Category Archives: Home

Preparing for Your Next Move

Moving from one home to another is never an easy undertaking, but if you create a plan and stick to it then the whole process is more likely to go as smoothly as possible. Here’s how to get ready for your next move.

Determine Your Budget

While the amount of time you have and how much stuff you own both matters in making moving decisions, the amount of money you’re prepared to spend on your move is usually the primary factor in working out your plan. Once you know how much you can spend on your move, you can decide whether you’ll tackle the project on your own or if you’ll try to find moving company options that will fit your budget.

Hire a Moving Company

If you’ve decided that hiring movers is the way to go, you’ll want to lock in a company as early as possible to ensure they’ll be available on your moving date. If you’re flexible and your move is imminent, try booking on a weekday rather than a weekend. Rates can vary based on how much you’re moving and whether you’ll need packing assistance, so shop around for the price and level of service you’re comfortable with.

Start Packing

The rule of thumb is to start packing the moment you know you’re moving, or at least six weeks before the big day. This will give you enough time to get everything done without rushing, and it can allow you to make wise decisions about what to take and what to toss. Begin by sorting through off-season clothing, holiday decorations, and other items you don’t use on a regular basis; pack what you’ll keep, then donate or throw away the rest.

Prepare for Moving Day

You’ll want to be fully rested for your move, so in the days leading up to it try to get plenty of rest. Put together an arrivals box, so the basics you’ll need on your first night such as sheets, towels, and toothbrushes don’t need to be hunted down in your mountain of moving boxes. Make sure your current home and the home to which you’re moving are both accessible for your movers; clear any obstacles, and reserve a parking place if possible.

Planning ahead and being prepared on moving day can make for a smooth transition from one home to another. Just a few simple steps can get you all set to make your big move.

Choosing New Furniture Carefully

Customers who are shopping for furniture may initially have a difficult time narrowing down their long list of potential options. Even one furniture store might have dozens of different bedroom and living room sets. People might have different preferences regarding furniture styles.

However, the furniture that can be found in stores was all made using a consistent set of design principles. That furniture also tends to be well-made in general. The decision to pick one furniture set over another one can seem like it’s based on a few minor details. If people prioritize certain furniture characteristics, they’ll make much better decisions as customers.

Practical Use

The pieces of furniture that look excellent in stores still might not be ideal for people to use heavily each day. Some people purchase ornamental sofas and couches that aren’t really intended for any other purpose. If the sofa is supposed to be primarily decorative, it won’t matter if it’s comfortable.

Plenty of decorative sofas are not especially comfortable, since they don’t usually have a lot of upholstery. Ornamental furniture also won’t always offer enough back support. It’s certainly possible to find a sofa that’s comfortable and stylish, but people should decide which quality is particularly valuable to them.

Customers who write Joybird reviews often say that the furniture was very comfortable. People like the way that the furniture looks, and they also talk about how cozy and plush it is. Furniture customers will have the opportunity to get furniture like this, but they should not assume that a beautiful furniture piece is also comfortable. Some of these ornamental pieces also may not be especially durable.

Reliable Furniture

Decorative types of furniture can sometimes last for decades and longer. The antiques that have lasted for centuries are often specifically furniture pieces. However, people didn’t use that furniture all that often. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have lasted nearly as long. Most antiques also get refurbished at different points.

When people read Joybird reviews furniture and similar reports, they should think about how much they plan to use their new furniture. They might read reviews about people owning a particular sofa for years and using it every day. A sofa like that might be ideal for a lot of customers.

People who don’t use their furniture as frequently might not even mention how comfortable it was. Individuals who are less concerned with the decorative aspects of their furniture might not mention its appearance. An ornamental and comfortable piece of furniture could be described in two different ways by two different customers.

Reasons To Refinance a Mortgage

The refinancing of a mortgage loan has a particular purpose, and that is to improve the current conditions of the mortgage holder. In general, it is about asking for a loan to pay off another one and continue paying it under a new contract. You can also use the loan to do some home improvement, pay for an educational loan, or go on a well-needed vacation. It all depends on the person’s situation.

More Reasons to Refinance your Mortgage

When the economic outlook points to a movement in interest rates; making them lower, this is the ideal time to do mortgage refinancing. This is when the current situation involves attractive interest rates. If your credit score has improved and you are eligible for a new mortgage with a lower interest rate, then you would consider mortgage refinancing. If you would like to change your financial institution because the current one does not provide the desired service, then you would do the same.

Advantages of a Refinance

One advantage of a refinance is to reduce the interest rate, The interest rate on your mortgage is closely linked to how much you pay each month. Getting a lower interest rate is reflected in lower monthly payments and, therefore, greater personal liquidity. You can take advantage of that money to cover other expenses or to finish paying for your house much earlier.

The Mortgage Terms

Refinancing helps you to adjust the term of your mortgage. In this case, you have two options: increase the term of your mortgage or reduce it. If you are at a time in your life when you need greater financial solvency, increasing the term of your mortgage will help you reduce the amount of the monthly payment. You should consider that this decision will lengthen the time you will spend paying your loan. In addition, it will depend on the available terms of the financial institution of your interest.

Reduce the Term

If you feel comfortable with a higher monthly payment and want to pay off your house in less time, you can make an adjustment through a mortgage refinancing and pay off your mortgage as soon as possible, even with a better rate. Take into account that refinancing is not the only way to reduce the term. You can also resort to advance payments, but be careful! You must choose an institution that does not penalize you for this type of action.

Change your Mortgage from Variable Rate to Fixed Rate

A variable mortgage rate is exposed to market fluctuations; although the main advantage is a longer-term credit. Unfortunately, you could pay much more than you initially thought and have financial problems. In this case, you can negotiate a mortgage refinancing with a fixed interest rate and fight against these types of risks.

3 Classic Roof Styles for Your Home

One of the best ways to make your home unique is to choose a roof that fits your aesthetics. Here are three classic roof styles for your home.

1. Gables

Gable roofs are a traditional and very popular roof style. It’s an efficient and cost-effective style, with two sloping sides facing the front and back of a house, creating a triangular silhouette. You’ll usually see gables on Georgian, Colonial, and Cape Cod-style homes. Since gable roofs are very simple in shape and construction, a company like IKO Roofing can usually make any kind of shingle work well with them. The most common shingles used are slate, asphalt, or wood.

2. Saltbox

Saltbox roofs are quite common in the northeastern US. This type of roof creates a dramatic asymmetric angle to give your home an interesting silhouette. It is typically seen on Colonial Revival and Cape Cod-style homes. This roof style is ideal for areas with heavy snowfall, as its construction is more durable than other styles. It allows for additional storage or living space, though the rooms directly under the roof will likely have sloped ceilings. You can use any roofing material to construct and shingle this roof style.

3. Gambrel

Gambrel roofs are quite similar to gable roofs, so it’s easy to work with a company like the IKO Roofing team to customize the design and choose the shingles you like best. The gambrel roof resembles the roof of a barn and usually tops homes built with Dutch Colonial or farmhouse styles in mind. If you want to include extra attic space or a loft in your home, a gambrel roof is perfect.

There are many different roofing styles to choose from, ranging from the sleek, modern butterfly roof to the asymmetric skillion style, and many ways to customize whichever style you choose, such as adding dormers or a dome.

Renovation Tips to Lower Bills

If you are planning a home renovation, or in the middle of one, then it’s a great time to make some money-saving improvements. Adding a room to your home, or renovating a space, can be expensive and stressful. But, you should take advantage of this time to make real updates to the efficiency of your home. Over time, these improvements will pay for themselves. They may even pay for those renovations.

Add Insulation

Old insulation breaks down and can shift out of place. This leads to drafty areas that require more energy to heat or cool. If you are taking down drywall or moving walls, it is the optimal time to refresh that old insulation. Some types, like spray foam insulation Maryland, can even be added to existing walls without completely opening them. Remember to insulate the attic as well as the basement; these areas make a big difference.

Create Zones

This is done with a zoned HVAC system. Zoned systems use one HVAC unit to regulate multiple zones of your home. This is more efficient because you can heat or cool only the section of the house that you are in at that time. If one zone is by the bedrooms, that zone would function more at night than during the day. Whereas the zone controlling common areas would operate during the day and much less at night. If installing a new HVAC system is not in the scope of your current renovation, then consider adding programmable thermostats. These allow you to set the temperature of your home at different levels throughout the day. At night, or when the house is not being used, energy can be saved.

Reduce Air Leakage

Air from outside is going to leak in and out of your home. In the winter, this leads to cold drafts. In the summer, leaks let the cool air escape from your home. Although all homes will have some leaks, you can reduce a lot of them with some time and a little cash. Install weather stripping around windows or add storm panels. Flexible weather stripping can be added to the bottom of your doors to keep out the drafts. There are also many types of foam gaskets available to place behind wall switches and outlets. Anyplace that you feel a draft, try to stop the air leak.

There are a lot of things to think about when renovating your home. Home efficiency should be high on that list. These types of upgrades are easier and sometimes cheaper to do when other renovations are taking place. Do not miss the opportunity to reduce your energy bill and make your renovations pay off.

Why Testing Pool Water Is Important

With all the fun of having a pool, it can be easy to forget about the maintenance, but testing your water is more important than you may realize. Here are some reasons why you should check your pool often.

Longevity

No one installs a swimming pool hoping that it will crack and corrode. Pools are investments in your home that should last for a long time, which is why proper care is so important. If certain elements get off balance, they can damage the plaster walls. For example, a deficiency in calcium may cause the water to extract calcium from the plaster, creating cracks and holes. Metal components, such as ladders, may also be subject to corrosion if pH levels get too high. Water testing Pittsburgh kits can be used to monitor chemical levels and avoid such damage.

Appearance

The right balance of chemicals is what keeps your water clear. Improper ratios can cause cloudiness and discoloration. Pools that look dirty are off-putting to swimmers and can be an eyesore in your yard. Regular maintenance can keep the water crystal clear, making it look like the relaxing oasis it is.

Cleanliness

Chlorine and other compounds keep bacteria and algae out of your water. Allowing these harmful pathogens to breed puts swimmers at risk of infection or illness. Contaminants such as sweat and urine are inevitable in pools, but the right amount of chlorine can work as a disinfectant, keeping the water clean and safe. The peace of mind from knowing your friends and family are safe is well worth the extra effort.

Comfort

Swimming in water with poor chemical levels can irritate skin, burn eyes and even create fumes that are dangerous to inhale. The right chemical ratios make lounging in the pool comfortable and relaxing, as it should be.

Odor

An overabundance of bacteria can create a musty and unpleasant smell. Conversely, too much cleaner can produce a strong, bleach-like odor. When the correct balance is achieved, all you should only be able to detect is a faint chlorine smell.

Monitoring the chemical makeup of your pool is easy to do with the help of home testing kits that can be purchased at nearly all pool stores. Water should be tested at home two to three times per week and professionally tested at least once a month. Regularly cleaning filters and skimming also help keep things nice and tidy so the chemicals can do their job.

Ciao! Italian Furniture 101

Would you like to have classic works of art in your home? Pieces that are not only beautiful and timeless, but functional as well?

Italy’s art history inspires the craftsmanship of Italian furniture. From Baroque to Modern, Italian furniture still reflects the style of those eras to the present day. From intricately carved woods, beautifully crafted fabrics, and the use of metals and stone, make classic Italian furniture works of art.

A Brief History

The Italians discovered Greek designs found in Pompeii and Herculaneum’s ruins, which thereby inspired their earliest furniture pieces. The Romans developed a type of folding stool that commoners and government officials alike used. Round tables, designed with curved legs in the shape of animals, had widespread popularity across the realm.

After the fall of the Roman empire, furniture became utilitarian. Basic paneled doors on storage cabinets accompanied plain-featured tables and stools used in the kitchen, evidence in which paintings, sculptures, and manuscripts proved.

Medieval furniture was dark, heavy, and rough. However, the 14th century brought improvements to the manufacturing of furniture. Newly discovered joinery methods enabled more delicate woodworking and the creation of lighter weight pieces.

The Renaissance(rebirth) period brought about a significant transformation of Italian furniture, guided by architectural principles. The wealthy and powerful social class of the time created a demand for housing, thus requiring furniture. Pieces adorned with gilding (gold leaf) were popular, making the piece’s decoration more important than its intended use. Cabinets and paneling displayed colonnades. The fronts of cupboards resembled miniature churches or palaces. But the most significant expression of the Renaissance period manifested in the carving of furniture pieces. Cabinet makers from all over Europe came to Italy to learn from their fellow craftsmen. Because of this, European furniture styles became heavily influenced by Italian furniture designers of the day.

Present Day

Italy has become known for its fine furniture. It provides durability and stability and can fit into any home or lifestyle. Whether you prefer modern or traditional, there will always be a piece to suit your style and taste. Despite its chic, posh appearance, incomparable design, and quality build, Italian furniture is affordable.

If you want your home to reflect its beauty and good taste, consider the purchase of Italian furniture. It is a decision you will be glad you made.

Finding Italian Furniture

If you’re looking for authentic and high-quality Italian furniture, it’s important to first do some research on local retailers. Look for an Italian furniture Montreal retailer that offers a wide range of beautiful Italian furniture options.

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.