Featured

Shutters Are the Talk of the Town

Everyone seems to be in love with the Orange County shutters that were put into my home recently. Whenever I have someone over, the first thing they tell me is that they love the shutters. It’s a bit odd, because I’ve put some other things in my home as well, but those don’t get any attention. The new rug that’s right in front of the front door goes unnoticed, the new sofa is just barely seen, and the new lamp is just a background item. The shutters just captivate everyone, and it’s all they can talk about when they see it.

The reason I got the shutters is because I went over to my aunt’s home and I saw that she had gotten some.… READ MORE

Featured

My Lakeside Cottage Dream Has Been Fulfilled

I visited a village in Europe when my family traveled there on vacation as a child. I really liked the old style of cottages by the sea that had orange county shutters on the outside of the windows. They were not those fake ones you see on homes in the suburbs that do not do anything. As I got older, I always wanted to be able to buy a cottage by the lake that is close to the apartment we lived in for years. We saved up a down payment, and we bought some lake property that had an old cottage on it. We restored it ourselves from top to bottom. We removed the old storm panels on the outside that were used to board up the place when people only used the cottages as vacation homes. Now people lived around the lake year round.… READ MORE

Home Security Via Blinds and Shutters

Thames Valley Police worked on over 1100 burglaries in November 2018. On their website they advise homeowners to take control of their windows and doors, effectively manage the locks, the times they are open and closed, and to have the most practical materials in position to aid security.

Simple tricks like not leaving a bin to be climbed on to gain entry or ensuring walls don’t provide somewhere to jump from are recommended. Window opening restrictors make sure the windows can’t be unlocked from outside. Lastly, they urge people replacing windows to obtain products tested to British standards (PAS 24 2016) which are insurance approved.

That all makes perfect sense but how can your window dressing help you to improve home security?

A manual blind is an unwelcome obstacle for burglars, but it also conceals whether there are people within the property. If a burglar isn’t confident that they are alone or that they won’t be interrupted, they rarely take a chance.

Automated blinds offer the above benefits but have the additional advantage of being managed via a home automation system, remote control or on an app, even when there is no one on the property. Sun and temperature sensors react to changes; as darkness descends the sensors facilitate blind closure without any physical action from the humans, wherever they may be.  Consider the benefits of being able to tap a button when you’re out at the gym, kept late at work or in a seemingly endless tailback; no one will be able to discern that you aren’t at home, even on the darkest winter days, thanks to the window blind movements.

No cords, no reaching into awkward spaces and the motors are housed within the blinds, so the aesthetic appeal is as significant as the security benefits.

Automated blinds are energy efficient and you should notice a saving on your utility bills. One battery charge of 24 hours directly to the blinds delivers 5-7 months of power. A rechargeable battery and charger are provided at the time of installation by reputable firms. 

Shutters are strong, they shut out visual and audible intrusion in a stylish and cost-effective manner. Choose from café shutters which cover the lower half of the window or plantation shutters which close off the whole window area.

For optimum performance and security, please don’t consider window blinds or shutters installations as DIY tasks. For most people DIY … READ MORE

Benefits of Outdoor Sheds and Materials Used to Build Them

Having a well-made storage shed helps consumers reduce clutter, and it provide more space in the home. It is a place to store items that are only used on special occasions and for special projects. A good storage shed helps owners clear out the garage or rooms. It creates more room in the house and garage.

Benefits of Outdoor Sheds and Materials Used to Build Them

Sheds are ideal places to store yard and gardening equipment. They are large enough to fit lawn mowers, rakes, tools, hedge trimmers, electric saws, and other equipment. Storage sheds are designed to store heavy bulky equipment easily. In a shed, equipment can be organized neatly for easy access when needed. There are many considerations to think about when buying an outdoor shed.

One of the most important benefits of a shed is storage. Consumers can store Christmas decorations and toys. It can protect your children from safety hazards because, it can be locked up. A shed provides room for a hobby in the home or workspace. A shed can help organize the home and garage. It stores items from those messy rooms in the house, attic, or basement. A new shed adds value to the home when selling it. Home owners are always looking for extra storage space.

Inside the shed, shelving, hooks, or peg holes can be added to organize items. A shed protects equipment from rain and cold winter weather. A shed with windows can serve as a greenhouse to grow plants. Some sheds can be outdoor buildings for gardening and hobbies. It can be a fun place to have outdoor parties and gatherings.

What Shed Materials To Consider 

There are many styles of sheds for outdoors, made from durable materials. Plastic resin or vinyl sheds have a professional appearance, and with mold injection parts can be made in many designs. These sheds have dirt resistant floors, ramps, and window that provide plenty of light. They are made in variety of sizes, and the sheds are easy to install and maintain. This material is inexpensive. A vinyl shed does not rot or suffer from insect damage.

Metal sheds are durable and very affordable for consumers. They withstand harsh weather and last many years. The shed never needs to be painted or sanded. Many metal sheds come in kits, that are easily assembled or pre-made ready to be installed in the yard. These metal sheds endure bad weather well.

Wood sheds are the … READ MORE

The Five Best Home Upgrades for a House

Considering an upgrade for your home? You’re making a smart decision. Home renovations can dramatically increase your home’s value and make the years you spend there more pleasant. However, not all home upgrades are created equal. Choose the upgrades for your situation that will pay off the most. The following five home upgrades will give you the biggest return on investment (ROI). 

The Five Best Home Upgrades for a House

Improve Energy Efficiency 

While it won’t necessarily do anything for the looks of your home, improving your home’s energy efficiency will give you more bang for your buck. Even by just adding more attic insulation, a homeowner can recoup more than 100 percent of the cost by saving on heating and cooling costs while making the home more attractive to potential buyers. Since more energy efficient homes are now on the market, you will be better able to compete. In addition to upgrading the HVAC, don’t forget about replacing older windows and water heaters. 

Minor Kitchen Remodel 

If you can only renovate one room in your home make it the kitchen. The kitchen is a focal point in your home and an upgrade can pay off handsomely. Don’t think a kitchen upgrade has to break the bank. Expensive new appliances aren’t necessary. Focus on cabinets and countertops instead. If cabinets are in good condition, they can be refinished or painted instead of replaced. You can make an impressive kitchen by merely adding new knobs and an attractive backsplash. 

Upgrade the Bathrooms 

After kitchens, bathrooms are the second most important selling point for your home. Only a minor bathroom upgrade can result in a 100 percent ROI. Regrouting tile is a minor project that makes a major difference in your bathroom’s appearance; so, can removing and replacing caulking around the tub and shower. Replace old toilets for a more modern look. Simply replacing mirrors and fixtures can go a long way in improving the look of your bathroom. While replacing a standard tub with a tile shower can be expensive, you will still have an ROI of over 80 percent. 

Garage Addition 

Garages are versatile in both design and function. It’s a place to protect vehicles from the elements, provide extra storage, and even a workshop. If your home has no existing garage, it could scare off many potential buyers. Fortunately, you have the option of adding one at a lower cost than having one built one. Prefab READ MORE

5 Simple Home Improvement Projects that Lower Utility Bills

Each year, Americans let hundreds of dollars in heating and cooling fly out the window, and quite literally. However unintentional it may be, most homes are not operating at a high-efficiency level. Whether it be due to outdated appliances and entryways, or improperly insulated outer walls an inefficient home is just a wasteful home. Finding ways to reduce your wasted energy costs can lead to lower utility bills and a smaller carbon footprint.

Let’s take a look at some ways to achieve this.

1. Programmable Thermostat

One simple way to lower your utility bills is to install a programmable thermostat. A basic programmable thermostat can be installed in about an hour and comes with preset temperature settings for different times of the day. Some of the latest models offer greater control, easy programming, sophisticated displays, and control via Bluetooth or smartphone app. They can offer separate programs for each day of the week, and can even alert you if service is required.

5 Simple Home Improvement Projects that Lower Utility Bills

These programmable thermostats can be very useful for people who work long hours during the day and may not need their heating or cooling running while they are gone. Your smart thermostat can lower the temperature as you leave and keep it down until an hour or two before you get home. This reduces energy consumption, and thereby reduces your bill. Why run the heat if you are not there to enjoy it?

2. Switching to Energy Efficient Appliances

5 Simple Home Improvement Projects that Lower Utility Bills

Image source: energystar.gov

If you have extra cash to invest in new energy efficient appliances, you should do so. The old school appliances that you use every day can rack up your home’s gas and electric usage. If the appliances are old, they may be in need of maintenance, and even require outdated parts that are no longer available. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars on energy and heating costs by investing in newer, more energy efficient appliances.

Do not attempt to make a complete overhaul of all appliances at once as this will rack up a huge bill. Perhaps start with a washer if your water bill is too high or a dryer if your heating bill is too high. Even one change can help kick start your savings.

3. Replacing your Windows

A sneaky theft of your precious heating is your windows. Windows that are older than 10 years old are not providing your home … READ MORE

Increase Your Usable Living Space With a New Deck

A durable, well-built deck is a structure that can be added to any home and bring the increased enjoyment of the property. It’s perfect for areas that get too wet to plan a feasible patio area. You can place outdoor entertainment furnishings where they are elevated to prevent water damage.

Increase Your Usable Living Space With a New Deck

Expand Enjoyment of Your Property

A deck can be added to many areas of your property to help increase overall enjoyment for outdoor activities. You can add them near an above-ground pool, the side of the home, back of the home, or extend them from an upper level of the house. Comfortable take in fresh air and sunshine with a new deck created by expert Chicago deck builders.

Outdoor Living Space Uses

A deck is a great location to add extra table seating for large gatherings of friends and family, summer barbecues, birthday parties, or just kick back and relax in the fresh air. You can add outdoor living room furniture, patio tables, grills, or complete outdoor kitchen equipment. Make it the outdoor living space you’ve always wanted.

Improve the Looks and Value of Your Property

The addition of a deck will immediately improve the value of your home and make it a more inviting property if you ever need to sell. You can choose from a variety of styles and materials to match and complement the looks of your home.

Get All-Season Use Out of Your New Deck

A deck can prove useful any time of the year. It gives you an elevated surface that allows snow to melt faster and keeps you out of muddy patches in the yard. Barbecues can be enjoyed any time of the year, even in Chicago. You can have a designated area to enjoy outdoor time for you and the whole family.

Consider all of the benefits you can enjoy by adding a quality deck to your home. It’s an easy way to expand the usable living space of your property.

 … READ MORE