Remodeling, Tips, Uncategorized

Some Basic Home Remodeling Tips

Comments Off 01 October 2013

home remodeling tipsEven under the best circumstances, a home renovation project is a significant undertaking, financially, emotionally and in practical terms. Making changes to your home should not be done on a whim, unless those changes are superficial and cosmetic.

If your remodeling plans include structural additions and alterations the ante goes up across the board—of all renovation ideas, these will be the most expensive, time consuming and labor intensive. Building codes and regulations must be adhered to; permits applied for; even if you are able and willing to do most of the work yourself, some work electrical and plumbing issues must be left in the hands of experts. Even something as seemingly simple as moving a window significantly impacts your renovation budget.

Structural or Cosmetic?

Before making structural changes or additions, consider less invasive options. Sometimes a coat of paint, a different wall treatment; a change in drapery or the addition of coordinated accessories can enliven your living space miraculously. Continue Reading

Financing, Remodeling, Tips

Should You D.I.Y. or Hire a Professional?

Comments Off 30 September 2013

diy vs contractorWhen planning a remodeling project, whether or not to hire a general contractor to do the work yourself is perhaps the most important decision you will make. The trend in recent years has been for homeowners to (ostensibly) save money by doing their own renovations. The internet and cable television are brimming with how-to videos and tutorials; making the idea seem easier and more inviting than it may truly be.

Much depends on the size and scope of a project of course. Minor repairs and largely cosmetic renovation efforts can indeed be managed by most homeowners; although calling in a pro is mandatory when changes involve electrical rewiring or plumbing. The deciding factors are many, but here are a few of the most important.

  • What is your experience and skill set? No matter how effortless they make it seem on TV, it is unrealistic to go from never having picked up a hammer to a full scale remodeling project. You must also have the right tools at your disposal, and the time to devote to a project. Continue Reading


Designing Your Entryway

Comments Off 16 April 2014

What is the impression that you want people to have the moment they walk into your home? Do you want them to feel welcome? Do you want it to feel spacious? These are important things to think about when you are designing the entryway to your house. The entrance to you house is what sets the mood and feel for the entire home experience. If you walk into a house and it’s stuffy, you can almost always assume that the rest of the house isn’t going to get that much better. That is why it is important to make sure you spend time to design your entry way properly.

Spacing of the Entryway

A good design is typically all about spacing. The narrower an entrance feels, the worse off you are. Your goal should be to make your home feel open and free. This will also help you in personal matters such as when you have to bring bulky items into your home. If you have a big family with a several children and infants, then you’ll want the entry way to be big enough for that double stroller that you may be thinking of purchasing!
So how to make the entry way “open and free”? Simple, don’t clutter it with stuff. The entry way is not a place for you to crowd with furniture and drawers. Instead, keep it simple and utilize a simple carpet and possibly a place to store shoes. If there’s one thing to not be stingy about, it’s your shoe holder. If possible a built in shoe drawer may work best. Your shoe holder should be neatly organized and well designed. Many people have dirty shoe holders that immediately ruin the look and feel of a home. Don’t make this mistake.

Using Proper Lighting

Next you’ll want to focus on the color and lighting of your home. Typically the brighter the setting then more lively it feels so make use of your windows and don’t cover the light that comes in. If you aren’t lucky enough to have good windows in your entrance, then make sure to use good artificial lighting. A light source that can mimic that of the outdoors would be ideal. An alternative would be to go for the warm yellow light style. This style of lighting makes the home feel more relaxed.

Adding Plant Life

The last thing that you’ll want to consider adding is adding flowers or plants. A nice flower or bouquet can help add life to any room. The entry way is no exception. This also makes the air feel much cleaner. If you do decide to put some flowers in your entry way, make sure not to go overboard with it. Some people take it to another level by putting dozens of plants in the room. This effectively destroys the first point that I made, which is to keep the space open and clutter free.

Final Words

The biggest takeaway from this article is to keep the room clutter free and pretend you have a big family. If you can’t fit a big stroller easily through, then your entrance is too cluttered. Keep it simple and keep it clean and it will go a long way in making your house feel more like a home.


Outdoor tanning in Australia the safe and sane way for newcomers

Comments Off 09 April 2014

Australians enjoy their sunny climate and the deep, dark suntans that are easy to obtain naturally just by being out in the ample sunlight. Tourists and other visitors also appreciate the golden rays and soak in their daily doses of vitamin D and work on their tans. Many US citizens split their time between Australia and the U.S., owning homes in both locations and quite happily get their fair share of the sun. Although it’s a great place for natural outdoor tanning, there are some considerations to keep in mind. We’ve included some health, safety and general tanning tips to help you get the safest and most satisfying tan in Australia.

Minimize your health risks
Statistics show that two thirds of Australians will develop some form of skin cancer by the time they have reached the age of 70 or before. This is due to the high levels of ultraviolet radiation that the sunshine delivers in this part of the world. This increases the risks for skin cancer. More than 2000 skin cancer related deaths are recorded annually among Australians. Exposure to this intensified ultraviolet light is no doubt risky, however; there are recommended precautions that you can take to help cut your risk of developing skin cancer while tanning outdoors in Australia.

Prepare your skin prior to tanning
While unique in it’s strength, Australia’s sunshine can cause damage to the skin. This can result in premature wrinkling, blemishing, dryness and loss of elasticity. Preparing your skin for the strong rays of Australia’s sun through proper hydration, a healthy diet and nourishing your skin will help in achieving a healthy tan with reduced risks to your health.

Why is diet important for a great tan?
Skin is the largest organ of the body. If you want to get a great looking tan, you must start with healthy skin. Your skin is a reflection of your overall health. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins nourishes both your body and your skin. Avoiding excessive amounts of fats, sugars and carbohydrates is also good for your skin’s health.

What is hydration and why is it important?
Hydration is keeping a healthy balance of liquids in your body. It’s important to drink plenty of water, especially if you are exposed to hot temperatures that cause perspiration. The fluids that you lose through your skin need to be replaced. Skin can be nourished with lotions that contain healthy and natural and nourishing supplements of vitamins, minerals and moisturizing agents. So it’s important as a preparatory step for tanning in Australia, to prepare your skin in advance and during the process.
Limit your exposure to high levels of ultraviolet rays

You can still get a fantastic tan in Australia while limiting your exposure to dangerous UV rays. It’s recommended that you use a tan accelerator to get your base tan established quickly. Once this is accomplished, limit the amount of direct sunlight you get by avoiding long periods of exposure. Be sure to use a high quality of sunscreen with a strength of at least 30 SPF. In order to deepen and maintain your tan, use suntan lotions that help to speed the process, therefore limiting the amount of UV rays you’re exposed to.

Outdoor tanning in Australia is a tanner’s delight as the UV rays are stronger there than any other place in the world. This is both good and not so good due to the increased risk of skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. When done correctly, you can lessen the risk of damaging your skin by preparing your body, learning how to speed the tanning process, and protecting yourself from damaging UV rays.


Secure Your Site with a Trail Camera

Comments Off 06 April 2014

Have you ever added on to your house? When you’re adding on, you usually have an “open” construction site where part of your house is open to the outside, protected only by some plastic sheeting. And, if you’re like me, all the tools don’t always get put away and locked up every night. After all, my house is in a safe neighborhood – I shouldn’t worry too much about theft. But, I still do. And, at the same time, I don’t want to take the extra time to pick absolutely every one of my tools up at the end of the day just to get them all back out the next morning. I decided to use a two-part strategy where I gather up most all of my tools and put them in a central spot. Additionally, I put two battery powered motion sensor cameras outside in the yard and one inside the construction site. I tried to hide them best I could. I found a great camera after reading trail camera reviews.

I went with the Moultie M-880 Low Glow camera. It’s low glow meaning if someone does come around, they aren’t likely to notice it hidden because the infrared LEDs don’t glow very much. I considered more expensive cameras but because I was buying three, I went with one with a mid-range price tag. When my construction project was finished, I sold them to some local hunters. Hunters use these cameras to scout for game before and during hunting season – that way, they know what’s around when they’re not and if they have a good spot or not.

The combination of putting my tools in a central spot and protecting the site with a few trail cameras puts me at ease. Worst case scenario, I get some tools stolen and the cameras too. I think I hid them pretty good though and in a position to take a good photo of any intruders. I know this isn’t the safest solution but I’m happy with the balance of security and convenience I came up with.

If you are planning a construction project that you worry about security on, I highly recommend taking a look at some trail camera reviews to find one that is the right price with the right features for your case. These cameras are fairly inexpensive and would be great for watching a home site while it’s being built or even a commercial property when no one is supposed to be around. They’re small, easy to hide, and battery operated. You usually can’t prevent someone from stealing your stuff if you’re not there but if you use a trail camera, you at least have a chance of getting some evidence to share with law enforcement.

Ultimately, security is about peace of mind. If you feel safe, security is doing its job. If you don’t, it’s not. My solution for keeping my tools safe may be too lax for some people. I know several contractors and they usually pick up all their tools and at least lock them up in a closed utility trailer. I talked to one who liked my idea of using the cameras but wasn’t willing to leave his tools out of his trailer overnight. He said a lot of times, thieves will steal the tools out of the trailers if they’re not locked and in plain view – he mentioned one of his contractor friends leaving his tools in a trailer behind a house under construction. Thieves came, cut the lock off the trailer and cleaned him out. You see, he felt comfortable with his solution and still got robbed. Now, he parks his trailer in the front and makes sure there’s a light installed nearby before he leaves his tools on site.


Cleaning Tips That’ll Keep Your Upholstery Looking New

Comments Off 06 April 2014

Our upholstery takes a heck of a beating from every day wear and tear so much so if you live in a dusty environment like we do. Packets of dust can build up and can be harmful to your lungs. That’s not all, your dining room furniture may in one way or another got spilled on by a drink or two or three.

Take note that this tips are for fabric upholstery.

Whether we like it or not we have to clean them regularly or it becomes a source of various respiratory ailments, especially if you’re like me, have a toddler running around and likes burying his face on the sofa.

With these simple tips, you’ll be able to keep your upholstery clean and looking new for years to come. It’ll also save you from costly repair bills or from outright replacing them if they’re too worn.

First things first…

Before applying any cleaning agent make sure to thoroughly vacuum to remove any dust and dirt build up. This removes any contaminants, pet hair and dirt that might be present on fabric. This gives you a clean surface for the cleaning agent to work on.

Any handheld vacuum, wired or wireless will do as long as it has a brush or a motorized attachment that’ll help pick up dust and other debris.

Clean those spills ASAP!

When there is a spill, particularly if it has any color in it like juice or wine, clean it up ASAP. Grab a clean white terry cloth or microfiber and blot the spilled area to absorb excess liquid. If it’s spilled spaghetti with meat balls, grab a spatula and scrap them off. Avoid rubbing as this will spread stain in a larger area.

What Cleaners to Use?

There are a plethora of cleaners out there in the market but you have to be careful when shopping for one. Definitely avoid those with strong chemicals that could cause nausea or dizziness and could be potentially dangerous to your respiratory health.

With that warning out of the way, know the type of fabric your upholstery has. There’s a wide range out there like wool, cotton, olefin and silk to name a few. If you have antique fabric, call a professional. You don’t want to risk discoloration or any type of permanent damage to your antique furniture that’ll be expensive to repair.

Fortunately, manufacturers has placed a tag somewhere on your furniture that lets you know what type of cleaner you should use to clean it.

These are the codes and the corresponding meaning:

W: Use a water-based detergent
S: Only use a water-free product (e.g. dry cleaning solvent)
WS: You can use a water-based detergent or water-free cleaner
X: Needs to be cleaned by a licensed carpet cleaning professional

What if the tags are gone?

If by any reason the tags are no longer present then test a carpet cleaner in a small area to check and see if there will be any discoloration.

To remove stains on standard nylon or cotton fabric furniture, try to use this combination, 2 cups of water (has to be cool not warm) and a tablespoon of dish washing liquid. Dish washing liquid has to have oil dissolving capabilities to be effective. There are also other items that are available in your home that’ll help you make your own concoctions like borax and vinegar.

Remember to always test in a small area first. If you don’t want to take that risk then call a licensed professional to check.


Improving Indoor Air Quality by Plants

Comments Off 06 April 2014

Most of us spend 90 percent of our time indoors, so it is very essential to keep the indoor environment pure. Today's offices and homes have implied every possible way to be most energy efficient. Among such ways, most common are improved insulation, new air- conditioning systems and other energy saving appliances. However, we never noticed but these ways reduce the air exchange in the buildings or homes and in turn we tend to breathe the same air again and again.

Most of us do not know that air pollution is always higher indoors as compared to outside. In offices and buildings the centralized air-conditioning systems don't have the capability to remove the gaseous pollutants that have been drawn from outside. As the outside pollutants mix with the indoor contaminants, it pollutes all the air and we unknowingly inhale this air again and again.

To tackle this problem, more and more companies and people are turning their steps towards green indoor environment. The green plants tend to remove airborne harmful contaminants.

According to a recent research by University of Technology, Sydney, the homes and offices that do not have any indoor plants tend to have more quantities of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), CO2 and CO. However, the homes and offices that grow indoor plants tend to have much less quantities of these pollutants. The green plants contribute a significant impact on improving the air quality of indoor environment. Indoor plants have the capability to reduce many harmful pollutants like Nitrogen and Sulfur Oxides.

After you make up your mind to make your indoor greener, the biggest obstacle is to create a natural habitat for the plants to grow inside your house. As we all know that for the proper growth of plants and for photosynthesis, the most important source is Sunlight. Today with so huge apartments and buildings all around you, it is not possible for the sunlight to reach directly to your home.

Today's advanced technology has found LED lights as a solution to this problem. LED Grow Lights are the most cost effective and artificial source of sunlight required by your plant for its proper growth. These lights require very less amount of voltage so they do not even emit any heat. These environment friendly LED lights emit electromagnetic spectrum that ensures the proper growth of your plants.

Now, the next obstacle that comes in front of you is to grow these plants. All the plants need a proper balance of fertilizer, light, moisture and warmth. However, it varies with the different species of the plants. Growing plants at home is a very challenging and interesting task.

Gerbera Daisies are a good option to ornate your home and they also keep your indoor environment fresher. They need moist but well drained soil to bloom. These come in vibrant colors of red, orange, yellow and pink.

Weeping Fig, commonly known as Ficus needs adequate space and sunlight. Ficus grows best when undisturbed for a long time; these plants don't like to be moved. They require less water and have beautiful shiny leaves.

Bamboo Palm, Butterfly Palm, Golden Pothos, Jade plants and Dracaena plants are other good options to remove all toxins present in your indoor environment.

If you want to live a happy and healthy life then grow plants in your homes and offices and discover how these amazing things make a difference in the air you inhale.


An Electric Toothbrush to improve your Bathroom’s Design

Comments Off 02 April 2014

I know what you’re thinking.

Are you serious? A Toothbrush to improve my bathroom’s design?

I’ve been doing home improvement for a long time and I know bathroom is one of the most tedious places to design. But given that you already have a well structured bathroom, I’ve   a few tips for you to make it look even better.

Why a Toothbrush?

Let’s face it-

If you think about it, toothbrushes are one of the things you use the most in your bathroom. At least twice every single day.
But how can a toothbrush improve the appearance of your bath?
With modern electric toothbrushes dominating the market, the answer is straightforward:

Powered brushes look great!

If you’re still using your old manual toothbrush it’s time to make the switch.
And here are the reasons…

The Benefits of Powered Toothbrushes

First of all, these modern products clean your teeth way better compared to manual brushes. Some of them vibrate, others rotate, but they have one thing in common: the final results are outstanding.

just to give you the idea, here are the 4 main benefits:

  • Build-in timers help you brush for 2 minutes each session
  • Pressure sensors help you fight gum recession
  • They remove more plaque thanks to rotations and oscillations
  • Great for kids, they turn brushing teeth into a fun activity

But I’m not here to discuss the benefits they have on your dental care, am I?

In fact, I want you to understand why they can successfully improve your bath’s appearance.

Modern Design Today’s Models

The most popular Electric toothbrushes on the market are made by Oral-B and Sonicare.
Of course, not all the brushes are created equal. We can say there are 3 categories of toothbrushes, based on their price:

  1. Under $50. Basic toothbrushes, basic design. These are entry level and do not look great…
  2. $50-$100. These are more advanced and come with more specs, but still not the greatest…
  3. Over $150. These are the top-notch models, and come packed with great features… and great design!

If you want to see all the models, you can read this complete guide on electric toothbrushes.

I’ve selected my 2 favorites, both over $150.
These 2 will certainly make your bathroom and your smile look great!

Sonicare DiamondClean

This Sonicare toothbrush is the best in terms of design and appearance.
You have 2 options:

  1. Black
  2. White

It all depends on your personal preferences and your bathroom’s current design.
The price is identical for both of them, averaging $170 online.
It also comes with a glass, which functions as charger: what a great idea!

In terms of effectiveness, it vibrates over 31,000 every minute thanks to the Sonic Technology, ensure real white teeth.

Oral-B 7000

This is another great looking model.
With a modern design, black with blue lights, it’s definitely a good addition to your bathroom.

It comes with an external timer, which lets you know how long and how hard you’ve been brushing your teeth.
It costs $160 in most stores, and reviews speak by themselves: Great design and great performance


There’s no reason to hide your toothbrush: these 2 models are outstanding and will make your bath look great!
I especially like how the Sonicare uses the glass as a charger for the toothbrush, but I admit I fell in love with the black design of the 7000!


Proper Safety Equipment for Remodeling a Home

Comments Off 30 March 2014

I was recently struck in the head with a 2 x 4 with some force. If it weren’t for my hard hat, I would’ve had a concussion for sure. That night, the incident got me thinking (thankfully I could still do that). Every day, people visit work sites without the proper safety gear or knowledge, and it costs them. I feel like it’s my obligation to use this forum to explain some important safety gear and when to use it. It might save your life some day; it sure saved me on more than one occasion.

Safety Goggles

The easiest thing to find is some eye protection. Any work site involving raw materials is going to have dust (usually sawdust). The slightest wind can blow it into your eyes, scratching your cornea and causing some serious pain. To top it off, there’s usually a lot of tools with sharp edges swinging about. Safety goggles will help prevent one of those from doing any serious damage if they were to swing into your face.

I wear my safety goggles the entire time I’m working on site. A lot of these situations can happen outside of your control, and its best to wear these the whole time to be best protected.

Sturdy Boots

There’s a lot of heavy weight that gets carried around a house project. Wheel barrels carry concrete, saws need to be unloaded from the truck, you need to have a solid base or else you could injure your legs or back. I actually recommend hiking boots, as they offer a lot of great ankle support while being very breathable in this hot Australian air. If you need help choosing, Hiking for Miles has an article on the best hiking boots for men.

But don’t think ankle support is your only concern. You need to lift with proper form at all times. Even a slight adjustment in form could potentially lead to debilitating back issues. Consult with a personal trainer, or check for proper deadlifting form on google if you can learn that way.

Hard Hat

As mentioned before, a hard hat has already saved me. There are way too many times where I’ve been kneeling, stood up, and cracked my head on something hard (or sharp) above me. Most of the times they wouldn’t have been fatal, but they would have been extremely painful. The hard hat keeps you from having those painful delays.

Most hard hats are designed to protect the back of your neck too. The last thing you want is for a heavy object to fall onto your neck, severing your spinal cord and rendering you paralyzed. You can find hard hats at most of your closest hardware store. A simple plastic one that has an adjustable web is fine.


Gloves won’t necessarily prevent a finger from getting cut off, but it does go very far to eliminate cuts and bruises on your hands. I never wore gloves when I started, and I’d come home every day with a new cut on my hand. Often they were just nicks from carrying wood, or my hand slipping while tightening a screw. They didn’t stop me from doing my job, but they did slow me down. I’m also convinced that these gloves will protect me from long term damage like arthritis as well. Less nicks and cuts will mean healthier hands in the future. Additionally, you never want to have to get a tetanus shot because you cut your hand on a nail.

If you take nothing else out of this list, take this: safety should be your number one concern on a construction site. No job is too important that you’d need to risk not going home to your family. The tools listed above make the odds of you going home that much greater.


Having fun during a hard days work.

Comments Off 28 March 2014

Renovating and remodeling homes is a lot of work! Most of the day is spent putting in some major elbow grease and working at a frantic pace. I often find myself thinking about ways to maybe add a little bit of fun to help off set the constant work that is involved in order to help keep morale high. Sure telling stories and cracking jokes helps to pass the time, but most of the time one has to be focused on the task at hand in order to complete the job without a hitch. During a recent remodel with a crew of 12 people again I noticed throughout the day, no one was really having any conversations even when doing something as mundane as painting a room.

So, I decided to try out something I had heard about from some of my buddies who have an office job. Everyday for lunch they play a board game until their lunch break is over then they pack it up but keep everyone’s place, points or whatever and continue the following day with the same game. They play the game for usually a few days until there is a winner, then they start a new game. My buddies said that almost immediately after they implemented this game time during lunch, the morale of each employee as well as the overall energy of the entire office increased exponentially.

This particular remodel job was gonna take us well over two weeks to complete so i thought I’d give this game time a try. Based on some recommendations I purchased a game called The Resistance. It’s basically a bluffing game where each player is randomly given a role of either a spy or a member of the resistance. I chose this game because it is a card game and during remodels there isn’t always a place to lay a board game down. The game is simple to play however the interaction and fun factor is incredible. We had so much fun playing the game that even after our lunch break was over the guys would continue to talk about how so and so stabbed them in the back or how someone had no clue that the other was a spy. Each game we played averaged around 30 minutes so we were able to play a few games before getting back to work.

Needless to say I am definitely glad I took my buddies advice and introduced game time for lunch. It accomplished what I was hoping by increasing morale and giving everyone something to talk about throughout the day. Also, it provided a nice escape from the hard work everyone was doing and forced those with other things on their mind to have a little fun. I recommend this to anyone who wants to add a little social interaction between employees or increase morale. Since then we have also played a few other board games as well as classic card games like poker, spades and such. Of course leave the gambling and the real competitive games out because if you have really competitive people playing, a fun game can turn into a shout fest very quickly.


Improve Your Backyard with an Outdoor Fire-Pit

Comments Off 28 March 2014

Most Australian home-owners agree that a home is much more than just a place to live. For most Australians, their homes are a replication of themselves, their families and their histories, filled with promise and memories for the future.

Investing in some home improvement can be one of the greatest investments of energy, time and money that you can make. A decent home improvement job can prolong the life of your home, multiply its value and heighten its appearance, as well as keeping your family, you and your possessions secure and contented.
Also undertaking a home improvement project can also be one of the biggest headaches if not correctly done – it pays to do a lot of research. If you think you do not have the experience and know-how for DIY, then employ a professional to do the work for you.

Ok, the project will cost a bit more money, but it will save you a good deal of trouble and possibly safeguard you from future expensive repairs. As you know home improvements take many forms: on the roof, in different rooms and in the backyard.

When I was in America for some time I lived in a little town called Lilly Dale, in New York State. While there I noticed one of many things thing that the rural American had in common: and that was an outdoor fire-pit in their backyard.

Most of the neighbours I talked to said that they had built a fire-pit in their backyard too increase the value of their property.

Having a built in outdoor fire-pit in your backyard not only will increases the value of your property, but also increases the amount of time you can enjoy in your backyard in the winter time.
Most of the residence in Lilly Dale would have regular outdoor parties, where family and friends would sit round the fire-pit and tell stories, or exchange some interesting piece of news. There are a lot of choices when it comes to the shape, style and size, of an outdoor fire-pit. You can have a built-in outdoor fire-pit put in, or you can buy a portable outdoor fire-pit that can be relocated anywhere in your backyard.

If deciding on a built-in fire-pit in your backyard you will be able to pick from a variation of outdoor finishing materials as well as stone, concrete, and brick. Also, a built in outdoor fire-pit can be any shape you want: for example, it can be square, triangular L-shaped and of course the usual round shape.

Also, if you do not want to spend too much money on you back yard by having a fire-pit built in. But still would like to have an outdoor fire-pit, to enhance your backyard and to create atmosphere and ambience for when you have outdoor family gatherings, then you can always buy a nice sized movable outdoor fire-pit that burns natural gas. (Which is clean burning, but you will need to have a gas pipe/ line running from your home to the fire-pit).

Or you could buy a propane burning fire-pit (which is also clean burning. The only thing with a propane one is that you always need to regularly fill up the propane tank).

And of course the common wood burning fire-pit (if you like the smell of wood burning and do not mind flying embers and smoke, then this is the one for you).

Also new on the market are ethanol burning fire-pits (ethanol is a very clean burning fuel, but expensive).Good Luck!


Seven things to consider before starting your man cave home improvement project

Comments Off 28 March 2014

Sometimes we all need a place where we can simply relax and chill out. In today’s high stress world, it’s become more important than ever to take time to relax and unwind. There is no better place to brush away the cares of the world than in your own personal man cave.

What is a man cave? A man cave is where a man can be a man while engaging in video game playing, male reality TV show watching, drinking beer or just chilling out in his own personal big boy space. Whatever the favorite activity, a man wants to indulge without worrying about upsetting his female partner’s sensibilities.

So, now that you know what a man cave is. It’s time to design your own male chill out space. The design and construction of a man cave can be a simple home improvement project or it can be a complete remodel of the space including taking down walls and installing outlets and waterlines. Here’s what you need to consider to get started.

How will you use the space:

Before you get started on your cave space, it is important to consider the size of your available space and the function your cave will have. Try to visualize what you want to do in the space as you set-up your design.

Get a show piece:

Choose an object such as a pool table, big screen television or plush furniture that you like and make it the inspiration and focal point for your space design. A great focal point could also be masculine figurines such as ancient tribal art, god art or even ancient weaponry.

Write it down:

Once you’ve gotten an idea of the design you want, it’s time to create the design on paper in order to make your project task easier.

Get the best on board:

In order to get your man cave’s design off the ground, it’s important to get licensed professionals on board to provide input and direction on your design.

Be financially aware:

When creating your chill out space, be sure to budget properly. And understand any plumbing, electrical and HVAC work that might be needed. Financial awareness of project costs can save you time, money plus sanity while saving you from the pitfalls of a poorly considered budget.

Let your personality take hold:

The design of your man cave is as unique as you are. Think outside the box and let your thoughts take hold. Your man cave could be a sports heaven with memorabilia on every wall and gaming gear readily apparent or an ultimate man space with vintage automotive collectibles proudly on display. The choice is yours, so be sure to be you.

Set goals:

Keeping your cave unveiling on schedule means setting realistic goals for you and your team to accomplish. Be sure to make and keep a step-by step project guide on what needs to be done and consult with your contractor to keep it there.

With careful planning, design and thought you can have an ultimate chill out space. A man cave is a thing of beauty that can give you a refuge from life’s daily stressors and enhance your life. Taking time to lavish thought on design plus attention on your man cave plan will give you the space of your dreams.


Home Improvement Tips: Remodeling Alternative for Convenient and Comfortable Shoe Storage

Comments Off 26 March 2014

You have spent the top dollar and built the most beautiful house on the street. You have considered everything garden, rainwater tank, garage, attic and what not. But you forgot the most commonly used items in a household – a shoe storage – a storage that is convenient and yet comfortable to access. I admit, its not the first or the prettiest thing that comes to your mind when you are thinking of remodeling a house. But it doesn’t have to be a chore and let me show you some of the coolest home improvement and remodeling ideas I have so far.

Shoe storage is just among the many storage issues that families have to face when it comes to remodeling the house. Every family member usually has many pairs of shoes that need to have proper storage areas. In many homes, the space usually feels inadequate. However, with ingenious storage ideas in the home, the storage space may seem more than required.

Built in storage rooms are ideal for keeping your most comfortable shoes away safely. This involves building a shelf to the wall where shoes can be carefully stored away. Adult shoes can be put on the top shelves while the lower shelves should be reserved for the young ones. This allows them access their shoes with ease as well as put them back with ease. Shelves or cubby boxes work well for the kids since they are already exposed to such kinds of storage systems. If you do not love seeing shoes lined up in the open, then you can have doors attached to the shelves to be able to lock the shoes away from sight.

The laundry basket is another storage tool that can be used to keep the comfortable shoes. You can have a sizeable basket near the door or in the storage room in the house. This will remind the family members not to leave their shoes lying around but to stack them away neatly when they enter the house. You can choose to have several baskets in the home to serve as storage for differently used shoes and also because one storage basket for the shoes will not always be enough.

Shoe trays also work well among families. It helps keep shoes that have been used away from the paths used in the house. A shoe tray can be put near the door. These trays serve well especially during the winter and rainy seasons. They help keep away wet shoes from the floors while keeping them away from the harsh weather outside.

The garage is an alternative storage area for the shoes. House designs that have garage adjoining the house and connecting doors can use the garage for storage. The trick is in creating shelves or boxes for the shoe and a perfect storage is made. Wearing of the shoes and the removal of the shoes can be done straight from the garage area. Play shoes and boots used in rainy seasons are ideal for garage storage. This form of storage also keeps the house clean and neat.


Consider the Benefits a Home Improvement Project Brings to Your Home

Comments Off 26 March 2014

When it comes to improving your home, you want to consider what is going to be the most profitable in relation to overall resale value. Depending on what project you do, you can end up getting back almost, if not all, of your investment. Some improvements, like remodeling your kitchen or adding on a bathroom, might increase the value of your home. You have to think about those things that are going to be appealing to potential buyers. While some might like having a hot tub in the backyard, others will view it as a hindrance due to all of the maintenance required to keep the unit operational.

If you aren’t sure what home improvement projects are going to increase the value of your home, begin by researching some of the homes in the area and see what they are selling for. If you find that the majority of homes are going for $150,000-$200,000, you can expect your home to go for $200,000 or less, regardless of how many baths, hot tubs, skylights and rooms you add. During the remodeling process, you need to remember that it can be difficult to recover the costs associated with raising the value of your home over other comparable homes in the area. For those who are looking to move in the next couple of years, you probably aren’t going to spend a fortune in home improvements.

To help you understand some of the ways you can improve your home, consider some of the following tips before starting your home improvement project:

Give the interior of your home a facelift. Repainting your walls, ceilings and trim can provide the home with a bright, clean and inviting appearance.

Remodel the kitchen. Kitchens are often viewed by many as the center of the home. It serves as a combination workplace and family room. Consider upgrading the cabinets, sinks, backsplash and floors.

Add on a second bathroom. Today, more and more people looking to purchase a home want that second bathroom. One bathroom in a home could mean the difference between selling the home and holding onto it for quite some time.

Install a fireplace. Even though there are some fireplaces that will lose more heat than what they are able to give you, they add a certain amount of charm and sophistication to the home. Relaxing in front of the fireplace after a long day is a great way to unwind.

Have central air conditioning installed. Central air can go a long way in selling your home when it is located in a warmer climate. For colder regions, buyers might be hesitant to pay the extra money for it because of the additional operating expense involved.

Improve overall energy efficiency. Adding in insulation, energy-efficient appliances and thermopane windows can all start paying for themselves right from the start, even before your home ever hits the market in the first place.

Install new hardwood floors or refinish the ones you have currently. Hardwood floors go a long way in adding character, elegance and durability to your home, as well as adding to the final sale price. They are also a great marketing tool for those who are looking for a home to keep allergies and asthma at bay.

Once you have made the decision as to which type of home improvement projects you want completed on your home, you need to find someone who is capable of doing the job for you. When it comes to home improvement projects, you want an individual who understands the importance of showing up on time to the job site. Don’t trust in someone who doesn’t put you and your needs first.

When you have contractors that you can set your watch by, you know they are going to care more about your project as a whole. If they care enough to be there on time, they are going to care enough to do the job right the first time around. Just like my Tag Heuer dive watch, I like my contractors to run on time. You don’t want to be looking at your watch every few minutes just to see how much time they are spending on one project. You want someone who gets down to business from the minute they show up on your doorstep. By the time your home improvement project is complete, the results are going to astonish and amaze you. Not only will you have improved the look and feel of your home, but you will have invested in the future value of your home should you decide you want to sell it.


Home Improvement Tips: Minimizng noise pollution at home using Noise Cancelling Technologies

Comments Off 26 March 2014

Noise pollution is increasingly becoming an important issue when comes to home improvement and renovation in particular. More and more people are becoming aware of health hazards of noise pollution. I often get asked for advise on this, specially what are best options for Australian residences. My take on this is  that, to address noise pollution at home, double glazing is quickly becoming popular in Australia as a reliable, cost-effective and healthy noise cancelling technology. Most of us already know how double glazing is done and how to find the right professional for your home. So I won’t dwell on that. Instead, I wanted to share my thoughts on installing noise cancelling equipment while renovating your home.

Common home improvement mistake- Noise Pollution Is Often Overlooked

We often overlook the disturbance from noise, especially for those that are living in a noisy neighbourhood for years. We believe ‘we will get used to’ annoying noises but is this really true?

It is very easy to dismiss noise as a ‘little annoyance’  but living in a noisy environment has many long-term side effects that can damage your health. If you have a family, your children has a very hostile environment to concentrate on their education and excel in academics because noise significantly reduces our ability to concentrate. A study conducted by British researchers concluded that a person living in noisy environment develop temperament issues.

‘For example, a loud home is not the ideal place to crash after a busy day at work because your brain won’t shut off completely, even when you are asleep.’ The study says. Our own experiences support this argument. With time, we may feel that we got ‘used to’ the noises but what really happens is that you are really tired and your brain can’t keep you alert any more so you are getting your much needed sleep. But your quality of sleep will be substantially reduced and it is very difficult to have a positive energy in a noisy home.

Importance Of Noise Cancelling Technology In Households

Investing in noise cancelling equipment to prevent outside noise from interfering with your personal life is a very important decision, albeit not always cheap. It is very important for the well-being of you and your family. In the past, double glazing technology wasn’t quite popular in Australia. Double glazing was expensive too because there was not a lot of demand for it.

However, many Australians are realizing the importance of keeping noise away from their home and creating a healthy, positive ambience for themselves, hence customers soliciting noise cancelling equipment are also on the rise. Double glazing can’t be perceived as just noise cancelling technology but there are other benefits too. Double glazing can improve your home’s energy efficiency so your annual expenditure on energy bills will come down. Some households gets their money back in a couple of years, especially in areas where energy and fuel costs are very high.

Double glazing also gives extra protection to your home because of the thicker glass and the air pocket between two layers of glass. Considering the various benefits of noise cancelling equipment, it makes perfect sense spending your money on double glazing and protecting your family from the ever increasing noise pollution that is eating up most of Australia these days.


How to Keep the Workers Motivated

Comments Off 26 March 2014

When I started working on residential job sites in the US, I was surprised at the lack of morale within the work crew. I was young at the time, around 18, and most of the other guys ranged from 25 – 35. The foreman of the site was usually early 30s. I was keen and eager to learn and get my apprenticeship in carpentry. However, the other guys, it seemed, had already given up on life because they hated their job so much. It became quite obvious after a few months that it wasn’t that they hated their actual job, it was that they hated how they were treated by the boss and owner of the company.

I worked for this company for 3 years until I had my full journeyman status as a carpenter then went on to a different smaller company. I had learned a lot in my first job, and had seen how little recognition and sympathy the foreman had for his workers. It was crazy how little he cared about motivating his workers to want to get the job done best. He just cared about yelling at us and getting drunk on Fridays.

Anyways, the new company I started working for only ran 2 work crews, each with about 5 guys. The guy who owned the company worked side-by-side with us everyday except Monday. Monday’s he did the company paperwork and logistics side of things. This guy cared about the workers. He did small things that made us all happy. For instance, twice a week (Tuesday and Thursday) he made everyone drive back to the office for a late lunch. He would cook up in a massive slow cooker curry or roast and we would all spend a long lunch at the office eating lunch together. I’m telling you, this boosted morale two fold. When we returned to the job site that afternoon we got more done than ever. And because it happened Tuesday and Thursday we could rest easy Monday night and Wednesday night not having to prepare lunches (when you work in this industry you need at least 2 full meals to get through the day and that takes time to prepare each night).

It was black and white compared with my first job in the industry, and it’s how I teach young construction workers in Australia to treat each other. It’s all about the small things that make your workers happy that make the difference in motivating them to work. That small company I worked for for 8 years. I moved my way up to Foreman and tried to motivate my crew the smart way. I read the book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ and learned the to really motivate you need to have recognition and sympathy for your workers. That means listen to them and recognize their efforts. In addition to doing this I ensured there was always a big batch of stew in the crock pot I always had in the break room/portable trailer.

I urge all you young Foreman out there to emulate what my boss did and what I learned to do to motivate your crews – feed them. Eating the same meal with your crew each day or a few days a week is really motivating. It goes back to hunter gatherer days when the men would eat what they killed on the hunt.


Home Storage and Organization Tips from a Pro

Comments Off 26 March 2014

Organization is the key to a clutter-free house. There are two ways as I see it to organizing your house. One, throw everything out and embrace your new minimalist lifestyle. Get rid of your car, your kids, old scrap books, Christmas decorations, that old diploma and your fishing rod, after all these things are just cluttering up your life, right? The second less extreme and possibly more practical way is to create a place to store your valuable extras. Storing your prized excess in organized storage bins, shelves, and cabinets is a life changer.

Like most people I used to stow my awesome party decorations, baking pans, and miscellaneous memorabilia in an unlabeled box stacked on more unlabeled boxes hidden somewhere in the basement. When I needed something I would either dig through the mountain of junk, or more often just bypass the entire exercise and go to the market and pick up some new party decorations, ultimately creating more organization problems. That is until I put my DIY knowledge to work and got organized by adding purposeful storage.

Garage Storage Is Key

There are a lot of empty spaces in a house that can be used and the garage is my favorite place to make use of the storage possibilities. Most people park their vehicles in the garage along with kid’s toys, sports equipment and yard equipment. Garage walls can be outfitted with shelves and cabinets to store a host of various items. The garage ceiling is probably the most overlooked storage area of all. Golf clubs, bicycles, skis and strollers are just a few of the items that can be hung from the ceiling using hooks and pulleys. This frees up floor space while providing easy access to the equipment. Another handy storage idea is to create shelves that are supported from the ceiling. This is where I store all my fishing and camping gear along with holiday decorations and various miscellaneous “junk.”

I now know exactly where to look for outdoor equipment; it’s always stored in the garage. For example fishing equipment is in the overhead storage. Sports equipment is either hanging from the ceiling or stowed in the overhead storage. Yard maintenance supplies are stored in cabinets and shelves which are attached to the walls. This opens up the floor space to allow for things like cars and motorcycles; you know what the garage was made for. The best part of organizing your house is the ability to find what you’re looking for. When I need something I know exactly where to find it and if I don’t have it I know with a good degree of certainty that I need to head to the store to buy it. My garage has never been more organized and clutter-free.

Storage shelves and cabinets that attach to walls to free up floor space can be readily found at home improvement centers and online as well. Be sure to get sturdy shelves or cabinets as you will be disappointed with some of the cheaper plastic varieties out there. For overhead garage storage your best bet will be to build some shelves, just be sure to attach them securely to solid beams behind the drywall. This may very well be one of the most rewarding home-improvement projects you will ever do so take some time and purchase the correct products because doing things twice is never the way to go.

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