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Category Archives: Home Improvement

Some Space for Kitchens and Bathrooms

• Purchase Miniature

For very small kitchens and bathrooms, they make smaller-than-the-standard 600mm wide appliances and vanities. They can be a godsend. Dishwashers in a 450mm version are manufactured by some European appliance manufacturers. If they will work for you, you can find two-burner models available in cook tops. This will save you a lot of valuable counter space. Storage-packed vanity units that are around 400mm or 500mm wide are available for your bathrooms, and they work well for extra storage. If needed, you can find the largest length of wall in your home and build a vanity the entire length of it to max out storage.

• Double Up

Look to see if you can find things that work as two different things such as: an oven that doubles as a conventional and a microwave, a shower over a small bath, or a bathroom mirror that’s also a storage cabinet. Fill each to capacity and get as much function into each space as possible. This way, you won’t be adding extra items that take up more room. It gives you more walking-around space.

• Use Corners Wisely

With the right appliance choices, you can take a corner and exploit it to add extra storage space or visual value to your home. They make kitchen sinks that are designed to go in corners. This will add desired counter space. You can also find wall-mounted corner mirrors that can double as cabinets. If you install Lazy Susans inside your corner cabinets, you can actually triple the amount you are able to store inside them.

Eco Friendly Materials

Houses which offer solutions to both financial and environmental problems have appealed the public interest. If you are also keen to show your integrity to this cause, you should plan to build or renovate your home with these eco-friendly materials and techniques. Today, there are several home designs available which are elegant and durable as well.

Major eco-friendly materials are discussed below. Remember! These materials are not only meeting high standards of quality, durability and beauty, but also they are cost effective.

Roofing with solar panels

Today, there are many eco-friendly roofing materials available in the market. The major choices are fiber-cement composite roofing, recycled wood and metal shingles- aluminum and copper. The installation of the solar panels in the roofs is very common now. Cheaper ways of installing these energy-efficient home additions can be found as well.

Modern replacement windows

NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) has established a rating system for the efficiency of window replacements. The idea of making such eco-friendly windows is specifically to avoid heat loss, glass condensation along with moist formation, block heat gain. These windows allow more light through the glass. Now these windows are obtainable from the market.

Wood Materials

Bamboo: In Asia, bamboo is most commonly used wood material in different areas of a house. The panels of bamboo are used in floors and walls. The houses made of bamboo are usually flexible that has the ability to hold out in different circumstances i.e. natural disasters. In Japan and Philippines, the traditional houses are completely made of bamboo. Therefore they have the resistance against frequent earthquakes and storms.

Other Wood Materials: Some other wood materials which are used for hardwood floors are coco lumber, rattan, narra and mango woods. These may last up to forty years if maintained properly. Furthermore, furniture items such as tables, chairs and bed frames are also made from this timber. One may feel himself contributing to deforestation, but there are certain rules and regulations about using, producing and sustaining these trees.

Tiles made by recycled aluminum, brass and glass

Tiles are commonly manufactured by these recycled materials. The difference in shapes, sizes, types, colors and designs gives different looks. Also, with different finishes like matte, polished, sandblasted, these tiles add the beauty of the house. Maintenance is also very easy. Normal dish cleaner and water is required for cleaning. Three dimensional glass tiles are also available in the market with different finishes like matte or glossy. For cleaning purpose, any regular glass cleaner may be applied.

Drawing Up Home Floor Plans

If the floor plans are being made by a specialist such as an architect or engineer, the homeowner has the advantage of experience and expertise on his side. However, no one knows the needs of a home better than the homeowner and a customized design can be put together by the individual concerned.

There are plenty of tips and suggestions to prepare customized floor plans. But some of the very basic and essential ones should include –

• Choosing a floor plan that reflects the lifestyle of the occupants – family size and age of the occupants is an important factor. Families with young children will prefer to have the living spaces grouped together in one area to have greater privacy and security; on the other hand, teenagers are won’t to need separate bedrooms to have their own privacy. Any home floor plan should start with these basics.

• Formal or informal spaces – if the homeowner is the kind of person who has to entertain constantly, formal spaces become a necessity. A spacious foyer with direct access to the formal living and dining areas and the outdoor areas beyond is a nice design. If there is sufficient space, formal and informal areas can be designed and separated so that one does not intrude into the other, this way a family with younger children can entertain guests as well as retain their privacy.

• Single storey or multiple floors – some people like to have a luxurious spread out home on one level while some may like to keep bedrooms on a different level altogether. Besides, a double storey home offers more views of the outside at different angles better than a single storey home.

• Functionality of space – if there is an elderly person or invalid at home with requirement for extra space or young children who need more space around the house, these requirements should be factored in. Making provision for family changes while drawing up floor plans is advantageous even if the requirement is not immediate as future alterations and additions may not be possible always.

• How much outdoor is good – every home floor plan will include an outdoor area, perhaps an open porch, a swimming pool, a garden umbrella with seating etc. Making an assessment of how much time will be spent in these areas should be considered before making the plans. Imagine a swimming pool that is never used and looks unkempt and unclean! Outdoors need a lot of maintenance.

Save Space in Home

Utility Room:

Struggling to dry clothes during the winter months? Considering a tumble dryer but concerned that you do not have the space in your utility room? Did you know there are steps you can take to ensure you’re able to benefit from the drying power of a tumble dryer without losing valuable space?

One of the best ways to utilise the space when bringing a tumble dryer into the home is to stack it on top of the washing machine. To do this we recommend using a stacking kit.

NB: Failure to use a stacking kit has the potential to cause accidents, such as the top appliance falling over when the door is pulled open.

Universal stacking kits are quick and easy to install, enabling you to safely and securely stack your tumble dryer on top of your washing machine. The majority of stacking kits are suitable to be used with appliances which are 60cm by 60cm, although we recommend checking the dimensions before purchasing.

Along with enabling you to securely stack your tumble dryer on top of your washing machine, the Wpro Universal Stacking Kit can be purchased with a slide out shelf, making it easier for you to unload your laundry from your washing machine and into your tumble dryer.

Kitchen:

During the festive period, there’s a good chance you’ll have struggled for space in your fridge. Depending on the size of your household, you may also struggle for space following a big shop.

In such situations, instead of attempting to cram stuff into the fridge, consider purchasing a universal wine rack shelf. This will enable you to chill your wine bottles, without taking up valuable shelf space, which can be used for other food.

There are a number of wine rack shelves available for your fridge, ranging from the Electrolux Universal Bottle and Wine Rack Shelf, which simply slides onto one of your existing fridge shelves and can hold up to three bottles of wine

If you’re after a shelf which can hold more bottles, consider the Samsung universal wine rack. This again, slides onto existing fridge shelves and can hold up to four bottles of wine, freeing up vital space within your fridge.

You can further free space within your kitchen, by mounting your microwave on the wall, instead of having it sitting on the worktop; with the aid of Wellco’s microwave oven wall bracket. These particular brackets are easy to install, and can support a maximum load of 20kg; making them suitable not only for microwaves but other small kitchen appliances too.

Lounge:

As televisions get bigger, finding a suitable TV unit which fits in with your decor can often be difficult. It can also be hard to find a TV unit which doesn’t take up too much space. For those who are concerned about the space available and how they’ll fit their TV of choice in, wall mounted brackets may be the ideal solution.

Suitable for 25 inch television sets through to sets which exceed 60 inches, a TV wall bracket will help you save space in your lounge, or bedroom, by allowing you to secure your TV to the wall, without ruining the decor.

Types Of House Plans

Hearth Plan

It’s almost similar to the cranberry plan, but with a few modifications. The modifications include:

Larger, more modern picture window with traditional panes

An overhand multi-level roof that is similar to a western bungalow

A built-in flower box that is mainly made for ornamental purposes

An elevated roof that has an American bungalow design. This makes it possible for you to expand the second-floor.

Full Pleasure Plan

Although, it’s an early American design, it’s very common in the modern world. The plan is characterized by a rectangular shape that comes with a garage addition. It also has double-hung windows, shingle, center hall floor, and a roof that is a steep pitch.

Tradition Plan

The traditional plan has a number of features that are similar to those found in colonial homes from the American south. The homes have a rectangular shape, steep pitch, and a center hall floor plan.

To make the plan modern there have been a number of modifications such as: front dormers, large picture window, imposing chimney and a fireplace that has been integrated into the exterior wall. These houses are designed to be constructed using bricks.

Jewel Plan

Many architects say that this plan has many unusual features. For example, it has a front door that is placed slightly off-center. The plan also has a larger, more modern picture window that comes with a glass block trim. There is also siding that includes stones, shingles and vertical panels.

Select Architects For House Plans

It’s good to start with phone interviews. When doing the interview you should remember that architects are highly paid professionals; therefore, you shouldn’t waste a lot of the professional’s time.

To be on the safe side you should have a list of questions that you would like to ask. A good architect will take his/her time to answer your questions. You should ask questions on experience, design principles, and anything else that you feel necessary.

After doing the phone interview, you should narrow down your list to three or five top candidates who answered your questions correctly. You should then schedule time to meet in person. When you meet, you should ask more questions that touch on services offered, design principles, fees charged and insurance.

To save money, you should work with an architect who offers a full range of services. For example, he should offer schematic design, bid assistance, construction documents, design development, and construction administration.

When it comes to the fees charged, it’s good to note that some architects charge an hourly rate while others have a fixed charge. If the professional charges an hourly rate, you should find out if there is a maximum guaranteed cost.

Home Additions to Modify Living Space

Spending Less for More

The expense of finding a larger house and moving can be significant. In the long run, it’s likely that expanding your existing living space will cost less than it would to move to a new house. In many cases, you can increase your overall quality of living with a renovation project for less money than you would spend to find a larger residence.

Designing the Space Yourself

You probably know exactly what you need and want in your improvement project. While you could search to find this in a new house, renovating your existing space can enable you to design the space you want to make it fit your needs exactly. Go ahead and add the storage or the skylights you have been craving. Home additions give you creative freedom to design exactly the room or rooms you want for your house.

Adding Luxury

Perhaps you’re looking to increase the luxury space in your surroundings. A renovation project can be the perfect way to make this happen. Remodel the space to create a luxury bathroom with all the expensive amenities that you’ve been dreaming about, such as whirlpool baths and designer features. A walk-in closet and his-and-her dressing rooms might be just the luxury that you’d like to add to your master bedroom. Perhaps a theater for the family is what everyone has been yearning to have. Renovating to add luxury can be an exciting project.

Avoiding the Hassle of Moving

The actual process of packing, moving, and unpacking appeals to few people. To avoid this upheaval and expense, choose to renovate instead. While you may have a short period with contractors in and around your home, the overall hassle of remodeling pales in comparison to moving your entire family to a new residence.

Natural Stone Cladding

Stone claddings help you access luxury at lesser cost and keep up with the times. Here are some advantages that go along with these revamping materials.

Protection from weather

Constructions made of concrete are vulnerable to the action of environmental agents such water, heat, and microorganisms. Covering the walls using stone veneers shields your wall from degrading agents and makes it look exquisite.

Beautify walls affordable

Numerous color combinations and features make stone veneers the attractive choices for homes. Stone wall clads are an inexpensive way to give your walls, the most beautiful revamp.

Heat resistance

Natural stones absorb radiation and release them gradually, keeping the room temperature constant, helping you avoid dependence on room heaters. When used outdoors, they resist temperature well and remain strong for years.

Non-porous

Stone cladding are non-porous materials which protect your walls against attacks of environmental agents, thus enhancing the life of your walls.

Man-made

Stone cladding are composites of stone pieces glued together as tiles. Stone claddings can also be man-made, usually of concrete, resembling the looks of materials such as wood, stones, ceramic, etc.

Easy customizable

Unlike stone, tiles are easier to cut and customize, saving you of troubles of heavy cutting work.

Light on walls

Stone tiles are heavy and many times not viable options for old buildings. In earthquake prone zones they are not advisable the construction becomes vulnerable to damage and are lighter with look good as well.

House Styles

Contemporary

They were popular between 1950 and 1970 and they feature tall windows that allow plenty of light in. This aids in saving you energy bills as you don’t have to warm the house or light the bulbs.

There are some architects that design contemporary houses made from recycled non-toxic materials. There are others that are a mix of different materials such as stone, brick and wood.

Colonial home

It originated in the 1600s and is characterised by evenly shuttered windows, chimneys, dormers, and columns. The windows are usually double-hung and have small, equally sized square panes.

While the style can be found in every part of the world, it’s very common in the East coast, Midwest and Deep South America.

There are many variations of the colonial style. The most common variations being: Dutch, Georgian, and Federal. Each style is unique and you should work with your architect to come up with a design that is right for you.

French provincial

The style is inspired by the estates of the French countryside and it became popular during the First World War.

There are many modern styles that are adopting many features from this style. For example, there are many modern styles that come with steep roofs and symmetrical proportions.

Mediterranean

The style became extremely popular in 1918-1940. The homes have a hacienda style where the roofs are made from red tiles and the surfaces are plastered.

The style is very popular with the rich and there are many modern styles inspired by it. The original features such as balconies, patios, red tiles and heavy wooden doors are still found in the modern styles.

Eco-Friendly House Design

Doors and windows

The door provides light and also allows warm air to escape thus leaving your house smelling fresh. You should go for a large front door without windows. As rule of thumb the door should be made from eco-friendly wood or any other material.

When it comes to windows, you should go energy star-rated windows that are ideal for your climate zone. You should install the windows in an angle allowing maximum light to enter the house.

To allow more light you should install glass panels at the base. For the windows to admit breezes they should have glass panels at the base. Breezes bring in cool air thus eliminating the need for air-conditioning. This in turn saves you a lot of money.

Insulation

Insulation prevents heat and air from escaping the house thus you don’t need to heat the house. For ideal results you should hire a professional contractor to install the insulation.

Roofing

There are many roofing materials that you can use, but only a few make your house eco-friendly. You should install roofing materials made from recycled resources. One of the best options to go with is aluminium metal.

The cool thing with this material is that it’s heat-resistant and reusable. Another option that you can go with is bamboo roofing. In addition to being renewable, it’s also sustainable.

Solar panels

Solar energy is clean, renewable and cheap thus saving you a lot of money over the long run. You can use solar energy in different areas including water heating and lighting. You should note that different solar panels work best at different geographical locations; therefore, you should research and find the best panels to use in your area.