Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Kitchen remodeling 101: Making the space your own

Here are five creative, thrifty and helpful tips from Summer Baltzer, interior designer and former host of HGTV's Design on a Dime, to send you well on your way to a kitchen design that not only looks great in the long term, but also reflects you.

Tip one: Know your style.

Design your kitchen around colors and objects that make you feel great. This is the room you probably spend most of your time in whether you're cooking, entertaining or just doing homework with the kids. Loving the look is important. Make your design meaningful and something you'll want to see every day. Look for inspiration from a pottery collection, a piece of artwork, or even the food you love.

Tip two: Get creative on a budget.

A great way to save money is to repurpose found items for your accents where you can. Frame pictures from favorite recipes, use inexpensive flower pots or mason jars to store utensils and cutlery, repurpose an old console table as a center island. You might even want to spray-paint the old dining table and give it a new life. Look for salvaged floors, pallets or pottery to create new furniture pieces or accents. This approach not only saves you money, but also makes your kitchen enviably unique.

Tip three: Develop your vision.

Keep your ideas on track by collecting loose drawings; they can become your own personal design board. They don't have to be professional or even exactly like the finished product - just enough to make your point and start to envision what the finished product will look like. Seeing your ideas come together before taking a sledgehammer to your old tile not only gets you excited about your project, but can also save you from making design decisions that don't fit your vision. If you're hiring a professional, plans for the kitchen should be included in the cost. Make sure that they fit your vision and that you're getting everything you need from your new space before demo and installation begin.

Tip four: Create timeless beauty.

When focusing on your large installed items, don't just concentrate on what's popular now. Instead, take a look at the items that have been relevant for more than a decade. If you're designing a kitchen for a home you plan on living in for the next 20 years, by all means, go crazy and embrace colors and patterns that make you happy. But if you don't plan on staying there forever, give yourself room to grow. Look to classic color combinations like white, black or gray cabinets; stone countertops with white or walnut cabinets; or butcher block with just about any cabinet color you can imagine. Wilsonart's Calcutta Marble and new Old Mill Oak and Truss Maple are affordable laminate options that look real but are made from recycled wood fibers. They have finishes that withstand daily wear and tear, and are a fraction of the cost of traditional stone countertops. Look to lasting styles and materials, rather than what's simply trendy at the moment, to create a timelessly beautiful kitchen. Learn more at www.wilsonart.com.

Tip five: Start with simplicity.

Keep the lines of your installed, more permanent items clean and simple. To add style and versatility, get creative with your accents. For instance, try going Shaker with your cabinets. Traditional cup pull handles will move them in a more classic and traditional direction and linear pull handles will take you down a modern road. By keeping your appliances and more permanent items simple, and using your accents to create a sense of style, you'll open up tons of design doors for yourself, creating a kitchen that transitions easily, keeps up with your style and has staying power.

With this timeless know-how and creative inspiration, you're ready to create a kitchen you'll love both now and a decade down the road.

What lies beneath your dream home? New homeowners skip sewer line inspections

A sewer line inspection is not included in the standard home inspection and is regularly waived in the purchasing process. Additionally, many buyers do not know that responsibility for the condition of the lateral sewer line leading from the street to the home lies with the homeowner, not a municipality. Buyers should reconsider including this important step before they sign a deal.
If a problem occurs, a sewer line replacement costs at least $4,500, but prices vary widely and costs increase dramatically by region, depending on depth and length of the underground pipes and if street repairs become part of the issue.
Experts at Roto-Rooter, North America's largest provider of plumbing repair and drain cleaning services, encounter this scenario far too often. Consumers, who just signed the dotted line on their dream home, soon find that they're trapped in an expensive plumbing nightmare.
"Just a couple of years after purchasing our home, we had a $15,000 sewer line disaster in our lap," says Jennifer Schappacher of Cincinnati. "The sewer line clogs began not long after we moved in, but as they became more frequent we had Roto-Rooter inspect the line with a video camera and only then did we realize the pipe had offset sections and a partial collapse that was causing sewage to back up into our house."
The Schappachers looked at only a few houses before deciding on one in a quiet shady neighborhood. It was charming with large, mature trees that shaded the entire street. But since the house was built in 1959, its concrete and clay underground sewer pipes were vulnerable to heavy root intrusion from the big trees. As those roots entered the pipe joints in search of water, they pushed the pipes apart and allowed surrounding soil to spill into the pipe, narrowing a 6 inch diameter pipe to just 1 inch in some sections.
Generally, a plumber can complete a sewer line camera inspection for $250 to $550, depending on the region. While not cheap, it's a relatively small price to pay when buying a home, especially if it helps a buyer avoid thousands of dollars in unforeseen repair bills.
To avoid unexpected and costly plumbing problems, the experts at Roto-Rooter recommend having a plumber conduct a video camera sewer line inspection, in addition to a standard home inspection, before buyers purchase a home. The process involves passing a waterproof fiber optic video camera through the pipe. The specialized cameras are equipped with bright LED lights so the inspection will reveal any cracks, breaks, offset or collapsed sections of pipe. The plumber will often provide a DVD copy of the inspection as part of the service.
"Sewer inspection camera equipment is expensive and often is only utilized by well-equipped plumbing companies, but the video inspection service itself is easy to complete and well worth the extra step," says Roto-Rooter master plumber Larry Rothman.
Root growth is the most common cause of sewer line damage and is often responsible for blockages and separated pipe sections. Outdated and eroding pipe materials are also a common culprit in sewer line deterioration. Older pipes are much more susceptible to root intrusion than new plastic pipe.
Inspections are especially important if:
* The home is 20 years or older.
* There are mature trees around the property.
* The home has been vacant for a period of time.
* The concrete surrounding the home is cracked or raised.
* There is considerable visible root growth in the yard.
Many homeowners, especially new homeowners, do not know or think about their home plumbing. For seasonal maintenance tips and general information, visit Roto-Rooter's plumbing basics section online at www.rotorooter.com/plumbing-basics.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Easy ways to renovate your kitchen

You may have your reservations about renovating your kitchen. After all, there's all the noise, dust and lack of mobility while your kitchen is getting renovated. Also, there is the cost factor to consider. However, with a little planning in mind you can take care of all these things in a manner that works for you. You can make use of all the resources available in the market to make sure that you have what it takes to renovate your kitchen and live through the process. It is actually a very simple process if you think about it. All the information that you have and all the products that you need are available. All you need to do is make the right choices and you are set to renovate your kitchen. Of course, your kitchen will be unavailable for use for the next few days. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have made arrangements so your daily routine is not affected. This is most important as the kitchen forms an important part of your household. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have arrangements ready as a substitute for not using your kitchen.

There are many things to consider while renovating your kitchen. You need to seek out what you require from your kitchen first. If your gas is not working, then you need to change your stoves. If you are not getting proper electric connection, then you need to change your lines. If your piping is not working, then you need to get a proper plumber. These are the essentials of a functional kitchen. Check them one by one and make sure to have a list of things to repair.

The next important factor to consider is that the renovations being done should enhance the look of your kitchen. This would mean cosmetic modifications to your kitchen, which would come in form of countertops and cabinets. Marble countertops will give your kitchen a grand luxurious look that would enhance the quality of your kitchen. You can purchase such countertops from home or kitchen renovators. You should look for one stop shops for all your kitchen renovation needs. This will help you to get all the assistance you will need for your kitchen renovation.

by: Easy Ways to Renovating Your Kitchen


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Preparing for happily ever-after? Simple ways to minimize the impact of potential wedding mishaps

1. Solidify a budget

The average wedding costs a whopping $28,427, according to theknot.com, which means couples are spending big bucks to say "I do." Whether you're able to spend $5,000 or more than $50,000, it's important to create a realistic budget and stick with it throughout the wedding-planning process.

A good way to stay within budget is to set priorities. Do you care more about the food and not so much about the flowers? Allot more funds for catering and keep the bouquet modest. Create a spreadsheet and involve your partner so you both are on the same page. No one wants to be mid-wedding planning and realize they can't afford what they promised guests, or worse, have a huge bill at the end that risk delays to other goals, such as buying a home.

2. Purchase wedding insurance

Imagine it's two weeks before the wedding and you just found out the reception hall suddenly closed, the tailor lost your dress and the photographer was in a car accident and therefore can't attend the ceremony. There's always an element of the unknown, and when so much money and emotion are involved in an event like a wedding, it's crucial to get wedding insurance.

"Wedding cancellation insurance can help cover losses for deposits sent to businesses who have unexpectedly closed, replacement of damaged wedding dresses and attire, and restaging of photos if a photographer is a no show," says Steve Lauro, vice president of Aon's WedSafe wedding insurance program. "It may even cover up to the full cost of your wedding if your event is postponed due to unforeseen circumstances such as extreme weather or a venue shutting its doors."

"Event Liability insurance, required by many venues, is another type of coverage you may be required to obtain in order to adequately protect your wedding," adds Lauro.

3. Investigate venues and vendors

National average wedding costs: $2,379 for a photographer, $1,997 for a florist, $12,905 for a reception venue, $63 per guest for catering. When investing so much money into a wedding, you want to make sure the businesses you select are the best of the best. Spend time researching different venues and vendors before you sign on the dotted line.

When researching, ask and make sure each business carries liability insurance. Get references and spend time emailing and making calls - a real person will give you the best insight into what type of experience to expect. Check out every business on BBB.org and read online reviews.

4. Stay organized and confirm details one month out

Many couples plan a wedding a year or more out, so it's important a month prior to confirm all the details to ensure a smooth and beautiful wedding day. Call vendors and event sites to verify times and services.

You'll receive lots of paperwork during the wedding-planning process. Keep copies of all contracts in a specified folder. Record how much was put down on deposits and when additional amounts are due so you don't miss a payment. Keep a spreadsheet of all important numbers in one document for easy reference. Give this document to several trusted people so if you need assistance calling, particularly on the day of the wedding, your mother-in-law or best man can step in and help.

Make sure your special day ends in wedded bliss rather than a wedding disaster. These simple tips can help ensure a beautiful experience for you and your guests, and protect you should you encounter an unexpected surprise.

Play it cool in your garden and you'll be good to grow

If you think the end of warm weather means your vegetable gardening days are done, you'll need to reconsider. The weeks when warmth fades into cold are actually an opportune time to plant cool-weather crops. Fall is a great time of year for planting vegetables.

Some of nature's most nutritious greens and veggies thrive in cooler temperatures. Planting them now can ensure a bountiful cool-weather harvest. Plus you'll save a bundle by avoiding the produce aisle in your grocery store for a few more months.

Sunny, cooler weather is perfect for many vegetables. With increased rainfall and temperatures ranging between 60 and 80 degrees in the day and higher than 40 at night, your plants suffer less, increasing your likelihood of good harvest. You can even cope with frost; some hardy vegetables can thrive without frost protection, and covering less resistant plants when frost threatens can keep them thriving.

The secrets of successful cool weather planting don't differ much from the techniques you've used during a hot season. Cool crops will need at least six hours of sun daily, ample water and a steady supply of much-needed nutrients. You can get a jump-start by planting transplants. Seed germination of cool crops during warm weather requires much attention to detail. Transplants are a quicker, easier route to ensure success.

Vegetables and herbproducers offer some quick tips for picking the right plants for your cool weather garden:
  • Choose fast-growing, leafy cool crops like broccoli, Swiss chard, lettuce, kale, spinach, collards and arugula. Leafy vegetables are actually harder to grow in the summer, when the heat can cause them to "bolt," forming flowers and seeds. Bolting leaves edible portions tasting bitter. You could choose to plant two rounds of these vegetables, at the end, and again at the start, of cool weather seasons.
  • Don't delay. Ideally, you should plant your cool weather crops before the temperature changes, although if you miss that window, it doesn't mean you can't still have a successful fall harvest. It just might take more time and ingenuity.
  • Pick a place. Your existing garden is the perfect place to plant cool weather crops. Remember, frost flows downhill like water, so spots at the top of a slope or in south-facing locations will remain warmest.
  • You can also plant your cool weather in raised beds, which are easy to cover when frost threatens, or in pots that can be brought inside when temperatures dip too low.
  • Know how they grow. Pay close attention to "days to maturity" information listed on plant tags. You'll want to give plants enough time to produce before killing frost arrives.
  • Good gardening practices will get your cool weather garden growing. Loosen soil before you plant and mix in some all-natural fertilizer. Maybe something made from soybean oilseed extract, and organic compounds like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, enzymes, plant hormones and carbohydrates. It's an excellent source of nutrition in home gardens.

Consider these popular plants for your cool weather garden,

Packman Broccoli - This hardy vegetable develops best during the cool season. It matures in 45 to 55 days and has large, bright green, mildly flavored domed heads. Plant transplants 18 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart.

Top Bunch Collards - This hybrid is heavy yielding, early maturing, and more uniform than traditional varieties. The leaves are upright, broad, and a beautiful, waxy, deep green. These collards grow best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Like all collards, they are rich in vitamins and sweetened by frost. Space transplants 36 inches apart in rows 36 inches apart.

Spinach - A cool-weather vegetable related to beets and Swiss chard, spinach is a fast-growing plant. It yields many leaves in a short time in fall. Although it prefers full sun, spinach is one of the few vegetables that produce a respectable harvest in partial shade.

With some advanced planning, active attention, and the right choice of plants, you can continue to enjoy your garden and fresh, flavorful produce, long after the warm seasons have passed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Everything you need to understand about cabinets - basic introduction to cupboards

When you think about cabinets, much more often than not, you think of kitchen cupboards. These are the hottest topics within the market these days simply because of their performance, significance, and versatility. However, there is much more to cabinets than kitchen area cupboards, as cabinetry encompasses all facets of house decoration.

Cabinets are much more than just storage. They speak of one's personality, your taste, and your sense of style. The chances are endless, but it boils down to what your choices are. In terms of style, you will find various sorts of cabinets to select from. But they're basically subsumed into common classifications, for example framed or frameless, inventory or custom made, conventional, country, or modern fashion, made of hardwood, wood veneers or other materials.

Inventory and Customized Cupboards

Cupboards are generally classified into stock cabinets and customized cupboards. Inventory cupboards are individuals cupboards which are pre-fabricated and could be bought "off the rack" in many cupboard shops. Customized cabinets, on the other hand ordinarily refer to cupboards that are specially built by cabinet makers to match a homeowner's extremely comprehensive specs, and therefore are usually carried out on site (homeowner's home).

Framed and Frameless Cabinets

A framed cabinet is a cupboard with a body connected towards the entrance edges of its physique. This is also known as traditional, face-framed or American-style cabinet. A frameless cabinet, as the title implies, is one which has no body attached to enhance its physique. This is the standard among European-style cabinets.

Conventional, Country, Or Modern Style

If one goes by custom, all kitchen area cabinets are created from hardwood and therefore are fastened to the kitchen area walls. But nowadays, completely fixed cupboards have given way to standalone mobile cabinets that might come in unconventional materials, for example glass or plastics. Traditional fashion cupboards are appealing to more people because of its ageless appearance.

Country style cupboards give a comfortable, cozy and welcoming feel to a space. Hardwood is the best material to start with in the event you choose a country feel for your cabinets, as this may blend well with florals or nature-inspired textiles or designs.

There are countless other styles to choose from, enough to get you confused on your choices. To avoid this, it would be best to understand exactly where to begin your search. Browse through magazines, woodworking books, or cupboard shops. You can broaden your search to web sites on homes and furnishings. Just remember not to overlook a fashion that would naturally blend with design and architecture of one's house.

Strong Wood, Bonded Wood, and Wood Veneers

It's been a long time, and getting new cabinets means getting the services of a cabinet maker or getting down and dirty to make custom wood cupboards. As technologies have progressed, the opportunities have become limitless. Old and new supplies offer other various classifications of cabinets.

Solid Wood

Because of its versatility and ageless appearance and appeal, wood has become the most common material used for cabinets. It provides a warm, homely atmosphere, and blends nicely with nearly any type of interior design and décor. The various kinds of wood species give more diverse choices, but your option would eventually depend on your personal style and spending budget. Wood is the most sought-after material for customized cabinets.

Wood supplies come from two kinds of trees: hardwoods and softwoods. Hardwood supplies come from coniferous timber, or trees which are easy to acquire. Softwood materials come from dicotyledonous or hard-to-cut trees.

Various wood species fetch different costs, relying on its availability and overall look. You will find several materials you can choose from: maple, oak, cherry, hickory, yellow birch, or pine.

Oak was the heavy favorite among cupboard builders until recently, when maple grew to become more popular within the cupboard industry. It is adaptable to any type of cabinet style due to its mild and normal grain texture. Extremely comparable to maple when it comes to flexibility, is the yellow birch selection. With its power and broad range of colors, it's a preferred option for kitchen cupboards.

Cherry wood colors vary from pinkish to red-brown when aged and exposed to sunlight. Hickory is a light colored, to reddish brownish hardwood that is best for a staining finish. Although, pinewood will be the most inexpensive selection, it requires careful handling and preparation due to its susceptibility tobumps and scratches.

Exotic woods fetch higher prices as they are the much more uncommon types. Among those are mahogany, ebony, and walnut. Mahogany is largely derived from tropical rainforests. Its reddish brownish color and normal grain qualities make it an ideal alternative to old oak wood. Walnut colors range from darkish brown to your purplish shade of black. Ebony wood generally refers to very dark or black wood.

Bonded Wood

Bonding refers to the procedure of making large wood supplies from a number of smaller pieces of wood. Bonding processes differ. One way is cutting broad boards into narrow parts, then glued collectively to make the specified width or form. Blocks of wood might also be glued together to make up a single component of the cabinet. Another procedure entails wood chips or small wood particles combined with a gluing substance, the processed to create sturdy wood particle boards. And lastly, the process of bonding several levels of particle boards might be carried out to create plywood panels that are ideal for adding strength to softwood cabinets.

Wood Veneers

Wood veneers are thin layers of wood supplies from superior species of wood. These are glued on the surface of the cupboard materials, generally plywood or plastic board. This will be the best choice to get a more versatile wood cupboard accented with various wood patterns and textures. Wood veneers are aesthetically effective not just for raised panel cabinet doors, but also for flat or recessed cabinet doorways.

A word of caution for the spending budget: Although wood veneer as an option for wood appears to suggest that's an inexpensive material, extremely elaborate veneering styles could end up being much more expensive work pieces.