Tips For Increasing the Value of Your Home There are many ways to improve the look of your home and increase its value without breaking the bank. Whether it's in need of freshening up or you have decided to put it on the market, a little bit of work can make a big difference for very little cost. If you have decided to sell, a few minor home repairs can increase the value by as much as 20% in today's market. By talking an objective walk through your home, you can note the areas that need some minor repairs and develop a completion plan while keeping your budget in control. Make A Plan Though updating the entire house in your primary goal, here are the key areas to focus your attention and your budget on for the best results. Paint A good quality neutral coat of paint on all walls and trim can increase the value of a home almost immediately. Done either by a professional or as a DIY project, this is the first step in your homes new life. Repairing any trim and replacing broken or faded switch plates is also an easy fix for very little cost. The Kitchen The kitchen is the most critical area in your home repair efforts. Home buyers are looking for clean and spacious kitchens that flow without clutter. By updating the lighting and adding a coat of fresh paint, you can transform a dated kitchen for a more up to date look and feel. Remove all unnecessary clutter and replace any fixtures that show wear. If budget allows new flooring can punch up the overall effect for added value. Living and Family Areas Like the kitchen, the family areas must give the illusion of space and comfort. Old and broken furniture should be removed as well as faded and excessive wall art. Once painted, continue with the neutral theme by minimizing clutter and adding light with lamps. New window furnishings can capture extra visual appeal by enhancing natural light. Bedrooms Think clean and spacious with luxurious touches to make these rooms pop. As in the rest of the home, remove extra furniture and repair and replace any fixtures that have seen better days. Invest in new bed linens and carpeting if possible. Bedrooms need to feel calm and soothing and by minimizing distractions you can offer this effect with very little effort. The Bathroom This is the second critical area that may require a bit more effort to bring it up to date. New lighting, fixtures, and furnishings can overhaul an outdated bathroom immediately. Repainting cabinetry and re-grouting tiles are also quick and easy fixes for a cleaner and new feel. Clear out medicine cabinets and add new towels for better presentation. Curb Appeal Simple gardening will go a long way to make your home more attractive. Keep your trees and hedges trimmed and your gardens colorful for instant appeal. Repaint the moldings and front door a welcoming color and change the style of your light fixture for a new look. A well maintained home can be seen from the first step. Enhancing the flow and visual appeal of a well put together home can increase its value considerably. If moving is not in your plans, then all these ideas can be used to update your home for a brand new feel. Either way, keeping your home in the best shape will always be money well spent. Conceptualizing A Home Construction Project Home construction is an activity that requires diligence and focused attention. Lots of time and efforts must be spent starting from the conceptualization of the idea until the turning over of its key. Failure in one aspect of this challenging task will create a problem that would be visible on the building upon its completion. A careful study, efficient planning, full coordination, and close monitoring are some vital requirements that are necessary in the construction of the planned home. Many people believe that this job is for technical people like, engineers and architects. It is not so. A simple housewife with her seven to five worker-husband can also work-out together and plan their dream-house. The husband and wife team can do the drafting of the proposed home building plans. After all, they are the best thinkers since they know exactly what they want, as well as the needs that must be met by that house they are about to build. The planning of a home construction project is a free zone that nobody can monopolize. Any person or a team for that matter can exercise their respective creativity and produce a masterpiece from their own idea. It is a common belief that two heads are better than one. The man and his woman team must be joined together in this endeavor. The ideas of the husband must come to agree with that of his wife and vice-versa. Their thoughts should conform together on the following subjects: · Site or location of the home construction project. · Design of the house as to room sizes, numbers of rooms and bathrooms, elevation of the home building, roofing, finishes and other technical specifications. · Cost of the home construction project. · Mode of construction management to be implemented. · Construction timetable, date of completion and turnover. Any disagreement must be resolved at this stage. This will avoid bottlenecks that might progress as the two moves on to the next stages of the home construction activity. The conceptualization stage is a vital step in the physical construction of the home. It also serves as a reality check on the level of commitment of the two planners (husband and wife). Their affection and respect for each other would be put to a test when their respective views clash, Both must always remember that the home that would be founded on love and understanding cannot be destroyed by whatever amount of disagreement. 2 Of The Best Home Improvements There are numerous improvements that can be made to your dwelling and some will prove to be a far better investment than others. Having said that, improvements on your house are not always all about a return on your investment, and in a lot of situations the work is for making your household look much nicer and be a much more pleasant place to reside. Whilst the investment angle of any home development project is certainly not the only motivation, it's definitely good to know that you would end up being likely to recoup any money spent should you decide to sell, or better yet, your improvements may have increased the equity in your home. Listed below are my 2 favourite improvements of differing costs that can be made to any house, both of which would be an intelligent investment, assuming they are executed in the correct way: 1. The initial area that's always terrific to tackle would be a bathroom that is looking tired. It's very easy to think that a smart completely new modern bathroom can cost the earth, but thanks to the Internet this is certainly not the case. If you have the time to search online for all the required elements, the rewards can be fantastic. Enormous savings can be had on: the bathroom suite, the floor and wall tiles, the taps and also shower related items. You may literally achieve a top quality bathroom at a fraction of the normal cost if you are prepared to put in the hours searching. You might even be able to hire competitively priced tradesmen online to undertake your job, assuming you cannot undertake a job of this nature yourself. 2. My second area to tackle is more expensive but if done in the right way can make a dramatic difference to any dwelling. Whether your house suffers from damp rotten wooden windows or maybe dated 1970s style windows and patio doors, updating with bespoke wooden casement, box sash windows or maybe hardwood bi-folding patio doors can end up being a massive improvement. Bi-folding doors that span across the back of the house are becoming increasingly popular as a result of their ability to create a natural flow from inside the house to the outside patio area. If you are contemplating extending the downstairs area of your home, it would certainly be a very good occasion to check out the massive difference that well put together wooden windows and doors can make. Once again search online for a company that can ideally manufacture and install the type of product you want. So there are my two favourite home improvements. Both these can transform a property in very different ways and if done correctly, they would also end up being a shrewd investment. Things You Need To Know About Spontex Gloves The word 'Spontex' stands for 'sponges' and 'textiles'. Mapa Spontex is a leading manufacturer of hand protection and cleaning products. Headquarter of the company is located in Paris. Mapa Spontex markets its products in more than 80 countries across the world. Mapa Spontex products are designed to make everyday household chores easier. Mapa Spontex products are developed to provide complete solutions for home care needs, such as wiping, scouring and floor cleaning. The eclectic range of cleaning tools and products offered by Mapa Spontex include Spontex gloves, natural sponges, sponge cloths, wipes, cellulose scourers, Calypso, DIY and floor cleaning tools. Mapa was the first company to create the world's first gloves manufactured by the natural latex dipping process. Mapa Spontex gloves are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and materials. These gloves have several applications. They are used for painting, hair coloring, pet care, home cleaning, home repairs, gardening, clean room cleaning, chemical handling, medical procedures, plant maintenance and other industrial processes. These gloves are widely used in salons, beauty parlors, factories, food and beverage industry, hospitals, medical clinics and laboratories. Spontex gloves have become extremely popular due to their cost-effective prices, premium quality, high durability, strength, elasticity and flexibility, great sensitivity and good barrier properties. These gloves are very long-lasting, puncture resistant and thick. These hand coverings are designed to provide high level of safety to the wearer. Wearing these hand coverings can eliminate damages caused by chemical exposure and workplace hazards, such as cuts, burns, abrasion, frostbite, puncture and bio-hazards. Further, wearing these gloves can make household chores easier and more enjoyable. Some of these hand coverings have velvety antiperspirant interior to provide high level of comfort. Further, these gloves are extremely skin friendly. They do not cause any irritation or skin allergies. The special anti-slip feature of Spontex gloves makes dish cleaning very easy. The Spontex gloves with anti-perforation surface are ideal for pruning rosebushes. Different types of gloves offered by Mapa Spontex are disposable, heavy-duty and reusable gloves. The disposable hand coverings offered by Mapa Spontex are ideal for carrying out medical examinations and procedures, food services and other general applications. Wearing these gloves during medical examination prevents contamination between the health care professionals and patients. These disposable hand coverings are available in latex, vinyl, nitrile rubber and neoprene. The heavy-duty gloves are suitable for carrying out heavy-duty work applications, such as industrial applications and construction work. These hand coverings are designed to withstand high temperatures. Further, these safety equipment are resistant to abrasion. Dollar Homes Program The Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the US federal government. The Department of Housing and Urban Development's work is centered on the roll-out of strong and sustainable communities as well as decent, quality homes that are widely available for all. In addition to all its existing housing programs, HUD has recently established the Dollar Homes Program. The Dollar Homes Program involves the entire process of selling single family homes for a superbly reasonable price of $1 (plus closing cost) to low-to-moderate income families, granted that these houses have been acquired through foreclosure by the Federal Housing Administration, and have already been actively marketed for at least six months and still remained unsold after that certain time frame. The primary goal of the Dollar Homes Program is to offer assistance and promote real estate opportunities for low-to-moderate income families, thereby dealing with certain community needs. In addition, the Dollar Homes Program was also meant to make it possible for communities to make good use of empty homes that have stayed on the market for six months, and at the same time it seeks to make the newly occupied homes act as instruments towards neighborhood revitalization, on the grounds that it could draw in new residents and start up business institutions to the area. Since HUD is partnering with local governments for the program, the agency also makes it necessary that the properties be positioned within the jurisdiction of the purchasing local government, granted that their intentions are limited by using the properties for a clear public intent instead of using it to get profit. Local governments will be regarded as eligible to take part in the Dollar Homes Program as long as they are certified by their local law to make the purchase, and as long as they desire to make this houses accessible for low-to-moderate income families, as implied by the program guidelines and stipulated in the notice of funding announcement. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the prime agency who established the home buying project in focus, is the US government's premiere agency that is primarily responsible for increasing home-ownership rates, providing support to community development projects and increasing access to affordable housing opportunities. In the fiscal year 2007, the Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that at least 70 homes were sold for $1 under the Dollar Homes Program. Ideas on Family Room Designs In most if not in all the homes, the family room is the soul of the home. The room, where you and your family members gather and enjoy each others company either watching a football game, chatting or just relaxing. It is the place where you may gather and watch TV, listen to music or at times even eat and have drinks. For this the design and decor of a family room should be focused on comfort and enjoyment. Most family rooms are designed around major sources of entertainment such as the TV, Hi-fi and so on, and it may have many sofas and chairs in it. There are many ideas that one can up with for a family room design. Since most rooms are casual areas where people get to have fun and enjoy each other's company as opposed to formally entertaining guests, you would have to give it a more casual approach when it comes to designing. Furniture - A sectional sofa is one of the most popular choices in a family room. It allows many people to seat and with that giving them a casual relaxed feeling. Since the living room is used for a lot of activities, you will want to choose and select fabric material and furniture that is durable and quite easy to clean. Microfibers are always the best choice when it comes to kids and pets being involved in the setup. Spills and stains can be wiped off easily, and above all is not easily destructible. Themes - A theme is one great way in which you can tie the family together. If your family is into sports or movies, then decorate the area with sports and movie illustrations. This you can do by placing posters of your favorite sports teams as well as favorite movies. You should create a neutral background color and the room should have small amounts of accent colors throughout. You can add some jerseys or memorabilia in the shadow boxes and your theme will be established without even a second guess. You can make this room as creative as you want it to be. If the space allows, you can set up a craft table for the kids to enjoy, and you can also double the table to create space for board games for the whole family. You should consider the kind of activities that you and your family will be getting up to in the family room, and then you can choose furnishings accordingly. The fun and possibilities in a family room are limitless. So make the most of your family room designs. Today the cost of taking the family out for entertainment can be very expensive. Imagine how much you would spend at the Texas Grand Prix to accommodate your entire family, or how much you would spend to watch the LA Lakers playing live? But you could however invest this money in your family room design where you can relax and enjoy the same coverage without having to step outside or use a penny. Good Information on Ground Penetrating Radar Services It becomes difficult to check for leakages or determine the current state of underground systems and various other buried utilities especially when: • a certain area has already been developed • another structure has already been built on top of it And even without such structures it remains a challenge to determine what is beneath the ground. Sure it is possible, but it is not always feasible to excavate or drill holes and insert a sonde to do so. A good alternative would be to employ ground penetrating radar services (GPRS), which utilizes state-of-the-art machinery to scan the area and generate two-dimensional and three-dimensional images for evaluation. What are Ground Penetrating Radar Services? These services involve a trained technician who will scan the designated area using a ground penetrating radar device. These radars function by emitting or sending out short pulses of energy into the ground. An echo is returned if these pulses come into contact with an object or structure buried underneath, such as pipes, utilities, or the walls of a well or cavity. The radar will then take note of the amount of time it took to receive the echo and determine the approximate distance of the located structure from the surface. Moreover, GPRS can also: • Detect any leaks in underground structures • Determine the thickness of slabs of concrete or asphalt • Locate the extent of the reach of the roots of old and mature trees • Indicate the presence of any disturbed areas, cavities, or installed cables • Identify what the type the underground structure detected is (may include sewer lines, septic tanks, unmarked grave sites, etc.) Some Applications of Ground Penetrating Radar Services Before embarking on a construction project, it is required that the contractors are aware of any existing underground structures or utilities or if there are any leakages in these areas. GPRS are also employed during environmental, geological, and re-construction projects. These services have been used to assist projects such as cemetery restorations to environmental drilling operations to private home renovations. Specifically, what GPRS do is: • Obtain critical information with regards to underground leaks, buried utilities, voids, or any other existing structures beneath the ground • Ensure the safety of the construction workers • Reduce liability on the part of the company • Promote a safe working environment Conducting a scan of the construction site beforehand will reduce the risk of running into problems that may arise due to the already existing structures underground. Advantages of Ground Penetrating Radar Services While there are other methods that can also detect underground structures, GPRS are highly recommended and more preferred for the following reasons: • The technique does not emit harmful radiation • It is a non-destructive method, keeping public areas or private structures intact • Unlike radio detection techniques, it is able to detect non-metallic objects or structures such as: non-metallic buried water or gas pipes, fibre optics, and drainage pipes Institutions Who Employ Ground Penetrating Radar Services It isn't just private companies or construction firms that employ ground penetrating services. In fact, a wide range of other institutions also take advantage of the technology. These include but are not limited to: • Schools • Hospitals • Universities • Homeowners • Environmentalists • Government agencies For more information on ground penetration radar services, search the term on the web. How Wireless CCTV Equipment Is So Much More Convenient Than Its Hardwired Equivalent There is no shortage of options when a business owner decides he or she wants to get a CCTV system installed. Having such a vast range of options means that the only real problem is in settling on what CCTV equipment is really necessary for the business premises in question. After all, not all high street retail shops have premises of the same design and layout. When one chooses wireless CCTV kits, every component that is needed to set up a fully functional CCTV security system is typically included. Generally, this means that as many as four cameras are provided, along with a DVR machine, some power supply cables or batteries for the cameras, motion detectors and a signal filter, which segregates the individual camera signals. In some cases, a CCTV monitor might also be provided, though the fact that these systems can be viewed remotely means that a monitor is not actually required. Still, when it comes to having constant access from the office, it is always worth having a screen through which to view footage as and when events are occurring. However, the advantages that come with having a wireless system installed are not restricted to the equipment included in the kit that was purchased. There are other aspects, not least amongst them being the scope of coverage that a wireless system has. Nor, for that matter, the added technological abilities that it typically boasts. The scope of possible locations are greatly increased too, which is, in fact, arguably the most obvious advantage. Because there is no need to lay a web of wiring to connect to the DVR machine the four or more cameras at separate locations, there is much greater flexibility when choosing where to place the cameras. In fact, so long as a signal from the camera reaches the digital video recorder at the central point of the system, cameras can be placed anywhere. And, since there is no need to lay discreet wiring to connect to the recorder, there can be greater attention paid to simply covering all of the angles necessary. What this means is that points of entry can be suitably protected even if one point is a distance away. For example, outdoor CCTV cameras can be fixed on lamp posts or in trees, if necessary, while indoors cameras can be fixed to pillars. The only condition is that the signal between camera and DVR is not disrupted or blocked. Modern cameras emit stronger signals than their predecessors did, but despite this fact, it is possible to move the camera out of range, or to a location that is surrounded by problematic fixtures. The use of repeater units can help to counter this problem, though these are not generally included in any kits and often have to be purchased separately. Of course, the lack of wiring also means that there is much less to hold a camera down in one position. There is no drilling into walls to accommodate cables, and no threading wires through office ceiling tiles. So, should a camera need to be moved to improve or expand the coverage of an existing security system, it can be done with the minimum of fuss. Perhaps the most meaningful advantage however, is the ease with which a wireless system can be managed, operated and accessed. Many wireless systems can be accessed via the internet, making it possible to monitor the cameras and the images that they pick up remotely. So, a business owner on a weekend away can still access his security system to make sure everything is okay. As CCTV equipment goes, the wireless range presents a host of advantages over the more traditional wired systems. Coupled with a CCTV monitor with greater HD clarity, DVR machines which allow subject isolation and close up capabilities, and the advances made in camera technology too, there can be little doubt that CCTV security systems today are more effective, easier to use and more convenient than systems of the past. And, with a range of wireless CCTV kits available on the market, and advice from reputable and experienced professionals on hand, the task of finding the right security system for a particular business is easier too. Basement Renovating Ideas Basement renovations are a very common and popular project in many households. Some people wish to merely update their already finished basement while others want to turn their unfinished basement into a functional and inviting living space. Basement renovating ideas are plentiful. From merely refreshing paint colours to constructing walls and ceilings the options are limitless. Renovating your basement from scratch is a complicated and time consuming project but you finish with an increase in living area and in home value. People renovate their basements for several reasons. Maybe you have a growing family and need the extra living space. If this is your reason for renovating your basement, try a family room or playroom depending on the age of your children. Basements are a great place for an extra bedroom. Teenagers in particular like the privacy of a basement bedroom. If there is room in your basement the addition of a second or third washroom is ideal. Some people have already finished their basements for the above reasons and their children have grown older. Consider redecorating the playroom and turning it into a fun games room. Set up an area of the room for video and computer games. Built in shelving or storage is a great way to keep games and controllers neat and organized. Add a wet bar area for both children and adults. Children and young adults can use the bar area as a juice and snack bar. Add an air hockey table, pool table or dartboard to make your basement a fun and safe place for your children and teens to spend time. Your new games room is also a great place for the whole family to gather to play board games, cards or watch movies. Once your children have all grown and left the home there are endless possibilities for basement renovating ideas. Movie fanatics can turn the space into a home theater. Dedicate one wall for a large screen television or projection screen. You can even paint one wall a light color and use the wall as your projection screen. Set up comfortable seating at an ideal distance from the screen or projection surface. Keep the wet bar for snacks and beverages and even add an old fashioned popcorn machine. Decorate the walls with your favorite movie posters and be sure to have the latest surround sound system. Soundproofing the room is a consideration you may want to make. If movies aren't your passion, turn the room into a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves. Or maybe a state of the art exercise room is more your style. Regardless of your current situation or your personal tastes, basement renovating ideas are virtually endless. Determine the use that best fits your needs and research design ideas that fit your needs. Choose a design that fits your personal tastes and compliments the rest of your home. Seek professional advice whenever necessary to ensure that your basement is not only inviting but also safe. Basement Design Ideas Basement renovation is increasing in popularity. People who suddenly find themselves needing additional room are opting to renovate their basement as opposed to moving or adding large additions to their homes. Basement renovations are more cost efficient and less invasive than major additions. Basement design ideas are also available in abundance. Regardless of the type of basement renovation or your personal needs you will be able to find a basement design idea that meets those needs. The type of basement design idea you need depends on your desired use of the space. Perhaps you are in need of extra living space for a growing family. An extra bedroom and bathroom may be what you need. Basements are a perfect place for an extra bedroom to be used either as a spare bedroom or a child's bedroom. Your basement is also a perfect place for an in law suite. It allows the person a sense of privacy. Maybe you require extra space in the form of a playroom or family room. Basement playrooms and family rooms are great not just for the additional living space but they also provide extra storage space helping to reduce clutter around your home. Store the children's toys and games in built in cupboards and shelving units. Some people may want a more creative basement design. Home theaters are growing in popularity given the latest technologies available. Large screen televisions or projection equipment with plush seating and a surround system are a must in a home theater. Home gyms, libraries and bars or games rooms are also popular choices. Create a warm and cozy reading environment with rich colored walls, big comfortable furniture, great lighting and wall to ceiling bookshelves. A games room with a dart board, pool table or card table and a wet bar is ideal for entertaining. Basements can also be used for extra storage, laundry facilities, work rooms and hobby rooms. Build yourself a state of the art workroom if you enjoy woodworking. Put up plenty of shelves for your tools and purchase the necessary tools and equipment for your desired craft. Women who enjoy crafts would benefit from a craft room. Invest in an organizer that will hold the materials and tools for your type of craft. Make sure the lighting is good to avoid eye strain. If you are simply looking for additional storage space build cubbies into the walls and erect large shelving units. A space organizer can be purchased pre-fabricated. Your basement is the perfect space for additional kitchen storage. A large pantry or cold cellar frees up cupboard and counter space in small kitchens. The available resources for basement design ideas are many. Online websites are plentiful and offer a wide variety of choices. You can find websites that show pictures of projects at various stages of completion. There are also thousands of websites that show completed basement renovations. Basement plans are also available on many websites. Bookstores and libraries have several books and magazines on basement remodeling. You can also find ideas at your local hardware store. Bedroom Closet Design Ideas Bedroom closets come in many forms. Some bedrooms have one closet either small or large while other bedrooms have his and her closets. Some bedrooms don't even come with built in closet space. Regardless of the type or size of closet you have there are a multitude of bedroom closet design ideas. Prefabricated closet organizers are popular choices and there are several on the market to choose from. Custom made shelving and storage is another possibility and can be done by a professional contractor or as a do it yourself project. Smaller closet space has fewer options than a large walk in closet but there are still several available designs. Add a variety of hanging rods at different heights in the closet space for different size clothing. Hang a high rod for long dresses and jackets and a lower rod for tops, plants and skirts. If there is room, add a small shelving unit for shoes and purses. Utilize the back of the door if possible for hanging up belts and scarves. Closet design does not just include the inside of the closet. Closet doors are also a factor. A nice wooden door with a decorative handle is an option for closets with traditional doorways. Longer closets with sliding doors have a few more options. Sliding doors with frosted glass or mirrors are ideal for a wide closet. The mirrored ones allow you to check your appearance before leaving for the day and they also create the illusion of a larger room. Folding doors are also popular choices for wide closet spaces. Go for a simple design or opt for something a bit more creative such as doors designed like shutters. Large closet spaces offer the ability to be more creative in designing the space. Wall to wall shelving and cubbyhole storage can come in a variety of designs. The options are endless. Measure your space and shop for a prefabricated organizer than both fits your space and your needs. If you can't find a prefabricated one that fits your space or needs or even if you have a specific design in mind, custom built is an option. Hire a local contractor to build your closet to order or for the more adventurous try to do it yourself. If your walk in closet is large enough, add a small sitting area perhaps with a makeup table and mirror. Place a full length mirror on a wall or purchase a freestanding one so you can check your outfit and appearance without leaving your closet space. Make sure your closet is well lit and opt for a light or bright color on the walls. Depending on the location of your closet you may be able to incorporate a small window. Be sure to include a privacy window dressing. Unfortunately some bedrooms do not have a closet space. This can prove to be more of a challenge. Purchasing a freestanding wardrobe can help with lack of closet space. If you only require hanging space choose a wardrobe without shelving or drawers. If you are also lacking drawer space in your bedroom opt for a wardrobe that has hanging space on top and shelves or drawers in the lower section. For a more permanent solution, close in a corner of the room with walls or a room divider and create a small closet space in there. Bedroom closet design ideas are available in all shapes and sizes. No matter what you are looking for you will be able to find a suitable design. Whether purchasing a prefabricated closet organizer or custom building your closet, carefully measure your space and determine the best use of the space. Reach In Closet Design Ideas Reach in closets can be more difficult to design and organize than larger walk in closets but reach in closet design ideas are still plentiful. The goal is to maximize the available closet space and provide adequate storage for all your clothing items and accessories in an organized fashion. Depending on your personal needs there are several design ideas available to fit your needs. Reach in closets are usually a small space by nature. It is important to utilize all available space. Because reach in closets are shallow it is necessary to use the vertical space in the closet. Plan the use of your closet space from floor to ceiling. Purchase some shallow storage containers with wheels that can be easily slid under closet shelving. If you have a bit more clearance between your floor and your lowest shelf or rod, deeper containers or storage bins are an option. Try to get storage containers on wheels for easy access. Install shelving if possible. A series of floor to ceiling shelves off to one side is a great way to store shoes, purses, hats, out of season clothing and collectibles. Place storage bins on the shelves to help separate items. Adjustable shelving is best so that you can adjust the height of a self or two to accommodate taller or shorter items. If you don't have room for a vertical shelving unit, run a shelf along the entire length of your closet a functional distance from the ceiling. Store bins of accessories or out of season clothing on the shelf. Make sure that you have adequate lighting for your closet. A small ceiling light fixture just inside the closet is an option of adjustable track lighting outside the closet door. Try to place the lighting fixture so that it will be between you and the clothes to avoid shadows. Also use fluorescent lighting since incandescent light bulbs generate heat and can be a fire hazard. Give consideration to the closet door(s) as well since they are the most visible part of the closet. A single door closet would be suited to a wooden door with decorative handle. Wider closet spaces lend themselves to sliding doors, pocket sliding doors or folding doors. A mirrored sliding door serves as both a way to hide the contents of your closet and a functional full length mirror. The mirror will also make your bedroom appear larger. Pocket sliding doors offer a more streamlined appearance. Folding doors can be an attractive way to close in your closet. There are many styles of folding doors. Keep in mind that folding doors require room to open. Reach in closet design ideas are fewer than walk in closet design ideas but there are still several designs to choose from. Focus first on creating a functional closet space by maximizing whatever available space you have. Determine your needs and adjust your design to best suit it. Worry about functionality first and esthetics last. You will enjoy your closet space more if it is easy to use. Kitchen Design Ideas Kitchens have so many design options that they are literally never ending. Kitchen design ideas include features such as cabinetry, tiles, counter tops, appliances, hardware and fixtures. Each feature on its own has a multitude of design options and the possible combinations are endless. Two identical kitchens with only one different feature can look like very different kitchens when finished. Because of the vast number of design options, thoroughly research what products are available on the market and get a fairly good idea what it is you are looking for. The main feature in any kitchen is the cabinetry. It is more often than not the first thing that people notice in a kitchen. The layout of the cabinetry is unique to each kitchen. Measure the size of your kitchen and determine the types of cabinets and where you would like them placed. If you have a solid wall with no windows, doors or appliances opt for floor to ceiling cabinets full of drawers for storage. Include a broom or cleaning closet in these cupboards. Glass fronts in corner cabinets are a popular design feature. Cabinets have a wide variety of door styles. There are recessed, flat paneled and raised cabinet doors. Each of these options comes with several design choices. Once you have picked the design of your cabinets you need to decide on the stain that suits your kitchen space. Opt for lighter colored stains for smaller kitchens to keep them feeling open and spacious. Counter tops are also an important feature in a kitchen. They too are highly visible. Counter tops should be chosen for durability as well as looks. Granite counter tops are the most popular choice today. You may also choose from engineered stone, ceramic tile, laminates, wood and stainless steel. The material and colour of your counter tops should compliment your cabinetry, backslash and tiles. If your kitchen is a large room but does not have a lot of counter space you might want to consider adding an island for additional space. Not only does an island adds counter space but also storage space. Flooring is an integral kitchen feature. Most kitchens are done with ceramic tile flooring but wood floors and laminates are growing in popularity. Many kitchens have tiled backslashes. Be sure that the tiles used in your backslash compliment the flooring. Besides the type of flooring you use, you must also pick a color of tile, wood or laminate as well as texture. Quite often a kitchen with light coloured cabinetry will look best with a slightly darker floor and vice-versa. Contrast between the cabinetry and the flooring, no matter how small, creates the illusion of depth. The kitchen design ideas listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. We haven't even touched on cabinet hardware, lighting fixtures, sinks and taps, paint colors or appliances. Matching appliances are ideal in any kitchen. Stainless steel appliances are a favorite because they match just about any kitchen design. Families with small children may wish to consider black appliances since stainless steel shows fingerprints. Put as much thought into the small features as you do the larger ones. Something as simple as buying the wrong cabinet hardware can ruin the look of the completed project. Here's Some Quick Ways to Deter Water Damage From Taking Place in Your Home Any person that has ever owned a home before knows all too well how quickly something can go wrong, whether on a small or much larger scale. Depending on what is involved in the problem, the recovery process can vary quite a bit. When the issue revolves around an event involving water, it's a safe bet that your problem can escalate over a very short period of time if it is not addressed quickly. There are too many things that can contribute to unwanted water in your home to ever be able to guarantee that you will never experience water damage in your home. However, there are some things that you can do when you do run across an issue involving water that will reduce the chances of damage setting in greatly. Immediately after realizing that water is in your home, you need to search out the source of the problem right away. You will need to ensure that no more water is on it's way before you can begin removing the water. If the source of the water is a hole in the roof which heavy rain water is continuing to make it's way into, then you will want to get the hole covered with a tarp now. If the water source is something like a pipe leaking, you will want to take a wrench and tighten the loose fitting or go down to the road and quickly shut off the water lines that are running to your home. It is quite pointless to begin removing water from the effected area until you have located the source of the problem and eliminated the chances of any additional water from coming into your home. Now that you have blocked the source of the water, it is time to address the water that is still present. It is extremely important that water is not permitted to sit any longer that it absolutely has to because it can easily begin seeping into your floors and walls, causing even more extensive damage. If the area that is effected is a hard surface, you need to use mops and towels to soak up as much water as you can as quickly as possible. If the water has gotten to your carpet, you will need to use a special vacuum designed for removing water from fabrics to aid in the drying process. Any items such as curtains, rugs, or furniture that is covered in fabric that may have gotten wet will need to be removed from the home right away and placed in a well ventilated area where it can be left to dry out. How well you regulate the air inside your home when an accident occurs that involves water will be a strong determining factor in how quickly you can dry the effected area and whether or not you are able to salvage some of the items in your home. You should open windows and doors and utilize fans to help move fresh air into the home, while also ushering the damp air inside back out. Dehumidifiers can be a huge help in removing moisture or high levels of humidity from the air. The use of these tools will be very beneficial in drying any areas in your home that may have been exposed to water. While following all of these tips will provide a big help in getting your house back to normal, you need to also keep in mind that if the job seems too big for you to tackle, you should call professionals to come in and take over. While there are still some things you can do to help in the beginning stages of the process, the task may require some more advanced tools and much more experienced people that are experts in the field of water damage restoration. How Does the Government Help House Lifting in Flood Zones? Flooding in the United States is a recurring event, is a fact known to all. Research studies have shown that floods have caused maximum economic loss to the nation than any other natural disaster. The severity of floods however varies from year to year and from location to location. Providing relief against the devastating effects of floods has all along been a national priority with the US Government. The measures taken by the Government include flood hazard identification, making available federally-subsidized flood insurance, state and local land-use controls designed to minimize flood loss. During the year 1968, the Congress enacted the National Flood Insurance Act which is a well-conceived comprehensive flood risk management program. The objectives of the legislation are: • Minimize economic losses due to floods through purchase of flood insurance • Promote state/local land-use controls to guide development away from flood-prone regions • Bring down federal expenditures for disaster assistance and flood control. Interestingly, the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) is today one of the major domestic liability - apart from Social Security System and Federal Health Programs. This goes to show how concerned the Government is in combating flood damages. Since standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood, it is essential to have separate insurance protection from the floods caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, torrential rains etc. NFIP provides affordable flood insurance to house owners. Besides, NFIP works in close cooperation with FEMA specialists and contractors, hundreds of insurance agents, claims adjusters, private insurance companies, other connected public officials, and real estate agents. House lifting is imperative in the hurricane-prone east and Gulf coasts - more so, with beach houses and riverfront homes. The United States Government expects citizens to avail an insurance program against flood damage - as that way, grants for flood mitigation and recovery can be better controlled. In fact, two grant programs are in force - but the Government allows these grants only to communities that participate in NFIP. House lifting is one of the most effective mitigation measures to prevent flood damages. The idea is to elevate the house to the base flood elevation level or still higher. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) does the flood analysis and creates flood maps, while the NFIP manages the flood insurance. Although flood insurance is available to all house owners,, the Federal Government insists on those with homes in high-risk flood zones to buy the insurance. House lifting is no doubt an expensive affair. FEMA offers assistance through its Flood Mitigation Assistance Program and Severe Repetitive Loss Program. States, tribal governments and NFIP-participating communities can apply for this. Flood Insurance Reform Act (an amendment to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968) was created in 2004. FEMA's Severe Repetitive Loss program offers funds to projects to reduce or eliminate long-term flood damage risks to NFIP-insured houses and other structures. Like all other grant programs, FEMA provides its annually updated application and instructions on its website. You can purchase NFIP through property and casualty insurance agents. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. These rates however vary according to the date and type of construction of your house and the level of risk. House lifting is a complicated task and you should never attempt to undertake home elevation without the assistance of an experienced contractor who is licensed for this type of work. There are several key steps you need to follow in order to prepare for and execute a plan to elevate your home. How to Hire an Architect - From Lounge Design to Home Design When hiring an architect and judging his work think about how it relates to other examples of great architecture, such as the Taj Mahal, Chichen Itza, Brunelleschi's Cathedral, the Empire State Building, etc. These buildings are some of the most famous in the world because of how they evolved from their predecessors and how they relate to their environment. A great architect understands both how far architecture has come since the pyramids, and how much he owes to them. The architect is in charge of macro and micro details, from the way the facade of a building fits into the rest of the urban landscape to the furniture used within the space. All buildings should follow three precepts delivered by Vitruvius, an Ancient Roman who lived in the first century BCE and one of the first who wrote about architecture. In his De Architectura he said that beauty, utility and durability are of primary importance for any building. Hundreds of years later, Leon Battista Alberti suggested that beauty relates directly to proportion, and that ornament can relate too. By the 19th century, Louis Sullivan, father of the skyscraper, said rather simply that "Form follows function." Architecture is one of the only art forms that is aesthetic and functional. Like when you step foot into the Parthenon, not only are you struck by its ancient beauty, but you can imagine that within its walls of simplicity and strength there were once huge statues of gods and goddesses painted bright colors, with succulent animals sliced open at their feet. The stoic nature of these old columns mirrored the balanced devout nature of its devotees. Today architecture works in a similar manner, except it has a few more resources up its sleeve. Take lounge design, for example. When a restaurant designer wants to show his client what he's worth, he incorporates different luxurious elements-silk, velvet, leather, marble, taffeta - which will convey to the lounge's patrons what kind of place they're in. If he's designing a home in the contemporary style, he may repudiate a wide variety of elements and textures for one or two simple minimalist ones, such as wood and glass. Ultimately, an architect is an artist and his ability to work within constraints of functionality and many different mediums makes his profession quite different from that of a painter, sculptor, writer or musician. That's why when choosing an architect, it's important to examine his other work. Stainless Steel Wire Balustrading If you've been thinking of how to improve your outdoor or indoor features then there are many things that can help to create a more aesthetic appearance and that can make a big difference. One option is balustrading. Balustrading is when you have the small roundish pillars around your area (perhaps a patio or a terrace) which hold up railings and walls. These are often stone themselves and will tend to be ornate and well decorated. You will often find these in Roman architecture and they are a far more attractive way to create a side rail than just using a small wall which lets in less light and has no detailing. If you have balustrades around a patio terrace overlooking a nice garden, then it can feel like sitting in a wine garden in France, a large manor house from a period drama, or a scene from Romeo and Juliet. The great thing about balustrades is that they are relatively easy to install yourself and that they can be something great to do as DIY for your home. Not only will they look great, but when people ask about them you can proudly tell them that you installed them yourself. When you do this you will essentially buy the balustrades first and these will be the large concrete pillars that curve outwards. Look for ones that fit your décor and that have a decoration that you appreciate. From here you should then look into fitting them into place and that means that you will need to attach them to both the patio where they will be standing and the rail that they will normally be used to hold up. To do this you will use stainless steel wire and this will go down through the middle in order to essentially skewer the balustrade into place. If you do it lightly this will then mean that you are able to twist the balustrades round even once they are installed but that is up to you. Stainless steel wire is the best option for this because it is the most sturdy and the most versatile. It will bend if necessary and at the same time it is relatively cheap and easy to find. You should buy a large role of stainless steel wire and then cut off each piece as you need it to feed through the balustrading. Do bear in mind that it can be a good idea to buy extra to avoid running out or for if anything should happen to your balustrades. Stainless steel wire is useful as it won't rust and it won't easily snap. This is very important when you consider that the role of the balustrades is to hold your banister up - if they broke this would fall down and if they were on an elevated region this could cause someone who was leaning to fall and hurt themselves. As well as using balustrades for your outdoors, you can also use wooden ones for staircases and there are many other applications. Crown Moulding Can Beautify Your Home If you want your home to exude class and a great sense of style, Crown Moulding is a great way to showcase your personal tastes. Crown moulding is a decorative strip that is usually made of wood or plastic, and sometimes even fiberboard. These are sometimes introduced to a room to cover up wall or ceiling flaws, but normally are simply meant to beautify the home. This home decoration is a great way to make your home seem more grand or unique. The idea of crown mouldings has been traced to Greek and Roman times when it was vastly popular. Made of wood, this home decor gained in popularity when Greek and Roman craftsmen learned the arts of cutting, sanding, and carving the wood into delicate looking masterpieces. This type of home furnishing is affordable and is okay in any type of room. You can purchase them already finished, or you can buy the raw materials and have them custom cut to match any design in your home that you desire. The base material that you choose for your crown moulding will be the basis on which you can measure how long it will last and the beauty of the finished product. The better the material that you choose, the more durable. It may cost more to get these more durable materials, but they are much less likely to be damaged over time. Home decor experts say that crown moulding gives a home its very own allure. This helps heighten its real estate value and standing. Buyers are much more apt to pay more for a home that is visually stunning than they are for one that is just drab. Some people believe that open space is what buyers are looking for and thus take out walls, while in fact people looking to own a home simply want something that is a beautiful work of art. You can achieve this by adding crown moulding, decorative columns, and ceiling medallions to your home's decor. These home furnishing ideas are simple to install and do not cost you all of your hard-earned money. There are several different types of stores that carry this type of home furnishing; however, buying these items online actually has its own advantages. This is because, many times, you can purchase directly from the manufacturer rather than having to pay extra to deal with a retailer. Buying directly from the manufacturer not only has this benefit, but also offers you the ability to customize and create your own designs that you can put throughout your home, and you can always be sure of quality materials. Some home furnishings, such as your living room furniture, can take up space; however, this type of home decor takes up no space and yet makes such a difference in the overall look and feel of the home. Depending on the material you choose, this type of home decor is also fire resistant. Maintenance is simple and rarely do the materials used ever lessen in quality. For mouldings, you can install yourself; however, for ceiling medallion installation, it is highly recommended that you obtain professional, licensed assistance for installation. The Cost of Water Damage Restoration Water Damage Restoration - How much does it Cost? One of the major considerations in a water damage restoration job is the cost. You will find many generalizations online about how much a job costs, but such estimations do little to help you make informed decisions. The best way to know how much a job will cost you is to simply ask for a quote but do not accept over the phone or a verbal quote. Make sure the contractor provides a detail written quote with the breakdown of the costs so that there is no misunderstanding. To understand how a contractor prices a specific job, you need to know about the different factors that are taken into consideration when preparing the cost estimate. One of the factors is the water height or the amount of still water that needs to be extracted. The more the water, the higher the price. The type of water that the contractor needs to extract will affect water damage restoration estimates. There are three categories of water: 1. Clean water, which does not pose any health risks because the water is not contaminated, such as water from a faucet. 2. Grey water which comes from sources that contain physical, chemical or biological pollutants such as kitchen waste or laundry water can cause illness or discomfort to anyone who becomes exposed to it or who consumes it. 3. Black water, such as sewage water and flood water, is highly toxic and completely unsanitary As one would assume, cleaning up black water requires more specialized restoration procedures and carries a lot more risk so you can expect to pay more. Since black water is a bio-hazard, everything that the water comes in contact with will most often have to be replaced. Also the size of the affected area will have impact on the cost of water damage restoration price. The extent of the water damage will have an equal proportion to the cost. The smaller the damage the lower the cost. Repairing a small leak would of course cost less to repair a water damaged ceiling that is ready to collapse. Materials will affect the cost. The price will vary on whether your floor is made of concrete, wood or carpet. If the water is non-toxic, most of the time carpet flooring can be saved. However, wood floors often begin to warp and need to be replaced. Labor is also a strong indicator of the cost of water damage restoration. In most cases contractors will charge by the hour. Perform Water Extraction Like A Pro to Avoid Water Damage If you have ever found yourself falling victim to any kind of water damage in your home before, I am sure that you already know how much of a nightmare it can be to cleanup the effected area and restore any damaged items. The sad truth is that many times the recovery process is not handled the way it should be and this can easily lead to additional damage and even more stress for the home owner. The key to preventing an issue with water from getting further out of hand is to know what to do and when to do it. The time to respond to water related issues will always be right away. The longer you wait to address an issue with water, the more damage that can take place and the stronger the possibility of the development of mold. Water extraction will become your absolute number one goal immediately following an incident in your home involving water. It is vital that this process is handled properly with the correct steps and in the correct order. If you feel that the effected area is too much to handle on your own or you lack the confidence or experience to go it alone, you should request some help from people that you know that have handled this sort of thing before, or possibly even hire a professional water damage restoration company to perform the necessary cleanup and repairs that will surely be needed. If you have made the decision to approach this task yourself, there are some things that you will need to know. First, it is imperative that you get a steady flow of fresh air circulating as quickly as possible. Depending on the weather of course, you may want to open windows and doors and help motivate fresh air in and moisture right back out through the additional assistance of fans. Dehumidifiers are another excellent tool to help regulate the indoor air quality as these machines are designed to remove excessive moisture and high levels of humidity from the effected rooms in your home. Now that you have the proper items in place to help regulate the air, it is time to get to the body of the problem. You want to remove any standing water that may still be present through the use of towels and vacuums that are designed specifically for water extraction. This will be very necessary when dealing with any carpet that may have gotten wet in your home. Any items that are wet and can be removed such as furniture, curtains, or rugs should be taken outside and allowed to air dry. You will also want to use anti- bacterial chemicals on them to get them clean and free of any contaminants. If enough water came in contact with your carpet, and especially if it stood for a period of time, you will need to pull the carpet up and take it outside also. The carpet can probably be salvaged if it can be dried out enough to be cleaned. However, the padding underneath will have to be replaced entirely, as it is not meant to ever get wet and cannot safely be dried. You should now direct your fans towards the sub-floor since I am sure that it is fairly damp. It will need to be completely dry and disinfected before the new carpet padding is laid down over it. If you do not take the time to perform this step thoroughly, the result can be an issue with mold that will become a nightmare one day down the road. Remember, if you find yourself faced with the presence of unwanted water in your home one day, you must react immediately by either getting started on this process yourself or hiring a team of professionals to get busy for you so that the water damage does not grow to be a much bigger problem.