Trends in Stairs

Building a forever home can be a challenge! Everyone knows that today we can choose from a variety of different ideas, materials and solutions and all we want to achieve is a stylish house that is functioning the way we want. Talking about home design we have to admit, that trends are changing really fast so we have to take it into consideration when making important decisions. One of the most common questions that people face while building a house – staircase design. We have so many options and ideas that it is really hard to make a decision and be sure that it goes along with the trends. Knowing that we want to introduce you to staircase trends for 2017!

One trend, that has been going on in 2016 is here to stay. And it is curved staircases. This look goes perfectly with modern and classic design interior, so you can be sure that this design is the best choice. Of course, curved staircases need a lot of space and not everyone has it. Still, if you have an opportunity – use it!

Another thing that will look beautiful and won’t go out of style soon – matching black and white. This style staircases is here to stay so you can be sure that it is a right decision. This monochromatic look is a perfect way to add character without bright colors, that can soon become annoying.

These two trends are modern but still on a classic side, so now some inspiration for more modern looks. If you want to save space and create modern design, staircase with glass elements is a perfect way to do it. It looks really elegant and weightless so for smaller spaces there is no better choice.

And finally – staircase with a storage! This might seem an option for smaller houses but don’t be so sure. The fact is that these type of staircases look really stylish and adds that home feeling to a place. Everyone of us want to feel comfortable at  home ant this trick will help you to achieve it.

So these are the main trends and ideas for 2017. If you want to build a house with a character – use them and you won’t regret it.

Know more about Doors

Good looks and value — what’s not to love? Not only does replacing your front entry door kick up your curb appeal, it’s a solid investment with a decent payback.

According to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (full disclosure: NAR is a sponsor of HouseLogic), a new steel entry door has a national median cost of $2,000, and you’ll recover 75% of that investment if you decide to sell your house.

What’s more, if you choose an energy-efficient exterior door, you may trim up to 10% off your energy bills. (With utility bills averaging $2,200 annually, that’s a savings of as much as $220.)

But how do you know which door is right for you? Make your decision by comparing the three main materials available for exterior doors: steel, fiberglass, and wood.

Steel Entry Door

If you’re looking to save money, a steel door is a great choice, especially if you have the skills to hang it yourself.

A simple, unadorned steel door can sell for as little as $150 (not including hardware, lock set, paint, or labor) and typically runs as much as $400 at big-box retailers.

Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood in this area is slight.

Still, the attractive cost of a steel door comes with an important compromise: It probably won’t last as long.

A steel door exposed to salt air or heavy rains may last only five to seven years. Despite steel’s reputation for toughness, it actually didn’t perform well in “Consumer Report’s” testing against wood and fiberglass for normal wear and tear.

With heavy use, it may dent, and the damage can be difficult and expensive to repair. If your door will be heavily exposed to traffic or the elements, you may be better off choosing a different material.

Fiberglass Door

Fiberglass doors come in an immense variety of styles, many of which accurately mimic the look of real wood. And if limited upkeep is your ideal, fiberglass may be your best bet.

Fiberglass doesn’t expand or contract appreciably as the weather changes. Therefore, in a reasonably protected location, a fiberglass entry door can go for years without needing a paint or stain touch-up and can last 15 to 20 years. Although it feels light to the touch, fiberglass has a very stout coating that’s difficult for an intruder to breach; and its foam core offers considerable insulation.

Fiberglass generally falls between steel and wood in price; models sold at big-box stores range from about $150 to $600.

Wood Exterior Door

Wood is considered the go-to choice for high-end projects; its luxe look and substantial weight can’t be flawlessly duplicated by fiberglass or steel — though high-end fiberglass products are getting close. If your home calls for a stunning entry statement with a handcrafted touch, wood may be the best material for you.

Wood is usually the most expensive choice of the three — roughly $500 to $2,000, excluding custom jobs — and requires the most maintenance, although it’s easier to repair scratches on a wood door than dents in steel or fiberglass.

Wood doors should be repainted or refinished every year or two to prevent splitting and warping.

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your door as well as its energy efficiency, you can purchase a solid wood door certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which assures you that the wood was sustainably grown and harvested.

Tracing the environmental impact of a particular door — from manufacturing process to shipping distance to how much recycled/recyclable content it contains — is quite complicated and probably beyond the ken of the average homeowner, notes LEED-certified green designer Victoria Schomer. But FSC-certified wood and an Energy Star rating are an excellent start.

A final note on choosing a door based on energy efficiency: Because efficiency depends on a number of factors besides the material a door is made of — including its framework and whether it has windows — look for the Energy Star label to help you compare doors.

Martha Stewart: The Empire and Beyond

“All the things I love are what my business is all about.” – Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart is the undisputed goddess of everything home. From her first book, Entertaining, to her monthly magazine Living, to her daily television show, to her recent release of a full home decor line at Macy’s, she has the corner of the home market. So what can we learn about Home Management from Martha?

Martha Stewart: The Website

Let’s take a look at Martha Stewart’s website. The site has 10 main tabs: Food, Entertaining, Holidays, Home & Decorating, Crafts, Gardening, Weddings, Kids, Health and Community.

Under Home & Decorating are the following tab/topics: Decorating 101, Decorating by Room, Accents and Details, Painting, Organizing, Homekeeping, Clotheskeeping, Maintaining, Home Improvement & Repairs, and Good Things.

All of these sections offer plentiful information, excellent photographs, and countless helpful tips on a wide variety of home and garden subjects.

Martha Stewart: Learning More

You can learn a great deal about your home-related topic of choice on Martha’s site. For example, under Homekeeping, you can watch a video on Closet Organization, learn how to create a space for organizing family items or even see a photo gallery on how to welcome guests to your home.

The main Home & Decorating page offers tips on keeping clutter under control, creating a welcoming foyer for your home, and clever ways to reuse things you already own.

Martha Stewart: Other Good Things

The other categories on the site include numerous creative home project ideas. You can learn how to make a nautical map tray, how to create holiday homemade craft projects (like a pistachio wreath!), how to antique a mirror, and of course the home basics: ironing, folding, storing clothes, stain removal, and on and on. You name it, you can learn more about how to do it- all in one place.

Martha Stewart: The Past

You can’t write an article about Martha Stewart without mentioning her time in jail. While it seems from a public relations standpoint it might have been better if she were more forthcoming and apologetic, Martha Stewart played the issue as she does most things: tight-lipped. You don’t see a lot of drama from Martha: drama would not have helped her get as far as she has in her career. She did her time, and she moved on: she got right back to work. TV, radio, print: the triple media crown also includes the very brightly shining jewel of her website. Whatever mistakes she’s made in the past have only served to humanize her a bit- for her devoted, loyal fans, her ability to rule the home and garden roost has never changed.

Martha Stewart: Words of Wisdom

And some final words of home & garden wisdom, directly from Martha Stewart herself:

“Life is too complicated not to be orderly.”

Home improvements that will pay you back

home improvement

When it’s time to enhance the value of their homes, most homeowners want to go for the projects that are likely to provide a great potential to recoup what they had spend. For such home owners, Return on Investment is a common term in their talks.  Here are some of the home improvements that are likely to pay back.

Programmable thermostat

programmable thermostat

If you haven’t installed a thermostat in your home, consider buying one. The initial cost and the installation cost of the thermostat is not too high. This device can be programmed to either cool or heat particular sections of the house.

Besides, you can program them to go off when you aren’t at home in the morning hours and turn on a few minutes before you come back to ensure that the house is warm. Depending on how you use the thermostat, it can pay for itself in two to three months and if you have to use it for several years, you can save a lot of money.

Whole house fans

whole house fan

During the summer, it is easier to cool your car by just opening the car windows and cycling out the heat than to sit back and wait for the AC to cool the hot air. The entire house fans work the same wayas the car windows: they normally flash out the air and this allows the conditioner or the heater to pump in cool air. These fans will also help your HVAC system to work efficiently.

Energy-efficient appliances

Energy-efficient appliances

Have you ever realized that over 50% of your home’s energy is used in water heating? Besides, if you use dishwasher, dry cleaner, hot baths, and other appliances that need fuel, you are also using energy. Ensuring that you are using energy-efficient appliances will help you cut energy bills by a larger percentage.

Money in, money back

The adjustments discussed in this article and others which are almost similar will help you to save and at the end of the day, you are likely to minimize the expenses. The home improvements discussed are no less important or valuable but most homeowners over look them. You don’t have to do all of them at once. You can complete each at time and after sometime, you will find that you have achieved a great milestone n home improvement.

Easy Bathroom Decorating Ideas On A Budget

bathroom decorating ideas

Our bathrooms are one of the most important areas that we spend so much time for ourselves. There are plenty of homeowners who prefer to make their bathrooms luxurious, functional and inviting.

When planning out a home improvement project for your bathroom, you should think of a design plan that is practical and really efficient. If you are looking for ways on how to glam up your bathroom, you have come to the right place!  We have plenty of suggestions on easy bathroom decorating ideas on a budget. Below are some of the design ideas to improve your bathroom’s appearance:

Most houses today have small bathrooms. You can recreate a wider bathroom through the use of lively patterns for your floor. You can experiment with cement tiles in your bathroom which is an affordable home improvement project. You can make use of sealers to make the colors last and protect it from the damage of penetrating water.

bathroom cement tile

You do not have to tear down your tiles to make your bathroom walls look better. All you have to do is find affordable wallpaper that you can cover up some areas. Especially if you are dealing with the area near your sink, you should find wallpaper that is waterproof. There are a lot of PVC wallpapers which are self-adhesive. You simply peel off the backing and you are good to go.

Learn where you can save on space for your bathroom.  A big tub can be a perfect sanctuary for you to unwind and relax during a bath. Thus, you can make space saving efforts elsewhere. You can incorporate your storage spaces through built-in shelves and cabinets into the wall. Perhaps you can do it behind the tub for various toiletries, products or towels. Additionally, you can also make use of fixture which comes with storage.

For smaller bathrooms, you should choose a sliding door. You can choose to install a door on a rail which can stay parallel with your walls even when you open it.

bathroom sliding door

You can explore untraditional shower curtains. You can look for patterns and colors that will complement your bathroom interiors. Find a curtain that is similar to a drape. This will make your bathroom appear chic and sophisticated. You will also make shower time feel like your space to unwind and relax.

Another design element you can use for your bathroom is an oval mirror. This is perfect for taller people but the design makes things appear stretched upwards. Thus, they create an illusion that the ceilings are taller and the room is spacious.



Garden Healing

garden healing

backyard vegetables

He watched her move between the rows of tomatoes and potatoes in the early morning sun. The dew from the dawn clung to her flowing sun dress and made it cling to her legs.

Her face was shining from the inside. Even from the window of the kitchen that glow warmed his heart. She was in a different world out in the garden, a world where only new sprouts, sporadic weeds, and the bounty of backyard vegetables mattered to her. The rest of the world was left behind and forgotten. At least for awhile.

He took a last drink of coffee and put on his wide brimmed hat. The joy and relief given by the most mundane and simplest of chores lit his face as well. The backyard garden healed their troubles, repaired their wounded souls, and gave hope to their shattered lives. The oldest of activities, farming, had given them back more of their lives than any doctor or pills could ever have.

backyard garden

She turned and smiled at him as he stepped into the row behind her, between the little corn stalks and the sunflowers. He grinned back and walked to her. They embraced in the middle of the little garden. Not a soul in the world saw or cared about them at that very moment. The world fell away and left only the loving couple…and the ever watchful scarecrow.


Gutter Guards And Gutter Cleaning In Winter

Gutter cleaning during winter can be a problem especially during winter. There are a number of complications that come about when there is heavy snowing. Ice dams and ice buildups are a common problem to most home owners as gutters can buckle under the heavy pressure of the ice buildup and ice dams can flood the downspouts. Most cases of ice dams and ice buildups are due to debris that has collected over time and was not cleared off before the snowfall. The use of gutter guard can go a long way in keeping gutters from flooding and snow build up.

Which gutter guard?

There are numerous gutter guards out in the market but not all of them are the best for winter. A gutter guard that doesn’t allow snow buildup by melting snow as it falls will also prevent snow dams from manifesting keeping the downspouts free from flooding. This means that whenever you are looking for gutter guards, you must ensure that you choose them according to the season. If you have already installed metallic gutter guards in your home, you may need to replace them during the winter.

Nylon gutter guards are known to the best for winter. They are designed in such a way than no snow buildup or ice dams will occur. There are other gutters guards that can be installed to keep debris away from the gutters not necessarily during the winter season but before the snow starts to fall.

Note that nylon gutter guards can get damaged easily, and this is the primary reason they should be          installed by a professional. Besides, if they are not well-installed, they might not be effective especially when the snow comes.

Gutter cleaning

Cleaning the gutter before the winter season will go a long way to save you from the problematic snow dams and snow build up. It is true that gutter guards can keep debris away from the gutter saving you from having to do frequent cleanups but that does not mean you have to neglect cleaning all together. Do frequent inspections to make sure that the functioning of the gutter guards is not hampered by too much debris piling and not falling off the gutter guard.

When winter sets in, you don’t have to neglect your gutters. Instead, keep a close eye on them. Otherwise, you may end up repairing or reinstalling the entire gutter system at the end of winter.

How to Build a Fire Pit

Fire pits are a great addition to any backyard. You can toast delicious treats over an open flame, enjoy an evening with friends, and extend your outdoor activities into the cooler season. There are many pre-made pits you can purchase, but building your own is relatively simple. With just a few tools and materials, you can turn your yard into the ultimate outdoor entertainment spot. Follow these instructions to learn how to build your own fire pit.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is look into local ordinances or guidelines that dictate or restrict fire pit placement. You don’t want to start the building process only to be told you can’t use your new fire pit. Then, pick a location best suited for an open flame. Ideally, that’s not near any brush, too close to your house, or somewhere it could affect the neighbors. The last thing to do before you start is gather the necessary materials.

What You’ll Need

50 Basic wall block for a fire pit – actual number may vary

1 fire pit bowl

1 fire pit grate

1 starter log

Building the Fire Pit

Start by measuring the diameter of your fire pit bowl to determine how many wall block you’ll need. As a rule of thumb, 70 block creates a fire pit that’s 4’ in diameter. Then, place the first layer of block on the ground, sitting them as closely together as possible. You can leave the bowl on the ground for this first layer to ensure you build the appropriate size. Next, add the second and third layers on top of the first, staggering the joints for strength. Three rows of blocks should create an adequate height. If you’re not utilizing a fire pit bowl, you must line the inside of the fire pit with fire proof brick. If you have a bowl, it’s safe to now insert it into the pit, hanging the lip of the bowl on the edge of the block. Now it’s time to add the grate. You can choose an option that cover the entire fire pit, including the block, or one that covers just bowl. The last finishing touches are adding a fire, some seating, and your friends and family.

Starting a Fire

Purchase a starter log and add a few other logs to the bowl. Logs will go over or under the grate, depending on why kind you purchased. Light the starter log and watch your first fire in your new fire pit appear. For added safety precautions, invest in a screen to cover the fire. Clear the ashes regularly for the best burn. Now you’re ready to enjoy your DIY fire pit.