Match the Interior Decor to the Exterior Architecture of Your Home For A Quicker Sale

A while back my husband and I decided to move to our favorite vacation destination in the mountains. But in order to make this dream of ours happen we had to sell our city home. We put our house on the market and started to make plans to move as quickly as possible.

Sadly, things did not go as we hoped. Our house didn’t sell and according to our realtor the problem was our kitchen. It didn’t match the exterior of our house. Our house was a Cape Cod style with rock around the front door and dormers on the second floor. It was very traditional and pretty cute.

Buyers who saw the exterior expected to see something similar inside and they did to a point. The interior included a fancy trim package, two fireplaces with over mantels and a beautiful dining room with even more fancy trim. The dormers upstairs had window seats with storage underneath. All in all it was in fact a very traditional house with an excellent location and a good market price.

There was just one problem and it was a big one for people who liked the character of the exterior.

The kitchen was very modern with flat cabinet doors made of melamine with oak trim. The cabinets were nice custom cabinets and well organized but they did not go with the rest of the house. People who liked the house hated the kitchen. Because of this one problem the house didn’t sell.

We were determined to make our plans come true so we took the house off the market, refaced the kitchen with raised panel doors, over 40 doors and drawers. We painted them to match the creamy trim color of the whole house. It cost us about $1,200 and lots of work over one weekend work marathon.

After we were finished we put the house back on the market. It sold immediately for the asking price and it closed within a month.

We knew when we bought the house that the kitchen wasn’t right for the house, but it was a nice kitchen for me, a dedicated cook. The style of the doors didn’t work, but we thought most people could look past the doors.

Well, we were wrong. The doors were a deal breaker.

We learned a hard lesson.

There are many examples of this same problem. Imagine a house that is a hard modernist structure with clerestory windows and lots of angles having country kitchen with flowered wallpaper.

Another possibility could be a Georgian or colonial style with modern decorating inside. The décor does not meet peoples’ expectations.

Potential buyers who look at homes generally have styles in mind when they are shopping. It’s wise to make sure they see whatever they are likely to expect.

To make your home feel more comfortable and work better at resale, decorate it to blend harmoniously with the exterior architecture of your home. Keep finishes and décor consistent throughout the house, both inside …

Tips For Keeping Cool in an Uninsulated House During the Summer

A few years ago, my husband and I, along with our two young daughters spent some time living in Africa and Latin America. Both countries were hot, hot, hot in the summer time. Not only was it hot, but it was humid as well.

I remember one night in Africa we were sleeping (or should I say, trying to sleep) in an upstairs motel room. There was no cross ventilation, and I dare say the temperature was close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It was humid as well. By some miracle, the girls went to sleep fine. My husband and I on the other hand were desperately tossing and turning in sheer sweaty exhaustion. We couldn’t sleep for anything, we were so freaking hot!

Finally, our desperation bred a plan. We got a pair of socks and soaked them dripping wet in the sink. We then proceeded to put those sopping wet socks on our feet. Amazingly, our bodies cooled down considerably and we were able to sleep for a couple hours–until the socks were dry. We got up, wet them again, and repeated the process the rest of the night. Our desperation had certainly turned into a mother of invention.

We now live back in the good ole’ US of A. However, we don’t have one of those nice comfortable new air-conditioned houses. Ours is an old farmhouse with just enough insulation to keep the mice happy in the walls. So how do we keep cool here? Let me share some of our tips. Maybe it’ll save you some horrible hot sleepless nights.

1. We have trees shading our house. Now I know that’s kind-of a long-term solution, but planting a tree is a whole lot cheaper than tearing out walls and re-insulating.

2. We open the windows AFTER dark and put box fans in them blowing the cool air into the house all night long. In the morning, right when we get up, we remove the fans and close the windows up tight to keep the hot air out.

3. We keep the windows covered. It’s amazing how much heat a window can let in. We keep dark curtains pulled over the windows that let in most of the sun–even during the day.

4. We put window air conditioner units in the bedrooms. It’s too expensive for us to air condition the entire house, but we do find running a couple units at night is affordable and makes sleep much more comfortable.

5. We move most of our activities during the day to the coolest part of the house. Our master bedroom happens to be on the east side and is therefore not heated up by the hot afternoon sun as much. We moved the TV and even my office into the master bedroom and find ourselves spending a lot of time in there. If it gets too hot, we shut the bedroom door and turn on the window A/C unit for a little while to cool it down.…

Organizing Your Kitchen With Style

Regardless of how large or small your kitchen is, it should not be difficult to maintain a sense of style to it. The key to having a good looking kitchen is, of course, organization. You can do no wrong with colors and accessories if you are working with a well organized kitchen. Maintaining an organized kitchen does not simply mean getting rid of messes, it also means having everything conveniently organized to be in place and ready at hand. There are several different kitchen accessories at affordable prices that can help you achieve this goal. Changes as simple as adding utility drawer inserts to keep flatware in this place and pull out trays for cabinets can work wonders in the kitchen and have the added benefit of making your kitchen look better.

What kinds of colors, backgrounds, or themes are you partial to? It is important to have a certain theme in mind when decorating or accessorizing your kitchen. Creating a theme does not have to be too complicated-for example, you could go with a simple black and white theme. You can also be more adventurous and try a French bistro theme or a Spanish kitchen theme. It is really up to you and there are thousands of options to choose from. The main thing to remember after choosing a theme is to be consistent. Whatever the theme is, make sure everything in the kitchen adheres to it. For example, if you go with a black and white theme you must make sure that kitchen appliances, flatware, utensils and accessories match the theme. Fortunately, many kitchen appliances and accessories are available in a wide variety of colors to choose from.

What if the theme of your kitchen just “happens to be whatever we put in it?” There is nothing wrong with having a mix and match look in the kitchen and having a variety of colors, textures and patterns. Again, the key to a stylish look is consistency. A good way to maintain consistency in your kitchen, even with eclectic looks, is to keep kitchen accessories looking the same, especially visible ones. If you are using metal accessories, such as chrome pull out trays with aluminum standards, keep the rest of the accessories the same. Do not attach wooden trays to aluminum standards, or vice versa. If you prefer the look of real wood, that’s fine—but keep the rest of the accessories wood or with a wood look as well. Any other accessories or kitchen appliances should also aim to match each other. Subtle details like that are great ways to keep your kitchen not only looking organized but also stylish and elegant.

It shouldn’t be a complicated task to maintain a stylish and organized look in your kitchen. It also does not have to be needlessly expensive. Simple touches and organizational accessories, such as wooden pull out shelves that match with the wooden pantry units can go a long way towards making a stylish kitchen look yours.

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Evolution of Commercial Interior Design

What is Commercial Interior Design

Commercial design, sometimes known as contract or non-residential interior design, can be described as a challenging and complex process of creating and managing the construction or renovation of the commercial spaces.

Even though some people use the “commercial” interior design term interchangeably with the “office” interior design. However, the work encompasses a much larger variety then the office spaces. The commercial design projects also involves the design and specification of public spaces, such as hotels, restaurants, and similar buildings beyond the “office” space. In other words, designing commercial design involves designing the interior of any facility that serves business purposes.

It usually demands a significant amount of attention to detail and it involves much more than just the decoration of the interior of the spaces. The design projects address much wider issues including:

  • design and maximisation of space,
  • eco friendly build and renovation,
  • ceiling and lighting options,
  • power and plumbing systems,
  • and even commissioning data and voice communications systems to meet demand.

This work requires the experts to have a good grasp of architecture, as well as an artistic sense for creating attractive settings within the space.

In today’s extremely commercialised world, we take a lot of things for granted. Compare today’s TV advertising to that of 50 years ago. Think of the current visual merchandising with the visual merchandising in the early 20th Century.

How about the commercial interior design? As you think cast your mind over the evolution of the commercial public spaces, you will realise the enormous amount of change it has gone through. In the following section, I will take you through a brief history of commercial interior design.

Evolution of Commercial Interiors

Many historians agree that the profession of commercial interior design is said to have its roots in 19th Century. It used to be known as the interior decoration initially. One of the key influences was the development of new techniques and technologies that were born out of the Industrial Revolution. They made the mass produced furnishings and materials much cheaper and accessible for all.

Initially most of the early commercial interior work was carried out by the architects. The start of the 20th Century saw the emergence of decorators and designers that were focusing on the commercial interiors.

In Conclusion

The commercial design work has lots of fascinating aspects; not least due to its variety of the projects. And, it will continue to evolve as the businesses aim to maximise the commercial space while reducing the cost.

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Water Garden Ideas and Advice

Water Garden Ideas

Many beautiful and unusual plants can be grown in a water garden, and the making of such a garden is an adventure within the reach of everyone. Almost any receptacle capable of holding water is a potential pool, and there are water-lilies small enough to live and flower in an ordinary sized washing-up bowl.

If a pool is well constructed, if care is taken with the planting, and if the right planting compost material and aquatics (water plants) are chosen, water is easier to manage than grass. But with no other feature in the garden is the margin between success and failure so delicately poised. Great care is needed to hold the balance between clear water and a well-managed pool on the one hand, and smell, slime, green water and rank aquatics on the other.

Ideas for Siting a Water Garden

The position of a water garden is very important, for water-lilies and most aquatics love the sun. The warmer the water, the more luxuriant the growth and the greater the number of blooms will be. The best position for a pool, therefore, is in the open, as far as possible.

The shelter of trees or a hedge to the north or north-east of the water garden can break the force of driving winds and will considerably extend the flowering season, but be sure to build the pool some distance from the trees or hedge, so that dead leaves do not fall into the pool and foul the water. Alternatively, if your water garden is close to trees or a hedge, you can spread wire-netting over the surface of the pool during the few weeks of the autumnal leaf fall.

A very deep pool can be a disadvantage since depth controls the temperature of the water, but the water must not be too shallow or it will freeze up in winter. Fifteen to 18 inches of water above the crowns of plants is shallow enough to induce free-flowering and yet sufficiently deep to safeguard the roots in winter. Rock garden pools are often only 1 foot or even less in depth, and should be protected during very bad weather, but such precautions are impracticable for larger pools.

Water gardens are either formal or informal, and should fit in with their surroundings. The formal water garden is usually the dominant feature of a garden – in a central position or perhaps the key point of an area to which all paths-lead. It is regular in shape (a circle, square, oblong or some geometric form) and its outline is defined with a raised kerb or flat, paved surround. Fountains can be placed in the water garden, but as a general rule running water is not desirable, especially if the water supply comes from a natural spring or similar low-lying source, because it will constantly lower the temperature and also destroy the calm on which water-lilies thrive.

Formal pools look better in conventional surrounds and do not blend with natural …

Increase Value of Your House by Upgrading Your Bathroom and Kitchen

Is it time to sell your home? Whether flipping a house or trying to get a good price before a move, there are a few ways to gain value through a kitchen or bathroom refurbishment. Outdated kitchen and the bathroom styles are the quickest way to make a house feel older and more rundown. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your renovations.

Custom design

A made to order design makes the most sense when trying to get the most money for your home. Bespoke bathrooms are noticeable and make a difference in price. A real estate agent or home buyer will be able to tell if tiling and fixtures were simply placed in the space or made for the space. Avoid outrageous designs that might make classic homebuyers feel uncomfortable. You never want a space to only appeal to a particular type of style. Exquisite stonework with classics such as natural stone, granite, slate, and travertine are always a good idea.

Flooring

Flooring is important in a bathroom and linoleum is out. Linoleum in the bathroom or kitchen can make an entire house seem outdated, ugly and dirty. Hard wood can take a real beating in these spaces and look old and worn quickly, even after refurbishing it. The best idea is to put down ceramic or porcelain tiles or natural stone flooring instead. These will sustain heavy amounts of foot traffic, clean well, and always look nice. They appeal to a modern home design and can go with almost anything a home buyer may want to decorate with.

Bathtub

Bathrooms can be purely conventional, or they can be home spas and relaxation areas. One way to create a more elegant and expensive feel is to create a separate bathtub and wetroom. A spa tub can be a place to relax and separate from the conventional use of a shower. Travertine or marble make great custom tiling jobs for a bespoke bathroom bathtub. Mosaic tiles work well to add a decorative flair to the wetroom wall. IF the home buyer finds your space relaxing, they will feel excited about buying it. Make the bathroom, especially the master bathroom, somewhere they want to be.

Kitchen Counter Tops

Just like with the floors, linoleum is out. A granite kitchen worktop is your best bet. It looks nice and is extremely practical. Choose a neutral color that can go with any style your home buyer may have. Make sure it matches the cabinets, hardware, and floor. Replace old cupboard hardware to match your new counters. The kitchen is the most-used room in the house. Make as modern, comfortable, and conventional as possible.

Selling your home can be an overwhelming process. Start with these tips in the bathroom and kitchen to increase the value of your home. You can always add some of your own personal flair and ideas. With the right plans, rocks, and fixtures, you can easily gain the most for your dollar.

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Fancy Lighting – Home Decor Enlightenment

Light is one of those basic necessities we take for granted, without it we couldn't see a thing! Lately however, lighting has been lifted into the spotlight of home improvement circles. The art of interior design can be taken to a whole new level, by employing various lighting solutions that will help in giving a certain space a totally unique atmosphere.

The art of employing lights and fixtures for accomplishing dramatic effects, designed to achieve a specific mood, have become a hot trend among home decor designers nowadays.

Ideally the lighting system should be great from both a functional and viewpoint and information show that pendant lights and similar products are taking up more and more space in stores committed to home planning.

Various styles of recessed lighting are not exactly a new innovation, but nowadays they are turning up in scenarios you might not have encountered them before – such as out on a patio, for example.

Seeing a subtle yet, effectual recessed patio lighting, working in part by solar power for the first time is indeed a model that get's the inspiration going for getting into decorate up the outside of your home as well.

From the purely practical / economical point of view, the solar powered alternatives are of course most interesting. But, in many cases, combining appealing design and some sort of solar panels are not always easy or affordable. Once in place though, you can get literally unlimited energy without paying a cent for it, provided that you live in a location that provide enough sun that is.

Among other widespread lighting trends right now are innumerable forms of accent lighting that may, for instance, be aimed onto a wall in order to complement the light directed by the fixtures in the ceiling or from a selection of recessed lighting.

Accent lighting is great for drawing awareness to precise features in the room, and as a rule can add amazing amounts of dimension and depth to the space. For those who want to go really cutting-edge, there is also the option to install the lighting system in such a way that it can be "programmed" for several scenarios.

Depending on the time of day, the mood you want to set, and which architectural features or things in the room you want to highlight, all can be effectively accomplished by a well designed lighting arrangement.

Particularly elaborate and expensive lighting systems are of course typically installed in official buildings like hotels, big company headquarters etc. But stylish lighting can definitely be employed in decorating privately owned homes as well. And, compared to other forms of home improvement or re-decorating, it does actually not have to be terribly expensive either.

The simple act of changing the lighting can breathe new life into your home, so why not give it a try.

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FSBO – How to Prepare Your House to Sell

Did you hear that? Prices of houses in Phoenix have been jumping 5% each month for 2005 according to market experts! Some even predict that the price of housing could jump an additional 10% for the upcoming year. The shortage of houses for sales and the still relatively low interest prices are causing the price of homes not just here in Phoenix but nationwide to escalate. What does this mean? If you are thinking about selling your home, there is no better time than the present. Jump on the bandwagon!

Okay, great, you say. I'll buy a for-sale-by-owner sign, set it out in the front yard, host an open-house this weekend. I should have my house sold by the end of next week! Well, two months later, that for-sale-by-owner sign is still in the front and you don't have a buyer. Do not think that just because there is a shortage of houses for sale, selling a house is a piece of cake. It may not as easy as you think. Instead of using a Realtor, you are determined to sell the house yourself. That's fine and it's possible. People do it all the time; However, what are some tips to help you prepare your house to sell. I have done the research and found four minimal-cost tips in preparing your sell:

1. Clean-up. The first impression is always the lasting one. You want potential buyers to be impressed the moment that they spot your house from the street. Everything from the yard, to the windows, to every room inside should be squeaky clean. And if you have a collection of, well, several collections of … stuff, it's distracting to the buyer and really takes away the beauty of your home. If you can't part with those items, pack them away in boxes. A potential buyer won't be offended by a few packed boxes in the house. They most likely are expecting you to be preparing to move anyway.

2. Deodorize. This goes hand-in-hand with cleaning your house and removing the clutter. If your house smells, it won't sell. If the house has been vacant for a while, there is nothing more offensive to a potential buyer than the smell of mildew. Please take care of the mildew before showing the house. And you petowners, understand that your precious little pets that you keep indoors are not odor-less. You just have become accustomed to the smell. A potential buyer will pick up the pet order immediately. The same is true for cigarettes.

3. Re-paint the house. Okay, you may have enjoyed a blue kitchen, an orange living room, and a red bathroom. But your potential buyer may not be as cutting-edge. Experts agree that neutral colors are best in showcasing your house. Also take a second look at the decorations on the wall. Remove anything that could be offensive to your potential buyer.

4. Embrace the sun. I don't particularly care for the Phoenix heat, but I love the sun. …

Outdoor Kitchen Guide Using Granite Countertops

For anyone who's made the decision to install a kitchen that utilizes outdoor space, there are a number of important considerations to bear in mind during the design process. An outdoor kitchen is a unique home project, because not only is style and functionality important, but the materials selected for use in the space also have to be durable and weather-resistant.

An outdoor kitchen can be a space that's welcoming for family gatherings, or just a place to enjoy nightly family meals. Like an indoor kitchen, it should be equipped with all the necessities, including appliances and an adequate work space. While selecting the perfect grill may be easy for most homeowners, choosing the materials for the countertop can pose more of a challenge.

Planning an Outdoor Kitchen
During the planning process, the priority is often designing for adequate counter space. Similarly to an indoor space, it's important to include enough space for both food preparation and serving. While the primary preparation space will usually be around 36 inches tall (standard for indoor kitchens as well), there's also the option to create a split level counter, which also has a raised bar area of ​​42 inches. Outdoor countertops are usually deeper than what's found in indoor kitchens, in order to accommodate a grill, so anticipate a depth of about 30-36 inches, rather than the indoor standard of 24 inches.

Selecting a Kitchen Countertop Material for the Outdoors
Granite is one of the best materials to use in an outdoor kitchen, and it allows homeowners to enjoy luxury in an outdoor space. Not only does it provide an elegant and lavish style, but granite is also a great material because it's easy to clean and maintain, durable and heat-resistant.

For outdoor use, it's best to select slabs of granite that don't have a great deal of veining, because epoxies and fillers are used on heavily veined granite, and those materials can have a negative reaction to the sun's rays.

It's also a good idea to avoid extremely dark granite countertops for outdoor use, since they'll retain heat and leave the home's residents and visitors susceptible to burned hands.

The Advantages of Using Granite Outdoors
Aside from the style and durability of the material, granite countertops are also a great material to use on outdoor kitchen countertops because they are a natural stone, which complements the natural beauty of the outdoors. It's a great way to tie in the convenience and modern capabilities of the outdoors with the surrounding landscape.

In addition, granite has the ability to withstand extreme temperature changes-so whether it's below freezing, or there's sweltering heat, granite will maintain its integrity.

Other Outdoor-Friendly Materials
While granite is one of the most commonly used natural stones in outdoor kitchen countertops, there are other options available. Most notably, these include travertine and limestone. While these materials are somewhat durable, they're not as durable as granite, meaning they may be more susceptible to scratching, staining and heat damage, so they're not ideal …

Interior Post Construction Cleanup Tips

There is nothing worse than bringing contractors in to do a construction project only to find that once they have finished the job, they have left their mess behind. Construction site cleanup is part of the construction industry and it can be a messy job, but someone has to do it. You can make your life easier by cleaning as you go for starters, and that should help reduce the burden of the final cleanup to a degree. While it's impossible to cover every aspect of a proper construction cleaning project, a good place to start would be to remove trash and debris on a daily basis, particularly wood and paint particles which can pose as dangerous fire hazards.

There are plenty of construction companies that might make use of a separate contractor to do the cleanup for them since it can save a lot of time and money by bringing in specialists (dependent on the size of the job). It is always wise to do a walk-through prior to the start of cleanup for the supervisor to find out exactly what the construction manager's expectations are with regard to cleanup. This will also help to prevent a poor final product (when the project is completed).

So, what does construction site cleanup really entail? In general, any scuffs, hand and finger smudges, dust and dirt need to be wiped down off the walls and the same goes for trim, baseboards, windows, door frames and handrails. The ceilings will also need a good dust and the removal of any cobwebs that have sprung up. Doors need to be cleaned down- which may include the front, back, sides and the top, and don't forget about the hinges. Any masonry will need to be vacuumed and cleaned as instructed. All of the carpeting throughout the project will need to be vacuumed as well. Wood, tile or marble should be buffed, waxed and sealed. You will need to clean the tracks, frames and glass on windows. Be sure to clean any of the light fixtures and ceiling fans dust tends to accumulate. Wall & ceiling vents, and floor vents will also be need to vacuumed, and in the case of floor vents they will need to be removed so that you can vacuum as deep as the attachments will allow. Electrical outlets and switches need cleaned since may they gather dust and hand smudges. That is just the basic cleaning inside, it does not encompass the specific cleaning required in a bathroom, kitchen or the entry way. Not to mention any mirrors and cabinets throughout the house, as well as removing any of the manufacturer's stickers that are not required.

On the topic of manufacturers, you should not forget the importance of which cleaning chemicals should and shouldn't be used. Only cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer should be used, as the wrong chemical can cause irreparable damage and will set your project back as you have to replace any damaged items, especially things …