Home Decor for a Claustrophobic

The main contributing factor in that cramped feeling one gets in small spaces is clutter. Newspapers, magazines, or books lying haphazardly around the living room adds to that "closed in" feeling. Just the simple act of stacking the magazines or arranging them neatly on a table will add space to a room. The kitchen or dining room table is another culprit when it is stacked high with mail, keys or other things that one tends to drop there because its faster and easier than putting them away. The author had an aunt who lived in a very tiny house (so small that people called it a doll house) that was always neat and tidy and never made one feel cramped. Aunt Leta's motto was "everything has a place and everything is in its place". Above all, keep the floors clean and free of clutter.

Light colored or neutral walls and floors add a feeling of space to the environment. Leave windows uncovered and decorated with blinds that can be opened during the daylight hours and closed at night for privacy and / or consider curtains that frame the windows rather than cover them. Too many pictures on the walls can close a room in. Too much furniture can shrink your space and make it feel crowded. The furniture pieces should not only be small in number they should be light or neutral in color with maybe one or two colorful accent tables. Light gray furniture comes to mind accented with splashes of blue and orange pillows.

Lets move on into the dreaded kitchen, a place that seems to be especially susceptible to that closed in feeling. If one can afford it, a skylight is extremely helpful in providing light and airiness. White cabinets and light neutral counter tops with just a few often used items strategically placed can add a lot of space to the room.

Children's rooms can be helped by offering convenient places to store unused toys and games. A desk and a bookcase in an older child's room will provide space for storage of those items that often contribute to clutter such as books, CDs,
etc.

If you happen to be in the market for a new home look for one with high or vaulted ceilings. It's uncanny how high ceilings can open up a small house. Large windows will open up the house and make it seem larger. Wood floors are less confining than wall to wall carpeting. Picture the wood floors with a few area rugs strategically placed.

So one does not have to spend a lot of money to provide an atmosphere of openness. This entire article seems mostly devoted to the importance of good housekeeping, does it? Sorry about that! But it is important. So let's get rid of the clutter, clear off that dining room table and place an inexpensive accent or conversation piece in the center. Then take a seat in your favorite chair look out over the room and maybe …

Avoid These Costly Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes

The kitchen is the heart of every home. It's where all meals are cooked and prepared – where guests and families congregate to swap recipes and stories over dinner or Sunday lunch. It is important to design your kitchen to be as spacious and welcoming as possible, and make sure it is conducive not just for cooking, but will also allow space for all the activity that's going on.

Despite your good intentions, however, not all kitchen improvement projects end up well. Layout planning may be an issue, or the choice of paint color, type of cabinetry, and furniture do not match. Here are some kitchen renovation tips and things you should avoid:

1. A bigger kitchen is not always better

A carefully planned kitchen is often better than a haphazardly designed bigger one.

Almost every kitchen remodeller's dream is to get a bigger kitchen. But bigger does necessarily mean better. If a kitchen renovation experts advises you to improve your home's entire floor to free up space for a bigger kitchen, take their advice with a grain of salt and try getting a second opinion from a different firm. Sometimes, a small but well-designed kitchen with high-quality materials and carefully planned details is enough. Remember to keep in mind the kitchen work triangle to manage the workflow and maximise the efficiency in the kitchen.

2. Skimping on storage and cabinets

Cheaper is definitely never better. Your kitchen storage should be durable enough to last your kitchen's lifetime. Investing in a strong and durable cabinet is a must for any kitchen. You'll be opening and closing those drawers every day so they'll be subjected to a lot of wear and tear. Make sure you get hardwoods with a good finish and strong hinges to get the best value out of your remodeling efforts.

3. Relying too much on the design fad

Green can veer towards trendy and seasonal. Balance it out with neutral colors to make it more timeless. Fads always come and go. Because of this, trendy homes can easily become dated in just a few years. Be careful when allowing current trends to influence the design of your new kitchen. It is still more important for the kitchen to match the rest of the rooms in the house and reflect the personality and activity of the family or individuals living there. Opt instead for good space planning and timeless kitchen designs.

4. Getting distracted and going against the original design plan

Stick to the plan. This will not only makes sure that the process of remodeling is smooth, it also ensures you stay within budget. The key to a successful remodeling project is following a well-organized design plan. If you have already announced a budget, selected a color theme, purchased materials and furnishings according to the said plan, follow it. Avoid getting distracted by "newer and shinier" kitchen gadgets and furnishings as well as kitchen layouts that seem to look more exciting that the one you planned. Stop …

Home and Garden Book Review – Make Gardening Fast and Effortless

Many people want a beautiful garden, but it can take a lot of time to have such perfection. But what if I told you that you could have an almost perfect garden without the high cost, intensive effort or without spending all your time creating it and keeping it that way; if I showed you the secret would this please you?

Now then what if I told you that I learned most all of my "Secret" gardening tricks from a book? Would you believe it? What if I told you the name of the book, so you too could be one with a beautiful garden in 20% of the time, or less? Would you buy it? I did, and the book is simply called;

"Instant Gardens – Practical Projects for the Impatient Gardener" by Peter McHoy; Lorenz Books, Anness Publishing, London; 1999. ISBN: 1-85967-959-5.

The best part of this book is that it is fully illustrated with step by step instructions. Everything you'll need for each project is listed, as well as substitutions if you cannot get the supplies, want to save a little extra money or modify the project as you go. The book goes into drawings, use of space and renderings, before you start you'll need a plan; the plan is to have a low-cost beautiful yard and garden, that is easy to make and easy to maintain.

Build lattices, ponds, brick walkways, retaining walls, water features, fences and grass that looks like a golf course green. Understand the eco-system you are building, the birds and critters you'll attract and how to make it all look like the garden of Eden.

Now then, as this is a book review, I must give you're the pros and the cons. The pros I have listed above and the cons, well, I can only think of one. I should have bought this book a lot sooner, before I invested 10s of $ 1,000's in my garden. Please consider this.

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Travertine Tiles – Best Option for Natural Home Decor

Are you thinking of giving your home a natural look? Have you thought about an innovative way of decorating or renovating your house? Travertine tiles may be the thing you have been looking for. Go through this article to learn more about these type of tiles and their usage.

Travertine tiles are a form of limestone that sediment around mineral spring deposits. They are usually porous and rough textured, which gives it a more natural look. When sanded and sealed, they become smooth which makes them appropriate for flooring your shower, kitchen, etc. They are available in different colors and finishes.

They are mostly of warmer shades like cream to brighter ones like red. They can be polished or kept naturally rough textured with the saw-cut finish or a tumbled look and more. These tiles are used for flooring and as pavers for ages because of their natural availability. This gives a dominant energy and prestigious feeling to your surroundings.

Travertine tiles draw attention to your floor or wall with its bright swirl design on a neutral colored surface. Their design is earth formed, which gives your home more of a natural effect and uniqueness. These are available in different shades of tan, white hues and gray and they avoid those dramatic colors from overwhelming your floor and surroundings.

Before sealing and polishing travertines, they offer a high friction surface which is capable of avoiding slips and trips. This feature allows their installation along pavers and pools where slipping is often a problem. But if not sealed, they absorb more debris which penetrates the tiles and causes damage. Also, they may be too rough to bare feet without a small amount of sealant.

Once they are sealed and honed, they are too easy to clean and wipe. They are naturally durable to scratches, wear and tear to an extent. Highly polished and honed tiles are more risky to damages and initial cracks and scratches are often considered an added attraction.

Travertine tiles are strong enough to last for a decade without high damages and blemishes. They are long-lasting if maintained regularly with periodic sealing and polishing with the stone sealing agent. If one of them is broken, it can be replaced easily as they are in the tile form. There won't be a need of removing and replacing the entire floor.

Travertine tiles are porous which makes them absorbent to liquids and stains, which makes them difficult to clean at certain times. This can be avoided by using the best penetrating sealant while installing these tiles. Their natural availability does not make them less expensive and their installation also costs more than the average amount.

Installation of these tiles need an extra effort, as they are heavy, and the floor structure should be capable of holding this load. They may feel uncomfortably cold on chilly mornings too. They are mostly used in bathrooms and for wall decors, but their rough texture makes them suitable for outdoors as well.

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Why A Waterfront House For Sale Is A Good Investment

Waterfront property is immune to most market trends, and for good reason. Splendid summers can be spent on a lake or river, promising family bonding time and decreased stress. Full-year houses and cabins are becoming more frequent. They can also be converted into permanent residencies that promote privacy and communing with nature. A waterfront house for sale is rarely on the market for long and should be pounced on by interested buyers.

Privacy

Privacy is an valuable valuable commodity. With lakefront property, real privacy is obtainable. The distance between homes and dense foliage dampens sound, leaving the owner to appreciate their thoughts and conversations with friends and family. With limited space for development, no houses will pop up between the property and water's edge, resulting in a clear view of the water. A waterfront house for sale will also likely feature a private dock, or at the very least, an intimate, walk-up access to the shoreline.

Fun Water Activities

Water activities are a great way to bond with families and friends. The water presents a wide range of options for fun, such as fishing, skiing, swimming, and boating, among others. Many of these activities cannot be replicated on land and give a thrill of being unique. Even simple activities like reading a favorite book while drinking a cup of coffee are suddenly mystical when paired with a lake sunset.

Limited Supply

Substantial property directly on a body of water is rare and priced accordingly. They retain their value, especially compared to fluctuations of city housing, and can be sold at almost any time if need be. When not in use, renting cabins can provide large profits. Owning a waterfront property requires some amount of upkeep. However, a house for sale in an area that is desirable can be a great family experience, as well as a smart investment.

Closeness to nature

While this depends on the area, lakes and rivers are a natural habitat for a plethora of wildlife. You can watch birds from the dock, fish for sport or food, catch the occasional appearance of deer or owls, and experience an intimate moment with nature that a city cannot duplicate. Of course, having a fully operational house means that nature can be enjoyed on the individual's terms, which is especially important in humid climates and at night.

Health Benefits

Many studies have shown that spending time close to water has immediate health benefits. For those who have spent time around or on water, this should come as no surprise. Spending time on the lake creates a serene atmosphere that reduces stress. For those who are used to living in a city, the clean air and decrease in noise and light pollution will be a welcome change.

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Custom Kitchen Cabinets

If your budget is not a consideration, then consider custom-made kitchen cabinets as a viable option to remodel your kitchen and give it a new lease on life. This is not to say that custom-made cabinets are unaffordable, it just means that if you decide to opt for custom cabinets, the sky is the limit.

Before deciding on the cabinetry, you should have clear-cut idea of ​​what you are looking for. This means you need to decide upon the style and color of the cabinets. Study the market and you'll find that cabinetmakers will be able to match any color of your choice or an existing cupboard in your kitchen if you so desire. Then you need to check out your preferences in term of wood or steel.

Also, depending upon whether your home is a modern apartment or a centuries old house, you can think in terms of traditional design or a contemporary look. Traditional designs will involve add on frills and moldings. Contemporary designs, on the other hand, focus on an uncluttered, simple, ready-to-use look.

Another important factor that should call for your attention is the amount of time you'll spend in the kitchen. This factor will determine how much of space you wish to allocate to you custom kitchen cabinets.

You can use kitchen cabinets to create more counter space, store food products, hide appliances, and display silverware. Depending on the space you allocate for the cabinets, you can decide on cabinets with overtop storage space for dishes or pull out drawers underneath the stove for pots and pans.

Traditionally, kitchen cabinets were made of solid wood varying from the sturdy oak to the wine red cherry or the elegant maple. Trends have changed in kitchen cabinetry and now you have newer and trendier options including freestanding or mobile cabinets made from glass or durable plastics.

There are a wide array of knobs and latches to add aesthetic value to the cabinets. Again, you can pick between the contemporary or vintage designs. Also, if you have kids or grand kids in the house, you can consider knobs with monkey faces or rocking horse designs. Knobs designed as teddy bears continue to hold the fascination of children.

You can also consider add-on accessories such as lights. Again, the designs vary from the spotlight halogen lamps to the fluorescent connections.

So, if you can loosen your purse stings, let your imagination go wild and choose custom made kitchen cabinetry giving you the dream finished coupled with practical utility.

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Interior Design Schools – Top Schools Secrets They Will Never Tell You

Is interior design a natural talent or learned skill? I say both. You can attend school forever and never possess the creativity required for interior design. Residential certification can take just 12-24 months of studying and teach future designers how to plan projects, choose the right materials for the right purpose, use contracts, space plan, furniture design, architecture and so much more. Not to mention it can save you a plenty of money when compared to a four-year college which focuses more on commercial interior design.

Adding an easy to follow certification course to your bag of skills will help you utilize your natural raw talent with basic techniques and business expertise required for your success. Training gives you the confidence and knowledge to succeed in a residential interior design career. Most colleges are too expensive and geared more towards commercial interior design. Some of the most successful interior designers in the country have studied the basic techniques and gained national attention because of their talent.

One of the best things about interior design is that there are infinite ways to express your artistic talent. Some interior designers use their artistic talent to paint a signature piece of art for their client's design. This makes them stand out as a designer and they are forever remembered by their clients. The reality is that the artistic expression is endless in this career choice. With that being said, there are still many aspects of the business that have to be taught.

Before you work with a client you should learn how to bill clients, use the right contracts, posses the proper terminology, locate wholesale items, prepare a space plan, collect useful samples, manage budgets, and understand project management. Those are just a few of the necessary skills that you'll be learning in a reputable residential course. Bring your natural talent to the course and then build upon it!

Design is a career of choice for individuals with artistic talent. A successful designer is constantly learning. It is critical to ones career to be familiar with the newest products and technology concerning the home. This career is constantly evolving with art, color, products, green choices, ergonomics, and style. Professionals love learning about the latest products available to bring added value to their clients, as well keeping up with industry news to stand out amongst their colleagues. This is a competitive field and product knowledge is power!

The biggest pitfall for most designers is that, as artists, they do not typically posses the business skills needed to succeed in this career. Also artistically minded individuals such as designers typically possess a "flower child" mentality that provides volumes of imagination. A typical designer thought would be as follows: "Let's make the world a more beautiful place even if I have to sacrifice my income!" This is where the starving artist who does not realize his or her self-worth comes into play. Imagine having an experienced colleague protecting you from the pitfalls, helping you realize your …

Planning Your Garden Part 1

Soil Conditioning

The soil conditioning is largely dependent on how large your garden will be. So before I go into what's important, make sure you have an idea of ​​how big your garden will be. If you are doing a relatively small garden (4×4 feet- 10×10 feet) you won't have to worry about drainage, or turning the soil every season. For example, if you are doing a raised bed garden you won't have to till up the grass in your yard to do so, you can just build the bed and fill it with dirt & compost. The compost is a great medium for plants to grow in and does not require extra work to get great results, also it will drain just fine on its own.

With larger gardens (10×20 feet- 1 acre or more) the ability to just fill it in with compost becomes very expensive, time consuming, and can still have flooding that will kill your plants. With a larger garden tilling up the grass or dirt is the first step. The ground needs to be broken up, once its broken up it can be planted in. Many people use a tiller or a disc to break up the ground but depending on the size, you can easily rent equipment or invest in buying some equipment to prepare the soil each year. Once you have turned the soil a bit and have it broken down to small chunks smaller than your fist and at least 5 inches deep you should focus on preparing for drainage. Take a step back and look for low spots in the landscape and either make a small ditch or buy drainage pipe to put in the ground before you get all the plants in the ground. This is a CRITICAL step, do not overlook it or ignore it, one hard rain could kill half of your garden in a matter of a day or two and there will be nothing you can do (yes its happened to me). Since the ground is tilled up and loose digging a drainage ditch or putting in plastic piping is very easy. Depending on the size you may need just a shovel and a couple hours or you may need heavy equipment to dig the ditch.

As I said before, planning for all of this can be the difference between success or failure. Taking a few hours to take a step back, look at what you want to do and where, and then seeing it before its there is a powerful way to become successful the first time rather then suffer through trial and error.

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Breaking The Bathroom Bottleneck

When there are two of you trying to get ready for work, the early morning bathroom bottleneck can rival the rush hour commuter traffic. The impatient knocking on the door is reminiscent of honking car horns. The steam from the shower is a precursor of the exhaust fumes you'll encounter later. Tempers can grow short. Is this any way to start the
day?

Of course, you could sit down and work out a minute by minute his-and-her schedule to make things go more smoothly. That can work out nicely if you're both as precise as a Swiss clock and neither of you ever, ever oversleep. On the other hand, you might consider breaking the bottleneck at the source and giving yourselves a roomier, more luxurious bathroom where two can move as freely as one.

Creating a master bath to do double duty isn't a remodeling project that's particularly difficult or expensive. Depending upon the existing space in your bathroom, you may want to go all out and convert adjoining areas into part of the new master bath. Or you
may opt to rearrange what is already there with an eye toward increased convenience and comfort. In either case, the working rule is to design it for two people with individual needs.

Form follows function in this instance and since no room in the house is more functional than the bathroom, begin with the basics. Two sinks with a double vanity will provide plenty of room for her to apply makeup while he shaves. An oversized mirror creates the illusion of a larger space for relatively little cost. Lighting fixtures attached to the side
walls will add a dramatic, highlighting effect to help brighten up any morning.

A double-sized, walk-in shower with dual entrances makes for added convenience and a sort of tag team approach to washing for those occasions when you're truly rushed. A separate, sunken bathtub can be outfitted with whirlpool sprays for more leisurely times. And the two toilets you put in can be compartmentalized for extra privacy. Now if only the traffic cooperates, getting to work will be a breeze.

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Residential Garage Door: Glam Up The Overall Decor Of Your Home

You can easily ignore a residential garage door but do it at your risk. Besides accentuating the overall decor of your home, trendy garage doors also provides safety and security for you and your family. Nowadays, there are myriad options and designs available for garage doors. Various online websites are also there to offer you great deals and discounts, time to time. When you need to choose a particular door, you can be lost and utterly confused. Going through various websites will help you understand your needs better.

Finding the ideal door

There are many different types of garage doors available, with most of them designed so that they can be tailored to meet a customer's specific needs. They are available in different materials including wood, fiberglass, steel, aluminum and much more.
Rolling doors: It comprises of ribbed steel curtain that moves vertically. They are suitable for such garages where there is plenty of room above the opening and where a traditional look is required.

Sectional doors:

They are generally made from a number of rigid panels that are hinged together. They move vertically in the opening and then horizontally along the ceiling.

Flex-A-Door:

It is a perfect alternative when you have restricted headroom. These are made from a strong roll-a-door curtain. It slides from a vertical position up to horizontal position, close to the ceiling.

As these are available in different materials, you can always try on something new and sturdy for a unique look. The wooden carriage doors are perfect for homes that want a traditional outlook. This kind of doors can accentuate the overall appeal of the home; along with that, it also makes your home appear elegant and sophisticated. The residential garage doors designs and color should also match with the street style. If you are living in an uptown area, there are certain codes and regulations that you must observe too. After all, your choice determines your personality.

When your garage door is not in a good condition, it is advisable to replace it as soon as possible. While garage door replacement , materials, workmanship and location should be on high priority. You need to choose from a wide variety of material, style, shape and size. Moreover, replacing the door as a DIY project can lead to extensive repairs and maintenance down the line, so it is suitable to hire a professional instead. So, whenever you are in need of changing the garage doors, think well and pick the best door for your home.

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