Category Archives: Home

4 Ways To Add Unusual Decorations to Your Home

If you are one of those individuals that love to decorate your home with unusual and eclectic items, but you are not sure what to look for next, here are some fun ideas. You can easily improve the look of any room in your home with one or two modern and innovative pieces of decor. From lights to fill the darkness to curious wall hangings, these distinct items will keep your home’s visitors talking for days.

1. Glass Art

Check out sand art sculpture disks that are one-of-a-kind works of art if you want to mesmerize your guests. You can choose from ocean views, mountain vistas, or forest seclusions. You can also find glass cinema lightboxes that allow you to change messages anytime the mood strikes you.  Glass globes, flowers, and hearts are also creative ways to decorate your windows to let light scatter in fractals inside your home.

2. Mill Objects

For a mesmerizing and breathtaking work of art, look for an etched panel that uses chemical milling. The large surface areas can be scribed to make unique kitchen back-splashes, focus walls, or numerous other architectural and distinct applications. Smaller designs can be framed or set on desks to catch guest’s eyes and start them asking questions.

3. Wood Features

Wood shelves and tall corner ladders have become popular features over the past decade, but you can take it up a notch and find hand-carved headboards and tree-trunk wall units. Petrified wooden slices and rustic hewn chairs can also add to your home’s individualistic style. Do not forget to add an intricately carved soft-wood object or a barn-hung door to add personality to any room.

4. Light Pieces

From rope candles to tea troughs to prism lights, there is an endless variety of illumination pieces available from specialty stores and artistic shops. You can choose nightlights, main lamps, or decorative lights in a multitude of colors and hues that can brighten your home’s darkest corners. There are also candles that cleanse moods, spirit-focused multi-color diffusers, and salt or gem soul lamps.

When you choose unusual and personal items for your home décor, you can rest assured that your neighbors and friends will probably not have anything like the items. From the beautiful light to the groundbreaking gravity-defying glasswork, you can find objects that delight, comfort, and uplift you in ways few things can. Use the list above to get started on your search for unusual home decorations today.

Why Chimney Cleaning and Inspections are Important

If you have a house with a chimney, it is important that you regularly get it cleaned and inspected. Although you may think that a chimney would be relatively low maintenance, these beautiful and enjoyable architectural features need to be properly cared for. Unfortunately, many homeowners do an insufficient job of taking care of their chimneys.

For example, the capital is home to many houses with fireplaces. Despite this, chimney inspection Washington DC services are only used by a fraction of those homeowners. These are the reasons why getting your chimney inspected and cleaned is so important.

Creosote is Dangerous and Toxic

Sitting by a roaring fire is a lovely experience. However, while the flames are dancing in your fireplace, they are also lining your chimney with creosote. These carbonaceous chemicals are produced by the combustion of wood and other fuels.

Creosote is toxic to humans. It is also potentially flammable, especially when it builds up significantly in the chimney. Fortunately, get your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as necessary can almost completely eliminate the risk.

Debris Can Get Stuck

It isn’t just creosote that lines your chimney. Debris such as leaves and branches can get caught and even block your chimney. The debris can potentially catch fire. While a few leaves lighting on fire is not a problem, a significant build-up can become a major hazard.

Furthermore, if the debris blocks the chimney is can cause the smoke and fumes to escape into your house rather than safety out of the top. This can become very dangerous quickly. Again, inspections and cleanings can avert this problem.

Chimneys Weren’t Built To Last Forever

Just like any other part of your house, your chimney can get worn and damaged. It is common for rainwater to cause cracks in chimneys. Of course, unlike other parts of your house, the inside of your chimney isn’t something you see often. An inspection can identify any damage early so that you can fix it promptly.

Cracks can result in noxious smoke getting into your house. They can also contribute to mildew, mold and drafts. In short, it is a good idea to get them fixed.

Don’t Forget Your Inspection

A chimney can be a lovely feature of your home. However, you need to take care of it. That means having an annual inspection and periodic cleanings and repairs. A little effort can help you enjoy your fireplace and chimney for years to come.

Reasons To Consider an Artificial Christmas Tree This Year

With the holidays quickly approaching, Christmas trees may already be on your mind. It can be daunting to think of all that is required when it comes to purchasing a real tree for the holidays. Not only do you have to find the right place to get your tree, but then you have to think about the right time to buy one (Christmas trees are the most expensive right after Thanksgiving). Then there’s getting it to your house – you need theright vehicle for that. It can be a lot of hassle for something that’s going to be in your house for a short time. Here are some reasons why you might consider an artificial tree this year instead.

Cost-Efficiency

One of the most obvious benefits of having an artificial tree is that it will save you money over time. Whether you buy your tree at your favorite local shopping center or have it shipped from a place like Treetopia, that tree will pay for itself many times over its lifetime. According to The Southern Christmas Tree Association, the average lifespan of an artificial tree is six years. Over that six-year period, you can save quite a bit of money by opting to purchase an artificial tree.

With an artificial tree, there is no haggling over the price at the local tree lot. You also won’t have the hassle of tying it down to your vehicle and securing it with ropes or bungees. Buying an artificial tree is a really good way to save on time and money around the holiday season – something we always seem to need more of around that time of year anyway.

Less Mess

Unlike real trees that need to be watered daily and can shed profusely, a faux Christmas tree does not lose its needles and is much less of a hassle to clean up. There’s no need to sweep daily to get rid of those pesky needles that wither and brown from real pine trees. Not only that, but you can purchase trees that come pre-lit, which adds even more convenience to your holiday tradition.

At the end of the Christmas season, you simply pack up your tree and put it in the storage room or garage until next year. With a real tree, you have to find a place that will dispose of the tree. Not all garbage and sanitation companies will pick up the trees from your curb.

Another factor to consider when it comes to real trees is that sometimes they bring their forest friends with them. Not only can bugs and mold be uninvited guests in your house, but you may not be able to get rid of them as easily as you might think.

Endless Options

One of the best things about artificial trees is that they can come in every size and color combination imaginable. According to Treetopia reviews around the web, this is a favorite feature for people who are opting for a faux tree this year. Hues of pink, purple, and even rainbow are all possible with artificial trees. Some people like to match the colors of their trees to their room decor. If you don’t have room for a large Christmas tree, smaller options are available too. It would take considerably more effort to find trees to match your home if you were looking for something that was only a few feet tall.

The holidays are about spending time with your friends and family. The whole process of finding a tree and bringing it home and decorating it can be simplified by choosing an artificial tree instead of a real one. Not only that, but you are sure to find a tree that is just as unique as your family and will bring you joy for years to come.

3 Benefits of Steel Construction

Trends in construction are showing an increased interest in buildings. More specifically, steel frames are being regarded as one of the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly options. The frames can come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Quonset buildings offered by SteelMaster USA and the barndominium designs that mimic the wooden structures found on many farms. When it comes to the material selection for your next building project, take inventory of the pros and cons associated with steel fabrication. If you have an open mind, you will see why steel stands above the rest for construction projects.

Becoming Earth-Friendly

There is a lot of attention to organic eating and green living, and some people aren’t aware of just how far they can go with making environmentally-friendly choices. Steel buildings are eco-friendly because they can be built from recycled steel, and they can also be recycled. When you use recycled steel, it can reduce the need to rely on other resources and the energy that it takes to mine other elements from the earth. Choosing to use recycled steel also help save thousands of gallons of water given the need for water supply in mining operations and refinement processes. Once the structure is no longer needed, it can be taken to the scrap yard and easily recycled. This helps keep waste out of the landfill and reduces the impact on the environment.

Keeping Quality a Priority

Steel is a highly durable material. Even if the steel has been recycled, it still keeps its natural qualities. It can resist a number of weather conditions, given its composition of iron and carbon. This makes it an ideal building material where wind damage or storms are highly probable. When steel is alloyed with carbon and heated, it creates a bond that makes it highly resistant to corrosion. It becomes a prime choice for exterior construction framing and even siding materials. This resistance also brings steel to the forefront of choices for both construction and ornamental designs. For additional corrosion protection, galvanizing has become another method of coating metal materials. Resistance to corrosion and even damage from weather elements reduces the costs associated with repairs and upkeep, but it also gives your building a high-quality exterior.

Making Progress Affordable

Many would think a building crafted from steel would be more expensive than a traditional wooden frame structure, but consider the importance of recycling. There are some materials that are simply consumed and nothing is left. Because steel is easily recycled, it does help reduce the overall cost of materials. However, calculating the cost of a project doesn’t just include the materials. Many companies offer prefabricated design structures, which also helps reduce the cost. The time and labor that is reduced when using a prefab building is a considerable financial benefit for investing in a steel frame project.

Whether you need to expand on your current space or you want to build a whole new structure, steel frames and buildings can provide an economical but quality option. Projects that utilize steel will be more durable, stable, and prepared to face the weather conditions that might otherwise threaten the building.

Make Your Property Pop With Specialty Lighting

If you’ve ever driven down a street at night and noticed that certain buildings stand out, it’s likely because they had dazzling lights and light features. While it can sometimes be tough to set your property apart from others on a crowded street, lights are one surefire way to create an attention-grabbing look. Learn some tips here.

Customized Designs

If you are interested in having a unique and one-of-a-kind light system designed, this is guaranteed to turn heads. You can use backlighting and colored lights to create the perfect ambiance and style. It may be overwhelming to do this on your own, but there are many experts available to assist you. Just open up your computer and search online for commercial electrical services Houston to find the best professional to help turn your lighting dreams into reality.

Landscape Light Designs

A huge wow factor in lighting comes from landscape design that incorporates lighting. Whether you like the look of simple path lights, the whimsical effect of rope lights, or the more dramatic illumination of tree-mounted lights and uplighting, there are options for every aesthetic. If your property has any water features, you can really add a lot of personality to them with floating lights or fiber optic lights. Landscape lighting can even be set to timers or use motion sensors to save power.

Holiday Lights

A favorite activity for many people is to simply drive around and enjoy holiday lights. You can join the light show and make an impression with a variety of tactics. Try using projection tools to create special effects for large flat spaces, or bring fairy tales to life with animatronic light displays. You can spread cheer with light-up message boards. Holidays are the perfect time to really get creative and experiment with lights you may not use on a regular basis. Holiday revelers are sure to appreciate your efforts and twinkling creations.

No matter what type of look you want to create for your building, there are plenty of ways to achieve it. Using lights to enhance the beauty of your property is just one benefit. Specialty lights also generate additional safety on your property. Keeping paths and stairs lit in the dark help people avoid mishaps, which is important for any terrain and property. There are many great reasons to add lights of many types to your land and buildings, so don’t be afraid to start planning.

Should You Rent or Should You Buy?

Making the decision to rent a house or to buy one can keep you up at night, but taking the time to examine your situation can make the decision easier. Will you need to move within the next few years? Are you earning enough to take on a home loan? Are you ready for the responsibility of owning a home? Answering these few questions can help you see the way forward.

Settling Down

If you know that you will need to move in the near future, renting is probably the better option for you. If you will need to relocate for a job or school, renting gives you flexibility,  but if you are ready to settle down, buying may be a possibility. Real estate professionals recommend staying in a property for a minimum of five years in order to recoup your investment–of course, this depends upon market fluctuations–but even while you are renting, you can take steps to make buying a home in the future much easier. Be sure to always pay your rent and bills on time. This will help you establish good credit and this will be important when you are in a more stable situation and ready to buy.

Examining Your Finances

The money you pay in rent is essentially gone, but house payments build equity and are an investment. Take a look at your monthly income and expenses, or debt-to-income ratio (DTI), an important consideration when applying for a home loan. To calculate your DTI, add up all of your recurring, regular monthly payments for things that are considered debt, like car loans, student loans, credit card payments or mortgage payments. Then divide this figure by your total monthly income calculated before taxes–also known as monthly gross income. A DTI under 50 percent is acceptable, but a DTI of 20 percent or less will give you more financing options. A Sun West Mortgage representative can help you find financing that works with your situation.

Taking on the Responsibility

When you rent, the landlord takes care of maintenance and repairs on your home, or you hope that is the case. When you own a house, that responsibility falls to you. But you also have the flexibility to choose how your home will look: you can decorate it how you like, decide on your landscaping or paint it whatever color you choose. You can make your home a true reflection of your style, which is not always possible with a rental property.

Once you have examined your living situation, finances and desired level of responsibility, you can make an informed decision about renting or buying a home. No more sleepless nights!

Building a House Cleaning Kit

Most people don’t enjoy household chores like cleaning toilets, dusting furniture, mopping floors or washing windows. Unfortunately, these are necessities of having your own home to live in. Since you have to do the job, why not make sure you have the tools to do it right? As you embark on building the perfect cleaning kit for your home, here are some essential tools you’ll need for each job.

Cleaning Floors

Clean floors make a huge impact on the perception of your home’s overall cleanliness. If there are stains in the carpet, crumbs on the floor or dirty footprints on your tile, your whole house will seem dirty. Fortunately, cleaning the floors is the easiest on your list of chores. If you have carpet, start with a good vacuum cleaner. Make sure you buy a more powerful vacuum if you have furry pets. The vacuum can also serve double-duty for your hard floors. A good mop is also important. Just note that the type of mop you need will differ depending on the flooring you have in your home. Reach out to a company that sells cleaning products in Canada to help you pick the right tools.

Cleaning Bathrooms

Having to clean bathrooms is the bane of most homeowner’s existence but since it is so prone to germs, it’s essential that they are cleaned well. Your vacuum and mop from above will see use in the bathroom to clean up the floors. A high-quality cleaning solution will make sure you kill germs. Use something with antibacterial disinfectants or bleach to make sure nothing harmful remains. A good toilet scrubber will help get the bowl clean. Then use a soft cloth and your cleaning solution for surfaces and fixtures.

Cleaning Furniture

With the right vacuum, some of your furniture cleaning can be made easier. An upholstery attachment will allow you to vacuum your couches, chairs, mattresses, and sofas to remove dust and crumbs. The right attachments for your vacuum can also help with blinds, vents and baseboards. A nice feather duster can help remove light surface dust on shelves and cabinets.

Cleaning Windows

Windows and mirrors with streaks, smears or water spots leave the impression of a dirty house. Fortunately, cleaning these surfaces isn’t too difficult. Find a cleaning product specific to windows, spray it on and scrub it off. Sometimes, especially outside your house, you can utilize a brush and squeegee to clean large areas at a time.

While cleaning the house can be a chore, having the right tools will make it easier. Go through this list and make sure the next time you have to clean, you have exactly what you need to get the job done.

The Types of Repair Work That Can Be Done by a Handyman

The term handyman is often thrown around and has become synonymous with the phrase jack of all trades, and that is for a good reason. Handymen are capable professionals that perform several small and odd jobs. They are perfect contractors for that small bathroom remodel or the porch repair you just haven’t had time to get to. However, there are several other jobs professional handymen are recommended for.

Painting and Drywall

Many people look for handyman services Columbus to help with drywall repairs and painting. For example, as any family with children know, wall damage can be a common occurrence. Whether caused by roughhousing or creative expeditions, a handyman will be able to take care of these small repairs quickly, often in a day or two.

Installing Light Fixtures

Sometimes homeowners require assistance in replacing old light fixtures or ceiling fans. While some may call an electrician, it may be expensive to hire such a specialized professional for this type of work. A handyman is capable of performing this type of replacement and can likely perform the task for a fraction of the cost of an electrician.

Gutter Cleaning and Repair

Additionally, some homeowners are no longer capable of maintaining the exterior of their property, which can lead to gutters overflowing. If gutters are not regularly cleaned, then water can begin to back up, getting under shingles and infiltrating the structure of the home, which can result in rot and even mold. A handyman can take care of this issue and also schedule multiple visits to maintain the gutter system.

Exterior Repairs

Other exterior repairs include siding and window repair as well as deck and porch repair. Windstorms or age can lead to failing shingles and siding. Also, neglect can cause the wood of porches and decks to rot. When these issues occur, a handyman is more than capable of replacing the shingles, siding and rotted boards. Also, a professional laborer can restain and finish your deck and porch to make sure that it lasts for years to come.

Minor Plumbing and Electrical Work

While not every handyman is a certified electrician or plumber, they can perform small tasks. For instance, they can perform small bathroom renovations. They can replace appliances and fixtures. Also, many handymen are likely certified as such which means they are capable of working on minor plumbing and electrical issues.

While many people often overlook the skills of a professional handyman, they are capable, and they can save you a lot of money. Not every task requires the expense and labor of highly specialized professionals. Therefore, why not hire a jack of all trades and save a few bucks.

Tips For Installing a New Sod Lawn

The advent of spring with its warmer temperatures gives rise to the traditional start of home improvement season. It is the perfect time to assess what projects you would like to accomplish by the summer months.

If installing a new turf grass lawn is on your project list, late spring or early summer is the optimal season for laying sod. Depending on where you live, St Augustine sod for sale in Jacksonville FL is a very popular turf option.

St. Augustine grass is one of the more widely used lawn grasses in the South, especially in the warm coastal areas of Florida and the Gulf states. Its popularity is based largely on its ability to tolerate the heat and humidity found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the United States. St. Augustine sod is characterized by a high density that takes root quickly and easily while crowding out most other grasses and weeds and a toleration for salt which makes it a great choice for ocean-facing yards.

No matter which turf grass you choose, here are some tips for installing a new sod lawn.

Calculate the Lawn Area

The first step is to measure the area that needs turf. The measurements can then be used to calculate the square footage of new sod you will need. Special care should be taken when doing the area calculation if your lawn is an odd shape that is neither a true square nor a rectangle.

Prepare the Underlying Soil

You can use a rototiller or a spade to turn the soil over down to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Once tilled, you should remove any obvious impediments (rocks, roots, etc.) and also bust up any large clods of dirt.

Grade and Water the Surface

The tilled area should then be graded and leveled out with a rake, thereby making the soil as smooth as possible before receiving the new sod. The goal is to create an even, firm surface.  You should liberally water the area the night before the new sod is installed.

Sod Installation

You should install the new sod immediately upon delivery. Do not overlap or leave gaps when rolling out the turf. Stagger the seams as the turf is unrolled so that they do not all line up. You can use a cutting tool to trim around bushes, trees, sidewalks, and other objects.

Roll the New Lawn

Once installed, you should use a roller on the newly laid sod to ensure good contact with the pre-existing soil. Then water the entire lawn again.

Following these tips should help make installing your new sod a snap.

6 Tips for Preparing for a Big Move

Moving is stressful. In fact, it’s safe to say that a big move is one of the most stressful things we go through in life. There are a lot of things to consider when preparing for a major move. The next time you’re ready to pack up and move out, consider these six tips to help make the transition easier.

Plan Ahead

Think about everything you need to do in order to orchestrate a successful move. Write down all of those tasks to create a checklist. You’ll want to consider everything from going to the store to collect boxes and packing tape to finding the contacting the moving professionals of movinglocal.org to help you with the details. Once you create the checklist, you’ll have a better understanding of everything that needs to be done. Chances are you’ll want to start sooner than later. When it pertains to packing an entire home, it’s a good idea to start at least six weeks in advance.

Declutter Your Home

Over the years, we tend to accumulate clutter. It happens, and it’s the stress of that clutter that can be so overwhelming when it comes time to move. Even if you’ve skipped over spring cleaning the last few years, decluttering is possible. Give yourself time, starting a few weeks before your moving day. Take on one room of your house at a time, focusing on decluttering and tidying up.

Once you declutter, create piles for different purposes. Create a pile that goes directly to the recycling bin. Another pile can go to friends and family members who might find some of the items useful. You can donate items to charity. However, make sure you get rid of the items you don’t use.

Consider Your Expenses

Take a look at your finances. Factor in where you’d like to spend money and where you’d like to save money. Figure out where you can save money. One of the best ways to save money involves moving boxes. You’ll probably need a lot of boxes when you’re preparing to move. If you go to any supply store, you can easily spend up to $20 on garment boxes and more. Instead, it’s a great idea to reach out to the local grocery stores. Ask when they’ll be receiving their next shipments. Usually, they receive shipments on a weekly basis. Ask them if they can set aside a certain number of boxes for you. Be ready to pick them up when they ask you to retrieve them. That’s one way to keep lots of money in your pocket.

Plan Your Meals

While you’re going to be really busy during a move, it’s not a good idea to solely rely on fast food to feed your family. Instead, it’s a wise idea to set up meal plans. You can prepare the meals for your family at the beginning of the week. You can make a few casseroles, place them in the freezer and pull them out whenever you’re ready for a dish to feed your family. Print out a few coupons so that you can enjoy one night off with pizza or takeout for the family. However, don’t make it a nightly practice. You’ll waste so much money.

Pack Strategically

You already know that your family needs to eat. Knowing this, make sure that the kitchen is one of the last places you pack up. It’s a good idea to pack up the items you don’t use first. Always label all of the boxes. Instead of solely labeling the items based on what’s inside, take it a step further. Create a color-coding system. Put a large red sticker on each box that’s supposed to go to the master bedroom. Put a large blue sticker on each box that’s designated for one of the children’s bedrooms. This will help the movers understand where to put items when it’s time to unpack.

Create Diversions for Children

Especially if you have young children, it’s easier to have them out of your hair when you’re in the middle of packing. Ask family members and friends if they’d be able to help out with babysitting. Make sure they have activities to engage in while you’re working.