Posts Tagged ‘guest blog post’

What Is The Best Wood For Kitchen Cabinets And Why?

We all know that nothing looks better in the kitchen than a fine set of wooden kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately everything that looks good may not be the best, finding the right kitchen cabinets will take knowing a little something about woods and how they perform in this element. Read on to find out what woods work best in the kitchen.

The process of selecting a good kitchen cabinet is not as difficult as some would have you believe. The thing to remember most is that what you want is real 100% solid wood. Even the best Particle board cabinets may look great but their good looks will be short lived because the materials fade fast and these imitations will have to be replaced time and time again.

For craftsmen kitchen cabinet makers the most popular choice of wood has to be Oak. Oak is the easiest wood to get today since a lot of the hard woods are either extinct or so close to extinction that they are no longer being cut. Thankfully, Oaks are still covering the globe in abundance and it is this that makes it a favorite for kitchen cabinets. Oak takes to staining very well. Oak is also a very durable wood, which has a wonderful raw beauty that is unsurpassed by imitators. They look best if left natural or with a light honey colored stain.

Pine is another very popular good sturdy wood for cabinet making. Ponderosa Pine, White pine and Yellow pine are the most common and favorites varieties of cabinetmakers. The White and the Yellow are easier to work with than the Ponderosa so if you are a do it yourself type of person it would be best to choose the white or yellow. They are easier to stain and to manipulate if you have something specific you are trying to match. If you must have the beautiful look of the Ponderosa Pine it is highly recommended that you buy them already stained.

Cherry Wood is probably the industry favorite for longevity because this wood gets better with the passage of time. The older the piece of stained Cherry Wood gets the richer and the more vibrant the color of the wood gets. What happens is that it becomes redder and more beautiful with exposure to sunlight. Antique cherry wood furniture always sells very well as high-end items that can be bought or found at auction. One great thing about buying them as newly minted cabinets is that you can watch as time works its magic.

When purchasing a kitchen cabinet you have to make certain you inspect them for consistency in glaze or stain application. Depending on the aesthetics of your home, it is also possible to mix the woods for a totally unique kitchen décor.

This was a guest post written by Rick Valence

Rick Valence loves to read and write short stories, books and especially blogs. He 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.

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How to Communicate with Your Contractor

You’ve finally decided to remodel your kitchen or add on that extra room. You’ve done your research and found 2 to 3 contractors who are licensed, if that’s required in your area, bonded, and checked some referrals. So you’re ready to pick up the phone and call. Wait a minute! Just like men and women don’t always communicate on the same wave length, contractors and the rest of us don’t use the same language. In order to make sure that you’re clear about what you want done and have the contractor understand and explain the process, you’re going to have to do a bit of homework ahead of time.

Let’s say you’re going to remodel your kitchen. You want new cabinets, counters, flooring, and appliances, maybe even a different layout. Check out some of the home decorating magazines and find pictures of the type of cabinets you want. Visit an appliance retailer and pick out the appliances you want. Make sure to note the model numbers and if they come in the color you want. Next, you can draw out what you want, or drop in at Home Depot or Lowe’s. They can print out what you want from their CAD program and if you have measurements, so much the better. Check out the flooring and counter departments and get samples of what you think you might like. Like paint chips, laminate counter top samples are available for check out, and there is usually a variety of composite, tile, or other counter top materials to choose from. Flooring samples are available as well. When you’ve decided, make note of the information on the back side of the sample – the manufacturer, the style name and number. Gather all your pictures, drawings, printouts and sample information into a useable format and make copies for each contractor you’ll be interviewing. Now, you’re ready to talk to a contractor.

It’s important to sit and down and visit with each contractor, show them what you want and the space they might be working in, so make sure you plan enough time. An hour should be enough, but depending on your project you may want to plan for extra time. They should want to see the space and take their own measurements. They’ll need to check if any plumbing or electrical work will have to be moved. If you want to have any structural elements moved, they’ll need to look at the space above and below.

There are some questions you’ll want to ask. How many workers does the contractor employ? Do they all work on the same job at the same time? Will the contractor need to hire subcontractors, plumbers or electricians for example? Does the contractor work on more than one job at a time? Can he or she guarantee his/her estimate or what are the procedures if the job takes more time and money than the estimate called for? Does the contractor have business insurance? Can he or she guarantee how long it will take to complete the job? Who will handle hauling the debris away? Who handles the permits? The answers will depend on the specific job. The more workers, the faster they can complete the job, but some individuals can be pretty fast and often more reliable. If they work multiple jobs at once, are they going to split their time between jobs? If specialized work such as plumbing or electrical is called for – they should either be qualified, or hire sub contractors to do the work.

There are obstacles that can occur that aren’t planned for that can add time and money to a project. Moving structural elements isn’t a good idea and if the contractor doesn’t think they need to be replaced, you might want to consider another contractor. Structural elements are vital to holding up a structure such as a house. Without them, the structure won’t be sound and damage to the property and injury to those inhabiting it can occur. They should be able to give you a timeline for how long the project will take. If not, look elsewhere. The contractor should also be the one who cleans up and hauls the debris away.

After visiting with each contractor, contemplate on how you feel about each one. Did they give you the opportunity to ask questions? Did they talk about everything but the job? Did they want to give you an estimate on the spot? Did they look closely at the space and listen to what you wanted? Did they offer suggestions that would help reduce cost or would be a better choice? For example, not moving structural elements, but working around them, not moving plumbing, but reconfiguring the floor plan so everything works well. Both of those examples will reduce cost and may actually work to your advantage if the contractor is good at his job. Making notes of your visit can help you remember when the estimates arrive.

Once you’ve received their bids, don’t automatically take the lowest one. Don’t automatically take the highest one either. Remember your visit with each contractor and how you felt about each one. Look at your notes to help you remember. The estimates should be very specific about materials and labor, including hardware and any subcontractor work as well. choose the contractor who explains what is going to happen at each stage of the project. You should also feel comfortable with that person’s knowledge and expertise as well as with the person him – or herself. When you’ve chosen the contractor you feel is right for you, there should be a contract to sign detailing what all is to be done and when, along with the cost. It should be very clear and understandable and it should match the estimate. Each party should get a copy. Now the work can begin!

This was a guest post by Jayne Yenko

Jayne is currently a writer for http://WesternWyoming.blogspot.com

Green Bathroom Tips

It might seem surprising, but the bathroom can be a great place to go green. There are plenty of eco-friendly tips that can be put to use inside a bathroom. From going organic to conserving water and energy, here are a few areas in which your bathroom can serve as launching point for an environmentally conscious home.

Going Organic

By searching for organic material to outfit your bathroom, you could be going green in a quite comfortable way. Items such as towels, washcloths, bathmats, even your bathrobe are now often available in eco-friendly or sustainable materials such as organic cotton or bamboo.

Ditch the Disposable Dispensers

While those soap dispensers you buy at the store on a regular basis might be handy, they may not be eco-friendly. Consider using environmentally friendly hand soap bars, or if you prefer a dispenser, you might try a refillable one as opposed to the disposables. And if you find that you just can’t live without disposables and don’t want to refill them, at least consider recycling the containers when they’re empty.

Water Consumption

The bathroom can be a great spot for reducing water consumption. From the toilet to the sink and shower heads, low flow options abound. You can even use a water displacer in your toilet tank to reduce the amount of water per flush if you don’t want to replace the entire toilet.

Bulbs Galore

When you stop and look around your bathroom for a moment, you might be surprised at the number of light bulbs in use. From ceiling lights to vanity bulbs, there could be a variety of spots in which bulbs are in place, but not necessarily needed. If you have a multitude of bulbs around your vanity or other bathroom space, consider removing a few and seeing if you even notice the difference. You might be surprised. Consider replacing other bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescents bulbs.

Conclusion

Whether or not you choose to follow these exact tips, the important thing is that you are interested in finding ways to go green. Maybe these helpful ideas can assist you to breed green ideas to help turn your bathroom into an eco-friendly space of your own creation.

Pablo is a licensed plumber in Houston that offers services to both residential and commercial customers. He has over 10 years of experience in the plumbing field and enjoys providing tips on anything and everything in the plumbing world. Read more about his company at http://www.texaspowerplumbing.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.

 

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.