for many reasons. Although there are a few drawbacks you need to think about, this material is almost always a safe investment. Continue reading to review some of the common pros and cons of vinyl siding.

Pros

Vinyl siding is mostly admired for its extreme versatility. It comes in a wide range of colors, styles, textures, and more, which makes customizing the look of your home an easy task. Aside from versatility, vinyl is very low maintenance. Caring for it is simple, and there is very little you need to do to make it last a long time. Furthermore, installation is quick and easy, and the cost comparison to other options on the market is very low. It is one of the most affordable choices for residential siding you can buy.

Here are some more pros to this versatile material:

  • Very durable;
  • Lasts between 30 and 40 years with good care;
  • Endless color options and schemes;
  • Very low maintenance;
  • Easy to clean and care for;
  • Insulated options increase energy efficiency;
  • Cheapest siding option on the market;

ConsThere are not many drawbacks to vinyl siding, however, there are a few attributes that are important for you to know in order to make an educated decision. For instance, it is not waterproof. Although it is water-resistant, poor installation can let water leak behind the panels and cause rot, mold, and mildew. Also, many homeowners have complained that the color option is too permanent with vinyl siding. Whatever color you choose, it will always be that color. That is because plastic exterior siding cannot be repainted like other siding materials.

Another common con to this material is the potential for the boards to warp, bend, or dent. This can happen from a string impact or extreme summer heat. Homeowners also complain that whole panels must be replaced because there is no patchwork in vinyl siding. Some additional common complaints about vinyl siding include:

  • 90% of homes have vinyl siding, so it’s not always the most unique;
  • Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and even high winds can rip panels off;
  • Faulty installation can lead to water leaks, rot, mold, and decay;
  • It can crack in extreme cold weather, and warp in hot weather;