Options & Upgrades – Tips to Help You Select!

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Whether lived in or brand new, your home is your sanctuary. For that matter alone, we take the time  and spend the money to make sure every single interior and exterior detail reflect our personality. Full of ideas but unsure where to start? Consider these useful tips to get you going in the right direction!

START IN THE KITCHEN

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Known for being the most popular spot in the house, it’s no wonder this room has so many memories. Pay close attention to appliances and cabinets – these are the main focal points and what the eye are initially drawn to.

THERE CAN NEVER BE TOO MUCH LIGHT

Lighting, apart from being vital to every day life, aesthetically adds to the atmosphere and mood of your home. Key rooms to keep lighted are the kitchen and bathrooms.

WALK WAYS

Flooring is key to the look and feel of a home. Focus on the living room and the kitchen, as these are the two much trafficked areas. Keep in mind, wood floors never seem to go out of style!

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Saving on energy bills goes beyond specialized home appliances. Tank-less water heaters, plumbing, and air conditioning can make a huge difference almost immediately!

STORAGE

No one ever complains about having too much closet space. When deciding between upgrading a minimally used room versus adding more space, it’s a no-brainer.

ELECTRICITY

Not all upgrades have to be intricate and expensive. Simple things such as adding extra power outlets and ceiling fans to heavily occupied rooms can make life much more comfortable without costing a fortune!

Are you ready to invest?

Ready to invest?

Don’t be fooled by the television shows, investing in residential real estate isn’t a get rich quick regime and it won’t come easy. How do you know when you’re ready to start investing?

  1. Understanding the process

The goal of investing in real estate is to buy a property at a lower than average price, perform value add renovations, and either sell it for a quick profit, or rent it out and receive a steady stream of revenue. It’s a good idea to team up with an experienced investor who can walk you through prior examples of deals they have done.

  1. Research

Before you start investing, it is important to do a little background research. Assess what neighborhood/city/county you want to invest in. Learn about what has been selling in those neighborhoods. Find out what is available.

  1. Finances

Analyze how much money you are willing to put into investing. Assess costs related to purchase price and renovation budget. Decide on an exit strategy. Are you planning on flipping the home and selling it for a quick buck or are you able to leave money in the investment and rent it out.

  1. Time

Investing in real estate requires a significant amount of time to manage and oversee the process of renovating your investment property. Before deciding to invest asses your time schedule and calculate the cost of your time to manage this project.

Not quite ready?

Maybe you don’t have the time or the money right now but it isn’t too early to prepare. Wholesaling, the process of obtaining a contract for a property and selling it for an assignment fee, is a great way to earn capital while learning the ins and outs of real estate investing.

Lawn Care for Summer Heat

 

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As the summer sun continues to beat down day after day, your lawn is beginning to feel the heat. It is important to take care of your lawn during these hottest months. Here are five keys to keeping your stuff looking green.

Water Carefully

As the weather heats up, your lawn will need extra attention. Your lawn will need at least one inch of water a week. If you’re going through a heat wave, imagine what your lawn is going through. Give your lawn a bit of extra water if the temperature hits the triple digits.

Water Early and Deeply

The best time of day to water your lawn is in the wee hours of the morning. If you have automatic sprinklers, set them to an early hour. This helps make sure that the water does not evaporate in the intense heat or have the potential to grow fungus overnight.

Additionally, make sure to water your lawn deeply. This means watering it thoroughly a few times and letting it soak in, rather than watering it briefly and often. When it comes to your lawn’s health think quality over quantity.

Avoid Fertilizing

Especially when the temperatures are soaring, it is best to avoid fertilizing your lawn. The chemical in the fertilizer can burn your lawn, causing discoloration. If possible, try using an organic fertilizer. It contains fewer chemicals and is less likely to burn since it is slow release. Again, try to avoid this in the summer months. Any fresh growth that you get will struggle in the intense heat.

Weeding

This is probably the least enjoyable part of landscaping, but it must be done. The summer months are the ideal weeding season, since the weeds will bloom and release seeds for the next year. It is best to nip this in the bud, so to speak.

Hand pulling weeds is the ideal option, since it causes minimum stress to the lawn. If you are going to use a chemical spray, be sure that it is organic or non-harmful for your grass.

Insects and Bugs

If you life in any city with high humidity, you know how big of an annoyance they can be. Insects are common in lawns that are extremely dry. Grubs start hatching during this season. If they are a severe problem, try using a grub remover around mid-summer.

Tips to Remodeling Your Home Office

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Even if your home office is well designed, from the furnishing to the fixture – sometimes, it’s good to just switch things up a little. So, we’ve come up with a quick list of things to look into if you want to change things up for your in home office.

  1. Setting it up in the right spot. Whether you live in an apartment or a house with a room that can be transformed into an office den, finding the right location within your home is more important than you’d think. You want your office to be away from heavy foot traffic, that way – you’re secluding yourself from distractions. If you live in an apartment, there are several designs for free standing book shelves – once you fill in the sections, it’s basically like a full divider between the living room and your new office space.
  2. Keep the function in mind. When you’re working at home, you want everything you need to be right at your finger tips – because that’s the whole point of working from home; it helps you be more productive. Your desk, shelves, and storage should serve you, not the other way around. This couldn’t be more true so, rather than putting a love seat in as your work chair, is that functional with your desk? Probably not. Before you start adding in extra furniture or art pieces, get the essentials first and lay them out in accordance with how you’re most productive.
  3. Don’t be afraid to paint the walls. Your office is your work place, how it relates to the rest of your home is irrelevant. If you ever go into a media company, the main office is very generic with cubicles and standard beige offices, but when you get into the area where the designer’s offices are – the insides are completely different and custom to the designer’s ideal environment. So, get rid of the dark colors and choose something more bright and inviting. Your best bet would be looking at your favorite colors in different shades to better determine how they affect your mood.
  4. Refresh the lighting. Nothing is worse than working in an office with generic florescent lights so, don’t let your home office be the same way. If you have a light fixture within the room already, you’ll still want to get a lamp. However, it’s important to place the desk where neither lamp nor sun glare will hit your computer screen.
  5. Build yourself a view. Nothing is worse than staring at your computer screen for hours, then looking up at a blank wall. Make sure you position your desk near a window so, when you look up, there’s more than just a painting – at most. If you’ve put your desk in an area that isn’t close to a window, but that’s the only practical place for it, then find a nice wall fixture to look at – while natural lighting through a window is ideal, this plan also works.

Attic Renovation to Change Your Home

1. Built-in Storage

One of the major design strategies is to install drawers, nooks or cupboards, and shelves collectively known as built-in storage, along low walls. The benefits of doing this are enumerated below:

  • Your home acquires more value as a result of this sort of customization.
  • You are equipped more by these storage facilities to organize your space and ensure it remains clutter-free.
  • Low areas may be a cause for people to bump their heads, but having these storages installed in these parts of your attic will avoid people from entering these spaces and acquiring head injuries.
  • Following this strategy erases the need for bookcases and dressers that are free-standing.
  • The spaces in dead zones are maximized and given use.

attic as storage areaAttic as storage room ideas

Another attic storage picture

2. Furniture Placement

Another design strategy is installing furniture under low ceilings. This likewise maximizes space and makes full use of the areas along low attic walls. Below are some alternatives on doing this:

  • The low part of the ceiling should have the head of the bed.
  • A chair or couch may be placed in low spaces.
  • Entertainment units, desks, and bookcases can go along low walls.

great attic furniture placementGreat attic furniture placement idea

People are physically blocked by this form of furniture positioning along low zones that lack sufficient head clearance. You only need to make sure that there is sufficient height clearance for sitting for these strategies to work.

3. Move the Stairs

There are instances when the stairs to your attic has to be built in a manner that will take up much valued floor space in your attic. This undertaking may entail a more complex work plan for a contractor, but the outcome of a great floor plan that may indicate more space is definitely worth every penny you need to shell out.

attic staircase designAttic staircase design

Some strategies are enumerated below:

  • Your stairs can have a landing and two (2) half flights by breaking them up.
  • Your stairs can descend to a landing before changing direction, in effect working the slope of your roof line.
  • The stairwell can have a skylight.

4. Dormers

Your attic can have a surge of added function as well as a curb appeal by having dormers. They are extremely essential if you want to achieve both objectives that have just been mentioned. While you are working on the dormers, you have to ensure that you are both strategic and technically knowledgeable. The issues concerning height and light efficiency have to be tackled. They can really liven up a home’s attic space. Below are some of their uses:

  • A kitchen or bathroom can acquire added space.
  • Areas for sitting.
  • Desks can have nooks.

You will most definitely derive additional space toward the middle part of your attic, as a result of the extra space created by the dormer that you have installed. You can increase the capacity for circulation and movement in your attic by using the perimeters of the said room hence leaving more open space in the mid-section.

attic-renovation-idea-bedroom-1024Attic bedroom

5. Skylights

Attics which are usually dark greatly benefit from having skylights as these are great in adding light. Homes having neighbors who are close to each other such as those found in the cities have perfect use for them as there is generally an issue with regard to the view in these places. It is much harder to install a dormer compared to a skylight. An illusion of increased vertical space is achieved when such “windows” are created on sloped roofs. The following places are recommended to have skylights and skylight wells:

  • Above sinks of bathrooms.
  • For desks or beds above built-in nooks.
  • In shower stalls of built-in bathrooms.
  • In stairwells.
  • In kitchens located in the attic.
  • In areas considered as main living spaces.

attic skylight directDirect attic skylight

6. Windows

A feeling of having more space is provided by windows. In addition to this, they also permit natural light to enter a room. These two (2) aspects are important, so make sure that you maximize the potential of your windows!  Check if they are in good condition. If they are not, replace them and pay attention to the tips below:

  • Height can be added to some windows.
  • Your view through your windows can be improved by making them lower and bigger.
  • Your windows can be widened.

attic window designAttic with ample windows

Even though all the strategies mentioned above are all employable, you do not necessarily have to follow all of them. You may find that only one (1) or two (2) of them are actually needed to be done after a detailed assessment of what a room actually requires. Suppose your window cannot be widened further due to lack of available space, then you can opt to give it added height which will allow deep light to enter the room.

7. Reflect Light

Ceilings, floors, walls, or objects in a room have the ability to absorb or reflect light. You can help natural light or sunlight to move around the room thereby making it brighter by natural means with the use of white and other light hues to paint walls and ceilings that are adjacent to windows. Light will also be bounced back and spread all throughout the room by having reflective surfaces such as mirrors and hardwood floors. In summary:

  • Use white paint for ceilings.
  • Make use of light carpets and hardwood flooring.
  • Use light reflecting colors on walls that are across from as well as beside windows.
  • Utilize mirrors and other reflective surfaces.

cosy attic designCosy attic design

8. Add Sufficient Lighting

Unfortunately, there isn’t always sufficient natural light to go by that can liven up small areas and open them up. In cases like these, electric light becomes the option. Hire the services of a professional electrician after giving a thought to what kind of lighting you prefer and need, then have the following installed:

  • Sufficient plugs for lamps
  • Pot lights or overhead lighting
  • Task lighting
  • Lights and scones that are wall-mounted

attic design skylightSufficient lighting in attic

9. Renovation for Small Bathrooms

Your attic space can be put to good use by building a small bathroom in it. It will certainly be required if your intention is to transform it into an apartment. Codes however have to be followed to ensure that you meet the minimum head clearance. A shower, sink, or toilet can be positioned under the sloped roof lines. Below are some strategies for small bathrooms in attics:

  • Under a sloped roof ceiling is the ideal location for your toilet.
  • Against a low wall is where your vanity should be installed.
  • For more light, add a skylight above the sink.
  • Along the low wall of the shower, a bench may be added.
  • To attain a bit more head room, install a skylight well above the shower.

modern attic bathroom design ideaAttic as bathroom

Living Room Design Tips For Any Home

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When it comes to interior design, the number one rule to live by is this: The arrangement of a room’s contents is as important as the contents (furniture and home accents) themselves.

1. Identify what doesn’t work in your living room.

Take a look around the room. What doesn’t work there? Is your furniture flush against the walls?

To create a sense of depth and softness, position furniture at an angle to, or floating away from, the wall. This makes the room feel less boxy, more intimate and inviting.

2. Change things up.

Start by placing the largest piece, usually the sofa, so it faces the room’s main focal point. Use your room’s window with a view or a fireplace to best advantage here. These tips for rearranging furniture can help.

3. Group seating no more than 10 feet (3m) from the sofa.

Group the rest of the seating at a maximum of 10 feet (3m) from the sofa. Farther away makes conversation from the sofa or chairs difficult.

And you’re trying to encourage that, right?

4. Balance furniture pieces of similar size.

Balance furniture pieces of similar size by placing them across from each other.

For example, a pair of upholstered chairs placed opposite the sofa will provide a better balance than would a pair of delicate, carved-wood chairs.

5. Allow 3 feet (1m) Between furnishings.

Allow at least 3 feet (1m) between furnishings. This will ensure easy traffic flow into and out of the seating area.

6. Place major elements on separate walls.

Balance the room by putting major elements on separate walls. The flat screen TV will be more prominent if it isn’t right next to the fireplace. (And it’ll be safer, too.)

7. Bring darker furniture into the light.

Place your darker furnishings where they’ll get the most light: by a window or a floor lamp. A dark cabinet will disappear in a dimly lit corner. Avoid this.

8. Large room? Create a room within a room.

If the room is large, set up a secondary area to make the room feel cozier and do double duty. Add a desk and chair to a window corner, or create a family game area with a small table and a few chairs.

9. Get angular to create the illusion of more space.

Get angular in a small room to create the illusion of more space. Place the furniture, starting with the sofa, on a corner diagonal.

This unusual placement takes the focus off the room size and places it square on the furnishings instead. Resist the urge to fill up the room with every stick of furniture you own. Bare areas imply spaciousness.

10. Arrange furniture for comfort.

Arrange your furniture with comfort in mind. If you plan to use the room for entertaining, are there enough places where guests can set down glasses and plates?  If a coffee table is out of reach from the chairs, place small tables beside them.

5 Ways to Your Road Trip More Enjoyable

1. Get a good night’s sleep.

Part of being on vacation is the luxury of not having a set schedule. This is the perfect time to let your circadian rhythm readjust and give yourself permission to go to bed early or sleep in. By allowing yourself proper rest, you’ll avoid driving drowsy, which helps prevent car accidents and maintains your alertness on the road.

2. Map out healthy restaurants and farmers markets along your route.

If you know your route in advance or have access to a good WiFi connection, take some time to search out healthy restaurants or local farmers markets along the way. There are several websites out there that make it super easy to find locally grown and organic options. With the sustainable food movement continuing to spread, spend some time talking with local vendors, as they’ll have insider tips that you might not be able to find online.

3. Pack a cooler.

Buy extra goodies at the farmers market so you can stock up on healthy snacks like ripe peaches, hand roasted nuts, or local yogurt. Then, during your next stop at the gas station, stock up on ice for the cooler instead of typical salty and sugary road trip fare.

4. Stop and explore.

Sitting in the car can lead to lower backaches and stiff legs, so it’s important to get out of the car and move your body restoring blood flow. Half the fun of road tripping is stopping to explore a new area. Bring your sneakers and go for a hike, or find a beautiful park and practice some yoga moves.

5. Find the water.

Whether you book a hotel, motel, or a house rental along your road trip route, try and seek out one with a pool or nearby lake to take a dip. Summer is the perfect time to cool off in outdoor waters and has the added benefit of helping stiff, weak muscles recover. If you’re lucky enough to find a heated pool or Jacuzzi, the warm water helps to aid digestion and promote relaxation, which was the point of your road trip in the first place!