Archive for the ‘guest blog post’ Category

3 Big Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Luxurious

Pelican Shower/Bath

Pelican Shower/Bath

With so many of us leading busy lives and rushing about from here to there, it can be difficult to set aside time to conceptualize, much less carry out, any home improvements. Between work, school, social engagements and other obligations you may often spend so little time at home that you scarcely have a moment to consider whether you’re happy with your dwellings. That is, until you step into your bathroom or kitchen each morning and have that fleeting thought of, “I really should fix/change/replace/ that”. Our only true sanctuary from the outside world, home is where the heart is, and it can be wonderful to focus a bit of effort on your own space. Having a luxurious bathroom can truly improve your quality of life, so even if you’ve got a small area to work with, it pays to make it as comfortable as possible.

Big Items First

When designing a bathroom, the larger fixtures generally must come first. Items like a bath, shower, and sink must be chosen with care according to the bathroom’s measurements and plumbing locations. However, even smaller spaces can take advantage of luxury fixtures. Experts agree that having a bath of any size will increase your home’s value for future buyers.  The most practical way to implement a bath in a small space is to opt for a shower bath , which allows you to make the most of your floor space. Space-saving toilets can be very attractive as well, so look for styles like back to wall toilets and wall hung models to make the room seem streamlined instead of small. Compact, even minuscule sinks are available in a variety of styles. You’ll be amazed by how nice it feels to rest your eyes on a shiny new sink instead of an old, moldy, cracked or stained one. Replacing this feature will add major luxury appeal.

Make the Space Seem Bigger

It’s difficult to make a cramped space luxurious, but you can use a few tricks to make it seem bigger. First off, make sure to eliminate all clutter by storing it properly (implement proper storage if necessary). A good tip for smaller bathrooms is to use open shelving; it allows the eye to travel to the wall, opening up the space. The same goes for clear glass shower doors instead of a curtain. Check your lighting to make sure it makes your bathroom light and bright- few truly luxurious bathrooms are dark and dank. If possible, leave any windows uncovered to allow for maximum natural illumination. Install mirrors on dull walls, to reflect light and give the appearance of a room that goes on much further.

Luxurious Accessories

What exactly is it that makes a bathroom ‘luxurious’? Aside from having smaller versions of larger luxury features, like a shower bath, many times all a small space needs is the right luxurious accessories. Replace an old plastic shower head with a chrome model, and switch out your basin taps for chrome as well. If you’ve always fancied having marble or stone tiles, a small bath can be a great place to install them, as you’ll need far less material to cover your space. Purchase thick, plush towels, scented candles and quality soap. You can also consider added an extra luxurious heating element, such as a heated towel rack or underfloor heating. Many luxurious bathrooms also incorporate texture, in order to create a sensorial experience. Try adding a plush rug for the floor or have a velvet bathrobe to slip into. By adapting the guidelines for larger bathrooms to fit any space, you too can have a luxurious bathroom.

Sonia Bieber is a home design expert and avid cyclist. She spends her free time in the great outdoors, but appreciates coming home to her cozy home, family and two cats. She is also a freelance writer for Bathroom Heaven, retailers of luxurious bathroom furniture and fixtures.

Kitchen Remodeling On A Budget

The Kitchen is the heart of every home. Often the scene of breakfast chats and late night mingling with cocoa, it is in the kitchen where the family is gathered the most. It is not only the place where the food is prepared that nurtures the body but it is also the place where talks are held that nurtures the soul. If you feel as though your kitchen is overdue for a “facelift”, read on to get some inexpensive tips and remodeling ideas.

DIY, or Do It Yourself, is the first way to minimize costs. While you may not be able to do everything you should try to make as many changes as you can without hiring a professional, you’d be surprised at how much you know. Adding new doors and handles to cabinets will change the feel of the entire room. This is a pretty simple job that doesn’t require much knowledge or skill in carpentry. The biggest thing you will have to make sure of is that you measure the old doors correctly to make sure the replacements fit properly.

Backsplashes adds new depth and texture to the space. Update the old one or add one if none exist. The sky is the creative limit with this. You can use colored tiles or use other materials like steel or aluminum sheets. Repaint and match the tiles or use different tiles to make a fun design. It is always nice to see a backsplash that is not of one solid color which adds interest and a focal point to the space. Patterned tiles are a bit more expensive but they are a lot more interesting, a great option if you don’t have the time or desire to be creative. You will need to choose colors and patterns that will be best displayed by the lighting available in your kitchen. Lighting can play an integral part in the overall appeal of the kitchen. This may be another thing to think about replacing. You can buy new fixtures to accent and highlight the new look or install track lights over the backsplash to show it off better.

Counter tops can be a way for you to add a fresh bold look to your dated kitchen. Granite counter tops can be purchased and installed fairly cheaply. Do your research, compare prices and installation fees. Don’t be afraid to let people know what prices you’ve been getting they might price match or someone might be hiding some “unexpected” fees. The end result is always a beautiful more thoroughly modern looking space. Which brings us to the “triangle”; most kitchens are laid out in a pattern that flows similar to a triangle. There are some features that can only be accommodated by certain kitchen designs. You can ask your sales professional for more ideas based on your knowledge of your kitchen layout. Here are the four types of layouts of the kitchen that will help you talk knowledgably with salespeople:
– The Galley style: Makes use of dual walls to make going from workstation to workstation a lot easier.

Modern kitchen design

Modern kitchen design


– The one wall straight-line: This design generally has the sink in the middle of the station flow. Going from left to right it roughly goes in the order of refrigerator, counter top, stove, and sink counter top.

– The L- shape: Part of an open flow design it tends to blend the kitchen into the other sections of the home.

– The U-shape: By far the most versatile because it has more counter space. It usually wraps itself around as an entire room unto itself and features an island workstation.

Contemporary kitchens

Contemporary kitchens

Making an old kitchen fresh and new without having to totally demolish it can be done and it’s not so bad. Take it slow and do a little bit at a time; it will make it less stressful to you and easier on your bank account just keep on it. You may have to be a little handy with a few tools and you may even need to learn some new ones, but most of the work can be done even by a novice.

This was a guest post written by Rick Valence

Rick Valence has a vast array of writing interests that include fiction, non-fiction and how-to guides. He considers himself a bit of a wine aficionado and enjoys spending his vacations in the beautiful California Wine Country discovering great new wines and food pairings. Rick works Monday through Friday as a digital camera repair specialist at C.R.I.S. Camera Services in Chandler, Arizona. He is also the webmaster of his company’s camera repair blog.

How a Pond Adds Life To Your Garden

This is a guest post by Andrew Parker – http://www.electrostoreonline.com

Andrew is copywriter for Electrostore Online who specialize in electrical garden products including blanket weed controllers andsoil meters.

Landscaping is a renowned method of helping blend a building naturally into the surroundings, seemingly causing a ‘natural’ flow from the home into the landscape that subtly suggests that the home almost grew out of the ground rather than being “plonked onto land”.

A fantastic method of achieving this is by adding a pond with a balanced eco-system (with a variety of pond plants, rocks, stones and fish) – which adds a calming and peaceful area of natural beauty to your garden. A pond will bring wildlife into a landscaped area, which captures the essential “natural beauty vibe” that is desired by both landscape gardeners and their client and creates a tranquil area that adds beauty and value to a home.

However, a pond is not something that should be included “at a whim” as they do require effort and lots of care to maintain, especially if the pond contains fish that need feeding every day. Other maintenance that you perhaps wouldn’t have counted on is removing fallen leaves from the pond in Autumn, blanket weed/algae (which can be easily controlled once a blanket weed controller is installed), or protecting your fish from local predators like cats or even foxes.

Of course, now you have decided that you have the time to invest in a pond then you need to decide on the style of pond that will best work in your garden. Old houses will not benefit from having a brand new 2011 pond “clashing” with the house in the garden, while a Mediterranean-style pond with bold pink and purple bougainvillaea and red geraniums planted in bright terracotta pots might look out of place in a drab council estate in Milton Keynes. Special pond features (like waterfalls etc), surrounding plant life and layout should therefore mirror the existing styles on your property. Garden landscapers have plenty of experience in which styles suit different properties, so do ask for guidance and put in some research online.

If you follow the correct landscaping procedures when incorporating a pond, then you might even cause your garden to be a summertime venue hotspot.

How to do a Green Kitchen Remodel

Your kitchen might be the focal point of your home, and what better way to keep it current than making your kitchen remodel a green one? But doing a green kitchen remodel may be easier said than done. Here are a few tips that can point you in the right direction to getting the eco-friendly kitchen you’ve always wanted.

Start off Right

It can be important to get the right start to your green remodel. When you’re tearing things up and ripping things out, consider what could be reused or recycled. Everything from piping and tile to cabinetry and other hardware may be up for reuse or possibly the recycle bin. When it comes to your old appliances, consider handing them down to family or friends or, if they’re in good enough condition, reselling them, possibly on Craigslist or at a garage sale to give them a second life.

A Green Contractor

If you aren’t doing your green remodel yourself, then you’ll likely be searching for a good contractor. When you’re conducting your search, you might want to look for contractors that have experience with environmentally friendly work and let them know your expectations up front. This way they will know what to expect when it comes to the work they’ll be doing and the products and materials they should be purchasing.

Create an Efficient Kitchen

When you’re planning your green kitchen remodel, there may be more to it than just adding some compact fluorescents light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances. Although that might be part of it, it’s important to ensure your remodel remains conducive to your needs. When designing a kitchen to meet your needs, your green considerations might allow you to reduce waste, use less water, motivate you to recycle, allow you a spot to collect garbage for composting, design your kitchen to let in more natural light and reduce lighting needs with energy efficient-windows, and add eco-friendly accessories.

Conclusion

If you find that your kitchen is your kingdom when you’re at home, then it can be important to find a balance between this space being environmentally friendly and still remaining conducive to your cooking needs. While going green may be important to you, ensuring that your kitchen is functional and efficient when you’re in it can be equally critical to the enjoyment of the space.

Steve is president of a home remodeling company in Houston and has been in business for over 25 years. He has experience in all aspects of the industry from custom home building to kitchen remodeling. To see some of his work visit http://www.uniquebuilderstexas.com.

Home Remodeling – Are You Prepared?

This is a guest post by Amy Chokshi

Amy Chokshi is a home decor and re-modeling enthusiasts. She enjoys creating beautiful home decor pieces for thematic home decor and re-modelling projects. She has been designing indoor water fountains for 3 years from variety of natural material. To learn more about her creations, please visit the tabletop fountain store.

Every few years most of us feel they need a change in their life and the easiest thing to change is the environment around you. Usually people choose to remodel only one room in their house due to financial reasons. Nevertheless, if you have the money you should not settle just for one room and start thinking of the benefits of remodeling your entire house. One of the reasons you should redo your whole home is that whenever you start renovating just one room, you tend to start observing the faults and things that need an improvement in the rest of your house instead of enjoying what you just remodeled.

If you decided that you would remodel the house, the next step is to take your time and think about what changes you want in every room of your home. This should not be a hasty decision and you should consult with all the members of your family about what rooms to expand, what changes they need in their rooms, what to do with the space you have and how will the change affect each of them. You should also keep in mind that the needs of your family change over time, therefore think about the changes that can happen in the next few years with you or your family in order to make a decision that will benefit all of you.
If you came to a conclusion and everyone is happy with it, the next step will be to take a close look at your budget and see how much of everyone’s wishes can come true. Thus, if you see that your finance does not allow you to make all the changes you want, then maybe you find an alternative for the change.
At this stage it is also a good idea to talk to a couple of home remodeling experts because they can offer you a clue or two about how to handle a renovation or remodeling that you cannot afford. If you find that you like the idea of one of the experts, learn more about him and then hire his team to work for your project. Also, do not forget that it is important to negotiate a contract with the home renovation expert you choose in order to avoid future problems. Make sure that if you decide to make structural changes you get a permit from your local authorities.

Amy C. invites you to browse beautiful collection of indoor fountains for your home decor.

 

How to Have a Beautiful Lawn

This is a guest post Written by Monika from Mascus.com. Visit them online to find used lawn mowers and other garden and landscape equipment for sale.

If you dream about a beautiful thick lawn in your garden, there are certain activities that you have to perform: watering, mowing, fertilizing and weeding cannot be forgotten. Caring for the grass won’t take loads of time, but you have to do it on regular basis.

Watering

The best time for watering your lawn is early in the morning (the best time, actually) or in the evening, after sunset. It can and should be watered as well during hot afternoons if you spot the signs of withering. Otherwise, you should avoid it in the middle of a hot day as it is not economical – 30-40% of water will evaporate. The most difficult period and key stage for your lawn is the phase of plant emergence, when you have to remember about regular irrigation. In general, the best idea is to water the lawn rarely but heavily – once a week or every 3-4 days during dry spells. Daily irrigation is unnecessary and leads to developing shallow root system what makes the grass more prone to diseases. The first season is the most difficult; in subsequent years, the grass will be able to survive longer. During first three weeks after sowing, it is best to water manually. Later on you can use portable sprinklers, but it is important to change their setting often, as excessive watering causes leaching of nutrients.

Mowing

The first mowing should be carried out when the grass reaches about 4 inches. It should be reduced to no less than 2 inches. Later you can gradually reduce the height, but keep in mind that you should never cut more than half of the plant. Frequent mowing results in better condition and appearance of the lawn. When the grass is cut regularly, but not too short, the loss of nutrients is limited.

Fertilization

Fertilization contributes to improving lawn color, density, and growth. Properly fertilized grass is more resistant to weeds competition and unfavorable weather conditions. The minerals that are important include: nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and iron. The best time to apply fertilizers is when the grass is actively growing, and this is different for warm and cool season types. If you have weed or pest problem, you can buy a mixed combination of fertilizers and the necessary treatments.

Weeding

The best way to fight with weeds is to get rid of them regularly. If there are not many of them, you can do it manually. In many cases simple mowing is enough to prevent undesirable plants grow and seed – for example dandelions or buttercups won’t reproduce if they don’t have a chance to blossom. If the weed problem gets serious you may have to use some chemical weed killers.

3 Tips for Balancing a Life and a home Business

This is a guest blog post by Amber Singleton Riviere
Amber Singleton Riviere is the founder of Upstart Smart, a resource for small business owners, as well as the Rock Your Genius radio show, which focuses on small business and entrepreneurship. She also runs the Give Back Project, a web design and marketing firm, and writes for websites like Web Worker Daily on topics relevant to small business owners. You can find out about all of Amber’s work by visiting ambersingleton.com.

Having a successful home business requires not only planning and diligence but also the ability to understand yourself, your limitations and your strengths. One must be able to self motivate and to separate “home” from “business” in order to be successful; besides that, here are a few other tips that have worked for me in setting up and running my home business.

Tip #1: Figure out what works for you.
It’s important to start from a place of purpose and intent. It’s so easy to get sucked into all the distractions and pulls for our attention, but we only have so much time in a day, and the bottom line is, not everything is important to us. You have to figure out what you can live with, what’s most important to you. That’s going to be different for every person, but you have to just be honest with yourself and accept what’s most important to you and make room for those things while intentionally avoiding or eliminating the things that don’t.
Also, accept that it’s okay to do that. It’s okay to say, “I don’t have time for television,” for instance. I read a magazine article recently that said that Rachel Maddow, the host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, does not have a television in her house. If I hosted a television show, I know that I would feel compelled to not only have a television (probably in every room), but to constantly be checking in and seeing what’s happening. We place crazy expectations on ourselves based on what we think we’re supposed to do, and it’s just not necessary. Be okay with that. Look around your life and see what you’re accommodating out a feeling of obligation, because everyone else is doing it, or even just by default, because it shows up in your life. Say, “[Television/Twitter/Facebook/etc.] doesn’t work for me. I just don’t have room for it in my life,” and then be okay with it. Sell the TV. Shut down your Twitter or Facebook account. Get rid of all the extra baggage and clutter hanging around so that you have more room for what’s most important to you.
One example in my life is dust. I’ve learned to live with a little more of it than I used to accommodate. I hate clutter, but dust doesn’t bother me so much. I used to think that I had to dust every single item and surface in my house every time I cleaned it, which was a huge chore that took up a lot of time for something that I didn’t care about. I started realizing that keeping clutter in check was much more important to me, so I started focusing my cleaning efforts on that and began dusting much less often. That works for me. Now I can use that time for other things.
Tip #2: Honor a routine.
Although it can be a dynamic thing that fluctuates with changes in your life and business, I think it’s important to maintain some sort of routine. Approach your days and weeks with intention as well. Figure out your “big rocks” to move each day or week. These are the absolute top priorities that, if nothing else got done, you’d be content only having moved them.
Divide out your days and weeks into blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on each big rock. As you go through your day or week, keep referring back to your schedule to stay on track. When you start a focused work block, turn off all distractions and give your complete attention to that one priority. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish, and at the end of a day or week, you’ll be content with your progress.
Tip #3: Think in terms of tasks and to-dos, not hours.
Many business owners were once employees and have a deeply ingrained 9-to-5 mentality. We think, again, that it’s what we’re supposed to do. If we’re not putting in forty hours each week, we must not be doing enough. Instead of watching the clock, learn to watch the to-do list.
On a clear day, when you’re not feeling pressured or tied too closely to outcomes, figure out what you really want to accomplish within your business. Set your goals, put the milestones in place to achieve them, and then break those milestones down into actionable steps. Map out your daily or weekly to-do list based on those goals, milestones, and action steps. Put three to five to-dos on a daily list and get to work. When you reach the end of the list, you’re done.
Working the opposite way (thinking you just have to be “present”) will lead to a lot of wasted, water-cooler time. Instead of working arbitrary eight-hour days, opt for working highly-focused six-hour ones. You’ll be much more aware of your productivity and much more intent on achieving results.
As business owners, it is possible to achieve a greater sense of balance in our lives, but it starts with figuring out what’s most important to us, setting aside designated time for those priorities, and getting rid of unrealistic expectations or feelings of obligation. By focusing on the things that matter most, we can feel much more satisfied with our progress and have a greater sense of control over our direction in life and business.