These days, more and more people are taking the bold step of doing at least part of their job at home. A 30-second commute has a lot of appeal, but increasingly, people are opting to work at home in order to create a more humane schedule that allows for more flexibility to attend to family joys and responsibilities. As anyone who has been down this road can tell you, however, working at home has its down side as well. By planning wisely and upgrading appropriately, you can make your home office an excellent work environment where you will be comfortable as well as motivated.
Home Offices that Fit Your Lifestyle and Work Habits
Many people prefer to locate their offices away from the rest of their living space. Attics, basements, and rooms over detached garages are ideal places to locate your residential office. Parents, however, may be in the unenviable position of needing to work in their office while monitoring the kids. Moreover, not all home offices are for at-home employment. Many people use office spaces for writing, reading, musical composition, etc. Hiring an interior designer with specific experience with
Landscaping is a great way to add some curb appeal to your home, thereby increasing its overall value. When sprucing up your yard, there are some essentials to keep in mind. You should always install a patio, put in some native plants, and an irrigation system is never a bad idea. But it never hurts to give your exterior a dramatic makeover, and sometimes a flowerbed or garden just isn’t enough. If you have a green thumb and like to spend time in your yard, then a new water feature may be just the thing to add some life to your landscape. Here are 5 basic steps that will prepare you to make the right decision.
Step #1: Sound Selection
First off, what is your intention? Do you want a tranquil pond that will soothe away your worries? A zen-like garden pond or a bubbling brook? Or do you want something a bit more theatrical, such as a splashing waterfall or flowing fountain? Answering these questions will help you determine the size and power of your water feature. Creating a raging river in your backyard will take up more
Trundle beds bring back memories of childhood for most people. Some children’s rooms had bunk beds, others had trundle beds, and for the rest, the guest or little brother slept wherever you could find space. Trundle beds are a terrific alternative to both bunk beds and forced guest rooms (you’d rather have a den, right?), and they are no longer just for small children.
History and Use
Trundle beds, also called truckle beds, are stacked beds. One bed is raised, and the other rolls underneath. They are named for this very feature, for the trundles, or casters, that are attached to the feet of the lower bed so that they can be rolled out when needed. The beds originally were designed for servants, actually, who slept next to their employer to be close at hand. Although you might consider holding onto that bit of information when your child’s friend or younger brother are using it.
A Wide Variety of Trundle Bed Models
Originally, trundle beds were small—the top bed was a twin, the bottom was slightly smaller. For this reason, they tended to take the place of a twin set in a small room for a pair of brothers or sisters.
With the large amount of electrical equipment found in the modern home, it’s no wonder that electrical upgrades are becoming more common. Handling the electrical needs of today’s homeowner is no small task, and to keep everything running smoothly, new electrical wiring is often a necessity, especially in homes built many decades ago. If you are considering an electrical upgrade for your home, there are a few things you should be aware of; an electrical wiring project is no small task, and the more you know about what’s available, the better you’ll be able to communicate to your contractor what you expect from the job and how much it will cost.
Planning an Electrical Wiring Project
A large electrical wiring project adds a considerable load to your main electrical service. In about 25 percent of all homes, some type of service upgrade is needed before new wiring can be installed. For example, many homeowners will need to replace an older 60-amp electrical service with a new service rated for 100 amps or more. A licensed electrician is needed for a job like this.
Careful planning of a wiring project ensures that you will have plenty of power for present and future needs.
Too many people needlessly come home from work and have to leave their car in the driveway because they’re using their garage as a receptacle for clutter. Nobody has a lot of extra time on their hands and to imagine trying to find a place for those piles of things can be overwhelming. Yet, you probably still find yourself planning on doing something about it because you can imagine how nicer the exterior of the house would look without the car blocking the view, you can imagine what it would be like to protect your car from the harmful weather, or you can imagine giving house guests an extra way in or out of the house without being embarrassed by the clutter. Instead of using your garage for storage, the answer you’re looking for may very well be as simple as building garage cabinets.
Garage Storage Cabinets
Garage storage cabinets are a convenient way to begin to organize your garage clutter. Coming in all shapes and sizes for different prices to install, garage storage cabinets can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Placing your cabinets off the floor provide several benefits including less susceptibility to the trapped moisture of
Seattle might just be the retaining wall capital of the United States. If you’ve ever toured the Seattle Underground or know about the city’s history, you know simply building the city took quite a bit of architectural innovation. Sixty major re-grading projects took place before the turn of the 20th century that included moving 50 million tons of Earth, generally by lopping off the tops of hills and throwing it into low-lying areas or Puget Sound itself. Still, you can’t just throw dirt around and expect it to stay. Retaining walls are the stone and/or concrete barriers that keep downtown Seattle and other low-lying areas from eroding and collapsing into Puget Sound.
Retaining Walls for Seattle Homes
Commercial and civic retaining walls may maintain the largest alteration to an urban terrain in history, but you don’t need to renovate the Columbia Center or own a lakeside home to need the services of a retaining wall in Seattle. The seven (or so) hills of Seattle create a number of different residential slopes that can create structural hazards and make various landscaping features impossible. A little re-grading of your own can fix that, and installing a retaining wall is often an integral part
When people hear the words “desert landscaping” they immediately imagine cacti, driftwood, tumbleweeds, and a bunch of concrete. This is called zero-scaping, and though it is certainly an option that requires no maintenance, it is also a bit of a downer because there’s no personality to it. Just because you live in a dry climate and want to conserve water doesn’t mean your yard can’t be full of life. You want to embrace your natural setting while still retaining some color and foliage along the way.
Therefore, xeriscaping has become a very popular choice among homeowners. It literally translates from Greek as “dry scene” (xero-scape), and it helps to conserve water and energy by allowing a yard to match its natural landscape and climate. Why live in the desert and try to make your lawn look like a forest? Instead, embrace and showcase the setting.
Less Maintenance, More Savings
Though water conservation is one of the main benefits of xeriscaping, a lot of financial advantages can be reaped from this landscape as well. One of the biggest reasons to invest in “dry design” is not only because it is environmentally sound and aesthetically pleasing, but it also brings you big savings. You
Forgo that summer vacation in favor of a retreat you can use right in your own backyard. Decks, patios, landscaping and gardens, and swimming pools and hot tubs can provide a daily relaxing escape from your everyday routines for years to come.
1. Decks: Outdoor Living
Decks have become an extremely popular, low-cost way to add living space to a home. They not only make it convenient to enjoy sitting outside day or night, they also open up the home and facilitate entertaining and outdoor dining.
Outdoor rooms are becoming very popular, in fact, and not just in warm weather climates. Homeowners are remodeling their decks and patios into small- and full-scale outdoor kitchens, dining and entertaining areas.
Even with a small budget you can create an enjoyable outdoor room for dining and entertaining. There are three basics to any outdoor kitchen: grilling area, food prep area and sink and, of course, dining area. Unless you have an extravagant budget to work with, the grill is a good basis for most outdoor kitchens.
But, before you can even begin cooking you will want to have a food preparation area. For many homeowners, a simple counter space will suffice for this. Another basic necessity for
The air in our homes is riddled with airborne contaminants. Things like carpeting, wood finishes, and glues and adhesives, all emit small amounts of potentially dangerous chemicals into the air. Paint, unfortunately, is one of the top contributors of this type of indoor air pollution, and can emit contaminants for years after application. Fortunately, there is a new generation of paints that are low VOC, no VOC, or all natural, and that reduce the indoor pollution from your interior paint to almost nothing.
What’s a VOC?
Close your eyes and try to conjure up that “new paint smell.” Got it? What you’re smelling are VOCs. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound, and refers any of the compounds traditionally added to paint to enhance the paint’s color, spreadability, adhesiveness, and resistance to fungus and insects. Unfortunately, many of these compounds are released into the air at room temperature, polluting your indoor air and causing major problems for those with chemical sensitivities, allergies, and respiratory illnesses. While VOCs used to be necessary to make paint, new technology has rendered them less and less essential. The result is the next generation of painting products.
All-Natural, No VOC, and Low VOC Paint
As the paint
Whether interior or exterior, painting projects are one home improvement task that nearly every homeowner is, at some point, tempted to tackle. Do-it-yourself painting is something many first-timers are more than willing to attempt; however, those who have tried and were disappointed either with the aesthetic or financial results are often more than happy to leave this job to the professionals. There are many things to consider before you decide whether your particular exterior or interior painting project is worth spending money as a professional or DIY investment. Here are a few pointers that may make your options a little clearer.
Advice for Interior Painting Projects
Of the two, interior painting projects are easily the better option for do-it-yourselfers. Since interior painting is not subjected to the elements (or the eyes of passersby), there is a lot more leeway. There are several ways to make DIY interior painting more successful and get closer to professional results, including researching your paint choice, proper wall preparation, understanding good taping techniques and purchasing or renting a professional grade paint sprayer. Before you go it alone, get estimates from a few different contractors and compare them to the hours and material expenses of doing it yourself.
Few additions transform the interior of your home more than a new coat of paint. Interior paint adds variety, color, and a touch of your personality to any room. Different interior paint colors can also be a great design tool, making larger rooms feel cozier and smaller rooms feel more spacious. Here’s a few tips when it comes to choosing paint for inside your home, so that you can feel confident you’re making the right paint decisions for your interior spaces.
Overwhelmed by the Options?
Most homeowners do feel overwhelmed when it comes to choosing paint for the interior spaces of their home. It’s understandable, since there are literally thousands of colors to choose from. First and foremost, look for colors that are pleasing to you. Check your closet and take a long look at your wardrobe. The colors you see there are the ones you feel most comfortable in, and which best reflect your personality. Determining a baseline is always a good place to start, and makes for a great jumping off point when you pick up the color wheel at your local hardware store.
Think Design when Choosing Interior Paint
Besides choosing a color that reflects you, you also want
Flooding is one of the most common types of natural disasters to strike homes in America. It may be caused by heavy rains, storm surges or tidal waves caused by larger events out at sea. While in some cases, homeowners may be able to defend their property from the resulting water damage, but in others, it is unavoidable. In the event that a home is damaged by a flood, it’s necessary to clean and repair parts of the home that have been affected. These parts include the basement, furniture, appliances, the ceilings, walls and the floors.
In a flooded home, the basement is likely to be one of the first areas hit and the most heavily in need of cleaning. If there are windows in the basement, open them up to let fresh air in. If there are no windows, place fans in the basement to help the air circulate. Fans can also be used to help the room dry quickly. Turn off the electricity before entering and take a flashlight if needed. Remove any standing water from the area using a sump pump; ideally, one that is not gas-powered.
Once the water has been removed, the homeowner will need to shovel
Home electricity prices aren’t coming down, and knowing that, many folks are making the switch to solar. The good news: It’s cheaper and easier than ever before.
Solar sales and usage have soared over the last few years, as the price of panels has dropped significantly. With cheaper panels and a key federal tax break, the U.S. solar industry grew by 34 percent in 2014 alone.
INCENTIVES FOR GOING SOLAR
The typical home solar panel installation costs from $15,000 to around $40,000. The panels and operating system comprise half of the cost, while the rest comes from labor, permits, inspections and operational expenses.
Out-of-pocket costs drop significantly when you factor in the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which knocks 30 percent off solar installations for residential and commercial properties.
Expenditures decrease even further with various state and local incentives, which differ widely, depending on where you live. Louisiana has one of the more dramatic examples, with a 50 percent state tax credit up to $12,500. So on a $25,000 installation, a resident of Louisiana can save a whopping $20,000 by combining the federal and state tax credits.
As for maintenance, since solar panels are typically made of tempered glass, they can take a beating from wind